Reading the article on the Commemoration
of the Hunger Strikers in Donegal, I concluded
that memories are useful things to have, especially
if those said memories conflict with other people's
I will here make an announcement that will have
people throwing up.
I was once a member of the N. I. Labour Party. I
helped canvass for Paddy and dear old Vivian and
the rest of the crew. I was a trade unionist. As
a French Polisher my workmates had elected me shop
steward. That meant I did all the complaining to
the boss that they wanted me to complain about,
therefore ensuing that I would be first out the
door the first chance he had.
It had its upsides as well. The clubrooms in Waring
Street had a bar that opened a whole hour later
than the pubs. I met Luke Kelly while I was there
and we sang Joe Hill and The Red Flag and felt ourselves
heroes of the proletariat.
Cue a Thursday night in August 1969.
I was up Cupar Street with about ten or twelve other
lads my same age. Two of them were mates, Seamus
Watson and Marty Carson. In front of us were upwards
of a thousand "loyalists" fronted by the
good ol' RUC attired in riot gear.
Something struck me as odd. They were facing us
instead of the crowd behind them.
Behind us, at the Diamond Picture House, was about
the same number of our crowd, urging us on to deeds
of great valour.
We had been there a long time heaving anything we
could get our hands on at the mob in front of us.
There were so many you couldn't miss. Then a guy
appeared behind us in the middle of the road, took
out a flare and lit it, shouted "IRA!"
He then fired about six shots from a revolver into
the air, while myself and a few others were shouting
at him to shoot the #uckers in front of us.
Just after that the first petrol bomb went into
the first house. Luckily the people far up Cupar
Street had correctly envisaged what might happen
and had cleared out. We were swamped by the loyalists
and were lucky to make it to the bottom of the street.
They were stopped by a few well-aimed petrol bombs.
The warfare, for that was what it was by this time,
It was about three o'clock in the morning, when
Sammy Lennon and myself, armed with petrol bombs,
were outside the De La Salle Brother's home, when
the first Shorlands made their appearance.
I looked at Sammy. Time to go.
After that it was barricade time. Everyone enthusiastically
got tore in to making them.
After about a couple of days everyone was talking
about what they had done.
Every manjack of them had been up Cupar Street or
elsewhere and would fight to the death anyone who
disputed it. Shades of the ATC's, I think, or their
So you see, Mr McIntyre, people will have their
That they are blatant lies is neither here nor there.
Until Richard O'Rawe set the cat among the pidgeons,
there was a lot of consensus about the Hunger Strikes.
As a gable wall in Oakman Street proclaims, "History
is written by the victors" the words
of Miriam Daly.
But we have no victors.