What a day! I have been calling for it for so
long: surrender, give it up, you know you will,
but do not keep us all in this vacum, this limbo.
Get on with the sell out! And you did, and I thank
you for puting my head at peace, at last. They
say it is the uncertainity that causes most anxiety,
it does, and now I, for one, am free of it. You
mean nothing to me, you people with whom I once
shared a dream, an aspiration, prison and pain,
but all for "The Cause". You abandoned
that today and brought me relief.
How far have we moved apart? You would say that
I stayed behind. I did, I stay with the unresolved,
the injustice done to the Island, the failure
of Michael Collins to stand up to Lloyd George
and say, "Go on then, wage your bloody and
terrible war!" The biggest mistake made by
any Irishman (sorry Michael, I respect you to
You think anything will change? Bun fights in
Stormont, and good salaries, that's all.
Is this what we killed for, died for? Not me;
I respect life too much to reduce it to a return
to the old "Status Quo". Joe Devlin
did it first and never fired a shot, nor took
or gave a life.
You look smug and happy, Gerry, an Easter Lily
in your lapel will not qualify you as a Republican.
You have found your level as a Nationalist, prepared
to administer British rule in six counties of
Ireland, I believe I have heard you call it "Northern
Ireland". No matter to you, all matter to
You think you have "grown", have been
progressive, have changed the face of politics
in that "small place" (your words).
You have taken us back to Imperialism, to conquest,
to submission... well, you have not taken all
I had seen this day coming, wished for it, for
closure, for relief and a chance to see off the
confused. I have taken no pleasure in any of it.
I have spent a great deal of the day in tears,
for myself, my dead comrades, my damaged comrades,
for innocents and even for squaddies. We have,
none of us, with a soul or conscience, come through
without some damage.
Yet it need not have lasted so long if this is
what the Leadership had decided upon. Sunningdale
provided this and more. So, where does that leave
me, a Volunteer, ready and all too willing, to
take the orders of my superior officers, they
deny me, and the cock crows...
It leaves me a girl of 21 years with a sister
of 19 years in an English prison and all of the
horror that any Convent school girl could not
imagine. My choice, my breeding, my heritage.
No pity required.
I would never claim that my experiences in English
Gaols, or in Armagh Gaol, did not have a severe
effect on my physical and mental health. Gaol
is not natural to human existance, how could one
remain unaffected by it?
We bore it as well as we could. (I was not a good
Yet we held fast to the notion of liberation,
freedom, a United Ireland and victory, 1975, 1976,
... ... 1979... 1980... until I found all the
handpainted hankies in the store cell when there
were three of us left with political status, I
cut them up, they were a dream never to be realised.
So we sat in silence, the three of us. I bade
the time of day to the YP's below, I spent time
with the girls who could not face the dirty protest,
the Republican girls, and I defy anyone to say
that those girls were not the best of Republicans
that ever had to grace a gaol. They carried me
through hard times, and their credentials cannot
I was ordered by the gaol O. C not to associate
with "criminals", these were the Republican
prisoners who decided against the dirty protest
(and I would have been one of them). I, reluctantly,
resigned from the Irish Republican Army then because
I could not obey that order. A freelance Republican
since, and a diehard. And may God forgive you,
Mr. Adams, and even more so, may your dead volunteers
forgive you for spilling their blood in vain.