Kieran Conway RFÉ 12 November 2016

Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
listen on the internet: wbai.org 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 amazon.com. 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 wbai.org to the archives. If you want to read the transcript of that interview you go to rfe123.org 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

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)

Kieran Conway BBC HARDtalk 27 Oct 2016

BBC HARDtalk
BBC News
27 October 2016
On YouTube here

Stephen Sackur (SS) visits Dublin and speaks to Kieran Conway (KC), the former Director of Intelligence for the IRA, about his time in the organisation and how he justifies his involvement. (begins time stamp ~ 1:37)

SS:   Kieran Conway, welcome to HARDtalk. We’re going to be talking a lot about your past and as you sit here in Dublin today I just wonder whether you feel very connected to your past or whether it feels like another land which you have left entirely?

KC:  Yeah. No, it’s another country – it really is. The war is over. I seldom think about it. I don’t have nightmares or any sort of guilt difficulties over the various activities I was involved in so no, it’s a different country and now I’m a defence lawyer in Dublin and my life is a million miles removed from what it was in the ’70’s and ’80’s.

SS:  And was that break really quite instant because you quit the IRA…

KC:  …Yeah, the break was instant. It occurred on the night of the Downing Street Declaration – that was an assembly of the British Prime Minister and the Irish Prime Minister, called the Taoiseach and …

SS:  …Which, in essence, was the signal that the leadership of the IRA had decided to go down the path of compromise insofar as they were saying that there would never be a united Ireland without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland. It put off any prospect of a united Ireland.

KC:  It did, yeah. No, there will never be a united Ireland, certainly not in my lifetime, as a result of what the Provisionals did and accepted in late ’93, I guess it was.

SS:  So did you leave in the IRA with fury in your heart?

KC:  Not with fury but with, I don’t know – a sense of inevitability. I felt myself it was time for the war to stop. We were clearly being beaten by the British. We were heavily infiltrated and Volunteers being killed…

SS:  …It was a sense of defeat, really.

KC:   Oh, yes, but you weren’t allowed to say that – if you talked in any sort of defeatist manner you would have been in serious trouble.

SS:  Let’s rewind a long way now and go back to the young Kieran Conway. You were raised in a middle-class home here in….

KC:  …I was…

SS:  …suburban Dublin. A nice life, went to university – you know, seemed set for a comfortable, conventional Irish life. And yet you took an extraordinary decision. You were determined to join the IRA.

KC:  Yeah.

SS:  Why?

KC:  Well I went to university in 1968, the autumn of ’68, against the backdrop of student revolts all over the world, particularly Germany, France and to a lesser extent, the UK also the US, the Vietnam War, South Africa and so on. And although I didn’t join anything in the first year I took part in the many protests that took place. And then in 1969 The North blew up. The Catholic areas were attacked by a combination of RUC men, that’s the police force in The North, and Loyalists and many, many houses were burnt down. People were killed. People were injured. The IRA at the time was not in a good shape but they did defend some areas as best they could with very small numbers. That event led directly to the birth of the Provisionals who were people who were dissatisfied with the stance that the then-leadership of the IRA was taking. They broke away, formed the Provisionals, recruited and I eventually joined them.

SS:  I can see how, in that period of ’68-’69 of revolutionary fervour on campuses across the world frankly – I can see how you’d get swept up in that and I think you saw yourself as a very radical socialist.

KC:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

SS:   I get all of that. But what I don’t get is your determination which you pushed all the way to going to Belfast but then even going to England to actually join an underground secret military organisation where you knew, and actually you sought out, the opportunity to use guns, to consider planting bombs, to commit acts of violence. That is one heck of a step!

KC:  Well it was clear that a revolutionary situation had developed in Ireland and many people, everybody I knew, was either communist or anarchist, syndicalist in those days but…

SS:  …Weren’t all of them just talk? And you acted.

KC:  Yeah, I know that, yeah and I did act, yes. I’ve always been…

SS:  …I mean you must have been prepared, even as a young man of twenty, to consider killing people.

KC:  Oh, yeah, absolutely accepted that as part of the price, if you like, of joining the IRA – clearly people were going to be killed.

SS:  And you were going to do it.

KC:  Yes, I was quite prepared to do it, yeah.

SS:  You were sworn-in in England.

KC:  I was, yeah. I went to England the very next day and within a week I was an IRA member.

SS:  But I guess what I’m seeking to understand is how you reacted to your first operations because I know that in England you were asked, and indeed you were enthusiastically a part of armed robberies to raise funds for the IRA.

KC:  Yeah well, my first IRA operations were all armed robberies and yeah, I was enthusiastic and though we were told we would be not claimed by the IRA in the event of our arrest…

SS:  You found it easy to march into banks, wave a gun around, tell people to get on the ground and take the money?

KC:  Yeah, I had no difficulty with it.  I was put after – after the first couple of raids I was actually put in charge of the Active Service Unit over there so I gained promotion pretty rapidly…

SS:  …You were good at this. And what about bomb making?

KC:   No, we didn’t do any bombing in England in those days. The bombing came later.

SS:  But you learned, whether it was in Northern Ireland or where ever, you learned the skills?

KC:  Oh yeah, no, no – I was trained both in a Midlands city and back in Ireland – I attended two training camps. And then my unit were caught after a particular armed robbery. They were all arrested. I knew Scotland Yard were after me. I was coincidentally back in Ireland at the time and it meant that the leadership then were kind of stuck with me. They stuck me in a house for a couple of weeks – nearly drove me mad – and then came along and gave me full time work with the IRA.

SS:   You have written extensively about your experiences in the IRA. You’ve never, it seems to me, been entirely straightforward about the violence you were involved in. Did you kill people?

KC:  Put it this way, I mean this is the truth: The only people I that ever fired on were British soldiers. British soldiers did die when I was present but I can’t be sure…

SS:  …And firing at them?

KC:  …and firing at them but I can’t be sure that it was my bullet that caused the damage.

SS:  But the likelihood is you killed British soldiers.

KC:  The possibility is there, yeah.

SS:  And bombs you planted?

KC:  And I planted bombs, yes.

SS:  And they exploded?

KC:  And they exploded.

SS:  How many did they kill?

KC:  No, no casualties ever. I only participated in commercial bombings – not very many, maybe a half dozen maximum. But I did a lot more shooting, an awful lot more, maybe about hundred times and British soldiers were killed on a number of occasions – not very many, maybe five or six.

SS:  You were imprisoned, eventually, for I think illegal possession of weapons and one of the notorious prisons that was full of IRA prisoners, Long Kesh – that’s where you ended up.

KC:  That’s right, yeah.

SS:  And at one time, and of course the IRA later became very famous for this, you were part of an IRA hunger strike.

KC:  I was, yeah.

SS:  At any point during this and when you are not taking on food and when you are getting weak and when you are reflecting on whether your life and death are worth it for this cause – did you ever have any doubts?

KC:  Not the slightest, no. I was utterly, totally committed in the way that only a twenty-one year old can be.

SS:  How close to death did you come?

KC:  Oh, no, I was a long way away from it although it was the first hunger strike in recent times and we didn’t know how our bodies would fare. Billy McKee, who was the OC in the Belfast prison at the time, put five, including himself, on hunger strike the first week and then another five the second week. I was in the third cohort so we did only twenty-three days. I lost a couple of stone but otherwise no damage.

SS:  Because it was a very disciplined organisation or certainly it tried to be and I guess you met the very top brass – the Chief of Staff…

KC:  …Yeah well, McKee would have been my sponsor, if you like. He thought highly of me and he persuaded the leadership outside that they should take a similar view of me so when I got out of jail you know within a month I’d been given a very senior job.

SS:  Yeah, you became Director of intelligence.

KC:  Yeah.

SS:  What was your responsibility?

KC:  My responsibility was – there was no intelligence department at the time – there hadn’t been, it hadn’t functioned since before the split so I had to build an intelligence department from scratch.

SS:  But you, from the get-go, were fighting an enemy that was much better resourced than you were.

KC:  Of course. Yeah.

SS:  And we now know the British authorities, the various different intelligence services and police units tasked with fighting the IRA, they penetrated holes in your organisation like a sieve.

KC:  They did. But in the mid-’70, I got out of jail in ’74 – became Director of Intelligence shortly afterwards and left the IRA for a number of years in late ’75. But during the year that I was in charge of intelligence there was far less infiltration than was subsequently…

SS:  …You think.

KC:  No, no. We’re pretty sure. There was infiltration and there were informers but not anything like the level that they penetrated the IRA in the ’80’s and ’90’s.

SS:  Well I’ll talk about that a bit later but let’s stick with ’74 because it’s a crucial year and it raises questions to this day…

KC:  …It does….

SS:  …about you and your ethics and your role. Because in essence we’re talking about one major attack the IRA launched in Birmingham in 1974: Bombs placed in two pubs at a time when they were packed with people drinking, having a good time – ordinary folk – not soldiers, not military personnel – just ordinary people in Birmingham. A lot of people were killed – innocent civilians. You were Director of Intelligence. Did you know what was going on?

KC:  No. I didn’t know anything about it until afterwards. When I heard of the bombs I was appalled, horrified.

SS:  Shouldn’t have the Director of Intelligence been involved?

KC:  No, not really, That’s not the way the IRA operate and the leadership hear of things post hoc, generally. So, no.

SS:  So what? You’re telling me it was an operation conducted out of control?

KC:  Absolutely it was outside the parameters of what was permitted. I don’t know why the people in charge weren’t court-martialled. I have absolutely no idea why not.

SS:  In your view they should have been?

KC:  Oh, they should have been for conducting an attack on two targets that were not, you know, within the parameters of what was allowed.

SS:  Well if you feel that then why have you not fully cooperated, in all the years since, including this year, when again you’ve been before the police to talk about what happened and what you knew and how it unfolded. You’ve never been fully cooperative. Why?

KC:  No. There’s only one bit of information I’ve withheld…

SS:  I know…

KC:  …the names of the bombers are well-known…

SS:  …Well, so you say…

KC:  …Oh, no. They are.

SS:  I’m not sure you’ve ever – I know that other people have – but you’ve never named them.

KC:  No. And I won’t. They’ve been…

SS:  Why?

KC:  They’ve been published by Chris Mullin – I’d only be repeating what he said. And I mean, I will never finger an IRA man.

SS:  You’ll never finger and IRA man even though you regard this as the most terrible, callous immoral act.

KC:  Well amongst them. It was amongst the half-dozen worst acts that the IRA…

SS:  …I don’t want to put words in your mouth. Do you regard it as callous and immoral?

KC:  I do, well yeah, but I blame the local leadership in Birmingham for it. I think the Volunteers that went out acted bona fide – they were just doing what they were told to do. There was supposed to be a warning. In that sense the operation might have fallen on the side of legitimacy if the warning had gone through.

SS:  Really? Well there’s a real contraction there because you’ve said in the past that there’s no way that a pub that was not actually known to be a haunt of military personnel should be a target…

KC:  …No, no. That’s correct…

SS:  …these pubs were not full of military personnel…

KC:  …No, no. I agree…

SS:  …so how can you tell me it could have been a legitimate target?

KC:  No, the people that did it could have argued: Well look, a warning was intended. The warning didn’t go through because of a broken phone box…

SS:  …but it still wasn’t full of military personnel – it was still full of civilians…

KC:  …No, I agree, I agree. No, It should not have happened. It should not have happened.

SS:  Well in that case, why – and you’ve said it in this interview – you are still withholding one piece of information.

KC:  Yeah, but the only piece of information that I’m withholding is the name of the second man that conducted the debrief of the …

SS:  …That’s right. Why? Why? The police want to question him.

KC:  …because he’s living and I won’t name him. Simple as that.

SS:  What right do you have given that not only are you living but the victims’ families are still living and they cannot rest until they feel that justice has been done.

KC:  Well this man will not talk to the police. All he was involved in was the debrief so there’s nothing…

SS:  Well he won’t talk to the police if the police don’t even know his name. I mean isn’t it at least your moral duty to lay out everything you know…

KC:  …No…

SS:  …particularly given what you say you feel about this whole thing?

KC:  No. I don’t accept any moral duty in relation to naming that man and won’t do so.

SS:  Ever?

KC:  Ever.

SS:  You’ll take it to your grave?

KC:  No, if he dies – if he dies before I die at that stage I certainly am prepared to reveal his name.

SS:  Do you think your entire trajectory and your attitudes and what you did for the IRA would have been different had you had kids? I’m just mindful – going back to Julie one more time.

KC:  Yeah, no no….

SS:  …she said: He doesn’t consider the bombers murderers but I wonder what he would say if one of his own kids was killed in this way – all of their skin stripped off their bodies, when he sees them with no legs, no arms – when they’ve been bombed so badly you can’t see their faces because of the injuries – that’s the feeling of a woman who has lost a sister in a bomb…

KC:  …No, I, I….

SS:  …and you didn’t even have children. Wouldn’t you think of being more humane if you had…

KC:  …Well I’m not sure that I wasn’t humane. As I said if we bombed civilian targets we at least gave warnings unlike the British so no, I wouldn’t accept that we weren’t humane or that we didn’t try to be humane although there are at least a half dozen cases occasions in which I think individual IRA men and their commanders can be prosecuted for war crimes even now.

SS:  Have you told what you know to the police on that basis?

KC:  No, I have not. No. No.

SS:  Hang on. Let me get my head around this. Now we’re not taking about Birmingham necessarily but you believe you know things which could be part of a prosecution for war crimes…

KC:  …Yes…

SS:  …of individuals that were in the IRA and you will not disclose that information.

KC:  No, that’s correct. I will never name a living IRA man under any circumstances.

SS:  Under any circumstances? However egregious in your view?

KC:  …No, I mean if I end up before the High Court in some sort of proceedings and cited for contempt I will go to prison rather than name any living IRA man.

SS:  Try to explain to me the morality of that because I don’t get it. If you believe they’re war crimes…

KC:  …well the morality of that – it’s very straightforward as far as…

SS:  …It sounds tribal. It sounds…

KC:  …As far as I’m – No, it’s not tribal at all. As far as I’m concerned I was engaged in a just war. I stand over everything I did. I was fortunate in that the things I did clearly legitimate – firing at British soldiers and the handful of commercial bombings that I engaged in.

SS:  Let’s talk about what you now feel about some of those men that you knew quite well – I mean Martin McGuinness you knew very well – of course now he’s one of the key politicians playing a role in the devolved government in Northern Ireland representing Sinn Féin. Gerry Adams – I imagine you knew him pretty well.

KC:  No, I knew McGuinness a lot better than I would know Adams. I would have considered him a personal friend particularly during the early days when I was in Doire and again in the mid-’70’s.

SS:  And yet, even at the beginning of this interview you pointed out that you felt the process that McGuinness and Adams and the rest of them at the top of the IRA engaged in in the early ’90’s which led ultimately to the Good Friday Agreement and to what we now see as power-sharing and everything else – you feel it was a betrayal.

KC:  It was a betrayal – there’s no doubt about that. What they did was they accepted the British position which was the position that the IRA fought against for twenty-five years and then it turns around and accepts it. So what could that be but a betrayal? Or you could also view it as a recognition of reality and I mean I call Gerry Adams – in my book I refer to him as a mendacious lying bastard – but at the same time it is a fact, and he deserves credit for it, that he single-handedly, admittedly he had collaborators – he managed to get McGuinness to agree with him, which surprised me – but you know, in broad terms he brought, single-handedly, brought peace to Ireland and that was some achievement.

SS:  A peace that you recognise and acknowledge to be the best thing for the island of Ireland?

KC:  No, I acknowledge it’s there. No, I still believe that – I still believe in Irish unity. I think Ireland would be better off…

SS:  …Do you still believe in revolution?

KC:  Ach, look – revolution has kind of had it’s time until the younger generation not interested and until…

SS:  …Well yeah, sorry to interrupt, that’s not entirely true because there are still remnants, splinter groups, of the old Provisional IRA. They call themselves everything from the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA, the New IRA and you, as a criminal lawyer in Dublin, sometimes represent these people or least represent men who are alleged to be members of these groups with arms and explosives and everything else that goes with it.

KC:  No, I’ve represented clients from all three IRAs. I’m very, very grateful for the work. It’s very interesting work…

SS:  …And you don’t ever – despite everything we’ve discussed and the past and the way you feel about the past – you don’t ever say to yourself: I want anything more to do with these people.

KC:  No, I don’t, no. I mean as a good criminal defence lawyer I’ll act on behalf of anybody. I’m not judgmental. I may have my own private view but the most important thing for a defence lawyer is not to discriminate between clients and be prepared to take on anybody no matter how horrendous the act that they’ve been accused of.

SS:  Some people in the intelligence and policing community say that: Yeah, they have an ideological position on continuing the fight for a united Ireland but actually they’re just criminals and thugs – they’re defending turf, they’re involved drugs, they’re involved in protection rackets and some would say that actually that’s what the Provisional IRA became, too.

KC:  No. The Provisonal IRA were never criminals although in the border areas they engaged in smuggling which is obviously criminal offence…

SS:  …well smuggling and you’re a self-acknowledged bank robber.

KC:  …yeah and so is armed robbery so I have no difficulty with that but they were certainly never involved in drugs and criminality of that sort. And I’m quite certain of that.

SS:  Are you?

KC:  Yeah.

SS:  You know what happened to all the money that you robbed from banks do you?

KC:  No, I don’t. I was never involved in the finance department (crosstalk)…

SS:  …On what basis could you possibly be confident that some of that money wasn’t going into people’s back pockets?

KC:  Well I can’t. I do remember that when I was at the Donegal border in 1971 we shot a Volunteer in the legs for stealing a tenner after an armed robbery so that was something that was completely unacceptable – any sort of personal gain and it is shocking – it shocks me – that a lot of people in Belfast in particular seem to have benefited materially and have become very, very rich on the back of the struggle however they did it and I think that’s an absolute disgrace.

SS:  It is interesting, we’ve got to end very soon, but it’s just interesting to come back – you make that point: You know you look from The South, you look from Dublin and what’s happened in Belfast and obviously in many ways you feel that what you see represents defeat and a corrosive sort of failure of the Republican militant movement. Do you ever wish: My God! I wish I’d never gotten involved with that whole mess!

KC:  Not really and that’s simply on the philosophical basis. I’m an existentialist – you accept responsibility for your decisions and you know and on one reading yeah, I wasted twenty-five years of my life but…

SS:  …Well, you wasted twenty-five years of your life. You were involved in a struggle which killed an awful lot of people – some of whom who wore a military uniform – but many of whom didn’t and were, quote/unquote ‘innocent civilians’ and you’ve acknowledged that. And in the end, as you talk about defeat for your movement, you talk about surrender, you talk about failure – what on earth was the point?

KC:  Well, it didn’t – you now when we started off it didn’t look like that was going to be the outcome that it just historically is.

SS:  But judged on outcomes – you should never have gone there. Never have engaged.

KC:  No. If I thought that that might be the outcome no, I wouldn’t have gone there. No, of course not.

SS:  And a final thought about the place you live in, Ireland, which of course for so long has been, in a sense, shaped by conflict between the Irish and the British, do you think, even in your lifetime or beyond your lifetime, it is conceivable that Ireland will be a united Ireland?

KC:  No, I don’t. As long as the Unionists are unwilling to have a united Ireland, and they will always be unwilling to have a united Ireland – that’s their basic position, there is no prospect for Irish unity.

SS:  Does it matter anymore? You know, we talk about the European Union, obviously there’s a lot of discussion about what Brexit means both for Britain and for Northern Ireland in particular and how it will relate to the border between The North and South of Ireland. Does any of this matter?

KC:  Probably not. I mean Nationalism is a nineteenth century construct and it’s fading, visibly fading everywhere except, curiously, in Britain itself which has voted to leave the EU.

SS:  But when it comes to where you are, as a person, with your history, you sleep easy at night?

KC:  I’ve never have any trouble sleeping. No guilt. No nightmares.

SS:  Kieran Conway – we have to end there but thank you for being on HARDtalk.

KC:  Okay. (ends time stamp ~ 23:08)