1981 Hunger Strike: Chain of Command

Lots of ground to cover today, with a lot of detail. In today’s Irish News, former hunger striker Bernard Fox says the matter should be laid to rest out of respect for the families, while Richard O’Rawe and Tony O’Hara seek answers.

This post jumps off a quote referenced in one of today’s articles, and expands the background.Richard O’Rawe’s article references a quote from Nor Meekly Serve My Time. This book, first published in 1994 and reissued in 2006 for the 25th anniversary of the hunger strike, was complied by Brian Campbell, and edited by Campbell, Laurence McKeown and Felim O’Hagan. It’s an oral history of the H-Block Struggle as told by the prisoners and as such is a valuable historical resource. For those interested in the current hunger strike issue, it contains some nuggets which put the current and shifting Morrison narrative under further pressure. Where it is a real problem, in that context, is that these are the words of people like McFarlane and McKeown; their earlier record contradicts the line being claimed today, and supports the alternative narrative. The two can’t both be right – either they were lying then or they are lying now. What is worse, from the perspective of those defending the contemporary Morrison narrative, is that the book itself can be seen as evidence of collusion in the cover-up by what it has left out. In this regard, the book is a no-win for that position – but the historical record stands.

The business starts on page 198-199 (2006 ed.) with Bik McFarlane describing the background to the ICJP involvement around the 4th of July. The key quote from that section:

“Speculation began to mount in the media and rose to fever pitch when the ICJP was granted permission to visit the hunger strikers. Expectations among our people outside were high – surely this was a clear sign that the pressure had finally forced the British to open negotiations and implement a solution?”

On the next page (200) McFarlane explains the chain of command surrounding negotiations:

“It was Saturday 4 July when the delegation arrived at the prison hospital to speak with the hunger strikers. The Brits stipulated that I could not be present, so the first meeting took place while I remained in my cell. I was pretty annoyed at being excluded because we had already agreed amongst ourselves that negotiations about a settlement would not take place without me being there to represent the views of all the POWs. In fact, our original position, as established by Bobby Sands, that negotiations would only take place in the presence of three advisors (Gerry Adams, Danny Morrison and myself), had not been dispensed with. However, some of the hunger strikers felt that, since they weren’t actually negotiating a settlement, but only hearing what the ICJP had to say, then to possibly jeopardise the meeting by insisting on my presence would, in their opinion, have been foolhardy. But we had allowed a wedge to be driven in which would be difficult to remove. The hunger strikers did inform the delegation that, in the event of a settlement being negotiated or agreed upon, I would have to be consulted, and they urged the ICJP to seek a meeting with me as soon as possible. ”

Contrast this with his statement to Brian Rowan, 4 June, 2009, about meeting with the hunger strikers after they had met with Danny Morrison:

“We went through it step by step,” he said. “The hunger strikers themselves said: OK the Brits are prepared to do business — possibly, but what is detailed, or what has been outlined here isn’t enough to conclude the hunger strike.

“And they said to me, what do I think?

“And I said I concur with your analysis — fair enough — but you need to make your minds up,” he continued.”

What was McFarlane’s role, and how much power did the hunger strikers themselves actually have? Was he merely a ‘consultant’ or was he the one issuing orders? As O/C, he most certainly would have had to have been consulted. But what was the flow of information? How much information did the hunger strikers have about what was being done in their name? Clearly, it was McFarlane who was in charge, not the hunger strikers, and what we see in the tension between these two accounts is the shifting of the onus of responsibility by McFarlane from himself onto the hunger strikers.


Given that the hunger strikers were never fully informed, and were – in McFarlane’s own words – unable to negotiate on their own behalf, the idea that they and they alone were calling the shots is a nonsense. That is how it should have gone: the O/C would inform the prisoners of the details of negotiations and consult with them, and would be speaking for the prisoners; those representing the Army on the outside would have as their duty to inform the O/C of all that was being said and to be doing as the prisoners wished. Any negotiations and offers from the British, such as what came via the Mountain Climber, would also have to be made known to the Army.

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh is explaining this when he says the Army Council was unaware of any offer coming from the British. Ó Brádaigh’s comments in the Irish News very clearly follow along traditional Army lines.

First and foremost, the Army Council could not order prisoners onto hunger strike. Once a prisoner or prisoners made the decision to go on hunger strike, the prisoners themselves were to be in control – it was they who were to make the decisions about any settlements. However, while the Army Council could not order a prisoner onto hunger strike, if it would help the prisoners they could order them off it (this is what Father Faul wanted Adams to do when he visited the hunger strikers at the end of July).

Standard structure meant that the O/C inside the prison was empowered to negotiate with the prison governor or screws. However, if negotiations were conducted at the level of the British government, that was to be handled by the Army Council on the outside. The A/C representative was to keep the prisoners informed of the negotiations, including any offers being made, so that the prisoners could decide what they were going to do. In this aspect the Army Council’s role would best be seen as a facilitator, not a dictator. They were to keep the prisoners fully informed of negotiations being conducted on their behalf, and to take instructions from the prisoners.

In addition to this, the IRA constitution had its own mandate the Council had to follow; no business could be conducted without a quorum of 4; any settlement or offer the British made, the full Council had to be made aware of, as well as the fact that the British were in direct talks with Army representatives.

What Ó Brádaigh is making very clear is that this was not the case. What was being done by Adams, McGuinness, Morrison and the others was not sanctioned by the Council; the Council did not know. Just like the prisoners, they were told nothing.

There was no quorum as mandated by the IRA constitution; what was being done was being done outside Army structures. The prisoners weren’t in control of their hunger strike, the flow of information was not happening as it should have done. Those representing the Army on the outside were not following the wishes of the prisoners as expressed by the O/C, but rather the other way around. The O/C was dictating to the prisoners what those on the outside were ordering him. Those on the outside were running rogue and not keeping their Army colleagues abreast of their negotiations with the British – nor of their plans to radically change political strategy, of which this hunger strike was a major part of implementing.

This back-to-front order is reinforced in a comm from McFarlane to Adams. He is speaking of the events of the 5th of July; Morrison had been in to see the hunger strikers in the morning and then met with McFarlane; the ICJP came in that evening and spent four hours with the hunger strikers before meeting with McFarlane after midnight:

“Meeting terminated about midnight and Bishop O’Mahoney and J. Connolly paid me a short visit just to let me know the crack. Since then I haven’t been to see anyone except Lorny and Mick Devine on the way back to the block this morning. Requests to see hunger strikers and O/Cs have not been answered at all…I’m instructing Lorny to tell hunger strikers (if they are called together) not to talk to anyone till they get their hands on me. OK?”

The same comm very explicitly describes how he discussed the ICJP offer with the hunger strikers – not the Mountain Climber one – and the line he instructed them to take.

On page 205, Laurence McKeown describes Danny Morrison’s visit to the hunger strikers:

“Danny told us the history of their contact with the ICJP and also mentioned other contacts with the British Foreign Office (none of the communication between the Republican Movement and the British government at this time has ever been admitted to by the latter). We outlined our position to him and told him we had heard nothing so far to make us believe there was resolution to the stailc in sight. The ICJP would, however, be returning that evening. We split up and Danny went to see Bik who hadn’t been allowed to be present with us during out meeting. I was happy with what had taken place. It seemed there was movement. Why else would the NIO agree to Danny’s visit with Bik and us? I felt we were in a strong position.”

The hunger strikers were told nothing, none of the details of the offer from the Mountain Climber – merely that contact had been made. The only indication of any sort of movement that the hunger strikers had was Morrison’s presence. They were told nothing.

This also shows the chain of command in action; Morrison only told the hunger strikers that there was contact; he told McFarlane the details of the offer.

McFarlane elaborates, on page 208:

“While they [the ICJP] were hopping back and forth between Stormont and the Kesh in supposed negotiations with Alison, the British government had secretly opened a link to the IRA and begun negotiations to attempt to resolve the issue. My first knowledge of this came when I had been summoned to the prison hospital that Sunday morning only to be confronted by Danny Morrison. I was completely flabbergasted at seeing him there; my mind was racing through all sorts of computations. It transpired that the Brits had agreed to allow him into the Kesh to consult with us and to explain the nature of the contact which had been established. There was definitely an air of optimism gripping me, but I was urged to be cautious, as it was possible that nothing would emerge to satisfy our demands.”

McFarlane, 4 June, 2009 interview with Rowan:

“Something was going down,” McFarlane said.

“And I said to Richard (O’Rawe) this is amazing, this is a huge opportunity and I feel there’s a potential here (in the Mountain Climber process) to end this.”

On page 210, McFarlane again:

“Back in the block, I waited for news that would end the nightmare, but the comms I received from the Army Council showed the Brits still hadn’t gone beyond the position we had agreed and had reaffirmed on Sunday in the hospital. Then on Wednesday we received the heartbreaking news that Joe had died early that morning. It was more than tragic because I had been holding out hope that this was the chance we had longed for.”

Richard O’Rawe, Blanketmen, page 184:

“Bik and I were shattered. The possibility that the Council might reject the proposals had never entered into our calculations. We were convinced that we had achieved a great victory and that the republican movement could present the deal as a momentous triumph; now it appeared that our analysis and optimism had been both flawed and premature.”

10pm comm from McFarlane to Adams:

“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…”


Thatcher continued her pursuit of Adams’ acceptance of her offer throughout July; between the 18th and 19th, during the ‘frank statement’ exchanges, she sent him a draft of a speech she was to give in Canada that would have announced the end of the hunger strike. From Adams’ biography Before the Dawn, page 303:

“During our contact in the course of the hunger strike, her government representatives approached us in advance of a world leaders’ conference in Canada at which she was due to speak on 21 July. “The Prime Minister,” they said, “would like to announce at the conference that the hunger strike has ended.” They outlined the support we had and the support we didn’t have, and then went on to tell us, “This is what the Prime Minister is prepared to say.” They fed us a draft of the speech that Thatcher was going to deliver in Toronto, and there was no doubt that they were prepared to take amendments to her text from us if it had been possible to come to some sort of resolution at that time.”

In an interview in Canada on the 21st, Thatcher was sending a very clear message to Adams when responding to a question about where things would go next:

“I just hope that those people on hunger strike will come off it. It is futile. It can do them no good at all. It is for them or for the people who are influencing them to go on hunger strike. It is for them to get off. It is they who are causing the deaths of these people.”

McFarlane’s 22 July comm to Adams discussing this is very stark (Ten Men Dead, 329-330):

“Comrade Mor, I got your comm today. Quite a revelation I must say. I lay on my bed for a couple of hours, trying to weigh up everything. Almost dashed out of my cell once or twice. I even toyed with the idea that their ‘very frank statement’ was a master-stroke linked to a super brink tactic. It was then that I wised up and started looking to the future (immediate and distant) and began moving to a positive line.

Firstly I’d like to say I believe you have done a terrific job in handling this situation and if we can take the opposition’s ‘frank statement’ as 100% (which it does appear to be) then in itself it is quite some feat, i.e., extraordinary such an admission from them. Then again I suppose it is something we have all known already (or at least suspected).

Anyway, to be going on, I fully agree with the two options you outlined. It is either a settlement or it isn’t. No room for half measures and meaningless cosmetic exercises. Better be straight about it and just come out and say sin e – no more!!

Now, to maintain position and forge ahead, it looks like a costly venture indeed. However, after careful consideration of the overall situation I believe it would be wrong to capitulate. We took a decision and committed ourselves to hunger strike action. Our losses have been heavy – that I realize only too well. Yet I feel the part we have played in forwarding the liberation struggle has been great. Terrific gains have been made and the Brits are losing by the day. The sacrifice called for is the ultimate and men have made it heroically. Many others are, I believe, committed to hunger strike action to achieve a final settlement. I realize the stakes are very high – the Brits also know what capitulation means for them. Hence their entrenched position. Anyway, the way I see it is that we are fighting a war and by choice we have placed ourselves in the front line.

I still feel we should maintain this position and fight on in current fashion. It is we who are on top of the situation and we who are the stronger. Therefore we maintain. In the immediate this means that Doc and Kevin will forfeit their lives and as you say the others on hunger strike could well follow. I feel we must continue until we achieve a settlement, or until circumstances force us into a position where no choice would be left but to capitulate.

I don’t believe the latter would arise. I do feel we can break the Brits. But again, as you say, what is the price to be? Well, Cara, I think it’s a matter of setting our sights firmly on target and shooting straight ahead. It’s rough, brutal, ruthless and a lot of other things as well, but we are fighting a war and we must accept that front-line troops are more susceptible to casualities than anyone. We will just have to steel ourselves to bear the worst. I hope and pray we are right.”

At this point, Adams was rejecting the Thatcher offer because “Association during leisure hours was not enough and in addition they would need specific assurances as to what they would be allowed to receive in parcels”. (Ten Men Dead, page 325) The offer from Thatcher contained 4 of the 5 demands and she was also promising to remove the prison governor, Stanley Hilditch, who was replaced when the hunger strike dwindled to an end in October (McFarlane met with the new prison governor, Willy Kerr, on 21th October).


All of this is to preface Adams’ meeting with the hunger strikers on 29 July. We are meant to believe, according to the current Morrison narrative, that the hunger strikers were fully informed at all points about all details and were the ones who were calling the shots. Yet the evidence clearly contradicts this, both in terms of the information the hunger strikers were privy to, and what the chain of command in effect was. The hunger strikers were told next to nothing; they were certainly never given the full details of the Thatcher offers. Any information they were given about what Thatcher was offering was shaded in terms of what line the hunger strikers were to take. When the prison leadership was briefed on the early July Mountain Climber offer, they accepted it, and they were over-ruled by Adams and his committee. McFarlane was at great pains to keep everyone in line, and on the conveyor belt of self-sacrifice, beyond the point where they had broken the Brits and had won the demands they were striking for.

Laurence McKeown describes the meeting with Adams in Nor Meekly Serve My Time. Key quotes:

“One evening during lock-up the AG came to tell us that Gerry Adams, Owen Carron, and Seamus Ruddy would be coming to visit us in about one hour’s time. It was something out of the blue. There had been no talk about it nor had any of us requested such a meeting. I had been lying in bed but now I got up to pace the floor – an old habit of mine formed during the Blanket. I thought this must be a positive sign. If Gerry Adams and Owen Carron were coming, it must mean some approach had been made to them by the Brits.” (page 234)

“Those of us who did meet – Pat Beag, Big Tom, Paddy, Red Mick, Matt and myself – were in good form, curious about what was happening and speculating on what could be behind it all. The fact that Seamus Ruddy, an IRSP spokesperson, was also coming with Adams and Carron added to the speculation that a possible deal had been worked out with all involved. ” (234-235)

“Gerry said that, when asked, he readily agreed to visit us and give us an appraisal of the situation and how he saw our position in relation to the possibility of the Brits conceding our demands. It was a grim picture. There were no ifs or buts. Really he was spelling out for us what we in a sense knew but didn’t like to think through. The Brits had already allowed six men to die and they would likely allow more to die. Certainly there was no movement to indicate that they desired a speedy resolution to the protest.” (235)

Did Adams not tell the hunger strikers of the offer being made only a few days before? Didn’t the hunger strikers know about the ‘frank exchange’ that had taken place only a week before? Didn’t they know what had gone on with the Mountain Climber offer? McKeown writes as if they knew nothing of any of this going into the meeting, and what is worse, as he tells it, they were not told of any of it during the meeting with Adams.

McKeown goes on, describing Adams’ brief visit with Kieran Doherty:

“Gerry explained the reason for their visit just as he had done with us. Doc was told that what it would mean for him if he continued on hunger strike was that he would be dead within a few days. Doc said he was very much aware of that, but if our demands were not granted, then that is what would happen. He knew what he was doing and what he believed in. On their way out of his cell Doc’s parents met and spoke with Gerry, Bik and the others. They asked what the situation was and Gerry said he had just told all the stailceoiri, including Kieran, that there was no deal on the table from the Brits, no movement of any sort and if the stalic continued, Doc would most likely be dead within a few days. They just listened and nodded, more or less resigned to the fact that they would be watching their son die any day now.” (236)

Adams lied.


The July offer from Thatcher:

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.

Regarding the IRA Army Council’s role
Excerpted from Anthony McIntyre’s interview with Richard O’Rawe (May 16, 2006)

Q: There are many memorable pages in your book. It is a moving account of how naked men for years defied a vicious and brutalising prison management working for the British government to brand the mark of the criminal on republicanism. But the real point of controversy is your assertion that the Army Council stopped a deal being reached that would have delivered to the prisoners the substance of the five demands. Army Council people of the time seem to dispute this. Ruairi O’Bradaigh, for example, is on record as saying that the council did no such thing although he does state that your claims must be explored further. It seems clear that he suspects you are right in what you say but wrong in whose door you lay the blame at. What have you to say to this?

A: At the time we had no reason to believe we were dealing with any body other than the Army Council of the IRA. What reason was there to think otherwise?

Q: And not a sub-committee specifically tasked with running the hunger strike?

A: Whether they called it a sub-committee or not, we were of the view that everything went to the Army Council. Nobody led us to believe any different. Did you think any different?

Q: At the time, no.

A: We all felt it was the Council. Brownie was representing the Council and he wrote the comms. Why would we think we were dealing with anything less than the Council when he was the man communicating with us?

Q: You might not wish to say it but for the purpose of the reader – and this has been publicly documented in copious quantities – Brownie is Gerry Adams, who was a member of the Army Council and the IRA adjutant general during the hunger strike.

A: I have nothing to add to that.

Q: But do you still hold to the view, despite the protests from O’Bradaigh, that the Council actually prevented a satisfactory outcome being reached?

A: No, I do not. Army Council was the general term I used to describe the decision makers on the outside handling the hunger strike. I was not privy to Army Council deliberations. But I believed they were the only people who had the authority to manage the hunger strike from the outside. So it seemed safe then to presume that when we received a comm from Brownie it was from the Army Council as a collective.

Q: But what has happened to lead you to change your mind and accept that the Council may have been by-passed on this matter by Gerry Adams?

A: I have since found out that people on the Army Council at the time have, after my book came out, rejected my thesis and refused to accept that the Council had directed the prisoners to refuse the offer.

Q: Bypassing the Council as a means to shafting it and ultimately getting his own way would seem to be a trait of Gerry Adams. Do you believe then that the bulk of the Council did not approve blocking an end to the hunger strike before Joe McDonnell died?

A: Absolutely. The sub committee managed and monitored the hunger strike. Given that comms were coming in two and three times a day it is simply not possible to believe that the Council could have been kept informed of all the developments. Could the Council even have met regularly during that turbulent period?

Q: Could they not be covering for their own role?

A: I have not spoken to any of the council of the day. But those that have claim that they appeared genuinely shocked that my book should implicate them. And they do allow for the possibility that the wool was pulled over their eyes by the sub-committee handling the strike.

Q: So what do you think did happen?

A: As I said in my book, Adams was at the top of the pyramid. He sent the comms in. He read the comms that came out. He talked to the Mountain Climber. As I said earlier, we know that he, and possibly the clique around him, decided to reject the second offer, at least, without telling Bik what was in it. Nobody knows the hunger strike like Adams knows it. And yet he is maintaining the silence of the mouse, the odd squeak from him when confronted.

Here’s what he said in relation to the Mountain Climber in the RTE Hunger strikes documentary,

‘There had been a contact which the British had activated. It became known as the Mountain Climber. Basically, I didn’t learn this until after the hunger strike ended.’

He didn’t learn what? About the contact and the offers, or the Mountain Climber euphemism? If he’s saying he didn’t know about the offers, then why did he show the offer to the Father Crilly and Hugh Logue in Andersonstown on 6 July 1981? And if he’s saying he didn’t know of the Mountain Climber euphemism, I’d refer your readers to Bik’s comm to Adams on pages 301-302, Ten Men Dead, where Bik tells Brownie, who is Adams, that Morrison had told the hunger strikers about the Mountain Climber: ‘Pennies has already informed them of “Mountain Climber” angle’ So he knew about the Mountain Climber euphemism, and he knew of the offers. As a defensive strategy, this lurking in the shadows, this proceeding through ambiguity, can only work for so long. At some point academics and investigative journalists are going to ask the searching questions and Gerry Adams is not going to be up to them.

Q: Are you now suggesting that Adams may have withheld crucial details from the Army Council?

A: I don’t know the procedural detail of the relationship between Adams and the Army Council. What I do know is that my account of events is absolutely spot on. You said yourself on RTE on Tuesday that there was independent verification of the conversation between myself and Bik McFarlane.

Q: Indeed. I think you realise there is a bit more than that. As you know I have enormous time for Bik. It goes back to the days before the blanket. But I can only state what I uncovered. I am not saying that it is conclusive. These things can always be contested. But it certainly shades the debate your way. If Morrison and Gibney continue to mislead people that there is no evidence supporting your claim from that wing on H3 I can always allow prominent journalists and academics to access what is there and arrive at whatever conclusions they feel appropriate. That should settle matters and cause a few red faces to boot. We know how devious and unscrupulous these people have been in their handling of this. They simply did not reckon on what would fall the way of the Blanket. Nor did I for that matter. A blunder on their part.

A: If the Army Council say they received no comm from us accepting the deal, and also say that they sent in no word telling us effectively to refuse the deal, then I think the only plausible explanation is that those who sent in the ‘instruction’ to reject the Mountain Climber’s offer were doing so without the knowledge or approval of the Army Council.

Q: When you say ‘those’ you presumably mean Adams and Liam Og who was also sending in comms coming to the prison leadership?

A: Yes.

Q: Liam Og has been identified by Denis O’Hearn, author of the biography of Bobby Sands, as Tom Hartley. It appears that Hartley was privy to every comm between the leadership and the prisoners.

A: That would be the case.

Q: How can we be sure that Adams rather than Liam Og was responsible for withholding information from the Army Council?

A: Because, while we might not know the procedural detail, Adams had a relationship with the Army Council that was vastly different from Liam Og. You point out that this is well recorded in public.

Q: If you absolve the Army Council of the day, as a collective, of responsibility for sabotaging a conclusion to the hunger strike that would have saved the lives of six men, who do you hold responsible?

A: Maggie Thatcher had the responsibility for bringing this all to an end.

Q: But given that she made an offer, which would have brought it to an end, and which was sabotaged, who then on the republican side, if not the Council, was responsible?

A: You are trying to tie me down.

Q: I should not have to. You should be telling us directly if as you say you believe in our right to know.

A: Let’s put it like this. The iron lady was not so steely at the end. She wanted a way out. The Army Council, I now believe, as a collective were kept in the dark about developments. The sub-committee ran the hunger strike. Draw your own conclusions from the facts.

Comprehensive archive site on the events of the Hunger Strike: July 1981

Earlier on Slugger:

An Phoblacht Apologises for Lying About The Irish News

Update to Adams & The Irish News

1981 Hunger Strike: Adams and the Irish News

1981 Hunger Stike: Feint and Retreat

1981 Hunger Strike: Continued Coverage

1981 Hunger Strike: Deconstructing McGuinness

1981 Hunger Strike: A Case to Answer

  • IRIA

    Who is “Rusty Nail”?

  • J Kelly

    don’t ask dixie knows who it os so he/she is sound.

  • Rory Carr

    I have just finished reading Francis Wheen’s excellent book on the 1970’s, that decade marked more than anything else perhaps by conspiracy, conspiracy theories and paranoia and there was a passage therein that instantly made me think of Rusty Nail who insists that everything must fit, or be made to fit, his/her crazed vision of how it must have been or if cannot be so manipulated it must be dismissed or branded dishonest. Thus this recent long (oh so long) winded attempt to destroy the import of Rúairí O’Brádaigh’s firm dismissal of any notion that any hunger strikers were deliberately sabotaged for political gain by Gerry Adams. O’Brádaigh’s statement is all the more compelling when we recall that he has no reason to rush to the defence of Adams whatsoever. Adams after all is the man who defeated him for the presidency of Sinn Féin and who took the Provisional republican movement along a path that was (and remains) anathema to O’Brádaigh. But clearly O’Brádaigh is an honourable man and historical truth means more to him that taking an opportunity to harm his most bitter rival.

    All of which is most inconvenient for our conspiracy theorist, Rusty Nail, hence this long-winded ramble above in an attempt to obscure and diminish the full import of Ó’Brádaigh’s statement which stands in total refutation of Rusty Nail’s paranoid fable.

    Anyway, here is the passage from Wheen in which I am sure you will be able to identify Rusty peeking out:

    A belief in conspiracy as the motive force of history can give you nightmares, but by detecting a grand design in the most random events and thus creating some kind of order from chaos it also offers a solace that some find in religion: the belief that you have penetrated veils of mystification to locate the unseen power governing your fate, even if it’s malevolent…

    Another of paranoia’s beguiling charms is that it puts you at the centre of the story, whether as the victim of the shadowy schemers or as the person who forces them into the spotlight; it’s a solipsistic pathology, bestowing a sense of grandiosity and self-importance, and…in which disenchanted ex-radicals abandoned the quest for political transformation and settled for peronal transformation instead.

    Must admit, Rusty, that, quite unwittingly, Wheen has got you to a ‘t’ there.

  • Dave

    “What Ó Brádaigh is making very clear is that this was not the case. What was being done by Adams, McGuinness, Morrison and the others was not sanctioned by the Council; the Council did not know. Just like the prisoners, they were told nothing.”

    Bernard Fox allegedly resigned from PIRA’s Army Council because Adams and McGuinness acted as “a council within a council.” If that is true, then it shows that Adams and McGuinness are capable of circumventing the chain of command, and that they did to the Army Council in 2005 what they did to it in 24 years earlier.

    [i]A veteran IRA member has resigned from the Army Council, accusing the Sinn Féin leadership of “undemocratically” controlling the organisation, according to republican sources.

    Former H-Block hunger-striker, Bernard Fox complained that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, who left the Army Council last year, were effectively running it from behind-the-scenes, the sources said.

    Fox could not be contacted for comment. Sources told the Sunday Tribune he had a “blazing row” with McGuinness before he resigned. Fox, 55, joined the IRA at 18 and is extremely popular with grassroots.

    However, Adams and McGuinness continued to exercise power on the Army Council despite their formal departure. One republican said Fox had protested strongly about “a council within a council.” [/i]

    As Margaret Thatcher stated in her memoirs “the minority should be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the state in wich they live.” They have now been led to do that.

  • Dixie Elliott

    And you J Kelly are a troll with nothing constructive to say and dare say the others will be out before long.
    However I’ll let you get on with playing blind man’s bluff if it keeps you happy.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Bernard Fox in his Irish News interview said;

    “I wasn’t in the hospital at that time and I don’t know what the men were told or not told but I do know there was no deal.”

    Here we have a man who spent 32 days on Hunger Strike unwittingly or not telling us that he was told nothing, but he knows there was no deal. With the greatest respect to Bernard, how did he know that if he was told nothing?

    Surely Bik or someone should have briefed him on the approaches from the Brits via the Mountain Climber, yet like the others as has been pointed out by the words of former Hunger Striker Laurence McKeown he was told nothing. Neither was the AC of the IRA nor SF as was pointed out by O’Bradaigh despite what others might have us believe.

    O’Bradaigh might have been referring to SF or the AC when he made the statement that they wouldn’t have been used for political gain, but he most certainly did not refer to Gerry Adams and his ‘Kitchen Cabinet’.

  • Katayusha

    Rory Carr is ignoring the Ruarí Ó Brádaigh clarification letter and clinging desperately to the Alison Morris article like a fraying lifeline. Evidently Morris had an agenda whenever RÓB found it necessary to set the historical record straight, prior to the publication of her article.

    Your diversionary post above consists of little more than an attack on the author of the OP without any honest or intelligent effort to deal with the issues raised.

    You appear to be little more than a shrieking propagandist attempting to misdirect attention from the crumbling facade.

  • granni trixie

    Carr has a touching faith in O’Brady (whatever.. )as “an honourable man” for whom “historical truth means more to him..”. I cannot subscribe to values which mean in effect that he would rather people went on being killed and killing than that the conflict ended its physical force tradition.

    re Bernard Fox. I remember during the HS that his father was our local lollypop man, much loved….but there was much unsympathetic talk and suspicions as to Bernard Fox’s motivation when he joined in the tail end of the HS.

  • granni trixie

    Carr has a touching faith in O’Brady (whatever.. )as “an honourable man” for whom “historical truth means more to him..”. I cannot subscribe to values which mean in effect that he would rather people went on being killed and killing than that the conflict ended its physical force tradition.

    re Bernard Fox. I remember during the HS that his father was our local lollypop man, much loved….but there was much unsympathetic talk and suspicions as to Bernard Fox’s motivation when he joined in the tail end of the HS.

  • joeCanuck

    everything must fit, or be made to fit,

    Rory, that is a salient feature of all conspiracy theories. Evidence or “facts” that show that the said theory is incorrect are incorporated into the theory to prove that the theory is correct since these “inconvenient truths” have obviously been invented by the conspiracists to hide their culpability. The conspiracy theory cannot be disproved.
    Rusty says that “..either they were lying then or they are lying now..”. This ignores evidence that I wrote about previously that each time we remember an event it gets changed and is remembered differently during storage in the brain. They may be telling the “truth” as they remember it each time.
    Katayusha, your outburst would seem to hang you from your own petard.

  • John O’Connell

    The hunger strikers were told nothing, none of the details of the offer from the Mountain Climber – merely that contact had been made. The only indication of any sort of movement that the hunger strikers had was Morrison’s presence. They were told nothing.

    This latest post is a pretty damning indictment of the command structures that governed the hunger strikers.

    Clearly Adams is at fault here for calling the shots and telling the hunger strikers nothing.

    Clearly a secret that may never come out is that Adams was calling the shots from the beginning of the hunger strike and not just in relation to British offers.

    If Adams was instrumental in putting Bobby Sands, for example, on hunger strike and was the effective commander of the protest, then suspicion falls on him that he had a good think about the effects of a hunger strike during the first strike ended at Christmas 1980, and also knowing his history about Terrence McSwiney’s popularity after dying, and come to a crafty conclusion that it was a good idea for the struggle (ie his political ambitions).

    Am I being sufficiently naive about the political republicans or should I just arrive at the conclusion that, if you are in control of a protest, you have time to think where it will take you and if you know that where you want it to take you is down the road to popularity, then you should just let the men die? As many as possible?

    I have to state the obvious in noting that a man with political ambitions for himself and for the republican movement should not be in charge of a hunger strike. Absolutely not.

    A republican movement with political eyes on the seats of SDLP politicians should not itself be engaging in a hunger strike. The fact that they did shows terrible leadership, but does it show evil intent?

    Personally, having watched how the IRA sucked young people into it and how it used them and in the process trivialised human life, leaving around 15,000 young people to serve 120,000 years in prison, I believe there was evil intent.

    I believe that life was cheap and that that included even their friends whenever it came to the crunch. Ten men were sacrificed for political gain.

    Rusty, you may now have the proof that six men died for no reason but I think that you know that the search must be widened for answers to find if there is anyone out there with honesty left in Sinn Fein who will admit that the instigator behind the hungerstrike was Gerry Antichrist Adams.

  • John O’Connell

    I have to state the obvious in noting that a man with political ambitions for himself and for the republican movement should not be in charge of a hunger strike. Absolutely not.

    Perhaps herein we may find a reason for Ruairi O Bradaigh’s statement to the Irish News – a guilt complex that he left the hunger strikers in the “care” of Gerry Adams.

  • paddy

    other members of the kitchen cabinit at the time no less than the boul scap aka stakeknife n denis the menace donalson the whole thing was riddled with informers not abit of wonder the brits sat back laughing

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Rusty Nail, in your continuing attempts to rid yourself of some unknown ghost you are intent on blackening Adams and co. Whatever he did to you or yours, it is most objectionable for you to use the hunger strike, the hunger strikers and now their families to get rid of your personal demons. Find another stick to beat him, if you must. Take a look at the motley crew you have supporting you and be truly ashamed.

  • enumeratorjoe

    John O’Connell
    Break it down:
    John O’ = 6
    Connel = 6
    l is the 12th letter of the alphabet. Since we already have 2 sixes, we have to divide 12 by 2.
    12 / 2 =6

    Therefore John O’Connell = 666

    Anyone such named is therefore a potential antichrist.

    Let’s examine further:
    Londonderry JohnO’C:
    London = 6 (characters)
    Derry , =6 (characters – assigning a space as a character)
    JohnO’C =6
    Londonderry JohnO’C = 666
    Ergo. I think I have unequivocally demonstrated that a putative person such as Londonderry John O’C is the true antichrist. Such a person would undoubtedly try to hide his evil character by slyly pointing the finger at an innocent person.
    Conspiracy theory? – you decide.


  • Pancho’s Horse

    The early Church father Irenaeus knew several occurrences of the 616-variant but regarded them as a scribal error and affirmed that the number 666 stood “in all the most approved and ancient copies” and is attested by “those men who saw John face to face”.[16]

    Red arrow points to χιϛʹ (616) in P115 deciphered in May 2005.In May 2005, it was reported that scholars at Oxford University using advanced imaging techniques[17] had been able to read previously illegible portions of the earliest known record of the Book of Revelation (a 1,700 year old papyrus), from the Oxyrhynchus site, Papyrus 115 or P115, dating one century after Irenaeus. The fragment gives the Number of the Beast as 616 (chi, iota, stigma), rather than the majority text 666 (chi, xi, stigma).[1] The other early witness Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C) has it written in full: hexakosiai deka hex (lit. six hundred sixteen).[18]

    Significantly, P115 aligns with Codex Alexandrinus (A) and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C) which are generally regarded as providing the best testimony to Revelation. Thus, P115 has superior testimony to that of P47 which aligns with Codex Sinaiticus and together form the second-best witness to the Book of Revelation. This has led some scholars to conclude that 616 is the original number of the beast.[19][20]

    Dr. Paul Lewes in his book, A Key to Christian Origins (1932) wrote:

    “The figure 616 is given in one of the two best manuscripts, C (Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, Paris), by the Latin version of Tyconius (DCXVI, ed. Souter in the Journal of Theology, SE, April 1913), and by an ancient Armenian version (ed. Conybaere, 1907). Irenaeus knew about it [the 616 reading], but did not adopt it (Haer. v.30,3), Jerome adopted it (De Monogramm., ed. Dom G Morin in the Rev. Benedictine, 1903). It is probably original. The number 666 has been substituted for 616 either by analogy with 888, the [Greek] number of Jesus (Deissmann), or because it is a triangular number, the sum of the first 36 numbers (1+2+3+4+5+6…+36 = 666)”.[21]

    Nice try, enumeratorjoe, but Con has led you astray too as he has many others. Beware false prophets and manic stoops.

  • Henry Joy

    Pancho’s pantomime horse, who is in the front end of the animal (Gerry ?) and the back (Danny ?) ?
    If there is nothing to hide or conceal then let’s have an open televised/broadcast-on-radio multi-hour, multi-day debate(two debates of three hours each with fixed speaking times and fixed times for Q and A); all this to be moderated by two people from each community who are not-for-turning and who have moral and intellectual cred. I nominate The Rt. Rev. Dr. John Dunlop, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Professor Bernard Cullen, Professor of Philosophy at Queen’s University. Both care enough about their own integrity and academic and other standings to tell-it-like-it-is. No SF-organised conference will have any cred. How about it ? Are you up for that kind of independent, open-covenants-openly-arrived-at, kind of forum ? If not, why not ? Let Gerry Adams and Danny Morrison face their critics –and of course vice versa. Could be like the US-style or Irish or British televised debates before elections. If the “official” SF narrative is the truth then there is nothing to fear about a public discussion.
    BTW, I don’t care who Rusty Nail is. If he or she wants to come to the debate then it should be under their own name obviously and that is up to them. I have no axe to grind there. Don’t know them, never corresponded with him/her/it.
    Over to you…..

  • enumeratorjoe

    No problem, horsy pal.
    John O’ = 6
    C = 1
    onnell = 6

    Ergo, John O’Connell = 616

    Forgive my mistake.


  • Pancho’s Horse

    Henry Joy, why?

  • Dec

    e Bernard Fox. I remember during the HS that his father was our local lollypop man, much loved….but there was much unsympathetic talk and suspicions as to Bernard Fox’s motivation when he joined in the tail end of the HS.

    Only 32 days without food – what a fucking lightweight.

  • igor

    Isn’t it inconsistent to demand that the queries around the Hunger Strike be ‘laid to rest’ out of respect to the families but that the facts around all the other murders must be laid open, bared and those who caused the deaths held to account?

  • Dixie Elliott

    As I thought someone just opened the gate and they came tumbling in like deranged sheep bleating the usual nonsense that passes for debate.
    But if you are short of an argument then why not just make personal attacks instead, there’s not too many that can defend Adams without the use of a verbal hurley-bat.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Rory Carr…

    In light of what Laurence McKeown wrote in Nor Meekly Serve my Time about Adams’s visit, do you now accept that Adams hid the MC offer from the hunger strikers and from Mr and Mrs Doherty? Yes or no?

  • Dave

    Pancho’s Horse, you’ve obviously been studying the Lisbon referendum propaganda where the complex issues contained in the treaty were ignored in favour of a beauty contest between those who were for and against. Brainwashed folks duly proclaimed that they were going to vote Yes because they didn’t like those who were voting No. Oddly enough, very few on the No side made that risible declaration (probably because Yes-Muppets had all the poets and pop stars). Here the search for truth and the issues are deemed to be irrelevant, and the only thing folks should be concerned about is the (dysfunctional, agena-laden, annonymous) personalities of those advocating inquiry.

  • Sean

    A debate is an arguement on opinion

    Show us some facts on either side or status quo it is

  • John O’Connell

    Panchosc horse

    Don’t be so prickly about manic Stoops.

    I believe that Gerry Adams is the Antichrist because of the coincidence that his name comes out at 666 on my numeric alphabet (see previous post), a numeric alphabet that I discovered during my years at St Columb’s College in Derry and further investigated during my years at University College Galway. 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).

    These are extraordinary coincidences and not to dismissed by any means by any intelligent observer of matters theological.

    The apostle Paul wrote: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22). Adam therefore symbolises death, and thus the question must be asked, is there significance to the ‘Adam’ in Gerry Adams’ name? Does Gerry Adams, the effective leader of the IRA’s republican movement, symbolise death?

    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.

    “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

    Gerry Adams fulfilled another prophecy during the run-up to the 2007 Assembly election campaign in the North of Ireland. This involved him requesting the use of Clonard Monastery (Roman Catholic) church in West Belfast for a political meeting discussing his party’s policy. He still believed that armed struggle was a legitimate means of resolving differences.

    When Gerry Adams took to the altar of Clonard monastery while his beliefs were in conflict with Christ’s teaching, he was proclaiming himself to be wiser than God and better than Jesus Christ. He was in logic proclaiming himself to be God.

    “[The man of lawlessness or the Antichrist] will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thes 2:3-4)

  • John O’Connell

    By the way, Gerry and his admiring fans, the reason that the Irish News is taking a big interest in this is because the Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbanus, the Jesuits and so on, all believe that the Sinn Fein leader is the Antichrist.

    Reads my previous post and take cogniscance of the fact that they all have this information too. It is only a matter of time before Gerry is undermined.

    The IN today, Spotlight tomorrow.

  • enumeratorjoe

    So sorry, John.
    I have already proven, beyond any shadow of doubt, that you are “IT”.

  • paddy

    this oul story about the hunger strikes will rumble on i drink in pubs on the falls rd n dont care 1 way or the other but o rawes right if u say the wrong thing ule most likely get a community beating not a bit of wonder hed to wait 20 odd yrs to tell his story at the end of the day it was all for fxxx all

  • John O’Connell


    Of course, I’m it. I’m the one and only.

  • John O’Connell

    It’s a big source of embarrassment for the Catholic Church to have a communicant with a shadow cast over him, a shadow that brings all the Church into disrepute.

    I recall writing to Cardinal Brady and sending him my book about Gerry et al – Love is the Answer, The SDLP, Christianity and the Northern Ireland Conflict – and getting a letter from a priest there telling me that they were dealing with this very seriously and for me to take a back seat and let them get on with it.

    But things could be so different if Gerry wasn’t at the helm.

  • Henry Joy

    Pancho’s horse, your reply to my comment is “Henry Joy, why?” That’s your response, three words ?
    This is a discussion threat, no ?
    So can you please do me and the rest of us the courtesy of saying either 1, you are open to the kind of truly independent, non-SF-organised debate/forum, preferably broadcast/webcast and fairly moderated with agreed rules and regs that I suggested, or 2, detail the specific reasons why you are not ?
    As for your claim that the families of the deceased hunger strikers don’t want this debate, on what evidence is your claim based ? How many families are against it or for it ? Is there a survey you can cite or a petition they have signed ? Show and tell.
    Over to you.

  • enumeratorjoe

    John, the Catholic church is extremely fortunate to have you as a key advisor. Is your influence confined to N.I. or does the Vatican depend on your advice also?
    By the way, since you are so keyed in, can you give us your view on the high level paedophiliac conspiracy connected to your beloved church.

  • John O’Connell


    I think it’s fair to say that I have influence at the Vatican too.

    I think it’s also fair to say that the Vatican was trying to live up to my standards by turfing out ther paedophiles.

    But all this should not be allowed to undermine the argument that the Christian God was greatly offended by the actions of Gerry Adams in the past, and is waiting for him to resume those actions as he is prophesied to do, in order to punish him in accordance with the prophecies.

    There is no God of armed struggle, or the tactical use of human suffering, as might be expected. It is a completely man-made philosophy as I indicate above. So Adams is simply subject to the Christian analysis, like so many others, including Ian Paisley and the British.

    I wouldn’t like to be him – them.

  • John O’Connell

    By the way, I implore those of you who can understand to understand that there is so much hate in this society that it is impossible for me to ignore it. It would simply be regarded as divine justice for civil war to occur and with the Northern people behaving as they are in backing the DUP and Sinn Fein, they would be considered to be contracting for it in the sense of asking for it by their actions.

    And, of course, I made the initial prophecy many years ago that great violence in the North would lead to Britain and the USA getting involved in attacking each other. That can only remain the final goal of God.

    And with those Jesuits all around, who knows what might happen?

  • fin

    A public inquiry would be great. But would never happen. There are 3 parties involved, the Irish Govt who claim to have known what was going on and who have a legal obligation to protect the welbeing of Irish citizens which the hungerstrikers were (also art. 2&3) HMG who also have responsibilities to people in their prisons, and off course the IRA/INLA.

    There were 2 hungerstrikes over approx a 12 month period, HMG have released a few pages I’d say less than 1% of the paperwork involving the important stuff.

    My prediction is the Irish Govt would say ‘actually we knew very little, don’t involve us’ and HMG would slap ‘D’ notices over everything.

    Its a shame because a number of questions need answering, why no written offer? and why deal only with Adams?

    Because it all comes down to those 2 questions in Rustys take on things.

    Apart from a few sentences from Fitzgerald and a few sheets of paper from HMG this entire excercise has gone in circles around the hungerstrikers and Adams.

    It needs to expand outwards to cover what was happening before the ‘verbal offer’

    For example, if you knew nothing about european history and happened to open a history book and read that WWI (14,000,000 dead) was caused because a Duke was shot in Eastern Europe, or WWII was caused because Germany invaded Poland you would rightly think europeans were lunatics.

    Because the gist I get from this post is that over a period of a couple of weeks 2-3 individuals suddenly saw an opportunity to take SF political and than devised a strategy for SF within a few weeks, and amazingly, everything worked according to plan.

    My problem with theories like this, is that they are the same as those math based greyhound and horse racing systems where when you look at historical results that the number four horse/dog at a certain track wins 25% of the time so just stick your money on it! but the’re rubbish, because its just making something fit into history.

    Can some of the experts give me an idea how Adams came to the conclusion to us the hungerstrikes for political gain. As SF and the IRA are renown for playing the long game, the reasons can’t have been a little bit of success caused by a very emotive issue, there has to have been a lot more planning involved than that and there should be historical evidence of it going forward from the hungerstrike.

    I also like the experts take on why Adams did not see the huge victory (if Rusty is right) to be had by calling off the hungerstrike and having HMG basically surrender in public, an event which may well have destroyed unionism,

    Because if you’re going the political route, why try for sympathy votes (dead hungerstrikers) when you could go for power votes (we made Thatcher give in)

  • Rory Carr

    Dixie Elliott,

    The answer to your query is a resounding, “No!”. I do not accept any interpretation or conclusion placed by you or the anonymous “Rusty Nail” on a conversation to which neither he/she nor you were privvy.

    “It must have been thus because I want it to have been”, is not an argument that I find very convincing but it continues to be the style of this hysterical torrent of verbiage, innuendo, imagined scenarios from which the wildest of conclusions are then drawn and not forgetting the most subjective abuse of those whom you have targeted with your venom.

    The conclusion I draw is that this is a thread increasingly infected more by the psychological than the political. It is a phenomenon that has constantly been observed over the years among marginalised and rejected malcontents desperately trying to find some coherent reason for their rejection. In the absence of their ability to accept the obvious – that no one cares to listen to their nonsense – they must construct a world where those who surpassed them by winning political popularity only did so by some deeply flawed and wicked process and if only the world will see and understand how terribly unfair this all was then their time may yet come.

    At the back of all this I hear the incessant whinge of one who cries, “It’s so unfair. I’m smarter than McGuinness and Adams. I have a degree for Christ’s sake and I had my own blog for a time which was ever so literate. Why don’t the people love ME? Why do they get on TV all the time? I’m better looking ffs! Why am I ignored so? Why? Why? Why?”.

  • Sean


    Your postings are almost lyrical, counter point to the mystical I suppose

  • Sean

    Mystical = mythical

  • Squig

    “A republican movement with political eyes on the seats of SDLP politicians”

    Reckon that Con O’Jonnell hit the metaphorical nail on the head as to the driving force behind his meglomaniacal delusional rants.

    What do those sour grapes taste like Con?

    “The Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbanus, the Jesuits and so on, all believe that the Sinn Fein leader is the Antichrist”

    FFS referee!!

  • fin

    Doesn’t the Catholic Church emcompass the Knights of Columbanus, the Jesuits and the ‘so on’

    Is this why the Pope wants to come to NI, for a epic battle with Adams the Anti-Christ, or to discuss things with John

  • John O’Connell

    15.“A republican movement with political eyes on the seats of SDLP politicians”

    Reckon that Con O’Jonnell hit the metaphorical nail on the head as to the driving force behind his meglomaniacal delusional rants.

    Getting desperate, are we?

    I was there at that time and I am merely stating the truth when I suggest that Gerry Adams had his eyes on the SDLP position for a long time before the hunger strikes. Are we to believe that republicans are so stupid that they did not know that Gerry would use his position as commander of the hunger strikers to get the result he needed, many deaths?

    Or are we being realistic when we suggest that Gerry Adams was doing what many republicans expected him to do and giving them a leg up from virtual anonymity as politicians in order that they challenge the SDLP.

    The deliberate naivety of some republicans on this thread is beyond belief. Of course Gerry Adams sacrificed the hunger strikers for political gain. That is unquestionable. Rusty has sealed the deal in relation to six of the Hunger strikers, but Adams feels no guilt as he treated them exactly as he treated all ten. They were pawns and he played them in order to win against the only party Sinn Fein has ever managed to beat (temporarily), the SDLP.

    Why should he feel guilty about that?

    But if I was him, I would worry about the Irish News’ interest as it signals that the big boys have got fed up with him and they’re using minor indiscretions like the starving of his ten friends to death to get at him.

    That is a signal that the end is nigh for Gerry.

  • John O’Connell


    Is this why the Pope wants to come to NI, for a epic battle with Adams the Anti-Christ, or to discuss things with John

    To give you an honest answer, I think we all realise that it is inopportune for the Pope to come to any part of Ireland at the moment, so you may be partly correct in your flippant retort.

  • fin

    John, why is it a bad time for the Pope to visit?

    Hope you’re not going to say child abuse, because he’s a lot less tainted by that than a previous FM (Kincora) and no-one seem to mind him in charge, let alone just paying a visit

    is it cos he is Roman Catholic then?

  • John O’Connell


    I’m just suggesting that it is not a good time to come and yet he is thinking seriously about it.

    Has he got ulterior motives? Yes, I think so. I think the Church has and that Gerry Adams and the possible related trouble ahead may be at the centre of this. To understand this, you have to think like a cleric at a very key point in the history of humanity for him.

  • fin

    you’re scaring me now John is ‘the end nigh’

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Henry Joy, sorry for the delay in answer but some of us have to sleep and work etc. When you study the Bloody Sunday inquiry you can see at least three views. Firstly, the foreigners gloat that they got the better of the uppitty Paddies. Secondly, the colonists gloat that a number of terrorists/potential terrorists/uppitty Tadhgs got what was coming to them no smoke without fire, what? and thirdly the ingdigenes who know that the foreigners murdered defenceless citizens. £200 million inquiry later we have a result – no change of opinion by anybody. Move on to an ‘inquiry’ about the Hunger strikes. Much screaming ‘foul’. The bloody corpses being trailed around the field. Dirty linen go leor and NO CHANGE OF OPINION. That’s why I ask -hat’s the point? Over to you!

  • Pancho’s Horse

    gabh mo leithscéal – indigenes – and ‘what’s the point’ (as in what’s the point of Con O’Jonnell?)

  • Dixie Elliott

    Rory Carr…

    You should watch your blood pressure, it was Laurny McKeown, not myself nor Rusty, who was the witness who recorded that Adams looked Big Doc in the eyes as he lay dying and told him there was no movement at all from the Brits. It was Adams’s fellow Kitchen Cabinet member, Martin McGuinness, who said he had given him the MC offer on 5 July 1981. Did Adams not lie to Big Doc and the other hunger strikers? Did he not lie to Mr and Mrs Doherty?

    Oh and by the way Rory it was not I who was rejected, I walked away from PSF a long time ago and I’m sure had I stayed I could have at least been a councillor judging by the credentials of some of those who pass themselves off as such. However I have my self respect and never became a Republican to carry on the work of the SDLP.

  • What’s the point

    Rory Carr said:

    “The answer to your query is a resounding, “No!”. I do not accept any interpretation or conclusion placed by you or the anonymous “Rusty Nail” on a conversation to which neither he/she nor you were privvy.”

    What interpretation or conclusion would you put on Laurence’s own words Rory?

  • paddy

    dixies making out these people r some sort of heros im from the falls n dont rate them at all y didnt they take over a block n kill all the three by2s as for the laughter of our childer a joke they only laugh wen there smoking grass he supported these people

  • Henry Joy

    Pancho’s horse, you are raising a ridiculous comparison re. the Bloody Sunday inquiry/farce. I recommended a two evening radio/web/tv moderated programme with fixed time slots for speakers and questioners. Just like a US presidential debate or PM/Taoiseach debate or any other short-time model. NOT another long-drawn out mess like Saville.
    That is the question I posed and which you are avoiding answering. I specifically made no mention of the Saville model because I think it has been a disaster. Are you saying a well moderated debate with agreed rules etc isn’t worthwhile ? What is there to be afraid of ? Let Adams and Morrison put their case and let the public judge. SF is not being open about this matter; the story changes over time. Let the sun shine in on the dark places and if there are no dark places then so bit it. SF will then be proven right. But SF resisting this in such a Stalinist/my-road-or-the-high road is intellectually and morally bankrupt and very telling. Again, what is there to be afraid of ? Back to you.

  • Rory Carr

    “What interpretation or conclusion would you put on Laurence’s own words Rory?” asks someone with a silly name. The answer is that I would take from them what was actually said – that Adams advised Doherty that no acceptable offer was immediately forthcoming and warned him and his parents in the gravest of terms the grim consequences of continuing his strike – almost certain death.

    What I do not do is sit up night after night poring over old memoirs and ‘comms’ and reports of interviews desperately attempting to find any few words, however implausible and however they were not so intended to fit so that they might be construed to support a thesis I had long before drawn and from which I would not be shaken regardless of any evidence to support it. In this way I take care to retain my mental health.

    Nor do I construe in my own mind an imaginary live television broadcast so that I can then accuse my opponents of being afraid of confronting the truth when they fail to appear on it. I could as well ask Henry Joy the trickster lawyer’s favourite question, “When did you stop beating your wife?”.

  • What’s the point

    Rory(not so silly name)Carr

    I’m not so sure about the retention of your mental health if your recent posts are anything to go by. It seems, my friend, that you have lost the plot in your quest to defend the indefensible. Where did you dig up”no acceptable offer was immediately fortcoming…” I suspect it would take me to sit up night after night, year after year, to find those words you have attributed to Laurence. It was Danny’s job, according to Duddy-the honourable man-to deliver the offer on the 5th July and explain the detail of that. Your presence was the ONLY thing that Laurence could detect in regards to possible movement. He didn’t express Bik’s euphoria as documented in his last(everchanging)public postion when he said “this is amazing.”

    I’ll leave you with Laurence’s words againas it seems you never even read them:

    McKeown goes on, describing Adams’ brief visit with Kieran Doherty:
    “Gerry explained the reason for their visit just as he had done with us. Doc was told that what it would mean for him if he continued on hunger strike was that he would be dead within a few days. Doc said he was very much aware of that, but if our demands were not granted, then that is what would happen. He knew what he was doing and what he believed in. On their way out of his cell Doc’s parents met and spoke with Gerry, Bik and the others. They asked what the situation was and Gerry said he had just told all the stailceoiri, including Kieran, that there was no deal on the table from the Brits, NO MOVEMEMT OF ANY SORT and if the stalic continued, Doc would most likely be dead within a few days. They just listened and nodded, more or less resigned to the fact that they would be watching their son die any day now.” (236)

    What part of NO MOVEMENT OF ANY SORT don’t you get, my friend?

  • What’s the point

    “Firstly I’d like to say I believe you have done a terrific job in handling this situation and if we can take the opposition’s ‘frank statement’ as 100% (which it does appear to be) then in itself it is quite some feat, i.e., extraordinary such an admission from them. Then again I suppose it is something we have all known already (or at least suspected).”

    Perhaps, Rory, Gerry just forgot to mention the ‘frank statement’ as well as ‘quite some feat’ and the ‘extraordinary’ admission that Bic is refering to above. Does all that equal NO MOVEMENT OF ANY SORT? Quite extaordinary would you not say? Time to throw the hands up Dan and tell all of us what really happened and why.

  • John O’Connell

    There’s something very sinister about the lack of acceptance of pro-Sinn Fein posters that Gerry Adams was calling the shots and that if so he was in effect like the child in the proverbial sweetie shop, rubbing his hands with glee as each hunger striker died.

    I don’t say this lightly. The SDLP had played its part in taunting Adams and SF for all the 1970s about not having a mandate and not having any support, and that is without question the context for the hunger strikes. They were designed to get support and a mandate, and putting Adams at the helm, or at least letting him muscle his way in there, was an indication that men had to die for Adams’ political power.

    It was either a big mistake to have Adams and Morrison with their political ambitions in there negotiating or it was a sign that the Republican Movement deliberately sacrificed these men for political influence and power.

    I take the view that republicans were not so niave to leave a fox in charge of the chickens.

  • thereyouarenow

    The hunger strikers were yesterdays heroes/dupes/martyrs/fools depending on your point of view.
    While a compelling chapter in the situation it is still a chapter from the past. I find it interesting that it gets so many comments as it actually relevent mostly in that it was the vehicle that brought Sinn Féin into electoral politics.
    I do not wish to down play the hunger strike but to me the bringing in of Sinn Féin to electoral politics is by far its greatest legacy.
    I may be wrong about that but that is my opinion.

  • Rory Carr

    No, Thereyouarenow, you are not wrong, Sinn Féin’s entry into electoral politics and its increasing political maturity and strength since then has indeed been the lasting legacy of the hunger strikes. The nationalist population were galvanised and united around the hunger strikers and progressive leaders within Sinn Féin correctly saw how that unity could be forged into a weapon that would prove more effective than the armed struggle itself.

    It is this very strength – the unity of the nationalist population that this nasty little conspiracy is seeking to undermine. That is its whole purpose – to demoralise, confuse and divide in order that those rejected souls on the fringes of republicanism can once again appear as bigger fish in a smaller bowl. But, never fear, small fry they are and small fry they shall remain.

  • What’s the point


    are you avoiding those points I raised with just another silly attack on those who are questioning your narrative.

    I’m even lower than the small fish you refer to and I’m really a nobody except perhaps to my immediate family but I’m still entitled to have an opinion and to ask questions. Would you not agree? Not all of us are egotistically insecure even with the dream of an Ireland of All Equals. What’s the point of you constantly attempting to bring this debate down your bankrupt cul-de-sac with neverending personal attacks on the messengers in the hope that the message will get lost? It’s not really working out for you ‘Rory.’

  • John O’Connell


    It is this very strength – the unity of the nationalist population that this nasty little conspiracy is seeking to undermine.

    Nonsense. This “conspiracy” is about proving that the current Nationalist unity is based on the Adams centred delusion that is objectively good, that it is based on self sacrifice. It has clearly been proven to be based on the evil of betrayal.

    I can assure you that unity based on evil will go nowhere and that is why the moral weakness at the heart of Sinn Fein is taking us nowhere. It’s like fighting the Nazis with your own concentration camps. You’d be fighting on an empty stomach in moral terms.

  • Frank

    Some conspiracy theories today guys. Sounds like somebody dislikes his Mister Big status being challenged and now has to lash out at all and sundry. Trying to wreck the nationalist strength! That sounds just as illuminating as there would be no decommissioning by the year 3000. Now the author of that statement must be in with a chance of wininng the idiot of the conflict award. That is probably the only thing everyone on this thread can agree with.

  • Issac Ball

    All the lies and deceit surrounding a deal or offer or whatever. What happened during this time changed this wee sick country forever. So what the leadership lied ? It was a game of brinkmanship played with the hungerstrikers own lives. They choose this method of fighting back and only when you find yourself in that position can you judge the morality of it.They volunteered to fight for justice. Their family became the ‘republican family’. The questions will remain like in all wars, was it worth it ? I have a right to the truth too and I am starting to believe that lies were told as part of the tactics used at that time. There was more than just the remaining hungerstrikers who died. Never mind the countless shattered lives and wasted years for many of us believing in war for wars sake. In all of the fighting and in all wars it had a goal,we were never going to get all that we wanted. Look at all the republican socialists now running the former ghettos, plundering the peace funds to line their own pockets. Now we are going to get a re-run with the INLA finally agreeing to fully participate in the peace junket. Lets see how rustynail polishes up on this great debate. How many more truth commissions do we need ? I suppose money spent on debate is better than any other alternative. Maybe its time to dump all the outdated dogma and channel your energies into living for Ireland.