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Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

How the IRA did not win its war yet fought a successful campaign - the missing Sunday Herald article

A comrádaithe is cairde - comrades and friends

On the 18th of September last year I wrote a Cic Saor blog - The Guardian continues its “battle” with Sinn Féin. This can be read here -

In the last sentence of that blog. I say the following:

"Is it possible that the spooks are so active because the IRA (may God forbid) actually WON the war and that this truth must not be spoken nor Sinn Féin allowed to win the peace? * (see further remarks below)"

I have now added the following addendum to this blog in my archive as it has been used on certain chat boards to misrepresent my position. I am also reproducing the addendum here to make my position crystal clear and also to afford my readers the chance to pass this blog on to others.

Addendum to "The Guardian continues its “battle” with Sinn Féin"

*This comment, understandably, has proven to be highly controversial and the fact that certain anti peace process elements have attempted to use it as a weapon against me is interesting to say the least. See for example -

However, I do share some of the blame for not explaining the background to my "IRA won the war " comment above. What I was trying to do was alert Cic Saor readers to the fact that the likes of Henry McDonald in the Guardian push the school playground argument that Sinn Féin and the IRA was defeated and he (and certain other journalists) will also quote frequently questionable evidence that the IRA was the victim of wholesale penetration by MIF/FRU elements, but this is not actually the view of many people in the British security services.

The line being peddled by usually low ranking spooks that the IRA was holed below the waterline by informers to the point where it could no longer operate is not borne out either by the facts or by the testimony of the security forces themselves. See Eamon McCann’s brilliant blog on top RUC man Norman Baxter here, which also illustrates my point.

It had been my intention in my controversial closing remark in the above blog to link to an article from the Sunday Herald, which presents a scenario that gets closer to what many former RUC people and military say – that the Provos got much of what they wanted when they should have been crushed. However, the link to the article has been "decommissioned" and a Google search for its headline simply takes the researcher to the Sunday Herald's present home page. So for the purposes of elucidating my point (and for posterity) I am pasting the article in full below.

For the record - I do NOT believe that the IRA won a complete victory on the basis of its stated aims BUT I believe history will record, whether we like it or not, that the organisation fought a successful campaign. I understand that this is a rather nuanced argument for those "analysts" who wear anti GFA blinkers and therefore find it difficult to see the full picture. Perhaps the article below will help them understand that the very people they say destroyed the IRA actually say the opposite.

It should also be noted that in the article below our favourite FRU spook Martin Ingram/Ian Hurst, as quoted, flatly contradicts his subsequent testimony that the IRA was decimated by spies, touts and agents.

Look at Ingram's quote:

“I think what this officer is saying is an honest appraisal. The nationalist community was unjustly treated and that led to the resurgence of the IRA, although I disagree with the IRA’s methodology.
What this man has said will be detrimental to his career , but there are those in senior positions in MI5 who would probably agree with him.”

@ Paul Larkin
Baile Átha Cliath
Mí Feabhra 2012

The missing Sunday Herald article:

Fury [or should that read honesty?] as MI5 describe IRA terror as ‘just’

Secret briefings enrage victims’ relatives
By Neil Mackay, Home Affairs Editor - 12June2004

MI5 has caused outrage after one of its spies stated publicly that the IRA “fought a just cause” and won a “successful campaign” during the 30-year Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The Sunday Herald is unable to name the MI5 officer following a threat of legal action from the government . However, the spy’s comments have provoked fury from the victims of IRA violence and Ulster politicians.

The controversy centres on a briefing given by the MI5 officer, a former Royal Navy commander, at a maritime security conference on Orkney. Details have been given to the Sunday Herald by Mark Hirst, the former head of communications at Orkney Islands Council, who attended the seminar.

The conference was held by the Department of Transport (DoT) in Kirkwall. Delegates included representatives from the council, port authorities, ferry services, energy firms, the tourist board and police.
Hirst says the MI5 officer said the IRA was “the biggest threat to British national security”. But the officer then said “in our opinion they [the IRA] have fought a just cause”.

“The conclusion of MI5, according to this officer,” said Hirst, “was based on the fact there had been legitimate grievances among, and discrimination against, the nationalist community and this had sustained the IRA through the length of the campaign.”
The MI5 officer then added: “Has it been a successful campaign? The answer is yes.”
Hirst said: “He referred to the fact Sinn Fein had two ministers in power. What better success can you wish for, he said, than to have your people in positions of power in government.”
Hirst said the comments were “not off-the-cuff as they were supported by an official MI5 PowerPoint presentation, complete with the official crest”.
“Presumably this was sanctioned at some level,” he added.
The DoT confirmed that the briefing took place, adding: “This was part of a programme to ensure that security staff at UK ports were up to date with the terrorism threat they are countering. We are not prepared to comment further .”
Orkney Council declined to comment. However, William Frazer, who runs Fair (Families Acting for Innocent Relatives), a Northern Ireland support group for victims of paramilitary violence, was horrified .
Frazer’s father, a member of the security forces, was killed by the IRA, as were two uncles and two cousins. Five of his friends were also murdered, and his home was bombed five times.
He said the officer’s claims reinforced his belief that the government and intelligence agencies controlled the IRA campaign, using double-agents to manage republican violence. Frazer pointed to Freddie Scappaticci, codenamed Stakeknife, who was exposed by the Sunday Herald last year. Scappaticci, who worked for British intelligence, was also one of the IRA’s highest-ranking volunteers.
“The MI5 officer’s comments back up the fact there was no determination to beat the IRA,” said Frazer, who is now writing to the Prime Minister in protest. “It is a disgrace to the memory of victims. He is talking about the killing of innocent people .
“ This MI5 officer needs to be held to account. What this man is saying is treason – it shows the ‘dirty war’ really was dirty.”
A senior source in the intelligence services said: “I am staggered by these comments.”
But Kevin Fulton, a former double-agent who infiltrated the IRA, said he was not surprised by the MI5 officer’s comment. He said : “The insight I have leads me to ask ‘who was running this war?’. I believe it was run from London.”
Martin Ingram, a former intelligence officer in the army’s spying arm, the Force Research Unit, said: “I think what this officer is saying is an honest appraisal. The nationalist community was unjustly treated and that led to the resurgence of the IRA, although I disagree with the IRA’s methodology.
“What this man has said will be detrimental to his career , but there are those in senior positions in MI5 who would probably agree with him.”
Hardline unionist MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, said it was “totally out of order” for an MI5 officer to make such statements. “ How would MI5 explain this officer’s comments to people who lost loved ones in Enniskillen, La Mon House or the Shankill bombing? It is incredible that a man in his position would justify the slaughter of innocent civilians and the security forces.
“It is still an offence to be a traitor and this man’s comments are treacherous. He is betraying Britain. He should be removed immediately.”


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Title: How the IRA did not win its war yet fought a successful campaign - the missing Sunday Herald article
Date posted: 25 Feb '12 - 20:58
Filed under: General
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