Kieran Conway RFÉ 12 November 2016

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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) speak to former IRA Director of Intelligence Kieran Conway (KC) via telephone from Dublin about his memoir and his recent interviews with the BBC. (begins time stamp ~ 39:30)

MG:   With us on the line we have Kieran Conway. Kieran, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann. Now Kieran, your book…

JM:   … Who is Kieran Conway?

MG:   Kieran Conway is the author of a book, Southside Provisional, and what it does – it details very well – is he’s a young man who grew up in south Dublin who is well educated, who had the middle class suburbs of south Dublin and saw what was happening. Lived through the fiftieth anniversary of 1916. Saw what was happening in The North of Ireland, civil rights movement being attacked, Nationalists’ homes being attacked, riots – and decided to join and become a soldier with the Irish Republican Movement. And the reason why we’ve invited Kieran back – John, you’ve talked about The Stephen Nolan Show and some of the other shows – recently they invited Kieran to be interviewed and asked questions like: ‘Are you a psychopath?’ and ‘Are you a sensitive bomber?’ – things of that nature. So he survived those questions and we thought we’d bring him back to Radio Free Éireann to answer a different type of question. Kieran, are you with us?

KC:   I am, yeah. Glad to be here.

MG:   And where can we get Southside Provisional ?  Where can people get that book that details so much – what happened, what led to the struggle – it wasn’t something that people thought they had an idea of joining – that it was something that seemed to be forced on them as a way in which to end British rule, to end the injustices, to end the brutal way in which civil rights – the injustice with which the British treated the civil rights movement. Where can we get that book? southside-provisional

KC:  I’m not sure if hard copies are available in book shops in The States, I suspect not. It’s available on amazon both in hard copy and in the Kindle version and it’s also available on iBooks.

MG:   Well I’ve got it in paperback so it’s available someplace in paperback but check Okay. Kieran, just briefly, you said during those interviews with Stephen Nolan, you were called back, that you decided, you made a decision to join the Irish Republican Army in response to what was happening in the late ’60’s – early ’70’s, that you still regard yourself as a soldier who was a combatant in what was at the time when it started – I’m not talking about post-1998 – we don’t want anybody to call you and try to prosecute you – but you joined what you believed at the time was a legitimate war to end British rule, to bring freedom to The North of Ireland. What are some of the things that led you to that decision?

KC:   Well absolutely I believed it was a just war and I have never deviated from that. I’m quite certain of it. I suffer no guilt and no – well, a general remorse given that the struggle turned out to be for nothing but yeah, if I had my time again I would do it all over again. I joined – I went to the university first in 1968 against the backdrop of revolts throughout Europe and in the US as well and also, to a lesser extent, in the UK. I became, as was common at the time, I became a communist and so firstly as a socialist and then in 1969 The North blew up. Catholic areas were attacked by the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) and Loyalists. People were killed, hundreds of houses were burned out. The was a refugee problem – the biggest in Europe since the Second World War and I joined the Republican Club when I went back to college. Within a few months I became Secretary of the club and shortly afterwards, around Christmastime, I decided that I should follow the logic of my convictions and join the IRA.

MG:   Alright. And you rose through the ranks. You became an intelligence officer.

KC:   Yeah well, at first it was very difficult to join the IRA. Given my background there were no Provisionals in UCD, University College Dublin, where I was studying law. I was a member of the Official Republican Movement. I tried to join their army – they told me not to be so childish, that they had plenty of working class lads to fight and they wanted me to get my degree and they would assist me into a job in trade unionism or the media where I would be of more value to their revolution. I wasn’t happy with that. I started to look at the Provisionals, I liked what I saw and it still took me nine months to join and I had to go to England to do so.

MG:   Okay. One of the things that you’re questioned about – and I know, John and I have friends, The Butlers – Kathy and Helen Butler and Will Butler – who are related to Eddie Butler, but one of the things they say: How did you leave, how did the IRA leave people in jail unjustly who they knew were innocent in Birmingham, in Guildford, etc?

KC:   Well it’s not true that they did. Eddie Butler, for instance, is one of those who loudly proclaimed that it was them that did the bombings that the Guildford people had been convicted of. The British knew perfectly well in that case and in the case of the Birmingham Six that the people they’d slammed up were innocent. They didn’t care. They wanted scapegoats. The people they convicted fitted the bill. It was a disgraceful episode in the British judicial history – one they should be thoroughly ashamed of – but anyway it all came right in the end in that the people were vindicated and released. And the IRA from Day One in relation to both Birmingham and Guildford and various other matters like Judith Ward said that the people who had been arrested were not members of the IRA, had not participated in those operations and that they were IRA operations. There’s misconceptions about that, for instance, various journalists have said that I’m the first to admit that the IRA had bombed Birmingham – that is simply not true. It was admitted from Day One.

JM:   Kieran, John McDonagh here. Here’s one of the problems now: Sinn Féin negotiated the Good Friday Agreement and this was supposed to put an end to everything and as we’ve had Brendan Hughes on saying it wasn’t worth the struggle – or as he said ‘getting out of bed’ – you stated this was a waste of time and lives, what went on because of the end result with now Sinn Féin, who will be taking their seats in Westminster. But what’s going on now is even with these historical committees they’ve set up in The North they’re looking to even extradite you because they claim that you have some knowledge about what happened in Birmingham. Now, whatever you want to say about the partition of Ireland, 1921, the government that was set up in Dublin would not have been extraditing anyone that would have been accused of anything, a bombing campaign say earlier in the struggle in England or being involved with the struggle – they were honoured – those men and women were honoured. Unlike in The North – they’re not honoured. They cannot get funding for statues up there or for plaques or anything like that, that what’s going on now shows that Sinn Féin lost, that the British government still wants to extradite people all these years later – they won’t prosecute their own soldiers – but there’s talk about trying to have you extradited over to England and to face charges for the Birmingham bombings.

KC:   Ah, well, there’s no possible charge they could bring against me in relation to Birmingham except withholding information. The names of the bombers are well-known. I’m not going to repeat them. I’d never finger an IRA man. But the names of the bombers have been, do you know what I mean, they’ve been mentioned on British TV, they’re in various publications, books, loads of journalists have named them, they’re in Wikipedia as to they are, short of them taking a trip to England and making confessions there’s no evidence to convict them because all the forensics is gone and cannot now be examined. So there’s not a shred of evidence against them the men except their potential own confessions which ain’t gonna happen. The only information that I’m withholding is the name of the second man who conducted the debrief of the English Commander back in Dublin in the immediately aftermath of the bombs. And I won’t name him. He’s still alive. And as I say I would never name a living IRA man.

JM:  Now would you ever travel outside of now the Twenty-Six Counties?

KC:   I travel regularly. I go to Spain. I go to various other countries. I avoid the UK for obvious reasons; I think I’d be arrested. I avoid The North also although I have been back – you know what I mean, quietly, furtively but yeah, that’s it – I travel widely otherwise. Although unfortunately I was very much hoping Hillary Clinton would win – that may or may not be popular with your listeners simply because I would have written a personal letter to her and asked her would she allow me to visit The States which I’d very much like to do before I die.

MG:   Kieran, you’re not the only one who had ideas of letters – we’ve talked about some of the ex-prisoners here who are in similar situations. Kieran, I do want to ask you, in you book – and again, this is a great book – it details first-hand knowledge of people like Billy McKee, people like Martin McGuinness, others – serving with them or your interaction with them through the early years of the struggle. But in the book…

KC:   …Well McKee – just before you go on – I’d just like to pay tribute to McKee. He’s now in his nineties and he is the IRA man that I most admire and heard most from. I really have huge, huge regard for him.

MG:   As would I. He is somebody who still stands up, makes speeches – well he will give statements occasionally just about what he thinks is wrong. But what I want to ask you about is: In your book, well I’m not sure if it was in the book or on this radio show, you had detailed leaving the Republican Movement on the day of the Downing Street Declaration and how you thought that this meant there would never be a united Ireland, that everything that you had fought for, that everything so many Irish men and women had fought for was never going to happen in your lifetime. Could you explain that?

KC:   I could. What happened was that I went into the Sinn Féin offices that day and I went down to the An Phoblacht offices close by to watch the much-anticipated Downing Street Declaration. We expected something to be said to indicate that the British had no interest in remaining in Ireland. In fact what was said was simply a re-statement of then British policy about upholding the Unionist veto and so on and so forth. The mood in the room amongst the people who were watching the television was one of was deep despondency and the next thing, anyway, there was a call from Belfast. Gerry Adams was the caller. He spoke to a senior member of Sinn Féin and that Sinn Féin member then turned to the rest in the room and said: Listen. Gerry says everybody should settle down. That there’s more to this than meets the eye and we can live with it.

I knew that that was not true. I knew that the British re-statement of policy was exactly that. And I knew that the struggle was over for me and I just left. I mean, as far as that’s concerned the people in the room were fools and idiots if they believed what was being said to them.

MG:   Well Kieran, you look at what’s happened since then, through the Stormont Agreement…

KC:   …Well what happened is exactly what I thought would happen.

MG:   Okay so why do people – there are still people who think that within any amount of time there’ll be a border poll, there’ll be a majority for a united Ireland, that by shaking hands with the royal family and standing along side Arlene Foster no matter what she does or says and making way for Orange marches down Ardoyne, that segments of Unionist or Loyalist opinion are going to convert – they’re going to suddenly vote for a united Ireland. What are your feelings about that?

KC:   The Loyalists will never change. Why should they? The entire basis of Loyalism is to maintain the link with Britain. They won’t change and there will be no change in their position and there will never be a united Ireland, certainly not in my lifetime.

MG:   Okay. Well what about all this that Sinn Féin says we won all these seats in Leinster House and this is going to make moves or it’s how it’s advancing a united Ireland. Do you see any advances coming from that – towards a united Ireland?

KC:   No, no. No, I don’t and furthermore the presence of Sinn Féin in the various parliaments, and it looks like Westminster will be next, has made absolutely no difference to the living conditions of the people who will vote for them. You know, all that’s happened is that there are Sinn Féin arses sitting in government in The North rather than SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) arses but that makes no difference.

MG:   Alright. We want to thank you. We’re out of time. We could go a lot longer. Kieran, I want to thank you and just if you want to see what it was like – why somebody from Dublin – why people would join and believe that there was a legitimate struggle against British rule, enlist in the IRA, some of the leading figures in that struggle, especially in the early ’70’s and why they would be disillusioned, leave and feel that that struggle had just given up and was never going to achieve what it set out or been started to achieve and what would have justified it. I recommend Southside Provisional. I recommend Kieran Conway’s book – somebody who speaks with knowledge. Kieran, I want to thank you for being with us and also for surviving and standing up to Stephen Nolan in some of those interviews on the BBC.

KC:  (laughs) It was easy. I mean it’s the first time that I’ve been accused of being a psychopath and had no trouble dealing with the rest of it. It’s simply common abuse. It wasn’t a question. It was idiotic abuse.

MG:   Kieran, it seems to me – and I’m about the same age as you – I think we met in Parnell Square – but I believed the same thing – that that struggle was legitimate – I believed for a long period of time it was going to end British rule in Ireland and that would make it legitimate and again, we’re now at the same point where it seems like we’re starting all over and unless something changes very dramatically we’re never going to get to it.

KC:   No. It ended in total defeat of the Republican Movement which came to accept the British position on Irish unity that it will never occur without the consent of the Unionists which is never going to be forthcoming and that was complete reversal of everything they had fought against for twenty-five years – so total defeat.

MG:   Alright. Kieran, we want to thank you for being with us and we’re looking forward to having you again in future and again, the book is Southside Provisonal From Freedom Fighter to the Four Courts – all those lawyers are always very eloquent, that’s…

KC:   Thanks very much for having me on.

JM:   If you want to hear the interview again go to to the archives. If you want to read the transcript of that interview you go to or dot com is it?

MG:   It’s dot org. And we actually have the Stephen Nolan interview transcribed. So Kieran, if you want to re-live all those rude questions you can see it there and we’ll have your interview today up on our website very soon and it’ll be around, I know The Pensive Quill and some of the other sites as well.  (ends time stamp ~ 55:35)

Kieran Conway The Nolan Show 3 Nov 2016

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The Nolan Show
BBC Radio Ulster
3 November 2016

Stephen Nolan (SN) interviews former IRA Intelligence Director Kieran Conway (KC) via telephone from Dublin and has Ulster Unionist Party justice spokesperson Doug Beattie (DB) on the line from Belfast.  (The Nolan Show advises: ‘Please note this programme has been edited since transmission.‘ – Ed.)

SN:   Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie has said he’s disgusted at a BBC interview with a former IRA intelligence officer, Kieran Conway, has said he had participated in a number of armed robberies in England, half a dozen commercial bombings and shootings including a number where soldiers were killed. Mr. Beattie, who is his party’s justice spokesperson, has asked the Minister for Justice and the Chief Constable what action they intend to take following these revelations. I’ve been speaking to Doug Beattie and Kieran Conway and I started by asking Kieran Conway what he did in the IRA.

KC:  I participated in IRA operations as you’d expect an IRA man to do.

SN:  Can you give me a sense of what some of those operations were?

KC:  No, I described them in my book and in various interviews. I participated in gun battles with British soldiers. In a number of them soldiers had died though I can’t be sure if it was my bullet that caused the damage. I participated in a very small number of commercial bombings and I did armed robberies in England and I engaged in all sorts of other IRA activity.

SN:  And when you say you involved yourself in commercial bombings – did you plant bombs?

KC:  I planted a couple, yeah.

SN:  So you carried a bomb into a commercial area and set it down, did you?

KC:  I did, yeah. I’m not prepared to go into any more detail on that yet but I did a number of commercial bombings, a very small number.

SN:  And what was in your head when you’re leaving a bomb in the middle of an area where there are civilians?

KC:  Well your main concern would be that no civilians got hurt and after that you would be concerned about your own get away and it would be in that order.

SN:  How can you leave a bomb, Kieran, in a commercial area and pretend that you’re concerned about civilians?

KC:  Well no civilians were ever hurt or far less killed in any bombing that I participated in and I’m very grateful for that because I (crosstalk) (inaudible)

SN:  But they could have been, couldn’t they, if it’s a commercial…

KC:  …clearly they’re dangerous things…

SN:  …Yeah, if you mean a commercial area…

KC:  …actually no, they couldn’t…

SN:  ….if you mean a commercial area you mean…

KC : …(crosstalk) (inaudible)…

SN:  …you mean where people shop are, right?

KC:  …they couldn’t because of the precautions that were taken.

SN:  But you left the bomb where shops were – where people shop?

KC:  Yeah, well on occasions these were at night when the street were deserted and on maybe just one occasion it was in daylight – daytime – and there would be police and a warning was phoned in and the area was definitely cleared.

SN:  Well that was very good of you to give a warning.

KC:  Yeah well, that’s what the IRA always tried to do. There were mistakes – most notoriously Birmingham, Coleraine – a number of others which just don’t come to mind at the moment – incidents like Claudy where they couldn’t find a functioning phone box, the telephone exchange had been blown up the previous week – so yeah it was IRA policy to give a warning, very, very strict policy, and there were always investigations if bombs killed civilians and people were court-martialled, if necessary, for being careless.

SN:  I was being facetious when I said it was very good of you, of course, because to…

KC:  …No, no – I understand that.

SN:  Yeah. To take the risk of leaving – I just , I’m trying to understand how someone like you sleeps in your bed at night when you know you leave a bomb down and men, women, children might get blown to smithereens.

KC:  Well men, women and children did not…

SN:  …they might have though.

KC:  …as a matter of fact. No, they might not because, as I said, suitable precautions were taken and in the one incident where it was a daylight bombing and there was people in the street the area was cleared following a warning given to the authorities.

SN:  And you committed armed robbery with the IRA?

KC:  I did.

SN:  Robbing what type of institutions?

KC:  Banks, factories for wages – things of that sort.

SN:  So you pointed a gun at someone working a nine to five job?

KC:  Yeah. With some regret – not a very nice thing to do but the IRA needed money and those things happen during revolutions. Armed robberies have a long and perfectly respectable history within the revolutionary tradition as revolutionaries need money – they have to get it somewhere.

SN:  So to hell with the person that’s traumatised for the rest of their life.

KC:  Well look yeah, it’s unfortunate but yeah – that’s the way it is during war or revolution.

SN:  You call yourself a soldier?

KC:  I do. I do most definitely. We were engaged in a just war which ended badly for us – in total defeat. But yeah, that’s what we were engaged in as far as I’m concerned. I feel no guilt or remorse or anything except that I feel a general remorse because the outcome that has been achieved could have been achieved without the spilling of a single drop of anybody’s blood. So all of that were a waste, a waste of life, completely unnecessary and in that respect should not have happened.

SN:  So people like you call yourselves soldiers and yet you said, just a matter of moments ago, that you take a weapon, you take a gun – did you point it at women?

KC:  No…

SN:  …in some of these jobs?

KC:  No…I was in a couple of banks where there would have been women cashiers – none of them were directly affected though…

SN:  So you just pointed them at men then that might still to this day have the post-traumatic stress disorder because of people like you.

KC:  You just held the gun, you just pointed the gun and yelled in the direction of the person that you wanted to rob.

SN:  Yeah. I just try to understand how you then go home and live a life after you’ve done that to another human being. You know, that’s not war, is it? That’s not war.

KC:  Well look – I mean look at what the British did during World War II. Look at something like Dresden, you know, warring (inaudible) deliberately decide to slaughter civilians – three hundred thousand killed in massive fire bombs you know – that’s the real thing – at least we gave warnings.

SN:  Doug Beattie, what’s your reaction so far to what you’ve heard already?

DB:  You know, I understand the nature of conflict but when I use the word disgusted, and I don’t use that word lightly, I’ve actually been staggered. What we’re talking about here – is a man you’re talking to on the other end of the phone who knew about the Birmingham bombing – who planted the bombs, who planned it, who debriefed them – twenty-one people dead, a hundred and eighty-seven injured, six innocent men going to jail for life and he knew about it and said nothing. He’s already admitted himself that he knows about at least a dozen war crimes and he’s not willing to say who done that. Does he know who killed Jean McConville? Does he know anything about the Stakeknife incident?

He has openly said, himself, that he has attempted to murder and possibly even murdered British soldiers. Now how on earth is this man not behind bars for what he’s done and what he’s said about withholding information? I am staggered. I am staggered that the Republic justice system has not got hold of this guy by  the scruff of the neck. I am staggered that the British government hasn’t tried to extradite him and I would want to know: Does this man hold a comfort letter?  Does he have an OTR letter? What gives him such a brazen attitude that he can sit here and quite openly say he’s done what he’s done?

SN:  Well, did you have an on-the-run letter, Kieran?

KC:  No, I don’t. The only people that would have got those were people who sided with the leadership – I would not be such a person.

SN:  Why do you think you haven’t been extradited?

KC:  Well you can’t be extradited for questioning. I mean there’s no evidence against me other than what’s in my book. Now I could be charged with IRA membership, that is certainly possible but as for being charged with – that would be up for debate.

SN:  You’ve just said openly on this programme you’ve been engaged in armed robbery.

KC:  Yeah well look, I mean they would have to charge me with armed robbery at a place unknown, on a date unknown, of people unknown you know, I mean that’d be a stretch even for the British justice system. There’s no evidence….

SN:  You think you’re clever, don’t you?

KC:  …unless I chose to make a… No, not particularly. There’s no evidence unless I chose to make a confession and I certainly won’t be doing that.

SN:  Do you know who was involved in the Birmingham Pub bombings?

KC:  I do. And so does everybody else. It’s public knowledge. It’s been published several times. It’s been on television – the names of the people. The only bit of information that I have, which would not be of any material use to the authorities, is the name of the second man who did the debrief. He is an IRA man that is still living and I won’t name him.

SN:  Why not?

KC:  Because I simply do not finger IRA men.

SN:  So you’ve written a book about all of this – I’m actually minded to think is any of this true? Are you just trying to sell a book? Do you like the attention to such an extent that maybe you didn’t do any of this?

KC:  No. The book, its contents, are all true. It hasn’t been challenged by anybody. As I said, it’s a truthful memoir.

SN:  Have you killed people?

KC:  I don’t know. I say that in the book and I’ve said it repeatedly in the dozens of interviews I’ve done since.

SN:  What do you mean you don’t know?

KC:  I don’t know. I was present when British soldiers died in gun battles but I can’t be sure that it was my bullet that caused the damage.

SN:  So you were complicit in it?

KC:  Yes. I was an IRA activist. That’s what IRA activists did.

SN:  How many people might you have you killed?

KC:  Very few.

SN:  Doug?

DB: Stephen, if I can jump in here – Now let’s put this into the narrative that Kieran is using – let’s put this as a narrative as a war. Okay so I’m a soldier and I go out on the ground, I have a rifle in my hand and I know that the likes of Kieran is going to try and kill me. Fine. I’m happy with that. And do you know what? Within the rules of engagement if I get Kieran with a weapon within my sights I’m going to kill him. That’s fine – I can live with that if that’s the narrative he wants to use. But he is saying he knows about war crimes. This is the abduction, the torturing, the murdering of civilians and he knows about it and he’s not going to tell us? Now there needs to be action purely on that if nothing else. So whatever narrative Kieran wants to use he can’t justify knowing about war crimes and not telling the authorities about those war crimes. There are families out there – and we just seen it yesterday – the families of the missing who are still waiting to get their loved ones bodies back. Does he know anything about that? If he does he needs to go to the authorities and he needs to tell them.

SN:  Do you know anything about that, Kieran?

KC:  I don’t know anything about the ‘disappeared’. ‘Disappearing’ people was quite definitely a war crime. Another war crime is Kingsmills and the shooting of uninvolved Protestants was always a war crime. They were killed in, supposedly, in retaliation for UDA (Ulster Defence Association)/UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) attacks on Catholics but retaliation of that sort on civilians is forbidden by all laws of war and should not have occurred and were war crimes so there were more than the half, many, many more, than the half-dozen that I suggested there were. Another war crimes that was, fortunately, a short-lived use of human bombs by the IRA where people were strapped into vehicles with a large amount of explosives, directed to drive to a barracks or whatever and were then blown up by remote trigger. That was a war crime. Yeah, those are crimes.

DB:  Absolutely, Kieran, and I lost a friend, Cyril Smith, by one of those human bombs that was (inaudible). As a soldier, if I know about a war crime I will report it. I will go out of my way to make sure that action is taken. If you call yourself a soldier, if you have any decency whatsoever, you should be going forward with any information you have of war crimes and passing it on. This nonsense of omerta within the IRA doesn’t really work.

KC:  Well, I don’t have specific information. I’d imagine that the authorities do. For instance in relation to Kingsmills, possibly the most notorious of them, I was not in the IRA at the time so I just don’t know. And I don’t know about the ‘disappeared’ and I don’t know about any of the other assassination of (inaudible) etc etc that I’ve mentioned.

DB:  But as a former intelligence officer, Kieran, you’ll know that every small piece of information can link to something bigger so therefore you should bring yourself up to Northern Ireland, hand yourself to the PSNI and let them question you about what you do know.

KC:  Yeah. All I can do is to repeat that I don’t know anything.

DB:  Could you not come up and let them question you? Let them ask you? Let them see if… (crosstalk) (inaudible)

KC:  …No, if I come to Belfast I would expect that I might well be arrested and charged for membership back in the ’70’s and ’80’s because I’ve admitted in my book, I’ve said it in various interviews so there’d be plenty of evidence there. I wouldn’t be answering police questions. I’ve been in custody many times and I’ve never answered police questions.

SN:  So why can’t – why can’t they…

KC:  …but that is the only evidence against me is the evidence of myself that I was an IRA man and I participated in IRA…

SN:  …So I’m trying to understand it. Maybe you could – you’re a lawyer now, Kieran, is that right?

KC:  I am, yes.

SN:  So educate me then – why can’t the authorities here in The North not extradite you based on the crime of IRA membership then?

KC:  They could. I don’t know whether the courts in The South would give me up. They quite possibly would and (crosstalk) (inaudible)

SN:  There hasn’t been an attempt to?

KC:  No, but I knew I was taking that risk when I wrote the book and I went ahead and wrote it anyway. So yes, that’s something that is conceivable.

SN:  I dare say there might be quite a few people listening to this today that would like to see a bomber like you in jail.

KC:  Oh yeah, I’m quite sure there would be, yeah.

SN:  So Doug…

KC:  My view in all that, just to finish this, is that a conflict of this sort should end with a general amnesty that should include, for instance – and this is why the Republicans won’t go for it – it should include an amnesty for the soldiers that were involved in murder on Bloody Sunday and on other occasions. There should be blanket amnesty for everybody.

SN:  Doug, why – have you asked the Minister for Justice why there’s no attempt to extradite this man?

DB:  I’ve written to both the Minister for Justice and I’ve written to the Chief Constable. I spoke to the Minister of Justice late last night. She was just coming back from an event – she couldn’t say much but she intends to raise the issue with the Chief Constable herself and I await to see what the outcome is of that. Because I mean, you know until somebody stands up and boastfully sort of starts talking about what they’ve done with no real compassion but then that’s where the issue really lies here – that people are able to do this. And I really am disgusted. And I can accept narratives of different shapes and folds and I can accept that some people see it as a just war you know. But what of these six innocent people who were jailed for life for Birmingham even though the likes of Kieran they were innocent and allowed them to go to jail, you know – how can that be justified?

KC:  It’s not true that I allowed them to go to jail or that the IRA allowed them to go to jail. The British justice system put them in jail. The British justice system knew that they were not guilty. They needed scapegoats and they chose them. The IRA said from the outset that they were innocent and they had nothing to do – they said it repeatedly.

DB:  And the IRA didn’t admit carrying out the Birmingham bombings ’til you did it yourself, I believe, in 2014?

KC:  No, no, that’s simply not the case. It was admitted many, many years ago.

SN:  Do you think then the ease with which you talk about being involved in armed robbery, the ease with which you talk about shooting at people and Ach, yeah – you don’t know if you killed people or not, the ease with which you left a bomb in a commercial area, shops in other words – there might have been a woman pushing a pram beside that – maybe she wouldn’t have got away after your warning, might have been blown up, do you think you’ve got psychopathic tendencies?

KC:  I don’t. Short answer.

SN:  So process that in your head. You don’t really care if you’ve killed people or not.

KC:  I’ve processed it. I’ve processed it. It’s not true. I was engaged in a war. Things happen in a war as I said… (crosstalk) (inaudible)

SN:  Well ISIS, who put people in cages and burn them alive, think they’re engaged in a war.

KC:  Yeah well – they’re engaged in – they’re most clearly engaged in a conflict but their means are ruthless and criminal.

SN:  Possibly psychopathic.

KC:  Yeah, I’m quite sure there are psychopaths in ISIS.

SN:  But of course, you’re not one.

KC:  No, I’m not. And if this interview is going to descend to that level of abuse we might simply call it a day.

SN:  Oh, really? You’re getting sensitive now – you’re getting sensitive Mr. Bomber?

KC:  No, no. But I’m sensitive to the charge of being a psychopath. I deny it.

SN:  So you don’t like the hard questions.

KC:  No, that’s not a hard question at all. That’s just common abuse.

SN:  Really? Common abuse?

KC:  Yeah.

SN:  From a man who planted bombs in commercial areas?

KC:  Yeah.

SN:  Are you for real?

KC:  Yeah.

SN:  What would you like me to say?

KC:  I am for real, yeah but it’s not…

SN:  …What would you like me to say?

KC:  Frankly, I don’t care what you say. Look, I’m here to answer your questions and I’m doing so in as civil a manner as possible and I will react badly if I’m called a psychopath.

SN:  Tough. The actions of a psychopath are those people that can inflict harm and injury and violence on another human being and they don’t feel the emotion associated with it. That’s why I feel it’s a legitimate question. Do you feel emotion? Does it weigh on your conscience? Do you find it difficult sleeping at night when you think about what you have done?

KC:  No, I have no difficulty sleeping at night.

SN:  Do you feel any sense of guilt?

KC:  But as I said, as I said I have no sense of guilt except I have a huge general remorse in relation to everybody that was killed – British soldiers, RUC men, everyone – because, as I said, this conflict was not worth a drop of anybody’s blood.

SN:  But in terms of you, personally – because I think we do need to individualise this – in terms of you personally, process for me why you think you don’t have any sense of guilt or remorse when you get those flashbacks of literally of leaving, the actual action of setting a bomb down and walking away. Tell me why that’s not ingrained in your mind?

KC:  Well look – it was all a long time ago. I seldom think about it. I don’t really think about it unless I’m reminded in interviews like this. As far as I’m concerned I was engaged in a just war. And millions of soldiers have gone to war over the centuries, I’d imagine that a few of them did feel of remorse, do you know what I mean, and guilt over things that they did, but I’m not one of those. The vast majority of soldiers just get on with their lives when the war is over.

SN:  Doug?

DB:  Well, I have a conscience. I feel remorse. I’ve held a dying six year old in my hands and it weights on my conscience heavily. I’ve had difficulty sleeping at night – they’re the natural feelings of a soldier who’s had to engage in something terrible, a terrible conflict, and suffers the scars afterwards. But what Kieran’s describing is somebody who just doesn’t seem to care. And in fact, in his interview he said he happily, as a lawyer, defends dissident Republicans and he’s happy for the work. Now I don’t know what you read into that when he says he’s ‘happy for the work’ you know but there’s something severely wrong here. And do you know, what I can see in the likes Kieran feel they’ve moved on – and fine –and I think people should be allowed to move on but if they have information, if he really has information, then he needs to make that information known. To me it’s simple. And if it was me, if I knew information, if I told anybody that I could get information about a particular crime then I would be the first one who was going to be in front of the police to answer questions. And I think that Kieran needs to do that. Now, if it’s not going to be in front of the PSNI then it needs to be in front of the Garda but he needs to answer these questions. I think it’s incredibly important that he does.

SN:  Okay. We’re going to have to leave it there. Kieran, thank you very much for talking to us today. Doug Beattie, thank you. (ends)