Matt Treacy RFÉ 16 June 2018

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Martin Galvin speaks to former IRA Volunteer and former Sinn Féin activist now author and political commentator, Matt Treacy, via telephone from Belfast, who provides comment on Sinn Féin as it’s 2018 Ard Fheis is underway.   (begins time stamp ~ 31:27)

Martin:   Alright. With us on the line we have Matt Treacy. Matt, I’m just sorry – you know, we were doing one of my favourite songs, The Foggy Dew, and we just got you too soon – I would have liked to have listen to that a little bit more but I can listen to that on the way home. Welcome back to Radio Free Éireann.

Matt:   Thank you.

Martin:   Alright, Now, Matt, you are, were a member, you’re the author of the book, A Tunnel to the Moon:  The End of the Irish Republican Army. You, that book, describes you as somebody who was a member of the IRA for thirty years, you spent four years in Portlaoise; you were released after the 1994 ceasefire. And you were somebody who also worked with Mary Lou McDonald, Michelle O’Neill, you worked with Martin Ferris – you were assistant to him, you wrote hundreds of speeches, many speeches, for members of Sinn Féin – and in fact you were one of the people who worked on Mary Lou McDonald’s first successful election campaign. So we wanted to go to you as somebody with a long history of Republicanism, personally, as well as a family history that goes back generations in Republicanism. Your book, by the way, has a picture of Martin McGuinness shaking hands with Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth, as Peter Robinson looks on, A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army, so we wanted to get your perspective as you saw this week Gerry Kelly, Martin Ferris, Michelle O’Neill, Mary Lou McDonald all lining up at various times to shake hands with Charles Windsor. How did that make you feel? What’s your reaction to it? And do you think this brings us closer to the cause for which you joined Sinn Féin and joined the Irish Republican Army to advance – that of a united Ireland?

Matt:   Well, on one level I suppose it’s common courtesy but on the other hand these courtesies shouldn’t be extended to members of the British royal family until the objective of the Republic has been achieved. It’s not about meeting the president of France or the president of the United States, you’re meeting, you’re greeting the figureheads of a state that still occupies part of our country so I think it’s a bit premature to be ‘taking smilies’ with them, to be honest.

Martin:    Well when people see them meeting with, shaking hands, greeting, smiling at Prince Charles doesn’t that give an impression, may give an impression that they are a normal political party – but – you have, he is still I believe, the ceremonial head of the British Paratroop Regiment, if I’m not mistaken, which was responsible for Bloody Sunday, responsible for Ballymurphy. He is a representative of a government that still claims six of Ireland’s counties. He is still somebody who represents British rule – prisons are there, Her Majesty’s Prison, in the name of their British royal family – doesn’t it just give the impression, generally, that everything is fine. Everything is okay. We have now accepted British rule and we don’t have to worry about changing it, ending it – and you’re standing up, not as equals giving courtesy to somebody who’s leaving your country, you’re there shaking hands, normalising, not just yourself as a political party, but normalising British rule in The North?


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Yeah well, I think it’s part of the whole Orwellian fantasy that they’ve constructed that, as you say, gives the impression that everything has been solved. Now they keep going on about a border poll – that’s in the gift of the Northern Ireland Secretary – it’s not going to happen any time soon and even if it did it would be defeated. So you know they’re stuck within the strictures of the Good Friday Agreement and I think the whole border poll thing it’s a kind of a charade to convince people that they’re still moving forward towards a Republic when that’s not actually the reality of the situation and then meeting the royal family convinces people – because it’s all done within the parameters of: ‘Oh! Look how happy everybody is now! We’ve achieved peace and these people are our friends.’ stuff.

Martin:   Alright. Now last night at the Ard Fheis there was an important decision made. There was a change in, well there was a proposal adopted which had been amended, which you consider to be very important in terms of getting Sinn Féin into government and coalition. Could you tell us what happened and why it was important?

Matt:   Well up until last night the position of Sinn Féin was that they don’t go into coalition unless they were the largest party or in alliance with parties which basically set their own policies. Now last night, they voted to give the leadership, basically, the power to enter into negotiations after the next elections with any party and it’s still going to be the minority partner in the coalition so it’s a complete change in party policy in that light but not only that the most likely coalition partner is Fine Gael. And, as you know, the history of Fine Gael and Republicans isn’t particularly, how would you say? – positive? – going back to the Civil War but even more recently, in the ’70’s with the Heavy Gang, the 1980’s with the Good Friday Agreement, extradition and so on. Fine Gael are the most anti-Republican party in the Twenty-Six Counties and for Sinn Féin – like if somebody told you ten years ago that Sinn Féin were considering going into coalition with Fine Gael and not only going into coalition with Fine Gael but going into coalition as a junior partner where they’re going to get two or three ministers and where Fine Gael are going to be making foreign policy and all the major economic decisions – you’d have been sectioned, you know? But this is where they are going. It’ll happen if the numbers stack up so it’s – but not only that they banned or stopped any outright opposition motions to coalition and this one fairly mild motion – they persuaded, in the various cummain, the Dublin cumann, which put that motion forward to amend it, to allow them to say they would have no restrictions on what they negotiate on.

Martin:   Alright. Now, I should explain just to the American part of the audience – I know we have a large audience in Ireland which understands what you’re talking about: In the Twenty-Six Counties the government is like the British system. You have the majority of elected members of the Parliament, whoever controls that gets elected Taoiseach, or head of the government, and you have to maintain that majority. So what Matt is talking about is a situation where Fine Gael, as a majority, added to the seats that, whatever seats, Sinn Féin wins could maintain a majority. And that would put Sinn Féin in a position where it was defending policies that the senior partner, Fine Gael, would make – it would have to vote for them, endorse them, usually Fine Gael, the major party, would set policy, including on foreign policy, especially on foreign policy, and it would put Sinn Féin in a position of supporting those policies and defending them, being part of them and part of implementing them. Now…

Matt:   …it’s quite, it’s quite an extraordinary development over the last couple of years. If you think back to what Republican’s, what the Republican critique was of say of Fianna Fáil or Clann na Phoblacht or the Workers’ Party, that they were compromising themselves and the core of the Sinn Féin party have overturned almost every single facet of what used to be ‘Republican politics’ even to the extent that they support Fine Gael on Brexit. Now there are practical reasons why they would oppose Britain leaving the EU but it’s only in the last four of five years that Sinn Féin’s accepted the fact that Irish sovereignty should be surrendered to the European Union – and it’s completely overturned that without any votes, without anybody being consulted and now they have exactly the same policy as Fine Gael on that so there are no real barriers preventing them from going into coalition.

Martin:   Okay. Now you have a blog – I’ll spell it out – brocaire books dot ie (Martin spells out) and in the blog you mention, in one of the most recent entries, you mention that there is a core group, what you call a core group, in Sinn Féin and that they basically hold the real power. They are the ones who control policy and, what you say is, they tell everyone what to do and whatever they say everybody else follows and they can make whatever policies they want. Could you explain who this core group is? How they’re able to wield such influence that there could be such changes within Sinn Féin from the the party that you joined, that you supported as a member of the Irish Republican Army to the party it is now?

Matt:   Well, I never actually joined Sinn Féin. I was only in the Irish Republican Army. And I was at the last meetings when the Army was disbanded. And the people who disbanded it were the then IRA Army Council. That Army Council is now the core group within Sinn Féin and every other rung there was stood down but they’ve maintain themselves as a group within the Republican Movement. They’re un-elected. The Ard Chomhairle’s elected at the Ard Fheis and then these people are appointed. Nobody ever elects them. And they sit-in on meetings and they control every aspect of Sinn Féin policy. And the cynicism of the whole thing is is that these were all highly respected IRA Volunteers and they would, some of them would, when you talk to them, they would say to you, ‘Oh yeah well, this is all just a charade, you know’ – same as the Workers’, same as people like Seán Garland used to tell members of the Official IRA when people like Rabbitte and Gilmore were taking over, that: ‘Oh, this is only ‘smoke and mirrors’ that we’re still out to achieve a Republic’ – but that’s – we saw with the Workers’ Party – that’s not the way things work out. And yeah these people, basically, tell everybody else what to do.

Martin:   Alright. And you have mentioned to me, one of the concerns that you have, is the effect of the economic prospects for areas like West Belfast, for Doire City, areas where Sinn Féin has a great control – that that’s one of the things that concerns you. Could you tell the audience about that?

Matt:   Yeah well I was watching the televised section of the

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Sinn Féin Ard Fheis on television this morning and the Belfast Lord Mayor, who’s a Sinn Féin member, was boasting about the great progress being made. In various surveys, including the latest one in 2013, West Belfast was found to have the second highest level of child poverty of six hundred and fifty Westminster constituencies and Foyle, which includes Doire City, is/was in the bottom five or six. Now, I brought that up at meetings when I was in Leinster House and people would say: ‘Oh! That’s because of years of British policy’ – which has the same validity – but also it ignores the fact that in West Belfast Sinn Féin have run everything for the last thirty years – they’ve had the MP for thirty-five years, they’ve had the majority of councillors and they were in coalition for ten years with the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) but they did absolutely nothing – not only not to help to improve the situation of people who supported the IRA during the war years but the situation for people like that has actually ‘dis-improved’. And one of the major factors in that is that because the level of anti-social behaviour and crime and drug abuse has greatly because there’s no longer anybody there to curb those sort of activities. And at the same time, parallel with that, there’s a small group of people who have become vastly wealthy within the Republican community and various cummain. And, you know? The betrayal is on so many levels you would hardly know where to begin.

Martin:   Okay. Well were one of the people who helped elect Mary Lou McDonald to her first election, brought her to her first election victory. You’ve known her for a lot of years. Could you tell us your insights into her? What do you expect from her as president of Sinn Féin?

Matt:   I actually like her. I met her last year and even after I left and she’s quite pleasant – she’s a pretty intelligent, smart woman. But she’s not really from a Republican background. She only joined Sinn Féin in 2003. I was on the election directorate that got her elected to the European Parliament in 2004 – there was five of us, and none of the five of us are still in Sinn Féin – we were either thrown out or left – and it’s sad…

Martin:   …Alright. What do you expect her to do in terms of Republican politics? In terms of advancing the goal of a united Ireland?

Matt:   Well as I say, all of the, I’ve no personal animosity to Mary Lou but I don’t believe she’s any real emotional commitment or intellectual commitment to establishing the Republic which means that it just becomes another normal political party that will compromise on its policies and doesn’t have any core principles, really.

Martin:   Okay. And one of the other people you worked with is Michelle O’Neill and Michelle O’Neill made a big speech that Mary Lou McDonald would be the first – they need a woman Taoiseach and Mary Lou McDonald should be the first woman’s Taoiseach in the Twenty-Six Counties. What do you think of Michelle O’Neill? What’s your impressions from working with her in terms of advancing the goal of a united Ireland?

Matt:    Well, I didn’t really work with her but I met her at a number of meetings because she was Agriculture Minister and Martin Ferris was the spokesperson for agriculture in Leinster House and we used to have joint meetings – again, pleasant woman. She’s from a good Republican family in Tyrone. But I just get the impression that she’s going to be the figurehead for – you know, it’s part of the image that they want to project, now that’s no reflection on her, I’m not saying she’s stupid or anything like that she’s, you know, whatever with them – actually I was listening to her today as well and on one of the motions she made a statement and said, and I’m quoting: ‘It is not right that I or anybody else should seek to impose our outlook on anybody else’ which is rather ironic given the fact that a large number of Republicans in Tyrone have been either thrown out or forced to resign because of the intolerance to their opinions so for Michelle O’Neill, who is from Tyrone, to make a, you know, where she’s signaling about being tolerant and tolerating other people’s opinions is ironic to say the least.

Matt:   Okay.  Now, in your book, A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army, I’m going to ask you how we can get that. I know you’re doing a revised edition. But how did you choose that title?


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I got it from an article that Anthony McIntyre wrote in 1997 or ’98, I think, and he compared what the leadership were saying about how the Good Friday Agreement was going to advance us towards the Republic as being a claim to building a tunnel to the moon – which is just an image that stuck with me at the time. But you understand that I’m not making myself out to be some sort of martyr – I stuck with it for a long time. Because when I came out of prison I thought that as being far from this objective ‘getting out of prison early’ that I still thought that maybe this is going somewhere but as the years went on I just realised this was just – you know – you had decommissioning, recognising the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), going into coalition with the DUP and then not achieving anything it’s just – you know gradually – it’s like a tree – the leaves just keep gradually falling off. Some people saw it happening earlier – a lot earlier than I did but and then it’s gotten to the stage now where I was just looking at the Ard Fheis today – I hardly recognised anybody there whereas ten years ago I would have known everybody.

Martin:    Alright. I’m afraid we’re going to have to leave it there. It’s ironic you would have chosen a photograph for your book cover, A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army, as Martin McGuinness shaking hands with a member of the British royal family, the Queen, and now this week you could have had several different pictures of members of Sinn Féin shaking hands with her son.

Matt:    I could have had a whole coffee table photo album!

Martin:    There you are. Alright. On that note how do we get a copy of the book?

Matt:   I think it’s still on amazon but I’m revising it and hoping to get a bigger publication spread so.

Martin:   Alright. The book is: A Tunnel to the Moon:  The End of the Irish Republican Army , which is on amazon dot com. For Matt Treacy’s blog – but you know I have to tell you: As somebody whose family is from Offaly I don’t like a lot of it because it’s all about Dublin winning out in Leinster in All-Ireland finals but other than I really like the blog and it’s (Martin spells out) The author is Matt Treacy; you’ve been listening to him, his inside analysis and he is the person who helped deliver Mary Lou McDonald’s first election victory and look where she is now – all thanks to you, Matt.

Matt:    (laughs) I’m sure I’ll get a pension out of it!

Martin:   There you are. Alright. You’ve been listening to Matt Treacy. We’re going to have to leave it there. I’m hoping we’ll have you on, especially when you get that new, revised edition completed, we’ll have you on back and a lot of what you said was right a year ago and you’re getting more right as time goes on. Thank you very much, Matt Treacy.

Matt:   Thank you, Martin. Bye. (ends time stamp ~52:57)

Matt Treacy RFÉ 8 July 2017

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John McDonagh and Martin Galvin speak to former IRA Volunteer, political prisoner and Sinn Féin insider now historian and author, Dr. Matt Treacy, about his new book, A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army. (begins time stamp ~ 28:48)

Martin:    And with us on the line we have Matt Treacy. Matt is a thirty year veteran of the Republican Movement. He’s the author of a new book, A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army and you’re a first time visitor to Radio Free Éireann. We want to talk to you about that book and about your analysis of the situation. Welcome to Radio Free Éireann, Matt.

Matt:   Thank you.

Martin:    And we played that song by The Dubliners so you would feel at home when you call in. Alright. Matt, you are listed – just to review: I came to know of your book through Anthony McIntyre’s site. Anthony has been a guest on the programme, he blogs our or promotes our programme through The Pensive Quill and publishes transcripts of interviews that appear on rfe123 dot org, our website. And there was a review of your book and it described you as a thirty year veteran Republican and so why don’t we start there. How it was that you became involved with the Republican Movement and what you did as a member of the Irish Republican Army that brought you into prison?

Matt:  Well I had a long-time family connection through my grandmother, who was born in Dublin; her great-grandfather and grandfather being involved in the The Fenians. And either her grandfather or her great-grandfather had worked with Joe Brady, The Invincible. That was after he passed on – her family, her brother and brother-in-law, were involved in the Tan War as part of the Dublin Active Service Unit. Then I had uncles who were involved in the ’50’s and ’60’s so…

Martin:  …Okay. But you grew up in Dublin. Dublin was independent of the British, thankfully, because of the War of Independence that your family was involved in. What made you decide sometime in the ’70s, ’80’s, ’90’s, whenever it was, to get involved – to join the IRA?

Matt:  Well I applied to join, I applied to join in 1986 and became a member in 1987. It was also partly from the family historical background but also in support of what was going on in The North at the time.

Martin:  Your objective – you joined the IRA. What was it that you thought you and the IRA were going to achieve?

Matt:   A thirty-two county republic.

Martin:  …Okay, now…

Matt:   …That’s what we signed up for. That’s the (inaudible). I mean people waffle on now about equality and there’s nothing wrong with equality but the basic objective of the Irish Republican Army was to achieve a thirty-two county republic and it disbanded before that was achieved or even looked likely of being achieved.

Martin:  Okay. Now I just want to say: You ended up in imprisoned, in Portlaoise Prison in the South of Ireland, you served a term of imprisonment for being a member of the IRA. What was it exactly that you were doing that led to you being imprisoned?

Matt:  Well I was part of the Intelligence Department and it was at the time when the weapons had come in from Libya and were being moved around the country up towards the border and we managed to break the radio code of the (inaudible) group of Special Branch who were watching all this and, foolishly enough, we took a flat in Harcourt Street opposite their headquarters and that’s where I was caught (inaudible).

Martin:   Okay. Now in addition to the work you did for the IRA that led you to be imprisoned, I know you were attached to Leinster House, you used to work for Martin Ferris and you were also involved with Mary Lou McDonald in her first election campaign. And she’s one of the people being spoken of as a possible leader of Sinn Féin should Gerry Adams ever step down. Just, could you give us your assessment working with her, your assessment of her in terms of, you know, Republicanism or what sort of person in terms of Republican politics – how do you assess her?

Matt:   Well she’s an affable enough person and I got on well enough with her until the book came out but she’s one of these people who joined the Republican Movement in 2003 or 2004 – long after the ceasefire even. I think she had been in Fianna Fáil for a few years when she was in college. And members of the Green Party, the Labour Party, the Workers Party, or former members I should say, who are now Sinn Féin elected representatives, or apparatchiks, and like I’m not talking about twenty year olds which would be understandable I’m talking about people in their forties and fifties who wouldn’t open their door to us twelve years ago and are now in positions of influence.

Martin:  Okay. Alright. Let’s get to the book: Your book, A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army. Why did you choose that title and you know where do you think we are in terms of the objective for which you joined the IRA: Ending British rule and getting a thirty-two country Ireland?

Matt:   Well I was struck by the phrase. It was used by Anthony McIntyre in an article in 1997 I think, and he used it as a analogy between tunneling to the moon and achieving a united Ireland through the Good Friday Agreement so it always stuck in my head. Now granted, it took me a few more years after that to come to the full realisation that this was, actually, not going anywhere. So that’s why I chose the title.

John:  Matt, John McDonagh here. Your book is talking about the winding up of the Irish Republican Army and it was a long process in order to achieve that or for Gerry Adams to really achieve that. But it really, a lot of it had to do with the work of MI5, British intelligence, the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) – I’m reading a book now by an RUC man how he’s writing about how they beat the IRA – and just the amount of infiltration – from the person you worked with – he used to work with Seán O’Callaghan out of Kerry. You had – Martin McGuinness had an MI5 agent working, Denis Donaldson, Freddie Scappaticci – and it just seemed it took a while for the British government get a handle on the Republican Movement because you saw what they did with internment in the ’70’s – they didn’t know who they were picking up but eventually, as the war dragged on – and like a lot of revolutions, they have to be fairly quick because whoever you’re having the revolution against they’re going to get their act together at some stage. And it looks like British intelligence got their act together and were able to infiltrate at key positions throughout the thirty-two counties and, thereby you know, put the movement in a certain direction that they would surrender their weapons and they would administer British rule in Ireland but yet Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness would make this as every step that they did: Surrendering the weapons – This is a stepping stone to a united Ireland. Administering British rule in Ireland – That’s another stepping stone. You were part of the intelligence. Was there any talk about how riddled the whole movement was with MI5 intelligence?

Matt:  There’s always rumours about people. I knew Denis Donaldson. He stayed at my house a couple of times. No one would have ever suspected him of being an agent…

Martin:  …Ah, Matt, we actually out here, the way he acted…

John:  …No, no, Martin. You never said he was an MI5 agent.

Martin:  Just, just I have to take an issue: No, we spotted him as an agent after some of the…

John:  …No, no. Martin, you’re wrong there.

Martin:  Okay. Alright.

John:   You never mentioned it the whole time he was out here and said: I believe he’s an MI5 agent.

Martin:  Well, I said that there was something wrong…(crosstalk)

John:  Right! You might have – Listen, there was a lot of things wrong with people in the movement. I knew Denis. I stayed with Denis when I was in Belfast and everything. No one had ever said to me, even in Irish Northern Aid, I believe he’s an MI5. You might not…(crosstalk)

Martin:  …(inaudible) the people in Ireland. Matt, let’s get back to you. (John and I will sort this out afterwards.) But John had asked you that question – about people infiltrating the movement, how that contributed to eventually where we ended up today.


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Well my reading of it would be that certain people were in the leadership around Adams and decided, in the late ’80’s maybe, that they were going to stop the armed campaign and that opened the door to British intelligence putting people in. It’s very – it’s a murky world and I’ve never been in the business of accusing people of being agents or insinuating that they were facilitating people but as you say, Scappaticci, Donaldson – you could name a dozen people who were in positions of influence but the key factor in persuading Republicans to agree to a ceasefire was that at conventions and our local IRA meetings the leadership told people: Yeah, look – I know there’s nothing in the Downing Street Declaration but the Brits are telling us secretly, behind the scenes, that they’re going to sell-out the Unionists. And people went along with that for, up until, before decommissioning I suppose. There’s still people who believe that there was never any decommissioning.

Martin:   And who is some of the people who would tell you this at IRA meetings – about that: Oh! There’s some secret kind of promises behind the scenes that the British are going to get out and they’re going to put pressure on the Unionists?

Matt:   Well, when I was in prison and then when I came out it would be local leaders who were (inaudible) line because, I don’t want to get them in any trouble, but it was obviously being filtered down from the top. I remember one occasion somebody questioned, you know, the fact that he read all the documents that had come out and said: Look. This is only leading to one place: an internal settlement. And they said: Oh!, no, no, no. Don’t mind that. They’ve told us that they’re going to withdraw within five or ten or fifteen years. And people believed that until the final denouement when they turned up at meetings and said: That’s it, lads. Go home. You’re finished.

Martin:   Okay. Now you said that this started in the late ’80’s. At that time you had people like Jim Lynagh and others in Loughgall, you had people – John Crawley, that we’ve had, we’ve interviewed on this station, going to England as a member of the IRA just after that time, getting arrested, getting a lengthy prison sentence – how do you do this? Just make a decision that everything is going to end and then at the same time Volunteers are being sent out to imprisonment or death? How, you know, how did that…?

Matt:   …Yeah well John’s a good example because John’s a very intelligent person and he was opposed to what was going on and he would have, I would assume he’d realised what direction was going on (inaudible) himself but we stayed there and John could have ended up being killed as you say or getting tortured for years in prison and there’s lots of other people and that’s one of the points I make in the book: Is the cynicism of certain people who were sending people to England knowing that it was a fool’s errand basically – that they were going to finish. And there’s two people, a youngster from Wexford and another youngster from West Corgaigh, only twenty or twenty-one, and they were both killed in Londonone of them on the very same day when the Republican leadership was meeting with the British to agree to terms of another ceasefire – it’s just – that’s what I find upsetting.

John:   And Matt, maybe get particularly out to our audience here because they believe everything that Mary Lou McDonald or Rita O’Hare would say here that Gerry Adams was never in the IRA but he just had some ‘influence’, some weird spirituality or some sort of magic that he had over them. Maybe you could explain to us: What was your dealings with Gerry Adams and what did you meet him as? As some sort of spiritual leader?

Matt:    Well, I mean it’s been well-documented in books, like Ed Moloney’s and other places, that he was at IRA Army Conventions and he was on the IRA Army Council and he does have possibly practical reasons for denying that that you know, that he could be arrested and charged with membership but he creates this whole Orwellian mystique – what’s? An Orwellian fiction of what happened that’s totally at odds with the reality. My dealings with him were mainly through Leinster House. My impression was even people who were in senior positions were in awe of him and kind of even slightly afraid of him. Most of the conversations I ever had with him were about Gaelic football and hurling, because of mutual interest, but there’s no doubt he was the centre of the whole thing – nothing happens without his approval.

Martin:   Okay. We’re talking with Matt Treacy, author of A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army. Matt, what do you think of where we are now? You have Sinn Féin, there in – well, Stormont has been dissolved at the moment – but they will be back – they have been in Stormont and it’s thought that they will be back, they have seats in Leinster House. Where does this get us or is there a strategic route to a united Ireland that you can see that we’re (inaudible)…

Matt:   …See, that’s what we believed at the time the ceasefire was called and even after the Good Friday Agreement and even later on that while the armed conflict had finished that the Republican Movement was still going to be militantly directed towards creating a thirty-two county republic – that they wouldn’t go into Stormont and they wouldn’t, certainly wouldn’t, take any part in the Executive and certainly not be in coalition for ten years with the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party). But it took a long time for a lot of people, including myself, for the veil to be lifted and realise this is actually not going anywhere. And at the moment they’re creating this whole deception about a border poll which has no chance – well there’s no chance of it being called in the first place – but even it was called, judging by electoral statistics going back thirty years, it would be a sixty-forty at least vote in favour of staying within the British, under British rule so my take on that…

John:  …And, Matt. Yeah. And Matt, what about your over-all analysis? Do you think the Republican Movement just got so ‘Belfast-centric’ where everything was coming out of the Falls Road or Andersonstown and that Ed Moloney has always written that people that joined the IRA in Belfast were more of neighbourhood defenders – that they weren’t really Republicans. All they were defending were some of the pogroms that were going out and they joined up with like these like neighbourhood watch oragnisations which essentially then became the IRA but they weren’t Republican – say to the people like you, in Dublin, or people in Donegal or around the Thirty-Two Counties that had a political analysis and joined for a specific political reason – they weren’t being burnt out – but then the whole thing centres on Belfast, this ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ – Belfast – you know, with Gerry Adams and everybody up there and it just – What is your – did it get too ‘Belfast-centric’ and was is spread out enough? The Movement?

Matt:    Oh, definitely! I spent a bit of time in Fermanagh and I remember a Belfast person coming down to address a meeting, this is around the time of well, the whole thing had finished and they were talking about decommissioning with people from Fermanagh and some Tyrone people there and they were objecting to it and the Belfast person was almost contemptuous of them – Who are you to be telling us what to do, you know? Just go home to your houses and forget about it! And the other thing is that: There was a huge influx of money, which mainly ended up in Belfast between Republican and Loyalist groups, to employ ex-prisoners and people who were loyal to their leaderships and that kept them quiet. And some of them have done very well so they’re happy and they can justify it on the basis that there’s no British soldiers walking down the Falls Road anymore. Well there were no British soldiers walking down the Falls Road in July 1969 either of course, it was still part of a partitioned state and it’s still constitutionally the same, so..

Martin:   …Okay. Alright, We’re talking with …

Matt:   …they’re happy.

Martin:   We’re talking with Matt Treacy, he’s the author of the new book, A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army . Matt, could you tell us: If people are interested in buying that book or finding out more about it, how would they get that information?

Matt:   Well currently it’s not in any shops at the moment but it’s online on Lulu and on the website brocairebooks dot ie.

Martin:   How do you spell that? (Martin spells Brocaire.) dot ie?

Matt:    Yeah.

Martin:    Okay. So that’s (Martin spells Brocaire) books?

Matt:   Yeah.

Martin:    Is that all one word?

Matt:   Yeah, dot ie. Yeah.

Martin:  So in other words you would go to brocairebooks (Martin spells brocaire and books) one word dot ie (for Ireland) and just what? Brocairebooks and that would come up and they would be able to order or get information on the book through that website?

Matt:  Yeah, well Lulu is probably the best way to order it at the moment.

Martin:  Okay, so you can order it through Lulu.

John:  Yeah and Matt, you’ve been talking about how people have done well out of the thirty years of conflict financially and buying property and we had the news stories just in recent weeks with Sinn Féin winning a lot of seats over in Westminster and having one of their Sinn Féin members out of Doire slash Londonderry stroke City complaining about the hotel room she had. And I’ve talked to Martin about how many IRA men that came over here to the Bronx and Queens and they all stayed on couches and you sent them down to Philadelphia on fund raising or out to Chicago or Boston – there’s was no talk of hotel rooms it was just who had a safe house in what area. And now their MPs are complaining about their accommodations now when they’re traveling. And I know Mary Lou McDonald I think flew first class down to Australia because she said: Do you know how long a flight that is? That you have to go first class when all the immigrants are sitting right behind her as they’re being shuttled down to Australia but – it’s come a long way, Sinn Féin and people in the Republican…

Matt:  …That’s another thing that I found objectionable in that you have all these people who came in when it was safe and there’s people like, say Anthony McIntyre, who spent eighteen years in prison, all the people who were killed, people died on hunger strike, they went on the blanket protest – now these people, and I know some of them personally who are now in Sinn Féin, who were asked to you know, provide certain supports and they refuse point-blank and now suddenly they’ve appeared like mushrooms and – it’s quite depressing.

John:  Yes, it certainly didn’t end well. We’ve had on people like Brendan Hughes here saying that if he had known this was going be the end result he would have never got out of bed and then we had on Liam Sutcliffe, who blew up Nelson’s Pillar back in 1996 (Ed. – 1966), and he says: You know, thirty years and we didn’t get one blade of grass – that it wasn’t worth it. And it’s just you could never have predicted or had anybody joined the movement and said: Listen! Here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to wait thirty years and then we’re going to administer British rule in Ireland. That’s our objective. I don’t know how many people would have joined.

Martin:   Alright. Matt, we want to thank you. I’ll do it one more time: Brocaire (Martin spells Brocaire) books – that’s all one word. Is that with an ‘s’? Books, plural? brocairebooks dot ie for that book by Matt Treacy. The book is A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army and if you want to find out what happened, where we ended up and why people, a thirty-year veteran of the IRA like Matt Treacy, a former Irish political prisoner, served a sentence in Portlaoise, attached to the Intelligence Division, where he thinks it all went, how it ended up, where we are and why he’s so dubious about the idea of getting a united Ireland under the present way things are going now that is one place to get that research. And we would also refer you to Anthony McIntyre’s site, The Pensive Quill, because there are reviews and Matt Treacy writes on that, has contributed a number of pieces there. (ends time stamp ~ 51:34)