has been an unprecedented seven days. How has this
terrible ordeal affected you and your charming family?
as a person, a very private person, it's been devastating.
Things have been dragged out in the press with barely
one iota of truth. Never once did anyone come to ask
me if there was any truth in it. The Angrytown News
were the only ones willing to ask my side of the story
and print the truth. Because I had to leave my home
for a couple of years for safety's sake and lie low,
my dog, Livingstone, has been literally tortured by
the British media and gutter press, coming to my house
knocking on my door, posting letters through the letterbox,
asking politely where I was, wanting to write something.
It was like Nazi Germany. Livingstone has started
climbing on the furniture and it was all so traumatic
that he had to receive counselling. Obviously, like
most party members, he especially doesn't know anything
about anything. He's a quiet boy, he felt my life
was in danger and that made it worse, because whenever
he thinks his master is being threatened he just goes
us about that Saturday evening. Did you have any inkling
whatsoever that you were about to be falsely and maliciously
put in the frame as Fishfork?
inkling whatsoever. I was out on the golf course,
finishing the back nine on Saturday. I came home and
I had hurt my back. After cocktails I was with Livingstone
and the phone rang about half eight at night and the
dog went a little crazy. I was lying because my back
was sore. The man said "Hello, I'm Greg Harkin."
I said to him, "and what?" The name didn't
register. He says to me, "Have you seen the article?"
I said to him, "What article?" He said "Well,
the Sunday Tribune is running an article that says
you're a British agent" and I said, "You're
joking. You'd better fax it."
you could read was the headline, which I can't remember
except it said something about £80,000 a year.
I said, "£80,000 a year?" I said to
him, "are you serious? I'm not getting out of
bed for £80,000 a year?" I said, "You
must be joking." And it said on it James Sands
and I said, "I'm not James Sands." He said,
"Well, we heard he used to live in Dublin."
I said, "I don't know any James Sands lives in
Dublin." He says, "Are there any other James
Sands living in West Belfast?" I said, "No,
not as far as I know. Because any living in West Belfast
are related to me. Or possibly Marcella." And
he said, "Well that's being printed tomorrow."
I said to him, "Is there nothing I can do about
this, like?" And he said, "Well . . .",
and then he hung up and an hour later he called back.
And he said to me, "This is appearing tomorrow
were your feelings after you were left to reflect
on the enormity of what was happening?
see that was the thing, the enormity of the thing
didn't hit me because I thought the story was going
to appear in the paper, end of story. You know . .
. they were going to make these allegations, the Brits
would deny everything and, well, then I would have
got in touch with a solicitor and clean up. I went
to bed early that night because my back was sore.
My dog was going out and I said, "I'm going to
bed, I'm going to take a couple of these painkillers.
I have prescriptions for them." I got up the
next morning as I occasionally do about half seven
and as usual I went on the internet. Eventually I
decided to look at the news sites as well. Every paper
I looked at was this thing. I said to myself, "Jesus!"
you're looking at these papers. Your picture's there.
How is my poor little Jimmy as he reads them?
was physically sick, just sick. And to tell you the
truth the first thing that came into my head was,
"Jesus, what is the movement going to think when
they see this?" That was the first thing that
entered my head. So I went back to the house. I have
a wee hold-all. I put my toothbrush and stuff into
the hold-all, got into the car and I moved to another
it in the West Indies?
a very old joke. And then I contacted my brother.
My brother had by that time read the papers and he
asked me what was going on and I told him, "I
don't know." He said to me, "Jimmy, we're
going to have to do something about this. And by "we"
of course, I mean you." I said, "Right."
he says to me, "Jimmy, I'm going to contact a
leading non-member of the IRA", which he then
did. That was about one o'clock on Sunday and he contacted
a member of Sinn Féin. The member, whose name
unfortunately I have now entirely forgotten, then
contacted me. I talked about it with my brother who
arranged then for me to talk to my solicitor, which
I did. It was done in absolute secrecy in case any
press or anything would have been following them,
and for absolutely no other reason.
that time the press were starting to hound me. The
solicitor issued a statement on my behalf, he then
had a talk with me. I left him a means of contacting
me and we stayed in contact. He then arranged for
the press conference on the Wednesday. It went ahead.
He decided what I had to say about the circumstances
wasn't happy, to be truthful, about not going to that
press conference in the first place after the hatchet
job that they did on me. I had read some of the papers:
"I'm in Bedfordshire"; "I'm in Dorsetshire";
"I'm having involuntary bowel movements as they
speak to me"; "I'm meeting John Stevens
and he's debriefing me in Scotland Yard. Much of this
media reports homed in on the fact that you had left
first reaction was to think that if I'm not there
the media won't torture Livingstone. That turned out
to be wrong.
was a message the other day that somebody wanted to
speak to me. Let me make this clear - I don't want
to speak to the media except the Angrytown News. The
Angrytown News have decided to give me a fair crack
of the whip and not ask any difficult questions. But
the reason I left Ireland was to protect my pet and
to protect my anonymity. Because as I told you, I
am a private person. Apart from the columns.
said that you were a member of the republican movement
up until 1990. What happened, and what were the circumstances
of you leaving the republican movement at that time?
to be honest, most of it I just made up to impress
tourists in bars or to get money out of the NIO. Then
that thing happened, the one in which Danny Morrison
was not at all involved nosirree Bob. I then went
to live in Dublin. It was the fact that Livingstone
wasn't well at the time and because of that and because
of the traumatic effect it was having on him I said,
"Right, enough's enough. I have to now start
devoting some time to me." And that's exactly
what I did. I came out here to start the Caribbean
Cumann. That was it.
yet it has been claimed that throughout the 1990s
you were actually directing the IRA's peace process
very nice of Gerry and Martin to say that, but I was
working away, going on with my life. There was a documentary
came on with allegations from Eamon Collins. That
devastated my family. I sat them down and said that
man's saying that to make a few pounds, to make himself
look big. That's the kind of man he was. I also told
them that I had a hunch he wouldn't be bothering us
for much longer. Call it a sixth sense if you like.
But after that I tried to get on with my life again.
And everything's been going okay for me. I'm working
away, I hardly ever go out unless it's something really
fun, I don't mix my drinks, I don't socialise in republican
circles, not since everyone else was arrested in Colombia
following a mysterious tip off. I have read some of
the comments that this Anthony McIntyre and other
people have come out with. Obviously they have their
own agenda, they are embittered people with poor quality
furniture. To suggest that I was at the heart of the
peace process, doing this Machiavellian stuff, that
I had the ear of Gerry Adams - the Mr. Big, in there
for British intelligence, pushing the peace process
one way, pushing it another to suit a British agenda.
It's so ridiculous that it's just unbelievable. Hopefully.
that know me know I haven't been involved. We'll talk
occasionally, for example about the new Gulf War video
game and how realistic the explosions are. Usual stuff.
The republican movement knows me, knows that I haven't
been that involved in the peace process, know pretty
much everything about me except my precise whereabouts.
They know that and they know how ridiculous it all
is. In fact, let me tell you something, I was going
out to work one day and I got an urgent fax and it
said a ceasefire's been called today. That was the
first that I had heard of it. Of the date at least.
That happened in relation to one of them anyway. That's
how far out of the loop I am. In fact, they've now
decided that because of all the pressure on me, they're
not going to send me any more information at all.
your time with the republican movement were you ever
in the employ of any branch of the British intelligence
a ridiculous question.
you ever received payment for passing information
to any branch of the British intelligence community?
surprised you even have to ask.
you ever left Ireland at any time to meet with any
branch of the British intelligence community?
will not dignify that question with comment.
said at the press conference that you want to return
to a normal life. How likely do you think that is?
out of my hands. I want to get my life back, but who's
going to give me a job? How do I get back to the way
things were? It's not something that I can just make
happen. At the end of it all, and this is just me
talking from my heart, I don't want to put Livingstone
through anything any more. That poodle is too important
to me. If I went back to live in Ireland, I know at
some stage these gutter journalists are going to come
back and ask for my story, which they're not going
to get because they hadn't the decency to ask for
it before and I just don't want to put myself in the
firing line. Metaphorically I mean. Everything's up
in the air.
will be visiting Ireland, I'm telling you that, I'll
be visiting in Ireland, but when I don't know yet.
It's too early to say.
has the reaction been to all of this of the ordinary
community your friends, your neighbours and
and family have been fantastic. They know that it's
been a tough week and they've obviously decided not
to add to the burden by calling me. And I have to
say this, the republican movement has been fantasic.
Without the help of the republican movement I don't
think I could have got through this. That's the thing
that has been keeping me going. It's certainly the
reason I'm doing this interview. They've also very
kindly invited me for a few days in Gortahawk. If
only I didn't feel so bad about making Livingstone
travel in hurricane season, I'd've been there like
a shot. So to speak.
does Jimmy Sands do now?
press have been stung by me appearing. I think that
they wanted me to run, they really wanted me to run.
Again, I mean. They have said that I set up the Colombia
Three, who by the way are as innocent as I am, that
I have done this, that and the other. According to
the press I am guilty of forty murders. But I am telling
you this now: after this has settled, I want to meet
the families of the people that they said I murdered.
And when I do I will stand in front of them and say,
"I didn't do it. I had no part in it." And
I will keep a straight face when I do it.
soon as I can find the time.
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