“You have to ask yourself – are they (the leadership) the only ones allowed to write books?”

On Thursday the International Representative for west Belfast, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, and his party colleague the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, may have been expressing their concern at a “crisis meeting” about an apparent increasing number of suicides in the area…

But they don’t yet seem to have found time to comment on the suicide of a former comrade.

Former Provisional IRA member Gerard ‘Whitey’ Bradley’s body was found in a car parked at a marina near Carrickfergus Castle on Wednesday.

Bradley, with the assistance of Brian Feeney, had recently [2008] written a book about his activities – Insider: Gerry Bradley’s Life in the IRA

The UTV report adds some additional background

A key player in the IRA in the 1980s, Gerry Bradley [from New Lodge, north Belfast] had been an operations officer and quarter-master and then ran the paramilitary organisation’s finance department.

He was jailed in 1994 for the attempted murder of a senior RUC officer.

But after the publication of his book, Insider, graffiti branding him an informer appeared on walls around his home and he was forced to leave the area.

“I understood he had been under considerable pressure – he’d been rejected by the Provisionals, he had been ostracised and whispering campaigns were put out about him being an informer and a tout,” Mr Hodgins told UTV.

“So for a man to end up being treated like that by former comrades, a part of me is not surprised he took his own life.

“It has a massive effect – you’re automatically cut off from every social structure that you once moved in or socialised in. People who you’ve known your whole life, either as friends or comrades, suddenly look upon you differently.”

and the same report quotes Richard O’Rawe

Former IRA prisoner Richard O’Rawe told UTV he did not believe writing a book – particularly a personal account of someone’s experiences – made them a traitor.

He too had been ostracised for a number of years after writing Blanket Men, his account of the H Block hunger strikes.

“You have to ask yourself – are they (the leadership) the only ones allowed to write books? Is history never to be recorded properly?” he said.

On his blog Jude Collins notes

Today [Brian] Feeney is reported as saying Bradley may have seen the Brendan Hughes programme on TV [added link] a couple of nights ago, attacking the Sinn Féin leadership. He may then have felt the whole IRA campaign had been for nothing and taken his life. That’s a double or is it triple set of hypotheticals. If he saw the programme he may have thought X and Y, and if he thought X and Y he may as a result have taken his life. The truth is, nobody knows why Gerry Bradley died.

The more things change…

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