“What kind of eejits do [these] people take us for?”

As Liam Clarke points out in the Belfast Telegraph, despite Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ toxic denials and occasional press conferences, Brendan Hughes’ account of Adams’ role in the Provisional IRA is corroborated by others. From the Belfast Telegraph article

All IRA veterans – not to mention police and Army members who have spoken on the issue – tell a story which is totally consistent with Hughes’ account, even if it does not overlap on every detail.

Pete ‘The Para’ McMullan, an IRA man who had served in the British Army, appeared on a Granada TV World in Action documentary in 1983 to describe Adams’ role in the IRA in much the same terms as Hughes. “Gerry Adams’ first major job was as OC of the Second Battalion, Belfast Brigade. It was one of the biggest and busiest battalions within the Brigade,” McMullan told the journalist John Ware.

“Anything at all that goes on within the Battalion area, discipline, shooting, bombing, robberies, it doesn’t matter what it is, he is ultimately responsible,” McMullan said, describing Adams as likeable and well-respected. During that 1971-72 period, three policemen, 19 soldiers and 27 civilians were killed by the Second Battalion.


Adams was later promoted and McMullan described attending a Belfast Brigade operations meeting with him at which the Bloody Friday attacks were planned. “I remember Gerry saying he was also concerned about the routes to and from the bombing because those were the things that were most important . . . He was one of the ones who actually thought up the economic bombings.”

Gerry ‘Whitey’ Bradley, an IRA man from Unity flats, whose biography was published earlier this year, also links Adams to the Bloody Friday attacks.

Then we have the testimony of Sean O’Callaghan – a Garda informant in the IRA’s Southern Command – that he attended IRA planning meetings with Adams and that Pat Doherty was, as Hughes also claims, head of intelligence.

Dolours Price, who bombed the Old Bailey, describes Adams as her OC at the time and the man who was also in charge when she drove people who, like Jean McConville, were about to be murdered and secretly buried, on their last journey. Richard O’Rawe, spokesman for IRA prisoners in the Maze, tells the same story as Hughes when it comes to the prison protests.

These witnesses to Adams’ IRA activity do not share a common agenda; in some cases they hate each other. In fact, no one who admits to being in the IRA in the 1970s and 1980s remembers Adams not being a member.

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  • Henry94

    “What kind of eejits do people take us for?”<?i>

    Incorrigible floggers of a dead horse? What an unimpressive list of protagonists. Dissidents spies and stickies. They may well hate each other but not as much as they hate Adams. Bringing him down is the key to all their agendas.

    I just can’t see the voters of West Belfast falling for it and those people within Sinn Fein who may see the leadership as something to consider will be unwilling to raise it in this atmosphere.

  • Seosamh913


    Which of those categories do Gerry Bradley and Richard O’Rawe fall into ?

    Why do their critiques based on their own experiences necessarily constitute an agenda regarding his political downfall – wouldn’t it be fairer to admit that this is simply projection in at least some cases ?

    Would you accept that in at least some cases it is possible to object in an honourable fashion to the notion (indeed presumption) that one is simply expected as a matter of course to collude in falsehood, even if to do so upsets an applecart for the ‘greater good’ ?

    Incidentally I am not sure that we should necessarily assume that the outcomes of individual elections are always the best guide to ethics and to truth in the six counties.

  • martin r

    This is all well and good but in reality we all know and always have where Adams came from and what he used to be.

    The British government gave us no option but to go down a route of appeasement (and jobs) for the trouble makers on both sides if we wanted to lead something approaching a peaceful life.

    The majority have accepted it, none of this will make much difference.

  • Seosamh913

    martin R

    So we should accept the same standard of non-adherence to truth and morality from the state also ?

  • Michaelhenry

    so the second battalion of the belfast brigade killed more soldiers and police in one year than the dissidents have done in 24 years,is this the main reason that dissidents hate the republican leadership.

  • martin r

    The point is that many of us, myself included, have already accepted Adams (and quite a few other) as “the IRA man in government”.

    The Good Friday Agreement gave us the choice of accepting it, or more lives being lost. The other option, that of actually defeating terrorism (which we should probably now label as “the Allister option”) never looked like it would happen.

    None of these so called “revelations” changes any of the above.

  • Henry94


    The question itself is not the issue for me. Raising it over and over is the issue

    Incidentally I am not sure that we should necessarily assume that the outcomes of individual elections are always the best guide to ethics and to truth in the six counties.

    Not ethics but priorities. It is blinding obvious that the vast majority of nationalists are not exercised by the issue of who was in the IRA and who was not. It’s about the future for them and they are right.

    It is the very people who have lost the argument about the future who want to constantly re-argue the past.

    So now we don’t get a devolution of policing thread every day. We get a Gerry Adams was in the IRA thread.

    It does not reflect the interests of voters but the obsession of a tiny minority. If you notice, even the unionists are too bored to discuss it here.

  • IRIA

    I don’t really understand why GA doesn’t just admit to being in the IRA, but on the flip side, I don’t understand the obsession over what we already know.

  • IRIA

    Pete “the Para”:

    New leadership, under Gerry Adams, has regrouped the I.R.A. into smaller cells and tightened screening against informers. It has negotiated alliances with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which supplies arms, money and training, and the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi, which, McMullen says, provides loans, arms and transportation.

    The new leaders and new connections give the I.R.A. enough muscle to risk a long planned series of hits against members of the British royal family. The assassination of Lord Mountbatten last month, says McMullen, was only the first. Future targets include Prince Philip, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne. McMullen predicts bombings of both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, among other royal residences.

    McMullen says he disliked the I.R.A.’s random terrorism and as early as 1974 tried to “resign.” He was soon arrested in Dublin on gun-possession charges and spent 2% years in Portlaoise prison; he suspects the I.R.A. set him up. After getting out of jail in 1977, he returned to New York on his own, but was pressed back into I.R.A. service. He says he was ordered to kidnap Dan Flanagan, who owns the chain of Blarney Stone bars in Manhattan, and hold him for ransom. He told the I.R.A. that he had agreed only to gather intelligence on Flanagan. Then McMullen heard that the I.R.A. planned to send a squad from Belfast to kill him, and he went into hiding.

    How much of McMullen’s story can be believed? Although Blake says he checked whatever he could, TIME sources found some parts of McMullen’s story credible, other portions improbable. New York City police can see no reason why the I.R.A. would want to kidnap Flanagan, an unpolitical type; any ransom it might collect would hardly be worth the danger of provoking a police crackdown. David Blundy, a London Sunday Times writer who interviewed McMullen extensively before Blake did, says McMullen’s accounts of two bombings in Ireland checked out in every detail, but that his stories of his U.S. adventures were a little dubious. U.S. authorities say that whatever may have been the case in 1972, the I.R.A. in the U.S. now limits itself to fund raising.

    Skeptics think McMullen has at the least exaggerated portions of his tale to help peddle an eventual book. But it is indisputable that the British want him extradited for the bombing of a barracks near Liverpool. A San Francisco federal magistrate turned down the request on the ground that the bombing was a “political” act. U.S. authorities are now trying to deport him, and McMullen presumably will surface in San Francisco on Sept. 28 for a hearing.


  • alan56

    “Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
    Reading this blog is living proof

  • Kevsterino

    Henry, you make a good point regarding the repetition of this objection to Adams.

    I, for one, am entirely willing to concede the following as fact:
    Gerry Adams lies about his past role in the IRA.

    To me, that has about as much probity as “Texas has a whorehouse in it”.

    If looked at objectively, one discovers he actually has very little real power in Northern Ireland anyhow. The voters of West Belfast elect him to sit where he will not go. The voters in the Republic pay little heed to what he says.

    In other words, there may indeed exist issues that could be of bigger benefit to all.

    Or, of course, I could be wrong and people abide by the old truism that nothing good ever came from lying.

    If the issue was McGuinness and not Adams, I could see their point.

  • clancy

    “I don’t really understand why GA doesn’t just admit to being in the IRA, but on the flip side, I don’t understand the obsession over what we already know.”

    Indeed-the main problem for Adams is that he has painted himself into such a corner with so many “strong” denials that he would look the eejit going back on it at this point.

    Up until the GFA he arguably had a rational enough reason for claiming to be strictly political. In the last decade, however, there has been enough space opened up that he could have said, in say 2002, yes he was once in the IRA. Instead he has continued with extensive and vehement denials.

    I actually believe a good part of his relucatance is due to his hero-worship of Nelson Mandela. Mandela is (almost) universally seen as a benign, peaceful figure (that may be slightly stretching facts as Mandela was a founder of the ANC military wing, but the image remains). Adams likely has a bit of an obsession with being seen the same way in an Irish context, so allegations of masterminding bombings and murders doesn’t exactly help.

  • Halfer


    “so the second battalion of the belfast brigade killed more soldiers and police in one year than the dissidents have done in 24 years,is this the main reason that dissidents hate the republican leadership.”

    Is that why you’re a supporter of the PRM and not one of the other IRA’s? Amadan.

    I’m, not willing to try and rationale Adams reasons for denying his role in the PIRA. Fact is, he was a senior member during the seventies and now he’s lying through his teeth about it. He’s a liar.

  • John O’Connell

    The reason Adams defies all logic to deny that he is in the IRA is because he knows that he has a label hanging over him and by admitting that he is in the IRA that label becomes effective. Denying it gives him a chance in his own mind at least.

    You see, part of Adams sees himself as the Messiah, freeing his people of British rule and to be a Messiah, you need to be clean, untouched by the ravages of violence.

    And, on the contrary, if you’re not clean and free of violence, you might be defined as the Antichrist. He wouldn’t want that, would he?

  • Michaelhenry

    so what halfer,get over it.

  • “so the second battalion of the belfast brigade killed more soldiers and police in one year than the dissidents have done in 24 years,is this the main reason that dissidents hate the republican leadership.

    Posted by Michaelhenry on Apr 02, 2010 @ 01:39 PM”

    Noticeably absent from this comment is any acknowledgement of the fact that they killed more civilians than police and soliders combined. A record to be proud of no doubt.

  • Michaelhenry

    no the dissidents killed more civilians garibaldy,they seem to be better at killing irish people than the old enemy

  • ““Anything at all that goes on within the Battalion area, discipline, shooting, bombing, robberies, it doesn’t matter what it is, he is ultimately responsible,” McMullan said, describing Adams as likeable and well-respected. During that 1971-72 period, three policemen, 19 soldiers and 27 civilians were killed by the Second Battalion.”

    Still dodging the issue Michael? The same is true of this particular Battalion at the timeframe under discussion.

  • Michaelhenry

    sounds more like it was british soldiers who could do no dodging in this area in that time frame,garibaldy.

  • I’m rapidly concluding that you are a troll.

  • joeCanuck

    I’m rapidly concluding that you are a troll.

    I guess you haven’t been around this past while. The rest of us figured that out a couple of weeks ago.

  • Michaelhenry

    are there nice trolls or are they all bad.

  • John O’Connell

    Good man, Joe. On Good Friday too.

  • percy

    It is the very people who have lost the argument about the future who want to constantly re-argue the past.

    I agree henry94, you’ve underlined it well.

  • Seosamh913


    That’s really pathetic. Arguing about – not re-arguing with – the past and being active in promoting a brighter future are not mutually exlusive. Can you please explain the argument about the future you’re referring to and why anyone should be enthusiastic about it ?

  • heatherb

    Let’s ask the awkward question – what reason could Pete McMullan have had for making such claims to John Ware? McMullan ended up in Hawaii, he was trying desperately to avoid extradition by the British. He eventually, after his chat with John Ware, went back to Britain voluntarily. There he got a slap on the wrist – a year are so in the nick. He wrote to his wife Eileen McMullan and told her that he gave the interview to John Ware because he wanted to ingratiate himself with the British. A case of any port in a storm. Hardly a source for Liam Clarke to hang his hat on never mind his story.

  • redhugh78

    The reason Gerry Adams does not say he was a member of the IRA is all around you on this blog.
    Just because anti-republicans,spooks,spies,scorned begrudgers,propagandists,licks and sticks say he should is precisely the reason he does not.

    Go Gerry!!

  • Alias

    “Go Gerry!!”

    Give me a G, give me an E, Give me an R…

    It’s more likely to do with the hawks and doves narrative that their handlers devised to smooth their integration into British constitutional politics, with the doves being in the political wing and the hawks being in the military wing.

    Gerry, presented by his handlers as the dove of peace, would undermine the military wing and bring the movement into constitutional politics with this being presented to voters as an internal struggle between doves and hawks rather than as a struggle between British rule and those who opposed it.

    As long as it is presented as a victory by the doves over the hawks, then there is no need for voters to see it as a victory by the Security Services over PIRA, and so they don’t have to acknowledge that the outcome was legitimisation of British sovereignty and a formal renunciation of the national rights which challenged that sovereignty.

  • Michaelhenry

    alias,next you will be saying that it was mi5 that planted those two tonne bombs that went in england in 96,peace buddy.

  • mcclafferty


    I agree with your thinking on this!

  • Michaelhenry

    mcclafferty,you have no glue.

  • joeCanuck


    In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning in argumentation. By accident or design, fallacies may exploit emotional triggers in the listener or interlocutor (e.g. appeal to emotion), or take advantage of social relationships between people (e.g. argument from authority). Fallacious arguments are often structured using rhetorical patterns that obscure the logical argument, making fallacies more difficult to diagnose. Also, the components of the fallacy may be spread out over separate arguments.

  • mcclafferty


    If you meant I have no “clue” I disagree. I never believed Adams was an” informer” or had “handlers” and “worked for the Brits”, but I do believe (like Collins) he gave in to the pressure from Clinton, Ahern and Blair and abandoned the military wing of the IRA right before the 1994 ceasefire. In my opinion, the GFA’s true purpose was to rescind Articles 2 and 3 of Ireland’s Constitution (which was done) and thus give Britain the sole control of occupied Ireland, permanently, and that’s where I feel Adams sold out. As for alias’ comments about the “hawks and doves”, which I agreed with, you can’t deny that there was feuding between the political wing (alias called them doves) and the military wing (alias called them hawks) regarding the ’94 ceasefire and the pending GFA. Unfortunately, the GFA didn’t bring about much change except for the war. The status-quo appears to still remain in the north of Ireland for Irish nationalists and Irish Republicans unless of course you are on the “A Team”.

    As for Adams being in the IRA, it’s true but who cares? I don’t think there was an Irish man or woman who had any backbone back then, to stand up to the injustices of the Crown and its servants, who were not a member of the IRA or at least gave them their support. So please explain why you think I am “clueless”? We just differ in our opinions.

  • joeCanuck

    I do believe he said you have no glue.
    I have heard that some people actually sniff that stuff. Freudian slip?

  • mcclafferty

    Sorry, I have no idea what that is suppose to mean…”no glue”? If it’s meant to be insulting, so be it. I will still continue to post my opinions on issues as I see it. I believe we should all agree to disagree without deliberately trying to insult one another.

  • Seosamh913


    Agree completely on debating without insulting.

    Can you please explain what the rationale for the occupation you refer to ? I remember asking some RSF types the same question a few years back at Conway Mill and having snorted with derision at the question responded that I was foolish not already know that as “everybody knows that”. When pushed, the best they could come up with was CIA access to British army facilities at Ballykelly. Can you update that for us just so we know what you mean by occupation.


  • joeCanuck


    I’m not sure whether he thought he was being funny (he never is) or if it was akeyboard mis-hit (g is not beside c).
    Agree with what you say.

  • mcclafferty


    I can’t speak for RSF but history points to the fact that Ireland was comprised of 32 counties not the 26 that exist today. The partition of Ireland that took place in 1921 was an outcome of the British attempts since the 12th century to achieve dominance in Ireland. They achieved that by use of plantations of settlers on the island as a means of control. Irish land were confiscated and then given to British soldiers who had fought in Ireland. Even Donegal, the furthest northern county, was gerrymandered in order to ensure vote’s loyal to the Crown. As long as the remaining six counties are under British rule, that to me is an occupied country, because the original “creation” of Northern Ireland was based on all the “dirty tricks” the British government used to ensure control. I believe Ireland is one of their last colonies and if Collins had not given in to the Crown’s threat of war on Ireland – there would be no British rule in Ireland today. That’s my simplified take on it. As you know yourself, Ireland’s history is one of suffering and pain for Irish Catholics, nationalist, republicans for over 800 years.

  • Seosamh913


    Thanks but that doesn’t answer my question I’m afraid. If it’s an occupation, what is its purpose and what are its benefits to the British state in 2010 ? And what specific tangible suffering suffering and pain is now experienced by Irish Catholics, nationalist, and/or republicans in 2010 ?

  • Alias

    mcclafferty, I think it was a bit more than “feuding.” For example, when the SAS ambushed the Tyrone hardliners at Loughall, killing those who were opposed to accepting the legitimacy of British rule, Adams was at their graveside making stern soundings about all manner of retribution. That was persona that Adams presented to PIRA as its leader, but in private he had Tim Pat Coogan deliver a letter to Charlie Haughey offering a PIRA ceasefire before their bodies were even cold. Gerry had more than a little unorthodox help from his handlers…

    In regard to British sovereignty, the UK doesn’t need a reason to defend its territory beyond its duty to defend it. In the same way, while Donegal is feck all economic and strategic use to Ireland, we’ll defend it because it is part of our sovereign territory. Oddly enough, that’s why states form armies. Same deal with a few islands off the coast of Argentina for the UK and for the island to its east. The Security Services’ role is to defend the sovereignty of the UK, and to neutralise all threats to British national interests.

  • mcclafferty

    I ask myself the same question. Ireland is Britain’s last colony. It is costing the taxpayers of England a fortune to maintain this statelet, so why? I’ve heard some Irish and British people say,” it for the oil in the Irish sea”. I’ve heard some say “it’s because Northern Ireland is the back door to England and in threat of war from their enemies, if Ireland, as a whole, were to remain neutral that may cause a problem for England”? Now the Unionist I’ve spoken to tell me it’s because the majority of voters living in the north want to remain part of the UK. All well in good. However, the question I raise is that it has always been a forced and illigimate majority to begin with. Let’s say they returned Donegal to its original status of being part of the 6 counties. Donegal, in terms of size and area, is the largest county in Ulster and fourth largest in all of Ireland. Donegal is also known for being a bastion of Gaelic culture and Irish language. That being said, it may make a big difference in future voter loyalty in the north.

    As for the continued suffering of Irish nationalist and Irish Republicans in 2010? I make reference to those outside of Sinn Fein’s protection. Those nationalists/republicans who do not accept the RUC/PSNI as a reformed legitimate police organization. Incidents such as John Brady, a Tyrone man, murdered in custody of “the new police of northern Ireland”. Joe O’Connor, a Belfast man, murdered in broad daylight in font of his mother’s home. Paul Quinn, from Cullyhanny, murdered by British agents (MI5-PSNI). What about Section 44 and the return of Diplock Trials, like in the case of Gerry McGeough from Tyrone? Republicans are being arrested and re-arrested and assaulted. Any why is MI5 now openly recruiting for informers in Nationalist areas after all these years?

  • mcclafferty


    I know what happened at Loughgall and it was a terrible tragedy, as well as the Gibraltar Three, but I wasn’t aware that at that time Adams was doing his thing behind the Provo’s back. Loughgall was in 1987 and the ceasefire was called in 1994. Funny how you bring this up about Adams back then, because he was blowing smoke up the noses of most Irish-Americans prior to the ceasefire and the signing of the GFA and some of us could see the tides were changing and not in favor of a united Ireland, however Adams and company would never admit to that. Unfortunately, Sinn Fein has not been forthcoming with the truth about anything since prior to the ceasefire and the GFA. As a one time supporter of Sinn Fein, for about 30 yeas, I find it disgraceful and cowardly that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness continue to ignore the plight of their former comrades and to be complicit and silent in the cover-up of their continued harassment by the RUC/PSNI, murder, and Diplock trials of fellow Republicans who should have been part of the “amnesty” they secretly and selectively negotiated for those loyal to them. The fact that, within the last six month, a good number of Sinn Fein members have jumped ship is an indication that all is not good within the Adams camp. As for their bad mouthing other Irish Republicans when they visit the States – shame on them. They come to the USA and they blow smoke and placate Irish-Americans by telling them what they think we want to hear and then they go home and do just the opposite. They have been doing that since prior to ’94 and sadly enough most Irish-Americans just take them at face value and don’t do their homework by using the Internet to search out all Irish Republican sites/blogs to find out what is really going on behind the scenes as well as to realize that some of the “micro-groups” MicGuinness continues to bad mouth, are starting to gain some support as Irish nationalists/republicans are becoming disenchanted with Sinn Fein.

  • skinbop

    got glue?

  • Alias

    “So it was that sometime in the second week of May 1987, the editor of the Irish Press, Tim Pat Coogan, delivered a lengthy written message from Fr Alec Reid to Haughey, containing Adams’s terms for an IRA ceasefire.”

    The source is A Secret History of the IRA by Ed Moloney. The Loughgall ambush took place on 8 May 1987.

  • mcclafferty

    Good morning Alias and Happy Easter.

    That’s the book that Adams went nuts over, I remember that. Ed Moloney and Tim Pat Coogan were one of the few journalists the IRA actually respected and trusted to be fair in their writings if I’m not mistaken? I did read this book, but a long time ago. I just must have forgotten the Tim Pat Coogan reference. I just purchased Anthony McIntyre’s “Good Friday: The Day Republicanism Died” and I’m waiting on Moloney’s new book “Voices from the Grave”. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Brendan Hughes many years ago when he came to the states for a quick spell. I always had a lot of respect for Brendan, Mairead Farrell-RIP, Francis Hughes-RIP. I also respect men like Anthony McIntyre, Tommy McKearney, who I also had the pleasure to meet, and of course my good friend Gerry McGeough.

  • Eileen Calder

    I have great difficulty in understanding the “Irish-American” mentality. You come on here and talk about political prisoners and the Hunger Strike you should be looking at why your own country is illegally transporting, imprisoning and torturing thousands of combatants, suspected “terrorists” and some totally innocent people in defiance of your own Federal Law, International Law and common decency and humanity. AT THIS PRESENT TIME. Instead of talking about British occupation here do you never think about your own occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan or your governments support of Israeli terrorism?

  • Jimmy Sands

    “I have great difficulty in understanding the “Irish-American” mentality. You come on here and talk about political prisoners and the Hunger Strike you should be looking at why your own country is illegally transporting, imprisoning and torturing thousands of combatants, suspected “terrorists” and some totally innocent people in defiance of your own Federal Law, International Law and common decency and humanity.”

    They’re not white.

  • mcclafferty

    Jimmy Sands,
    How do you know that I don’t? You assume too much about me. As for the comment “they’re not white? I haven’t a clue what your on about!

  • mcclafferty

    I knew some readers would come back at me about Gerry’s religious beliefs. He is always being attacked on that issue. That’s unfortunate, but those are the man’s true beliefs and one has to be true to themselves first. Please clarify for me what a “non-mainstream republican” is? Is it someone who does not support continued British rule in Ireland, or the corrupt and bigoted RUC/PSNI, or the Diplock courts, or the sham of a government body they call “Stormont”? How does a true Irish Republican spend his/her life time fighting British injustice in their country, spending half their lives in prison for the cause, watching their comrades die for the cause, and then just roll over, keep their mouths shut, or just go away because of the GFA? How does an Irish republican man or women entirely change their whole mindset and not look back? Never question “what the hell they were fighting for to begin with? Why they spent time in prison and lost comrades to the cause? Is this what Bobby Sands and the hunger strikers died for – the Stormont of today? If they didn’t question and just followed like the rest of the sheep, would that then make them “main-stream” republicans? The war is over and thank God for that. However, the “troubles” still exist. Regardless of what people think of Gerry’s religious beliefs, the man is a stand-up, no nonsense Irish Republican who paid his dues like a good number of IRA men and women did, and because he or others have dissenting opinions from what is now acceptable (the “status-quo”) I guess you’re right…they are not “main-stream republicans” and I take my hat off to them for being true to themselves and the cause of true republicanism.

  • mcclafferty

    Eileen Calder,

    Read my post to Jimmy Sands #22 and you can consider that my answer to you as well.