If McGuinness is right then an awful lot of people are lying about the past…

Brian Feeney makes a strong point in yesterday’s Irish News in which he contrasts the ‘good’ IRA (the one that spawned the mainstream political parties of the Republic), and the ‘bad’, the one operated solely by their political rivals, Sinn Fein.

If there is a difference in the treatment given each, then it is surely dependent on more than just an inchoate animus within the southern media towards us rough neck Nordies. Three alternative factors immediately come to mind:

  1. The ‘Free State’ parties won their struggle for independence, and ran for democratic election within the state they founded off the back of the Anglo Irish Treaty;
  2. Those Irish (and British) citizens affected by the killings of the war of independence and the subsequent civil war are mostly now long dead;
  3. Most of their ex combatants officially acknowledged the detail of their own war records.

Martin’s war record has now, for the sake of a poorly prepared Presidential campaign, been at least nine tens buried for the sake of his party’s immediate political ambitions. In the process they have gifted a few more hostages to their political opponents.

So the campaign is now being run on the thread bare fiction that Mr McGuinness left the IRA in 1974. By all credible accounts, this is simply not true. To discount the overwhelming weight of evidence in order to facilitate the political progress of one candidate over the other six is to suggest that an awful of people are lying.

For instance, take this piece from Peter Murtagh in today’s Irish Times:

Sometime in June 1986, I arrived on the doorstep on their home in Shantallow, a sprawling suburb of north Derry, much of it given over to public housing.

The door was opened; I said who I was, what I was interested in, and asked would they talk to me. I was ushered inside to the sitting room. The atmosphere was fraught.

At this remove, I remember a couple of women and a child or two. A middle-aged woman, as I recall, began to talk. She said Martin McGuinness had things to answer; that he promised Frank would be safe; that Frank had gone to see McGuinness, or had left in his company. Now he was dead, shot through the head. They wanted answers.

There was a knock on the door. Two men came in. One stood directly in front of me, cutting me off from the women. The other engaged the woman who had been talking to me. I was ushered out, out to a waiting car.

Inside the car sat Martin McGuinness. The family is very upset, he said. It wasn’t good to talk to them right now; in fact, they really couldn’t talk right now. It wasn’t a negotiation. The interview was over. Ended by McGuinness and his two heavies.

There is an argument, as Danny Morrison rather eloquently outlined on Nolan this morning, to be made which says when examining individual incidents we should take note of the wider context of the time. Quite so. But for proper context you need access to the fuller range of facts. A commodity strangely [or not so strangely? – Ed] lacking in the case of the IRA.

In the meantime this morning, the southern press seems a great deal more pre-occupied with chasing Senator David Norris over his letters than the minutiae of Martin’s War… Though if context is what really is needed, there are plenty of people who are still in the process of digging…

Ed Moloney for one, with a very coolly written piece on the wider context of the Hegarty execution

In the meantime, let’s just remember there are also six other candidates in the race, each making their own sales pitches for the Aras…

Welcome to the Irish Presidential Dragon’s Den…

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  • keano10

    Although the southern media have ‘gone after’ Norris, there’s no chance of that happening on Slugger though Mick? Slugger has a one-man agenda and the number of threads on McGuinness is becoming laughable.

    Your point at the end about “lets just remember there are six other candidates” is even more ludicrous in terms of Sluggers totally unbalanced election coverage. If you want us “remember” the rest, then why not do a thread on each of them?

  • Mick Fealty


    People don’t read Slugger for ‘balance’. They read it for analysis, occasional insight and, of course, they also should expect some fairness in the way we lay our stories.

    Now if you have a serious criticism of the post, let’s hear it?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Keano, Slugger is a NI based site, Norris is very much Dublin based and has minimal impact North of the border, as have 4 of the other candidates, even Dana has quite a low profile in the north in recent years. On the other hand Marty is the Deputy/Co First Minister, he runs the everyday administration of the region, basically runs the second largest party, has been in the headlines for longer than I can remember, and for most of that time was a major player in the terrorist campaign that tore our country apart, and you wonder why he has disproportinate coverage?

    BTW, I posted a Dana thread yeaterday, free for all to comment on but i think it is still in single figures, maybe that tell you where the interest is?

  • between the bridges

    Irish presidential candidate Martin McGuinness has said he felt ashamed when incidents, such as the Enniskillen bombing, were carried out in the name of Irish republicanism.

    if the man who allegedly stood down the pira asu’s involved in the poppy day attacks is ashamed of their actions perhaps he should tell the HET who they where? The oft forgotten and untold part of this horrific day would have left a lot worse death and destruction. On the same remembrance Sunday Morning the IRA had planted a huge booby trap by the roadside in Tullyhommon ( a small Fermanagh village which straddles the border with Pettigo Co Donegal) where the annual Remembrance parade was forming up… this consisted of the local Pipe Band, 6 ex service men and the 2 local companies of Girls and Boys Brigade. Thanks to fate/luck/good fortune a cow either ate or trampled the command wire from the bomb to the detonation site on a hill top over the border thus rendering it useless. Forensic tests proved that the bomb had been primed and the firing mechanism triggered but it didn’t explode because the command wire was severed…. thus saving the lives of a complete generation of Protestant youth in this already ethnically cleansed border area. This bomb in Tullyhommon was detonated/triggered approx half an hour before the one in Enniskillen which would have meant all the emergency services in the area would have been dispatched to the scene thus when the bomb went off in Enniskillen no Help would have been available and more innocents would have died! No wonder someone feels ashamed…

  • Mick Fealty

    Just to add Keano, I am working on that…

    I also want to find a way of getting better coverage on the things Sinn Fein have to say in the contest away from the Gladiatorial contest with the southern MSM…

  • sonofstrongbow

    Indeed btb. The local Irish Republican murder gang intended even greater carnage than that in Enniskillen yet the Tullyhommon bomb seems to have been ‘forgotten’.

    Btw I heard on the radio this morning the oft repeated nonsense that republicans didn’t detonate the Enniskillen bomb it just exploded ‘accidentally’.

  • Turgon

    btb and sos,
    Indeed, I heard the “Enniskillen was not set off by the IRA” lie repeated again today. Tullyhommon was a command wire bomb where a volunteer intended to watch the Protestant children die. Enniskillen was a timer bomb and as such the IRA set the bomb to catch the people at the cenotaph. Furthermore the bomb was placed in a building (the Catholic Church reading rooms now Clinton Centre) the wall of which the spectators always stood at. Hence, it was a simple attempt to murder Protestants: as was Tullyhommon.

    Incidenatlly despite McGuinness supposedly standimng down the IRA “Active Service Unit” for their sectarian murder in Enniskillen within 4 months the IRA committed another sectarian murder in Fermanagh shooting a 21 year old young woman Gillian Johnston at Leggs near Beleek which some may know is not that far from Tullyhommon; just around the top of the lower lough.

  • between the bridges

    sos, aye ‘accidentally’ at a precise time on a certain day…

  • Turgon

    It was corrected but it was a bit later in the Nolan Show and had one not known the full story it would have been easy to come away with the impression that the “accident” lie was actually true.

  • padraigpearse

    Would it not be more phone putting a picture of him on the wall and throwing darts at it?

  • keano10


    For what its worth, I actally read your thread on Dana and commented on it.

    Perhaps your missing my point. There have been so many threads solely on McGuinness lately that they some have attracted 19/20/21 posts in total. Clearly the overkill of a single subject matter isnt exactly creating mass debate.

    I enjoyed your thread on Dana and would welcome similar threads on one or two of the other candidates. (with the exception of Norris whose virtual life story, i am now au fait with).

  • gendjinn


    regarding the Enniskillen bombing do you have some evidence to refute the PIRAs statement that the intended target was the military patrol that morning and the timer malfunctioned?

  • JR

    I personally don’t buy the “Good Ira and Bad IRA” stuff. Many innocent people died in both conflicts. Innocent 1921 = innocent 1975.

    “The ‘Free State’ parties won their struggle for independence, and ran for democratic election within the state they founded off the back of the Anglo Irish Treaty”. While in 1921 they had a mandate for an Irish republic, they had no mandate to kill for it.

    My Great Grandfather was very active in South Armagh during the war of independence, they felt they had won their independence too. The bitterness from the injustice of partition is still raw in this area. While many in the south would like to draw a line between the civil war and the troubles, Sinn fein would like to draw a line between theirs and the dissident’s campaign. The conflict is the same one.

    In my view to accept violence in any part of our struggle for indipendance is all the same.

  • Into the west

    threads like this generate heat but no light

  • Mick Fealty


    Point taken! Guys, can we focus? If I wanted a complaints about Marty thread, I’d have asked for one.

  • Mark

    ” The worst day of my life ” is how the late David Ervine described how he felt when the UVF slaughtered six innocent catholics in a gun attack on the Heights Bar in Loughinisland . One of the victims Barney Greene , a local man , was eighty seven years old .

    The excuse / reason given at the time was that local units operated with a certain amount of autonomy and the leadership didn’t always know what was happening at ground level . Ervine was in the middle of talks with senior religious figures who seemed to take his word for it .

  • gendjinn


    I don’t think it’s a simple binary of one side or the other must be lying. Consider the category of statements that are false but the utterer believes they are true.

    Unfortunately you only cite once case – the Hegarty murder – and McGuinness’s involvement is not unambiguous proof that he was in the IRA at that time.

    The entire thrust of this attack is a Hobson’s choice and we see precisely the same thing applied to Adams. Tell the truth and go to jail, don’t and get smeared with being a liar. Remember this gambit has nothing to do with getting to the truth but is completely about blooding a political enemy.

  • Mark

    Post crossed Mick ….

  • Turgon

    Let us just follow that lie a bit. The claim is that the IRA used a timer bomb to attack a military patrol. That would require knowing exactly when a parol was passing to within seconds. That is not possible. To attack a patrol in that fashion a command wire would have to be used.

    As such a timer bomb could not attack a patrol. Furthermore the bomb in the Catholic Church reading rooms (as was) was placed in a building against which the civilian onlookers stood each year and not where the security forces were. Next the bomb was not that big: all it did was destroy the wall of the building; the falling masonary killed the victims. Hence, it is inconcievable that that bomb was for any other purpose than to kill people standing against the wall.

    Turning to Tullyhommon:

    If one knows anything about country parades, war memorial commerations etc. a command wire bomb makes sense (if one is a would be sectarian mass murderer) because country parades etc. never manage to start on time. As such if one wanted to ensure macassre of the Tullyhommon GB and BB one would indeed use a command wire bomb.

    In contrast the Enniskillen parade is much more predictable in timing and, hence, a timer bomb would work well.

    Republicans have tried for years to explain away the sectarian murders of the Enniskillen bombing precisely because it generated so much negative publicity. However, the lies always fail to explain away the facts that the Enniskillen bomb was a sectarian attempt to kill Protestants as was the attempted Tullyhommon bombing.

  • Mick Fealty


    I agree there’s no ‘proof’ of membership. But how was there ever going to be proof when the policy was get the journalist out the door, and lay the law down for the family.

    I can see the necessity of the time for those who were combatants. There’s no sense in it for non combatants to act in such a way.

    If we accept Martin’s account, the journalists are compromised. If we accept the journalist’s account Martin is compromised.

    It’s pretty zero sum.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Surely the reason why the old IRA are considered as a good IRA is because their war was legitimate. You don’t need a mandate. Is anyone calling Libyan uprising illegitimate because of their no uprising?

    The provo campaign is not seen as legitimate by the Irish people. Simple

  • Lionel Hutz

    “because of their lack of a mandate”*

    I’m half asleep today

  • Brian

    ‘Turning to Tullyhommon:’

    I never understood this bomb. I can’t believe it was intended to wipe out school children. No other bombing was ever near that level of evil. It would only destroy any meanginful level of support for the PIRA even among those who supported/tolerated/looked the other way at that time. With the other bombing, the number of those willing to inform or report suspicious activity increased significantly. One could only imagine what would have happened here.

    Can someone more informed tell me what the hell was going on here?

    And Turgon, BTB, etc…I know you are going to say they did intend to kill the children. I got your posts and know what yo uthink. I am looking for someone else’s take on this or someone with different information. It is just incomprehensible to me.

  • Mick Fealty

    It is also not much to do with the core subject of the thread.

  • Brian

    As for the post….I thougth Moloney’s piece made a lot of sense.

    McGuinness luring back Hegary and killing him in such a fashion was a very high risk operation…high risk in that it would only result in the sullying of his name and more disgust of the movement by potential supporters/tolerators. It would also damage his standing in the community.

    The only other scenario I can think of is taht they thought Hegarty would give them some very key information, and in the course of the interrogation they went too far and had to end up killing him. (Or, of course, Marty was an informer protecting himself–which if that was the case Hegarty would surely never believe his assurances of safety)

  • Nunoftheabove


    That call on those risks rather depends on what cards Mr Hegarty – or others directly connected to him – may have been holding at the time with regard to the provisional movement in Derry and perhaps in particular some of its more prominent members, advocates, advisers and/or former members. The decision to lure Mr Hegarty to his almost certain death would, I’m persuaded, have taken into account a consideration of this risk.

    Incidentally I don’t believe it’s likely that you are in possession of any evidence directly connecting Mr McG uinness with Mr Hegarty’s death per se (although if you do I’m certain you could make a good deal of money out of providing it, were you so minded….) and as such are not in a position to assert that Mr McG actually killed him.

  • between the bridges

    . brian, I am glad that tullyhommon is ‘just incomprehensible’ to you must have that feeling on many ira activities.
    Mick the threads about MMcG and his past and what he was involved with or not, MMcG has mentioned enniskillen bomb, tullyhommon was part of that so imho it’s a dammed sight more relevant to the original topic than the usual tangents slugger goes off on.
    ps two comments under moderation? one may have been flippant and played the man (imho no more than he deserved) but the other asking a genuine question on something that was posted, methinks you need to rethink…

  • between the bridges

    dear slugger/mick, why are all my comments awaiting moderation? as someone who has never received a card of any type i consider this action to be pathetic.

  • Mick Fealty

    Cheeking the ref is a very good way to get two in one go! Read the rules (below) and please take some care to stick to the subject.

  • Donal Davoren

    Word from the Maiden City has it that the Party Faithful were given written reminders to be sure to be in attendance at McGuinness’s send off at Free Derry tonight.
    They were told in no uncertain terms that the last two times the turn out for Martin at Free Derry by party members was unacceptably low.

    It seems that this time missing party members will be noted.

    I kid you not.

  • “the ‘bad’ [IRA], the one operated solely by their political rivals, Sinn Fein.”

    A very curious take by Feeney. Surely the PRM Army Council manages all of the organisation’s activities, including those of SF, its political wing.

  • Brian

    “Incidentally I don’t believe it’s likely that you are in possession of any evidence directly connecting Mr McG uinness with Mr Hegarty’s death per se (although if you do I’m certain you could make a good deal of money out of providing it, were you so minded….) and as such are not in a position to assert that Mr McG actually killed him”

    I don’t know who actually killed him, although it was certainly the PIRA. My speculation is based off of Moloney’s, Scap’s, and other public accounts.

  • Alias

    “There was a knock on the door. Two men came in. One stood directly in front of me, cutting me off from the women. The other engaged the woman who had been talking to me. I was ushered out, out to a waiting car.”

    It would be interesting to know how Martin McGuinness knew that Peter Murtagh was at Mrs. Hegarty’s house at that exact time. Did McGuinness or some state agency have her home surveilance?

  • gendjinn


    so there is absolutely no way the Enniskillen bomb could have been a timer bomb despite the fact a timer from the bomb was found in the rubble by RUC forensics?

    I am surprised to find that you aren’t interested in why the police investigation was so incompetent and why they didn’t even bother to interview crucial eye witnesses.

    Why are you so bound and determined to create a scenario where the PIRA intentionally murdered civilians and examine nothing else about the event?

  • gendjinn


    compromised does not equate with membership in the PIRA.

    Then there is technical membership versus active membership in an ASU. It is possible McGuinness moved into the former role in 1974 or sometime thereafter but at the latest once he was running for elected office.

    The important thing to note here – it is absolutely irrelevant whether or not McGuinness left the PIRA in 1974 or not to the people making an issue of this. He would be equally unacceptable to these people regardless.

    This is a political attack on a political enemy in a political campaign. The thing is this only resonates with people that aren’t going to vote for him anyway but it right now the electorate are angry at the establishment and this attack just reinforces McGuinnness’ anti-establishment persona. So not the smartest ploy.

  • Nunoftheabove


    As you say, that’s speculation, not evidence. PIRA’s responsibility for killing Mr Hegarty is not in doubt.

  • Turgon

    I know you are trying to avoid this thread being side tracked on to Enniskillen but gendjinn has just told a straight lie about what I said.

    Enniskillen was a timer bomb: I stated that above. As I pointed out a timer bomb could not have been used to attack a passing patrol as no one would know the exact second the patrol would go past. As such the fact that it was a timer bomb disproves the IRA claim that they were targeting a patrol. Furthermore the relatively small bomb which only demolished the wall of the reading rooms causing the falling rubble to kill the people at the war memorial service would have been no use in attacking a passing patrol.

    So yes the IRA claerly decided to murder those at the service. By placing the sort of bomb the did, where they did, the only people they could have killed were civilians.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “PIRA’s responsibility for killing Mr Hegarty is not in doubt.”

    Frank’s alleged handler would disagree. He’d say it was one British agent (Marty) having another British agent (Frank) killed so as to protect his (Marty’s) identity, with yet another British agent (Stakeknife) doing the actual killing. And if you take out Marty, it still works out as one British agent (Stakeknife) killing another British agent (Frank). Oh, and Nun, ever ask yourself where Frank was calling from when he allegedly spoke to Marty on the phone from merry ole England? Do you think that MI5 or MI6 or both had the phone tapped? I’ll let figure out where it goes from there, but you can start with the Keystone Cops letting Frank “escape”.

  • Nunoftheabove


    You’re at liberty to believe Mr Hegarty’s alleged handler if you choose to. I might do too if he had any persuasive evidence to back up his claim that was corroborated by anyone whose bone fides I’d respect. If you have access to it I and others would be grateful for the sharing of it.

  • The whole debate about the point at which Martin McGuinness ‘left’ the IRA could boil down to dancing on the head of a pin, since it could be argued he would maintain an interest as an observer while having ‘officially’ left. His influence would not diminish in the time up to the lte eighties. You wouldn’t need much imagination to assess thge cloutr he had up to the end of the campaign.

  • fordprefect

    As I said on an earlier post, why keep on about MMG’s past? hit him with the contradictions between SF in the north and SF in the 26 counties!

  • fordprefect

    I can remember about a week before the Enniskillen bomb, that the brits put out a statement saying that they could detonate any IRA bomb, be it remote control or a timer or command wire. That was obviously designed to scare the s*** out of any ira vol. or potential vol.

  • fordprefect

    The people killed in that attack was an absolute disastser for the RM, so IMHO it was either a complete f*** up! or, it was a brit agent.

  • fordprefect

    I was speaking to people after it who would be described as “dyed in the wool republicans” and all of them (including myself) said it was wrong and shouldn’t have happened, it was crazy, and stupid and killed innocent people.

  • fordprefect

    My opinion on all of this now, is that it shouldn’t have happened and any armed goups out there now trying to carry on a “war” STOP!

  • fordprefect

    Sorry, group.