Fresh evidence from the archives: When did Martin McGuinness actually leave the PIRA?

A previously unseen archival document compiled on behalf of the Conservative Party Northern Ireland Committee, dated 3 July 1975, and located in the Julian Amery Papers, Churchill Archives Centre, University of Cambridge, reveals that despite Martin McGuinness’s repeated assurances that he left the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) in 1974, senior members of the British Conservative Party and British Army believed that McGuinness was still a prominent ‘I. R. A. leader’ in Derry by the summer of 1975, to quote …

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Rogue ministers: Preparing for an election?

Not quite the morning after the night before, the Assembly sits tomorrow for the first time since Peter Robinson’s tactical, though perhaps not strategic, masterclass. The resignation of four DUP ministers on Thursday leaves many unanswered questions, literally, the most pressing of which in the short term is whether the current Assembly has a future as it descends into farce.

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Of Speakers, yoghurt, murdering pensioners and hypocrisy

This week saw Mitchell McLaughlin elected as Speaker of the Assembly. The News Letter pointed to his previous comments refusing to accept that the murder of Jean McConville was a crime. Leaving aside McLaughlin personally there is a certain symbolism in a Sinn Fein speaker being elected just a week before the 34th anniversary of the murder of the old Stormont speaker Sir Norman Stronge. Sir Norman was born in 1894 and fought at the Somme. His election as speaker …

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A provisional question – Cui bono?

In numerous books on the history of republicanism it has been claimed the provisional IRA curtailed operations when Sinn Fein were engaged in electoral contests. The ‘starting pistol’ for our current Council and Assembly elections was fired on 25th March 2011 Since then there seems to have been a sustained increase in failed bombings and hoaxes that mainly affect nationalist areas – those that will have a real republican option not SF; Derry Oldpark Andersonstown Lower Falls The list grows …

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