1981 Hunger Strike: Continued Coverage

The Irish News followed up Monday’s coverage of the hunger strike controversy with a further special focus in Tuesday’s edition. It contained viewpoints from the SDLP and unionists, Ruairi O Bradaigh, Brendan Duddy, Willie Gallagher and Ed Moloney, and featured an article by former hunger striker Gerard Hodgins. It also looked at the question of an Irish government mole in the prison and reviewed the FOI documents obtained by the Sunday Times earlier this year. Slugger is still sifting through the volume of material and will be taking a closer look at significant pieces when time permits. Comprehensive archive site on the events of the Hunger Strike: July 1981

Earlier on Slugger:

1981 Hunger Strike: Deconstructing McGuinness

1981 Hunger Strike: A Case to Answer

Gerry Adams and Kieran Doherty, 29 July 1981

Prolonging the Hunger Strike: The Derailing of the ICJP

Updated Timeline and Upcoming Discussion Brian Rowan and Brendan Duddy to speak at Feile

Gulladuff: More Heat Than Light Gerry Adams meets with some of the families of some of the hunger strikers.

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

  • dec1600

    i haven’t read the irish news but willie gallaghers input would be interesting as he spent most of the protest period as a conforming prisoner…

  • 78

    Whilst in prison Willie Gallagher was always challenging the screws – let there be no doubt about his mettle. And it must be remembered he was on hunger strike himself for 50 days. Something his critics appear to be ignorant of. Some of whom were not even in prison at the time of the protest.

  • rusty o’smackers

    Stretch, yawn, belch, burp, fart…..

    Whats to see here?

  • J Kelly

    is anyone concerned with the robbery of a corner shop in sion mills at the weekend

  • Peace dividend

    Ironically the only ”festering sore” eating away at the people of Strabane is Willie Gallagher and his cohorts. I am, of course, an MI5/Sinn Fein agent and should not be trusted.

  • Archie P

    Aye…Sion isn’t too far from Strabane…where Willie and his INLA / IRSP bhoys have a bit of a reputation for tiger kidnappings, not only local but also way down south, if my memory serves me right…..

  • I see a lot of mudslinging in the comments and very little by way of constructive comment; the empty cans continue to rattle loudest. Regardless of one’s opinion of Willie Gallagher, his relevance to the 1981 Hunger Strike debate is due to the fact that he wasn’t negotiating with the British. Others were, on his behalf and without his knowledge. As somebody involved in the protest, but not the negotiations, he, like all the Blanketmen is entitled to ask for an independent inquiry and anyone remotely interested in truth and justice should support the call.

  • donscotus

    As Cicero asked “Cui Bono?” Whoose interests were served by delaying a deal with the hunger strikers? Certainly not the strikers who lost their lives for a fight already won. Certainly not Thatcher – she was willing to cut a deal and the sooner the deal was done the better for her. As things transpired all she was p** off nationalists and unionists for no political benefit to herself. And then there is the IRA/SF leadership, that well known Irish firm of Adams, McGuiness and Co. Well they certainly benefited big time in both short and the long term: Res ipsa loquitur !

  • fin

    “Certainly not Thatcher – she was willing to cut a deal and the sooner the deal was done the better for her”

    but not willing to put the deal down on paper at the time, which is the one question no-one has answered, Rusty has tried to explain that in 1981 the technology didn’t exist to communicate like this, no fax machines, no postal service, no civil servant on a plane to belfast, nope 1981 it was just impossible to move paper around.

    Rusty also said that there was no deal in the 1st hungerstrike because, er, there was nothing on paper.

  • donscotus

    It is standard practice in all negotiations: political, legal, business, trade union or just personal to “sound out” the other side before committing oneself to paper; that way one avoids loosing face. That I believe is a sufficient explanation of the lack of paper re ending the Hunger Strike. Whay would Thatcher risk putting a deal on paper, which would anger the unionists, if the IRA were going to reject the deal? If that had happened the UK government would lose face, anger the unionist and get nothing from the nationalists.

  • Rory Carr

    Indeed, Fin. His case you might say is paper thin. Except of course for the fact that he hasn’t got a case at all, merely a set of totally unsubstantiated allegations repeated over and over again ad nauseam and in order to support his claims he calls in support the comments of a band of “objective” observers including the anti-SF Garret Fitzgerald of Fine Gael, friend and political fan of Margaret Thatcher, anti-SF Willie Gallagher of the IRSP, the anti-SF Bríd Rogers of the SDLP and the anti-SF Ken Maginnis late of the UDR and the Ulster Unionist Party and self proclaimed good friend of the late Father Denis Faul ( a claim he was unlikely to make while Denis faul was yet alive or while Ken was yet appealing for good Protestant votes) each of whom is only too happy to rub their hands in glee at the prospect of hearing anything detrimental about Sinn Féin regardless of its veracity. “There’s some dirt being spread about the shinners – well of course I’ll endorse it. How about I say something along the lines of, ‘I’m not at all surprised and I’m really sad about all those poor boys. If only they had listened to me instead of themmuns they would still be alive today.’ Will that do?”

    Of course if they were alive today they would all be voting for the Fine Gael/IRSP/SDLP/éirgí/UUP/the Rusty Nail Peoples’ Party (take your pick) wouldn’t they, Rusty?

  • anon
  • Mark McGreg

    And Rory Carr neglects to mention the IRA &INLA; volunteers, blanketmen and hungerstrikers raising the same questions for some reason.

    Rusty links them all – some ignore the voices they disagree with and makes it all about ‘you hate SF’.

    ‘you hate SF’ is getting a bit lame and tedious when it is just – ‘I support SF – shut the fuck up’

  • John O’Connell

    Mark

    ‘you hate SF’ is getting a bit lame and tedious when it is just – ‘I support SF – shut the fuck up’

    Well said.

    More intimidation from the thugs in Sinn Fein, even openly, thinking that as long as there’s no conviction nobody will know they are thugs.

    But then again the Sinn Fein voter who doesn’t know he or she is voting for thuggery is just that little bit too naive for my liking.

  • Rory Carr

    Donscotus,

    Perhaps you might care to read this below (from the Brits) which sheds a little more light on just how little was actually “on offer” to the hunger strikers and why it might have been rejected:

    http://www.longkesh.info/2009/09/29/irish-news-documents-say-thatcher-‘would-not-risk-initiative’/

    Mark McG,

    I am not a supporter of Sinn Féin. I do however recognise the overwhelming support that Sinn Féin has in the northern nationalist community and recognise the desperation of their political opponents hopelessly searching for a way to destroy that support by fair means or foul. This campaign by the anonymous, Rusty Nail, just happens to be the most foul to date.

    And, by the way, Mark, your own objectivity in relation to anything that might serve to undermine Sinn Féin is not I hope a frame of mind that you would pretend to in the expectation of credibility.

  • what’s your point

    Rory Carr,

    Brendan Duddy(mountain climber) who Martin McQuinness describes as an “honourable man” is on public record as saying the offer which he gave McQuinness effectively conceded four of the five demands. Sounds a bit more than a “little” and completely demolishes Danny Morrison and Brendan McFarlane’s previous positions of nothing concrete and no offers whatsover.

  • Mark McGreg

    Rory,

    The problem is you and other label this as a ‘Rusty’ campaign. That is just a lie.

    Rusty has presented the arguments that challenge the Provisional orthodoxy on this issue by numerous people. Rusty did not create this discussion. Just as the people reporting on it as ‘staff reporter’ in the Irish News didn’t create the questions or discussions this week.

    It is just try and shoot the messenger and ignore the message. We’ve all seen it before, it is tired, it is dull. About time people addressed those raising the questions head-on instead of trying to shout down those that dare give a voice to dissent.

  • fin

    But why would the IRA have rejected a deal which apparently granted 4 out of the 5 demands and had been verbably accepted by the prisoners, and would have been in the public domain.

    Also why would unionists be angry only if she offered a deal and it was rejected, are you saying that unionists would have been happy for Thatcher to do a deal with the IRA as long as it was accepted

  • what’s your point

    fin said

    “But why would the IRA have rejected a deal which apparently granted 4 out of the 5 demands and had been verbably accepted by the prisoners, and would have been in the public domain.”

    I don’t think it is being claimed that the IRA rejected this but rather Adams and his think tank and it is only they who can answer this question. Adams refused requests from the Irish News as did two other key players which is an indictment on them which seems to demolish the Sinn Fein narrative even more.

  • fin

    Anon, I asked why the deal wasn’t in writing and you post a link to a HMG doc saying the IRA couldn’t see the deal in writing, so no it doesn’t help.

  • fin

    ok, whats your point, quoting me a tad out of context their, I had asked the question and I’ll ask it again because no-one seems to be able to answer it, why was the deal not put into writing.

    Rusty has given explanations for anything and everything (as have others) but the obvious thing the needs answering is, if there was a definate offer, why wasn’t it in writing

    Also why not offer it to the prisoners and release it to the press and ignore SF.

    Fitzgerald claims to have known about the offer why didn’t the Irish govt step in, why didn’t the Irish govts mole in the H-Blocks take messages to the prisoners.

    OK we’ve had a load of focus on SF, so lets look at the part that others played

  • Dixie Elliott

    To Rory Carr and the others I pose this question…

    Why do all those supporting Adams keep pushing the lie that the Brits reneged on an offer during the first Hunger Strike? They know it’s a lie it has been documented that there was nothing in the piece of paper which the Dark hadn’t yet seen when he called off that Hunger strike to save Sean McKenna’s life.

    Father Meagher had just handed it to Adams when he got word that the Hunger Strike was over. So how can they renege on a deal not yet completed?

    In fact the part in that document concerning clothes, the most important of the Five Demands was nothing more than…

    “The prisoners would have to wear ‘prison-issue clothing’ during week-days, when they were engaged in prison work.”

    McGuinness advised people to read Ten Men Dead, well if you do so you’ll find it on page 44. It can also be found in Denis O’Hearn’s book, pages 295-302.
    When Bobby got to see the document he said to Father Meagher, “It wasn’t what we wanted.”

    And why would Bobby Sands be writing out a comm on the night that the Hunger Strike ended saying he would be starting another Hunger Strike on January 1st if there was an offer on the table? Don’t take my word on that, Jim Gibney said he seen that comm in a speech in March 2004, Bobby’s 50th birthday.

    Why do they continue to peddle this lie?

  • Sean

    Brendan Duddy(mountain climber) who Martin McQuinness describes as an “honourable man” is on public record as saying the offer which he gave McQuinness effectively conceded four of the five demands.

    You see that word “effectively” in the quote above? You could drive a Mack truck sideways through that loop hole and not touch either side

  • Dixie Elliott

    Also why not offer it to the prisoners and release it to the press and ignore SF.
    Posted by fin

    Because the Brits wanted the Hunger Strike ended before they made any deal public.

    From the documents….

    7 July

    FOI Document 1: “Extract from a letter dated 8 July 1981 from 10 Downing Street to the Northern Ireland Office”

    “Your Secretary of State said that the message which the Prime Minister had approved the previous evening had been communicated to the PIRA. Their response indicated that they did not regard it as satisfactory and that they wanted a good deal more.”
    “That appeared to mark the end of the development, and we had made this clear to the PIRA during the afternoon.”

    FOI Document 1: “This had produced a very rapid reaction which suggested that it was not the content of the message which they had objected to but only its tone.”

    FOI Document 1: “The question now for decision was whether we should respond on our side. He had concluded that we should communicate with the PIRA over night a draft statement enlarging upon the substance of the previous evening but in no way whatever departing from its substance. If the PIRA accepted the draft statement and ordered the hunger strikers to end their protest the statement would be issued immediately. If they did not, this statement would not be put out but instead an alternative statement reiterating the Government’s position as he had set it out in his statement of 30 June and responding to the discussions with the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace would be issued. If there was any leak about the process of communication with the PIRA, his office would deny it.”

    FOI Document 2: “Extract from a Telegram from the Northern Ireland Office to the Cabinet Office”

    PLEASE PASS FOLLOWING TO MR WOODFIELD
    MIPT contains the text of a statement which SOSNI proposes to authorise should be released to the hunger-strikers/prisoners and publicly. The statement contains, except on clothing, nothing of substance which has not been said publicly, and the point on clothing was made privately to the provos on 5 July. The purpose of the statement is simply to give precise clarification to formulae which already exist. It also takes count of advice given to us over the last 12 hours on the kind of language which (while not a variance with any of our previous public statements) might make the statement acceptable to the provos.
    The statement has now been read and we await provo reactions (we would be willing to allow them a sight of the document just before it is given to the prisoners and released to the press). It has been made clear (as the draft itself states) that it is not a basis for negotiation.”

    FOI Document 1: “The meeting then considered the revised draft statement which was to be communicated to the PIRA. A number of amendments were made, primarily with a view to removing any suggestion at all the Government was in a negotiation. A copy of the agreed version of the statement is attached.”

    “The Prime Minister, summing up the discussion, said that the statement should now be communicated to the PIRA as your Secretary of State proposed. If it did not produce a response leading to the end of the hunger strike, Mr Atkins should issue at once a statement reaffirming the Government’s existing position as he had set out on 30 June.”

    10pm Comm to Brownie from Bik:

    “…I don’t know if you’ve thought on this line, but I have been thinking that if we don’t pull this off and Joe dies then the RA are going to come under some bad stick from all quarters. Everyone is crying the place down that a settlement is there and those Commission chappies are convinced that they have breached Brit principles. Anyway we’ll sit tight and see what comes…”

    From Ten Men Dead…

    On July 5th Bik told Adams that the ICJP had offered to act as guarantors over any settlement.

    On July 6th Adams sent for the ICJP.
    Fr Crilly and Hugh Logue went to a safe house where Adams told them about the
    contact with the Mountain Climber and what the government had been offering and
    suggested they withdraw because the authorities were using the ICJP as an intelligence
    feed. The two members of ICJP were stunned by the disclosure they returned to
    the Greenan Lodge to tell their colleagues and it was decided to confront Allison the
    NIO minister…

    He was asking possible Guarantors over any deal to withdraw…Why?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Martin McGuinness Irish News…

    ‘Out of the five demands the only thing the British were offering to the hunger strikers after four men had died was that they could wear ordinary clothes, “provided these clothes were approved by the prison authorities.”

    The prisoners would have to do prison work or else they would be ‘punished by loss of remission, or some similar penalty’.

    4th July

    The prisoners said they were not looking for any special privileges as against other prisoners, and that the British government could meet their requirements without any sacrifice of principle.

    Statement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

    1. In the light of discussions which Mr Michael Alison has had recently with the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace, during which a statement was issued on 4 July on behalf of the protesting prisoners in the Maze Prison, HMG have come to the following conclusions.

    2. When the hunger strike and the protest is brought to an end (and not before), the Government will:

    I. extend to all male prisoners in Northern Ireland the clothing regime at present available to female prisoners in Armagh Prison (i.e. subject to the prison governor’s approval);

    II. make available to all prisoners in Northern Ireland the allowance of letters, parcels and visits at present available to conforming prisoners;

    III. allow the restoration of forfeited remission at the discretion of the responsible disciplinary authority, as indicated in my statement of 30 June, which hitherto has meant the restoration of up to one-fifth of remission lost subject to a satisfactory period of good behaviour;

    IV. ensure that a substantial part of the work will consist of domestic tasks inside and outside the wings necessary for servicing of the prison (such as cleaning and in the laundries and kitchens), constructive work, e.g. on building projects or making toys for charitable bodies, and study for Open University or other courses. The prison authorities will be responsible for supervision. The aim of the authorities will be that prisoners should do the kinds of work for which they are suited, but this will not always be possible and the authorities will retain responsibility for decisions about allocation.

    3. Little advance is possible on association. It will be permitted within each wing, under supervision of the prison staff.

    4. Protesting prisoners have been segregated from the rest. Other prisoners are not segregated by religious or any other affiliation. If there were no protest the only reason for segregating some prisoners from others would be the judgment of the prison authorities, not the prisoners, that this was the best way to avoid trouble between groups.

    5. This statement is not a negotiating position. But it is further evidence of the Government’s desire to maintain and where possible to improve a humanitarian regime in the prisons. The Government earnestly hopes that the hunger strikers and the other protesters will cease their protest.

  • what’s the point

    fin said:

    “ok, whats your point, quoting me a tad out of context their, I had asked the question and I’ll ask it again because no-one seems to be able to answer it, why was the deal not put into writing.”

    I didn’t quote you out of context at all. I ommitted the question posed regarding unionists as I’ve no idea what a unionist would think on that. You are now pushing the point about the offer in writing, is that the offer that Bic said didn’t exist or the one that Danny said contained no concrete proposals or the one that Duddy, the trusted interlocutor/honourable man said contained four of the five demands and authenticated the FOI document which was the proposed public statement Atkins was to release if Adams agreed to end the strike.

    The focus is not on Sinn Fein but rather on Adams and his think tank who by-passes the army council and SF leadership who were also kept in the dark which is obvious from O’Bradaigh’s statement. It was they who rejected the prison IRA’s acceptance of the offer so why shouldn’t the focus be on them as they are the only people who can answer why.

  • dunreavynomore

    !”The focus is not on Sinn Fein but rather on Adams and his think tank who by-passes the army council and SF leadership who were also kept in the dark which is obvious from O’Bradaigh’s statement. It was they who rejected the prison IRA’s acceptance of the offer so why shouldn’t the focus be on them as they are the only people who can answer why.”

    Well said. I wish it were different but wishing doesn’t make it so. We cannot build good on rottenness, we must never place our trust in liars.

  • what’s the point

    “Aye…Sion isn’t too far from Strabane…where Willie and his INLA / IRSP bhoys have a bit of a reputation for tiger kidnappings, not only local but also way down south, if my memory serves me right…..

    Posted by Archie P on Sep 30, 2009 @ 03:54 PM”

    If my memory serves me right Gerry and his bhoys allegedly have a reputation for disappearing people and Martin has a reputation, allegedly, for volunteering unwilling civilians as proxy bombers but what’s the point of any of this in the context of the hunger strike controversy unless to detract or deflect from the real issues on this subject.

  • fin

    whats the point, lets keep it simple, why wasn’t any offer put down on paper, the storyline seems to be that Adams was the gatekeeper, the offer could have gone directly to the prisoners via the HMG, Irish Gov, the ICJP, the Catholic Church etc.

    Anyone of these organisations could have had more access to the prisoners than Adams and SF reps.

    Thatcher could have stuck it in a letter to the prisoners with a 1st class stamp on it.

    This whole arguement revolves around a deal/offer verbably made through several people.

    Is it possible that in a parallel universe the verbal offer was accepted and when the statement was released what was on paper fell short leaving Adams and the prisoners looking like bigger idiots that the first time round, and that there are angry people smashing out posts on slugger proclaiming Adams as a criminal for accepting an offer from Thatcher without seeing it in writing.

    Are we really talking about the same 1981, the same Ireland, the same Thatcher that I remember, or have i slipped into yet another parallel universe and in this world Thatcher is hailed a greater statesperson than Gandhi and Mandela combined and has pipped Princess Diana and Churchill as the nations favourite and is in the same batch as Mother Theresa for promotion to Sainthood. Because in my universe Thatcher was a ruthless individual that had no qualms about crawling over corpses in the Falklands or NI to achieve her own goals of dishing out cash to the lucky few, by disenfrancsing her own poor and throwing a generation on the scraphead.

  • what’s the point

    fin,
    how can such complexity be kept simple? Duddy claims he put down the offer on paper and read over it again to confirm accuracy with his foreign office contact. There is further documentation which the Brits refused to release so we don’t know, yet, what we’ll see on paper. Thatcher dealt with Adams via Duddy as whatever agreement Gerry accepted was coming from the horse’s mouth therefore sending a first class letter to Bic would be meaningless. The Brits didn’t want to deal with second rate actors.

    I have yet to read anything from O’Rawe and co that they viewed Thatcher as some sort of compassionate Ghandi/Mandella type statesperson. Gerry himself, in Before the Dawn, said that Thatcher was no stranger to expediency and that’s exactly where Thatcher was coming from-expediency. I believe O’Rawe et al would support your last sentence describing her as a ruthless individual and go even further by describing her as a murderer. You are being disingenous, to say the least, to claim otherwise.

    Perhaps, if and when, other documentation is released by the Brits then maybe Gerry will release the mountain climber communications they have secretly buried and we can then all come to final conclusions as to what really happened-perhaps that would keep it all simple!

  • fin

    whats the point, you’ve not convinced me that Adams was the only route to the prisoners, the storyline seems to be it was such a good offer, if only the prisoners had been told they would have taken it, sorry thats pants as I’ve said before Thatcher as well as a direct route had several other routes to present the offer to the prisoners, not least via the media.

    You seem to imply that because Duddy wrote down what he was told that that would in anyway be different from a verbal offer, its not its a verbal offer,

    regarding Thatchers nature, Rusty etal appear to scratch their heads and tweak history to imply there was no reason not to trust Thatcher, in a recent post Rusty has blamed the ‘backward’ 1980’s with terrible communication services for the lack of paperwork, also that the prisoners called of the first hungerstrike because they made a silly mistake about what was on offer.

  • what’s the point

    fin,

    I didn’t say Adams was the only route to the prisoners. What I am implying is that Adams was viewed by the Brits as the boss and an agreement from him on the offer copper-fastened the proposed offer/resolution-even more so than the ICJP reps or through a direct route to the prisoners. The IRA prisoners viewed themselves as an army who came under the supreme authority of the army council. Adams, rightly or wrongly, was viewed by both prisoners and the brits as the main voice of that supreme authority. Therefore the Brits would be getting it from the horse’s mouth-the buck stopped with Adams who we all know had the power. Who ended the strike on the 3rd of October? How does that not make sense to you?

    ”If only the prisoners were told they would have taken it.”

    But they(Bic and O’Rawe the jail IRA leadership but not the strikers) were told fin, that’s what is at the heart of this controversy and that the offer was accepted by them but were over-ruled the following day by Adams. This has been vehemently disputed by the think tank albeit with full of irreconciable contradictions-such as claims of no offers whatsover, no concrete proposals and no conversation, accepting the offer, ever took place between O’Rawe and Bic. O’Rawe has supplied witnesses to this acceptance conversation having taken place with prisoners claiming they overheard this. Furthermore there is the matter of the secret tape-recording of two primary sources saying the same about both the offer and acceptance of it as well as the rejection.

    I didn’t imply that Duddy wrote down the offer-he said it himself at the Gas Yard in Derry which I listened to on a video recording of the event. Duddy was a trusted interlocutor(and in Martin’s words an honorable man)by both sides and the very nature of such secret back-channels requires honesty and trust-otherwise why would they exist. This particular back-channel was in existence since the early 70s, was used out of the public glare, was denialable and used for clarification and resolution of whatever.

    I suspect there is more paper-work to come which I hope will bring a resolution to this sad controversy.

  • Brian MacAodh

    what’s the point

    Do you think Gerry, in fact, turned down an offer the prisoners would have accepted? And, if so, why do you think he did so- was he deliberately sacrificing more hungerstrikers for political gain or was acting more nobly and simply miscalculated?

  • question

    If he was acting nobly why didn’t he accept the deal in the second half of July when it was reoffered.

  • what’s the point

    what’s the point

    “Do you think Gerry, in fact, turned down an offer the prisoners would have accepted?  And, if so, why do you think he did so- was he deliberately sacrificing more hungerstrikers for political gain or was acting more nobly and simply miscalculated?

    Posted by Brian MacAodh on Oct 01, 2009 @ 05:17 PM”

    The claim is in fact that Gerry overturned an offer that Bic and Richard accepted and not a case if turning down one they would have accepted. Why? I have no idea but I’d like to think he miscalculated. But only Gerry and the think tank can answer that one. The irreconcilable contradictiions in Sinn Fein’s shifting narrative since O’Rawe first made the claims has fueled all sorts of speculation/rumour and innuendo such as sacraficing hunger strikers for electoral purposes-which is something I can’t get my head around and would prefer to think miscalculating being more comfortable to deal with. However Sinn Fein, or rather the think tank, have only themselves to blame for this rampant speculation and suspicion. If it was a case of miscalculation Adams would have been better off saying so when O’Rawe first made the claims rather than his spokesmen telling lies and covering up those lies with more lies. A simple “yes, Richard is telling the truth but A, B and C happened making the offer/deal collapse.” That would have nipped the controversy in the bud. No mortal sin miscalculating under the pressure and circumstances of that period. On the otherhand if Adams’s motives were indeed more sinister and electoral purposes featured in the decision making then it’s no surprise attempting to cover it up.