IRA operator sold papers in Londonderry
A BELFAST IRA commander sold republican newspapers door to door in Londonderry during the early years of the Troubles when he felt his time would have been better spent attacking the British Army.
Thus tells the memoir of Brendan "The Dark" Hughes that has been newly published in Voices from the Grave a new book compiled by veteran journalist Ed Moloney, which is based on a series of interviews Hughes gave to a researcher for Boston College in 2001 and 2002.
Hughes gave the interviews - recounting details of his career as a leading IRA operator throughout the Troubles - on condition that they remain unpublished until after his death. He died in 2008.
In the memoir Hughes post-humously claims there was "nothing" in terms of IRA structure in Londonderry when he was sent there to sell An Phoblacht in 1970.
He also claims the London bombing campaign of 1973 used the same modus operandi as earlier campaigns in Londonderry and Belfast where the IRA got the people and explosives in and its operators out as quickly as possible.
Hughes recounts how the current Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in the seventies supported the establishment of an IRA Northern Command with the Londonderry and Belfast IRA Brigades resentful of southern-based Army Council member Daithi O'Connail and Dublin GHQ's lack of involvement in the campaign.
He also told Boston College how he interrogated alleged British Army intelligence operative Vincent Heatherington in Crumlin Road jail and discovered a plan to poison the republican wing and take out leading IRA volunteers including Hughes and Londonderry republican "Curly" Coyle.
Moloney's book also contains less extensive memoirs of former Ulster Volunteer Force UVF volunteer David Ervine who died in 2007.
Ervine was the leader of the Progressive Unionist Party PUP who in the run up to the St Andrew's negotiations in 2006 told the Sentinel that grass roots loyalists wanted mainstream politicians to "do the deal"
in Moloney's new book describes how the shift of political disturbances from Londonderry to Belfast in 1969/70 saw a profound polarisation of society along sectarian lines.
"When the disturbances in Derry moved to Belfast, my reaction was very simple: 'You're either one of them or you're one of us,'" he is quoted as saying.
"And I was one of us...It was our community being attacked...it became something other than civil rights, it became something other than civil rights, it became a conflagration between our two communities."
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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