Martin Galvin RFÉ 26 November 2016

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

Martin Galvin gives us a wee lesson in American History today and hopes that one day Ireland will celebrate the same history and the same holiday.  (begins time stamp ~2:00)

Martin: We want to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving, a Happy Black Friday, if you do that, and also a Happy Evacuation Day! What this means is: evacuation-day-plazaYesterday, November 25th , was a holiday that should not be forgotten. In 1783 at the end of the American Revolution – that was the day that British troops finally left New York, left America, at the end of the American Revolution.

And before going they hung a flag up on a pole and they greased it so evacuation-day-flagpolethat people had to climb up and cut it down before George Washington could enter and they fired a shot at the crowd who were no doubt singing things like:
Go home, British soldiers, go home!
Do you have no bloody homes of yer own?

But that was a holiday for a long period of time in New York, a street is named for that event, a flag was put up every year and, of course, it was superseded by when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day during the American Civil War.

But anything to do with getting the British out is something we don’t want to forget on this programme and the Irish community shouldn’t forget and we still hope that we will have that Evacuation Day in Ireland. (ends time stamp ~ 3:20)

Martin Galvin 23 October 2016 The Brendan Hughes Memorial Lecture

Martin Galvin delivered the annual Brendan Hughes Memorial Lecture, entitled ‘1916-2016: What Was It About? Where Are We Now?’, at The Playhouse Theatre in Doire on 23 October 2016.

Brendan Hughes Memorial Lecture

1916-2016: What Was It About? Where Are We Now?

A chairde,

It is important to begin by thanking the committee for inviting me but much more importantly for holding a Brendan Hughes Memorial Lecture each year and reminding us today of the fundamental question: 1916-2016: What was it about? Where are we now?

Those who knew Brendan know he would be thankful to be remembered at the yearly commemoration but he would be keenly thankful that there would be a lecture bringing Republicans together for a strategic discussion about the fundamental political challenge which he faced throughout his life and which faces us critically today.

Will we find a political strategy that makes an end of British rule in Derry and the Six Counties, what 1916, or the hunger strikes, or the years of struggle were really about? Can we overcome British plans for what Arlene Foster calls the ‘second century of Northern Ireland’ in a tone that tells us that she takes for granted more centuries of ‘Northern Ireland’ to come?

Brendan Hughes said something to me in a short telephone conversation almost ten years ago which needs repeating here today. Many of you remember those days when the movement which Brendan Hughes had fought for and helped lead proclaimed that a one-sided pledge of allegiance to the renamed RUC would be a major long term victory on the road to uniting Ireland and would mean truth and justice for victims in the short term.

Today’s Minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, was then writing in the Andytown News how it would be ‘fun’ bringing the Crown constabulary to heel. We could trust his judgment, he wrote, because he ‘was in the middle of the police riot on the Andersonstown Road in August 1984 when Sean Downes was killed by the RUC… those of us who were on the Andersonstown Road learnt a lesson in policing that day which we have not forgotten.’ They even used photos of that murderous day to make his point.

As someone who was on the Anderstonstown Road and the RUC’s excuse for murder and riot I saw a vastly different lesson. How did RUC murder and riot become an argument in favor of backing the RUC? Why would a new reformed Crown constabulary be willing to stonewall and cover-up by denying the truth on murders committed by proxy with loyalists or shoot-to-kill committed by the old constabulary? Why if they were not one and the same? Pledging allegiance to all that seemed no victory for a united Ireland but the jewel in the Crown of the old British strategic objectives of Ulsterization, criminalization and normalization!

I wrote pieces for Anthony McIntyre’s site The Blanket, which preceded The Pensive Quill , as one of the best sources for dissenting Republican thought. In Fermanagh-South Tyrone my friend Gerry McGeough invited me to come and campaign. He wanted to go into Stormont, stand up, speak out or walk out for Republican principles. This would mean Sinn Féin could stand behind him on Republican issues or be seen leaving Republican issues behind. Gerry McGeough clearly had paid Republican dues to speak out. At his trial the Crown submitted photos of his body which they charged showed bullet wounds suffered as Gerry fought for the IRA. So it was hard to deny that he had played his part in the struggle.

Here in Derry Mrs. O’Hara agreed to stand. I had been friends with the O’Haras since Elizabeth, along with other hunger strike family members, went to America shortly after Patsy’s death in 1981 to campaign for those who came behind Patsy. Peggy O’Hara was never going into Stormont to challenge anyone to a debate. She agreed to stand as a mother who saw her son suffer at the hands of the RUC, saw him suffer death on hunger strike and saw how his body was marked by cigarette burns before it was returned to her. She stood as a quiet dignified statement that it was wrong to buy into injustice by backing this renamed British constabulary. The O’Hara family, as well as friends like Danny McBrearty and John McDonagh, who were on her election team invited me to campaign here in Derry.

So I had what seemed to me a big problem. How do I campaign for Mrs. O’Hara, an abstentionist candidate in Derry, and then campaign for Gerry McGeough taking his seat in Fermanagh-South Tyrone? How could I support one and refuse the other? How do I escape insulting and losing more friends? (And after being blacklisted ten years earlier for debating Martin Ferris in America and daring to say that the Good Friday deal would not lead to a united Ireland within five years by 2003 as promised by Joe Cahill I did not want to lose any more.)

I contacted Brendan Hughes. I hoped he would tell me it was alright not to come. Instead, he said something that bears repeating here:

Martin don’t sweat the small stuff.  Gerry McGeough is brendanhughesnot taking any seat in Fermanagh- South Tyrone and Peggy O’Hara is not taking any seat in Derry. The seats this time will go to the people promising them a magic wand to make a united Ireland appear. This campaign is more important than seats. The Brits think they have got the means to finish it for good. This election campaign is about trying to build something to see that they don’t.

I did not bother to ask whether he was referring to the war he had fought or the fight against criminalization during the blanket protest and hunger strikes or even 1916 and The Proclamation. I knew he saw them as part of the same thing. (At the start of the first hunger strike in 1980 he had sent me a personal piece headed an ‘Appeal to America‘ about the connection and ‘remarkable similarities’ which I published and can be read in the online archives of the Irish People newspaper in the November 1, 1980 edition.) (Ed.Note: On Pg 2.)

I campaigned for both happily.

Today the question, indeed the challenge, Brendan Hughes summed up in those few words must be faced. We no longer have the luxury or leisure time to let small stuff or minor divisions derail us. The British think they have us caught in a position where your right to national freedom and sovereignty in this part of Ireland will never be more than an unfulfilled wish or aspiration. They think they have set up cosmetic institutions and structures which will, over time, make us content to think of a six county British Ulster as normal and those who want it otherwise as criminal. They think they can ‘finish it for good’ as Brendan Hughes put it. Can we unite and do the work needed to build something to see that they don’t?

There are those in this city and elsewhere in Ireland who say we should not question or seek alternative Republican political strategies. They claim to have the answers. All we need do is follow their leadership without troubling questions and they will give us a united Ireland. Maybe they did not deliver it by 2003, as Joe Cahill promised, or 2014 or 2016 as Martin McGuinness promised, but they will get it somehow, someday and in some ‘acceptable’ to Britain and Unionists shape or form. They will not be caught out again because they gave up on definite time frames and now talk of a countdown to freedom. When you promise you will deliver something in 2003 or 2016, you buy yourself five or ten years but sooner or later your time is up. The clock never runs out on a ‘countdown’ to freedom.

Why are they so eager to reach out to British royalty, uncompromising Unionists and former enemies but turn away from honest questions by disillusioned Republicans about where Sinn Féin is leading?

We understand they have a strategy. We read ‘Towards an Agreed Ireland and Reconciled Future’. We see them put great effort into meeting English royal family members, standing behind Arlene Foster no matter what, working to make way for Orange parades in Ardoyne, giving the constabulary platforms in West Belfast, sorry initiatives and uncomfortable conversations. What is hard to see or understand are signs this strategy is working for Nationalists. Where is there a sign that any segment of Unionism or Loyalism is being converted towards voting for a united Ireland in a six county border poll? Are they instead reconciling Nationalists, who see them alongside the DUP, taking up jobs and positions to agree that British rule does not look so bad?

Such questions get answered by attacking those who dare ask. Brendan Hughes was the first example of this. He asked heartfelt questions and was smeared that he was against the leadership for personal reasons. This was a movement led by some with whom he had fought alongside, been imprisoned with and risked his life. The idea of speaking against close friends must have been heartbreaking for him and harder in some ways than refusing the Crown uniform in Long Kesh.

I was last month’s example. Last May while visiting Derry to speak at a commemoration for an IRA Volunteer, George McBrearty, I was interviewed by Spotlight about self-confessed British agent Denis Donaldson. When he was in America he proved himself a British agent. I warned a very senior Republican about Denis. I refused to name the senior Republican, just as I have always refused to answer questions about whether other senior Republicans were in the IRA. I had no knowledge of what else would be aired and certainly no part in any accusations about who killed him.

Martin McGuinness answered the program by saying I had an anti-Sinn Féin agenda. Ironically, Spotlight included footage of me walking alongside Martin McGuinness when I was banned, being arrested beside him, him shaking my hand as I was put in the RUC jeep to be helicoptered to England. Can any Republican disagree with Sinn Féin policies not because they are against Sinn Féin but because they are against misguided policies twisted to prop up British rule? When Martin McGuinness or any Sinn Féin leaders answer honest questions with slurs about being anti-peace or anti-Sinn Féin it is because they have no better answer.

1916-2016: What Was It About?

The real meaning of 1916 does not require much discussion. The men and women who believed strongly enough to take on the might of the British Empire, and brave the ‘utter detestation and horror’ of elected Irish politicians spoke for themselves in the 1916 Proclamation. They believed that the Irish people had a right to national freedom and sovereignty. In case anyone questions whether that right belongs just as much to Derry as Dublin or Donegal just look back a few months before The Rising. Pearse wrote that freedom meant ‘not the freedom of a geographical fragment of Ireland but the freedom of all Ireland of every sod of Ireland.’ They believed that this right to national freedom and sovereignty would allow the Irish people to make economic and political decisions in Irish interests rather than having policies made to serve British interests at Westminster like we see with Brexit today. They believed that such a state would not need and could therefore end the artificial sectarian divisions that the British would always foster to divide and rule as they do at Stormont today. They said these rights were indefeasible, a very specific word, meaning rights which cannot be sold, given up or bartered away even by a dual referenda.

These ideals so changed history forever when they were proclaimed and fought for in 1916 and inspired people in the months following 1916 just as the 50th anniversary inspired Brendan Hughes and his generation in 1966. They are the ideals read to commemorate fallen IRA Volunteers.

The Irish government commemorations this year, which took pains to speak of British troopers who fought against Irish freedom but were silent about those Irish still denied freedom, show how much sections of the Irish government fear the hold, inspiration and legacy of 1916 today. The blanket protest and hunger strikes were directly tied to these same ideals. Thatcher wanted to dress up Irish patriots and anyone who had struggled to end British rule as criminals. The blanketmen would not serve as human props for her propaganda. It was not about building electoral machines or equality of esteem with any Homeland Security loyalist prisoners. It was about refusing to allow the British to masquerade them and generations of patriots as criminals.

A sad reflection of where we are today is that a British administration, with Sinn Féin in tow, imprisoned Gerry McGeough and Seamus Kearney on criminal charges for actions that took place in 1980-81. They charge Ivor Bell. British troopers, even Bloody Sunday troopers, have never faced charges. The British will not criminalize their own.

1916-2016: Where Are We Now?

Gerry Adams said something earlier this year which I believe should be noted. He said ‘We are not going to go in and prop up a regressive and negative old conservative government whatever the particular party political complexion.’ He was referring to the Dáil and not being used to front for anti-Republican policies in a coalition. Why then prop up and front for a British Tory austerity government in tandem with the DUP?

For fifty years the British ruled behind a one party Orange State giving Unionists carte blanche to impose a system of discrimination and second class citizenship in housing, jobs and every aspect of citizenship. It served British interests. When that strategy no longer worked because of Orange excesses, civil rights and resistance from a growing Nationalist population that would no longer lay down the British made new plans to serve their interests. I seldom agree with Alex Kane but a little over a week ago in the Irish News he said the DUP and Sinn Féin provide ‘a sectarian headcount at the heart of government and a blind eye being turned to every difficult decision they were asked to make.’

What Kane called this ‘blind eye to difficult decisions’ was planned. It is central part of a British strategy whose objectives remain Ulsterization, normalization and criminalization. As Pearse, Clarke and Connolly might have put it the alien government, meaning the British government, carefully fosters, or maybe I should say Arlene Fosters, a sectarian veto. Because the interests of the DUP and Sinn Féin are diametrically opposed they will never agree on key issues. The British can then suit themselves while hiding behind the fiction that Westminster was forced to act because there is no agreement.

Look at Ballymurphy where James Brokenshire told the Ballymurphy families that he requires Arlene Foster’s permission to fund legacy inquests. Look at any funding for legacy inquests. This excuse is a fraud. Where is Martin McGuinness’ veto on paying the cost of imprisoning Tony Taylor? Look at last year’s appearance by George Hamilton in West Belfast, with Martin McGuinness to lend credibility, Hamilton said: ‘I’m accountable to a policing board that’s got four Sinn Féin members on it and an SDLP representative. I’m not going to be fettered by secretaries of state, prime ministers or anyone else.’ Glowing articles were written that victims’ families could now expect dramatic moves about Stalker-Sampson, Ballymurphy, McGurk and legacy inquest funding to flow from Hamilton’s invitation.

More than a year has passed. We got nothing.

Who do we blame? Was it the four DUP, one UUP and one Alliance Party members along with eight independents on the policing board? No one thought this an obstacle worth mentioning. Once, Sinn Féin would have led the outcry against British Crown officials being gifted platforms for making empty promises. Now they take out advertisements attacking those who dare leaflet against rewarding the constabulary with return engagements.

Look at collusion where British colonial secretaries Villiers and now Brokenshire still recycle pious statements about their stalwart forces being responsible for only 10% of the killings, as if hundreds of murders which they plotted, paid for and planned, cannot be blamed on them because their paid Loyalist proxies fired the shots or planted the bombs in Dublin and Monaghan. Look at Brexit where Ireland north and south had little or no say respectively and are ignored in favor of English interests.

Today the question, indeed the challenge, Brendan Hughes summed up ten years ago must be faced: The British think we are caught. They think their strategy is working day and daily to pacify us to be content with a six county British Ulster as normal and those who want it otherwise as criminal. They think they can ‘finish it for good’ as Brendan Hughes put it.

Can we unite and do the work needed to build something to see that they don’t?

Before 1916 the British thought they had ‘pacified Ireland.’ The very diverse groups and leaders from the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army saw this and were able to overcome everything that divided them to unite and build a force which defeated British plans for permanent Home Rule and Partition subordinate to Westminster. Thatcher thought she had Brendan Hughes and the blanketmen beaten. Brendan Hughes and his fellow political prisoners locked away in the H-Blocks or Armagh were able to inspire a unity and political awakening which broke anything that Thatcher or the British could throw at them. Can Republicans today forge a unity and strategy which can break through once more and get us back on the path to the united and free Ireland which so many of Brendan Hughes’ time and the men and women of 1916 sacrificed for?

Will Britain finish us or can we unite and find a new political strategy to see that they don’t?

BBC Spotlight Martin Galvin RFÉ 24 Sept 2016

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

John McDonagh (JM) speaks to Martin Galvin (MG) via telephone about his appearance on the BBC Spotlight NI programme, ‘Spy in the IRA’. (begins time stamp ~ 28:31)

JM:  And now we’re going to play a clip from a show that was on the BBC Ulster on Tuesday night, BBC Spotlight, and it was about the spies within the IRA. Now in this clip you’re going to have intelligence, British intelligence agents, talking about how they were running eight hundred informers between the Loyalists and Republicans throughout the whole system and one unique view is that when they planted someone in there at a low level they would metastasise like a cancer throughout the movement. And you just show that – it was really the British intelligence that did win the thirty year war – that they brought the IRA in, they surrendered their weapons and that Sinn Féin gave up politically and just said: You know what? We’ll just administer British rule from here on in. And this will give you a little insight on how that was done. And when we come out of that we’ll speak with Martin Galvin, the other co-host of Radio Free Éireann, who was on the show and he’ll talk about Denis Donaldson.

Audio:  Portion of the BBC Spotlight NI programme ‘Spy in the IRA’ is played. The programme can be viewed here.

JM:   Ugh! It’s not pretty listening when you hear them when they talk about that cancer – that cancer was in New York City – Denis Donaldson. And it’s amasing – the reaction to this documentary – the Loyalists have come out and encouraged Gerry Adams to sue the BBC, they said: You don’t want his reputation being tarnished. And Lord O’Dowd of the Irish Voice – to me he’s no different than a Donald Trump supporter – Donald Trump can do anything and say anything and he’d support him – Lord O’Dowd is the same way. Gerry Adams can do and say anything and he will support him even as – Gerry Adams: I was never in the IRA – I was never involved in the last thirty years of any of the killings that went on and there is Lord O’Dowd saying: That’s right! We have to believe our Gerry. Well one of the people on the line right now is Martin Galvin and Martin was in the documentary and he dealt with Denis Doanaldson as I did when Denis was out here in New York as the cancer was spreading throughout the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Martin?

MG:  Yes, John, and yes, Kate.

JM:   Yes. Yeah and we’re describing about – she even mentioned how the FBI were running agents and one of the agents they were running was Denis Donaldson being that they put him in a position within the Republican Movement in New York and that’s where the problems started.

MG:   Well John, one of the things that you have to look at: America was crucial. It was crucial enough and we were effective enough and doing a good enough job in the United States through Irish Northern Aid and other organisations that they felt that an agent of the importance of Denis Donaldson should be sent here to work here, open the books, try to undermine people who were responsible for that progress, responsible for all that good work. I mean just think about it: When he came out, the year before Brendan Hughes had come to the United States, had done a tremendously successful financial tour for the Republican Movement. We were at the point, we were only a couple of years away, thanks to John Deerie and others, with candidates for presidential forums. We were going to propose the question about a visa for Sinn Féin, for Gerry Adams, that was set. We were there at the point where that would have to part of an Irish presidential agenda and it would be asked – I would be the person picked to ask it of Bill Clinton in 1992, just a couple of years after Denis.

We had Elizabeth O’Hara, the sister of one of the hunger strikers, that actually walked in – she was involved with Irish Northern Aid in Brooklyn at that time and had contacts with Mickey Rourke and others – they wanted to do a hunger strike film and have the Republican Movement – have us very much involved in setting the actors, setting the script, in every which way – that would have been a tremendous benefit. The organisation was growing and what happened was we were at a great point and then all of a sudden Denis Donaldson came out. And I just want to correct one thing that you said, John: Denis was sent out – somebody – Brian McDonald had been in the office, had done a great job – Denis then came out for a year and he – I right away knew that he was a problem. We talked about problems, he seemed to be undermining people who would be responsible for the progress what was being made, he seemed to be responsible, that cancer that you talked about, for undermining the organisation. But at the beginning I didn’t think it was an agent but there were a couple of things, one of which you hit upon. Denis finished his year, went back to Ireland, Hugh Feeney came out to the United States, he was doing a great job, he was repairing some of the damage that Denis had done and all of a sudden the FBI could come up to the office and arrest him and Denis Donaldson could come out. Now Denis, like Hugh Feeney, had been an ex-prisoner – the British should have known about it, the FBI would know about it – why was he allowed to come back out? That was one of the things that I complained about that said he should be investigated.

There was an incident, you mentioned about the Bronx – one night FBI agents, people who, friends of ours spotted as people (who) must be FBI agents – came up, spoke to Denis, shook his hand and Denis brought them drinks and brought them around to people that I knew, including somebody who was the sister of somebody I was going out with at that time, introduced them and they were asking about me. I couldn’t believe it. The next day I had numerous phone calls about this – called Ireland to complain and say: Look. It’s more than just he’s just not good at his job. He’s more than he’s undermining. But he’s got to be a British agent. It was a situation where he introduced somebody who was thrown out of Ireland, was persona non grata, to respect to Republicans here to try to undermine them.

Just the way he was able to talk, use his – most people at the office who were from Ireland were ex-prisoners, would not use their correct names, would not speak openly – Denis was able to speak openly. So gradually I got to the point where I began by saying that he was undermining us, that he was not suited to the United States to the point where I kept complaining that this person is an agent, he should be investigated. I expected to go back and speak to people in Ireland about what I had learned because I knew that he was important in Ireland and Hugh Feeney again, was replaced – Denis is sent back out here – nobody that I know of ever did anything to investigate that and this was about ten years before he would confess to being a paid British agent for a full twenty years on that statement that you played for us.

JM:   Yeah. And also when I was in the office Denis would always receive phone calls from Gerry Adams all the time and he would be updating Gerry Adams on everything that was going on in New York. And finally in the documentary, which you can see on my Facebook or Twitter account at Cabtivist,  c-a-b-t-i-v-i-s-t, if you go to my Facebook now or my Twitter account the full documentary’s up there – I recommend click on it. But Martin, because you were in that the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, commented on you being in it. And you have to say the Irish News gave you space to respond to what he said about you.

MG:   John, I was somewhat shocked at that. He attacked me and said that: Oh, someone from America who’s anti-peace or whatever, I don’t know – that’s the answer to everything. If you have a criticism of Sinn Féin policies the answer is not: Well, here’s why we’re doing this – here’s why this can lead to a united Ireland – it’s just: Well, you must be anti-peace or anti-something or other.

I made no reference to Gerry Adams. I, like you, was over in Ireland in May, I was speaking at the commemoration for George McBrearty. I was asked to do the programme. I just repeated things that I had said years before. Suzanne Breen, others, had interviewed me about Denis, that I knew he was a spy, that I complained that he was an agent, that I complained to somebody very, very senior within the Republican Movement who would have been right next to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. So I was surprised he referred to me directly as ‘someone from America’. Martin McGuinness, when I was banned from The North in 1984, Martin McGuinness was pictured with me on three separate occasions (inaudible) that day – thought it was important to be next to me.

Martin Galvin and Martin McGuinness in Doire, 1984
Martin Galvin and Martin McGuinness in Doire, 1984

Once in Doire in 1984 just a couple of weeks before the rally which would be attacked where John Downes would be killed – that you were present, I was present because I was called to a platform by Gerry Adams. Another time the following year at a funeral in Doire Martin McGuinness stood next to me carrying a coffin of an IRA Volunteer. And finally on the anniversary of British troops being re-introduced, it had been suggested to me several times that I defy the ban openly at Free Doire Corner, that I’d be arrested. I was very hesitant, reluctant obviously to do it – finally did it and Martin McGuinness was the person standing (next to) me just as I was led away – you see that at the beginning of the documentary, to be cuffed, to be shipped back on a plane to England and then from there returned to the United States.

But what bothered me is here is – you’re answering something about somebody criticises, as I do, whether Sinn Féin’s policies are leading to a united Ireland – I don’t believe that they are – and he’s criticising me and why is it that he can reach out to British royalty, he can reach out to Arlene Foster, an uncompromising Unionist, he can reach out to former enemies, members of the British Army, Royal Ulster Constabulary, but when someone like me, who was very much a part, as you were, of the support that they got from America – criticises those policies, just as people in Ireland like Danny McBrearty and others, the families of, many of the families who disagree with them they just simply say: Oh, they must be anti-peace. They want to attack us. They can’t speak on the merits if they had an answer. We would welcome it if they had a good answer that their strategy is leading to a united Ireland. Instead it seems it just – in the show one of Martin McGuinness’ people be close to him, Denis Bradley, was talking about agents of influence and how they manipulated the Republican struggle. It seems as if Sinn Féin is being manipulated by the British and that’s why they can’t answer those questions.

JM:   Alright, Martin, I’m going to go to the next clip and that’s where I disagree with you – I don’t think Sinn Féin’s being manipulated – they love administering British rule. (ends time stamp ~ 44:18)

Martin Galvin BBC Talkback 11 August 2016

Radio Foyle
BBC Talkback
11 August 2016

Mark Carruthers (MC) hosts Martin Galvin (MG) and Ulster Unionist Party MLA Doug Beattie (DB) to discuss the comments made by prominent Irish Republican Gerry McGeough on the American radio programme, Radio Free Éireann.

MC: Comments made by a high profile Republican on a New York radio station have caused controversy this week. Speaking on Radio Free Éireann on WBAI radio in New York Gerry McGeough criticised Catholic judges and prosecutors calling them ‘traitors’ in effect who are administering British rule here. Here is what he had to say: (audio clip played)  So that’s what Gerry McGeough had to say on that radio station earlier. Well, the comments have been criticised by a number of Unionist politicians including the Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie who said they border on an incitement to commit an unlawful act against members of the judiciary in Northern Ireland. Doug Beattie joins me now from Stormont I think.  Martin Galvin, the former Publicity Director of course of NORAID, Irish Northern Aid, is the radio presenter who carried out that interview with Gerry McGeough, and he joins me now from New York. Gentlemen, welcome to you both. Thanks very much indeed for being with us on the programme today.

First of all Martin Galvin, we’ve tried to get hold of Gerry McGeough and at the moment – and I know you tried on our behalf as well to track him down. We’re not quite sure where he is. He’s not answering our calls. We can’t get hold of him. We’re very keen to talk to him. So if he happens to be listening or anybody close to him is listening we’d be very keen to take a call from him. But in the meantime, you were there. You conducted the interview…

MG: …Mark, I have spoke – I got a message back from him. First of all he asked me to thank BBC Talkback for trying to reach him. He’s actually in the middle – he’s about halfway – he was on the road with most of his family – his oldest daughter was at home, and he happened to call home, got my message – he’s on the road, could not do the interview, obviously – we just found out about this just a little less than a hour ago. But he’s very appreciative that at least BBC Talkback tried to make the effort to contact him and get his real views as opposed to some of the things that he’s read. He asked me to do the interview and he will be back at the weekend and happy to comment and speak for himself. He wanted – he appreciate again your efforts to at least try to give him a chance to speak instead of just taking one sentence out of a twenty minute interview and putting it in a totally different context.

MC: Okay. Well, certainly there’s been some coverage in the newspapers. We’re very keen to get as rounded a picture of precisely what was said and what Mr. McGeough meant by what he said and I guess the best way of finding that out is to talk to him. So it’s a pity he’s not available. But look, we did our best and you were there, you were part of that conversation so we’ve lifted the clip that’s causing all of the controversy in the media. Can you just tell us how those comments came about first of all, Mr. Galvin, and what you make of what he had to say?

MG  Well if you listen to the interview – and anybody – I would encourage listeners just to go to the internet, type in, as an address, rfe (for Radio Free Éireann) 123.org, that’s rfe123.org. There’s an entire written transcript of his full interview as well as a link so you can hear his entire interview.

This was a twenty minute interview. He talked about, for example, 1916 – the fact that Tyrone is left out of – one of the counties that there is a feasible right to national freedom – but they are left behind. There was a vote in 1918 – the One Ireland One Vote – they were left behind. Partition was supposed to be temporary. Arlene Foster’s in a position where she says a region in a country can’t veto what happened in terms of Brexit no matter how disastrous that decision is for Ireland – how much it ignored Ireland as a whole, all thirty-two counties, and yet she First Ministers a region which is based on the principle that six counties had the right to veto a One Ireland One Vote election and always have a veto.

MC: …Sure, well okay, well look, we know that. We’ve heard that before…

MG:  …the context was has happened…

MC:  ….I understand and that’s a fairly traditional…

MG:   I’m trying to get you the context…

MC:   And I understand that context and it’s something that many of our listeners would be familiar with – the Republican world view.

MG:   He talked about Brexit.

MC:   Sure.

MG: He talked about how British rule – and what he was talking about is the difference between English rule suiting English policies in Brexit in the way that Theresa Villiers put in austerity, other policies that suited Westminster – all of that and how that doesn’t really reflect or take into account what fully serves Irish interests. He even talked about Scotland and how that was administered. Then he talked about a situation like himself –  he was imprisoned for something that happened in 1981 – it was during the hunger strike of 1981 – he was a part of a campaign that both he and I would defend and say was a legitimate campaign against British rule but it’s a campaign which ended long ago and we’re in a new era of peace – which he would be the first to say.

MC:  Well, that’s the interesting part, Martin. Let’s just pick up on that point. That campaign happened. You still support it – other people think it wasn’t a bad idea. We don’t need to re-rehearse that.  The point is that in the new scenario that you have just described Mr. McGeough still said, and let me lift that line** again because we’ve got it highlighted here and you can see it in the transcript:

under the cover you have Catholic Nationalist, people from Republican families, who are now sitting as Diplock court judges and prosecutors and all the other stuff of the day that you can’t possibly imagine and they are arrogantly passing judgment on patriots.

** (Ed Note: This was not one continuous quote as read by the BBC Talkback presenter here. The words in the block quote below this note did not immediately follow the words in the block quote above this note in the transcript of Gerry McGeough’s Radio Free Éireann interview.)

you have Irish Catholics, traitors in effect, administering British rule here in the Six Counties.

That doesn’t seem to fit with where Northern Ireland, the North of Ireland, the Six Counties – whatever you want to call it – is in 2016. That’s the point.

MG: Well what he was talking about is that, for example, we could, historically – I think The Newsletter was the first paper where all of these stories appeared. That was actually the Joy Family, Henry Joy McCracken was one of the people…

MC: …No, I know. Listen – we don’t need to go back to the origins of The Newsletter. Seriously.

MG: …(crosstalk) (inaudible) he was a patriot because he wanted a united Ireland – he wanted an end to British rule. Some people may say, historically, that he was a traitor – that he worked against Unionist interests…

MC: …I know, I honestly…

MG:  We can have a debate about that…

MC: …Well we can but not now if you don’t mind. We haven’t got time to talk about the rights or wrongs of Henry Joy McCracken, fascinating though I agree it is…

MG: …But (crosstalk) (inaudible) we can talk about people who played that role – who served different interests – the interests of another country. He was talking about that philosophically. It certainly was not, somebody who believes we are at peace, not talking about going out and attacking anybody or doing anything other than politically working for a united Ireland and having, recognising the people who are working against a united Ireland from communities (crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: …But it’s not helpful. But the point is it’s not, it’s not…okay, yeah. But the kind of language, and it’s the language that he’s used that many people have picked up on here – to refer to Irish Catholics as….

MG: …But again…

MC: …now let me ask the question, Martin, I mean we’ll not get anywhere if we both talk at the same time. He talks about Irish Catholics – traitors, in effect, administering British rule here in the Six Counties. That is a pretty unreconstructed world view and we have moved on and that’s the point. We have a statement just here, which you might be interested in from the Chairman of the Bar Council who represents lawyers in Northern Ireland, who says he wants to take issue…he wants to take this opportunity to utterly condemn the threats made by Gerry McGeough over the past weekend as reported in The Newsletter on Monday the eighth of August in which he stated Catholic servants serving as judges and prosecutors in the Northern Ireland legal system are traitors who will be dealt with as collaborators once the English are removed. You can see that it is colourful, controversial language employed by Gerry McGeough which some people, people involved in this regard as, frankly, incitement.

MG: Okay. I can see that it is colourful, controversial language. I’m telling you: Knowing him. Speaking (with) him, being there for the entire interview that there was no threat intended against anybody. He was speaking in effect as somebody who believes in a united Ireland, who thinks that the present British strategy in The North is there to keep and copper-fasten British rule – not give Irish-Nationalists self-determination for all thirty-two counties – that his county, Tyrone, and five others have been victimised by this system. But he was talking about politically moving towards a united Ireland. That’s (crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: …Did he go too far? There’s the question: Did he over egg the pudding? Did he use the kind of language that perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight, he might now regret?  Should he have toned it down a little bit?

MG: Did he use a term explaining on New York radio explaining in the course of a twenty minute interview which has been deliberately over-hyped and taken out of context to imply something entirely different by others?  Yes. He did use a term which others have totally misrepresented. I’m trying to correct that impression about the world view and what Mr. McGeough was saying during that interview which was not to threaten anybody except in terms of a political threat (crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: …What did he mean then? I understand that, Martin. But when he said:

Catholics serving as judges and prosecutors in the Northern Ireland legal system are – quote – traitors who will be dealt with as – quote – collaborators once the English are removed. (Ed. Note: This statement, attributed to Mr. McGeough, does not appear in the transcript of Gerry McGeough’s interview on Radio Free Éireann.)

What did he mean by that? If that’s not threatening what is it?

MG: He’s not threatening anybody or didn’t intend to threaten anybody. What he was trying to say is that those who are working – for example, right now Diplock courts were abolished in 2007 but they’re used in each and every case where they would have been used before they were abolished. When he was arrested for charges that happened in 1981 and sent to Maghaberry by an administration which included…

MC: …You’re not answering my question. What did he mean by the use of the word ‘traitor’ and collaborator’? Just answer that question! Don’t give me another history lesson. Just tell me what did he meant by the use of the word ‘traitor’ and ‘collaborator’?

MG: In the same way people can debate and say that Henry Joy McCracken: Was he a patriot or a traitor? and you can argue about that – it doesn’t mean that he’s threatening them. He regards people who are working against a united Ireland as wrong, as his political opponents. He believes that many of them should be working harder for a united Ireland. But it’s not to say: Let’s go after them in a threat. Let’s go after them in any way other than trying to get a political solution… (crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: …Okay. Well let me bring in…I want to bring, I want to bring in…hang on a second. I want to bring Doug Beattie in in a second. But here’s the point, here’s the point: We have a Catholic Attorney General. We have a Catholic Director of Public Prosecutions. We have a Catholic Lord Chief Justice. We have several high profile high court judges who are Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland. Those people know that they live under the threat of security from dissident Republicans who have targeted them in the past and who, apparently, would wish to target them in future. And I’m not saying, I’m not saying for a second – just to be clear – that Gerry McGeough is one of those – but in that climate the use of language like ‘traitor’ and ‘collaborator’ is unhelpful and those individuals and the professionals who represent them see that as extremely dangerous and very foolish. Do you not agree?

MG: If you’re asking me about how they might see something? I am telling you that what Gerry McGeough intended – he used a word which seemed to be taken out of context to mean something that he did not intend. He’s somebody who wants to see a united Ireland – wants to see it peacefully – and if you look at the whole interview there was no mention of any armed group, any armed action, anything like that – he was talking about stirrings throughout the country, a yearning for a united Ireland and getting that, achieving it, by peaceful, political means and finding a strategy which can achieve that because he doesn’t think that the current Good Friday Agreement is going to work towards that end. He wants to see a united Ireland. That’s what he was talking about.

MC: Okay. Alright. Let me bring Doug Beattie. Doug Beattie – Martin Galvin’s making the position here that Gerry McGeough has been misquoted and taken out of context. How do you respond to that?

DB: I think Martin Galvin is trying to defend the undefensible. I would be the first one to say that Republicanism, if peaceful, striving towards a united Ireland – I have no issue with that in the same way Unionism striving to remain part of the United Kingdom – if it remains peaceful -then that’s right and that’s proper. But when you use terms like ‘Irish Catholic traitors’, you use terms like ‘collaborators’ when you’re talking about the judiciary – a judiciary that was in the ’70’s and ’80’s and early ’90’s murdered on a frequent basis. When you talk about getting the English out of Northern Ireland what he’s really talking about is getting Unionists…

MG: …Not so!

DB: …and Unionism and anybody who’s linked to it – the Scots-Irish – out of the North of Ireland. Because I don’t see these big swathes of Englishmen who are living in the North of Ireland whatsoever. And I think you have to look at this and you have to say that these are archaic references that he’s using to – he’s throwing us back to a bygone era and I hope there’s people out there – decent people, decent people who are striving for a united Ireland who are decent, good, law-abiding people can look at this and disown these comments and realise that we have really moved on from this. And we don’t need that. And I think Martin needs to be really honest here and he needs to get the views of the people of Northern Ireland and the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland want to remain part of the United Kingdom.

I am an Irishman. I am an Ulsterman. I’m a Northern Irishman. And I am British. And I deserve to live in this part of the country as much as anybody else and anybody else who have been here for the last five or six hundred years. And I take exception to anybody telling me that I don’t belong here or my views don’t belong here and I think Martin is absolutely barking up the wrong tree and he needs to speak to a wider audience than the people he’s speaking to now.

MC: How do you respond to that, Martin Galvin?

MG: Yes, I’m glad Mr. Beattie brought these points up. First of all, Gerry McGeough, during the interview drew an exact, a clear distinction between Unionists, which includes Mr. Beattie, and the English administration – serving English interests in policies like Brexit, like other policies that Theresa Villiers was responsible (for) before her unlamented replacement so he made that clear in the interview; he’s not saying everybody should leave.

Number two: Certainly Mr. Beattie is right to say that he is an Irishman and an Ulsterman and he should be allowed to remain in Ireland and have his own views. What Gerry McGeough believes is that people in Donegal, people throughout The North in the rest of the three counties in Ulster, which are excluded from any vote, that people of (the) Twenty-Six Counties, that they are also Irishmen. That they should also have an equal say about what happens in Ireland and that we should not carve out an area where six counties are able to veto the wishes of (crosstalk) (inaudible)….

MC: …Yeah, but look, we’ve made done with that. You know you’ve heard of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998…

MG: …Yes, I have.

MC: … – you’ve heard of the St. Andrews Agreement…

MG: And I….

MC: …Hang on! You know that the Irish government supports the current arrangements in Northern Ireland and you know that Sinn Féin, which is by far the largest Republican party in Northern Ireland which commands twenty-five percent of the popular vote and whose leader in Northern Ireland is the Deputy First Minister has absolutely bought into the arrangements for political governance in this part of the world. So you are harking back to something which is frankly decades out of date – that’s the point.

MG: The Good Friday Agreement gives people like Gerry McGeough the right to have a legitimate aspiration – as if we needed some sort of agreement to have a legitimate aspiration to national freedom – to have something – a thirty-two county Ireland – to have the same right to freedom as people in other parts of Ireland…

MC: …So exactly. So that’s there. And he has that legitimate right. Nobody’s arguing about that. Doug Beattie’s not arguing about that.

MG: That’s what Gerry McGeough was doing. He was arguing for it. He was saying the current arrangements don’t work. Sinn Féin sold those to the people on the basis that it was going to lead to a united Ireland. We were told first in 2003 by Joe Cahill… (crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: …but the problem is – look – the problem is that – and I’m sorry to keep harking back to it – and by the way we did contact Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin didn’t want to take part in the conversation today; didn’t want to have anything to do with it which is perfectly reasonable from that party’s point of view. If it doesn’t want to take part that’s fine but the invitation was extended.

The difficulty that people have, and there have been several pieces in the newspaper which you will have seen and Doug Beattie has made his comments today and I’ve quoted the Bar Council. The difficulty is that what Gerry McGeough is, in the view of those people who are critical of his comments, is that he goes too far goes to far, goes way beyond the line, beyond saying: I have a right, under the 1998 agreement, to have this view. He actually explicitly threatens Catholics in Northern Ireland by calling them traitors and says they should be dealt with as collaborators once the English are removed. And once you say something like that you generate a whole different climate and a whole different context that you seem either not to understand or not to want to understand.

MG: What I’m saying is: He wanted to clarify – I’m trying to clarify those remarks – that there was no threat intended. He was not encouraging any threat against anybody. He is against them politically. He believes that they’re doing an historic role under British rule serving an administration which he would disagree with and wants to overcome to get to a united Ireland. But he’s saying, and I thought this was part of what Mr. Beattie and you would want said – that he’s not threatening anybody – he’s not recommending a threat against anybody – he’s not recommending any kind of threat other than a political threat to work peacefully towards a legitimate aspiration of a united Ireland.

MC: And what’s your response, then, to the Chair…Okay, so I’m going to bring some callers in – but your response to the Chair, Gerry McAlinden QC, the Chairman of the Bar Council, who says in that statement, his final paragraph is this: any attempt, and these are his words, any attempt to intimidate members of the judiciary or members of the legal profession engaged in prosecution work is to  be deplored by all right-thinking members of society. These sinister messages were a frequent part of our troubled past. They were wrong then and are wrong now. What do you say to Mr. McAlinden ?

MG: I’m saying as somebody who would be represented by a Bar Council here in New York Gerry McGeough did not intend any threat against anybody other a political threat to achieve a situation where there was a united Ireland. And he would express political opposition to some of the attitudes people have…

MC: …Right. But how do you deal with collaborators politically? How do you deal with traitors and collaborators politically?

MG:  In a united Ireland…

DB: …But Martin, Martin…

MC: …Hang on, Doug. Just let Martin Galvin answer that. How to you deal with traitors and collaborators politically?

MG:  I’m talking about – well, look – you’re using a statement that was taken out of context I’m saying – and I thought that that statement would be welcomed – that I know Mr. McGeough has tried to emphasise in the interview and through me that he’s not trying or did not intend to make any threat, other than a political threat, of achieving a united Ireland, against anybody. I thought that would be welcomed, that it would calm the situation – that what was interpreted was perhaps it was improperly put or perhaps taken out of context but it’s not what Mr. McGeough intended and that’s not Mr. McGeough’s position. It’s certainly wasn’t a position that I would advocate.

MC: …Okay, no – I absolutely understand that and listen I…

MG: (crosstalk)(inaudible) criticise me.

MC:  I’m not criticising you. I’m simply trying to get at the bottom of what precisely what he meant. Now you’re explaining what he meant and I’m now suggesting to you that perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight, his use of language was somewhat careless. And he needs to rethink and reconsider and take on board the criticisms that have been leveled at the language he used because he was, at best, careless in what he said in the interview with you. Now, if you accept that I think that’s a bit of progress. If you don’t accept that it’s hard to see quite where you’re coming from. Do you think he said nothing wrong and none of these criticisms are at all valid in any way?

MG: No, I would accept that the language, the exact language, in that twenty minute interview that that particular line – and there was just so much that he covered in the interview that…

MC: …Well stick with this one sentence if you would!

MG:  Okay. I’m sure that he would re-phrase that if given the opportunity.

MC: Ah! Right. So there’s an interesting point. You think he would re-phrase it if he got an opportunity.

MG: Well, I can’t guarantee. (crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: So twenty-nine minutes past twelve you can see maybe his language wasn’t as carefully chosen as it might have been?

MG: Right.

MC: Right. That’s interesting because that’s the first time you said that.

MG: And it was not intended to threaten anybody which again, I would think that that would be welcomed by you and Mr. Beattie…

MC: …Well, let’s see: Doug Beattie, do you welcome that?

DB: Well what I was going to try and say to Martin, and I’m trying to be really rational here about this, Martin. We live in an environment in Northern Ireland where we have a fragile peace where dissident Republicans and others are still murdering people on a weekly basis or shooting people on a weekly basis and murdering people as well.

I’m a member of the Assembly. I’m an an ex-soldier. I check under my car every single day and every time I get into that car. That is because of what happened in the past. These words incite us to go back to that again. I think they were poorly chosen words. I think they’re words that incited violence. And it doesn’t matter what you say. You don’t live here. I live here. I lived through it and you need to understand that.

MC:  But do you also accept, Doug Beattie, that Martin Galvin has faced up today to our request to take part in the programme. He has spoken to Gerry McGeough. He has endeavoured, as best he can, to put in context the comments that were made and to clarify that and he’s just done it a moment ago that, with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps Gerry McGeough might have expressed that view slightly differently. So do you accept a degree of progress has been made throughout this conversation so far?

DB: Well, absolutely. I have no ax to grind with Martin Galvin whatsoever here. I have the ax to grind with the words that were used. Now if Martin if they were choice words that maybe he shouldn’t have been using then that is progress. The problem is: Those words are out there and there’s people out there who will be influenced by words like this from a person like Gerry. So I think we need to be really, really mindful and I think Martin needs to be mindful. And I think Martin would really do well to speak to people from the Unionist community, from ex-soldiers like me who fought for thirty-four years along side his countrymen in Iraq and Afghanistan who are marginalised because they are too busy peddling a single message and I think that needs to be taken on board as well.

MC:  Well, maybe that’s your next interview on your radio programme, Martin Galvin. Maybe you should have Doug Beattie on to get the other side of things and hear a different perspective one that maybe one that you and your listeners are not just so familiar with?

MG: Well again, I know at every Unionist party convention there is a speaker on a united Ireland to put that forward so I’m sure it will be as balanced – well I’m being facetious, obviously. Mr. Beattie, we used to have actually a relative of one of the McGimpseys used to appear on the show quite regularly. We have tried to put that view forward. One of the things that I’d like to ask Mr. Beattie about is that Gerry McGeough, during that interview, talked about civilians who were killed with the support of members of the British Crown forces in collusion by some of the Loyalists who killed somebody during the past week. I’m surprised that nobody hit out at that – nobody was concerned about that allegation. He talked about Roseann Mallon or members of the Fox Family or members of the McKearney Family…

MC: …Well let’s let Doug…Doug.

MG: … British law and order forces (crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: Doug, Doug, do you want to clarify your position on that for the benefit of Martin Galvin before I bring some callers in?

DB: Martin, it’s really quite simple: If anybody committed a murder, be they in the British military, be they a police officer, be they civilian or anybody else if they committed a murder – and it was wrong – if there’s evidence they should be brought to court. I condemn anybody who conducts a murder so don’t try and drag me down a road here where I’m trying to defend anybody who committed an unlawful act. I’m absolutely against that so you’ll not get me on that one.

MG: …(crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: …Okay, let’s bring in some callers.

MG: (crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: Hang on a second, Martin because I want to bring in John here. He’s gotten in touch with the programme at lunch time and we do try to bring callers in and were a bit tardy in doing so today because we’ve had to cover a lot of ground with both of you. So John, you’ve got in touch so let’s hear what you have to say at this lunch time.

John: Hello, Martin?

MG: Yes.

John: Martin?

MC: Yes, yes. Martin Galvin can hear you. Yep, John. Go ahead if you want to make a point – quickly.

John: Martin, we have had people over here in Northern Ireland people on the Unionist side who yelled and squealed about things that young Unionists went out and did crimes because of what they heard and they’re in jail today. And their parents and their brothers and their sisters are visiting them every day. We have had young Nationalists who are in the same – who are not just as balanced – who are listening youse are commenting on there today. Now what about Judge Trainor, a Christian lovely man with his family in church on the Lord’s Day, not knowing that he was going to be come out and murdered on the steps of where he worships God. Now those people listening to that, on balance, feel they can go out and murder Catholics because they’re doing their duty. Martin, listen carefully: If there was a vote for a united Ireland and it went against us – and I’m one for an Irish – I am married but I’m part of the United Kingdom – and if we ever voted to go with the united Ireland would you like us to go out and murder and kill people? Now Martin, please be careful on the way you’re getting on. You don’t live here. We are living here in peace, ninety-nine point nine percent of us.

MC: Okay. Alright, John, thanks very much. Martin, do you want a quick response to that and then I want to bring in Sam.

MG: Quickly, first of all, Gerry McGeough was not talking about any kind of armed action or any kind of threat against anybody. If the caller believes that there should be or can be a legitimate vote for a united Ireland, and I believe it should take in all thirty-two counties, I would agree with him on that. And certainly, I’m trying to clarify and say as carefully as I can that Mr. McGeough was not advocating any kind of armed threat or any kind of threat against anybody and not intending to encourage anybody to do that.

MC: Okay. Alright. Thanks very much, indeed. Sam, you got in touch with us this lunch time. What are your thoughts?

Sam: Yeah, hi there. I just think that Mr. McGeough should be looked at in a different light: That yes, he is a Republican who’s been convicted of a terror act but this shouldn’t be the reason why the media is looking into him because according to the Irish News he was re-elected earlier in the year as the president of County Tyrone AOH, Ancient Order of Hibernians, which is a Roman Catholic fraternal organisation. Now if, for instance another Co. Tyrone man, Edward Stevenson, who is the Grand Master of the Orange Institution in Ireland and he made a similar repugnant comment would the media be presenting him as a County Tyrone Unionist farmer or would they be presenting him as the Grand Master of the Orange Institution in Ireland?

MC: Well I suppose it depends, it depends in which capacity an individual speaks. And just to be clear on that (and thank you for raising the point about the Ancient Order of Hibernians) – Hang on a second – I want to actually just – and this might help you understand where we’re coming from – we did contact the Ancient Order of Hibernians today and Gerry McGeough is indeed the president of the AOH in County Tyrone and a spokesman for the Ancient Order of Hibernians told this programme Gerry McGeough isn’t a member of the national board of that organisation and he was not speaking on its behalf and there would be no further comment.

Sam: Okay. Well if, but in a similar situation, if a County Grand Master of the Orange Institution in future months makes a similar repugnant comment I hope that the Orange will not be dragged into this if they haven’t been speaking in that capacity because I do feel…

MC: …Well, I’m sure that’s exactly the case – we would do exactly what we’ve done now. Well, the BBC would – I can’t speak for other media outlets.

Sam: Just one other point: On the issue that I’m bringing about Catholic collaborators I think that is truly awful to try and say that somebody, because of their faith, that their political aspirations are moulded because of their faith – that is totally wrong that he should have brought people, being Roman Catholic, that they can’t have different aspirations…

MC: …So you see his comments, you see Mr. McGeough’s comments as having a threatening dimension to them, do you, when you hear them?

Sam: I do believe so. I’m personally not a Roman Catholic but I do feel it’s entirely wrong, that if you’re a member of the judiciary that your faith or your political aspirations, which should be left at the door whenever you’re making judgments, that he should have brought that in at all and I think that is a serous point to say that Irish Nationalists being part of, rather he said they were Catholic, and that should mean that they shouldn’t be part of the judiciary I think that’s is truly wrong.

MC: Okay, well look thanks very much, indeed, Sam, for you thoughts. (station call-in announcement) Let’s hear from Thomas who has indeed got in touch with us this lunch time. Thomas, what are your thoughts?

Thomas: Yeah, Martin, they can’t be taken in any other way other way other than a threat. I think Gerry used his words so that he wouldn’t sound sectarian. He picked out the Catholic judges as if they were only going to be dealt with. If Martin Galvin, I’m a Loyalist, if I said to Martin Galvin on your radio show if the English pull out of Ireland, Martin, you’re going to be dealt with. I mean it wouldn’t be taken in any other way than a direct threat to him. The waffling that he came off within the last thirty minutes just how deluded some of them Americans are, especially him, with raising money over the years to help the IRA murder people here. Whether he likes it or not our joint First Minister here (and I know there’s a wee of a messing about between Unionists on OFM and DFM) but they’re joint first ministers. And the joint First Minister of the country that we live in is an Irish Republican, is a former IRA Commander and he was voted in there and quite rightly so. And is Martin Galvin saying that all them IRA men, and all them IRA Volunteers, who are now running our country along with Unionists are all traitors and collaborators the same as them judges?

MC: Well, I don’t know that they’re all IRA men and all IRA Volunteers. Some of them may have been involved in….

Thomas: …No, not all but some are specific IRA men.

MC: Sure. Okay. Well I mean, you can speak directly to Martin Galvin because he’s still in the line. So Mr. Galvin, how do you respond to the question posed there by Thomas?

MG: I don’t want to make any comment on what Martin McGuinness’ role was…

Thomas: …Why not, Martin? That’s the question I asked you.

MG: (crosstalk) (inaudible) I certainly don’t to comment on that. I’ve been asked about it many times and certainly am not going to comment…

MC: …Well why not? Why not? He’s the Deputy First Minister. Why would you not comment on that?

MG: Because it maybe incite – or it might be felon setting if I said that he was involved – Gerry McGeough, for example, one of the charges against him that for he was jailed – was that he was a member of the IRA in 1981 – and he was jailed by the administration, which as this speaker I believe him to be correct – members of that same struggle, participants in that same struggle would have been part of the administration which jailed Gerry McGeough in Maghaberry…

MC: …Yeah but hang on – just to be absolutely clear – we’re pretty aware of the detail on this one.  Martin McGuinness himself he is a former IRA leader. Martin McGuinness went to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in Doire and said he was the second in command on the 30th of January 1972 so there’s no secret about the fact that Martin McGuinness has a past within the IRA. Now the point that he makes is that he left it a long time ago, he’s no longer involved and he doesn’t regret his involvement then but he’s moved on politically so I don’t think you’re going to get you in hot water with Martin McGuinness. (crosstalk)

MG: Well, if I said…

Thomas: another question…(crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: …Hang on, hang on. Just let Martin Galvin respond to that point.

MG: If I were to say that he had a role within the Republican movement, within the IRA, after that that might be grounds of felon setting. (crosstalk) (inaudible)

MC: Well, he would disagree with you. Look, I’ve put that question to him many times before and he simply says that that’s not right.

MG: Okay.

MC:  And you know, you pays your money you takes you choice. Gerry Adams says he was never in the IRA.  A lot of people don’t believe him.

MG: I’m not commenting on that either.

Thomas: Martin, do you still raise money for Irish Republicans in Northern Ireland and do you support the peace process here?

MG: First of all, there’s no – well, I don’t raise money for Irish political prisoners or for the lobbying efforts in this country to advocate against British rule except through the Ancient Hibernians in New York for the Freedom for All Ireland Committee. And I never raised money directly for the IRA that was always something that was put forward by British information services because they wanted to distract (from) the reason that there was a conflict in Ireland which is the injustices under British rule in Ireland.

MC: Well it’s interesting you say you never raised money directly for the IRA. Did you raise money indirectly for the IRA?

MG: Well I raised money for Republican prisoners so they would get money on a weekly basis in accordance with need. I would raise money, for example, during the hunger strike – there was a film – one of the things that was most powerful during that time thousands upon thousands of people we were able to put on the streets in New York and across the United States – which Richard O’Rawe on the same radio programme that Gerry McGeough spoke on – said was the thing that really, was the thing that really won for the hunger strikers and showed the world that they were not criminals that they were political prisoners and patriots.

MC: Alright, Martin Galvin, thank you for now. Just stay with us. Thomas, thanks very much indeed for getting in touch and for making that point. I’m going to take a final caller on this: Ken Wilkinson, who’s the Progressive Unionist Party’s spokesperson for prisoners, has got in touch with us and wants to I think take issue with what Gerry McGeough said. Afternoon to you, Mr. Wilkinson, what are your thoughts?

Ken: Good Afternoon. Well you know, we had Martin on there saying maybe Gerry McGeough would change his statement. Gerry McGeough made the statement and as you were saying earlier I would like to hear Gerry McGeough on talking about this himself because more or less what he said was ‘Brits out.’ And I’m a Brit. And I’m not going anywhere. He was part of a campaign who tried to put the Brits out. We’re still here and we intend to remain.

MC: Well does it help you, Ken Wilkinson, that Gerry McGeough spoke to Martin Galvin, was happy – was unable to do the interview himself, he says – but was happy for Martin Galvin to come on and explain his position and Martin Galvin has clarified that position, has tried to put it into the wider context and did concede, just before half past twelve, that maybe with the benefit of hindsight Gerry McGeough might have chosen slightly different language?

Ken: Maybe…

MC: …Well that’s what he said. That’s what he said.

Ken: Maybe. Just maybe. But no, I would like to hear him. But the thing is, if the gentleman was here and talking and if a member of the Apprentice Boys, the Black Preceptory, the Orange or even my party leader had of said and come out with that statement about collaborators – the IRA dealt with collaborators in one way: they shot them in the back of the head – that was the way they dealt with collaborators. And this gentleman here doesn’t even belong in this country and he’s coming here and making statements…

MC: …Well, he’s not coming here. He’s on the line from New York and he’s entitled to an opinion. He’s a radio presenter in New York. He did an interview. He’s now taking about the interview. That’s reasonable is it not?

Ken: (crosstalk) the point is that I take great offence – Gerry McGeough’s statement was, more or less, ‘Brits Out’. What has Martin got to say about that?

MC: Okay, what have you got to say about that, Mr Galvin, in conclusion. That’s how it’s being viewed by someone who’s a member of the Progressive Unionist Party

MG: Well again, Gerry McGeough’s would be very different from the Progressive Unionist Party.

MC: Of course it would.

MG: In the interview, distinguish between what he called the English administration at Westminster and the Unionist population in The North. It’s there if you want to read it so he wasn’t making the connection that Mr. Wilkinson was. Certainly Gerry McGeough supports a united Ireland. I support a united Ireland very strongly. I believe that as a matter of justice there should be one Ireland that serves the interests of the Irish people as a whole and that that is the way forward and that is eventual position that we’ll get to if…

Ken: …It will never happen, Martin, it will never happen.

MG: Okay, then we have a political disagreement.

Ken: You ought to put your own country in order first before you try and interfere in this one.

MC: That’s a whole other discussion – I’ll tell you that, Ken.

MG: If we look into Donald Trump’s statements that he would change we could be on for the rest of the week.

MC: Sure. Well look – we were on for forty-five minutes on the programme this time yesterday talking about Donald Trump.

MG: You didn’t touch the surface.

MC: No, we didn’t. You’re absolutely right. Okay, Ken, thank you very much indeed for getting in touch. Martin Galvin thank you very much indeed for taking our call. We very much appreciate you making yourself available. If you get a chance to speak to Gerry McGeough I suspect that there are colleagues in the BBC who’d be very keen to have him on the airwaves just to clarify precisely what his position is in all of this.

Doug Beattie, a final comment to you: I’m just looking at your statement here and I see you’re saying that you’re calling on the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) to investigate Gerry McGeough’s words to see if an offence has been committed. After the conversation of the last forty-five minutes is that still your view?

DB: Absolutely. I don’t think it’s changed in any shape or form. I mean, what he said, whether he meant it or whether he did not, is an incitement to commit an offence. And I have to finish off by saying Gerry McGeough’s view of a pure Irish-Gael country which excludes people like myself and people of Ulster-Scots background, is something that hardens my resolve to make sure that Northern Ireland, as a country, is a success. (Ed. Note: This view, attributed to Mr. McGeough, does not appear in the transcript of Gerry McGeough’s interview on Radio Free Éireann.) So I think he’s gone in the wrong direction here.

MC: Okay. Alright. Gentlemen, thank you both very much indeed for joining us. Doug Beattie there, the Ulster Unionist MLA with his position – he still thinks that the PSNI should be investigating those comments from Gerry McGeough and Martin Galvin, former NORAID Publicity Director, radio presenter in New York was joining us there, he did the interview with Gerry McGeough. Thank you to both of them. Thank you to everyone else who called in.

Perhaps Tory fog of nonsense will work for Chipping Barnet

Britain’s exit from the European Union threatens untold economic consequences for Ireland north and south. Beyond harmful trade and travel restrictions approved by the EU and Tories, are potential losses of EU funding and recourse to the European Court of Human Rights. The EU may be more sympathetic to the north than austerity-minded Tories.

Victims of torture, collusion murders or wrongful imprisonment could hope for justice by putting Britain in the European dock. Theresa May wants withdrawal from the European Court and Convention on Human Rights alongside Brexit.

Ireland as a whole  was given little say and less thought in the referendum. Millions in the 26 counties had no vote. Enda Kenny was reduced to appeals to the Irish residing in Britain and the north. The six counties, like Scotland, rejected Brexit. These majorities were dismissed.

Arlene Foster lectured that no region within a country can veto the wishes of the majority of the whole country. Foster first ministers a region whose founding principle is that a unionist majority in six counties within Ireland vetoed the all-Ireland vote of 1918 and can forever veto an all-Ireland majority.

Brexit resulted from a Tory party election gambit. David Cameron placated disgruntled party members by promising a referendum. He expected re-election in coalition, and his coalition partners would have provided his excuse to ditch the promise. Cameron’s bigger than expected victory backfired into Brexit defeat and downfall.

Cameron’s unwanted referendum was carried by English voters worried about immigrants, European regulations and the loss of England as imagined through their fog of nostalgia. It was England setting policies to serve English interests, no matter about Ireland.

Much the same attitude was exhibited by the unlamented Theresa Villiers. Google her name and find her web site ‘Working for Chipping Barnet’. Her wealthy English district was her priority as she worked to bring invidious Brexit and austerity cuts. 

Villiers’ appointment was her chance to audition for a more prized post. She decided to take on the role of Lady Macbeth. Instead of wandering the palace rubbing her hands to wipe out bloody murder, Villiers wandered the north with self-righteous platitudes, a national security cover-up on incriminating documents and by withholding inquest funding.

Mounting proof of British complicity in murders was dismissed as a fictional “pernicious counter-narrative”. British forces who provided loyalists with weapons, targets and protection were blameless according to Villiers, because their paid agents pulled the triggers at places like Loughinisland.

Perhaps such nonsense will work for Chipping Barnet.

MARTIN GALVIN
New York

Martin Galvin RFÉ 9 July 2016

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

John McDonagh (JM) interviews Martin Galvin (MG) in the studio about his involvement in the film Bobby Sands: 66 Days.
(begins time stamp ~ 18:45)

JM: Now a topic that’s coming up in Galway: There’s a film out called 66 Days Bobby Sands and it’s about his diary when he was on hunger strike and they made it into a film. But there’s a little re-writing of history that’s going on about Bobby Sands. We’re going to play the trailer and then talk to Martin Galvin who was part of the process for the film but didn’t quite make it in.

Audio: Trailer for film, Bobby Sands: 66 Days, is played. (trailer ends time stamp ~ 21:18)

JM: And that is the trailer from 66 Days which is debuting at the Galway Film Festival. I would recommend go watch it because in it it’s strange how they use a picture of Bobby Sands in Long Kesh with his arms around Denis Donaldson who turned out to be an MI5 informer who worked here in New York City for a little while. And also one of the little clips shows the Union Jack being burned on 3rd Avenue at the British Consulate so you can see it in ties in New York with what was going on in Belfast. And someone that was instrumental in what was happening here in New York and organising the demonstrations down at the British Consulate was Martin Galvin. And Martin, you were approached to be in this film. Were you?

MG: John, I did hear about the film. I was contacted to be in the film. I had been the national Publicity Director of Irish Northern Aid from 1979 onward. And when I was appointed to that position what I was told from people from Belfast is that the situation in Long Kesh was critical, that prisoners were at a stage where they had asked for support. They wanted support from America and that if this situation with the five demands, where the British were trying to make these prisoners dress up as criminals so they could say to the world that there were no more political prisoners in Ireland, there was no real conflict or struggle. It was just an inordinate number of criminals in the North of Ireland and that’s what Britain was fighting against.

And Bobby Sands, Brendan Hughes, the other prisoners – three hundred spartans as my friend Richard O’Rawe called them in his book – refused to do that. The British, beginning with Kieran Nugent who was one of the people who was out here who had toured about that protest – and what had happened is gradually the British tried an escalating system of pressure to break their determination. They would be confined naked except for a blanket, they’d be denied visits, they’d be denied remission, they would be subjected to beatings, they would be subjected to brutal searches, mirror searches, beaten up, bones broken – all of that gradually to force them to accept wearing a criminal uniform and be a prop in the propaganda war of Margaret Thatcher to label the Irish Republican cause, the Irish Republican resistance to British rule, as criminal. So in 1979 it was at a critical stage. America – people were sent from Ireland to America to say we had to play more of a part in exposing this – that America could actually make the difference and be the difference in breaking the determination of the British and forcing them to have some sort of honourable compromise which would have resolved this sort of a hunger strike. And so gradually we started up, we started to publicise what was going on in the H Blocks at that time, the significance was not understood, was not known – I gave one of my first major speeches in Ireland in 1979 in Casement Park in the anniversary of internment.

But what we were doing was building up so that if there was a hunger strike we would be ready. We would have demonstrations in front of British Consulates not only in New York but around the country. We would have people who would be prepared and informed enough and committed enough to go in front of the British Consulates, talk in British areas around the country and then do that on a daily basis. And we had a professional – I had gone back to train actually at the Belfast Republican Press Centre – wanted to have something – a professional press office, a professional publicity office, a professional political lobbying office as best that we could without money. And so we did that. We began to organise that. And as we moved gradually towards 1980 and the first hunger strike those things that we set in motion so when the first hunger strike began it would be coordinated, there would be a national campaign, it would emanate from Irish Northern Aid, from the office on 207 Street, the Irish People office, and I was the person chosen to run that campaign in America.

JM: So did they approach you? You knew about the movie being made – who was approached and what happened?

MG: Well I was approached to generate that because the American impact in the hunger strike – it was unbelievable! People would demonstrate day after day, they did this month after month, you’d be there at the British Consulate five o’clock to seven o’clock on weekdays after work. You’d then go from three to five on the weekends. There were actually, when a hunger striker died, there would be individuals who would build a coffin, have it in front of the British Consulate, stand guard for twenty-four hours a day until the individual was buried. All of that – the press – the publicity they were able to do, news people came into America day after day. So as a result of that, as the leader of that campaign in the United States, I was asked by the film crew, I think Richard O’Rawe gave them my name, I was asked to do an interview. I was happy to do it because I just thought – not for anything that I did but I think it’s important to highlight what America did and I think that the full impact of what we had will never be fully appreciated. We later saw that there were individuals in the British Consulate who complained about having to go to work every day with demonstrations – being criticised – being called murderers – all of that had. So the film crew came, they asked me to do an interview and I did – a lengthy period – it was supposed to be for about a half hour, an hour – they ended up keeping me for a long period of time.

JM: And it was filmed here in New York.

MG: It was filmed here. It was done in the Irish Consulate. They did interviews – I was able to talk – just funny stories about people coming out – what made them come out day after day. How many people – thousands of people had come around. How the county associations, the AOH divisions, fought – they stood up and said our banners are not there as much as other counties – so much so. And how – what would happen when a hunger striker died: I would get a call at my home at five o’clock. I would go to the office. We would put out a press statement. I would call individuals from Irish Northern Aid in the New England states, in Pennsylvania, in California in San Francisco, in the Mid-West in Chicago, and they would circulate so that everybody would be alerted. There would be demonstrations that day across the country that would be escalated because a hunger striker had died.

So I was able to talk about this and about one of the funniest stories I love repeating: When the hunger strike ended we announced, as we had planned to, that the demonstrations, the daily demonstrations, would stop. And we congratulated everybody, talked about how they had insured that the hunger strikers had won – that the world saw that these men were not criminals – that criminals don’t die such deaths for the freedom of their country. And I got a call when I got home from Michael Flannery and he started laughing and he said: Martin, you’ll never guess – there’s some complaints about you! And I couldn’t believe it and we were laughing about it because at that time I was thought very highly of – he said people complained – they want to keep on demonstrating in front of the British Consulate – they don’t want to stop just because the hunger strike has stopped. We were able to continue – the Long Green Line continued for a number of years. But stories like that – the impact – people going every day – people in front of the British Consulate every day – how you couldn’t fly a British flag anywhere in New York – anywhere in many places around the country – because it was a stain. Even, one of the best stories: How when Prince Charles and Diana, people weren’t lining up to shake their hands, they actually, when they came to New York – thirty thousand people went to Lincoln Center to be there with Elizabeth O’Hara, to be there with the family of Bobby Sands, the family of Patsy O’Hara, to be there with Maura McDonnell whose brother then was on hunger strike.

And we had one of the favorite stories: Police officers on the special squad who guarded Prince Charles came to the demonstration afterwards, asked if they could participate, one of them said his family was from Doire – another said his family was from Monaghan – they wanted to give interviews on the record saying that they had had to guard people like Idi Amin and other people, international criminals and pariahs, but they had never felt so ashamed about their job as that time – having to guard Prince Charles – that’s where they were. I put those interviews on tape, I was happy to do that and I thought that would make a tremendous impact, a tremendous addition to anything and you couldn’t tell the story of the hunger strike without having that and they had come to me because I was the person who was in charge of that who had all those stories.

JM: And what happened to the interview?

MG: Well when I was over in Doire I was at the demonstration or commemoration for George McBrearty and people who had been interviewed came to me and they said: You know what happened with that? Anybody, if you were seen as being not being fully supportive of Sinn Féin, other than Richard O’Rawe whom they needed and who had help them, everybody else who was not really supportive of Sinn Féin or fully in line with Sinn Féin was going to be censored out. And I said: Look. First of all I didn’t even mention anything about any difficulties or any criticisms of Sinn Féin. At the time of the hunger strike I was the person they were calling from Ireland to organise. Irish Northern Aid was the organisation they’d look to. I was the press officer, the national publicity director, the person in charge of all of this. So I said I couldn’t believe it.

And just to be sure I contacted the people who had done the film and said: Look, I got this crazy rumour that I was going to be censored out just because right now I’m no longer in line, I’m with people and groups like the 1916 Societies or I’m viewed as an independent Republican or I work with other organisations and not fully on board with Sinn Féin and I’m probably due to give the Brendan Hughes Commemoration speech – somebody (inaudible). And after a couple of days in following up I finally got something: Yes, you gave us great material and we’re going to include all this material about America in the film but unfortunately we couldn’t have you on it but we’re going to send you a copy of the video and we’ll let you know information about the premiere. I just said: Look! I’m very friendly with many of the hunger strikers’ families, I know the Sands Family did not want to be involved because of that reason – they thought there would be a political agenda behind it – there are other families who were not invited to be on and would not be on it because of that. And I said I’m sorry now that I did not listen to them, that I listened to you, that I sat down and did the interview and if you have a political agenda like that, that somebody like me can’t be on, then I think you’re doing a disservice to everything that Bobby Sands stood for. And I was told I was going to be censored out for that reason.

JM: Alright. So you know that film will be coming to New York at some stage and we’ll discuss it even more with Martin about how, if you’re not with the political process of Sinn Féin, you’re not even going to be written into the historical things that you were there part of.

And Martin, you were telling one story there, before we go to a song, about making the coffins. I was down at the British Consulate and Mike Murphy, who was a 608 carpenter, or 6R8 as he called it, was making the coffins at Clancy’s because Clancy’s was two blocks away from the British Consulate. And we got the wood by going out at night and stealing the wooden barricades of the NYPD, bringing them into Clancy’s and sanding off the blue paint and the NYPD and then chopping them up and making coffins out of it. And the cops could never understand where the wooden barricades were going because they would come back for the demonstration and say: ‘Jeez, who’s stealing wooden barricades?’ The next thing you’d see a coffin coming out of Clancy’s heading up to the British Consulate – so that was just one of those side stories.

MG: They may have let it go because the police – they used to shake our hands I mean they were – like I said – we had a demonstration in front of Lincoln Center – they’re coming over saying: ‘Can we put on IRA badges?’ and ‘Can we be interviewed to disavow anything that we just did?’ – they used to be great to us! (ends time stamp ~ 33:53)

Martin Galvin RFÉ 27 June 2015

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

Sandy Boyer (SB) introduces Martin Galvin (MG) who recalls the life of former NY Congressman Mario Biaggi, a champion of Irish Freedom who passed away this week.  May he rest in peace.
(begins time stamp ~ 21:35)

SB: And we’re joined on the line by Martin Galvin, the longtime spokesperson for Irish Republicanism in America now the Bronx Chair of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Martin, thank you for being with us.

MG: Thank you, Sandy.

SB: And of course this week we had the passing of a giant, Mario Biaggi, who for many, many years was the foremost spokesperson/champion of Irish Freedom in Congress – more energetic, more dedicated than anybody in my lifetime. Can you share some of your reminiscences about Mario Biaggi?

MG: Sandy, for more than ten years, from the late 1970’s, certainly when he formed the Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs, into the ’80’s until his troubles with Congress, Mario Biaggi was the person, the leader. When you talked about an “Irish lobby” you spoke, initially, about Mario Biaggi.

He was able to get a hundred and twenty Congressmen who would sign onto initiatives – what would happen is – these are the years: the lead-up to the hunger strike, the brutality at Long Kesh, or plastic bullets were being fired on Irish children, there were collusion murders – and when there was an event in Ireland: someone like me from Irish Northern Aid or people from the Ancient Order of Hibernians or Irish National Caucus and later the Unity Conference would be able to call Mario Biaggi – he would spearhead an immediate reaction. Letters of protest would go out from large number of members from the Ad Hoc Committee. When there was any event, I know a rally that I spoke at was attacked in Belfast in 1984. When I came back to the United States he had already set up Congressional hearings, he had me flown down to Washington – he greeted me – he said: they cannot do this to us – and this was something – that type of protest – that immediate reaction – that visceral reaction – was something that I and so many members of the Irish community found in Mario Biaggi. Now he was somebody who didn’t need Irish votes. He lived in a district where less than ten percent of the people were Irish. He had earned our votes a long time before but for some reason he became very interested in the Irish issue. He was attacked – people like Kerry and Moynihan and Kennedy would attack him. The Irish government of the day was against him. The SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) was against him – and all of that made him more determined than ever and to stand up and fight and lead for us. So much so that, Sandy, for more for ten years – you’ll remember many events – if it was an Irish Northern Aid testimonial dinner or one of the other large testimonial dinners the emcee, Frank Durkan, myself, whoever was doing that job would wait until the last – everyone else had been introduced on the dais – then we’d turn and say: And now there’s somebody who needs no introduction, that is Mario Biaggi – and you’d hear cheers and applause – everybody would stand, cheer and applaud and it would go on and on and it would be thunderous. And he deserved that recognition then. And he deserves our gratitude now.

SB: Well Martin, thank you very much. That’s a very gracious tribute to a great leader. And I just want to let our audience know that Martin will be here next week sitting in this chair so that John and I can get a little bit of a break and I’m sure that you’ll put a great show on as usual, Martin.

MG: Sandy, thank you. Let me just say I’m at the Gaelic Park at the football memorial tournament for O’Donovan-Rossa which Jimmy Sullivan announced last week and he’s here today. There’s events at The Cork Center tomorrow at one o’clock – there’ll be a Mass and there’ll be another ceremony for that indomitable fenian.

And Mario Biaggi’s being waked on Monday and Tuesday at Riverdale-on-Hudson. Even though he was not Irish (obviously he was Italian) because of the way he championed Irish issues Bronx County AOH is going to go there and have a special ceremony that’s usually reserved for AOH members. I would urge as many people as possible – go to Riverdale-on-Hudson on Monday or Tuesday – show the family that just as Mario Biaggi never forgot us that we will never forget him. And it’s interesting to note the things that he campaigned for: visas, American presidential involvement in Ireland, all of those things – later on – they would be accepted and that would be the basis for any progress in Ireland. When he advocated those things in the ’70’s and ’80’s the Irish government, the SDLP, the Irish politicians were against him. He is proven to be right and our true champion.

SB: Well Martin again, thank you very much. That was a very gracious tribute and I know you’ll be back here next week. (ends time stamp ~ 26:24)