IRA Remembered

IRA Remembered

The brilliant  documentary  “Bobby Sands 66 Days” brought back memories of the 20  plus  years the IRA  bombed London. Dozens of bombs, scores of deaths, 100s injured, £100ms damaged, endless inconvenience. Bags searched, stations closed, it went on and on,we got used to it. Bad though it was, it wasn’t Belfast or Bagdhad.

For me it started in l969. I was a supply teacher in Tottenham. And a sympathiser to the “Irish cause”.  I explained the best I could to my class, the civil rights/ revolt that was going on in Northern Ireland. The first London bomb was in 1971. After the class a lad came up “If we give them back Northern Ireland,, will they give us back Kilburn(an Irish part of  London)?”.

In 1974-5 the IRA campaign was all about the  Balcombe Street gang whose speciality was drive by shootings of up market restaurants. One Saturday the Met Police did a lock down of the West End. I was out partying with the legendary  drinking  and  driving ,white shoed JR. High as kites we rolled down Pall Mall. At the end of the  street a road block. JR has seen the movies, and did a U turn into St James Square. Before you can say Hunger Strike we were  surrounded by very serious Black Marias, full of burly determined cops pointing machine guns at we poor party goers. Fuck Me.

A moment’s suspense and we were told to grow up, leave the car and piss off home. Fine, whatever you say officer.

In 1993 the Bishopsgate bomb, £350m damage. I am now press officer of  the  Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters. I am no longer an IRA sympathiser. What I learn is that a major insurance concern is the looting by the security personnel who have been put in place around the damaged building! The “war” officially ended in  1994. The Peace Process started in 1997.

Back to Bobby Sands. What a story,he was the first of ten who starved themselves to death. Thatcher held brilliantly firm knowing that the more who  starved themselves to death, the less effective each martyr became. After ten they gave up. And brilliant politician she was ;then under a slightly different title she gave in to their demands for special status. The IRA with their cod militarism milked every death with its Blood Sacrifice and echoes of 1916 and Catholic martyrdom. I had forgotten how much they owed to the Black Panthers in terms of uniforms, shades and berets. Right on brothers.

All those deaths, all that damage, all that hate just so we can have shared government in Ulster. Without any of that Scotland has almost become independent.








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One Response to IRA Remembered

  1. Johan Vivian Van Dijk says:

    What a dull life I’ve lived. The closest I got to the IRA was the Birmingham Pub Bombing. It went off when I was walking from the library to catch the bus home after studying for my exams. Mother in law was a magistrate and we had to check her car every day…

    Now we have to grapple with understanding Islam and killing in the name of a God…the supposed succession…
    The world sure is in a God-awful mess

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