Gulladuff: More Heat Than Light

UPDATE: SINN FEIN issues statement calling for a cover-up.

Wednesday night in Gulladuff, South Derry, Gerry Adams, Danny Morrison and Bik McFarlane met with some members of some of the families of the 1981 hunger strikers. Anyone having any hopes of Sinn Fein supporting and honestly participating in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission should just go home now. It was a complete farce from beginning to end. Goons from West Belfast patrolled the parking lot and guarded the door to the community hall. When former Hunger Striker Gerard Hodgins, and Jimmy Dempsey, a former prisoner and father of John Dempsey, the 16 year old boy who died in the riots that occurred at the death of Joe McDonnell, and who is buried in the republican plot alongside McDonnell, along with a representative for the O’Hara and Devine families, asked to participate in the meeting, Danny Morrison forcibly closed the door on them, snarling that they were not wanted, that they had had their chance at the Gasyard Debate to speak to the families and if the families chose not to attend then, it did not mean that he had to allow them into the hall now. When it was pointed out that the representative was there at the request of two of the families, he stated he would go back and ask the families if entry would be permitted. He then locked them out.

Not long after, Bobby Storey, who had nothing to do with the hunger strike, came out and confronted the trio, insulting Gerard Hodgins under his breath by claiming he was in the Continuity IRA and making allegations about the recent break-in at his home. He clapped Dempsey on the back and turned on a sweeter tone, saying he was sorry about his son but he had no right to be there. Hodgins stated he wanted to make clear that he was not in the CIRA, that such allegations were spurious, and was Storey the source of them for the Andersonstown News. Storey rudely snapped, “I’m not talking to you,” and went on attempting to pacify Dempsey. Hodgins responded, “But I am talking to you,” whereby Storey whipped round, pointed his finger directly at Hodgins and said, “See you? I will speak to you at a time and place of my choosing.” This was a clear threat, which Hodgins underlined by asking incredulously, “Are you threatening me?” Realising he had gone too far, Storey made his excuses to Dempsey and was let back into the hall. Dempsey was clearly unhappy at being locked out of a meeting he felt, as his son’s death was a direct result of Joe McDonnells’, he had every right to be at, to ask, did his son have to die? If the outside leadership at the time had accepted the Mountain Climber offer, and Joe McDonnell had not died, nor would have young John Dempsey.

Yet Bobby Storey, a man who had nothing to do with the hunger strike and who had just threatened a hunger striker, had the doors unlocked for him.

And that was only the fireworks outside the meeting. Inside, it got worse.With an inauspicious start, Adams introduced the meeting referring to “conspiracy theories by anti Sinn Fein elements” and drawing a comparison to conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Michael Collins, one of which alleges he was set up and shot by his own IRA men.

All the inconsistencies in the press to date were only amplified at the meeting. Attempts to clarify points or challenge previous statements were met with indignant fits of pique, such as Morrison claiming he would never sit in the same room with Richard O’Rawe, “the man who accused me of murdering 6 hunger strikers!”, or Gerry Adams repeatedly asking, “Do you think I am telling the truth, yes or no?”

Bik McFarlane also kept to the discredited nonsense that it was the hunger strikers who rejected the offer, despite evidence that the hunger strikers were never told the details of the offer. He and Morrison claimed that all the hunger strikers (including Lynch and Devine) were told about the Mountain Climber offer and had refused, saying it was not enough. McFarlane then denied he ever had the the “Tá go leor ann” conversation with O’Rawe based on that claim, saying, “How could I? After hearing the men reject the offer put to them?” This notion does not jibe with any of the historical records and accounts of that time period.

Bik McFarlane claimed that he was always saying “I agree with you” in Irish to Richard, in a pathetic attempt to explain away the prisoners coming forward who overheard the conversation between himself and O’Rawe accepting the Mountain Climber offer. He was explaining that the prisoners who heard that conversation were mixing up the numerous conversations he had with O’Rawe in which he agreed with what O’Rawe was saying. This of course moves further still from his starting position of never having had any such conversation with O’Rawe, to now having had so many, he and other prisoners would be unable to keep track of them.

The ICJP and Mountain Climber offers were conflated in an attempt to obscure the outside rejection of the Mountain Climber offer. PRO statements, statements which were written at the behest of Adams, were repeatedly presented as if they reflected the private comms between the prison leadership and the outside. None of the private comms referring to the Mountain Climber, which O’Rawe had given Adams in 1986, were produced.

O’Rawe was demonised in the meeting, called a liar, painted as the villain and ascribed nefarious motives for pursuing the truth. Some families’ representatives were characterised as ‘anti-GFA’ and those who had attended the Gasyard debate, many of whom were former blanketmen, were derided as ‘yahoos’. A dubious motion was attempted to get the families to agree to a joint statement that would say they were all agreed any probing into the past should cease. They ‘had enough’, ‘old wounds had opened up’, and O’Rawe ‘should stop’,’ he was ‘only after money for books’; Danny Morrison fanned the flames of the attacks on O’Rawe’s character, keeping them going whenever they appeared to peter out. He mentioned O’Rawe’s taking him to court ‘over things I said during an RTE interview’, described how no matter how often he would meet O’Rawe, he never mentioned the relevations. A meeting on the hunger strike was turned into a manipulative back stabbing session. The Sunday Times and Republican Network for Unity were in for kickings as well. The proposed joint statement was objected to and not supported by all. A suggestion that the families meet with O’Rawe and others was knocked back. It was put forward that one of the families approach O’Rawe to tell him to ‘back off’ and ask for a response. No motions proposed were passed; the meeting was becoming very emotional and many family members were close to tears.

Adams, McFarlane and Morrison were asked would they cooperate with an independent inquiry; the answer was a resounding “NO.”

After an hour and a half of hectoring, emotional manipulation, browbeating and more lies, Mickey Og Devine left early, visibly upset. He was disgusted with what he felt was nothing more than a sham, and with all the shouting and deflection when points were raised that challenged the platform. Other family members were also emotionally distraught when the meeting ended not long after he left.

Last weekend in New York, Gerry Adams waxed nostalgic about the peace process, noting how long it took to get from the start of the process to where Sinn Fein are today. He made observations about all the people – ‘the naysayers and begrudgers’ – who were against the peace process, who did not think it would work, and who did not want Sinn Fein to participate in such. Yet, he proudly claimed, Sinn Fein persevered.

Some Slugger readers will recall, in 1996, prior to the Good Friday negotiations, the image of Adams and McGuinness standing outside locked gates, begging civil servants for access to the British talks going on without them. Now Sinn Fein locks out republicans from their ‘private’ Widgery on their own actions during the Hunger Strike. A widgery in which they absolve themselves of any and all wrongdoing and condemn those who seek only the truth, putting figurative nailbombs into the pockets of anyone who dared challenge them.

The hypocrisy of allowing Bobby Storey, party enforcer, to stand menacingly at the back of the hall with his arms folded, glaring at anyone who didn’t pay homage to Dear Leader, while barring entry to a former hunger striker, the father of a young Fian killed as a result of Joe McDonnell’s death, and representatives requested by families is staggering.

However long it takes from being locked out of a SF widgery until finally achieving a full independent inquiry, with the ability to challenge all views openly and forthrightly in order to ascertain what exactly did happen and why, with or without an official Truth and Reconciliation Commission, those seeking the truth of what happened in July 1981, will persevere, just as Sinn Fein did, despite the naysayers and begrudgers who would rather bury the truth, or present a whitewash as fait accompli. No one is asking for another Bloody Sunday type inquiry – but a Widgery is unacceptable.

In using the families to hide behind the skirts of, it must be remembered that Sinn Fein has not had a problem with disrespecting and going against families of hunger strikers’ wishes when it suits them. Slugger has already noted the Sands family withdrawal of support for the Bobby Sands Trust, of which Morrison, McFarlane and Adams are on the board, because they were deeply unhappy with what they felt was the abuse of their relative. In addition, the Sands family were also vocal about their displeasure with the Denis O’Hearn biography of Bobby Sands, Nothing But An Unfinished Song. This did not, however, stop Sinn Fein, through Eoin O’Broin’s Left Republican Review, from publishing the book in conjunction with Pluto Press, nor launching the book across the country and supporting the children’s edition of the biography, which was co-written with Laurence McKeown. Sinn Fein was so ecstatic about that book they wanted it introduced into school curriculum. The Sands’ family position on the book, and indeed, the gross abuse of Bobby Sands’ image by the party, means absolutely nothing to Sinn Fein.

If we support the right of O’Hearn, as a historian, to write a biography of a noted historical figure, and the right of former prisoners McKeown and Elliott to contribute to an adaptation for children, while also endorsing its use in schools, despite the express wishes of the family; then it follows that we must support O’Rawe’s book as well.

This therefore becomes an issue of freedom of speech; for if families are to hold history hostage to their emotions, nothing would be written. If families are to be manipulated by politicians who wish to bury the truth of history, and people are then expected, via emotional blackmail, to defer to “the families’ wishes”, nothing would be written but the politicians’ lies. Families may express their disapproval but that will not and should not stop history from being probed, challenged, written, and read.

Clearly, ‘private’ meetings are not sufficient to address public concerns about important issues such as the hunger strikes, which had a massive impact on society beyond a handful of family members. Enough information and evidence is now out in the public domain that needs answered elsewhere from Diplock courts. Blanketmen have the right to ask their leaders of the time for a public and truthful accounting of what they did and why, without it being reduced to a browbeating exercise in deflection. The republican community at large is deeply scarred by the hunger strike and they too deserve the truth. Beyond that, the unionist community also has a right to know was the hunger strike prolonged for the promotion of Sinn Fein, as that impacts their own history greatly as well. The truth can’t be disappeared, no matter how many attempts to bury it are made.

Somehow, the bodies keep being found.


Father and son Jimmy and John Dempsey, as written about by Gerry Adams. Jimmy Dempsey was denied entry and locked out of the meeting in Gulladuff.

An Phoblacht, 15 May 2003
Remembering Fian John Dempsey
Within hours of the death on hunger strike of Joe McDonnell, the British Army shot dead 16-year-old Fian John Dempsey. He and two comrades were on active service when they come under fire from a squad of British soldiers at the Falls Road bus depot in Belfast.
John Dempsey died later in the Royal Victoria Hospital. Last week, on Monday 5 May, republicans from the Turf Lodge area of West Belfast unveiled a plaque at the Falls Bus Depot near the spot where he was killed.
As a tribute to the young republican, we reprint an edited version of an article written by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, using the pen name Brownie, in which he outlined the political and social conditions that influenced the thinking of young nationalists and led them into the struggle for national liberation.

Until the morning of last Wednesday week, Fian John Dempsey, aged 16, lived in one of the grey houses which sprawl on either side of the Monagh Road in Turf Lodge.

His family, a week after his death, are now like so many other families, trying to pick up the pieces – in the heart-rending vacuum which is always created by sudden death, especially by the death of one so young and cheerful as John.

At the wake on Thursday week he looks only twelve years old, his body laid in an open coffin flanked by a guard of honour from Na Fianna Éireann.

Hardened by many funerals, by too many sudden deaths, yet one is riveted to the spot unable to grasp the logic, the divine wisdom, the insanity, which tightened a British soldier’s trigger finger and produced yet another corpse.

“He’s so young, ” exclaimed those who call to pay their respects. “Jesus, he’s only a child.”

All night, neighbours, friends and relatives call. All with the same reaction.

But young people call also, shifting uncomfortably in adult company, but strangely unshocked – not visibly at any rate – by what they see in the sad living room of the Dempsey home.

Just a tightening of young faces as they gaze silently at John’s remains, a hardening of eyes, and then silently out again to stand in small groups at the street corner. None of the awkward handshakes and mumbled “I’m sorry for your troubles”.

They understand better than most the logic which directed the British Army rifle at John, and, having understood, they pay their respects and move outside – to wait.

John’s mother, Theresa, sits comforted by friends, while her husband Jimmy stands, a gaunt figure at the head of his son’s coffin, gently stroking John’s head. Jimmy shakes hands with Dal Delaney – both fathers of dead patriots (the latter of Dee Delaney killed in a premature bomb explosion in Belfast in January 1980).

Many of Jimmy’s prison comrades come to the house. He spent six years in Long Kesh as a political prisoner, and soon talk turns to the Kesh, but not like at an adult wake where ‘craic’ flows non-stop.

At least, not in the living room, where the youthful figure in the coffin brings one sharply back from what has passed to what lies ahead, from what has been done, to what still remains to be done.

The next morning, the slow sad procession to the chapel on a bright warm summer morning; and after Mass, the girl piper heralding our passing as we make our way, once again, to Milltown. Down from the heights of Turf Lodge, past the spot where John was murdered, and by the British Army barracks, through the open gates of the cemetery, to the republican plot, where two open graves – one for Joe McDonnell – await our arrival.

John left school at Easter. He played hurling and football for Gort Na Mona and soccer for Corpus Christi, and like his father and his many uncles he was a keep fit enthusiast with an interest in body building.

He joined Na Fianna Éireann in October 1980 and like many young people from Turf Lodge, was subjected to regular harassment by British soldiers.

Wreaths are laid before we leave for Lenadoon and the funeral of Joe McDonnell.

John Dempsey’s funeral, a smaller and in many ways a sadder ceremony than Joe’s, is a stark reminder that for the first time in contemporary Irish history, the struggle has crossed the generation gap.

When Joe McDonnell was first interned in 1972, John Dempsey was a mere seven years old. Yet they were to die and be buried in the same republican plot, within hours of each other, in the service of a common cause and against the same enemy.

As Jimmy Dempsey said of his son, “John has joined the elite. He died for the freedom of his country.”

(A tribute by Brownie) first published in AP/RN 18/7/81

Marcella Sands on record about Denis O’Hearn’s biography of her brother, Bobby:

In response to an article headlined ‘New Book is First Study of Bobby Sands’, which appeared in a recent edition of the Andersonstown News, I wish to put the record straight.

According to the article, the author of the book, Denis O’Hearn, “thanks the hunger striker’s sister Marcella for her help with the book.” This suggests that I had “helped” or participated in some way in the compilation of this book and, therefore, endorsed it. This is misleading and untrue.

I wish to state categorically that neither I, nor any of my family, helped Mr O’Hearn with his book in any way, nor does my family endorse the book. Indeed, the opposite would be the case as his book contains numerous factual inaccuracies.

Denis O’Hearn’s acknowledgment of the family’s position:

[Part of the article could give] the mistaken idea that the Sands family participated in the research for the book. This is not so. I met Marcella Sands when I was beginning my research and she told me that the family did not feel that they could participate because they were writing their own memoirs and it would create a conflict of interest if they also helped me. I respected their decision and on numerous occasions when people asked me, I made it clear that Bobby’s immediate family was not participating.

Earlier on Slugger:

Gerry Adams to meet Hunger Strikers Families; Inquiry Sought Families of the hunger strikers call for a public inquiry; Adams arranges meeting

“This is a huge opportunity and I feel there’s a potential here to end this” Bik McFarlane miraculously recovers his memory and completely backtracks on every denial he had made previously, while also making up new, contradictory details never before mentioned

“I will not be attending and will not send a representative” Gerry Adams refuses to attend public meeting about the hunger strikes; extremely revealing discussion in the comments section

1981 Hunger Strike Truth Commission Includes text of British document of July offer and transcript of Willie Gallagher’s speech at the Derry meeting

The Truth is a Heartbreaking Thing Initial summary of Derry meeting

Upcoming Debate: “What is the Truth Behind the Hunger Strike?” Announcement of public meeting and note of Radio Foyle debate between Raymond McCartney and Richard O’Rawe (also discussed on The Pensive Quill: A Shifting Narrative)

When in a hole… Contrasts between Danny Morrison’s position and previously published accounts of the time

What were the hunger strikers told? Questions emerge that cast doubt on what the hunger strikers knew when about what negotiations were being conducted on their behalf by the Adams subcommittee.

“Let’s have the whole truth” – Danny Morrison and Richard O’Rawe statements

Did Thatcher Kill All 10 or Only 4? – contains statements and interview excerpts

Links and background:

1986 excerpt from interview with John Blelloch, Mi5, by Padraig O’Malley (Bobby Sands Trust website)
“The Blelloch Interview”, Anthony McIntyre

Sunday 5 April 09:
‘Adams Complicit Over Hunger Strikers?’
NIO Documents on Sunday Times website
“The Thatcher Intervention”, Anthony McIntyre
IRSP Statement in response to NIO documents

Monday, 6 April 09:
Irish News: Hunger Strike deal ‘must be disclosed’
Irish Times: SF denies claims on hunger strike deaths
Radio Foyle, The Morning Programme (link lasts a week): Willie Gallagher, IRSP and Danny Morrison, begins @ 8 mins
Response from Kevin McQuillan to comments made by Danny Morrison in the Radio Foyle interview; scroll down a bit.

Tuesday, 7 April 09:
Irish News: Morrison rubbishes renewed claims of Hunger Strike deal
Bobby Sands Trust: Documents Still Withheld

Previously on Slugger:
O’Rawe’s account confirmed: Hunger Strikers Allowed To Die (28 March 08)
Eamon McCann verifies Richard O’Rawe’s account of the 1981 hunger strike in which he alleges that six of the hunger strikers need not have died as the prisoners had agreed to accept an offer from the Mountainclimber, only to be over-ruled by Gerry Adams.

Hunger Strike Controversy Has Not Gone Away, You Know (17 April 08)
Many background links

O’Rawe and the Derry Journal (18 April 08)
Crucial question still unanswered

Blanketmen, by Richard O’Rawe
Danny Morrison
Jim Gibney
O’Rawe response to Gibney
Brendan McFarlane
Brendan Hughes
Interview with Richard O’Rawe

Further reading:

Irish News: Allegations of a rejected deal spark fury among republicans (1 March 2005)
Irish News: Was my father’s death PR exercise? (1 March 2005)
Irish News: Monsignor Faul regrets his ‘late intervention’ (1 March 2005)
Irish News: Hunger strikers’ lives not sacrificed — family (2 March 2005)
Daily Ireland: Hunger Strikers Story Brought to Book, Danny Morrison (2 March 2005)
Irish News: Hunger strikers’ deaths must be fully explained, says author (3 March 2005)
The Guardian: Hunger strike claims rile H-block veterans (4 March 2005)
Daily Ireland: McFarlane denies Hunger Strike deal was struck (4 March 2005)
Irish Times: Hunger strikers wanted more than vague promises, Danny Morrison (5 March 2005)
The Village: H-Block Hypocrisy (12 March 2005)
The Village: For the cause or caucus, Hugh Logue (ICJP) reviews O’Rawe’s Blanketmen (19 March 2005)

  • Dave

    The amount of raw truth in that post is astonishing. Brilliant stuff.

  • Thank you very much for this. My own experience is that Bobby Storey is not an easy man to argue with and that when he tells you to shut your mouth, that’s what you do.

  • Dec

    The amount of raw truth in that post is astonishing. Brilliant stuff.

    Yeah, I think I’ll wait for a slighty more impartial report of what actually happened. Unsubstantiated descriptions such as ” Goons from West Belfast patrolled the parking lot” don’t provide the objectivity I hanker after.

  • ggn


    With the possible exception of Mick, I don’t think any blogger on slugger could be or should be described as objective.

    Sorry for going off topic.

  • Cynic


    I am sorry but, frankly, what did you expect? “Truth” and “Justice” are sometimes just words bandied about for political effect.

    Did those who were members of ‘the Movement’ for all those years really swallow all the propaganda and believe they were working for a democratic organisation?

    It was a terrorist organisation designed to force its will on people by murder and intimidation. Now that it has lost the war but gained some nice suits, credit cards and salaries, that culture still prevails …but turned inwards on those who might dissent, question, hold the leadership to account or even just ask them to explain.

    At heart what they are really afraid to admit is that it was all in vain – that it could never succeed and that it ended in complete utter failure. That is too terrible a truth to contemplate.

  • Cynic


    If you ever think you will get objectivity on this one, good luck

  • Big Maggie

    Rusty Nail,

    Many thanks for this comprehensive post. You obviously put a lot of time and effort into this and I truly appreciate it.

    It’s posts such as yours that serve as a chilling reminder of the mindset of many charged with running the Assembly and other institutions.

    This is one of the finest (and most quote-worthy) lines I’m ever read on Slugger:

    “If families are to be manipulated by politicians who wish to bury the truth of history, and people are then expected, via emotional blackmail, to defer to ‘the families’ wishes’, nothing would be written but the politicians’ lies.”

    To which I can only say: Amen.

  • sj1

    Is anyone surprised that they stayed close to form?

    Good write up Rusty.

  • kellmor

    Dec, ‘goons’ security men or minders call them what you want but you can rest assured they were there.( Adams couldn’t even attend Bap McGreevy’s funeral without them!).The behaviour of
    ‘Big’ Bob Storey is no surprise as from personal experience,both from inside and outside jail,I can attest to the scale of this guy’s arrogance and contempt ( matched only by his lack of intellect) for those he would deem to be below him.This is an excellent post clearly defined for me by it’s ‘ring of truth’

  • oracle

    A fantastic read and indeed quite shocking.

    I’ve always known that SF were just a ramshackled collection of misfits murders druggies thickos and never achieving hanger-ons, and that the “heavies” of this organisation are generally thick street trash or localised scum protecting illegal financial investments for their close family only.
    However what I didn’t know was just how easy they can get away with it in Nationalist/Republican areas without local communities raising hell, perhaps nationalist in these areas don’t have the balls that republican posters on Slugger are for ever bragging about.

    But again a brilliant post and big tipping of the hat to Rusty

  • alan56

    Fantastic post. Truely illuminating and great reportage. Thanks Rusty.

  • Ray

    By this incredibly defensive body language Adams and company just acknowledged that they are covering up a very ugly lie involving the hunger strike.
    Adams and company are now acknowleging that their tenure at the leadership position of Sinn Fein has been one thousand percent illegitimate. That includes McGuinness since he played a leading role in this cover-up.
    It it time for Adams and McGuinness to resign or be thrown out of power for this horrendous crime against six of the hunger strikers, their families and children, and other innocent victims.

  • John East Belfast


    “However what I didn’t know was just how easy they can get away with it in Nationalist/Republican areas without local communities raising hell, perhaps nationalist in these areas don’t have the balls that republican posters on Slugger are for ever bragging about”

    They just topped the European poll – nationalists obviously dont care who speaks for them.

    As I said a couple of weeks back SF topping the Eureopean poll was a greater indication of the weakness in Irish nationalism than it was of unionism

  • Sean

    The chickens were never supposed to come home to roost for the Sinn Fein leadership.
    The lies and intimidation were supposed to take care of everything.
    Yet, there are plenty of litle chicken feathers hurling about.

  • CS Parnell

    Reality check time: none of the hunger strikers were killed by Adams or the Brits.

    They may have been brave, but they killed themselves.

  • Donall

    The truth is the most damning thing in the world, bar none.
    It is time to constitute a Brehon Court and put the current Sinn Fein leadership on trial charged with the murder of six hunger strikers.

  • redhugh78

    if that was the case do you really think nationalists would vote in their hundteds of thousands if that was the case?…your unsubstantiated drivel does ot ring true in the real world.
    Not fooled.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    re. “Bik McFarlane also kept to the discredited nonsense that it was the hunger strikers who rejected the offer, despite evidence that the hunger strikers were never told the details of the offer. He and Morrison claimed that all the hunger strikers (including Lynch and Devine) were told about the Mountain Climber offer and had refused, saying it was not enough. ”

    How many of the hunger strikers and negotiators who are still alive agree with the “discredited nonsense” and how many disagree?

  • Brownie

    Can someone please explain to me how the shinners continue to threaten individuals and armed groups (CIRA,RIRA) when they don`t have an army or guns!

    Am I missing something, did they or didn`t they decommission?

    Has is a brain dead moron like Storey able to throw his considerable weight about?

  • Brownie

    Last sentence should read

    How is a brain dead moron like Storey able to throw his considerable weight about?

  • Kathryn Johnston

    Thanks, Rusty, for a powerful and succinct account of the meeting. It’s a pity that the FOI Act only applies to state organisations.


    Harry Murray told me on several occasions he had heard from reliable sources on “his side of the family,” Adams and McGuinness have been Brits for years.
    Paisley knew this that is why he did the deal!
    We have all been conned

  • George

    You provided the greatest service to peace with justice in NI in ages!!
    There is nothing like transparency!

  • Andrew

    People have suspected that about McGuinness for years. I hope that is not the case with Adams. I hope Adams is just out of his league playing the Fidel Castro bit. But a lie is a lie.

  • disgusted poleglass housewife

    bobby storey intelligence officer or head of intelligence ,what a laugh tells one a lot about whats left in the republician movement,they are fucked

  • Hugh Doherty

    I know some of the sands family and i know they absolutely detest adams for how he used the name of bobby sands over the years for his own personal gain.Allegedly adams has been very worried for the past few years about things that were about to come out about him.

  • An Englishman

    Dear Rusty Nail,

    This was ostensibly a meeting between the families of hunger strikers and a number of people who were members of Sinn Fein’s leadership during the hunger strikes. Your blog suggests that you were there. Is that the case, and if so, can I ask in what capacity you attended this meeting?

    An Englishman Writes

  • Babeuf

    “Can someone please explain to me how the shinners continue to threaten individuals and armed groups (CIRA,RIRA) when they don`t have an army or guns!”

    Decommissioning agreement allowed for short arms to be kept for ‘internal security’ purposes.

  • Rusty,

    Do you know if any resolution was eventually put to the meeting, as clearly this seems to have been what the SF leadership group involved intended; and where does this matter go from here.

    It seems to me if SF failed to extract from the families a pledge of support for Mr Adams,etc, it will make it difficult for SF to put this matter to bed, let alone push it out into the long grass, Mr Adams favorite way of dealing with contentious matters.

    He is unlikely to call for an independent inquiry worthy of the name. But an independent enquiry there must be, fortunatly history has a pointer here with the Dewey Commission and Russell Tribunal. Out of the two the Dewey Commission seems to me to lay down the best marker, as its head’s John Dewey’s politics were a million miles from that of Leon Trotsky. This was important as the Commission of Inquiry was called into being to look into the charges made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials.

    The charges were so grave and as Trotsky new he could not get a fair trial in Moscow he had no other avenue but to go before an independent commission.

    I believe such a commission is the only option open to those of us who wish to find the truth about how the hunger strikes ended etc. and any offers the British made to the PIRA A/C. As it is becoming increasingly clear we are light years away from a north of Ireland Truth, Justice and Reconciliation commission, and as I wrote above SF under Gerry Adams will not become involved in setting up any enquiry they do not control.

  • Bakunin

    Rusty — powerful stuff. A very interesting read.

    Do your sources go beyond Hodgins, Dempsey, and Devine?

    Bobby Storey — what’s up with that? The fact that the SF leadership still needs him speaks volumes.

  • Burningferny

    Great job Rusty. You laid everything out in hopes people could understand the issue. Sadly, some still don’t “get it.”

    There needs to be a body set up..that most Republicans can get to the truth. That’s all anyone wants. O’Rawe has put himself in the public..time after time. And yet..Adams and the other SinnFeiners..refuse to do so. So who is afraid of the truth??

  • some seem to think Storey is doing his ‘job’ properly….

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    this issue rests on 2 differnet versions of a number of conversation or whether these conversations took place.

    Is it possible to state how many people who were a party to these conversations/alleged conversations beleive the SF version and how many dont?

  • Dave

    MyTuppenceWorth, that article was written before the little matter of Dennis Donaldson and his connection to Castlereagh came to light, so the actual mastermind of that raid was likely to be Shinner handlers, not Shinners.

  • John O’Connell


    Great article. We are indebted to you for going into the nest of the beast and taking the risks to get the story.

    It wasn’t just the unionists who suffered politically because Adams was using the hunger strikers to generate sufficient political power to take his party into politics. It was mainly the SDLP who suffered as a result of the hunger strikers when Sinn Fein criminality came to town and we had the attacks on election workers, SDLP homes and cars, etc and a general unpleasantness surrounding elections caused by that intimidation and bullying that obviously went on at the meeting in Gulladuff.

    We didn’t mind the competition for votes as long as we had a level playing field. But the using of the hunger sttrikers as martyrs for Sinn Fein made a level playing field difficult to establish. It’s been like that ever since and now we see light at the end of the tunnel. I will not forget your sacrifice in searching for the truth for I know that the Truth will set you free from any allegiance to the endless evil of Adams et al and all their hollow lies they used in order to use young Catholic republicans for their purposes.

  • Big Maggie


    “Sinn Fein criminality came to town and we had the attacks on election workers, SDLP homes and cars”

    No love lost then between SF and the SDLP! A dark period in the history of Irish Nationalism.

    Your comment set me to wondering whether the SDLP will claw back their support anytime soon, and oust SF from the top position in the Nationalist electorate. I have a funny feeling they will, and that that day is not too distant.

    These are not the best of times for Sinn Féin. To read Mark’s post (and its many links) is to understand that their days as top dog are numbered. We can but hope….

  • Big Maggie

    To read Mark’s post = To read Rusty’s post

  • Hugh Doherty

    Allegedly the RA are just on ‘standby’ and have never given up many weapons.After the GFA a lot went to live in southern england for some reason and spain.

  • Gory Edams

    Hey come on now we’re now many posts into the thread and nobody has blamed it all on the British yet.

    Slugger standards seem to be falling.

  • Dave,
    I know the date of the article and the date of Castlereagh.

    I also know that the article told of many incidents other than the raid on Castlereagh which would show Storey to be a “good republican” in the eyes of those who would use such a phrase. Care to comment on any of these rather than nitpicking on irrelevant dates ?

  • sj1

    scan Son walks out of Sinn Fein hunger strike event.

  • Seaghán Ó Murchú

    Thanks for such needed and comprehensive coverage; the links to previous coverage and SF prevarication over the O’Hearn bio only add to the “unfinished” story. Let’s hope, not in vain, that this story has “legs” beyond this forum and grassroots investigatory efforts. Maith thú.

  • Little Adams

    “We didn’t mind the competition for votes as long as we had a level playing field. But the using of the hunger sttrikers as martyrs for Sinn Fein made ”

    What about the IRSP? Remember Sinn Fein opposed their candidates in Dublin because they were not absentionists. Also, the hunger strike ended in 1981. How come no historians have done a proper study on it yet?

    For waht dies the sons of Roisin? Or of the INLA to be more precise?

    How the Brits must laugh every time McGuinness opens his uneducated mouth.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    I think a little bit of perspective would be useful here. Firstly, Rusty Nail did not report on the meeting – he gave his very obviously biased IMPRESSION of what he thought went on. Secondly, if the British had something as explosive as this to use against the Provisional Alliance, do you not think they would have used it to great effect immediately after the Hunger Strikes.Are maybe they have waited until now! People in this country love to be told what they want to hear, to recieve ‘confirmation’ of what they already ‘knew’. And lastly, any involvement that Father Faul had, must be judged against his virulent anti-Republicanism, where he saw them as rivals for the hearts and minds of the Catholic youth. I will never that the Hunger Strikers were coldly allowed to die to gain votes. I also believe that the Provo Army Council was very opposed to the strike in the first place.

  • sj1

    I think a little bit of perspective would be useful here.

    A very subjective perspective. Shall we ignore the contempraneous documents that have come to light, and the others who have come forward to support O’Rawe. This is not simply a matter of O’Rawe’s word for it anymore. It has been established now that O’Rawe’s version is supported by other evidence, but lets ignore it, and embrace Pancho’s subjective perspective aka Sinn Feinn version, and close everything down.

    In other words Pancho lets do as the beardy one sez….

  • Dixie

    Panchos Horse…If the Brits wanted to destroy the Adamsite party they would only have to withdraw funding for all their so called ‘community groups’ knowing they would fall apart soon after. Instead they started funding these groups since the 1980s through ACE schemes knowing that eventually they would as they now do control that party through a major part of it’s finances.

    The Brits were never going to admit publicly that they negotiated with PIRA. In fact that was why they were using the ICJP to cover the Mountain Climber initiative.

  • John O’Connell

    Pancho’s Horse

    I will never (sic) that the Hunger Strikers were coldly allowed to die to gain votes.

    What about the letter in yesterday’s Irish News from ex-blanketman Joe McNulty who quoted a comm in David Beresford’s book Ten Dead Men.

    “The climate now is ripe to make significant progress and establish a firm base down here (free state) which is a necessity for future development and success in the final analysis. To allow opportunities to slip by (opportunities which may not present themselves again) would be a grave mistake.”

    This comm was dated July 26 1981 and at this stage six hunger strikers had already dies, with four on hunger strike.

    This is the proof that Bik was like a Fagin figure who was sacrificing his boys while keeping himself safe in order to create a sympathy vote for Sinn Fein. Talk about taking advantage of the desperation of the prisoners.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    I don’t know O’Rawe. I don’t know how reliable he is. Why did he wait so long before speaking up? Did it need a book? What contemporaneous documents? Who came forward to support him? Why did they wait so long? Can you not just disagree with somebody without attributing ulterior motives? Why does everything have to be a grand conspiracy? And, Dixie, I don’t think that ICJP would be happy to accept that they were being used by anybody.

  • John O’Connell

    By the way the comm above was from Bik to Gerry Adams

  • Pancho’s Horse

    John, I think that it would be very dangerous to make judgements on the strength of anybody’s ‘comms’. Yourself being a fine case in point.

  • John O’Connell


    Keep your head in the sand then.

  • Blanketman

    I don’t know O’Rawe. I don’t know how reliable he is. Why did he wait so long before speaking up? Did it need a book? What contemporaneous documents? Who came forward to support him? Why did they wait so long? Can you not just disagree with somebody without attributing ulterior motives? Why does everything have to be a grand conspiracy? And, Dixie, I don’t think that ICJP would be happy to accept that they were being used by anybody.

    Posted by Pancho’s Horse on Jun 19, 2009 @ 09:35 PM

    sometimes we have facts before us and are happy with the sequence of those facts as a true and accurate account of what happened, and then one day we discover new facts which throws the sequence into total confusion. this is what happens, what has happened with the hunger strike narrative.

    i was consoled with the fact that selfless spartans died nobly opposing oppression, and indeed still am. the hunger strikers, agree or disagree with them believed and for their beliefs were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.

    however, while the hunger strike played out with men starving for the five demands their leadership appear to have a case to answer that they overruled the prisoners’ o/c when he signalled his acceptance of a reasonable offer from the british in july 1981.

    the narrative has been blown wide open and questions are there as to what was it really all about for those who overruled the prisoners. for people like me this is painful.

    hope i have explained a bit for you pancho.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    They used to refer to the millions slaughtered in the trenches as lions led by donkeys. Be that as it may,it doesn’t make them any less lions. Blanketman, I’m with you. No explanations needed.

  • The Raven

    Folks, this is something I have seen out of the corner of my eye on Slugger a few times. Today is the first time I have actually read a whole post and its links on the subject.

    I’m a “light green” unionist. I am not from the republican community. I was about 8 when all this was happening, and living very far away from the centre of it all.

    But I am aghast at this. I would agree with the sentiment, if not the actual actions behind Blanketman’s post, if I were to come from that community. There are some questions to be answered.

    But not least – and I hope those in the know here will forgive my ignorance of this whole subject – why the hell this isn’t doing the rounds in the MSM…or am I just watching the wrong programmes and reading the wrong papers??? Is this not a Spotlight in the making??

    (sorry for being a bit off topic)

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Raven, this is something equivalent to evidence turning up that Christ was removed from the tomb and another doppelganger substituted. It opens an ‘appalling vista’ for republicans and most would prefer it to be left alone. Of course there’s always vultures who think it safe to stick their heads above the parapet now that the dragons teeth have been removed.What did they do in the war?

  • AOJ

    Rusty Nail claims the Sinn Fein press release is calling for a cover-up.

    I read the statement – and it is clear and doesn’t rely on an avalanche of links and spin.

    To move from Rusty Nail’s assertion then it is even more clear: 8 of the ten families of the Hunger Strikers are calling for a cover-up.

    I think Rusty Nail should meet with these families and put them right about the deaths of their loved ones.

    He should sit them down and tell them the truth to their faces. Then RN should listen to what they have to say.

    I’m sure RN is brave enough to do this.

    He should also tell them that Willie Gallagher, Devine, O’Rawe and Rusty Nail himself are telling the truth despite what they may have heard with their own ears and saw with their own eyes.

    This was clearly a Sinn Fein Matrix operation where they took the blue pill on entering the premises where this discussion took place.

    And whatever else they might think, Rusty Nail and those mentioned should be listened to because they are the custodians of the truth because they don’t have an agenda to service.

    No, not at all.

    Long way down, strange way down.

    It’s come to this…

    The sun will rise, the tide will come in, and some people will have words, lots and lots of words, to nibble, suck on, imbibe and ingest.

    I have a feeling that alongside the credit crunch there is going to be a dissident credibility crunch in the near future stemming from this little tale.

    BTW – I am not a republican, but I can understand why many former disgruntled reps are staking a reputation on this one. You got your eye wiped by Adams and pardon me while I laugh.

    I’m glad the Provos saw sense and stopped murdering and bombing, but if those intellectual dissies who now say that SF are the devil and claim armed struggle was wrong [BUT] were in Adams position, or if they were listened to and followed during the early 1990s, then people would still be being buried and the crackpot republican ideology that saw ten men starve themselves to death and bodies shovelled up on Oxford Street would have split its adherents apart into a mosiac of Brit infiltrated Talibanistas.

    Flock them, flock them all.

    As an Anonymous Ordinary Joe the ceasefire and SF move into politics were the BEST things to happen in Irish politics for over a hundred years.

    We love the peace and the politics, and sad for the intellectual dissies to accept, we’re happy with SF, we may not vote them all the time, but we’ll accept them rather than intellectual sneaking regarders whose hearts swell when suspects in one murder case remain silent, yet who choke on their own vomit of rage when other suspects maintain their silence in another.

    Be questioned about the murder of soldiers in 2009 and remain silent – the dissident intellectual heart swells. Be questioned about the murder of Robert McCartney in 2005 and remain silent, or claim you were the toilet – and you are operating under the ‘code of Omerta’ and are therefore part of pure gangsterism.

    Hypocrisy and cant were never so obvious.

  • Dixie

    And, Dixie, I don’t think that ICJP would be happy to accept that they were being used by anybody.
    Pancho’s Horse

    Well Adams told them they were being used by the Brits on 6.7.81. As a matter of fact read Ten Men Dead pages 295 to 299 and judge for yourself what actually happened.

  • cynic

    “if the British had something as explosive as this to use against the Provisional Alliance, do you not think they would have used it to great effect immediately after the Hunger Strikes.”

    Why should they went they wanted Sinn Fein to develop a political voice for the movement and lead it away from violence? Why were they negotiating with them from the days of interment when some seen as having ‘potential’ were taken from the Maze to meet Whitelaw?

    For decades the Brits nurtured Sinn Fein

  • John O’Connell

    Pancho’s Horse

    Raven, this is something equivalent to evidence turning up that Christ was removed from the tomb and another doppelganger substituted.

    You’re right. This is that important to Sinn Fein and that is why they are fighting so hard. This is the ending of republican theology as a force for good in terms of fighting for the oppressed.

    This is the restoring of Christ and Christianity as the only source of good when challenging oppression. Christianity is now firmly “the way” to a just world and the republican way is simply being set aside as a man-made Old Testament ideology which has an eye for an an eye at its core.

    Sinn Fein was the Old Testament reborn, as always with the Old Testament, in patriotic endeavour for the Nation rather than Christian sacrifice for all mankind. An evil was born from an evil that was the sacrificing of ten men for political power that would never have been achieved any other way except in the giving up of violence.

  • The Raven

    Lads, seriously, why I am only reading about this, in these hallowed pages and other places on ‘tinternet?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    John, I’m trying to be kind here. What the rest of us are talking about are real events, real people not Judeo-Christian fairy stories. Get a grip.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Sorry,Dixie. All I have is The Irish Hunger Strike by Tom Collins and my memories.

  • Mark McGregor


    Because the MSM has no interest in biting the hand that feeds it. It’s called ‘Peace Processing’ and there are barely three journalists in the land with the will to oppose it.

  • John O’Connell


    As an Anonymous Ordinary Joe the ceasefire and SF move into politics were the BEST things to happen in Irish politics for over a hundred years.

    So it’s alright to let ten men die on hunger strike. Have you no compassion? SF always had the choice of moving into politics – all they had to do was stop killing people and some would have voted for them.

    But I can assure you that you would not have said this if you were in the SDLP and had to compete with these martyr maniacs.

  • The Raven

    Mark, I just find that incredible – but probably on the money, and I didn’t dare believe it. Thanks.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Go the whole hog,Mark, and name the three journos.

  • John O’Connell

    Pancho’s Horse

    We can all mock but in view of this issue can any one really deny the evil that is at the core of the Sinn Fein party and its political ambitions.

    I believe that Gerry Adams is evil because of the coincidence that his name comes out at 666 on my numeric alphabet. If his name didn’t come at 666, using some reasonable means, then I would not believe that he is the Antichrist. He would simply be to me just another delinquent who leads a very large conspiracy to undermine Ireland.

    Second of all, due to another pertinent coincidence his name contains “Adam”, the name of the first man, and from a theological point of view, this adds much to the basis of him being the Antichrist. Adam coincidentally means ‘man’ in Hebrew, and the number of the beast is specifically described as “man’s number” (Rev 13:18).

    The descriptions of the beasts in the Book of Revelation are interesting.

    ‘The inhabitants worshipped the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed,’ (Rev 13:12). Coincidentally, Gerry Adams was shot and wounded in 1984, but recovered. Afterwards, he became Sinn Fein president and one of the foremost politicians in Northern Ireland. The use of violence for him is a matter of tactics. That is a matter of fact and record. Gerry Adams has not stepped away from violence. He believes in his own words that “there is a time for peace and a time for war”, mocking the Prince of Peace and equating Christ with the Antichrist, good with evil.

    The first beast, who is said to be the Antichrist, is prophesied to have “seven heads” (Rev 13:1), which is coincidentally the number of heads on the IRA army council, including Gerry Adams’ allegedly. It also has “ten horns” or the ten hunger strikers which, combined with the seven heads, gave the beast his power.

    “Who can make war against him?” (Rev 13:7). The IRA has been described as ‘the most sophisticated terrorist organisation in the history of mankind’. Their structure makes it impossible for a conventional army to defeat them.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    John,this is your last chance. Tell me you’re not for real. Tell me you’re winding me up.It’s people like you that makes people like me mad. If you are not careful the antiChrist will send somebody round to your house. Having superhuman powers – HE knows where you live.

  • What we are getting from SF leaders; and their supporters on this thread is pretty thin gruel, all they are all doing is attacking the messengers, not dealing with the accusations and this is why this matter continuos to fester.

    Indeed from what we are being told about the meeting and the comments made before it, neither Mr Adams or Mr Morrison is denying the British made the other which O’Rawe writes about in his book. True this was not always the case but we are where we are.

    As far as I can tell it is only McFarlane who is refusing to admit an offer was made, which to me looks very much like he is being hanged out to dry, or has failed to keep up with how much the other two have changed their public position. Thus we are way beyond whether the British made an offer to end the Hunger Strike, there was an offer; and in truth no one accept Bik is denying this fact.

    The problem for Mr Adams is many of the documents and personal recollections are now in the public domain, in three years or so the Hunger Strike will have been 30 years ago. After which government documents can be placed in the public domain, unless the government claims national security is involved.

    An argument that will not wash as Liam Clarke has already overcome that hurdle under the freedom of information act and received a document that confirmed an offer was made, something which Brendan Duffy has confirmed as he carried the document to Mr Adams.

    It seems to me if Mr Adams is sincere about not wishing to upset the families he need only answer two questions.

    1/ Why was the offer the Brits made to the PIRA leadership and which Danny Morrison took into the Maze Prison on Sunday 5th July 1981, not also passed on to the families and the INLA leadership, who also had men on the H/S.

    2/ If the need arose, who had been given authority by the PIRA A/C for calling the Hunger Strike off, the army council sub committee which Adams headed or the prison PIRA leadership.
    In other words who was given the power to decide whether any British offer was acceptable; or not.

  • Big Maggie


    I have news for you. The Bible is a gallimaufry of nonsense written by desert-dwellers who were anxious to assert their authority over their “flock”.

    It has no place in the 21st century. You can just as well quote Paradise Lost, any canto of which will finger Grisly Adams or any other bogeyman you care to add to the soup.

    Time we as a species grew up and stopped believing in the sky-god. We ought to be able to sort out our ills without all that superstition.

  • John O’Connell


    What we are getting from SF leaders; and their supporters on this thread is pretty thin gruel, all they are all doing is attacking the messengers, not dealing with the accusations and this is why this matter continuos to fester.

    They attack the messengers because they believe that they have no case to answer, having assumed the right to end the lives of the hunger strikers was theirs.

    In other words they don’t want to say it publicly because it sounds so callous, but they owned the hunger strikers and their deaths were supposed to give them the power to get into politics. It wasn’t about the issue of the five demands. It was about getting publicity for the movement and they believe that all the hunger strikers knew that.

    So Gerry Adams has no problems with what actually happened or with what is being said. It is all true. It is just that he knows that it will not go down well with the faithful.


    I’m very real and unafraid.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Mods say John is not to be teased.

  • Blanketman

    pancho’s horse

    go raibh maith agat / thankyou

    john o’connell

    no disrespect mate; but i wish you would suspend your obviously deep held beliefs and refrain from comment on this one: this is the achilles heel for adams, let it unfold……..

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Moving on from Sideshow Bob, if the families are happy what does it matter about the battlefield harpies. An offer was made and rejected. End of story.

  • John O’Connell

    BIg Maggie

    I feel sad for you if that is what you believe. I’m honestly trying to destroy the myths about what God wants to reflect the true will of God for a female centred, love based just society where we take care of the old, the sick and the poor and vulnerable. I can assure you that that society will not be established without God, though I suspect that God will in future take a back seat, having sent a very clear signal about the kind of society she wants.


    I can’t promise complete silence but you can see that what I say annoys the SF’ers who watch over this thread as we write.

  • Different Drummer

    Yes more interest in what SF did mean did or did not say or do to the Hunger Strikers – I ‘ll not argue about the effect that they wanted to create – to focus minds on not so much the prison clothes issue but SF/IRA’s mastery of the republican case or to be frank it was rallying the opposition to Britain.

    Gerry said to them ‘finish what you started’ – to expect him not to say that to those young men would be the height of naïvety.

    Gerry also knew he could carry the day – why? because he was dealing with a group of young men AND THEIR FAMILIES who saw it as an honor to die for Ireland. For they began as Malachy O’Docerty has shown by blowing themselves up with their own bombs. We never knew these men but we were made to never forget what a hunger striker looked like night after night their faces would be beamed around the world.

    How could anti imperialists not respect their sacrifice?

    What the above elaborate and I must painstaking post illustrates is that the people they died for – now see that
    they died for a replica revolution. Ergo they should not have died at all – that’s not fair comment that’s just logical

    Other writers on the period say that Gerry wanted to thwart the militarists – he failed but worse Gerry and SF simply can’t and are unable to deliver basic socialist reforms that’s why they lost their seats in Dublin – The SWP really slipped up in not standing Eamon Mc C again he is an old lag but so is Joe Higgins and look what happened to him!!

  • John O’Connell

    Pancho’s Horse

    the families are happy what does it matter about the battlefield harpies

    The families have lived in cloud cuckoo land where their sons were idealised and immortalised and they are afraid of losing that worship. They are not the best people to go to in terms of establishing the truth. Though I would tread carefully with them.

  • eyeball

    Great debate plenty of fine words plenty of time wasted rewriting history by all you great hard working people ? Whats good is that if you spend this amount of time writing on these blogs i wonder how you pay your bills, no doubt dole, dla and every other welfare benefit that can be begged from good old maggies brethren.Keep it up ‘cus its good for peace, the war’s over.Can any of you doctors of irish philosopy explain to me what a 32 county socialist republic is ?
    Plenty of accusations at the gasyard meeting the beauty of hindsight makes everything stand out clearly almost 30 years on, funny that! Duddy was accused of many things at that meeting,packed out as it was,being such a small room, please enlighten us Rustynail ?
    Invite John o’connell to the next meeting and have a real life of brian debate.
    Do not forget, 10 Brave Irish Republicans died on hungerstrike in 1981, try not to bring shame on their memory, shame on you people if you do.

  • Sillie Rallagher

    I demand that John O’Connell be invited to the next meeting of ours. I don’t know if Bik and Gerry are lying but good luck to them if they are.

  • Dixie

    Go the whole hog,Mark, and name the three journos.
    Posted by Pancho’s Horse

    I’d say that would be the dissident journalists Marty the deputy co-joint First Minster was referring to and not the other honourable ladies and gentlemen.

  • Big Maggie


    “dla and every other welfare benefit that can be begged from good old maggies brethren.”

    Good luck with that. My two surviving brothers would show you the door toot suite. You may have better luck shay Robinson.

  • Free thinker

    Another week and another story to have a run at the shinners with. For months a very small group have been involved in running stories and miss information like it was going out of fashion.

    The truth is that in the Republican heartlands people have little or any time for the groups involved and when this conspiracy finishes no doubt another one will be found in a few weeks.

    Their meetings are attended by small groups and individuals who have either gripes or long running disputes within Republican communities , every area has them,the media love them cause they give good headline stories .

    They feed on a diet of attacking SF at every opportunity , not the brits or anyone else.

  • fin

    I found this saga interesting for a while but once it became obvious that the spotlight was only ob SF I dropped it, unless the govt. actions are also examined this is only a Shinner bashing story.

    Why would the govt. not put their offer in writting, why wouldn’t they meet the prisoners, why not advertise the IRA’s rejection of such a good offer.

    They implemented the offer quietly after the strike ended, why?, why not implement it beforehand.

    I had an interest in Rustys narrative until now, however, this blog reads more like a Jeffrey Archer novel and I’m concerned that although the prose is ripping stuff, suddenly, the facts disappear, what was the split among the families on the proposals put forward by SF, what exactly was said?

    I reject the claim that the MSM won’t pick up on this because of the peace process, rubbish, the MSM have jumped at every opportunity to batter SF with damn all evidence and damn all questioning of why there is no evidence. For example

    Someone mentioned Gareth O Connor here a few days ago, what happened to that story after his car was pulled from the canel?

    Why no identikit or descriptions of the people and vans used in the Bank Robbery?

    Why is there no evidence from the people held hostage when Quinn was murdered.

    Why has McCartneys drinking buddy not identified his attackers.

    Why hasn’t the chef been charged for the Castlereagh breakin

    What was Donaldson doing

    even minor stuff, what happened to Fraser been attacked by republicans in South Armagh (with a photographer in tow)

    Rest assured if the MSM could concoct a story out of this issue they would, if either govt. could dive in they would. I can’t understand why they won’t use an opportunity to really harm SF in the eyes of their support base.

  • Cynic

    “Their meetings are attended by small groups and individuals who have either gripes or long running disputes within Republican communities”

    So much for the families of ‘dead martyrs’ then.

    What were all those murals for then? But I understand that it comes as a deep shock to realise that some of those you have supported and followed the Republican Movement for all those years haven’t been told the truth. To realise that, if you were radicalised by the Hunger Strikes, that the evil Thatcher was working behind the scenes to try and broker a deal but it was rejected for electoral reasons leading to the deaths of so many of the Hunger Strikers when an acceptable offer was on the table. That those who died and their families weren’t even allowed to know what was on offer. But of course, it was done with good intentions. Why bother them with details and the burden of decisions like that in their final days.

    And now we have the protests that, even when those who were at the core of the movement dare say or question these things, they are threatened and abused, called liars, splitters, anti-Shinners and told that they are just out to ’cause trouble’ and ‘do down the leadership’.

    We are told that they (perhaps even the families) are just “people with long running gripes”. Well, you know, learning that your child might have been saved, that there was an offer on the table that was never revealed, that he died for NOTHING and that you have been lied to for over 20 years, might just give you a gripe.

    Now to be a supporter of an organisation that murdered many hundreds of people over such a long period does require a certain outlook on life and an ability to divorce oneself from the crude reality of the dead and the ways they met their ends. But this is very close to home….it goes top the very core of the myths that SF have perpetrated over the years and they will fight long and hard to bury it.

  • Ulick

    “Because the MSM has no interest in biting the hand that feeds it. It’s called ‘Peace Processing’ and there are barely three journalists in the land with the will to oppose it.”

    Really? Let me see now. Liam Clarke, Suzanne Breen, Henry McDonald, Eamon McCann, Eoghan Harris. There’s five and I didn’t even have to think about it. I’m sure I could come up with at least another six if I put my mind to it.

    The reason we are not hearing much of it in the print media is that despite all of her links, Rusty Nail has not been able to prove anything, beyond her belief that O’Rawe’s version is the truth and anyone with the remotest connection to SF are complicit in a massive conspiracy to cover it all up. At the end of the day the only people that know what happened here are Bic, O’Rawe and the dead men and in reality the ‘truth’ is probably somewhere in between the recollections of Bic and O’Rawe. Anyone with half a brain can see this, including the local media, so all we are getting on these threads are extremely subjective views on another persons memory and motivations – not exactly the stuff of historical rigour.

  • Blanketman

    i can understand the families wanting to put this issue to rest, undoubtedly it is painful for them.

    adams being an astute politician knows he can’t agree to a public examination of the issues so he has manoeuvered the families into creating another wall for him to hide behind: only it won’t work.

    not too long ago adams et al were talking about truth commissions as a way of healing the past. until a truth commission of sorts examines all the issues and contradictions of 1981 this issue will not go away.

    neither emotional manipulation nor the thuggery of storey will silence the demand for truth, as somebody once said: the genie is out of the bottle!

  • eyeball

    If Storey is the shinners enforcer at their meetings surely someone can explain why the enforcers at the gasyard meeting rushed to silence one of the other speakers at that meeting who launched a personal attack against Duddy about events way back in the early seventies. Is there a video of this so that we can chew on it, after all within hours of the meeting we had vidoes of other notable persons to this debate ? Could it be we are being provided with an edited version of events to suit the tone and intent of the meeting ? Ach well I suppose truth and openness in this instance is in the eye of the beholder. Justice is blind, so we are told.

  • Burningferny

    I’m not Irish..but I am a mother and a sister and a daughter. If I ever heard a whisper that my loved one could have been saved from dying..Adams and anyone else involved..couldn’t run fast enough or far enough to hide from my seeking the truth. And I would not be turned aside by a private meeting with Adams, et al. If there is nothing true about the would think Adams ,et al, would be holding a PUBLIC meeting to get it straightened out.

    This just doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

  • the joxer

    ‘i can understand the families wanting to put this issue to rest, undoubtedly it is painful for them.’

    Pain being caused by O’Rawe and co. despite the express wishes of the families. The families know that there is no case to answer but idiots like O’Rawe will ignore the suffering that they are causing to further their own selfish and egotistical ends.

  • Denis Faul

    I was involved in the hunger strike and I buy the alternative line. The fight was over once Doherty’s and Agnew’s elections didn’t cause a stir. The Provos balmed the deaths on Fr Faul instead of their own lack of a TRANSPARENT Plan B. Look at the undemocratic way they shafted the RSF heads.

    When do you know a Provo is lying? When their lips are mov

  • Blanketman


    o rawe doesn’t cause the pain by reporting what he knows and what his experiences were: t is painful stuff to have to listen to but the pain can in no way be attributed to richard o rawe for saying what he did.

    what he did say was subsequently verified by documents released under the freedom of information and accounts from brendan duddy at the derry meeting last month.

    i still don’t understand why gerry adams won’t engage in a public discussion of this with his accusers. if he is convinced of the accuracy of his position he should surely have no problem in exposing richard o rawe amongst his peers. the fact that gerry adams won’t engage in public with his detractors tends to weigh the evidence in favour of o’ rawe telling the truth. and truth can be painful

  • Dixie

    Eyeball the Gasyard meeting wasn’t about attacking Brendan Duddy who had the balls when others didn’t to leave himself open to questioning. The attack you refer to was about something personal that happened in the 70s and was unrelated to Republicanism never mind the Hunger Strikes. There were no enforcers nor thugs patrolling the car park and people were free to speak as they pleased. However this person was merely asked from the platform to keep his questions to the Hunger Strikes.

    Justice isn’t blind except in the eyes of the short-sighted.

  • Dave

    It’s no suprise that the Shinners didn’t meet with the relatives for the purpose of telling them the truth but rather for the purpose of getting the relatives to sign a press release to tell others not to seek the truth. It’s cynical use of emotional blackmail – using the families for their own selfish purposes in the same way that they used their sons.

  • AOJ

    It’s no suprise that the Shinners didn’t meet with the relatives for the purpose of telling them the truth but rather for the purpose of getting the relatives to sign a press release to tell others not to seek the truth.

    So they put a gun to their heads and told them that either their brains or their signature would be on the statement? Is that it?

    Or maybe the families are just sheep and cannot think for themselves – and have been totally led by the nose on this by Sinn Fein?

    Not a very respectful view of the families, pal.

    But then, it’s what I’ve come ot expect on threads spun out from these type of posts.

  • J Kelly

    In all the time I have been contributing and reading on sluggerotoole i have really enjoyed the debate and liked the level of integrity of the bloggers. But i have to say that to label a link to a statement which is completely a lie does not do slugger and its reputation any favours. No where in the statement is anyone calling for cover up and if read properly it is not even a sinn fein statement. It is a statement from 6 hunger strike families and their views should be given the same respect and space as others. I am not asking people not to question or debate these issues but at least stay away from gutter tabloid journalism tactics of demonising familes and taking away their integrity as if they are puttets or stupid.

    Slugger be careful of allowing others to use your good office to further their own aims.

  • J Kelly

    PUPPETS NOT puttets

  • Dave

    AOJ, this is the statement that the Shinners extracted from the families:

    “Wednesday evening’s meeting was a very emotional and difficult occasion for all of us, particularly in light of the allegations coming from Richard O’Rawe and the IRSP.

    All of the family members, who spoke, with the exception of Tony O’Hara, expressed deep anger and frustration at the ongoing allegations created by O’Rawe.

    “Tony O’Hara’s suggestion that we should meet with Richard O’Rawe and Willie Gallagher got no support and we asked Tony to express to Richard O’Rawe and Willie Gallagher [b]our wish for them to stop what they are doing and to give us peace of mind.[/b]”

    That is the emotional blackmail that the Shinners were seeking from the meeting and which they duly secured. It is an appeal for no further inquiry.

  • J Kelly

    So Dave this type of statement you make about statements being and extracted and emotional blackmail rings very much like what Thatcher was saying in 1980/81. These families stood against the might of the british during the Hunger Strikes and we respected and supported them then now we must show them the same respect.

  • AOJ

    Sorry Dave, but your head is in a spin.

    The families expressed, freely, their belief that there should be no further inquiry, not SF, that party only brought them together.

    You’d need to take that issue up with the families, although, “How do feel about being blackmailed, emotionally, by Sinn Fein and why are you so craven as to endorse their position on this?” would not be the best advised opening gambit.

    Say you just detest Sinn Fein and would like it to be true. This would be the first step on the road to the honesty you seem to require of your opponents and which some might say seems lacking in your own posts.

    If you unwrapped the tinfoil around your cranium that just might allow you to appreciate this FACT – or rather a spell on the couch in a counsellors office might lift, over time, the fog of anger and hate which leads your feverish mind to conjure these totally detached from reality scenarios.

  • PeaceMan

    ‘If there is nothing true about the would think Adams ,et al, would be holding a PUBLIC meeting to get it straightened out.

    This just doesn’t pass the smell test for me.’

    E X A C T L Y

    stinks. period.