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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

Henry McDonald drags the Guardian down to tabloid level once again

The paucity of analysis in Henry McDonald’s coverage of those Irish republicans who still want to pursue an armed struggle is truly
shocking in a newspaper with the gravitas and imprimatur of the Guardian. It is comic book stuff.

In a lurid report in September 2010, McDonald carried a warning from the Real IRA that it was going to resume its campaign on what McDonald
calls the "mainland" by attacking banks and the capitalist infrastructure of “Britain's colonial and capitalist system”.

The only possible justification for the Guardian to carry such a story was that the Real IRA's threat had some chance of succeeding. However,
anyone with any kind of insight into this organisation was well aware that it was riven with internal disputes, had become entangled with drug gangs and had also been infiltrated by MI5 and the Special Branch. Thus it was in no position to carry out such a campaign and,to my knowledge, not one Real IRA attack has ever taken place in England since this dubiously researched article.

Now in the Guardian (26th of July), Henry McDonald has announced, once again in dramatic fashion, the amalgamation of the Real IRA with other tiny dissident groups.

This is a worthwhile news story but does it warrant a headline place in the Guardian? Moreover, in his article McDonald states that the Real IRA and its new allies consist of "several hundred armed dissidents”. This is impossible. Paramilitary warfare in Ireland is prosecuted via very tightly controlled arms dumps and arms are only lifted for specific operations. My sources in the Provisional IRA have told me that, even at the height of its campaign, there were no more than three hundred volunteers in the field. PIRA’s biggest operation ever, and most retrograde, in its most active year of 1972 was probably Bloody Friday and that operation involved 150 volunteers. To suggest that the Real IRA is anywhere near that operational level is a travesty of reporting and has the effect of boosting the status of an organisation that has almost zero support in Ireland.

If McDonald had been interested in analysing rather than blowing his own cracked trumpet, it would have been interesting to know more about the decision by the anti drugs vigilante group RAAD to throw in its lot with the Real IRA, as this group contains former mainstream republicans in its ranks, whilst the Real IRA has been alleged to have links with drug gangs, particularly in Dublin.

Once again, the Guardian is not telling Ireland’s story properly.

Paul Larkin
Carraic, Gaoth Dobhair
Mí Iuil 2012
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Title: Henry McDonald drags the Guardian down to tabloid level once again
Date posted: 28 Jul '12 - 15:08
Filed under: General
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