The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
One Year After The Kelly's Incident: Bobby Tohill Speaks


Liam O Ruairc • 3 February 2005

This month marks the one year anniversary of the Kelly's Winecellar incident. So how does the man at the centre of the controversy, Bobby Tohill, feel after one year? Bobby Tohill disagrees with the one year time frame, because he says that his problems started "way before that". They started whenever he left Dublin and came back to Belfast. His problems were of a double nature. The first was personal. Some individuals who were "high ranking members" of the Provisional movement had "deep personal grudges" against him for a long time. Soon after returning to Belfast, Tohill once again clashed with them. The second problem was political. Tohill began to publicly voice criticism of the Provisional leadership's strategy (though he does not advocate a return to armed struggle).

During the second half of 2004, Bobby Tohill discovered that he was "under heavy surveillance from the Provisionals". They tried to find out where he was living, who he was associating with and so on. For example, they regularly followed him into Robinson's Bar in the heart of Belfast city centre, and with mobile phones discretely took photographs of him and the people he was associating with. Tohill started to change his daily routine after one of his friends was kidnapped in late 2004. The Provisional movement abducted John Donaghy, who worked as a chef at the Culturlann restaurant and was not politically involved. He was hooded and held for five hours during which he was interrogated about Tohill. Bobby said that his friend was severely shaken as a result of that experience.

So the Kelly's Winecellar incident was not the beginning of Tohill's difficulties, but an addition to a very long list of problems. After the Kelly's incident, Bobby gave a number of interviews to newspapers, local, national and international where he outlined his criticisms of the Provisional movement's strategy and how he feared for his own life. In response, he received no fewer than six death threats. The PSNI told him that all his movements were being monitored by the Provisional militia "in view of being executed". Bobby believes that under the present circumstances, it is not the opportune moment for them to carry out his execution. But he is convinced that as soon as they will have the opportunity, they will have no hesitations in carrying it out. These are dangerous times for him; he is under surveillance right as we speak.

Tohill is talking to The Blanket because he wants the Irish people "to know the truth about the terrible trauma my family and I are going through". Back in December, Bobby had told the Blanket that he was ready to talk to anyone who was interested to know the truth about his situation. Subsequently, he was approached by the Daily Ireland newspaper, and gave them an interview two weeks ago. Tohill saw the proposed draft and was not happy about it as he felt it did not give the full picture. He contacted the paper asking why they were not publishing it; and he was told by journalist Anne Campbell that the editors of the paper "were unhappy with the interview". However, she promised that she would to everything in her power to publish it. Tohill was previously unhappy with the Andersonstown News' coverage of his case, and says that he expects the same kind of treatment from the Daily Ireland in the immediate future.

Concluding this interview, Bobby Tohill said that it was his "duty to stand up against oppression and speak the truth as a Republican". And he has no doubts that "all true Republicans will be appalled at this situation".








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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.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

4 February 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

Burdens Unbearable
Anthony McIntyre

The Generals' Dance
Mick Hall

One Year After the Kelly's Incident: Bobby Tohill Speaks
Liam O Ruairc

Loyalist Elements Feuding with UVF - Blamed for Attacks at Unity Walk
Sean Mc Aughey

The Possibilities With Brown
Dr John Coulter

Report of Bloody Sunday Commemoration in Glasgow
Seamus Reader

Uniting Against Radicalism
Harun Yahya

28 January 2005

The Road to a Mafia State
Anthony McIntyre

Help is On the Way! Lawyers, Guns, Money...& Golf
Karen Lyden Cox

Four Reasons for Ideological Shift
Liam O Ruairc

Tilting at the Windmills
Mick Hall

Looking Down the Barrel of Freedom
Fred A. Wilcox

Saor Eire Again
Bob Purdie

Sex, Lies, But No Videotape
Seaghán Ó Murchú



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