imagine from the title of this article it would
be natural to think I am writing about O'Rawes'
book, Blanketmen. Nothing could be further
from the truth. I haven't even read the book, though
no doubt I will eventually get around to getting
a copy of it.
I am more interested in the Provisional Movements'
Leadership's (PML) reaction to the book and that
of a few others, like Danny Morrison. I had, of
course, heard about O'Rawes' claims, but felt that
they were only his opinions and he would have no
way of backing them up. It was a non-starter and
people would soon forget about his claims that the
PML outside the prison let the last 6 Hunger Strikers,
including 2 INLA Volunteers, die to promote their
own political agenda. Let's face it, this claim
was so serious I did not believe it; I was wondering
what agenda O'Rawe was working to, and the release
of the book coming up to the 25th anniversary of
the Hunger Strikers deaths smacked of commercialism.
The reactions came thick and fast from those close
to Adams Plc. They were on radio rubbishing the
book and O'Rawe; they used their own columns in
newspapers to debunk his claims; some were emotional;
some tried to used "facts", like the "comms"
O'Rawe sent out of the prison during the Hunger
Strike to lay the blame for the last 6 deaths elsewhere.
All of this is to be expected and is understandable.
So all I got out of it was claim and counter-claim,
it was going no-where. The truth was there to be
got, but I believed we would never get to the bottom
of it, and it was just best to get on with it rather
than waste time looking for something I would never
time went past, and I had nearly forgotten all about
the book, I happened to find myself in Derry painting
a mural to one of the INLA Hunger Strikers, Pasty
O'Hara. That Tuesday evening we went to a bar to
catch the second part of an RTE documentary about
the Hunger Strike, the first part having been shown
the previous Tuesday.
was interviewed and repeated his claim about the
last 6 the men to die. Nothing new in that, I thought;
Morrison was on also, but he said nothing new either.
So as I sat watching, I thought, this is getting
away from the reason that the men died, and was
getting bogged down on these claims. Adams was interviewed
and was doing what he does best, stroking his own
ego. As the show seemed to lose its way, the people
with me were talking away rather than watching the
show. Even I was losing interest. Then Adams, in
an answer to a question about the "Mountain
Climber's" (the British Government's go-between
to the PML) offer to the Hunger Strikers, said that
he did not know about the Mountain Climber until
first I thought I had heard him wrong. I asked had
anybody else heard what Adams had just said. No,
they all said. Surely I was mistaken in what I heard
him say: "BASICALLY I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE
MOUNTAIN CLIMBER UNTIL AFTERWARDS."
knew I had heard him correctly, but couldn't believe
what I was hearing. Everybody who had read Ten
Men Dead knew Adams was up to speed on all the
doings of the Mountain Climber. Yet here he was
on RTE saying that he was unaware of it all. My
first thought, after the initial shock, was, why
would he say that? Adams is not a foolish person,
yet here he was committing himself on national TV
to the "fact" that he was unaware of the
We were all tired after a long day painting the
mural, and after only three pints, we went to our
digs and I was soon asleep. When I awoke the next
morning I could not think of anything else. Adams
knew nothing about the Mountain Climber? Why would
he say that? Even when we were working away at the
mural, I kept thinking, what was the reason for
him denying his role in this part of the Hunger
Strike? There was a reason sure enough, but I couldn't
work out why.
an incredible thought came to me: what if O'Rawe
is telling the truth? Is Adams trying to distance
himself from his part in the Hunger Strike because,
if it is true, that the last 6 men died for Provisional
Sinn Fein's future plans in politics, that would
end his political career over night? His silence
is deafening, he should be shouting from the roof
tops that O'Rawe is wrong. Yet we hear nothing from
the "main player" on the outside of the
H-Blocks during the Hunger Strike. You would hear
more noise out of a gold fish. Why?
Trying to get proof that Adams knew about the Mountain
Climber during this part the Hunger Strike would
not be easy. RTE didn't even try by the looks of
it. My first thought was to look up the book Ten
Men Dead. In it I found plenty of comms addressed
to "Brownie," and the book claims that
this is Adams. On page 37 it states Adams [is] "writing
a book, Peace in Ireland, and a regular column
under the pen name 'Brownie' in Republican News,
the weekly journal of Sinn Fein".
through the book there are references to Adams as
"Brownie". On page 347, a comm addressed
to Brownie from Bik dated July 30, starts "Firstly
it was great having a yarn with you last night",
this was in reference to a visit to the Hunger Strikers
by Adams, Owen Carron and IRSP representative Seamus
Ruddy the previous evening. So it is one of these
three; go to the end of the comm, and Bik signs
off by asking Brownie "to tell Owen and Seamus
it was a pleasure meeting them". That leaves
Adams as Brownie.
Brownie is mentioned all the way through the book,
Bik must have written to Brownie daily. Adams went
into the prison to talk to the Hunger Strikers and
Bik. If Adams knew nothing about the Mountain Climber,
what were they talking about? Surely it could not
have been the British offer/deal as he knew "nothing
about it till afterwards".
more interesting is the Danny Morrison column in
the Daily Ireland on June 7th, 2006. In his
head-long rush to prove O'Rawe was wrong about his
claims, he proves Adams is lying about his role
in the Hunger Strike. Morrison was allowed into
the prison on the 5th of July, before Joe Mc Donnell
died, to explain the offer/deal to the Strikers
and Bik; as Bik was talking to the Strikers, "Morrison
is allowed to phone out from the doctors surgery.
Tells ADAMS that prisoners will not take
anything on trust
" Why tell Adams anything
about the prisoner's response to an offer/deal Adams
knew nothing about? Surely he would have said to
Morrison, 'what offer/deal are you on about?' Then
Morrison goes on to tell us in the same column that
"6 July. GERRY ADAMS confides in ICJP
about secret contact and the difference in the offers".
Again, what could Adams tell the ICJP about the
"secret contact" if he didn't know about
it till afterwards? So Morrison confirms also that
Adams is lying about his role in the Hunger Strike.
A number of weeks after the RTE show, the BBC showed
one also on the Hunger Strike. Adams was interviewed
and, talking about the ending of the first Hunger
Strike, says that he and others were reading the
Mountain Climbers offer/deal in Clonard Monastery
"when, if memory serves me correctly, Tom Hartley
came in and said the Hunger Strike is over, they
called it off". So Adams wants us to believe
that he was at the heart of things with the Mountain
Climber during the first Hunger Strike, but knew
nothing "until afterwards" during the
second Hunger Strike. Who kept him out of the loop
and why? It is obvious that Adams is lying.
go over some of the points I have made.