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Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
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NAMA Wine Lake >>
Vol. Martin 'Golfball' Conlon - memoirs and a tribute
rights, freedoms and repression |
Monday November 14, 2005 19:27 by A Comrade
IRA - North Armagh Brigade
On thursday, 10th november as i watched the evening news i saw a report of a women who informed the viewers of how the MOD came knocking on her door delivering news that her partner had been killedby the Iraqi Resistance forces.
Damn imperialists i thought, they get what they deserve! Further more i thought how would i repond if someone came to my door to inform me that a Comrade had been killed?
The following day i was completely and uterly shocked to read on one of the Celtic e news lists that Martin Conlon had been killed in 'mysterious circumstances on Monday, 6th November.'
I would like to pay a tribute to the late Vol. Martin 'Golfball' Conlon. Golfball was a good friend, a Comrade, unrepentant in every sense of the word, a true Republican.
When i first met Golfball the first thing i asked him, why Golfball? He smilled and stated, 'i used to take Golfball's from the course and sell them!'.
I knew Golfball for probably over a decade, taking part in political actvities, music sessions (usually for the cause of the POW's) and a few beers. On his visit to the Bloody Sunday Commemoration in London in the mid '90's, the branch asked why he was visiting London. He replied, 'a drinking session for the weekend, what else'! When asked the same question on his return he repeated the statement. 'Oh said the branch, how then we have these photos of you on the
parade with ya pals'!
Golfball was a steward at the large London meeting which hosted Gerry Adams as the chief guest. As far as i remember this was the same weekend as the Bloody Sunday Commemoration.... the following day, Sunday.
Golfball was passionate and active in the Republican struggle, through and through. We discussed many things over the years. I may have or not have agreed with everything he said or done, but i now understand that when he said 'i will be a Republican till the day i die', he meant it.
Golfball was tireless, an active Republican all his life. He was arrested on several occasions for his activities as an active Volunteer in the then (Provisional) IRA - North Armagh Brigade. He disapproved of the position of Sinn Féin / PIRA, not so much the ceasefire as far as i could work out, but the dismantling of the Movement and subsequent involvement in british state institutions as a result of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). One must always remember the line, i think Che Guevara stated it that 'during setbacks and crises, it is always important to maintain a nucleous of activists to resume the struggle at a given point'. So Golfball did, tried hard with unselfish Republican and Revolutionary spirit, never yielding for one moment!
Golfball was arrested whilst training Volunteers in f irearms in County Meath
and served years in Portlaoise prison. One can ask questions, discuss and debate regarding why Volunteers left the PIRA and wished to continue the struggle. Whatever you think whilst reading this, Volunteers like Golfball where never selfish, they simply wanted to continue the struggle, reorganise the movement and fight the brits! He sincerely believed in the right to organise and struggle till the Republic was won.
He didn't believe in some half baked measures, [not as some british leftists
who never lifted a finger in support of the Irish struggle when the PIRA where spearheading it, only to become Sinn Féiners all of a sudden at the time when it was 'safe' to support Sinn Féin in the absence of armedstruggle.] If it's the 'duty of the Working Class and Oppressed to deal death blows to the ruling class in each country' as british leftists 'claim', how then the don't support
Republicans struggling to rebuild the Revolutionary Movement in Ireland? We
discussed these issues and we recognised mutually that as when the PIRA had limited supporters amongst the left in britain during years of struggle, thesame will again be in this situation. Golfball stated that all the Prisoner's in Portlaoise and Maghaberry were proud of the few who campaigned tirelessly for the Prisoners, albeit few in number as represented in britain by the Irish
Political Status Committee and others.
We discussed Omagh on several occasions. The possibility of brit dirty work / infiltration into the Active Service Unit (ASU) has not only 'diminished', but has now (and more than likely) been a proven fact. 'Remember the PIRAbomb at camden tube station amongst other actions', said Golfball. The PIRA claimed it, but who really knows who and which forces where at work on that day, 'planting it in the middle of your support base, the Irish with limbs missing!!' Hence Omagh springs to mind, a town in a strong Republican County (Tyrone).
Golfball insisted that i should read 'Bandit Country: The IRA and South Armagh', by Toby Harnden. 'You should definately read the book, i was involved in many of the operations in Armagh'!, he said. 'You can tell people once i'm dead', so i am. He also reminded me how the brits had sent abullet to him through the post. 'Be careful he said, and remember to leave car doors open when
you switch on the engine'. He was very wise.
Golfball's expertise in the Republican struggle was once again put to good use. 'Irish free state' intelligence hearded a group of Volunteers to Portlaoise prison once again. There the struggle resumed despite beatings and isolation. Republican handcrafts were made and sent to a function to Commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising supported by the Irish in Britain Representation Group, together with a fitting statement of 'ones right of even a respectable minority to continue the struggle'.
Britain continues its dirty tricks and black propaganda. Over the centuries, during the past phase of struggle and are using their agents within our communities to do their dirty work as expressed by the murderof Golfball. Golfball'smurder was indeed tragic. Criminals, agents of british imperialism
in ireland carried this out. When these actions are (mostly) behind closed doors, we can only use our consiousness and understanding to work out what happened.
* The CIRA's statement that Golfball was not an agent of any sort is valid.
* The CIRA's statement that 'all anti GFA Republican groups get on well in Armagh' is also valid.
* Golfball was a tireless Republican all his life, very modest and true. I know this as a fact!
* Golfball disliked hoods and criminals of every description. He would have done everything to develop the Movement in Ireland!
So who was behind this act ofmurder? In Ireland we have two camps. The british camp and the Irish. This is the principle contradiction and is yet to be resolved. Taking this basic principle into consideration, enemies of Ireland carried this out!
It looks like Republicans continue to be eliminated from the scene. At one time it was'shoot-to-kill', now black propaganda combined with the on line spooks, spreading rumours about criminal activities, endlessly sowing confusion amongst the people. Will the mur derers of Golfball be found? Very much doubt it!
The usual dribble of RUC / PSNI, 'please come forward if you have any news', the usual PR spin..
The branch may laugh, Republicans and all genuine anti imperialists who read this will have a better understanding of the nature of Golfball. I have expressed only a few memories of Martin 'Golfball' Conlon. He will be sadly missed by all his friends and Comrades.
Martin 'Golfball' Conlon was buried in Armagh on Saturday, 12th November, which would have been his 36th Birthday in a military Republican funeral. It's what he would have wanted.
To those who read these few lines, please pay respect to Golfball. To those who stand by the GFA and whether you knew Golfball or not, respect his role as an active PIRA Volunteer during the struggle. To those who oppose the GFA, repect this late Volunteer who attempted to rebuild the Republican Movement.
Martin 'Golfball' Conlon, a true IRA Volunteer, North ArmaghBrigade!
A true fighter to the end and expert Sniper!
" You may kill the Revolutionary, but never the Revolution"!