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Decomissioned Provos thrown on scrap heap

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | other press author Friday April 21, 2006 22:01author by Donnchadh - none Report this post to the editors

Wealthy Provo Leadership abandon Ex-Prisoners

"...it's hard to see ex-prisoners destitute when the
leadership are so wealthy and have holiday homes."

Hughes mentions Kieran Nugent, the first IRA man on the Blanket protest
in Long Kesh. "Kieran died in 2000. They called him a 'river rat'
because he spent his last days drinking by the river in Poleglass.

Decomissioned Provos thrown on scrap heap
Newshound

>>Audio clip of Brendan Hughes (BBC)

(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

"Welcome to my cell," says ex-IRA prisoner, Brendan Hughes, as he opens
the door of his tiny, threadbare flat on the Falls Road. "Sometimes,
I've sat here crying for a week. I think of all my comrades' suffering
and I don't even want to go out. You never really leave prison."

Hughes killed and saw his friends die too. A former 'officer
commanding' the Belfast Brigade, he's a living legend among republicans. Small
and swarthy with a mop of black hair, he was known as 'the Dark'.

His bombs reduced the city to rubble; his gun battles with the British
entered republican folklore; he spent 13 years in jail and 53 days on
hunger-strike. His best friend was Gerry Adams. Hughes, 57, now lives on
disability benefit in Divis Tower – the only part of the flats' complex
not bulldozed.

Over the past 35 years, around 15,000 republicans have been imprisoned
on both sides of the Border. On release, those close to the Sinn Féin
leadership usually fare best. A minority secure paid community jobs; the
rest are employed in IRA owned or supporting bars and taxi-depots.

While some ex-prisoners start businesses independently, the IRA gives
others businesses to run. But many former prisoners who – for personal
or political reasons – are outside the loop, face greater difficulties.

Last week, an ex-IRA prisoner was one of three men charged in
connection with the hijacking of a vodka lorry in Co Meath. Former security
force members and prison officers received generous retirement and
redundancy payments from the state. "We were decommissioned with nothing," says
Hughes. "IRA men and women, who gave everything to this struggle, got
poverty, premature death, and mental problems in return."

It's the untold story of the Troubles, he claims: "People stay quiet
out of loyalty to the movement." Money never mattered to him, he says: "I
was offered £50,000 to become an informer. I told them £50 million
wouldn't sway me. But it's hard to see ex-prisoners destitute when the
leadership are so wealthy and have holiday homes."

Hughes mentions Kieran Nugent, the first IRA man on the Blanket protest
in Long Kesh. "Kieran died in 2000. They called him a 'river rat'
because he spent his last days drinking by the river in Poleglass.

"Why didn't somebody in the movement not see he'd problems and help
him? He was the bravest of the brave. The screws ordered him to wear the
prison uniform and he replied, 'You'll have to nail it to my back.'"

Research suggests a third of prisoners suffer broken relationships.
Hughes had a baby daughter and his wife was pregnant with their son when
he was arrested. "My wife became involved with another man while I was
in prison. The lads inside told me to give her a hard time.

"I called her to the jail and told her there was no problem – she was
young and deserved a bit of happiness. She always said the war was my
number one priority and she was right. I was selfish. I neglected my
family. When I got out of jail, I went to her house and shook her partner's
hand." Hughes is close to his grown-up daughter but has no relationship
with his son.

He was released from prison without skills or qualifications. He began
labouring. "A big west Belfast contractor paid us £20 a day. I tried to
organise a strike but the other ex-POWs were so desperate, they
wouldn't agree. One of the bosses said 'Brendan, we'll give you £25 a day but
don't tell the others'.

"I told him to stick it up his arse, and I never went back. I wrote an
article about it for 'Republican News' but it was heavily censored.
People we'd fought for exploited us, and the movement let them." Hughes
never considered crime – "I'm not a thief" – but doesn't blame those who
do "so long as they target only big business".

Prison left him with arthritis and weakened his immune system. He's had
pneumonia and heart problems, and suffers depression. "After jail,
no-one mentioned counselling. I'd to arrange it myself. They say I've
post-traumatic stress. The hunger-strikers' faces are always before me."

He speaks of dislocation after jail: "Everything was different. I went
for a walk, just to be on my own. The old streets were gone and I got
lost in the new streets. A man had to bring me home. Everything was
noisy. I hate crowds. I only go to the pub in the afternoon when it's
quiet."

Pictures of Che Guevara – laughing, smoking, drinking coffee – dot the
living-room. "My brother is taking me to Cuba. The revolution improved
ordinary people's lives there. It was a waste of time here."

Beneath a picture of the Sacred Heart, is a photo of two tanned,
smiling young men in Long Kesh, arms around each other – Hughes and Adams. "I
loved Gerry. I don't anymore, but I keep the photos to remind me of the
good times."

Willie Gallagher from Strabane joined the Fianna at 13. Two years later
he joined the IRA – "I lied about my age". At 15, he was arrested with
a gun. He spent 18 of his next 20 years in jail.

"I don't feel I lost out because I'd no life to lose. I was the
youngest in jail and my comrades spoilt me rotten. I remember digging a tunnel
for an escape and thinking it a great adventure." By now, Gallagher was
with the INLA.

"At 20, he embarked on a 50-day hunger-strike after beatings by prison
officers: "I lost my eyesight. It took me 18 months to recover. Then, I
watched the 10 hunger-strikers die. Such brutality damaged me
emotionally. I left jail at 25 and wasn't interested in a normal life. I was
full of bitterness. There was no point in killing Brits in ones and twos –
I wanted to kill lots of them.

"I planted a no-warning bomb in a pub the security forces frequented.
Then I went home, got washed and headed into town. Twenty people could
have been killed and it wouldn't have fizzed on me." No-one died but 30
people were injured.

Gallagher went back to jail. His first marriage broke up when he was
inside but he remarried within a year of his 1993 release. "My heart
never hardened in my personal life, but my reputation means my wife's
friends think I'm aggressive. 'Would Willie hit you?' they ask."

Compared to other prisoners, Gallagher, 48, is lucky. His wife owned
her own home – they now have two children – and he secured a paid
community job. It's also harder for those whose don't come from a republican
family, "but my brothers were involved – two did 10 years – so I'd a lot
of support."

He runs a prisoners' group, Teach na Failte. Funding has been suspended
pending an official investigation amidst allegations of criminality
which the group denies.

Gallagher has been arrested and questioned following a bank robbery in
Strabane. The getaway car was bought under the name Robin Banks. "I
wasn't involved but if ex-prisoners were, good luck to them. I've no
problem with cigarette or alcohol heists either. People who made enormous
sacrifices in jail were left with nothing.

"I know one guy who was very fit and always training before he went
into jail but he turned to drink and drugs on release and was found dead
at 40. If former political prisoners' records were expunged, they'd have
far better employment opportunities and life wouldn't be so hard for
many." Gallagher has no doubts about his own past: "It's better to fight
and lose than not to fight at all."

Tommy McKearney from the Moy, Co Tyrone, served 16 years for a UDR
man's murder. One of his brothers was shot dead by the SAS, and another
brother and an uncle were killed by loyalists while he was in jail.

"When I got out my father took me to see my brothers' graves. But what
struck me was the graves of the post-mistress and the baker. I couldn't
believe all the changes in our small community. The world had moved on
without me. Many prisoners feel lost for so long."

McKearney now runs Expac, a Monaghan-based group for ex-prisoners in
Border areas. "There's no ideal time to go to jail, but it's probably
best in your mid-20s. Jail stunts teenagers' emotional development and
prison is very hard in your 40s or 50s because you realise how little time
is left.

"Serving more than four years affects people. They start to lose
contact with the outside world and all but close relatives. After 10, they're
institutionalised. It's like marathon runners 'hitting the wall'. After
a certain distance, the battle gets too much physically and
psychologically."

Ex-prisoners often feel their relatives are strangers and they left
their real 'family' in jail. Those who were single when they went to jail,
then "play catch-up" with children and mortgages in their 40s and 50s,
McKearney says. "At retirement time, when life should be easing,
they're up to their necks in mortgages and debt."

The situation has improved since the ceasefire, but ex-prisoners still
face employment discrimination, he says. They're officially barred from
civil-service jobs and unofficially from many others. "How many become
teachers or journalists?" McKearney asks. "I mightn't reasonably expect
to be able to join the gardai but I think I should be eligible for a
job as local librarian."

Even if ex-prisoners slip through the door, "it's just like with women
– there's a glass ceiling". Neither the Equality Authority nor the
North's Equality Commission recognise ex-prisoners as a vulnerable group,
he says. "An employer can bin an ex-prisoner's application form, admit
it, and the law provides no protection."

Low-paid jobs are no better: "A supermarket can draw up a list of 20
candidates for shelf-stackers and cashiers. Its head of security, an
ex-Special Branch man, says 'get rid of numbers one and seven'."

The Special Branch also visit employers, demanding ex-prisoners are
sacked, he says. "I was labouring and they ordered my boss to get rid of
me. He told them to get lost, but 99% of employers wouldn't be so
principled."

Still, it's easier in Border areas than in parts of country where
there's hostility to republicanism and a smaller black/illegal economy.
Ex-prisoners are usually barred from the US, Canada, Australia and New
Zealand, where many would like to begin new lives.

Anthony McIntyre, who served 18 years imprisonment, says: "I laugh when
I hear about an 'IRA pension plan'. The IRA offered me a Christmas loan
and nothing else when I was released. I'd two kids and, I'm not ashamed
to say, I had to shop-lift to feed and clothe them."

Today, Brendan Hughes won't attend any 1916 parade but he'll privately
pay tribute at the IRA Belfast Brigade monument. "I keep wondering
'what it was all about?'" he says. "The doctors tell me not to drink but I
do. It eases the pain, it doesn't kill it." A picture of the
hunger-strikers hangs in Hughes' hallway. 'Soldiers of our past, heroes of our
future', it says. Somehow, it doesn't seem that way.

April 20, 2006

____________ This article appears in the April 16, 2006 edition of the Sunday Tribune

author by Blanketmanpublication date Fri Apr 28, 2006 18:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I just recently came across this article and I almost cried. Everything in it is true I've seen it all for myself. I knew The Dark and I would have followed him to hell because I knew that he would have been first in. I knew Tommy and the others as well and I'm proud to have known them. Sadly I know dozens of other ex-blanket men who are in the same predicament, some who hang to the coat tails of Sinn Fein sponsored groups in the hope of collecting a few crumbs. A lot more just faded into the background or died and got a flag pole for their suffering. Some others, those who chose to follow the party line rose to the top. [ The cream of the buttermilk]. Those who would agree with the wholesale surrender of arms and the removal of the army, leaving members open to retaliation from hoods and other scum, in order to appease Unionists and therefore get into government. I've seen the new bar owners, but not at many commemorations. Everyday I see the hypocrisy and I look back at those who suffered and died and I cry inside. When I see their memories being abused in order to peddle the lie that Sinn Fein are leading us towards a United Ireland via Stormont, I am angry. These are the New Free Staters!

author by Donnchadhpublication date Sun Jun 18, 2006 15:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Martin McGuiness and Gerry Adams negotiated a GFA which saw POWs come out of British camps with criminal records - barring them from any employment that Gerry and Martin didnt control. Those that dont toe the Gerry and Martin line are thrown on the scrap heap as Kieran Nugent was. Was this Gerry and Martin's plan, or are they really such incompetant negotiators? Make up your own mind. Please read this article, and ask yourself if this is what we should trust to lead the republican cause:

author by Bernard Inghampublication date Sun Jun 18, 2006 20:02author email robbiesin at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is very hard for Sinn Fein leadership to take care of the P.O.Ws. There is only so much money to go around and the Northern Bank cash is of no use now

author by Martin ingrampublication date Sun Jun 18, 2006 20:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Unfortunately H.M. Government cannot do much to help either.
We couldn't even manage to look after poor old Dennis Donaldson.

author by Curiouspublication date Sun Jun 18, 2006 20:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Martin McGuiness and Gerry Adams negotiated a GFA which saw POWs come out of British camps with criminal records - barring them from any employment that Gerry and Martin didnt control."

Why does Nugent having a criminal record bar him from employment? There are literally thousands of ex political prisoners up north, many of them have jobs. Some are now TDs, some are writers and artists, some are social workers and teachers. Though the Nugent story sounds very sad, there has to be more to this than meets the eye. Sometimes it's hard to help an addict, speaking as someone who's tried in the past.

author by Donnchadhpublication date Sun Jun 18, 2006 23:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its complete rubbish to say the Northern Bank money is no use now - money is money, also PSF are in reciept of huge amounts of money from America, and from Westminster. Im no fan of the Adams/Mcguiness leadership its true, but this is more important than such personal considerations. These IRA volunteers were the finest Irish men and women that ever lived and the first priority should be to look after their welfare. It dosnt matter that this article is a couple of months old - as far as I know nothing has been done to improve the situation. If this article shames Adams and McGuiness into doing the decent thing by them then it should be opened in front of their faces every time they open their mouths to talk about justice. As for criminal records not being a problem, just try to find a decent job these days with a criminal record on your CV. Adams should never have signed the GFA or decomissioned arms until these brave Irish patriots walked free from Brit POW camps, not as ex cons, but as the proud Irish soldiers they were.

author by Donnchadhpublication date Mon Jun 19, 2006 13:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually I didnt use this title, this is the title of Suzanne Breen's article, I dont agree with childish names like "provos". Comments on editorial action deleted here as required by editorial guidelines

Editorial Note: The bit of original opinion Donnchadh supplied in a cut'n'paste of the above, purporting to be a News Report yesterday, has been transferred as a comment above, as have other comments from that 'article'.

author by Pete Briquettepublication date Mon Jun 19, 2006 19:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Brendan McLaughlin the Former H Block Hunger Striker who is now living his life confined to a wheel chair has also been confined to the scrap heap by the Party formerly known as Republicans because he too bravely criticized the Direction taken by Adams & McGuinness. Many former Blanket men also are of the same mindset as The Dark in that they believe that the Republican leadership have Unconditionally surrendered in order to take the fast route to power. Sadly only those who now make their livings as members of Sinn Fein and it's offshoots agree with that leadership or it'll be the dole for them.

author by Donnchadhpublication date Mon Jun 19, 2006 19:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear moderator, I didnt know this article had been posted before, but if it was posted a thousand times it would still be worth posting until something is done for these men and women who sacrificed their health and sanity in Brit torture camps for the sake of Irish freedom. Gerry Adams is in a position to command vast resourses, it would only take a small fraction of these resourses to make a huge differences to these people's lives. He and his party capitalize on their sacrifice every day of the week - its time they gave something back. I also think its time the ordinary members of PSF developed a back bone and demanded some action from their leaders on this issue. Staying quiet and not openly making demands of the leadership is the traditional republican way - but in this case its not enough.

author by Pete Briquettepublication date Mon Jun 19, 2006 20:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maybe if some former Blanket man like Anthony McIntyre or Tommy McKearney were to write a book on the the exploits of Brendan Darky Hughes then those Republicans of this generation could see for themselves the calibre of the former Volunteers who now oppose the latter-day De Valeras and suffer as a consequence. The Leadership of Sinn Fein want former outspoken Ex-Blanket men to remain on the scrap heap so that they can brand them as Drunks with a chip on their shoulders. Come on someone must save their reputations by writing their story.

author by Peter Pan Nationalistpublication date Mon Jun 19, 2006 21:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sadly Donnchadh it's a case of looking after Ourselves Alone. If you remain loyal and unquestioning you'll go right to the top [of Stormont hill] But we can't have people questioning the decisions of the Leadership, now that just won't do in a democratic party even if they were at one time the heartbeat of Republicanism. Sure those people have chips on their shoulders now don't you know? Drinkers too, oh that's right! Cripples in wheelchairs sponging of invalidity. Aye and you've got the ones suffering from depression... I ask ye... Sure I was on the Blanket and I'm not sufferin' from depression... I'm just back from the Basque Country don't you know?

author by Sean Oglachpublication date Mon Jun 19, 2006 22:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The most saddening thing of all is that the first Blanket man, Keiran Nugent died by the side of a Belfast river with a wine bottle for a companion, while those not fit to tie his shoe laces traversed the World partying with the powerful.

author by Peter Pan Nationalistpublication date Mon Jun 19, 2006 23:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with the idea that someone should write a book about the true but forgotten heroes of the Blanket. The Dark, Header Nugent, Brendan McLaughlin and many others [whatever happened to Sean McKenna I don't see him at Stormont?] Surely someone who was there and knows these men must have the capability to write such a book? Don't be put off by Danny Bangers and the new RN, Daily Ireland.

author by Donnchadhpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 00:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree, the story of these great men and women must be told, but sadly, by the time such a book would be written it will be too late for many of them. Also, such a book would be marginalised as anti -provisional propaganda. But this cant get distrated into petty republican faction fighting. All the republican groups have a huge responsibility to take care of those who gave everything for our nation. But the fact is that the ones who can do most right now is the ordinary members of PSF, if only because of sheer weight of numbers. Although I dont agree with PSF in regard to Stormont and Leinster House, I have no doubt that most of their supporters and members are decent republicans and human beings. They are the ones who can put pressure on Adams and McGuiness, right now, to free up the purse strings and see that volunteers who's health has been broken by British prison camps are looked after properly. The sad death of Kiaran Nugent is a dreadful shame on all of the Republican Movement. Its time to do the decent thing right now and see that it never happens again.

author by Tear ductpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 01:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If there is any truth in the suggestion that there is a body of ex-prisoners who are suffering, then, of course, they should be supported. But…… I get the strong impression that this material is put here for another whinge and moan. If those writing here and any real commitment they would be leading a campaign. They are not. Instead there is just more whinging.

Get out and organise it if you are so concerned and come back and report some good work that others can support. If you just want to give out endlessly, then you can have this thread to yourselves.

author by Donnchadhpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 01:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"If there is any proof?" If a man like Brendan Hughes was moved to say it, then you can take it as gospel. And how do you think campaigns are started - by getting out information. You and your whinging - you sound just like Margret Thatcher.

author by Pete Brickettepublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 15:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The whinger complaining about whinging is typical of present day members of Provisional Sinn Fein; If you want something done, do it yourself, we're too busy being Politicians. "Eh? Drug dealers are terrorising our community? Well organise amongst yourselves and do something. The MLAs are all in Stormont or America. The rank and file are too busy making a living out of Republicanism to be of any assistance. So go away and sort your own problems out and we'll show our faces for the cameras."

author by Billiepublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 19:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps if people like those who contribute to this web site were to start writing to Newspapers like the Irish News and Daily Ireland asking questions about the True Heroes of the war in particular the Ex-Blanket men/ Hunger strikers left to rot, then maybe the Sinn Fein leadership would be forced to act.

author by Donnchadhpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 21:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its very telling that PSF supporters have been stunned into silence on this thread. Lets hope their silence dosnt mean they are doing nothing. Lots of PSF members have read this article. They will be attending cumainn meetings this week. I would ask them to raise the issue at their next meeting - this is the quickest and most effective way to get things moving on this issue. The same goes, needless to say, for all the rest of the republican groups.

author by Sean Oglachpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 21:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Donnchadh, the quickest and most effective way to get shown the door is to question the leadership of SF openly. Remember Francie Molloy?

author by a criticpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 21:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Staying quiet and not openly making demands of the leadership is the traditional republican way."

Well then, no wonder they are being led down the garden path.

Maybe one could expand on this and say:
"Staying quiet and not openly making demands of the leadership is the traditional Irish way."

Look at FF footsoldiers and CJH.
Look at the RC Church and its Hierarchy.

Those who stay quiet and refrain from openly making demands of their "leadership", have no grounds for complaint when the bellwethers lead them into the abbatoir.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellwether
author by Sean Oglachpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 23:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems that far from speaking up and questioning their Leadership that rank and file Sinn Fein members tend to parrot what they hear from above. Brainwashed I think the word is?

author by Pete Brickettepublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 19:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wise men riddle me this.

What if Brendan Darky Hughes had died on the 1st Hunger Strike?

Would he not now be a hero instead of shunned and cast aside like old socks by Adams and his fellow travellers?

The Dark was as much a hero on the Blanket as Bobby and the other 9 heroes were.

author by Peter Pan Nationalistpublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 20:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wonder if anyone has read a recent article on the former Hunger striker Brendan McLaughlin? He now lives his life confined to a wheelchair in a lonely flat. Like Brendan Hughes he refused to be a part of the sell out and as a result is shunned and ignored by The Gerry Adams Republican Party. No world trips nor MLA position for him. No Bar to run or cushy job in the Sinn Fein PLC.

These courageous people's stories should be told now. Is anyone willing to do so?

author by Tedpublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 22:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The same Francie Molloy who remains a member of the SF Ard Chomhairle? Yes I remember him well.

author by By Any Means Necessarypublication date Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Who made the decision to end the armed struggle? The soldiers of the IRA. They are not the sheep that some of these threads accuse them of, but politicised and disciplined cadres who made this decision through internal debate.

Can those of you who yell, "sell out " from the safety of your key boards give me ( a republican socialist ) an alternative to the compromise made by Sinn Fein. I live in what could be described as a traditional republican area and I see no evidence of a ground swell of support for continued armed struggle. I do see a recogniton that politics will make the supramacists of the DUP accept the inevitability of national unity.

I still believe that we have the right to take up arms against the injustice of the British occupation. However I see the Brits withdrawing, it may be slowly, but their disengagement is happening.

I go back to my question: what is the alternative to the present strategy?

Republican solidarity by any means necessary.

author by Chris Mc Fadden - Irish Republicanpublication date Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Gerry Adams- An Irish Voice- The Quest for Peace: The following quote is taken from this book of reflections:

"Congressman Peter King accompanied me to House Speaker Newt Gingrichs lunch the afternoon before St. Patricks day. It was a nice lunch. Corned beef and cabbage with potatoes, and green ice cream which was very tart"

Peter King was a core part of the provo campaign to get "acceptance" in washington. He is a far right republican and a fanatical supporter of G. Bush. He has also led the recent campaign against immigrants in the us, sponsoring the most repressive legislation to date. He is 0pposed to even giving "guest worker" status to those who have been in the us for years in some cases.

He was given hero status at SF ard Fheiseanna through out the 90s and beyond.

For those old enough to remember he also supported the Contra terror group against the Sandanista gov in Nicaragua.

Newt Gingrich- need I say more.

Phil Flynn adviser on the new direction for PSF-board member of a "FInancial" company here in Ireland who targeted those who could not get a mortage. The offers from Flynn and Co to these people were in reality ruining them financially for life- Philo saw the chance for a few quid.

Please provos stop being childish - you have not a socialist/republican bone in your collective body.

Alternative to present nightmare- to have used the power, money and good will to highlight the injustice of British state intervention in Ireland, a series of rolling demos to highlight the fact that is expressed again and again in polls the majority of the People of this country want a Sovereign State, international delegations tio highlight shoot to kill, Orange order bigots, sectarian murders- the list is endless.

author by Donnchadhpublication date Thu Jun 22, 2006 14:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Very far from loosening the British grip on Ireland the capitulation of New PSF to British rule in Ireland had greatly strengthened it. The six counties were a disgrace to Britain in the eyes of the world - but now they can hold it up as a shining example to the world of what can be done if, instead of fighting the native insurgents, you incorporate them into the Imperialist system. The GFA was never anything but a British scheme to assimulate New PSF( formed in 1986 when Gerry Adams and his supporters expelled themselves from Sinn Féin membership by breaking Section 1b. of the constitution) into British law. Now that New PSF has been safely absorbed the GFA can be dropped quietly, bit by bit. This the British are doing.

author by A non lawyerpublication date Thu Jun 22, 2006 17:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What if? by Pete Brickette
Wise men riddle me this.
What if Brendan Darky Hughes had died on the 1st Hunger Strike?
Would he not now be a hero instead of shunned and cast aside like old socks by Adams and his fellow travellers?
The Dark was as much a hero on the Blanket as Bobby and the other 9 heroes were.


By the same token Laurence McKeown, 73 days on hunger strike, who supports the Peace Process strategy and who does not accept the views of Richard O'Rawe, is also a hero. And let us not forget former Sinn Fein Councillor Pat McGeown (see below).

By the way, who said Brendan Hughes was not a hero? The reference to a former prisoner in a wheelchair above is disgusting exploitation of his position for a cynical political purpose. Who ever is writing this stuff is no republican.

Pat McGeown, the 11th Hunger Striker* (1956-1996)

During this term of imprisonment, McGeown joined with Bobby Sands and others in a hunger strike for political status in 1981. Sands and nine others died on the hunger strike before it was called off after the prisoners' demands were met by the British government. The hunger strike was to have a critical effect on both the quality and length of Pat McGeown's life from that time on.

After his release from Long Kesh, Pat helped head up the Sinn Féin Publicity Department and was elected to the Belfast City Council as a Sinn Féin representative in 1989. He was appointed the Sinn Féin emissary to all Irish Republican prisoners in Ireland, England, and the United States, explaining the developing peace process and eliciting the prisoner's input to that process.

He also served on Sinn Féin's ard comhairle and played a leading role in developing that party's political strategy and in anchoring the peace process within the Republican Movement.

His political analysis and ability to develop his political ideas made him an outstanding exponent of Sinn Féin policy and a respected debater both inside and outside the party.

It was the hunger strike of 1981 though, that best defined Pat McGeown's commitment and sacrifice to a re-united and free Ireland. He was on his 43rd day of the strike when it ended, and, while he did not die on that hungerstrike, his health was irretrievably ruined by those 43 days without food. The fast caused him to develop heart disease and it plagued him for the rest of his life, finally culminating in his death from a heart attack at age 40, on September 29, 1996.

Pat McGeown was truly the 11th victim of British intransigence and delay during the hunger strikes of 1981.

author by Pete Brickettepublication date Thu Jun 22, 2006 21:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I accept that Pat Mc Geown was a courageous Republican as is Laurence Mc Keown, however my point is that if you oppose the crumbling strategy of Adam's Republican Movement PLC then you are marginalised, ridiculed and shunned. The fact is that there are two types of former prisoners, those who have refused to compromise and those who have remained loyal to a leadership who like the Free Staters in 1922 have sold out for a limited amount of power.

People only have to look around their own areas to see the way things have turned out for the better for Adam's Republican followers.

author by Philpublication date Thu Jun 29, 2006 18:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Did anyone see the programme on the Hunger Strikes last night? Was I mistaken or was Gerry Adams trying to switch the blame for the 10 deaths to Brendan Hughes by inferring that he should have let Sean Mc Kenna die when a deal might have been forthcoming?

author by Willie Nillypublication date Thu Jul 13, 2006 20:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Has anyone been reading the latest articles in 'The Blanket' about the time of the 1981 Hunger Strikes?

It makes very, very interesting reading indeed.

It's a shame that after so much sacrifice and suffering during those far off Dark days that little has been achieved and that so many questions keep popping to the surface in the mirky waters that lap against the floundering ship of Republicanism.

http://lark.phoblacht.net/latestnews.html

author by Big Macpublication date Thu Jul 13, 2006 23:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the 25th anniversary of the Hunger strikes has seen Sinn Fein grovelling in all directions trying to won the approval of the DUP and be allowed to sit in Government under Paisley.
The Leadership of SF seems to be getting more and more desperate to gain some semblance of dignity from the shambles of their beloved GFA and now Paisley stands towering over them like a Roman Emperor in the Colosseum. He certainly played the part yesterday the 12th.

Isn't it a disgrace that men and women have given their lives so selflessly for those without an iota of self respect?

author by Confused Republicanpublication date Thu Jul 13, 2006 23:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought that we won the war away back in 1994? This doesn't look like having won the WAR.

author by Mick,Lurgan - nonepublication date Wed Jul 26, 2006 18:10author email michaelc at fsmail dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

What many people care to forget is the hero's like Tom Barry and Dan Breen ran through a four year period. We had many hero's like these great men who ran for thirty years and don't get a mention. I hold a great repect for Brendan (The Dark). Each town in the north must at some stage organise a veterans day of honour and bring pride back into republicanism. My town of Lurgan produced so many great men who sadly in my opinion have become forgotten hero's. When you look at the UDR and RUC parade their killers with honour it leaves me asking who cares about our men ? Yes I know this year the shinners asked vets to attend Bodenstown. So why not our own towns ? Be proud of them, every last one, good on you boys.
Mick Campbell
Lurgan

author by Ogra Patpublication date Wed Aug 02, 2006 19:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The white shirts and black ties are being worn by all ex-prisoners to show their solidarity with the Hungerstrikers and as a symbol of their support for Sinn Fein's ongoing campaign for a United Ireland.

author by Pete Brickettepublication date Wed Aug 02, 2006 20:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wasn't that a 32 County Socialist Republic or has that too been thrown on the scrap heap?

author by Ex Blanket Manpublication date Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've just heard the sad news that Brendan The Dark Hughes is seriously ill and fighting for his life in Hospital.
I hope and pray that he makes a full recovery and I'm sure that Bobby and the lads are watching over you Dark.
Brendan and Bobby led us through the darkest days of the Blanket protest and kept us going when things looked bad and his name will always be revered by those of us who were there even though others have tried to tarnish it because they hadn't your courage.

Get well soon Dark, I am praying for you and your family at this time.

author by pat cpublication date Mon Feb 11, 2008 14:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was a rumour gpoing around yesterday that he had died. Fortunately it was greatly exaggerated. Hes still in intensive care though.

author by Sean Opublication date Mon Feb 11, 2008 21:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tough as nails, the Dark will not give up that easy.

author by ex pow (not a blanketman) - the invalailidty clubpublication date Thu Feb 14, 2008 19:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

it is true that many ex pow's who dont approve of the so called cease fire live of the state as they suffer from a wide range of illness's,depression one of the most common.with this has come alcohol abuse to try forget the past and hope the next day you will awake to find out it was all a nitemare.oh how sweet it would be if it were only true those long forgotten days when most young soldiers were barley 16 and younger.there face's clearly in my mind fresh and laughing face's ach alas no more as many died during those hard fought battles in the 70s and throughout the campaign for a free ireland.Brendan the dark ur in our thoughts and prayer's

author by Mary Kellypublication date Thu Feb 14, 2008 22:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

to Brendan. I heard him speak in Cork some years ago. Powerful article by Suzanne Breen

author by Ex Blanket Manpublication date Thu Feb 14, 2008 23:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ex POW, I approved of the ceasefires because I saw that continuous violence wasn't getting us anywhere and being a former Volunteer I saw that it was the young gullible men and women who were being sent out to kill or face death by those who would go on to better themselves using the Republican movement.
The Dark was right many were left on the scrap heap because they chose to have an option not favorable to the leadership. I know of others who simply keep their heads down, nod or stick their hands up when told to because they have no other means of employment. I do not condemn them for this I feel sorry that having come through so much that they now accept so little.

I pray for you EX POW and for The Dark who was our light during dark times.

author by Barry - 32 csmpublication date Fri Feb 15, 2008 00:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Today British first minister Martin McGuinness , who avoided doing anything more than a few months in jail , attended the Council of the British Isles meeting in Dublin and announced he was very annoyed at Coronation street and East Enders shoiwing people drinking in oubs prior to the 9 OClock watershed . He demanded something be done , but wasnt really specific . The British governemnt pays him a fortune to address such worthwhile issues as this .
Brendan Hughes may well be on his deathbed this week .

author by Sharon . - Individual .publication date Fri Feb 15, 2008 08:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Barry !

We commented on that 'Martini/Guinness' statement ourselves -
http://11sixtynine.blogsome.com/2008/02/15/from-fenians...arce/

- detractors will ask what the connection is between Henry Joy McCracken and Martin McGuinness . Thankfully , there isn't one .
Similarly , nor is there now a connection between Brendan Hughes and the above-named British minister .
Our thoughts are with Brendan .
Our contempt is with Martin.

Sharon.

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by Sean Opublication date Fri Feb 15, 2008 15:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maybe if certain people were to look closer to home and I mean very close to home they would see underage drinkers in a certain bar most nights especially weekends. I know this to be a fact but they never seem to have any comeback.
Then a certain security firm employs a drug dealing thug who was kicked out of another town, deals drugs on their watch and is shot dead by other drug dealers. What type of security is this? This is NOT a Soap Opera this is close to home.
Why is it allowed? It is because the people are being blackmailed by the Peace Process.

The Dark was a courageous man who stood up and spoke out against this type of hypocrisy and was consigned to the scrap-head because of it.

author by Sharon . - Individual .publication date Fri Feb 15, 2008 16:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Seán O !

For the most part , your post is too vague to reply too - for me , anyway.
And Brendan still is a courageous man : he hasn't left us yet , that I know of.

Thanks!

Sharon.

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by Sean Opublication date Fri Feb 15, 2008 21:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Sharon by being vague I was hoping to make a point without being deleted.
It's about someone making idiotic comments about bars in Soap operas and their effect on our youth while forgetting that his brother owns a couple of real ones himself as well as a Security firm which operates in most of the towns bars.
A member of this Security firm was a drug dealer who was shot dead. That's a Fact.
Other members of this same Security Firm face legal action because of an assault on a woman in this brothers bar and we hear him churning out crap about the Rovers and Queen Vic.

Sorry about Referring to Dark in the Past Tense, a genuine mistake.

author by Sharon . - Individualpublication date Fri Feb 15, 2008 22:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

....to interest those that want to know more!

Hi Seán O !

I think , in this case , 'Big Brother' is in an invaluable position regarding that situation - dangerous times indeed we live in .

Thanks!

Sharon.

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by SEAN OGpublication date Sun Feb 17, 2008 00:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the Dark has passed on he was my oc and yes like many i would have followed him to hell and back we did everything that he asked of us because we trusted him and its so sad that we allowed S.F to push him to one side we kept our mouths shut and that is our shame PLEASE some one write a book about it all before sinn fein or should i say new S.D.L.P do. R.I.P dark at least your with the boys and at peace

author by Sharon . - Individualpublication date Sun Feb 17, 2008 00:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Seán Og ,

I had heard that Brendan passed away at around 10PM yesterday (Saturday 16th) but was waiting for confirmation before I posted anything .
This article about Brendan may be of interest to you and others -
http://homepage.eircom.net/~repwrite/invdark.html

- I hope the man gets the peace he deserves .
RIP.

Sharon.

Brendan 'The Dark' Hughes : 1948-2008.
Brendan 'The Dark' Hughes : 1948-2008.

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by Ex Blanket Manpublication date Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Dark has gone for one last stroll around the yard, were Bobby and the boys are gathered and waiting to take him home.

Slan, Cara.

author by WTpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 14:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Republican Leader and Hunger Striker.

Rest in Peace.

author by sean ogpublication date Tue Feb 19, 2008 01:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hi sharon i think the comment by slan a cara said it all he has gone for his last stroll round the yard with the boys and he is at peace and it was heart warming to see so many of the lads at the house tonight tomorrow will be a sad day for his family for us and for ireland

author by sean ogpublication date Tue Feb 19, 2008 01:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

thanks sharon the article was very interesting there were some things that i didt know and i was in h 5 when the dark came down from the cages i think that bobby and the dark getting together gave us the morale boost that we needed

author by Sharon . - Individual .publication date Tue Feb 19, 2008 08:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi again , Seán Og !

A sad time for this struggle - Brendan has left a personal legacy behind which will hopefully be studied and referred to by not only republicans but by those that would attempt to dismiss republicans as 'dissidents/no-hopers' . Some of those were once where Brendan was but left for a 'better place' and an easier road.

Watch how you go , Seán Og - you carry a heavy load .

" Alas that might can conquer right
They fell and passed away,
But true men , like you men
Are plenty more today. "


Thanks!

Sharon.

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by MTDpublication date Fri Mar 07, 2008 14:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ex Blanketman - your image of the Dark taking his last stroll around the yard and the boys waiting for to take him home brought a tear to my eye. Thanks xx

Related Link: http://ciara.phoblacht.net/forthedark.html
author by Ex Blanketmanpublication date Fri Mar 07, 2008 20:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks MTD, I loved the poetry are you the poet?

The Dark never really left the ghosts of the H-Blocks behind him, because they remained a part of his soul and being. He might have left prison in 1986 but he was never free because he constantly remembered the image of men saying their final farewells as they left the wing on the way to the prison hospital and a slow agonizing death.
What really tore at the Dark's soul was not that these men failed, but that others failed them.

Profit by their deaths if you will, but death awaits us all.

author by maguire - belfast young but went through itpublication date Fri Nov 21, 2008 23:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was a young lad when the troubles started and I lived in belfasts andytown, we had the door kicked in by the brits, we had our house wrecked by the brits, my father was interened by the brits, my brothers were imprisioned by the brits, my mother was threatened by the brits,I have been beaten by the brits, I have been arrested by the brits, my young daughter has had to experience our home being raided by the brits/ ruc just as it was twenty odd years ago when I was a child and Gerry Adams and the rest of the fucking brit arse licking crew within sinn fein tell us that times have changed ! well let me tell you this Gerry they have changed alright for you maybe with your holiday home in donegal and gerry kellys apartment in portugal havn't you lot done well, how dare you hang the proclamatiom in your offices the proclamtion gives the right to any Irish man or woman to bear arms against an occuppying force and you condem those who do? fuck of back to england Gerry and Martin where you belong! you shower of brit loving bastards go and beg downing street for more money!

author by John - PIRApublication date Wed Sep 08, 2010 19:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I came across this site by accident and it was great to see more like me as I felt different ,mental problems, social skills and and unemployment and now I know why as I was in for 5 years and came out to a party and trying to be part of the community.My friends were all married with kids and I felt totlally out of place and immature for my age and started to hang around with younger lads that respected me.
From drinking led me to mental problems and leaders ignored me .Id challenge them and know so much they wanted me shot.
Some told me to get out as you are getting it and I left mainly for my familys sake as the leaders didnt frighten me.
I never asked for anything or offered when i got out as I assumed all would be ok.I was asked do I want back in and said not yet.
I just stay in my flat .take prescribed drugs and wasting away.We have peace now but I dont mentally and now wonder why did I get involved in the first place.Im still a republican but it doesnt matter any more.
. John

author by Redundant Republicanpublication date Wed Sep 08, 2010 21:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

John, dont let these sinn fein bastards grind you down. This post began in April 2006. Time has proved anti GFA republicans correct. A brit plan enforced by british agents in sinn fein. They wanted to appear important at Brendans funeral but the falls road people ran them. John, our day will come and these liars and traitors will be exposed. May the strength and the spirit of our republican dead help you to better days and a happy life. God bless you.

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