Wigmore - the Workers' Party. government rents, and dail debates

IN TRUE Stalinist style, history continues to be rewritten within The Workers' Party. Only a few months ago, its President, Tomas MacGiolla was claiming that he had no knowledge of the existence of the Official IRA since 1972. But on Sunday August 22 last Joe Sherlock TD was to be heard on radio proclaiming: "in the 1950s there was a campaign of resistance in the North and that cammpaign continued until 1962 and it is fair to say our party supported that campaign of resistence in the North. Since 1962 we have condemned vioolence from whatever source it has come."

To assist Joe Sherlock's memory, the following are some of the highhlights of the activities of the Official IRA from 1970 to 1972, when it supposedly went out of existence. During this period, the President of Mr. Sherlock's party, Tomas MaccGiolla, was chairman of the Army Council of the Official IRA, Sean Garland, the general secretary of The Workers' Party, was adjutant general, and most of the membership of the present Ard Comhairle of the party were in the Official IRA.

July 1970: the Battle of the Lower Falls, described by members of Mr. Sherlock's party as "the first major battle between the forces of the Republic and the British army since 1921 ".

December 12, 1971: Joe Sherlock's comrades were responsible for the murder of Unionist Senator, Jack Barnhill.

February 22, 1972: Joe Sherlock's comrades murdered five cleaning woomen, a priest and a gardener when they let off bombs at Aldershot in England.

February 25, 1972: Joe Sherlock's comrades gunned down Unionist MP, John Taylor in Armagh.

April 10, 1972: the Official IRA killed two soldiers in a booby trap.

May 10, 1972: a 15 year old girl was beaten, tarred and feathered by the Official IRA in the Leeson St. area of Belfast.

May 21, 1972: Ranger Best murrdered by the Official IRA in Derry.

As a further assistance to Mr.

Sherlock, the following are incidents involving the Official IRA since it supposedly disappeared from the face of the earth in 1972.

June 21, 1973: the murder of a mentally retarded 16 year old in Bellfast.

From Tam Mathews' "The Toast of Europe"

1975: the murder of two members of the newly formed IRSP.

June 10, 1975: the murder of Larry White in Cork, for which a full time organiser of Mr. Sherlock's party, Barry Doyle, was convicted.

1975 and 19z;7: the murder of five people in the course of a feud with the Provisional IRA.

October 5, 1977: the murder of a former colleague of Mr. Sherlock, Seamus Costello.

September 8, 1979: the murder of a Belfast youth, Hugh Halloran.

January 29, 1982: (i.e. 7 months ago) the eviction of a family from a house in Ardmonagh Gardens in Belfast by 20 armed members of the Official IRA, many of them well known public members of Mr. Sherrlock's party in Belfast.

Add to that robberies, beatings, intimidations etc., all since the Offiicial IRA went out of existence, acccording to Mr. MacGiolla, which was a decade after Mr. Sherlock lost sight of the organisation.

THE FOLLOWING exchange took place in the Dail on June 30 last durring the debate on the Field crest facctory closure. Albert Reynolds had already interrupted Seamus Pattison on 14 occasions, leading the Ceann Comhairle, Jim Tunney, to remark:

"I am afraid that if the Minister innterrupts again I will reluctantly have to ask him to leave the House".

Mr. Reynolds: I am trying to get the record straight. The Chair will not hear me again.

Mr. Pattison: I have not pursued motions as irresponsible as those inntroduced by Fianna Fail when in Oppposition. They put' forward motions

about the nationalisation of Clonndalkin Paper at a time when it was possible to make another arrangement to get those workers into employyment. The Minister outlined the hisstory of the plant since it (Fieldcrest) opened and in doing so he partially let the cat out of the bag. At one stage, pointing across to these benches he, said "You are the people who put it there".

Mr. Reynolds: Right.

Mr. Pattison: There is a touch of vindictiveness about that statement.

Mr. Reynolds: No.

Mr. Pattison: There is, because it seems to indicate that because we were the people who put the plant there the Minister is now shrugging off the responsibility and trying to put the blame somewhere else.

Mr. Reynolds: Far from it. There is an answer to the Deputy's question.

Mr. Pattison: I did not expect the Minister to say that, but the fact that he did is an indication of vindictiveeness by the Government against Killkenny.

Mr. Reynolds: I said it in answer to what the Deputy said.

Mr. Pattison: It appears that beecause we were the people who put the plant there the Minister is refusing to do anything about it.

Mr. Manning: On a point of order, at 8.25pm the Minister said he would not interrupt again but twice in two minutes since then he has. Even by his own standards that broken promise is a record.

(Dail Debates, Vol.337, No.2, Cols. 513-514, Wednesday June 30,1983)

THE TOTAL amounts paid in rent arid rates in each of the past 10 years for accommodation occupied by Govvernment departments, excluding the Department of Posts and Telegraphs which acquires its own accommodaation, are as follows:

1972/73 £864,957

1973/74 £1,229,934

1974 £1,362,495

1975 £2,213,350

1976 £2,972,400

1977 £3,347,330

1978 £4,325,595

1979 £5,109,524

1980 £6,634,112

1981 £9,591,776

(Source: answer to Dail question on Friday, July 2,1982 - Vol.337 , No.4, Col.811.)

THE RTE programme, "The Sunday Game", is perhaps now the most proofessionally produced programme emannating from the station, making full and intelligent use of the techniques of television to analyse games with a sophistication which surpasses anyything BBC or lTV have ever done on sport. The analysis of both the AlllIreland football semi-finals was superb and in particular that of Dave Welddrick, who has emerged as a real teleevision "discovery", in to the brillliance of the Kerry attack. Jim Carney the programme's presenter, obviously relishes this use of television, for which the main credit must go to Justin Nelson, the producer, and Julian Davis, the editor.

DAIL DEBATES, Vo1.337, No.ll, Co1.27l4, Thursday, July 15, 1982:

"Deputy Michael Keating asked the Minister for the Public Service whether he proposes to introduce legislation concerning the declaration by memmbers of the Houses of the Oireachtas of all their private business interests and if such legislation will also extend to senior civil servants.

Minister for the Public Service (Mr. Gene FitzGerald): 'I have no plans to introduce legislation on the lines sugggested by the deputy'."

JOHN A. Murphy, The Workers' Party academic sidekick, like them, will distort almost any piece of hisstorical fact to suit his hobby horse of the moment. It is not so long ago when the same Mr. Murphy was exxplaining away threats to overthrow the state as part of the acceptable currency of Irish politics. In the course of his meander at Beal na mBleath on Sunday, August 22 last he asserted that:

* the distinguishing characteristic between the war which Collins waged and which the Provisional IRA now wage is that the former had a popular mandate of sorts, while the latter has none.

* that Collins's war was against the direct agents of the British crown, while the Provisional IRA's targets are, in the main, fellow Irish people.

* that Collins was adamant that the Unionists in the North should not be coerced.

Wrong on all points. True the 1919-21 war did have a mandate of sorts but the 1916 Rising in which Collins participated did not have a mandate of any sort. Also, following the 1921 Truce Collins continued to arm the IRA in the North, even though the political arm of the IRA there, Sinn Fein, had been roundly defeated in the 1921 election. He explicitly sancctioned an all-out campaign in the North in May 1921 against the manndate directly to the contrary.

The IRA in the War of Independdence killed a great number of Irish people, but more significantly in terms of Murphy's argument, Collins sancctioned the kidnapping of 42 Unionist politicians in February 1922 - Murphy would hardly consider these agents of the crown .

Finally, while Collins said he was against coercing the Unionists in the North into a United Ireland, his acctions spoke otherwise. He armed the IRA after the 1921 Truce, he explicittly sanctioned an all-out IRA campaign in May 1922 and right up to his death he personally took charge of that cammpaign. Furthermore, it was clear that Collins believed that the Boundary Commission would so diminish the territory of Northern Ireland as to make the State there unviable - this was coercion of another sort.

CROKE PARK itself must be one of the dreariest and tattiest stadia in this part of the world. The atmosphere in the place, such as it is, is provided entirely by the teams and the crowd and survives, if at all, in spite of the ambiance of the place. The Hogan stand is just a big hay barn, the corriidors behind it are dirty concrete alleyways. The only assembly point, in front of the awful souvenir shop and the "restaurant", which serves atrocious tea and coffee, is like the middle of a tube station. "Entertainnment" is provided by the Artane Boys Band, whose staple diet seems to be an endless repetition of "Twenty Men from Dublin Town" - this may not be their fault for we gather that the GAA authorities some time ago obbjected to a more lively and varied repetoir. No wonder attendances at the football semi-finals were about half those of 5 years ago. Of course the £6 entry charge to the Hogan stand is a factor but a lick of paint to the back of the stand, bars, real resttaurants and some real music would certainly be a help. And must we continue to endure the "parade" betore each big match. The days when anybody was enthralled by this kind of thing are long over.

THE SOCIALIST LABOUR PARTY, which was formed in 1977 following the then most recent purge of the left wing element within the Labour Party, has recently formally been dissbanded. As with many left wing parrties in Ireland, it failed to come to terms with the national question and its disintegration was instiga ted by d issagreements on that issue. Neither did the maverick behaviour of Noel Browne help.

SUNSHINE was unfortunate to be beset with such unfavourable publicity arising out of its failure to secure the holiday accommodation in Spain which over 50 of its customers had paid for. Unfortunate because had they not taken a group of journalists on a junnket to sunny Spain that particular week, the chances are that nobody would have heard of the incident, at least there would not have been inndependent on-the-spot verification. It was Gerry O'Hare of The Irish Press who broke the story and then pursued it fearlessly. Regrettably, well known journalists from Independent Newsspapers who were on the holiday as well were too pre-occupied with the sun, sand and, sea to have noticed anything amiss.

THE SAME fearless Gerry O'Hare was previously employed as editor of An Phoblacht and before then he was a freedom fighter in-Belfast. He has the distinction of being perhaps the only travel correspondent in the world to be barred from both Britain and the United States. His fearlessness was recently on display when he leapt out of his car in the Phoenix Park to prevent a large man from beating a small man senseless. Gerry assisted in overpowering the large man and when the Garda came on the scene Gerry was interested to learn that the large man was attempting to rob a sizeable wages bag from the small man. Gerry has since had to suffer taunts of "own goal" from cynical colleagues.

FINE GAEL'S opportunism now knows no bounds. The following is a series of "strokes" in which the party has indulged since the Febbruary election.

* Immediately after the election Garret FitzGerald announced that the issues on which the election was supposed fought (i.e. the economic imperativeness of the V AT on clothes and footwear and the abolition of food subsidies) were no longer imperrative and would be waived.

* Fine Gael agreed in the intereggnum between the election and the change of Government to take over the Whitegate oil refinery - the cost to the country being about £30m. per year from now on.

* Fine Gael tricked around at the Committee stage of the Finance Bill by proposing amendments which would increase the budget deficit in order to embarrass the Government.

* They voted to keep the Fielddcrest factory in Kilkenny open, a factory which had lost £ 10m. in the year up to September 30, 1981,

* Now Fine Gael is tricking around on the public service pay issue. While the Government have clearly misshandled the issue and made the negotiation of a public service pay agreement in 1983 more difficult, nevertheless the consequences of a backdown now are immense but Fine Gael hopes to embarrass the Governnment further on the issue and, it hopes, topple it. The first press connference of the next general election campaign at which Fine Gael proonounces its commitment to fiscal responsibility should prove interesting.

TED DOLAN, the controller of proogrammes on RTE 2 (television) and some of his associates are suffering from an acute case' of paranoia - they think there's someone watching. .

A YEAR ago a CAT scanner (for deetecting brian tumours) was purchased for the Galway Regional Hospital, with the approval of the Department of Health, at a cost of £463,QOO, which included the cost of adaptation work at the hospital for the equippment. The necessary adaptation works were not carried out by the Western Health Board and in the meantime the CAT scanner is being held in storage. It is "intended" to start the adaptation works soon at the hospital and it is "expected" that the CAT scanner will be installed sometime in 1983. (This information was contained in a written answer to a Dail question on July 15 last - Vo1.337, No.ll.)

THE NEW Attorney General, John Murray S.C., once stood (successfully) in an election in UCD for the Students Representative Council on the slogan "Hurry, Hurry, Vote for Murray". On the council he was a staunch oppponent of the Gerry Collins faction and managed to get elected to the Presiidency of the Union of Students of Ireland, thanks to the support of one Harry Crawley, now head of the Health Education Bureau. Our recolllection of the highlight of Mr. Murray's presidency is of a prolonged trip to Outer Mongolia (it's true, it's true) . We attempted to get details of this venture from Dr. Crawley but unforrtunately he is currently attending a conference in Tasmania.

IN ANSWER to a Dail question on January 27, 1981, it was revealed that the cost of running a state car in 1980 was £36,500 each per annum. Taking inflation since then into account the cost of State cars nowadays is in exxcess of £50,000. The Coalition Governnment last January acknowledged the growing public indignation over this scandal and announced the establishhment of a committee to examine the provision of state cars, who should have them and under what circummstances. In the Dail on July 8 last the Minister for State at the Department of Finance, Sylvester Barrett stated: "the Government are considdering whether it is necessary for that committee to continue at present and no decision has been taken". So, not alone is the Fianna Fail Government not going to see that this scandal, now costing the taxpayer over £ 13m per year, ends but hasn't even got around to deciding whether a mere review of the scandal should continue.

A SENIOR member of The Workers' Party (the party of peace, justice and class politics, which is unaware of the existence of the Official IRA since 1972) was recently court-rnartialled by the Official IRA for failing to bring a change of clothes and food to a commrade who was hiding out in a Dublin house following a robbery. This gentleeman, who dogmatically refuted Magill's evidence of the existence and recent activities of the Official IRA, defended himself by stating that he could find nobody to delegate the chore to. Warning: if any member of the Ard Comhairle of The Workers' Party challlenges us to supply the name of this person to the Gardai we will do just that.

THE TRIAL of the century is to take place in October. This is to be a conntest of mighty rivalry between the young, dashing, visionary, handsome, ex-boy Lord Mayor, Alexis FitzGerald TD and the man of the people, Desie Hynes. As readers of Wigmore will already know, the case is about the theft of a shed at the rear of O'Donooghue's pub in Merrion Row, Dublin, close to the Magill offices. The Direcctor of Public Prosecutions has already let it be known that any prejudicial press comment on the outcome of the trial of the century may result in immprisonment for those responsible. We are therefore unable at present to reemind our readers of how the shed was stolen, of the major political scandal which will unfold when the case is concluded, of how a young marriage hangs in the balance, of how a new partnership in the auctioneering busiiness is at risk, of how a great name in Irish politics may be besmirched, of how the languid Dorian Gray features of a dashing young man at the brink of a dazzling political career may be darkened, of how ... (Official Secrets Act).