Sunday, 30 March 2014

The republican roots of the Andersonstown News

Paddy McGuigan
There was a report in the North Belfast News (29 March 2014) of the death on 17 March of Patrick Joseph (Paddy Joe) McGuigan (1939-2014).  A native of West Belfast, he was a musician and played for some years with the Irish band Barleycorn. 
McGuigan wrote a number of Irish rebel songs including The Men Behind the Wire and The Boys of the Old Brigade
The Boys of the Old Brigade was about a veteran of the 1916 Easter Rising telling a young man about his comrades in the Old IRA.  It became a favourite of some supporters of Glasgow Celtic Football Club.
The Men Behind the Wire was written after the introduction of internment and McGuigan himself was picked up in a later round of internment.
According to the following report in the North Belfast News the song played a role in the founding of the Andersonstown News.
The man who wrote the famous anti-internment song The Men Behind the Wire has passed away in Dublin.
Musician Paddy McGuigan, from the west of the city, penned the No 1 smash hit in 1971 when he was a member of the folk group Barleycorn.  He was also the one who made the decision to donate all proceeds and royalties from the best-selling record to the families of Long Kesh internees and the anti-internment campaign.
The record was banned by RTE and the BBC but it shot to number one nevertheless.  Some of the money made from the record was used by the Civil Resistance Committee to establish our sister paper the Andersonstown News and a plaque with an original pressing of the historic record hangs proudly in the paper's head offices.
Irish rebel music and Irish rebel bands continue to play an important role in republican communities and help to legitimise and justify Irish republican violence, both past and present. 

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