Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Communist Party of Ireland, the ANC and the IRA

The following is copied from the Belfast Telegraph today (7 December 2013).  It relates to contact between the Communist Party of Ireland, the Provisional IRA and the MK [Amkhonto we Sizwe or Spear of the Nation], the military wing of the African National Council in South Africa.
Some details of IRA aid to MK, ANC's military wing were revealed by Kader Asmal, a South African minister, in a biography published in 2011.
While living in exile in Dublin, Mr Asmal was a member of the ANC, but opposed IRA violence and had no links to Sinn Fein.
So, when the ANC asked him to secure military training from the IRA, he turned for help to Mick O'Riordan, leader of the Communist Party of Ireland.
He wrote that after Mr O'Riordan contacted Gerry Adams, IRA explosives experts gave MK militants a fortnight's training at camps in Angola.
IRA members later carried out reconnaissance on south Africa's Sasolburg oil refinery in preparation for an MK attack.
This raises a number of points:
(1) The Communist Party of Northern Ireland and then the Communist Party of Ireland kept a low profile in the years leading up to the Troubles and indeed throughout the Troubles.  They played a significant role in the early years, particularly in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, but generally stayed under the radar.  Nevertheless any study of the civil rights movement and the early years of the Troubles must take account of the CPI, including those members who transferred to the Official IRA.
(2) This revelation by Kader Asmal, who also played a role in the civil rights movement, is another very tiny piece in the jigsaw of the Troubles and probably that is how the jigsaw will develop.  As the years go by one little piece after another will emerge.  However many of the pieces will never emerge and will be taken to the grave as more and more of the protagonists die.
(3) Gerry Adams was able to supply IRA explosives experts to the ANC.
(4) While he was in Ireland, Kader Asmal was a member of the ANC and the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement.  He was not a member of Sinn Fein but he was one of the people involved in the formation of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, along with members of Sinn Fein and the CPI.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Murder bid outside Holy Cross

On Thursday night dissident republican gunmen fired at three PSNI vehicles driving up the Crumlin Road.  They used automatic weapons and the vehicles were hit by a number of rounds.  This was the attempted murder of police officers but thankfully none of them was wounded or killed.
It seems that the gunmen fired from within Ardoyne and were hidden behind a wall at Herbert Street, opposite the grounds of the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church.
There is a certain irony about this terrorist attack.
Republicans, including dissident republicans, complain about traditional Orange tunes being played when loyal order parades pass Roman Catholic churches.  Yet dissident republican gunmen have no problem attempting to murder police officers outside a Roman Catholic church!  Obviously they regard a tune played by a band as a greater offence than attempted murder. 
And Sinn Fein are in no position to moralise on this matter.  During the course of their terrorist campaign the Provisional IRA murdered several people, including Mary Travers, as they were entering or leaving Roman Catholic churches.
The next time that republicans complain about parades passing Roman Catholic churches I am sure someone will remind them that there is a history of republican gunmen attempting to murder people outside Roman Catholic churches.  Surely murder is a more serious matter than music?