Anthony McIntyre RFÉ 22 April 2017

Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
listen on the internet: Saturdays Noon EST

John McDonagh, Martin Galvin and Mary Ward, of Republican Sinn Féin, speak to Anthony McIntyre via telephone from Co. Louth and get his analysis on the call for a general election in Great Britain and on the continuing fallout from the BBC Panorama programme about Freddie Scappaticci. (begins time stamp ~ 21:10)

Audio:   Clip from the BBC Panorama programme, The Spy in the IRA, is played. (audio ends)

John:   And welcome back to Radio Free Éireann. And we’re hoping to have on Anthony McIntyre to talk about that documentary which aired last week on Panorama and Anthony played a major part in that in doing an analysis of what’s going on and I particularly like McIntyre’s take on it – it said – here’s from his website, The Pensive Quill:

The IRA should issue posthumous pardons to all those killed by its security department on the watch of the British agent, Freddie Scappaticci, a former Republican prisoner, he said. Anthony McIntyre last night said it would be hypocritical for Republicans who campaign against other miscarriages of justice to continue to rely on the corrupted and contaminated evidence. And he accused the IRA and Provisional Sinn Féin leaders of engaging in a massive cover-up when Scappaticci was identified in the media as the top British agent, Stakeknife. 

So Anthony’ll be telling us – because in the documentary it talks about Scappaticci when he’s recorded – about how he would break these Republicans. And let’s face it: They were all Republicans that were killed by him. He was the Internal Security of the IRA and if people thought another Volunteer was an informer he had to deal with them and how he dealt with them was just horrendous. And he said every man has their breaking point so people were confessing to things they didn’t do and then he would have them executed. So this is the way they were dealing with informers and like McIntyre’s saying, you’re going around condemning the British government and the kangaroo courts that they had – look what was going on in your own backyard and innocent Republicans were executed of course on behalf of the British intelligence units that were running that. But with us in the studio, before we get McIntyre on, is Mary Ward, she’s a member of Republican Sinn Féin, she’ll be speaking tomorrow up at Rory Dolan’s. Mary, a lot of people know about Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness – about Provisional Sinn Féin. Can you give us a quick history of Republican Sinn Féin?

Mary:   Republican Sinn Féin was founded in 1905. We’re the only political organisation still committed to the undiluted gospel of revolutionary Irish Republicanism and the re-establishment of the all-island republic of Easter Week. It is our duty to ensure that the message of Easter Week is carried forward and acted upon. The forces of reaction and revisionism are attempting to rob us of our history, of its meaning and relevance to make our people compliant and subservient to the present day forces of political and economic imperialism. But far from looking inward we, as Irish Republicans, are looking outward and into the future. We have a vision for the type of Ireland we wish to create. We believe Éire Nua provides the framework within which such a new Ireland can be constructed by all sections of the Irish people. We do not believe that the political and economic liberation of the Irish people can ever be delivered by participating in either Stormont or Leinster House. We believe there are no shortcuts to full freedom of Ireland. Our goal can only be achieved by adherence to fundamental principles and wholehearted commitments. One hundred and one years after the heroic 1916 Rising the continuity of Irish Republicanism, proclaimed in Easter Week, is unbroken by Republican Sinn Féin. We can trace our links back all that time.

John:   And that’s Mary Ward from Republican Sinn Féin. She’ll be speaking up at Rory Dolan’s tomorrow. I would recommend – go to irish freedom dot net if you want all the information about Woodlawn Cemetery and that. But I played a little clip of a documentary that aired about ‘The Spy in the IRA’ when it really should have been ‘spies in the IRA’ and Anthony McIntyre, longtime guest here at Radio Free Éireann, was featured prominently in it and you have Provisional Sinn Féin a lot of times condemning the British government about what’s going on, they condemned the American government about Guantánamo Bay, about black holes around the world where torture is going on where Sinn Féin hasn’t come clean about the torture that Freddie Scappaticci, under the direction of the British government, was committing torture that was just horrendous. And Anthony, in part of the clip we played Freddie Scappaticci says every man has his breaking point and I say: To what end? A breaking point? What? To confess to what you want him to confess to? Or actually confess that they were informers? And how there was a hierarchy in the IRA that some informers were allowed to walk away, like Denis Donaldson and Freddie Scappaticci, but some people who weren’t even informers were executed! Anthony?

Anthony:   Hello.

John:   Yeah. I know you were talking about it’s hypocritical of Sinn Féin to be condemning the British government for miscarriages of justice when you had Freddie Scappaticci upwards to, you could say, thirty Republicans that were executed.

Anthony:   Well that’s very true – can you hear me, John?

John:   No, no – we can hear you clear. Yes.

Anthony:   That’s very true I mean the sort of absurdity of all this came out in the excellent John Ware Panorama broadcast two weeks ago where we were exposed to this – I mean what we may describe as an appalling vista – and we now have a situation whereby many people, we have to say, are lying in graves up and down the country, sentenced to death by the Army Council of the IRA based on a trial and evidence provided by a British agent, Freddie Scappaticci. So while the British are absolutely up to their necks in this the IRA leadership have an awful lot to answer for.

Martin:   Anthony, one of the things that came out in the documentary – I know when your role in Voices From the Grave came out there were pickets in front of your home, there was a lot of intimidation – what happened – when Freddie Scappticci was revealed – there’s some sort of a press conference that goes on (just like Denis Donaldson) and then supposedly you know with Denis Donaldson, he was told to leave, but Freddie Scappaticci? There was an attempt to back him up and disclaim any problems that he had been an informer or denied that he was a spy. How did that come about?

Anthony:   Well that’s very true although the pickets at my home took place after the killing of Joe O’Connor and not after Voices From the Grave. When this guy, Fred Scappaticci, was exposed Danny Morrison and others, but Morrison was to the fore in covering for him, and saying that they didn’t buy into the allegations.

Artist: Brian Mór

And years later we have Morrison saying that he knew in 1990 that Scappaticci was an agent because he had been told by the IRA who had sent word into the prison where Morrison was. We had also a Dublin journalist, who is a lecturer – a senior lecturer of journalism, a man called Niall Meehan writing under the pseudonym Adam O’Toole in the Republican News, and he was also covering for Scappaticci and the whole Stakeknife – trying to rubbish the whole Stakeknife story – and accusing myself and Ed Moloney of having fabricated the whole thing and falling for the Brit line. Now in my view there was a reason for the cover-up and it was not so much that the Sinn Féin leadership had a great deal of sympathy for Freddie Scappaticci – I don’t believe they had any – but they wanted to cover up for him because a failure to cover-up for him would have meant a failure to cover-up for themselves and for their role in allowing this thing to continue for so long. And now we have the bizarre situation where they have colluded with a British agent in the deaths of Irish citizens and they – I mean I’m sure the Army Council unknowingly told Scappaticci to carry on – and what I mean ‘unknowingly’ they weren’t aware that he was an agent – but we have a situation now that they must have learned from and yet no moves have been made to exonerate the people from guilt and from carrying the terrible mark of informer and for their families who have suffered such an indignity to walk the Republican communities carrying the mark of Cain. And the word ‘informer’ that’s attached to anybody is a very powerful, derogatory term, a very negative symbol, and people simply must be given the benefit of doubt and there has to be an enormous amount of doubt in any situation which Freddie Scappaticci was involved in.

John:   Anthony, we always we have you on because the re-writing of Irish Republican history is going a lot faster than we can cover in the one hour. It was reported in the papers that Freddie Scappaticci reported directly to Martin McGuinness before they did these executions of Irish Republicans whether they were informers or not. But the re-writing of Martin McGuinness’ life is now getting into the bizarre range. There was a banner that was carried at his funeral saying: Martin McGuinness – Irish martyr. He did not go to war – war came to him. Blessed be the peacemaker. And then you have Martina Anderson stating in the European Parliament:  ‘…my generation went to war over discrimination, inequality, lack of civil rights and the denial of human rights.’  No where in there does it say anything about a united Ireland – that people were taking up guns and bombs to get fair housing and to get away from discrimination – and now during the week they unveiled a tombstone to Martin McGuinness and it said on it ‘Óglach na hÉireann’. Now I’m a veteran of the United States Army and when I die it’ll have ‘United States Army ’73 to ’75’. If you go to Dublin they give the years that you were in the IRA – you know, 1916 to 1918, 1921 but on Martin McGuinness’ there’s no dates when he was in it and there’s no dates when he left it. I mean even in death now they’re just putting out this mythic ‘Óglach na hÉireann’.

Anthony:   Well, that will be for internal consumption and I mean I simply don’t take Martina Anderson seriously when she makes these types of statements. I mean in a sense her generation, but not the IRA’s to which she belonged, but her generation did arise against the behaviour of the British state but I mean herself and others, myself included, over the years always argued that it was to get the British out of Ireland not to modify British behaviour while in Ireland even though the population did arise for largely different reasons and I think Ed Moloney has gone some way to explain this on your programme before. But the notion that Martin McGuinness having on his headstone ‘Óglach Martin McGuinness – Óglaigh na hÉireann’ – meaning really that Martin McGuinness was a Volunteer in the IRA – and for them to have said from 1970 to his death would have pointed out that firstly the IRA was still in existence but secondly that Martin McGuinness had been lying for decades in relation to it. And I notice that Shane Paul O’Doherty, who’s a fellow brigade officer on the Doire Brigade Staff alongside Martin McGuinness, has said that Martin did tell one ‘whopper of a lie‘ in relation to his involvement in the IRA and having claimed to have left it in 1974. So they’re not going to put up something on a headstone that would allow them to be openly mocked and ridiculed for basically saying Martin McGuinness was a liar but here we’ve buried him anyway. That’s more for internal consumption. And they’ve been going round whispering to their grassroots that basically Martin was an IRA Volunteer and he got all this Stormont thing up and running and really it’s an Army initiative – it’s not all a party initiative and people should keep faith in the programme and the project and that basically they will be telling people that they tricked Bertie Ahern and everybody else, Bill Clinton and Enda Kenny, into going to an IRA Volunteer’s funeral. And they’ll spoof things – like they put the gloves and the black beret inside the coffin – all nonsense for a gullible grassroots that’s prepared to swallow it. They’re prepared to swallow anything.

John:   Mary, go ahead. 

Mary:   Good Morning, Martin – sorry, Anthony – I have a cold here. Coming back to your original point about Martina Anderson’s joining the IRA because they were – for whatever reason she said: I, as president of Cumann na mBan back in the mid-’70’s, would have worked very closely with Martin McGuinness and I would have spoken to him quite a bit and he would have always said when I would have been proposing things or did things that I didn’t ask permission for and then had to go to apologise for doing – one of Martin McGuinness’ favourite sayings was: Why must our people always suffer? Why have we always to be on the outside? Well, I was on a different track and my late husband, Pat Ward the hunger striker, we were fighting for a united Ireland. Martin was fighting to be on the inside and all I can say is: Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis (May he rest in Peace or literal meaning: May his faithful soul be at God’s right side.) but he was hugely successful at that if one looks at the attendees at his funeral he was very successful on getting on the inside. Unfortunately, it was inside the British empire that he was – not in a united Ireland.

John:   Well as Ed Moloney brought up, or it might have been either Anthony McIntyre, that he was a failure with the Irish Republican Army because their basic goal was a united Ireland – that failed. He had the weapons surrendered to the British government and also politically he’s the one that organised the peace process, brought up Stormont, and that had to collapse because, politically, it just collapsed – yeah, Martin?

Martin:   That was Anthony McIntyre, who we have on the line, who made that point on this show. Anthony, I just want to ask you about something else: This week Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, announced that there’ll be a British general election on June 8th. It was immediately said by almost everybody that the talks between Sinn Féin, the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) whatever, are sort of – they’ll continue but nobody expects anything to happen until – well, after that election. I think now there’s a new deadline of June 29th that’s been put there by the British minister for The North of Ireland, James Brokenshire. People are being told that if they vote on the election, in Ireland in The Six Counties, that it’ll somehow have an impact on whether Brexit occurs. That seems to be just totally absurd. I just – there’s going to be almost an equal division between the DUP and whoever else, Sinn Féin, the SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party), Unionist and Nationalist parties. What do you think this election will achieve in terms of the North of Ireland in terms of Brexit?

Anthony:   It will make absolutely no difference to Brexit whatsoever. That’s the North of Ireland where people, politicians in the North of Ireland, feeling important about themselves again – their own inflated self-importance – and I mean they use issues like the peace process and they use the peace process like a begging bowl which they shake and ask people to put lots of political time inside that bowl – I think people are sort of largely fed up with the type of guff that is expressed in those sentiments. I’ve just noticed that the Brexit coordinator in the European Parliament, the former Belgian Prime Minister – a man called Guy Verhofstadt, has said that Theresa May even arguing that the general election will strengthen her hand in relation to Brexit negotiations is a total fallacy and that people simply shouldn’t believe her – that it’ll have no impact whatsoever. So if the whole Westminster Parliament being disrupted and reconfigured in the general election will have no impact it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to see that little place in The North having any impact. It’ll be a polarised election, a divisive election, whereby they’ll go out and shout about how Brexit is undermining democratic values and that The North’s democracy, as they term it, will have been undermined, has been undermined, by Brexit and now it’s time to put it right. All we’re going to have again is a sectarian headcount. Brexit does absolutely nothing. Nothing will happen as a result of that election in The North anyway in respect of Brexit. But it’ll stir up sectarian tensions and it will also put some wind in the sails of the Sinn Féin call for a border poll which will not happen until such time as the British decide, not Sinn Féin, that there will be a border poll – and even when we do have a border poll there’s no indication whatsoever that a majority of people in The North are going to vote in favour of pulling out of the British state and opting to become part of an inclusive united Ireland. So, all the same here, John. No change! (Or Martin, sorry.)

John:   Yeah well listen Anthony, thanks for coming on. We’re going to go to our in-studio guest but thanks!

Anthony:   Thank you very much.

John:   And that was Anthony McIntyre over in Dundalk. (ends time stamp ~ 41:34)

Anthony McIntyre RFÉ 25 March 2017

Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
listen on the internet: Saturdays Noon EST

Martin Galvin speaks to Anthony McIntyre, former IRA prisoner now author, historian and political commentator, via telephone from Ireland about Martin McGuinness’ legacy. (begins time stamp ~ 27:08)

Audio:  Portion of Martin McGuinness’ speech at the 1986 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis is played. (audio ends)

Martin:  Alright. With us on the line from Ireland we have Dr. Anthony McIntyre; he’s a former IRA Volunteer, somebody who is an author of a blog, The Pensive Quill. He’s an author of the book, Good Friday, a great analysis of the Good Friday Agreement and Anthony, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann.

Anthony:   Good Afternoon, Martin. I’m pleased to be on.

Martin:   We’re trying to push everybody, this is a very big subject, we’ve got a number of people on, so we’re not giving anybody as much time as we would like to – what do you think, as somebody who, like Martin McGuinness, would have felt at one time that the only way there could be justice would be to end British rule and that the only way to achieve that would be to take up armed struggle – you served time in that, a number of years in that in The North – he served two separate times of imprisonment within The Twenty-Six Counties. What do you think Martin McGuinness’ legacy will be to the Republican struggle?

Anthony:  Well I think it will have, in many ways, it will have failed on two fronts: the military and the non-military. I mean Martin McGuinness was a key IRA figure – former Chief of Staff, former Northern Commander, former president of the IRA Army Council, sat on the Army Council for years. And the IRA campaign was aimed at coercing the British out of Ireland regardless of the wishes of the people in The North. The British objective was to insure that the IRA did not succeed in that campaign and that the IRA would be brought to embrace the Principle of Consent which meant that the British would only leave The North if a majority of people in The North consented to the British leaving. That means that the IRA campaign, in respect of getting the British out of Ireland, was an unmitigated failure. So Martin McGuinness failed there. Secondly, in terms of political institutions, he became the Deputy First Minister and ended up, at the end, being compelled by the force of logic and passion at the grassroots, which even surprised me, to bring to an end the institutions by coming out of his sickbed – in a very admirable manner it has to be said because it took some strength even to get from Belfast to Doire and to put on the performance that he did but that’s by-the-by – he brought down the institutions and what he brought to an end there was a period of Sinn Féin failure in government which they concede and for which they’ve been called ‘roll-over Republicans’ or ‘Martin and his Muppets’ because it’s hard to imagine a more ridiculous looking team ever on the benches of Parliament than the Sinn Féin team at Stormont and for ten years they took abuse, arrogance yet never told the grassroots about it, the voter, until such time as they decided to bring it down. And I often wonder, well I don’t often wonder but I’ve taken to wondering recently, if was Martin McGuinness was compelled to signing the closure order on essentially his own project in the manner that Jimmy Drumm was forced to signing the closure order on his ceasefire, which he was party to in 1976 when the new emerging leadership of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness forced Jimmy Drumm, against his wishes, to read out the Bodenstown commemoration speech in 1977, June 1977, and during that speech Jimmy Drumm stated that the ceasefire had been a mistake. I think there’s a possibility the same has happened in Martin McGuinness’ case. So in my view, Martin McGuinness’ leadership has been called into question on two serious fronts.

Martin:  Anthony, I should note that when I got involved working with Irish Northern Aid I was asked to train over in the Belfast Press Centre and we never even talked about consent – that was a term you would never use. You would refer to it as ‘the Unionist veto in The North’ because the majority of people – you know as the 1916 Societies and other groups proclaim now, majority of people throughout all of Ireland favoured an end to British rule and you’re not talking about getting their consent to partition you’re talking about a veto within The Six Counties. And it just shows you how that language has changed. What is your reaction to the funeral? There was a Tricolour there, there was a number of noted political figures attended the funeral, how does that funeral play into the legacy, as you’ve described it, of Martin McGuinness?

Anthony:  Well I think what happened there is that the, like much else about Martin McGuinness’ life, the IRA has been pushed to the background and the IRA was, in effect, hidden from that funeral. There may have been key IRA figures putting on the Tricolour standing at the coffin as it was leaving his home but in order to allow the dignitaries, as they are called, and the luminaries to come to bury Mr. McGuinness but not to mourn him they had to hide the IRA. And therefore there was no chance of Arlene Foster and Bill Clinton and that whole parade of politicians marching behind a coffin with the beret on it and the black gloves, the sort of standard funerary symbols of the IRA dead. Now in my view, we may well have a whispering campaign of some sort, or at least a whispering to the grassroots, that the beret and gloves were inside the coffin – basically still hiding the IRA away – and that the whispering that the IRA went up and put the Tricoulor on the coffin – this is all for people who are prepared to believe anything as long as it’s whispered to them. In terms of political reality, the people who came to bury Martin McGuinness but not mourn him were from the political class. They were those people who were authenticating the rule, the victory, the triumph of consent over Martin’s earlier life where he advocated, and was a strong advocate and a forceful advocate of the politics of coercion, the war to coerce the British out of Ireland. And I think this is what this funeral was about from their point of view and ensuring that that was the dominant political message that went out: Unity only by consent. And the sort of subtext of it was: The IRA campaign failed. The British Principle of Consent won. The British did not ever accept the IRA’s terms for disengagement from Ireland. The IRA accepted the British terms for British disengagement from Ireland and that, in my view, sums it up.

Martin:  Alright. I should note just on the BBC website there was a Martin McGuinness section on his obituary and I hit that up and it was actually – he and I carrying a coffin in 1985 at the funeral of an IRA Volunteer. And you can see people with berets, you can see a masked party of IRA Volunteers – and this was done at a time – I was banned, that’s why I was invited specifically to carry the coffin along side him in Doire under the watchful eyes of British troops – that’s a difference between the type of funeral that that might have been some time ago and the funeral that Martin McGuinness had and his legacy. Anthony, why was it, what was it about Martin McGuinness that made IRA Volunteers trust him so much to the degree that they did, that they made him so influential that they would follow him into this resolution of the conflict – this cessation that you’ve described?

Anthony:  Probably his longevity at the leadership level. I mean as far back as most people’s living memory can recall Martin McGuinness was there.  He was the alpha and the omega of the IRA in many respects. In 1972 he was already pretty famous by the time he went to London for negotiations with the British. After that he became a key figure in the minds of the Republican support base and a hate figure for the British. So people always identified Martin as ‘the IRA figure’. Someone who would be hard, someone who would be tough, someone who would have the Volunteers’ interests at heart and in that way I feel that because he had been around so long, because he had directed so many operations, because he was Chief of Staff at the time of the killings of the British paratroopers, the killing of Mountbatten, the killing of Robert Bradford – these are all things that took place on his watch – key IRA killings and I think that he was viewed very much as the man that could be trusted in a way that people came to feel Gerry Adams couldn’t be trusted because Gerry Adams began to be viewed as a politician and there was always a hostility towards politicians. But it wouldn’t have mattered had Martin went first rather than Gerry in terms of making the call for politics – he would have been mistrusted because bear in mind: Gerry Adams had the same military record that Martin McGuinness has. The two could be separated by a cigarette paper that we used to write out from Long Kesh on – two key military figures but is was the perception of Martin as, what the media would call the ‘hawk’, the guy who would never let us down.

Martin:   Okay. And just what did you think: Gerry Adams was the person who gave the oration at Martin McGuinness’ funeral. What’s your reaction to that oration?

Anthony:   Well I mean the fact that Gerry Adams gave the oration, in my view, was that he was really saying: We are burying Martin here today but what I want you to remember is me. This is all about me. And again, as is his tendency to impose himself on proceedings, I mean, on this day and at this time Gerry Adams should be letting Michelle O’Neill come to the fore. But he isn’t. He’s trying to overshadow her on everything. And there is some suspicions now being aired by people that Martin McGuinness didn’t bring down the Executive, that he in fact was ousted and was compelled by Adams and the Adams’ lobby to bring down the Executive. And now since the passing-on of Martin McGuinness, or the illness of Martin McGuinness, we’ve seen Adams come more and more to the fore. And I mean Adams does have this effect, even though he’s not personally sectarian, attitudinally he has this impact of alienating the Unionists in a way that one could say that Martin McGuinness didn’t have. So it certainly leads to an interesting time ahead and lots of things to play for. And I think the insertion of Gerry Adams back into it tends to create even more sectarian tension and inflame sectarian passions. And you cannot simply blame Adams for that – the Unionists have to take an awful lot of blame for this because their attitude has been woeful. And I know that they have decided to start to behave civilly – turning up at the funeral and so on – but the manner in which they treated that crowd of Sinn Féin people in Stormont that you had one SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) MLA saying he was shocked as he watched all the ranks of former IRA men and women being humiliated by the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) and not a word out of them. I mean the DUP have done this and their complete arrogance has inflamed the situation in The North so I don’t know, I mean, what way it’ll go but what we can say is that high-profile funeral, the presence of people like Bill Clinton and everybody else at it, makes it very, very hard for people entering these negotiations, who are now in these negotiations, to face the blame for them going wrong. So we can see the whole thing pushed to the deadline – pushed to the point of brinkmanship. But it has to look now, one would argue, that the – I mean a possibility for a deal anyway does increase. And Sinn Féin have a get-out clause because Arlene Foster turned up at the funeral was clapped and they can say that: Well, now what we should do is – maybe we can go into government with her. She’s not so bad after all. She has come to her senses. The best situation, the best outcome for them is for Sinn Féin not to call for her to resign or stand aside and then for her to voluntarily stand aside for a period of weeks and that gets them all off the hook. And I think something like that is likely to happen.

Martin:  And that was exactly the offer that she was given by Martin McGuinness some time ago – just to stand aside for a few weeks – and just like Peter Robinson did. Had she taken that she wouldn’t have had the election, she’d still have a ten seat majority and people wouldn’t be talking about maybe replacing her in future within the DUP. Alright, Anthony, we want to thank you for that and we’ll just play one more clip and then we will be going to Ed Moloney.

Anthony:    Thank you very much.

Martin:   Thank you, Anthony. (ends time stamp ~ 42:36)

Anthony McIntyre The Michael Reade Show 23 March 2017

The Michael Reade Show
LMFM Radio

Michael Reade is joined in the studio by Anthony McIntyre, former IRA Volunteer now author, historian and political commentator, to discuss the life and times of Martin McGuinness. (begins time stamp ~45:45)

Michael:  As you know, Martin McGuinness is going to be laid to rest today and a man who is seen by many different people in many different ways. I think we’re going to hear a different perspective on the life and times of Martin McGuinness now. Anthony McIntyre is himself a former IRA Volunteer, a former IRA prisoner. He spent eighteen years in Long Kesh, four years of that on the blanket involved in what would have been known as the ‘dirty protest’ as such and the protest that led, indeed, to the hunger strikes. You can also read Anthony McIntyre’s thoughts on his blog, The Pensive Quill. And he’s living in Drogheda these days. He’s come in to us in the studio this morning. And you won’t be going north of the border to attend the funeral of Martin McGuinness, possibly for a number of reasons, but one of the reasons being that you might be arrested yourself because of the Boston Tapes, which are now notorious.

Anthony:   Well that’s – I think that’s pretty accurate you know and I also tend to joke at times: I don’t go to funerals because they won’t be going to mine and so I…but no, I’m not traveling north to the funeral and I mean I hope it passes off peacefully and that there’s no sort of ridiculous protests against it or people putting up slogans because they didn’t like him or expressions that they hope people burn in Hell which is, I think, the result of a peculiar infection from religious hatred and that we’ve seen a lot of. It’s only religious people that believe in ‘burn in Hell’. I’ve seen people saying on Facebook that they’re rejoicing in his death and I’m not religious. I don’t rejoice in human suffering. I think if I were to welcome his death at all it’s only for the relief that he got at the end of a long process of suffering.

Michael:   Anthony, yourself and Martin McGuinness had ideological differences but you’re from pretty much the same origins are you not in that, at one time, both of you would have been described as men of violence, men responsible for killings. You were sent to Long Kesh for an IRA killing yourself. When did you first get to meet Martin McGuinness?

Anthony:   Well I got to meet Martin face-to-face during – I interviewed him in 1995 when I was doing a PhD and he agreed to meet me. And then I met him after that in Dublin and we discussed the interview that he had given to me. And then – I mean I found him very likable – very, very pleasant. And in later years he was very critical of me as I was of him and…

Michael:   …He called you a ‘dissident’. You called him a traitor.

Anthony:   Well I didn’t call him a traitor as such. I tend to avoid that sort of language. I find it very emotive. But he certainly abandoned Republicanism. And he called me a ‘dissident’. But he called me much worse. He put out falsehoods about me in relation to the McCartney Sisters and stuff and they were demonstrable falsehoods. So there was a serious ideological gulf, or at least a gulf in terms of opinion, between myself and Martin McGuinness. But yes, we did come from the same stable. We were people who believed in the use of violent Republicanism. But I would also say that Edmund Burke, the conservative philosopher, once said that people sleep easily in their beds or peacefully in their beds because rough men stand by ready to do violence on their behalf and Martin McGuinness was a person ready to do violence. But he wasn’t a moral monster. He took up arms against British state terrorism – against a very repressive British state. As he said himself he wasn’t a Republican because the Christian Brothers made him one. Four key events made him a Republican according to his earlier testimony and that was: The RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) murder of Samuel Devenney, the Duke Street beatings of people on protest, the British Army slaying of Seamus Cusack and the British Army slaying of Desmond Beattie in Doire in 1971. So these events made – they were monstrous moral acts that made Martin McGuinness into the person that was prepared to stand up against the British and use arms against them.

Michael:   And he made the point himself that people like Nelson Mandela would have taken up arms opposed to oppression and that it was commonplace and a legitimate form of opposing an occupation as he’d have seen it as indeed you did yourself.

Anthony:   Very much so.

Michael:   What role did he have in the IRA?

Anthony:   Well I mean he started out – he was an early Commander in Doire. He later went on to lead the Doire IRA. In 1976 he became the, after his release from prison and around the autumn of 1976 when the IRA formed the Northern Command, he became its Operations Officer responsible for operations throughout The North, The Six Counties. When Gerry Adams was arrested in 1978, February 1978, Martin McGuinness was appointed Chief of Staff. And I notice in the Irish Times today Liam Clarke’s wife has said that he replaced Adams in that position as Chief of Staff of the IRA. He was Chief of Staff of the IRA from that point until October-November 1982 so he had a tenure as Chief of Staff of five years. He was our Chief of Staff at the time of the hunger strikes when Mickey Devine and Bobby Sands and the other boys died.

Michael:  Because he had always said that he had left the IRA in 1974.

Anthony:   He did which wasn’t true; it was a falsehood. But he did say he was in it. There’s others that deny they were ever in it. I think that – and I’ve always thought why Martin picked in 1974 – and I have a belief that he knows that, given the outcome that he signed up to, it’s very, very hard to justify the IRA campaign from 1974 given that the outcome was so similar to a peace. He settled for something that he rejected in 1974 – the Unionists also rejected it also – very much so – I think that’s why he picked that year because he sort of knows – very, very hard to justify an IRA campaign post ’74.

Michael:   I was talking to Dermot Ahern yesterday who was reminding us of the meetings that he had secretly with the IRA back as far as 1988 and how there continued to be contacts through the years but that the path to peace, as he saw it, was only a prospect in 1994 when Martin McGuinness came to the table.

Anthony:   No, I don’t believe that to be the case. I think Gerry Adams had been sending – even the night that they were burying Jim Lynagh and Gerry Adams was speaking at Jim Lynagh’s funeral and threatening all sort of repercussions for powerful people in the British state and Ireland – that very night he was dispatching Alex Reid off to Charlie Haughey outlining the terms under which the IRA would consider a ceasefire. No, in terms of delivering the peace process I think Gerry would have been the more influential of the two and certainly in terms of the intellectual development of the peace process. I think Martin’s role in it was that as the key IRA person there was a belief that he would not let the IRA down – that he would not abandon the IRA. And he had been very, very forceful in his discourse. He had condemned earlier peace efforts. He described the efforts of Dáithí Ó Conaill and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh as shameful and accused them of selling out and that was in 1986 only eight years before the IRA ceasefire.

Michael:   And that was the split.

Anthony:   Yeah, well there was a split at that time, a manageable split from the point of view of Sinn Féin and the IRA…

Michael:   …Yes, to Republican Sinn Féin…

Anthony:   …and the formation later of the Continuity IRA, yes. But I think that Martin’s role was that he was seen as the IRA leader. There were lots of people, and this happens in Republican politics – that if you start to float political ideas people will suspect you of selling out. I think when people were suspicious of Adams, or lots of people were suspicious of Gerry Adams, that Gerry was more political despite Gerry’s own military past and Martin was the guy that, you know, the rock that we could rely upon and then as Martin moves on others will come in and they’ll be the rock. And eventually you know the whole thing was whittled away. I mean Martin’s role was more of chief negotiator but he didn’t negotiate too well. And if you look at what he negotiated, and this’ll probably be what he’s remembered for, he negotiated the very thing, he negotiated into existence the very thing he spent his life fighting against: He negotiated an internal solution to the problems in The North under British sovereignty. And I mean that’s one of the reasons that I’m very critical of the political line that he and the others took because I do not see how this settlement, as much as I’m glad that the war ended, I do not see how this settlement can justify the awful violence…

Michael:   …Now why do you think he did that, Anthony? I mean you said you didn’t describe him as a traitor but you clearly believe that he betrayed the beliefs and principles that led to the campaign. And that it was because Martin McGuinness was seen as a rock that he was able to take people with him which is why you see him as such a significant player in that peace process as it’s called. But if you didn’t call him a traitor you certainly insinuated that he betrayed those beliefs and ideals and that he was subordinate to the Unionists and the British occupiers.

Anthony:   Well, I’m not shying away from things that I’ve called him. Probably when I’ve a drink or two in me I’ve called him worse…

Michael:   …(laughs) Okay…

Anthony:   …than a traitor – which even he’d probably forgive me for. But you know I’ve been very harsh in my criticisms of him but I tend, and I’m sure there’s exceptions, but I tend not to use the term ‘traitor’ because I find it very, very emotive and I think that Martin McGuinness – you see, in many ways Martin McGuinness started out life not as an ideological Republican. He says very early that he did not blame the Brit – sorry – he didn’t understand the role of Downing Street at the start of the conflict. Many Republicans would see him – you’ll find this in early discourses of Gerry Kelly and people like that whereas Adams, in a sense, was a pre-1969 Republican with some sense of Republican ideology and I think Martin came in to a conflict, was brought into it. He latched onto the IRA and the IRA’s discourse, he became a senior member of it, he articulated the struggle and the actions and justified those actions in terms of IRA ideology but ultimately he came to the position, through force of circumstance – I don’t think he ever converted to the ethics or the ethos of peace – I think he converted to the politics of the peace process which is a different thing.

I think the IRA campaign failed. It failed to coerce the British state out of Ireland. The British succeeded in bringing the IRA and Sinn Féin to the principle where they now insisted there could only be unity by consent which sort of rubbishes the IRA campaign. And I think Martin, as a key IRA leader along with others who were central to that sort of IRA life, would have knew the limitations. And the IRA were heavily penetrated and I mean the campaign – I remember being at a debate in London and John Chilcot, who had done the inquiry into the war in Iraq, a pretty substantial figure, and he had been at the NIO (Northern Ireland Office) at one time and he had said that really, by the end of the 90’s, the British were not that concerned about the IRA. That they knew they had the measure of the IRA and probably knew it less from the IRA’s operational capacity, which still existed, but from the messages that were being sent by McGuinness and Adams to them. So I think Martin did abandoned all his Republican beliefs and went for the constitutional nationalist position but I don’t think he – I mean he managed the IRA defeat and he managed it quite well and he turned it into a Sinn Féin success.

Michael:    Do you find it hard to believe the event that’s about to unfold today? I mean it’s one thing to imagine President Higgins attending this funeral today or Bill Clinton for that matter but it’s another thing to think of Enda Kenny or Arlene Foster or Tony Blair attending.

Anthony:   Well I think that what’s happening here is that the political class, in some sense – and this is a very choreographed funeral – the political class is endorsing or authenticating really the hegemony of its position in the fact that Martin McGuinness, here we bury the man who has really authenticated everything we ever said, that there was only the – a united Ireland could never come about by coercion it could only come about by consent. And I think in that sense there’s a lot of political grandstanding going on on today at Martin’s funeral. As for Arlene Foster well – Arlene has to attend. I mean if she doesn’t attend she will confirm the perspective that many Nationalists hold of her as Bigot-in-Chief and I mean somebody has said that she’s back on her meds so she’s alright again. I mean they’re saying it facetiously but…

Michael:   …(laughs) I’m sure they are. I’m sure there’s no truth in that…

Anthony:   No, no. There’s no truth in it. But it’s just a facetious comment.

Michael:   I apologise for laughing. I just found it funny but we distance ourselves from that comment obviously in a legal sense – just our time has kind of run out – before we leave: A lot of people are saying that Martin McGuinness will take a lot of secrets to his grave. You’ve spoken privately to Martin McGuinness. You’ve spoken to many others about Martin McGuinness and spoken about his role in the IRA and what he may or may not have been responsible for. Are those secrets on those tapes?

Anthony:   I’m not discussing what’s on the tapes. I mean there’s court actions and stuff but I just hope that Martin McGuinness has left many of his secrets somewhere on tapes which the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) can’t get their hands on. I know that it’s very fashionable to condemn Martin McGuinness for a lot of activities but I – and particularly I’ve seen him being condemned for Franko Hegarty’s death – and Martin McGuinness probably, in all probability, did have a hand in the death of Franko Hegarty but who killed Franko Hegarty? It was the British state with their agent at the centre of the IRA Security Department. The British state have an awful lot to answer for. They were the moral monsters that produced people like Martin McGuinness.

Michael:   Okay. Anthony McIntyre, thanks for coming into us today and for the time that you have given to us. People can read more of your thoughts on The Pensive Quill blog site and thanks as I said. Good to see you.

Anthony:   Thanks very much. (ends time stamp ~ 1:00:37)

Anthony McIntyre BBC World Update 21 March 2017

World Update
BBC World Service

Dan Damon speaks to former IRA member now author and political commentator, Anthony McIntyre, about the death of Martin McGuinness. (begins time stamp ~33:54)

Note:  Where’s the audio? At the time of posting it is not available for download from the BBC.  Please use the hyperlinked title ‘World Update’ to listen along as you read.  Thank you.

Dan:   Not everyone sees Martin McGuinness as a force for positive change. I’ve been speaking to the former IRA operative, Anthony McIntyre. He spent eighteen years in prison for the killing of a British soldier. I asked him how does he think Martin McGuinness will be remembered?

Anthony:   I think he managed the defeat of the IRA campaign. The IRA campaign was designed towards getting the British out of Ireland and coercing the British out of Ireland and the British had insisted on, if there was to be any constitutional change, it would be through consent. The IRA campaign failed to remove the rock of consent and smashed itself to smithereens on that rock and Martin McGuinness and others, like Gerry Adams, managed the defeat. So I think the IRA had been defeated anyway but Martin McGuinness helped manage it and, in that sense, he built the peace process and established political institutions in The North which many people will think is certainly much better than his previous activity which was war-making.

Dan:   But as you say, there is still a British presence, okay – much less militarised than before – but the overall point of the campaign didn’t get what it set out to achieve.

Anthony:   That’s very true. The IRA campaign failed. There’s been a revisionist history coming into play very much sort of to suggest that the IRA campaign was aimed at equality within The North. Many years ago there used to be slogans, IRA slogans, on the walls of Belfast and Doire that ‘God made the Catholics but the Armalite had made them equal’ so there was a view that it was through the IRA’s campaign that the IRA had been made equal. This myth that the IRA fought for some sort of equality within a British state within The North of Ireland is simply that – it’s mythologising.

Dan:  Why did you, if you disapproved and you disagreed with the way that that was achieved, that power-sharing agreement, why didn’t you join the dissident IRA groups – Real IRA, Continuity IRA?

Anthony:   Well I mean I don’t think that there’s any Republican military answer to the question of partition. In fact, I don’t think there’s any Republican answer to the question of partition. I cannot see how military activity will achieve anything whatsoever and I’d seen that the IRA campaign had failed to move the British state away from the consent principle in the slightest therefore why would anybody want to associate themselves, any thinking person, want to associate themselves with campaigns of much lesser potential, much lesser ability, to achieve something that a much bigger campaign had failed to achieve? These groups, the armed groups, often talk about ‘the right of the Irish people to be free from British rule’ but they never ask the obvious question that would follow is: Do the same Irish people not have a right to be free from the violent methods that some groups use to achieve the end of British rule?

Dan:  How does his passing change the potential for Northern Ireland and its future – possible links with the Republic?

Anthony:  I think his star was on the wane. I mean he has been replaced by a woman with no military past that anybody’s aware of. I’m uncertain but I don’t think that the Sinn Féin narrative will be totally kind to Martin McGuinness. In the immediate future we will see all sorts of eulogies, as we’d seen for Ian Paisley, describing him as a ‘statesman’ when he more was more accurately described, could be more accurately described, as a ‘hatesman’. But that’s not the type of language that makes its way into the official discourse.

Dan:  That’s Anthony McIntyre who was a former IRA operative. (ends time stamp ~ 37:44)

Anthony McIntyre RFÉ 28 January 2017

Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
listen on the internet: Saturdays Noon EST

Martin Galvin (MG) speaks to former Republican prisoner now author and journalist, Anthony McIntyre, (AM) via telephone from Ireland who delivers his comments on Sinn Féin collapsing the power-sharing government, its new party leader and the comments made by Gerry Kelly concerning the informing on and the prosecution of Irish Republicans. (begins time stamp ~43:01)

MG:  And we have on the line professor, well Doctor excuse me, Anthony McIntyre, who’s the author of some of the great books, one of the great books, Good Friday: The Death of Irish Republicanism, manages The Pensive Quill blog which is a tremendous resource if you want to get a wide range of Republican thought, Irish Republican thought, that’s the place to go – that blog. And this week he was the author of one piece for the Belfast Telegraph and we had booked him to do an interview today and before we could interview him we find that we have another piece in the Belfast Telegraph dealing with Sinn Féin that we have to interview him about. Anthony, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann.

AM:  Hello, John.

MG:  This is Martin.

AM:  Oh, Martin. How are you? Sorry.

MG:  There you go – all of us WBAI Radio Free Éireann personnel sound alike. Okay. Alright Anthony, the first piece that you did, you did a piece earlier on in the week, about Sinn Féin bringing down Stormont by Martin McGuinness resigning, the party refusing to appoint a substitute as Deputy First Minister and that meant that a new election would have to be called. What is the significance of Sinn Féin doing that, withdrawing from Stormont? How did that come about?

AM:  Well it came about over the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) scandal with the – there’s a lot of allegations going around that the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) under Arlene Foster were squandering massive amounts of public money and that many DUP members were benefiting, essentially, from a scam and Sinn Féin had pushed for some sort of resolution of the matter by asking for Arlene Foster to stand aside similar to Peter Robinson having to do the same as First Minister for a six week period when there was a scandal surrounding him – he had come back in. Arlene Foster refused to do it and Sinn Féin upended the Executive but when they did they said that for ten years, which they hadn’t told people before, they had been insulted and treated with arrogance by the DUP, which was hardly a ringing endorsement for ever having gone into that arrangement in the first place. But the upshot is that we now have an election looming that will take place in The North in early March and it will be interesting to see what the outcome of that is because Michelle O’Neill, the new leader of Sinn Féin, has a lot of heavy lifting to do and it just might not be easy for her. She really has to improve the Sinn Féin vote which is already in decline in areas like West Belfast where they lost a seat in the Assembly elections to People Before Profit and the DUP will have to concede some ground to the TUV (Traditional Unionist Voice) or the UUP (Ulster Unionist Party) for the Sinn Féin move to have been successful. But strangely enough Adams, as quoted on the Slugger O’Toole website by Mick Fealty, and Mick Fealty has said that Adams has now acknowledged that the whole issue of the scandal has been handled adequately which sort of makes you wonder why the whole institutions were ever brought down or what Sinn Féin are thinking at the moment.

MG:  Well Anthony, in your article for the Belfast Telegraph during the week you said that Michelle O’Neill was part of an Assembly team that has been accused of ‘roll over Republicanism’ and that it came to – Martin McGuinness came to – ‘personify an Assembly team malaise which saw it swallow ignominy after insult which, up until it collapsed the power-splitting Executive, responded to DUP slap downs as if they were pats on the back’. And you credited the Republican grassroots with pushing them to withdraw. Could you explain what you meant by that in that paragraph?

AM:  Well what I meant was that, in my own view, is that the Sinn Féin leadership instinct was to stay in and this is what the DUP were calculating, that there were no circumstances under which the Sinn Féin leadership, who were part of a cosy arrangement in Stormont – perks, power, prestige, wealth – that they were ever going to come out of Stormont or pull out of the institutions. But over the course of years they were insulted, the DUP simply were not – I mean the way the DUP were treating them, even in relation to the Irish, the funding for the Irish language of deprived areas – of school children in deprived areas – where they denied a grant and later rescinded that decision to deny it but initially I mean the DUP were just treating them with utter contempt and basically Sinn Féin, in the eyes of the DUP, were like a trade union. As Tommy McKearney often says, the worst thing that you could be, as a trade union, is a trade union that’s afraid of going on strike and the DUP were treating Sinn Féin as they would a trade union that was afraid to go on strike. And it seems now, much to my surprise, that the grassroots did make a challenge, were very, very unhappy with the leadership’s position and they had some sort of rebellion – strange that they would rebel over the internal workings of basically an internal solution – but that’s what they did and I feel that it was what we may term the ‘sectarian impulse’, the anti-DUP impulse within Sinn Féin, trumped the careerist cartel that has been sitting up in Stormont milking the gravy train for a decade.

MG:  Alright. We’re talking with Anthony McIntyre, former prisoner, Irish Republican Army prisoner, author, runs a blog, The Pensive Quill. Anthony, one of the things that you commented about was the significance of the change from former Republican prisoners, with emphasis in your case on the prisoners, from former Republican prisoners, to somebody who was seventeen at the time of the first ceasefire, Michelle O’Neill, had no Irish Republican Army background or credentials other than being related, you know – possibly to relatives. What is the significance of that in terms of Sinn Féin’s development?

AM:  Well in, certainly in the public mind Michelle O’Neill is viewed as one of the New Age Sinn Féiners – someone who would not be handicapped by the military baggage that, for example, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness would carry. And I feel that in this move Sinn Féin are sending out a message that with the withdrawal of Martin McGuinness and the refusal to actually hand over to many, many – any one of many former IRA prisoners, Pat Sheehan, Ian Milne, Gerry Kelly, Conor Murphy – all those people and more could have been appointed leader of the party but in effect they decided to bypass the IRA past and go for a clean or new pair of hands and this was more or less saying that there’s an attempt to, a serious attempt, being made now to civilianise the party, to move power or at least leadership from the hands of the martial politicians to the civilian politicians. And it’s a sign of Sinn Féin’s journey to the realm of constitutionalism which they have been on for quite a while but I mean they’re basically doing what so many before them have done like Fianna Fáil, the Workers’ Party – all these people have ended up, more or less, doing the same thing.

MG:  Alright Anthony, we want to play a clip from one of the people that you just mentioned, Gerry Kelly. This was a clip of something that he said on The View. I was called by Gerry McGeough who was shocked by it and said that there were a number of people shocked. We’re just going to play this clip then ask you to comment on it. Gerry Kelly is, of course, a leading member of Sinn Féin, was a former prisoner, escaped from Long Kesh and has been a party leader for a long period of time from the Belfast area. Okay, we’re going to try and play this clip.

Audio:  Clip from The View is played.

MG:   Sorry, did we lose it?

AM:  I didn’t manage to hear it but I know the clip you’re referring to.

Audio:  Clip from The View continues.

MG:  I’ll just read you the last part of it. Gerry Kelly was asked by Mark Carruthers: Would you be happy to see IRA men being brought before the courts who have not previously served time for their actions if fresh evidence came to light to enable prosecutions to be possible? And he asked the question a couple of times and Gerry Kelly ends up saying: I’d accept that. That’s three times you’ve asked me. I’ve answered it. It wouldn’t be uncomfortable with me. So basically what he was saying is that if there was new evidence against former members of the IRA for historic incidents that happened during the struggle, the period between 1968-1969, 1994-1998, that he would not be uncomfortable with seeing them be prosecuted. And certainly he didn’t seem to be uncomfortable when Gerry McGeough or Seamus…

AM:   …Kearney.

MG:  …Seamus Kearney were being prosecuted. How do you feel about – what’s your reaction to that quote?

AM:  Well firstly I’m surprised that Gerry McGeough or anybody else is shocked that Gerry Kelly would do this. I mean for a long time Gerry Kelly has been calling for people to inform to the British on Republicans involved in Republican activity. He’s been calling for people to inform on the physical force tradition which, I mean even Republicans opposed to physical force – any political violence whatsoever – would, on the grounds of conscientious objection, desist from doing. And it goes back to the Fresh Start Agreement that Sinn Féin are now arguing – and Gerry Kelly did it a couple of weeks ago in relation to the prosecution of two British Paratroopers, former British Paratroopers, in relation to the extrajudicial killing of the Official IRA leader, Joe McCann – Gerry Kelly then made the point very clearly that anybody, and he didn’t say just British soldiers he said anybody who, against whom there was evidence, should be prosecuted. And he said the same the other night. So, as a former IRA leader Gerry Kelly is quite willing to see the men that he sent out on IRA activity be prosecuted by the British and it’s not going to make him uncomfortable. I think it sums up basically the character and political perspective of Gerry Kelly. I remember in prison Gerry Kelly giving me the two books, Animal Farm and 1984, by George Orwell and telling me to read them and recommending that they were worth the reading because they give an insight to what politicians who cannot be trusted will do when they get power or you allow a party to get out of control and develop an authoritarian ethos. I think many people will be very disappointed in Gerry Kelly but I’ve come to expect it.

MG:  Alright Anthony, we have a lot more we could cover but unfortunately we’ve run out of time. I want to thank you for being with us. (ends time stamp ~ 56:06)

Anthony McIntyre RTÉ Drivetime 8 December 2016

RTÉ Radio One
8 December 2016

Programme Host Mary Wilson (MW) speaks to former Republican prisoner and blanketman now historian, writer and political analyst Anthony McIntyre (AM) about the latest developments in the raging controversy over the clash between Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and Austin Stack.

MW:   Brian Stack was a senior officer at Portlaoise Prison which held many Republicans at the height of The Troubles. Mr. Stack was shot in the back of the neck on the twenty-fifth of March 1983 as he left a boxing match in Dublin. From the RTÉ Radio archives here’s Seán O’Rourke reporting news of that shooting.

Audio:  Portion of Seán O’Rourke’s news report from 1983 is played.

MW:   Brian Stack died from his injuries the following year. In the Summer of 2013 the IRA admitted to his murder. When that admission finally came Brian Stack’s son, Austin, along with the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, spoke to me here on Drivetime and Austin Stack told me about the role Gerry Adams played in securing that admission.

Audio:  Portion of Wilson’s 2013 interview with Austin Stack is played and is transcribed below.

Austin:   We met Gerry Adams. We had an open and frank discussion with him. We laid it on the line for him. We told him that he could trust us, myself and Oliver. And…

MW:   …What did you want to know?

Austin:   We wanted, what we wanted was an acceptance, we wanted the responsibility – we wanted the IRA to admit responsibility – that is key for us. I told Gerry Adams that I did have private information, that I had information that would lead me to believe the IRA were responsible and that I had information that I would maybe know the individuals that were responsible.

MW:   Was he open to what you were asking of him?

Austin:   He was. He told us that, initially he told us that what he would do was – there would be no promises – and he said I’ll go away and see what I can do. He said I will try and help you. (2013 interview audio ends)

MW:  With Gerry Adams’ help Austin and his brother were taken to meet a senior IRA figure known to them only as ‘John’. (2013 interview audio resumes and is transcribed below.)

Austin:  Essentially they told us that it was a group of IRA members had carried out the attack acting on the orders from their commanding officer. The IRA expressed regret for what had happened to my father. They also put in context the reasons why an attack on my father would have happened. They did also say it that it hadn’t been sanctioned by the leadership and that when the leadership of the IRA became aware that it was their members that carried out the attack that they disciplined the individual who issued the instruction.

MW:  Did you ask what happened to the Volunteer?

Austin:  No, to be honest I didn’t ask what happened to the Volunteer. I preferred maybe to stay away from that. (2013 interview audio ends)

MW:   That was Austin Stack speaking to me in August of 2013. Now the story did not go away. Two weeks ago the Irish Independent revealed that days before the general election in February Gerry Adams contacted the Garda Commissioner and gave her the names of four people who, according to Deputy Adams, were given to him by Austin Stack. Mr. Stack’s murder became an election issue after Austin Stack claimed to have information that senior members of Sinn Féin were connected to his father’s murder. Austin Stack denies that he gave these names to Gerry Adams so last night Deputy Adams made a statement to the Dáil.

Audio:  Portion of Gerry Adams addressing the Dáil on the evening of 7 December 2016 is played and is transcribed below.

Adams: In 2013 Austin gave me the names of four people whom he believed might have information on the case. He told me that he had been given these names by journalistic and Garda sources. Now Austin denies giving me names. Why on earth would I say I received the names from him if I didn’t? In February of this year Austin Stack also claimed that he gave the names to the Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin. So if Austin Stack was prepared to give names to Mr. Martin why would he not have given them to me?  I was, after all, the person he was asking to arrange a meeting. At Austin’s request I contacted those that I could from the names he gave me. They denied having any information about the killing of Brian Stack. I told Austin Stack this. (audio ends)

MW:  In response and under Dáil privilege Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell named two Sinn Féin TDs in connection with this matter.

Audio:  Portion of Alan Farrell addressing Dáil on the evening of 7 December 2016 is played and is transcribed below. (The voice of the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, is also heard.)

Farrell: Ceann Comhairle, I think it entirely appropriate, given Deputy Adams has been afforded the opportunity to explain to the house his involvement and or his discussions with individuals relating to this case, that the two other individuals, who are members of this house, who he himself has named…

Ó Fearghail: …No…

Farrell: …and which are already in the public domain…

Ó Fearghail: …No,no, that’s not a point of order. That’s not a point of order.

Farrell: …that Deputies Ellis and Ferris…

Ó Fearghaíl: …Deputy Farrell…

Farrell: …be given the opportunity to address this house.

Ó Fearghaíl: …would you, would you resume your seat? (audio ends)

MW:   Both Martin Ferris and Dessie Ellis deny any knowledge of or connection to Brian Stack’s killing. Again today Austin Stack criticised Gerry Adams and now wants Mr. Adams to give Gardaí the name of his IRA contact.

Audio:  Portion of interview with Austin Stack on today’s RTÉ News at One is played and is transcribed below.

Austin:  Gerry Adams had the name of an individual who he tasked with investigating a murder, the murder of a senior state official. Gerry Adams took myself and my brother to meet that individual. That individual told us that he spoke to the individuals concerned that perpetrated my father’s murder. Gerry Adams needs to go to An Garda Siochána and give that information. (audio ends)

MW:   That was Austin Stack speaking to Conor Brophy on today’s News at One. I’m joined now by academic and Republican commentator Anthony McIntyre who has in the past been a sharp critic of Gerry Adams. And Anthony McIntyre, there’s a clear conflict now between Austin Stack’s assertion that he didn’t give Gerry Adams any names and Gerry Adams’ claims that he did. What do you make of this and who do you believe?

AM:   Well the balance of probability would suggest that Austin Stack is more reliable in this case. I mean Mr. Adams has a long history of dissembling and prevarication on these matters including his claim never to have been a member of the IRA which nobody believes. And I’m of the view that we really have no option other than to take Austin Stack’s word on this matter.

MW:   But if you pick your way through it, why would Gerry Adams give names to Gardaí that he never received, you know? What agenda would that serve?

AM:   Well it seems to me that Mr. Adams is preparing his grassroots for whatever deal is going to be struck or arranged in The North in relation to the legacy issues of the past and I think he has given the approval, in some way – given the nod of approval – to people to inform on colleagues that, former colleagues, who for one reason or another have fallen foul of the leadership and they will be blamed for the activities that the IRA carried out and the people associated with Mr. Adams and the Army Council will be exonerated. And I think it’s part of a wider game plan.

MW:   Because in the past Sinn Féin has been criticised for the circling of the protective wagons when they’re faced with a crises and now you have Gerry Adams throwing four senior Republicans under the bus which is a break with form, isn’t it?

AM:   Well it’s a major departure in many ways from the type of things that Republicans used to do and the Army Council, which Mr. Adams sat on, used to sentence people to death for informing. Mr. Adams himself said, in respect to the death of Charles McIlmurray, that the penalty for informing is death and Mr. McGuinness said it in respect of Frank Hegarty that the penalty for informing is death and people know this. So it’s a very serious departure but Mr. Adams and his party have basically thrown all Republican ideology and all Republican principle under the bus in pursuit of their political careers and I think this is something else that has really, to use your term, been ‘thrown under the bus’, as they try to become more respectable, more part of the Establishment. I think the whole business of bringing Austin Stack to meet with an IRA member to explain something about the killing of Brian Stack was really not about throwing any real serious light on what happened. I think it was about distancing the leadership, of which Mr. Adams was a part, from the actual killing, the authorising of the killing of Brian Stack.

MW:   What about like in Leinster House Gerry Adams has a credibility issue with rival political parties but what about his standing in Republican circles? He’s now an informant having handed over names to the Garda Commissioner.

AM:   Well, I mean he is guilty of what he has accused other people of. For example I mean, Danny Morrison, who has carried out a role similar to Denis Donaldson in smearing people who have disagreed with the Sinn Féin leadership, actually began calling people who were associated with the Boston College project ‘Boston College Touts’. He was labeling me ‘Anthony McIntout’ for carrying out the type of research that we were carrying out and nobody was going to law enforcement with anything there. Now what has happened is Mr. Adams in this case is guilty, in my view, of the offence of informing law enforcement about former IRA Volunteers but his own party will not view him as an informer. They will manage to con themselves or delude themselves into believing that somehow it’s a move for peace, it’s a great strategic move to out-manoeuvre Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny and I would think that Mr. Adams’ position within the party’s secure – you know, they’ve met the Queen, they’ve given up IRA weapons, they have supported consent, they’ve called for people to inform to the state so I don’t think it’s going to cause any problems in that sense but what it does do is it shows the problems that Sinn Féin face with Mr. Adams as its leader. He’s in a sort of quicksand which is too shallow to drown him but too deep to allow him to escape from it and it means that very bright talented people like like Eoin Ó Broin and Pearse Doherty, who perform very well in public, are having this sort of dark shadow cast over their performances because Sinn Féin continuously gets pulled into this past, this murky, sinister past, and really because the party insists on having martial politicians as the head of its leadership.

MW:   Anthony, thank you very much for joining us. That’s Anthony McIntyre. (ends)

Anthony McIntyre RFÉ 3 December 2016

Radio Free Éireann
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John McDonagh (JM) and Martin Galvin (MG) speak to Anthony McIntyre (AM) via telephone from Drogheda, Co. Louth about the controversy raging in Ireland over an email Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams sent to An Garda Siochána naming Sinn Féin members who may have information regarding the 1983 murder of prison officer Brian Stack. (begins time stamp ~ 30:30)

JM:   And now we’re going to be getting into Irish Republicanism. And a scandal that is I don’t want to say brewing because it’s blown up. While Gerry Adams was away in Cuba, he’s there for the funeral tomorrow of Fidel Castro, an email was sent by him telling An Garda Siochána that four of his member of Sinn Féintology, as I said he runs a cult over in Ireland that actually has a branch here in New York called Friends of Sinn Féintology, and that he said four members of Sinn Féintology might have been involved in a shooting that happened back in 1983. And the four people that were mentioned in Gerry Adams’ email all have now written to the news media saying: No, we had nothing to do with it. Although we can’t name them and they won’t name them – it’s a bizarre situation. But when Anthony McIntyre did an academic study on behalf of Boston College, going out and talking to the individual about what they did in their life, he didn’t email the Gards or the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland). All these tapes were supposed to be released when that person died.

But we’re going to play a song now. It’s from the album, Irish Catholic Boy, by Seanchaí and The Unity Squad and it’s called Gypo and the song is about Gypo Nolan from a very famous movie called The Informer and Victor McLaglen was the informer. So this is a big shout out to the man down there in Havana – it’s called Gypo.

Audio: Portion of the song, Gypo, plays.

MG:   Anthony, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann. We just heard a song, Gypo, that was played by Seanchaí and The Unity Squad dedicated to the famous film, The Informer, and the Victor McLaglen character. Now during the week there was an email that was released or showed that Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Féin who’s currently in Havana, had given the names of four individuals who were identified – three of them as senior Sinn Féin elected officials, one as a senior Republican – none of the names were released but that has caused a controversy. They were released as people of interest or who may have been involved or would have knowledge about a killing that occurred in 1983 of a prison officer of Portlaoise Prison named Brian Stack. Anthony, why is that raising so much controversy in Ireland?

AM:   Well it’s raising controversy because Mr. Adams has given the indication that he’s in possession of information about the death of Brian Stack which Brian Stack’s son, Austin Stack, has said he did not give him. Mr. Adams says that he got these names from Austin Stack. Austin Stack has been campaigning for truth and closure, he doesn’t want prosecutions, but truth and closure regarding his father’s death. Now Mr. Adams said has said that he got the names from Austin Stack during a meeting. Austin Stack has vehemently disputed this. And the safe money in Ireland is on Mr. Stack’s account being the more genuine by far. Basically the joke here: Ten out of nine people don’t believe Mr. Adams about anything.

MG:   Okay. And we should tell our listeners that Portlaoise Prison is a prison in, well it’s in Co. Laois right in The Midlands, and it is a place where Republican prisoners were and are kept – when they were arrested as part of the conflict certainly or there’s still Republican prisoners there. There have been times when the conditions there have been very difficult – there was hunger strikes there on a couple of occasions and one prison warder or prison official, Mr. Stack, was killed. The IRA was accused of it. They denied responsibility up until 2013. Now, was there any information, was there any information, Anthony, given to these individuals whose names – and again there’s all sorts of colourful descriptions and you can fill in the blanks and probably figure out who at least three if not four of them were – but is there any information that these individuals were consulted about whether their names should be passed to the Gardaí, to Irish authorities in the Twenty-Six Counties, for possible questioning or whatever other action should be taken?

AM:   Well Mr. Adams has said that he consulted with three of them. He didn’t mention the fourth. There is a claim by the Irish Independent that Mr. Adams did not, the Irish Independent claims to have contacted one of the people whose name was passed to the Gardaí by Mr. Adams and The Independent claim that that individual stated that he was quite unhappy with what Mr. Adams has done. Mr. Adams himself has denied this but again it’s a question of who do we believe in these matters? And I mean Portlaoise Prison could, at times, have been a very violent place and I think Austin Stack, Mr. Stack’s son, has said that he was aware of accusations having been made by Republican prisoners against his father although Austin Stack didn’t try to legitimise or say that these allegations were true – he merely commented on them but there was a lot of resentment within the prison against Brian Stack – many, many prisoners spoke in very harsh terms about him and I mean, his killing, while not seemingly part of any wider IRA strategy against prison officers in The South, unlike IRA strategy against prison officers in The North at the time, which could be quite concerted and violent, there was no policy in The South like that but I think on this occasion the IRA decided that it would take action and it was very much responsible for this killing in Dublin.

Now, it has also created controversy because many Republicans would regard this as an act of informing. You know, if people are giving information about the IRA directly to law enforcement agencies so that people may be investigated and prosecuted they very much see that as informing. And Kenny Donaldson today, or yesterday, in the News Letter had said that Mr. Adams had broken IRA rules and he cited the Green Book. bobby-storey-dont-break-codeWe recall Bobby Storey speaking out after Brendan Hughes’, the book on Brendan Hughes and David Ervine by Ed Moloney that was published, Voices From the Grave, and Bobby Storey would gain front page headlines in the Andersonstown News as saying: Don’t break the IRA code. So I mean, and the IRA code – I mean Brendan Hughes wasn’t breaking the IRA code although he certainly wasn’t breaking it in any serious sense by speaking and giving his memoir. The real breaking of the IRA code, the penalty for breaking the IRA code, the only – the death penalty, as Martin McGuinness often referred to it and Gerry Adams referred to it, was always handed out for informing. And I mean I can see, every way I look at this, Mr. Adams here has informed law enforcement on his colleagues in relation to IRA activity in the 1980’s and it is my view that he is trying to deflect much of the flak or responsibility by shifting responsibility for providing those names onto Austin Stack and what has, in fact, happened is Mr. Adams himself – because he was on the Army Council at the time Brian Stack was killed – Mr. Adams himself, having been on the Army Council, had probably known, after the event anyway, about the inquiry about, the discussion that must have taken place in the IRA at this time. I mean he must have known about that and it may well be that he is talking on the basis of information that he gleaned as a member of the IRA because Austin Stack says he certainly told him nothing.

MG:   Alright now, I’m reading from the Irish Independent. I’m not going to ask to speculate on the names or to name any individuals, but according to the descriptions one is:

‘Politician A’: Rural-based. A veteran individual. He’s had prior convictions and he’s described as a ‘household name’ in terms of politics.

‘Politician B’: A city-based, what I assume is a Dublin-based figure, who said on two occasions he had nothing to do with it.

‘Politician C’: Highly senior Sinn Féin figure who plays a major role in devising some of the party’s key strategy.

And a fourth one is a former IRA boss who held a senior role in the organisation in The South and was highly placed in the IRA during the killing. Why would Gerry Adams give names of individuals like that, who seemingly have some Republican rank, why would he do this just prior to the election, which is when this email was sent? Why would he do it just prior to the election that occurred last February?

AM:   Well one can only speculate as to why he decided to inform. I mean Gerry Adams, has never at any time – and he has been remarkably consistent on this – he has never allowed Republican principle or Republican codes to stand in the way of his political career. So one has to imagine that there was a political career motive for doing what he did and I mean exactly why he did it at that particular time I do not know but I would suspect that there was a certain amount of criticism coming his way as the result of the toing and froing that had been going on between the Stack Family and the IRA. I mean these people were put into blacked-out vans and taken to meet IRA people, or Mr. Adams described them as former IRA people. And I think there was a view that Mr. Adams was not coming completely clean or at least he felt vulnerable on it and then he opted to – and he says this himself in his own writing – that he decided not, and he didn’t do it for any good reason, but the reason he gives was that he decided that it would be better not to allow people like Micheál Martin or Taoiseach Edna Kenny to criticise him on the grounds that he was withholding information. And I don’t think that’s a genuine excuse. I think there’s something beneath the surface, something more egregious, but I’m not in the position to work it out exactly why he did this at the particular time that he did.

JM:   (station identification) And what we have on from Dundalk is Anthony McIntyre, former member of the IRA who spent eighteen years in Long Kesh. Anthony, I want to talk about the reaction of you doing an academic study on behalf of Boston College and what happened to you in Belfast with the wall graffiti, the intimidation of your family, the demonstration at your house in Belfast where you had to move out – do you foresee any of that happening to Gerry Adams – demonstrations or wall murals going up about him?

AM:   No, I don’t. I actually – we have been joking that they will be putting up murals ‘touting for peace’. boston-college-toutsWhat I can say is that when the Boston College project became pubic knowledge I mean Danny Morrison, who performed a role very similar to Denis Donaldson who your people in America have sort of a negative experience of, Danny Morrison had begun to smear, just as Denis Donaldson had often smeared people who were said to be opposed the leadership or the peace process, and Danny Morrison began a, he was the main person behind a campaign to call those associated with Boston College – he coined the phrase ‘Boston College Touts’ and he has often called me ‘Anthony McIntout’ rather than Anthony McIntyre. And there was a campaign of, I mean particularly after Mr. Adams’ arrest, there was a campaign of vilification, smearing, constant harassment, innuendo, veiled threats – the whole of the Falls Road was smeared with graffiti ‘Boston College Touts’ and myself was named, other people were named, there were briefings to the press. There was a widespread campaign on the internet which Morrison was involved in and others. I mean, Morrison, as you know was a very close ally of Gerry Adams and often did his dirty work and I mean I haven’t seen him out yet saying that they should be writing ‘peace process touts’ on the wall about Gerry Adams or anything. But so there will be a very muted response.Sinn Féin activists and supporters will try and do the usual intellectual somersault and justify it.

You know, I mean, I think continuously people sometimes look at me quizzically but I think continuously that were there to be a parade down the Falls Road with banners proclaiming Bobby Sands a criminal and bomb Gaza all the same people in Sinn Féin would go out and attend it. It would not be an empty parade. It would be packed and they would be telling you that: There’s a strategy here. You have to see the big picture. And we know it’s all nonsense and they don’t believe in anything any longer. And I am of the view that internally Mr. Adams will ride this out. Although I mean my wife pointed out to me, and I think there’s something to be said for it, that the – I mean the Gards are in possession of this email for quite a long time I mean since Mr. Adams sent it a while back. It’s only released now while he’s in Cuba and my wife made the observation that it’s quite possible that somebody in Sinn Féin released it as a means to try and cause some problems for him because of his refusal to move across or allow anybody to contest a leadership position. And I mean, if we look back over the histories of coups quite often they have occurred or attempted coups have occurred when the leader of a country was out of the country on foreign business so actually there may well be something to be said for that but will he get any flak, real serious flak openly, internally, for deciding to inform? No, I don’t think so. I think that there’s really nothing that can happen. He can do what he wants within that party. I mean the old ink, the old cartoon once, and if I’m right the late Brian Mór done it: ‘It’s my party and I’ll lie if I want to’.

MG:   Anthony, this week, just following what you just suggested about somebody from Sinn Féin sending that or leaking that to the press: This week in the Irish News there was a column done by Denis Bradley who lives in Doire, is very close – has had some appointments to positions through Sinn Féin, is said to be very close to Martin McGuinness – and that column was about time for Mr. Adams to go, which is something that surprised me – you don’t see people close to Sinn Féin writing columns – that’s the largest, the Irish News, is the largest selling paper in The North, Nationalist or Unionist, they say they have the largest sales of all – and to have a column from somebody placed like that, close to people, close to Doire Sinn Féin, close to Martin McGuinness, writing a column like that it was just something that very much surprised me that I didn’t expect to see, wouldn’t expect to see and it seemed to be something with a lot of implications. What do you think?

AM:   Well yes, that has been suggested but I mean I think it’s important to clarify Denis Bradley’s position. I mean Denis Bradley is, he might be close to Sinn Féin in the sense that he has relations with them but he also has relations with other political parties and Denis would put himself around a bit in order to make the type of, to establish the type of networks that he does. But ‘close to Sinn Féin’? He’s certainly not a shill of Sinn Féin or a shill of anybody in Sinn Féin and he’ll not do their dirty work or their bidding. But I think – so I don’t see it as being a plot by people in Doire and it may be suggested that Martin McGuinness – I just don’t see it as a plot by Doire people or people in Sinn Féin to get Denis to write this because I don’t believe Denis is that sort of guy. I quite like him and I believe he’s very independent in what he thinks and he just doesn’t go out and put things out at the behest of other people. But I think he’s observing the continuous flak that Mr. Adams brings to the party. The continuous bad publicity and he’s hanging on like a bad smell. And to many people it’s the smell of secret graves and decomposition and it doesn’t do the party any good. And Mr. Adams is not the sort of leader that’s really going to take Sinn Féin any further than it is at the minute. And there are some very capable Sinn Féin public representatives who do quite well on media. Pearse Doherty on economics far outshines Gerry Adams.  Eoin Ó Broin in detail and media presentation has been very, very savvy – completely outshines and outperforms him.

And I am of the view that people like Denis Bradley who don’t wish Sinn Féin any harm but probably would like to see them democratise and do something useful for people because Sinn Féin have an awful lot of good workers, particularly in the Republic, or in The South, who are not – don’t buy into all the rubbish that has been sold them. And I think that Denis Bradley probably sees Adams as a brake on Sinn Féin’s serious progress in The South of Ireland and has said: Look, this is like a tinpot dictatorship. No democratic party can really function for over three decades without one leadership challenge and I mean can the party think so poorly of itself, is it so talent-less that it is incapable of producing another leader? That it thinks the only person who can lead them is a man who, by common consent, is economically illiterate and that’s an observation, not a criticism because I’m pretty dumb myself when it comes to economics but I mean at least one dummy can recognise another….

JM:   …Well, Anthony, yeah – we just wanted to start wrapping up. Last week we had on Dixie Elliott from Doire and we were talking about the film that’s now here in New York called Bobby Sands: 66 Days. And we know that you did eighteen years in Long Kesh, which is now being turned into a heliport, thanks to the Unionists and Gerry Adams’ brilliant strategy, but did you see the movie and what’d you think about it?

AM:   No, I didn’t see the movie. I had intended to go and for some reason or another I didn’t. I want to sit back a bit anyway now and wait until the hype has died down and stuff so I’m not able to comment on it. But Richard (O’Rawe) has watched it and Dixie Elliott has watched it and they have made some very interesting commentary on it. But at some time I will watch it and review it, John.

JM:   We’ll have to have you on when you do that and we’re going to…

MG:   …And Anthony, before we go we just want to tell people about your blog, The Pensive Quill. I know you cover or carry a lot of the transcripts that we have on Radio Free Éireann because they’re important not just to listeners here but to readers in Ireland. And that is the place to go to if you want to get dissenting Republican opinion – there’s a big collection, it reaches a lot of people, you allow a lot of different viewpoints and sometimes even letters from me that I’ve had in the Irish News as well as our columns and we want to recommend everybody to The Pensive Quill – in addition you advertise our broadcast.

AM:   Well in that, Martin, it has to be said that the transcriber who has put together the transcript site has done a tremendous job, works so hard and I think the credit has to go to that person. Because without that person doing this work, and the person wishes to remain unnamed, but without that person doing this very valuable work for the rfe dot 123 or rfe dot rfe 123…

MG:   …, yeah.

AM:   Whatever the – I’m just getting confused here – it’s my old age – that person does a brilliant job in providing a service. And people really value the transcripts. The transcripts are always so well read and the reason for that is it makes life very easy – there’s no trying to decipher accents or having to labour through to get a point. And as the transcriber pointed out to me quite often for researchers and journalists copying and pasting works a treat. It’s a invaluable service and long may it continue.

JM:   Alright. Thank you. And that was Anthony McIntyre speaking about the hullabaloo that’s going on while Gerry Adams is down in Cuba about him informing on four of his members of his own party.

MG:   John, we were in a debate a long time ago in 1998 I think and somebody raised a question about would members of Sinn Féin ever cooperate and give names, if they were going to endorse the PSNI or RUC, would they be cooperating with the authorities and give names? And Martin Ferris, I think, told someone in the audience that that was disgraceful – that it would never happen.

JM:   That was Rob O’Sullivan (the audience member). He (Martin Ferris) said: I wouldn’t dignify that with a response. (ends time stamp ~ 55:04)

Anthony McIntyre RFÉ 20 August 2016

Radio Free Éireann
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listen on the internet: Saturdays Noon EST

Martin Galvin (MG) interviews author and political analyst Anthony McIntyre (AM) via telephone from Ireland about the breaking National Asset Management Agency ‘coaching scandal’ which mainly involves now former Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay and Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson.
(begins time stamp ~ 38:00)

MG:  With us on the line we have Dr. Anthony McIntyre. He is the author of Good Friday: The Death of Irish Republicanism, one of the best books on Irish Republicanism that there is. He’s also the person, the moderator, of The Pensive Quill. It is the website and we want to thank you for putting up a lot of our interviews that have been transcribed from WBAI Radio Free Éireann. They get widely read. That is one of the best sites that you see – there’s a lot of different groups putting material on – will comment, read material. If you want to have a debate in terms of the North of Ireland that website, The Pensive Quill, is the place to go. Anthony, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann.

AM:  Thank you very much, Martin.

MG:  Anthony, I quoted Alex Kane before – somebody I wouldn’t usually. He’s a Unionist commentator and writer for papers like the Belfast Telegraph, he sometimes writes for the Irish News or sometimes for The News Letter, the paper which had so much to say against Gerry McGeough last week but he made a comment. He said: Just when you think Irish politics in The North cannot get any stranger – where you think nothing else can surprise you there’s always a group of people who will prove you wrong.

And he was talking about the fact that there was a Stormont committee hearing – people in the United States would be familiar with a few years ago, 2008-2009 it was a tremendous – mortgages went bad, banks threatened to fall – the government in the United States had to bail out banks. And in Ireland, particularly in the Twenty-Six Counties, the Irish government, they held a tremendous portfolio. They had to sell off property. They established the National Asset Management Association (NAMA) and they sold more than a billion pounds, and that’s English pounds I believe, of property in the Six Counties and then it turned out a few years ago that there were a number of notable politicians, a number of notable attorneys, a number of notable what we’d call ‘fixers’ who may have or were accused of getting payoffs, back enders, huge commissions as part of this sale which seemed to be corrupt. And one of the names in a committee hearing was Peter Robinson, who was then the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) head. And he was named by an individual named Jamie Bryson and it turned out within the past week that he been coached in that testimony by a member of Sinn Féin, Daithí McKay. Could you tell us who Jamie Bryson is and Daithí McKay and why the fact that one of them would be coaching the other against Peter Robinson – why that has caused so much controversy and headlines in the North of Ireland?

AM:  Well firstly, Alex Kane is one of the most incisive and insightful political commentators around. I read his piece today and I thought it was on the money. Secondly, Jamie Bryson is a Loyalist who had political ambitions as far back as 2012 -2011 – he ran for Council elections but was resoundingly rejected by the electorate – I think he got a hundred and sixty-odd votes. And he then was thrust into the public spotlight as a result of his central role in the flags campaign which was a Loyalist campaign, often violent and disruptive, against the decisions pertaining to the flags that were agreed in Belfast City Council. And he has become a blogger and a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). He’s very articulate and engages with a wide number of groups. I think people are probably surprised that Jamie Bryson, given his earlier days and his discourse, is able to converse quite intelligently with a wide spectrum of political opinion. And Daithí McKay is a Sinn Féin, was a Sinn Féin MLA. He was a very young Councillor in North Antrim – well-regarded – has been a solid community representative. He has also been sort of one of the voices in Sinn Féin that has tackled corruption in the political system. Back in 2007 he was heavily involved in criticising Seymour Sweeney, who was a DUP member and was awarded a contract by Arlene Foster, who was the DUP Finance Minister. So, I mean, the two of them have form and Jamie Bryson will be probably better known given that he is involved probably in more controversy.

Why was he supporting, why was Daithí McKay coaching…

MG: …Anthony – if I could break in just to explain to Americans: Jamie Bryson was best known for leading what were called the ‘flag protests’ – meaning that when there was a vote in Belfast City Council not to fly the Union Jack, the British flag, except on designated days – there was a compromise made. And that was so shocking to him that he and others protested every day, they wanted to march through the city centre, he was actually charged with that, he hid out for a while, he was brought in before a court and he would be viewed as somebody who would be shocked or angry – described himself as a hardline Unionist, viewed as somebody who was angry if you couldn’t fly the British flag every day, and of course you can never fly the Irish flag over Belfast City Hall or any public buildings in The North. And then he, it appears, is coached. There is correspondence now that’s been leaked. And he was given help in an appearance before that committee that Daithí McKay would lead and how did these two people with such different backgrounds get involved together? How would Daithí McKay feel confident – Jamie Bryson feel confident – having correspondence – Twitter through each other – and why would Daithí McKay be using Jamie Bryson as an ally to attack Peter Robinson?

AM:  Well the notion that people of what seemingly, on the surface, are diametrically opposed political perspectives don’t sort of tick tack and don’t have back-channels is really far removed from the political reality in The North. I don’t know the specifics or the mechanics of how Daithí McKay came in touch with Jamie Bryson but it would be no hard matter to do. But back in 2015 when Jamie Bryson was giving his evidence around that time in this inquiry Sinn Féin were in the middle – there had been a sort of serious tension between Sinn Féin and the DUP – and Alex Kane actually once described the two parties as being: even though they’re in government they actually hated each other and I think that was a fairly sort of accurate description. And Sinn Féin felt that Peter Robinson was causing a lot of friction and was putting them under pressure and simply making it hard for Sinn Féin to deal with. So they had an interest in curbing Robinson and even bringing him down and seeing him replaced. And we have seen him replaced. (And incidentally, he was replaced. He stood down eight weeks after Jamie Bryson made the allegations.)

But Jamie Bryson himself would have been acting, in my view, on information provided to him not by Daithí McKay – Daithí McKay coached him as to how to best present his information so that as much of it as possible could be brought before the committee investigating this matter rather than Bryson sort of making a mistake, a procedural mistake, which would have allowed the DUP to effectively silence him and halt the proceedings. So Daithí McKay was advising him how best to present the evidence that he had. But crucially, the evidence that he did have did not come from Sinn Féin – it came from senior DUP politicians who had some sort of animosity towards Peter Robinson and they wanted to give him the heave-ho. And I would feel now that Jamie Bryson has fired a shot over their bows and they must be very, very nervous as to what he might leak next because they spoke to him and he now has them by the short and curlies, to borrow a phrase. Sinn Féin are probably under a lot of pressure, too, because while they have said that Daithí has went on a solo run and that Daithí sort of has accepted that he made a bad mistake I don’t believe that’s the way things happen within Sinn Féin. It was never my experience and I notice that the former (Sinn Féin) MLA, Davy Hyland, has said that Sinn Féin don’t do solo runs.  Now there seems to be universal political agreement outside of Sinn Féin that this was not a solo run and that people in their senior leadership had knowledge of this – which people they’re talking about we don’t know – Martin McGuinness has denied it. Those denials Martin McGuinness was saying will be hard to get across the line because in all the controversies and scandals that have beset Sinn Féin over the years Martin has denied virtually everything and later it’s come back to bite him on the rear end.

And I am of the view, without having any evidence, I am of the view that the person most likely, at senior level in Sinn Féin, to be in danger from this bruhaha would be Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, the Finance Minister, because Máirtín’s name was actually mentioned in all the correspondence between Daithí McKay, who was using Thomas O’Hara’s Twitter account, but most people feel that Daithí was actually using that account to convey the message to Bryson. And Jamie Bryson himself has said that he was never in touch with Thomas O’Hara – he was always in touch with Daithí McKay. Now the problem here is that because Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has been mentioned we have Mike Nesbitt of the Ulster Unionists and Colum Eastwood of the SDLP now calling for Máirtín to explain himself or to stand down until such time as a full investigation has taken place. Máirtín Ó Muilleoir may well be very innocent in all of this but it seems that Sinn Féin are frightened and are circling the wagons around him to borrow a phrase from Suzanne Breen’s excellent article in the Belfast Telegraph on the matter and the other people, the critics of Sinn Féin, the likes of the competitors of Sinn Féin, certainly the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists, are going for the jugular on this matter.

MG: Well there has been calls for a police investigation is that… as well as political calls for some sort of public inquiry, that sort of thing. Is there any possibility…

AM: …Maurice Morrow of the DUP has called – he has put in a complaint to some sort of adjudicator who investigates these complaints within the Assembly. Now others are calling, the DUP as well, are calling for a full-scale police investigation. That could cause a lot of problems for Sinn Féin because what would happen then is the police would have power of discovery and they would go after email trails and any sort of correspondence that leaves a paper trail and that could start to flush out other Sinn Féin figures who may have been involved in this thing and also it would be an embarrassment to the DUP because the DUP, key figures within the DUP, in my view, have been responsible, at least that’s my understanding, have been responsible for providing Jamie Bryson with this information.

MG: Well you also have – there’ll be cross-community support for this. The SDLP, Colum Eastwood, has written a very strong piece in the Irish News, an Op-Ed, condemning what happened – he is the head of the SDLP. You’ll have Mike Nesbitt doing the same thing. Sinn Féin would be in a very difficult position to block anything they’ve said; it won’t go any further, they expect to be vindicated. How would they prevent some sort of inquiry going on through Stormont to see how far up the chain this may have gone – whether it was Daithí McKay’s idea or whether it went much further as Davy Hyland and others have suggested?

AM:  Well Sinn Féin would obviously like to block a full-scale inquiry if they have anything to hide. If they’ve nothing to hide they won’t worry too much about the inquiry. But few people believe that they have nothing to hide. The problem is that for an inquiry to take place the person, the adjudicator, the commissioner with whom a complaint has been registered through Maurice Morrow. He would have to carry out an investigation. Now Alex Kane again suggests that what’s going to happen here is that a blind eye will be turned – that the political project, the Assembly – it’s too big to fail so they’ll find some way of glossing over it and diffusing it and Daithí McKay, I mean who, as Suzanne Breen rightly said isn’t the biggest political rogue in all of this, and it’s amasing that it’s headed for this road as the result of widespread corruption. I think Suzanne’s right – that it’s not over yet and there’s more to come on this issue and you know a lot of the cards are in Jamie Bryson’s hands at the moment. Particularly in relation to the DUP, see. But Bryson has also alluded to what he says is a fact that the people higher up than Daithí, to use Jamie’s phrase, were actually involved in this and knew about the communication between himself – Jamie Bryson and Daithí McKay.

MG: Alright Anthony, our producer is signaling me that we’re just about out of time. This is a story that’s going to continue. We’re waiting to see what people like Arlene Foster, who is the present head of the DUP, says about this effort, this cooperative effort, to try and go after her predecessor with the DUP, Peter Robinson. We want to thank you for making some sense of that for our audience today and this, as you say, is a story that’s going to continue to go. (ends time stamp ~ 54:20)

Anthony McIntyre RFÉ 11 June 2016

Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
listen on the internet: Saturdays Noon EST

John McDonagh (JM) and Martin Galvin (MG) interview Anthony McIntyre (AM) via telephone from Ireland about the Freddie Scappaticci Steaknife inquiry and the latest on the Boston College tape case.  (begins time stamp ~ 47:57)

MG: Anthony, are you there on the line?

AM: I am indeed.

MG: Anthony, we had actually contacted you about the Boston tapes and to get the latest about what’s happening to you but John told me that he was listening to RTÉ yesterday – another investigation – that into Freddie Scappaticci: He was a member of the IRA who is being investigated for, so far, about fifty murders using, saying that he was dealing with, discovering, uncovering informers when at the same time he would have been one of the biggest informers of them all and that investigation was launched and he said that you were one of the people who were brought in to give expert commentary on that so we wanted ask your reaction to that report. (With the announcement of that investigation, sorry.)

AM: Well Freddie Scappaticci, who was a senior informer, most likely not the most senior informer in the armoury of the British state but a very senior informer and certainly the British Army’s most senior agent within the ranks of the IRA. And he for long was crucial to British state strategy in encouraging a move away from a military activity on the part of the IRA towards the docile type of set up that they have now within the Republicanism of Sinn Féin and in that sense he would have been crucial to the British state’s cultivation of the peace process even though he wouldn’t have thought about it in terms of the peace process himself. And this investigation will certainly open up a can of worms because I don’t have any faith in it delivering justice or much truth for the relatives, ultimately, of the dead. At the end of the day I have no real experience of the British state willing to divulge its innermost secrets in relation to the Northern conflict. And I noticed today that Mr. Adams has been trying to infer or imply that the investigation is about the use of agents and, therefore, the British should open up their files on this.

But it’s not really about the use of agents. It’s about the killings that agents were involved in and George Hamilton, the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) Chief Constable, has made it very clear and has been making it clear in the past year that the investigation into Freddie Scappaticci, part of the remit, part of the terms of reference is that because it’s investigating not the use of state agents but the killing by state agents in the pay of the British is that the people who were also involved in those killings, the hierarchy of the IRA, the people who on the Army Council who signed off on it and who Scappaticci knows signed off on it, these people are all being brought into the frame now so I think that it has serious repercussions and I think to some extent it explains Sinn Féin’s willingness back in 2003 to cover up for Freddie Scappaticci. I mean this was a man at the heart of British state atrocities and yet we had Sinn Féin trying to pretend that it was all a British state myth. We had Danny Morrison and Gerry Adams pretending that it was all a myth although Morrison now tells us he knew that Freddie Scappaticci was an agent as far back as 1990 yet thirteen years later he was covering for him? At the same time we had a journalist/lecturer called Niall Meehan in Griffith College, Dublin writing under the name Adam O’Toole in the Republican News trying to rubbish the whole notion that Freddie Scappaticci was a British agent and simply suggesting that the Steaknife story was an elaborate British hoax. I think all these people are going to find themselves having serious questions to answer as to why they covered for the British state’s one of the most notorious agents that the British state had operating in this country and most murderous – he’s being investigated in relation to fifty killings!

JM: Anthony, I wanted to refer back to the coverage in the Twenty-Six Counties and the Six Counties. Yesterday I was listening to RTÉ and BBC Ulster. RTÉ opened with this investigation on Scappaticci with you – you knew him in the ’70’s. And then at twelve o’clock BBC Ulster came on and it was about the 4th story down – the Queen’s ninetieth birthday party, a plane crash, the Northern Ireland football team in France but then they had an interview with Jeffrey Donaldson who said he was grateful for IRA informers because the police were able to tip him off that he was to be assassinated and he’s forever grateful for that IRA informer – and it just showed the different way of covering it in the Twenty-Six Counties as to the Six Counties saying this was great that the state did this.

AM: Well, I mean I think RTÉ, at times, have been less than good in their presentation of what goes on in The North or what has gone on in The North and sometimes the BBC have been good, in particular to some of the Spotlight programmes that they’ve brought out and they have brought out a lot of good stuff in relation to Freddie Scappaticci and murky activities. Yesterday’s manner of reporting was, to say the least, very, very strange and I don’t know why they prioritise the things that they do. But you would imagine coming the day after the Loughinisland announcement by the Police Ombudsman, Dr. Michael Maguire, you would have imagined that this would have had more coverage – would have been prioritised – pushed up to the top of the news line in the Northern news – it wasn’t. I think that the public was badly serviced yesterday.

MG: Alright, Anthony, we just want to get to your own situation with the Boston tapes. The British are trying to get a federal court to force Boston College to hand over tapes of interviews which you gave. They have an International Letter of Request (ILOR) which is supposed to outline the reasons why they’re seeking this subpoena. But now they want to apply some kind of censorship legislation, a Public Interest Immunity Certificate (PII), to say that you should not be told or no one should be told or become aware of the reason why they need these tapes to investigate. What is your reaction to the latest in this development? (I have to tell you – we just have one minute to summarise all that.)

AM: The British are not investigating me at all they’re using this as a wedge, a mechanism to try and prise an opening just to read what my interviews have been. There is no investigation. They’ve been lying through their teeth and they’ve been lying on the ILOR  as well.

MG: Alright, Anthony, on that note we want to thank you. We want to follow-up. (ends time stamp ~ 55:20)