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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Statement of Liam O Comain to Bloody Sunday Tribunal, Derry
(Ao 82.8)
Liam O Comain • 28 January 2004

"I protest most strongly against being compelled to attend this Tribunal...

At the period under the scrutiny of this inquiry i.e. Bloody Sunday 1972 and because of the split in the republican movement in 1970 I had become disillusioned primarily because of the said split and the lack of proper screening in the recruitment of volunteers. For at the time because of events there was an influx of volunteers into the IRA and contrary to regulation procedure some new recruits found themselves in positions of authority in next to no time. Being security minded I was opposed to this development. It necessitated however a period aside from a more active involvement which implies that I was not privy to what was going on within the leadership of the Official IRA immediately prior to or during the events of Bloody Sunday.

On the day in question I was ill and resting in a flat at the Rossville Flats complex. Due to the flat being approximately 100 yards from the point of where the speakers on that day would deliver I was in the position of hearing the speeches. Unfortunately due to the action of the British Army no speeches would be heard and mayhem and murder would result.

Perhaps the main reason why I was compelled to attend this inquiry was an alleged statement referring to the Officials by myself in the biography of Martin McGuinness by Liam Clarke and Kathy Johnston relating to the events of that day. I claim authorship of the quotation but it is not an expression of the truth re the Officials at that time.

It arose as a story which I gave in response to a question presented by one of the authors.

I was asked if I had any information about Martin McGuinness on the day in question and I replied that according to rumour prevalent at the time the latter person was in the Brandywell area of the city when the shooting started.

Reference was made to the Officials and I stated that I was not involved with them then and that I was on the fringes of the movement so to speak. There then arose in the discussion reference relating to a rumour prevalent at the time and allegedly circulated by a provisional or one of their sympathizers that the Officials had opened up on the British Army. I responded by stating that I was aware of the rumour and that I recalled an occasion when having a pint with the late Michael
Montgomery, in the Derby Bar sometime after his release from internment,
when Mickey was interested to know if the rumour was true. It was then in a jocular manner I attempted to imitate a fellow republican who is also dead but who had the habit when having a few too many of trying to impress others by claiming that a break away group of the Officials had opened up on Bloody Sunday. There is no substance to this belief and I believe that I made this clear to the authors at the time and that I wanted no reference to it in the proposed biography.

In relation to the authors I must confess that after I had met them I assumed very quickly that the purpose of writing the book about Martin McGuinness was to do a hatchet job on Irish Republicanism as a whole via this one individual. This I would not tolerate inspite of my belief that the Provisional leadership are Lundies to the republican cause because of their acceptance of and promotion of the partitionist Belfast Agreement. So I decided there and then to feed them a mixture of truth and lies - more lies than truth. I was also assured that I would see any contributions by myself in manuscript form prior to publication but this was not adhered to by the authors.

As for whether the Officials or the Provisionals shot at the British Army first on the date in question it would be contrary to guerrilla strategy for one of the fundamental principles of the latter is that nothing should be done to risk the lives or welfare of civilians. Unfortunately mistakes can be made resulting in tragedy but those responsible for the first shots on the occasion under question rests with the invading Army. For we must bear in mind that the thousands protesting on that day were doing so against the special power of political internment. Thus no republican worth his or her salt would endanger the lives of civilians opposing such a draconian power for they were in the main the victims of it."




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

31 January 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Partitionists and Non Truth Tellers
George Young


Politically Correct: PC Orde
Anthony McIntyre


Statement of Liam O Comain to the Bloody Sunday Tribunal

Liam O Comain


An Aging Population
Liam O Ruairc


INLA Statement on unveiling of Neil McMonagle Monument


Inspiration at Budrus
Mary La Rosa


27 January 2004


A Land Fit for Heroes or a Party Suited to Peelers?
Tommy McKearney


Rest in Peace
Brendan Shannon


Shooting the Fenians

Anthony McIntyre


On the Theme of Forgiveness: An Open Letter to Victor Barker
Karen Elliott


A Response to Victor Barker

Liam O Ruairc


TV Times
Eamon Sweeney


Eamonn McCann and Marion Baur


“All bureaucrats are equal but some are more equal than others”
Peter Hadden


Airport Workers Reply
Gordon McNeill, Madan Gupta, and Chris Boyer




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