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Why the silence from the media about Eamon Gilmore’s Sticky past?

category national | politics / elections | other press author Wednesday February 23, 2011 00:07author by Paul Larkin Report this post to the editors

The Meida blind eye to the Workers Party

During the election campaign, the media has singularly failed to put the hard questions to former members of the Workers Party
 Eamon Gilmore - Once a prominent "Official" Republican
Eamon Gilmore - Once a prominent "Official" Republican

Anyone who saw Ryan Tubridy’s disgraceful, not to say disrespectful, treatment of Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness on the Late Late Show recently, will understand that RTÉ has a problem. With some honourable exceptions, its senior journalists and broadcasters do not do “balance”.

Rather, they let their middle class Dublin 4 psychosis show when interviewing anyone from a radical, Irish Republican background; unless of course, the interviewee is a former member of Official Sinn Féin – later the Workers Party. If this applies, the interviewee will almost never be asked about his or her political past. This, of course, is good news for ex Workers Party politicians who now, effectively, form the leadership of the Labour Party.

Before turning to Eamon Gilmore – I wish to raise just one question with regards to Tubridy’s interview:
Would Tubridy show the Reverend Ian Paisley or, say, former RUC chief and head of RUC Special Branch, Ronnie Flanagan such disrespect? The answer is, of course, no.

For RTÉ, Paisley and Flanagan are legitimate people, whilst Sinn Fein is just a legitimate target. Tubridy’s palpable distaste for McGuinness simply reflects the unspoken approach of the station as a whole. Tubridy, it should be said does not have an Official Republican background. He was once a member of the Kevin Barry Fianna Fáil Cumann at UCD. One wonders what Kevin Barry would make of him now.

Let me be clear and state that I am not seeking preferential treatment for Sinn Féin. Quite the opposite. I am simply seeking cothrom féinne - equal treatment. Ryan Tubridy spent some ten minutes wasting national broadcasting time spraying McGuinness with scatter gun questions about his IRA past before then proceeding to grill him about Gerry Adams and the IRA.
The question is, will Tubridy, or some scion of Irish broadcasting, now give Labour leader Eamon Gilmore the same treatment?

The occasionally choleric Gilmore would bust a blood vessel at the suggestion that there was any equivalence between himself and, say, Martin McGuinness but, whether Gilmore likes it or not (and regardless of the fact that RTÉ wants to ignore the issue), the leader of the Labour Party does have questions to answer.

Now, I have never seen or heard any evidence to suggest that Gilmore was ever on the army council of the Official IRA in the way that Adams and McGuinness once led the Provisional IRA, but the fact is that he was a leading member of the Official IRA’s political wing and this, surely, raises similar questions to the ones that McGuinness and Adams face ad nauseam. Guilt by association becomes selective when it comes to Tubridy et al.

In fact, the grilling that Gilmore should face ought, in some ways, to be more severe because (as we shall see below) the armed wing that was undeniably linked to his party abandoned all pretence of political activity very early in its political life. It simply became an armed gang – a criminal conspiracy dressed up in fake Irish Republican fatigues. Is this not meat and drink to any good news hunting journalist? It may well be that Gilmore had no idea of his party's links to the Official IRA but the Irish public will never know this unless he is asked in a public media forum.

Eamon Gilmore joined the University College Galway Republican Club, affiliated to ‘Official Sinn Féin’ (later the Workers’ Party), around 1975. 1975 was the year that the Officials started a feud in Belfast by executing the unarmed Hugh Ferguson in Ballymurphy because he broke away from the organisation and supported the Irish Republican Socialist Party. Two years later, the Officials shot dead Seamus Costello in Dublin. Gilmore remained a member of the “Sticks” throughout this whole period of Official IRA activity and just to emphasise the point, Gilmore’s university branch in Galway sold the party’s newspaper at that time, which carried lists of Official IRA prisoners, north and south.

Eamon Gilmore remained a member of the Official Republican party right up to the point when most of its TDs (including himself) broke away in 1992 to set up a new party - Democratic Left. Democratic Left then merged with the Labour Party in 1999 and its, allegedly, brightest acolytes then took prominent positions in what we might call New Labour. Now Gilmore leads Labour.

The Labour leader will presumably reply that he knew nothing of any armed conspiracy purporting to be the Official IRA and making claims to be the army of what became the Workers Party, but then those “meat and drink” journalists would simply begin to question his judgement by asking how he managed to miss an armed criminal gang – almost sticking to his nose as it were.

Readers who want to know more about the Official IRA really should go out and buy a book called “The Lost Revolution”, by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar and published by Penguin Ireland – 2009. My references to the book below refer to the soft cover, large format version of the first imprint.

Before I go on, very briefly, to praise this book I should say that I am surprised that the authors failed to contact either myself or BBC reporter Shane Harrison given that we made the film in 1991, which proved to be the final straw that broke the Stickies' back. It should also be said that the authors themselves don’t seem to realise the full significance of the content of the interview material that they produce. I provide just one startling example of this below.

What the book does reveal, however, is very significant. For the first time, for example, it lays bare the extent of the conscious infiltration of RTÉ by a group, which can only be described as Pro Unionist and Machiavellian. In fact, the secret placing of undercover Workers Party members within the media became so widespread that party members themselves began to call for the “sleepers” to either declare themselves or leave the party.

More fundamentally, the book clearly shows that the Workers Party relied heavily on proceeds from, building site scams (an allegedly Socialist party putting workers on “The Lump”), bank robberies and other criminal operations like counterfeiting. This may be the reason that key Official IRA leaders in Belfast took a policy decision not only to work with a corrupt anti Irish police force (the RUC) but also to work hand in hand with the criminal fraternity. This policy was replicated in the Dublin area. “Lost Revolution” really is excellent in revealing all this.

There is a key passage in the book (pages 563-564) which refers to “Group B” (Official IRA) activities in 1990 and its continued importance to the survival of the Workers Party (where, bear in mind, Eamon Gilmore is still a leading member):

“Group B’s continued importance was evident in a financial report…in October 1990. From October 1989 until September 1990, costs covered by party head office had amounted to £360,300, of which WP funds provided £189,900 with the balance of £170,600 met by Repsol.”

"Repsol" was the Workers Party’s printing/publishing arm. At the same time as printing political tracts and pamphlets, it also ran a counterfeiting operation and was used to launder money gained from criminal activities. Here “Lost Revolution” is repeating what we said in our film for the BBC, which was that the Official IRA was at that time, still clearly linked to the Workers Party and was helping to finance its operations.

It is true that the book’s authors go on to state that it is not clear how widespread the understanding was within the party where Repsol’s activities were concerned. However, in an astonishing claim on page 564, the authors publish evidence from two “leading activists” who state that in 1989 the then Workers Party leader Proinsias De Rossa received “a clear commitment to halt all Group B ‘special activities” from Group B leader and Official IRA veteran Sean Garland:

"Two leading activists recall that in the period following the 1989 election De Rossa received from Garland a clear commitment to halt all Group B 'special activities', and some Group B activists were informed that a decision had been made to disband the organisation."

The reason why the above statement is so surprising is that Proinsias De Rossa seems to have cooperated with the authors in the writing of the book by providing an interview and, presumably, background information. He is listed as an interviewee in the back of the book. Yet there has been no challenge from De Rossa about the above statement in the book, which clearly alleges that he was, as Workers Party leader, aware of Official IRA/Group B activities as late as 1989.

In the early 1990s, with De Rossa now head of Democratic Left, he successfully sued Eamon Dunphy over an article in the Sunday Independent, which the libel jury decided falsely alleged that, De Rossa, was involved in or tolerated serious paramilitary crime, was anti-Semitic and supported violent communist oppression. De Rossa was awarded IR£300,000.

What now does De Rossa have to say about the claims in "Lost Revolution" that in 1989 he received an assurance from the Official IRA that it would cease its activities? (The authors go on to say, quite rightly, that the organisation did not cease its activities.)

And if the Workers Party leader was aware of OIRA’s activities, as the authors claim, where does that place the likes of Eamon Gilmore who was, after all a close colleague of De Rossa at that time?

Will some RTÉ journalist (or indeed any senior journalist) now step up to the plate and ask Eamom Gilmore what, if anything, he knew, about the links between the Workers Party and the Official IRA? After all, they have used this approach year in year out in their reporting of the Provisional Sinn Féin leadership.

Lost Revolution - Tells more than the authors realise
Lost Revolution - Tells more than the authors realise

author by voterpublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 01:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The sunday times also felt it was important to kick gerry adams about the past conduct of the IRA.

So much so that they gave over a large part of their front page to a photo saying "don't vote for gerry adams and sinn fein"

It seems the powers that be are working hard on framing the debate and they want a nice business friendly Fine Gael party in office to pay off the bank gamblers and socialise their debt.

The last thing everybody wants is a party that would tell the banksters to get stuffed, bring in real change with more people centric policies and that could play hardball and could not easily be bought off.

I hope the Irish people have the sense not to sleepwalk into this vote and replace one right wing party with another. The ensuing carnage on the poorer in society will not be pleasant

author by Sceptic . - None Whatsoeverpublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 02:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I watched Rte News @ 9 on tuesday 22nd of February 2011 , Brian Dobson quickly asked
Gerry Adams a personal question in relation to ' an incident ' which involved a family in Ireland
some time past , the manner in which Brian Dobson timed this question was in my view one of
his lowest points in his otherwise colourful period as an employee of OR-T-EE , the question
was obviously designed to embarrass Gerry Adams during his '' 4 minutes '' of allocated time
which was set by the producers of Rte news @ 9 , cheap shots are still being aimed at members
of Sinn Fein by employees of OR-T-EE on a regular basis whilst others free to brag & boast on
how they intend to ruin Liarlands economy, from now till doomsday , and these same Liars are
codding themselves and us if they think for one minute the I.M.F. are not in charge of the purse
of plenty and had better get used to the idea of The Moneylenders running the show .

author by Tom Williams - Think about itpublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 02:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Kevin Barry wouldn't have used Tubridy to clean the barrel of a gun, although by the looks of him he'd fit into the barrel of a point 22 any

day of the week

author by Raymond Delaneypublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 07:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just to let readers here know that on holiday in this international city I saw a ten-minute documentary on Gerry Adams canvassing in the Louth working class estates on Pearl TV, the English language station in Hong Kong, a couple of nights ago. They gave him a couple of soundbites and showed him posing for photos with potential voters. Possibly the documentary was done by BBC journalists as I don't suppose a HK television station would send a camera team to cover elections in Ireland. Incidentally BBC World TV has carried a couple of short programmes on the Irish election too, even though "events in the Middle East" have hogged the limelight of current affairs media attention.
Both TV stations predict that Fianna Fail will lose the election. I wonder who gave them that confidential inside information?

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..the missing questions are not just about Gilmore.

The rationale for the probing of Adams's history is some moral condemnation of his use of military means to pursue what many of us would agree were ends best served by resisting that inclination, as the Egyptians have just demonstrated, despite having their own Bloody Sunday type shooting down of civil rights marchers. Those of us in the south should at least recognise that the distance provided by the border lessens our right to judge.

But never mind Gilmore and his sticky wicket past. I want to see Martin(and Kenny and Gilmore) interrogated as to their roll-over compliance with the pre-emptive and falsely justified oil-war invasion of Iraq. Adams and McGuinness seem to be dodging the one response that would put the Tubridies back in their selectively moral boxes. Afraid to annoy the Peter Kings on Capitol Hill?

author by Baggiepublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dobson is famous for interviewing Bertie on his knees when he was caught accepting large amounts of sterling for services rendered.

Who is asking Mehole Martin about the £5k he took from Owen O'Callagan? Who is asking Gilmore was he in the IRA? Who is asking Kenny about his racism?

The establishment would rather Pretty Boyd-Barrett in the Dail than the Shinners.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 13:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..on that reference to Peter King, he's the one who jemmied open the door for Adams to access the white house, and now is pushing legistlation to close down investigative journalism on grounds of it feeding TERRORISM(ah but now its Islamic, not US).


Methinks Gerry might not be apreciated if he said too much about Shannon. No more Paddy's day glad-handing. I'll still gamble a vote on them, seeing as they are the only ones with a trace of vertibration.

author by martinpublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 17:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Part 1


Caption: Martin McGuinness on the Late Late Show - vid 1

Caption: Martin McGuinness on the Late Late Show - vid 2

author by Paul Larkinpublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 17:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

that's useful - thanks a million for the clips!

As for Sinn Féin being asked hard questions about North American policy - of course that should happen but I agree with other commentators that the party seems to be treated differently

author by GigsDpublication date Wed Feb 23, 2011 23:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RTE is a scourge on irish Society. In such a small country such corruption and clerical abuse can only be perpetrated with the help of a compliant media.
Does any one think Pat Kenny is on such good money because of some Talent he possesess? He s well paid NOT to do his job
That Channel is AS responsible for the state this Country is in as any Anglo top brass,Developer or FF degenerate who walks the earth.
Ther e job is too keep people appathethical and cover up the truth and when it finally comes out,to set the boundries of any arguement that may insue.
They are doing an amazing job. NO wonder the outgoing Govt found time to throw a couple of billion twards their friends in Montrose while closing Hospital

Tubridy comes froma long Dynasty who have gained a great deal,while contributing NOTHING to this Society.Hes everything thats wrong in this Toxic cespit of
a SO-CALLED republic .
You want to see Sinn Fein bashing ? Check out that ragbag excuse for a newspaper The Herald this week
Fat Freddie must be delighted that theve left him alone.

The Irish people cannot see the Forest for the trees

I despair for this state We will replace like for like on Fri
Enda story!!!!!!!!

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