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No 10’s Murderer – Scap

January 30, 2016 by  

FRONTCaptureNews of my compensation over the Sandy Lynch and Freddie Scappaticci affair was published in the media last year, specifically in the Irish News, but has now featured as a front page story in today’s London Times.

I, and my co-accused, who were arrested in 1990, were awarded interim compensation in 2015, after every legal obstacle placed in our way by the British government (including failure to disclose information, and ex parte meetings with the appeal court judges from which we were excluded), which cost the taxpayer millions, was eventually overcome. The compensation reflected the circumstances of our arrest, that our case and trial was a malicious prosecution, and that we served, collectively, over 45 years in jail, because we were set up for arrest by British Intelligence through their agent, ‘Stakeknife’, who is Freddie Scappaticci.

In 1990 I was the Sinn Féin Director of Publicity. I organised all major press conferences, and often presented to the media, people who had been recruited as informers and supergrasses and who subsequently repudiated their deals with the Brits.

Through a third party, whom I named from the witness box during my trial as ‘Patrick’, an IRA contact whom I trusted (a senior, veteran West Belfast republican and ex-internee), I was asked to go to a house in Lenadoon to meet an IRA Volunteer, Sandy Lynch, who was prepared to divulge publicly, at a press conference, an incredible story.

That story was this. Lynch was an informer in the IRA in North Belfast who had been picked up by the IRA and admitted he was an informer. One of the things he told Scappaticci was that he had informed on an IRA operation two months earlier which had gone wrong and resulted in an undercover RUC officer, Ian Johnston, being killed by his own colleagues. Johnston’s colleagues in Special Branch (whose names I was going to be given) were forcing Lynch to set up for assassination two prominent North Belfast republicans, Kevin Mulgrew and Sean Maguire.

When I arrived at the house in Lenadoon, ‘Scap’ wasn’t there. But the British army and RUC, who had the house in Carrigart Avenue under surveillance, arrived within seconds.

I was charged with the abduction of Sandy Lynch (whom I never met and who never gave evidence against me), conspiracy to murder him, and IRA membership.

During the trial every charge fell.

The case was collapsing.

The trial judge was Lord Chief Justice Hutton, who had defended the Paras at the Widgery Tribunal into Bloody Sunday, and who, later, was picked by Tony Blair to carry out the investigation into the questionable death-by-suicide of Dr David Kelly.

Hutton, who I found hostile, picked his nose throughout our trial, which I noted in my book, Then The Walls Came Down.

And, in that idiosyncratic way Hutton has, to the dismay and anger of my lawyer Dessie Boal, who had legally demolished every road Hutton had gone down, Hutton re-arraigned me in the middle of proceedings, which secured my imprisonment on an eight year sentence, which I served in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

Earlier, on remand in Crumlin Road Jail, I had learnt, via a message from Patrick, that it was Freddie Scappaticci who had specified that I should come to Lenadoon and meet Lynch. In the Crum I was also told (inter alia) by the IRA that Scappaticci, after my arrest, was ‘stood down’ along with others involved in the Lynch affair, and that to avoid arrest they had all fled to Dundalk and Dublin.

To this day I believe the IRA’s version of events.

Given current claims about Scappaticci, it is thus extremely important to make this statement.

BBC’s Spotlight, and other programmes, talk about Scappaticci’s activities in the 1990s and his alleged involvement in the arrest and interrogations of suspected informers, or telling relatives about the killings of their loved ones.

I do not believe this to be true. The IRA told me that Scappaticci was redundant after 7th January 1990.

I do not expect the investigations by the Police Ombudsman and the PSNI to go anywhere quickly, despite the resources announced this week. The whole policy of the British government is to slow down inquiries, massively rely on redactions and Public Interest Immunity Certificates, ensure former soldiers/handlers have anonymity, or are advised to make no comment, and deprive families of meaningful inquests or disclosures.

They will protect Freddie Scappaticci as long as and as far as it goes.

Why is this?

Because those in 10 Downing Street knew about Freddie Scappaticci and every other informer. He was discussed over dinner, with cigars and the Chablis. Scappaticci was the Prime Minister’s man murdering weak and troubled and insecure and compromised IRA Volunteers, and civilian supporters, in order to perversely elevate his reputation as an IRA spy catcher.

And it was all for nothing.

For nothing.


It never deflected the course of Irish history, but deflected the course of ordinary lives, gave rise to ordinary suffering and long-lasting grief.

Various dates have appeared in the mainstream media about when Scap became an informer. (‘Investigative’ journalism is long dead, believe you me.)

Given the IRA killing of Lord Mountbatten, eighteen soldiers at Narrow Water, the great escape from the H-Blocks in 1983, the Brighton Bombing, given everything major the IRA did, including landing massive arms shipments from Libya (and, presumably, elsewhere), and given that the IRA got away with all these things before the 7th January 1990, the question has to be asked: what actually did Freddie Scappaticci stop? Who did he save?

Read the books which scrutinise British imperialism: the books about India, Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, Aden, et al.

It was all about the vainglory of specific, egotistic, cream-of-this-world, particularly English (at the expense of sounding racist) manipulators, drawing-room militarists, upper-class toffs and their wannabees and acolytes, about their egos, their little war games, even though they might occasionally lose a good chap to assassination or on active service in the Raj, or Khartoum, or Nicosia, or Crossmaglen.

In the North, they moved an IRA or UVF or UDA gun from here to there, waiting on the outcome of an assassination or a bombing, thrilled at their results, sitting pretty, protected, immune, until law becomes real law and law ferrets out the frauds and murderers.

Watch what will happen.

As soon as the paper trail irrefutably leads to 10 Downing Street there will suddenly, magnanimously, be an amnesty for all combatants.

Of course, the British army hierarchy, on cue, and the DUP and UUP, will act, will complain, about the equivalence being made between Her Majesty’s Forces and the ‘terrorist’ IRA: and the presenters of the BBC, writers in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times will, with gravitas, with their po faces, explain  how difficult a decision this has been and make their apologias for the British murder machine.

But on the ground, the poor people and the wretched of this earth, wherever the sun sets, will know the score about these champions of ‘freedom’ and their dirty war… and will know the sweet scent of justice and freedom and liberation wrought through sacrifice and sheer, sheer, sheer determination…


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Don’t Mention The War

January 28, 2016 by  

The murdered Baha Mousa, an innocent Basra civilian. Hooded, manacled, denied food and water. Ninety-three injuries. Beaten by British soldiers in 2003. Was subject to several practices banned under British law and the Geneva Convention. Legal case against government continually thwarted by authorities. One soldier eventually sentenced to one year in military custody

The murdered Baha Mousa, an innocent Basra civilian. Hooded, manacled, denied food and water. Ninety-three injuries. Beaten by British soldiers in 2003. Was subject to several practices banned under British law and the Geneva Convention. Legal case against government continually thwarted by authorities. One soldier eventually sentenced to one year in military custody

Did interview on The Nolan Show this morning about the comments of former British army Colonel Tim Collins who criticised ongoing inquiries into British army behaviour in Iraq and in the North. He denounced investigations into British Paras in Derry in 1972 and referred to “The Bloody Sunday farce… a political stunt and cannot be taken seriously.”

So I was having a serious, meaningful discussion with Doug Beattie (now an Ulster Unionist and also a former soldier) when Stephen Nolan indulged particular callers whose only interest was to deflect the conversation away from the subject and bog it down in what the IRA did/didn’t do and ad hominem comments about myself.

Thus, we didn’t get properly discussing David Cameron’s denigration of legal firms representing former tortured and murdered Kenyan and Iraqi prisoners, or Collins’ call for such law firms to be punished, struck off and their firms closed. Cameron’s call is aimed at intimidating lawyers from taking on cases that are domestically controversial or nationally shameful (and in Ireland such denigration led to the murders of Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson). To call such law firms as ‘ambulance chasers’ is a total misrepresentation. For example, the London firm Tandem Law which took the case against the British government over the torture, castration and rapes of Kenyan detainees, took it on a ‘no win/no fee’ basis, thus carrying the greatest financial risk had Britain not eventually conceded.

20th January. Attended meeting in Derry of Towards Understanding and Healing where former soldier and member of the Veterans for Peace, Glenn Bradley, gave riveting testimony about his journey from conflict to peace-building.

18th January. Interviewed on Talkback with Lance Price (former British Labour Party media advisor) and Adam Dean (the Quilliam Foundation) about the value of talking to IS/ISIS.

14th January. I interviewed Jamie Bryson in the Linenhall Library regarding his decision to manage the campaign for former DUP Councillor Ruth Patterson in May’s Assembly election. To be published in the Andersonstown News on 28th January.

Interviewed on Periscope by Jude Collins about 1916 and the 2016 centenary commemorations and the general election in the South in February and the assembly elections in the North on 5th May.

13th January. Interviewed on Talkback with Malachi O’Doherty regarding 1916 and Partition.

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David Bowie

January 11, 2016 by  

SchubertHeard about the death of David Bowie. Came as a shock as I had considered him almost immortal. What a unique musician and person. Space Oddity from 1969 is so evocative of that late summer and autumn; Drive In Saturday of winter in Long Kesh; Rebel, Rebel, early 1974, working in the Celebrity Club as a barman to save for my wedding. He seems to have always been around.
9th January. My 63rd birthday. Leslie getting me a new bike! Wonderful meal in Mourne Seafood Restaurant. Learnt today about the death of my friend and comrade Colm Scullion’s father, Kevin.
Did interview on Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show with Alex Kane and Malachi O’Doherty re Arlene Foster becoming First Minister today and her attitudes to nationalists and republicans.
8th January. Interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback along with Mike Nesbitt (UUP leader) and historian Eamon Phoenix, about future First Minister Arlene Foster’s pronouncement that she will not take part in any commemoration of 1916.
7th January. In Dublin’s Mansion House for the launch of Sinn Féin’s 1916 Centenary Events. Brilliant speech by James Connolly-Heron (great grandson of James Connolly).
Finished novel Upstream by John McMillan, part of a series of semi-autobiographical fiction, bringing the story of his life up to the birth of the character Jim Mitchell’s two children and the family moving to Somerset. Wonderful imagery drawn from detailed memories.
4th January. Interviewed in studio on Good Morning Ulster about my opinion of RTE’s drama series on 1916, Rebellion. I was middling in terms of liking it but certainly didn’t like the stereotypical portrayal of Countess Markievicz.
25th December. Great presents for Christmas! Schubert’s Winter Journey – Anatomy of an Obsession by Ian Bostridge; The German War – A Nation Under Arms, 1939-45 by Nicholas Stargardt; The Press Gang edited by David Kenny (about the Irish Press); Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market; Reel History – The World According to the Movies; cigars; champagne; and linen handkerchiefs!Front

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December 12, 2015 by  

back endHave just started John McMillan’s latest novel Upstream. It’s the story of a married couple living in the West Country (south west England) told from the perspective of the husband Jim Mitchell, a struggling author. Thoroughly enjoyed his other books The Soul of the City and Summer In The Heat. John is from Armagh but has lived in England since 1970. There’s still a little time left to purchase a copy of Upstream as a Christmas present! Go to

I have been struggling with My Antonia by Willa Cather. I am on page 205 and should have finished it a week ago. When I start a book I normally commit to it but reading this ponderous novel provokes the thought, so what, I don’t care what happens next. So, it’s Bye, Bye Willa and Hello, John!

6th December. Spoke in Enniskillen at the official launch of County Fermanagh’s book about 1916, Fearless But Few. Theme of my speech was a refrain from an old republican song:
“Who fears to speak of Easter Week?
Who dares its fate deplore?”

21st November. Spoke at the Women’s Garden of Remembrance, Roddy McCorley Club, Glen Road, at a commemoration for IRA Volunteer Paul Fox and Cumann na mBan Volunteer Laura Crawford, who died on active service forty years ago, on 1st December, 1975. Speech will be published in the January edition of An Phoblacht, then here.

17th November. Did reading from West Belfast in Dundalk’s beautiful library. All books sold!

16th November. Interviewed on LMFM in the Drogheda studio about West Belfast.

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Hillsborough Agreement, 1985

November 13, 2015 by  

Garret and MaggieInterviewed this afternoon by BBC television journalist Mark Simpson about my reflections on the Anglo-Irish Agreement which was signed this day thirty years ago. My opinion hasn’t changed: Thatcher’s aim was to secure increased cross-border security cooperation, and Fitzgerald’s motive was to help the SDLP and halt the electoral rise of Sinn Féin .
11th November. Interviewed on the Nolan Show along with Gregory Campbell MP (DUP) about the first arrest of a former British soldier in connection with the killings on Bloody Sunday.
ConalSpoke at the launch of my dear friend Conal Creedon’s book, The Immortal Deed of Michael O’Leary for which I wrote the introduction.
10th November. Interviewed by Amanda Morrow from Radio France International’s English service about the arrest of a former British paratrooper in relation to the Bloody Sunday massacre.
5th November. Interviewed on the Nolan Show about a poll on attitudes north and south to reunification and devolution commissioned jointly by RTE and the BBC.
26th October. Discussion with academic Caitlin Ball about community restorative justice. Unrecorded.
24th October. Spoke at event in Roddy McCorley Club, a tribute night to the late theatre director, Pam Brighton.
23rd October. Interviewed by Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio Ulster on the supposed status of the IRA Army Council and current talks to resolve differences on welfare cuts.
22nd October. Interviewed by Alex Gibney for US documentary on collusion.
10th October. Took part in a massive protest march though Berlin against the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). Finished reading The Last Jews in Berlin.
6th October. Went to hear former Greek Economic Minister, Yanis Varoufakis speak on a panel discussion at the Volksbühne Theater on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz on the topic, PLAN B FÜR EUROPA?
4th October. Staying at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, at Wannsee, having successfully won an award for a two-week residential. Aim to return to Belfast with at least 25,000 words of my long-delayed manuscript of Band On The Run.


Sozialwerk Nazareth e.V, Norddeich

3rd October. Met with refugees at Sozialwerk Nazareth e.V, Norddeich, including a young singer from Angola who performed a brilliant rendition of Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, and also met with English Literature and music teachers from Dame Allan’s Schools, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
1st October. Addressing students on the cross-over literary devices, techniques, allusions and imagery employed in public speaking from Winston Churchill to Barack Obama, with quotations from literature and the Bible.Gave the opening speech at the conference of Relais de la Memoire, an organisation aimed at young people and promoting reconciliation and understanding in Europe and beyond. Spoke of my life as a writer, the novels I had written which dealt with conflict, and other novels such as All Quiet on the Western Front and the writings of former Wehrmacht soldier and novelist, Nobel Laureate Heinrich Böll (whose Achill Island house is now a writers retreat), and repeated an earlier address to students about literature and conflict. The delegation included students of A-Level age from Marseilles, Paris, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Vienna and Norden. This was followed by a Q & A.
Later met with 92-year-old Erna de Vries, a German Jew, who survived the Holocaust, and whose mother was murdered by the Nazis.
30th September. My first class at Ulrichsgymnasium, Norden. Spoke to senior pupils about the short story. On their course is My Son the Fanatic by Hanif Kureishi and I broke them into four groups, listened to their analysis and explained various points to them about the story. Later in the morning, I addressed 200 English language and literature students in the Assembly Hall on my journey as a writer; spoke about the inspiration and German connection between my novel Rudi and Hermann Hesse; spoke about peace walls in Belfast and the coming-down twenty-five years ago of the Berlin Wall, and how Irish writers responded to continued division, conflict and partition, and then did a Q & A.
In the afternoon, I took a class of 20 students on the issue of ‘migration’ and ‘translation’. The students had read Rudi and enacted/dramatized three scenes from the book dealing with alienation. Followed by a Q & A.
29th September. Arrive in Germany for speaking tour.
25th September. Interviewed on the Nolan Show with Liam Clarke about my tweet that ‘Peter Robinson is finished’.
24th September. Interviewed in studio on BBC’s Talkback with Winston Irvine about republican/loyalist murals.

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A Prison Diary

September 22, 2015 by  

Finished reading A Stranger in My Own Country: The 1944 Prison Diary by Hans Fallada which has been described as, ‘An outspoken memoir of life under the Nazis written from a prison cell’ (Independent), but which has also been viewed as an apologia because Fallada decided to live in Nazi Germany instead of leaving as had many other artists.

20th September. Wrote feature for Eamonn Mallie’s website rebutting an article by loyalist Jamie Bryson on the issue of trust.

Jo16th September. At book launch in Dublin for Jo Spain’s first novel, With Our Blessing.

15th September. Interviewed by Andrew English, a masters student studying nationalism and conflict at University College Dublin.

14th September. Interviewed by Cato Hemmingby, a researcher at the Norwegian Police University College in Oslo, working on issues related to political violence.

11th September. Interviewed in the studio on BBC’s Talkback on the issue of unionist bigotry after Minister Arlene Foster referred to “rogue Sinn Féin or renegade SDLP ministers” taking a post from the UUP.

10th September. Interviewed on the Nolan Show, BBC Radio Ulster, re the DUP vote to adjourn the Assembly. Interviewed on Newstalk re the latest in the political crisis.

8th September. Interviewed by Laurène Sénéchal for French televisionon the murder of Kevin McGuigan and the statement that the Chief Constable of the PSNI George Hamilton made about IRA structures.

Finished reading for the second time Alone In Berlin (or Every Man Dies Alone) by Hans Fallada.

28th August. Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s breakfast news about the UUP and the DUP and the political crisis.

25th August. Interviewed on BBC5 Live about the political crisis resulting from the two recent killings. Interviewed on UTV Ireland about the political crisis.

24th August. Interviewed on the Nolan Show, BBC Radio Ulster, about the killings of Kevin McGuigan and Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison and whether the IRA was involved. Interviewed on the Pat Kenny Show, Newstalk, about the two killings.

21st August. Finished Before The Deluge – a Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s by Otto Friedrich.

11th August. Interviewed by Jack Hepworth, Durham University, who is researching for an MA project provisionally titled ‘A social history of Irish republicanism in the Six Counties and the border counties, c.1969-c.1985’.

10th August. Interviewed along with William Humphrey (DUP MLA) by William Crawley on Radio Ulster’s Talkback about yesterday’s contentious march by the Anti-Internment League in North Belfast which was in breach of the Parades Commission’s determination and which was prevented from marching.

7th August. Scribes went well, last night. Packed house. Marian did a great Q&A. A kind and generous woman. Tonight read from the Ambush chapter of West Belfast at the Duncairn Cultural Arts Centre, along with Henrietta McKervey and Tony Macaulay.

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Scribes At The Rock

August 6, 2015 by  

Am about to introduce Scribes at the Rock with Henrietta McKervey, Stuart Carolan and the wonderful Marian Keyes!

6th August. Interviewed with Alan Kane on Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ireland by Noel Thompson with regard to Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for the leadership of the British Labour Party and what it would mean for Ireland.

3rd August. At unveiling at Falls Library for the legendary actor J.G. Devlin (1907-1991) who hailed from West Belfast.

Cavlalry1st August. In Dublin for the re-enactment of the funeral of O’Donovan Rossa in 1915. Massive crowd and a very moving event in Glasnevin Cemetery.

30th July. Interviewed in the Andersonstown Social Club by Bobby Storey about growing up in West Belfast and the politicisation of my generation. The opening event of Féile 2015.

28th July. Interviewed by Dieter Reinsch, a Researcher at the European University Institute in Florence who is doing my PhD Project on Education and Political Imprisonment in Ireland since 1970.

24th July. Spoke at an event in the City Hall, Cork, about the links between the Cork Life Long Learning Festival and Féile an Phobail.

22nd July. Interviewed by Victoria McGroary, a PhD student at Brandeis University in Massachusetts whose thesis is on conflict resolution.

21st July. Interviewed on BBC’s Talkback about David Cameron’s remarks that the British government would see off ISIS the way they had seen off the IRA!

15th July. Did informal interview with three US students about the conflict.

Interviewed by veteran journalist Vincent Brown about a forthcoming TV3 bio of Gerry Adams.

14th July. Interviewed by French TV for a documentary on the legacy of Easter 1916.

29th June. Finished reading the first part of a trilogy, Green Dawn at St Enda’s, by a young English writer Tracey Iceton which is mostly set in Patrick Pearse’s school St Enda’s School, between 1912 and 1916. Good writing.

23rd June. Interviewed by French/German documentary programme about Bobby Sands.

20th June. Did a reading from West Belfast in the Lock Restaurant, Sallins, County Kildare, as part of the Wolfe Tone Festival.

18th June. At screening of the 1961 film Saoirse in QUB and met the legendary filmmaker, George Morrison, who spoke at the event.

19th June. At Lord Mayor Arder Carson’s reception in Belfast City Hall to honour George Morrison.SAOIRSE

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Wolfe Tone Festival

June 17, 2015 by  

wolfe tone lectureDoing a reading this Saturday, June 20th, at 6pm in the Lock Restaurant, Sallins, County Kildare, as part of the Wolfe Tone Festival. Come along.
8th June. Interviewed on the Nolan Show about James Galway’s earlier remarks that Ian Paisley bore a major responsibility for the outbreak of the Troubles.
4th June. Interviewed on the Nolan Show, Radio Ulster, on the prank flying of the Tricolour over Stormont Parliament Buildings yesterday.
Gave lecture at QUB to law students from Duquesne, USA.
At launch of book, The BBC’s ‘Irish Troubles’ by Bob Savage, history professor, Boston College.
3rd June. Interviewed on Newstalk with Sammy Wilson MP on welfare cuts crisis.
1st June. Met with French TV journalists who are making a French/German documentary about the life of Bobby Sands.
29th May. Interviewed on Nolan Show, Radio Ulster, about the Panorama programme on collusion.
25th May. Wrote a short piece for a future book by Brian Rowan on the peace process.
24th May. Spoke at event in O’Reilly Theatre, Dublin, organised as a tribute to the late Dermot Healy.
12th May. In Dublin to be interviewed by John Hedges, editor of An Phoblacht, about my novel West Belfast.
11th May. Interviewed on Radio Foyle in relation to ongoing Tory welfare cuts and what will happen to the Assembly/Executive if there is a failure to agree; and Tory plans re rewrite the Human Rights Act and derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights, which would be in breach of the Belfast Agreement, an international treaty.
10th May. Interviewed on Periscope by Jude Collins, analysing the recent election results.
9th May. Finished Naples ’44 by Norman Lewis.
8th May. Interviewed on Radio Ulster’s Talkback along with Alex Kane and Brian Feeney about the local results in the general election and the likely scenarios in Britain and here.
7th May. Interviewed by RTE television from Balmoral Hall as the general election results come in.
4th May. Interviewed on Radio Ulster’s Talkback along with Alex Kane discussing whether a North Belfast Sinn Féin’s leaflet use of census statistics was sectarian.
29th April. Wrote a piece about the death in custody of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, referring to the poem In Custody.
28th April. Interviewed by Robert Schulz, a doctoral researcher at the University of Manchester whose project deals with the commemoration of the republican movement, in particular the commemoration of the 1981 hunger strike.


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The Human Comedy

April 25, 2015 by  

A insideFinished a wonderful, charming little novel from 1943, The Human Comedy by William Saroyan. Saroyan, the son of an Armenian immigrant, made his initial impact during the Great Depression with “a deluge of brash, original, and irreverent stories celebrating the joy of living in spite of poverty, hunger and insecurity” (Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature). Set in a small town, Ithaca, California, it deals with childhood, youth, love, family life, community and a brother away to war.

There is a great exchange between boys bored on a Sunday afternoon after church. Auggie Gottlieb is in his front yard making a net to catch animals when Enoch Hopper – ‘the most high-strung boy in Ithaca, the most restless, the swiftest moving, the most impatient, and the loudest-talking’ – comes along. Enoch tries to lure his friend away with a string of proposals, all of which are rejected by Auggie who wants to finish his net:

“Come on, let’s start a baseball game or go out to Guggenheim’s water tank and climb it…
“Come on, let’s go. Let’s go out to Malaga and go swimming…
“Come on, let’s start a game. Let’s go down and sneak into the Bijou, see a Tarzan picture…
“Let’s go down to the courthouse park, to the city jail there and talk to the prisoners…
“Let’s go down to Chinatown and walk down China Alley…
“Come on, let’s go over across the Southern Pacific tracks and get into a game with the Cosmos Playground gang…
“Let’s go out to the fair grounds and run the mile track…
“Come on, let’s go out on the empty lot and play catch.”

It’s not until Lionel comes along that Enoch gets someone to play with!

23rd April. Interviewed by Eleanor Hughes a third year History student at Northumbria University who is writing her dissertation on ‘The Evolution of the Provisional IRA, 1969-1977’.

22nd April. Interviewed on the Nolan Show along with Malachi O’Doherty’s about Malachi’s Belfast Telegraph feature claiming a comparison between ISIL suicide bombers and the 1981 hunger strikers, which I rebutted.

20th April. Interviewed by Lawrence Butler Perks, a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen whose subject was ‘Myth creation and myth appropriation in the Irish experience of insurgency warfare 1916-1923 & 1969-1998’.

16th April. Interviewed by Sonia Sarkar, an Indian journalist, who is writing a research essay on the British media’s coverage of The Troubles.
14th April. Gave a young student from UCC, Will Maness from North Carolina, a tour of West Belfast.

11th April. Finished 1941 – The Year That Keeps Returning by Slavko Goldstein. Here is the review

5th April. Attended Easter Commemoration at Pearse’s Cottage, Rosmuc, Galway.

27th March. Reading from West Belfast at the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival. Also on the bill was Martina Devlin reading from her novel The House Where it Happened.

26th March. Speaking at University College Cork on the 1960s and read from West Belfast. Did a reading and Q&A at O’Donovan’s Hotel, Clonakilty, re West Belfast.

25th March. Interviewed by Jade Williams, a third year student at Liverpool Hope whose dissertation is on the 1981 hunger strike.
Interviewed by journalist Ken Sweeney about what I believe to be a false claim by US actor Ryan O’Neal. O’Neal claimed on RTE last week that when Stanley Kubrick was making Barry Lyndon in Ireland in the 1970s he was threatened and intimidated out of the country by the IRA.
Interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback and BBC Newsline on the issue of Royal Prerogatives and the On The Runs.

19th March. In discussion about the art of writing with a young English author Sophie Lusby who has just finished her first novel.

18th March. Was on William Crawley’s Talkback in panel discussion with commentators Alex Kane and David McCann, talking about the DUP/UUP pact in four constituencies.

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’71 – Discussion

March 17, 2015 by  


Interviewed on BBC Radio Foyle with Jim Allister, TUV, about Stormont Speaker Mitchell McLaughlin’s speech on the issue of mutual respect.

15th March. Took part in discussion on conflict resolution with former Para Glenn Bradley at Queens Film Theatre after the showing of Yann Demange’s ’71. Full turn-out and very good Q&A.

14th March. In Donegal at commemoration for Kevin Brady and, later, launched West Belfast at a reading and signing in Leo’s Tavern.

11th March. Interviewed by Rachel Shaw who is writing her dissertation on the psychological impacts of the Trouble’s on its victims.

5th March. Interviewed on the Nolan Show about remarks by New York’s Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan comparing the IRA to ISIS.

9th March. Interviewed by John Morrison, senior lecturer in criminology at the University of East London, about the evolution of the Republican Movement, and the relevance of centenaries.

7th March. Photographed and interviewed by Elle who is doing a degree in photojournalism.

25th February. Interviewed by Josephine Gallagher, a journalism student from the Dublin Institute of Technology, who is writing a dissertation on RTÉ and the BBC’s coverage of the 1981 hunger strikes.

Chaired the service for Pam Brighton at Roselawn Crematorium.

17th February. Began teaching my eight-week Creative Writing Course for Tar Anall, Conway Mill.

11th February. Interviewed on Good Morning Ulster with Trevor Ringland about the opening of two new interpretative centres, Museums of Orange Heritage, funded by £3.6 million from the EU’s PEACE III programme, and whether the museums would attract nationalists and republicans.

From the Kennedy Centre cinema, myself and others did a Skype interview with Stephen Fry [who was in London] for a forthcoming BBC documentary, Real Lives Reunited on Stephen Fry’s 1997 visit to West Belfast for the premiere of Oscar.

5th February. Interviewed on Nolan Show, Radio Ulster, about a Belfast Telegraph poll indicating that people across East Belfast are deeply disillusioned about the peace process, with many believing that nationalists have got the better deal.

2nd February. Interviewed by Brian Campbell from the Irish News about West Belfast. Hugh Russell took photographs.

29th January. Ronan Bennett officially launched West Belfast at a Féile an Phobail event in St Mary’s University College, chaired by Geraldine McAteer, which included Ronan spontaneously interviewing me about writing.

West Belfast was reviewed by Anthony Neeson in the Andersonstown News.

26th January. Interviewed by BBC Northern Ireland for a forthcoming documentary, Real Lives Reunited on Stephen Fry’s 1997 visit to West Belfast for the premiere of Oscar.


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