Why the Dublin 4 elite have no interest in an entirely innocent Galway man Jerome O’Connor - vanished from historyThe Southern Establishment mantra - "See no Evil. Hear no Evil. Speak no Evil." Unless it involves the Provos
In all the Sound and Fury over the last few weeks relating to kangaroo courts and paramilitary justice (or the unsurprising lack of it) not one Irish politician, journalist or media outlet has ever mentioned the murder of Jerome O’Connor, shot dead in Galway in August 1974. The value of his life and tragedy of his death has simply been vanished and here's why.
The Connacht Tribune's Headline August 16th 1974 recording the murder of Jerome O'Connor
On August the 15th 1974 a large number of members of the Official Republican Movement (ORM) in Galway city were involved in the attempted armed robbery of a wages drop. Fifty two year old Jerome O’Connor was working as a clerk for SISK construction company in the city at the time and was one of two SISK employees who’d been sent to the AIB bank to collect the wages for staff – this being a Thursday morning (the feast of the Assumption – a quiet day).
The Connacht Tribune article commemorating the event can be read here
but there is no doubt it was the ORM that carried out the botched robbery that led to Jerome being murdered when he refused to hand over the bag immediately and a shotgun was discharged.
I first came across references to the ORM murder of Jerome O’Connor when I was making my film in 1991 about the continued links between the then Workers Party and the still very much active OIRA. The link came when I was looking at a vicious knife assault in the mid 1980s on Workers Party member Pat Quearney who was repeatedly stabbed through the heart and left for dead in the social club attached to the Workers Party’s Dublin HQ in Gardiner Place. Quearney’s apparent offence was that he objected to the presence of criminals in a building that was supposed to be run by revolutionary socialists.
In the trial relating to Quearney’s stabbing and the subsequent appeal there was a reference to one of the prosecution witnesses having been involved in the manslaughter of Jerome O’Connor. Again proof, if proof were needed, that Jerome paid the ultimate price for inadvertently confronting the "Sticks".
The name of Jerome O’Connor has always stayed with me because this completely innocent man from Galway has been erased from our national consciousness as if his life and bereaved family were of no consequence. His existence and murder are not even recorded in the monumental list of Troubles deaths "Lost Lives".
We’re not talking about assaults or even abuse here – were talking about the ultimate kangaroo court - murder by the ORM of an unsuspecting company clerk going about his business and looking forward to the weekend. There have been many other ORM murders.
Seamus Costello – murdered by the ORM in 1977
Who talks of Larry White shot dead in a Cork street, or Eamon Kerr shot in his Belfast bed next to his partner, or indeed that potentially outstanding socialist leader Seamus Costello – all slain by the “Sticks”, and that’s before we begin to speak of the hundreds of people injured in punishment beatings and shootings carried out by that same organisation, a small number of whom helped me in my 1991 film by providing direct evidence of being attacked. The point here is not whether these victims were themselves politically active or not, it's the simple recording of the event.
“All right”, my good readers might say, “we take your point, we've never heard of these victims but it’s all history now.”
But my answer to that is that the Taoiseach himself and the rest of the Southern Irish establishment has taken a fine tooth-comb in recent weeks to historical actions by the Provos going way back, but are completely silent about poor Jerome O’Connor and many many others.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny would seem to be in a better position than most to try and shed more light on the paramilitary violence highlighted above because he’s in government with a party that contains a strong Workers Party element. Surely some individuals within the former WP constituency can shed at least some new light on the background to the above desperate events in Cork, Galway, Dublin and Belfast?
And as for the this all being “history”, not only does the Southern Establishment’s obsession with Provo history make a nonsense of this argument, there's an even more telling fact: the Official IRA was never disbanded and never gave up its guns and has been involved in murder up to this present day with a Sticky related murder in Belfast at the end of October this year – though the ORM claims the perpetrators were ex members. (Their denial, of course, being a reverse admission that they still exist.)
Would it not be possible for the kangaroo court obsessed media to inquire of ex Workers Party members if they can help organise ORM decommissioning?
So now, finally we turn to Ruth Dudley Edwards’s truly desperate article in this morning’s Sunday Independent (a newspaper that fast resembles a much greater ‘Cult’ than the Provos will ever be).
Ruth Dudley Edwards - reporting from a land of the seemingly half-blind
The article be read here
We find that RDE praises Queen’s University academic Liam Kennedy for his work in “challenging paramiltaries ” and their practice of carrying out punishment beatings (the Provos stopped this activity a long time ago, drunken brawls aside).
I've no reason to doubt Liam Kennedy’s motivations but when RDE tells us that he was involved in both the “New Consensus” and “Peace Train” movements I begin to wonder. Both these initiatives were, in part at least, front organisations for the Workers Party and numbered leading ORM paramilitants within their ranks. Then we look at the paramilitary groups listed in her article and find, not for the first time, that the OIRA is nowhere to be seen.
The media and the Southern Establishment has simply vanished the likes of poor Jerome O’Connor, and indeed surviving victims like Pat Quearney, because they don’t fit their exclusively anti-Provo narrative. Thus their gushing claims of concern for paramilitary victims ring very hollow. Right across the country and in our heartlands abroad, our people see this selectivity for what it is.
Our country, our people and its huge diaspora has been through a terrible, traumatic time in the last few hundred years, never mind the last few decades. A gruesome period of genocidal famine, guerrilla war and Imperial retribution for that war. All our families have suffered and been traumatised Catholic and Protestant, Irish and British, involved and uninvolved alike. Countless mistakes and disastrous actions and policies have been made by all the players in this sometimes macabre drama.
Only when we can get beyond the false calumny, cant and rhetoric served up by irresponsible politicians and a biased media, can we start to reflect on what happened and how it has affected all of us. Once we start doing that, we can start talking about making amends for everybody and a new start.
The building of a hierarchy of victims worthy of comment and record, and then those that are not, is a travesty of truth and the journalist’s Hippocratic oath that no truth should be left unuttered.
Every single one.
Mí na Samhna 2014