The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Shades of 1984

This letter was sent in response to Mick Griffith's*/Adam O'Toole's article, "Story with Rusty British Blade.."
(Please note, both "Mick Griffith" and "Adam O'Toole" are pseudonyms: see editorial- Ed.)

Kathryn Johnston • 28.05.03

Come on, Mick Griffith, you know perfectly well that our book (Martin McGuinness: From Guns to Government, Mainstream, Edinburgh and London, £7.99) does not claim “that Martin McGuinness started the Bloody Sunday massacre.”

What appears in our book is a detailed account of what Martin McGuinness did before the march, based on an account from Paddy Ward, a contemporary of Martin McGuinness and a Fianna leader in 1972. Ward was subsequently recruited into the IRA by McGuinness and later joined the INLA.

We go on to describe what McGuinness did later in the march, information which comes from a variety of eye witness sources.

Neither of us has ever tried to put the blame on McGuinness for the deaths on Bloody Sunday - we cast doubt on Infliction’s claims, for example, and we specifically state in the footnotes to Chapter 4: “Those quoted here who saw McGuinness on the day are adamant that he tried to attack the army on several occasions, none of them successful. They would like it recorded that, in their view, nothing could have justified the Army’s murder of 14 unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday, a point on which the authors are in complete agreement”.

The truth about what happened on Bloody Sunday is too important for trivial point scoring and neither of us intends to engage in it. We have both continually encouraged those who have given us accounts of what they experienced on Bloody Sunday to give statements to the Saville Inquiry, as has Martin McGuinness. People can make up their own minds why Lord Saville is still appealing for people who were members of the IRA at the time of Bloody Sunday to give evidence. So far very few have come forward, although Paddy Ward is in the process of finalising arrangements to give evidence.

The problem for the republican movement with campaigning for inquiries and tribunals, like the Saville Inquiry, is that you then have to accept the evidence given in good faith, without demonising those brave enough to come forward. Time for a reality check - it’s the truth, stupid, and we all have to live with it, no matter how unpleasant that truth may be.

By the way, I was surprised to read criticism of Anthony McIntyre for carrying an interview about our arrests by the PSNI team investigating the publication of taped transcripts of Martin McGuinness and Mo Mowlam and Jonathan Powell, among others.

While it is true that McIntyre’s website, in the past, has carried a favourable review of our book, he himself wrote a fairly critical one. Should he not have?

I had thought that An Phoblacht followed Sinn Fein’s policy of opposing both censorship and heavy handed police tactics - obviously a case, yet again, where the republican movement follows the dictum, “don’t do as I do, do as I say.”

1984 or what?



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



I have spent
many years of my life
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Index: Current Articles

30 May 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Andersonstown News Moves to Censor The Blanket
Anthony McIntyre


Security Lapse Endangers Republican Prisoner

Martin Mulholland


Britain's Dirty War in Ireland

Irish Republican Information Bureau (IRIB)


Story with rusty British blade has Irish adherents
Adam O'Toole


Wishful Thinking

Liam Clarke


Shade of 1984
Kathryn Johnston


Stop Attacks on Bus Drivers

Sean Smyth


Spooks are not so easy to spring from their closets

Eamon McCann


23 May 2003


Lynch Pins
Eamon McCann


Send in the Sandbag
Anthony McIntyre


Trial By Media

British Irish Rights Watch


We Love the Andytout News Information Minister
Comical Livvy


The Letters page has been updated.




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