week the UPRG/UDA explained how it hopes to transform
itself from a war footing, littered with allegations
of criminality, to a positive influence in promoting
a reconstituted image of loyalism. In the intervening
week, the UDA has expelled Gary Fisher and Tommy
Kirkham from the south-east Antrim branch. The
expulsion of these two senior figures is the clearest
indication yet that the UDA/UPRG is intent on
pursuing an apparently 'legitimate' non-violent
an ironic twist to the apparent eventual outcome
of the political process, strange parallels between
those who it was thought could never be reconciled
are beginning to emerge. Once the darling of loyalists,
Ian Paisley is no longer the icon that he once
was. Similarly there are those on the opposite
side of the line with severe difficulties accepting
Sinn Féin's current position.
This interview speaks to a man who once would
have been considered an implacable enemy of loyalism,
but who contends that he and his fellow travellers
were never sectarian and are intent on building
bridges between republicans and loyalists, unionists
and Protestants. He also says that he feels that
his beliefs and those of loyalists have now got
more in common with those of the leading nationalist
party in Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin.
Danny McBrearty became a republican as a youth.
He has recently become the Chairman of an organisation
called Ex-Pows Against RUC/PSNI and MI5. The organisation,
comprised mainly of former republican prisoners
contend that the change from the RUC to the PSNI
is a cosmetic one. Furthermore they claim, that
the current Sinn Féin leadership have betrayed
their original principles and that since the mid-1980's
until the 1994 IRA ceasefire, viewed as expendable
the lives of IRA personnel, as they systematically
and deliberately wound their war down.
first experience of the RUC was during the Battle
of the Bogside in 1969. I was knocked down by
a RUC armoured vehicle and almost had my foot
severed. It took a six hour operation to save
it," Danny McBrearty said.
joined the republican movement in the early 70's,"
Danny continued, "was arrested in 1974 and
jailed first in the Crumlin Road and later Long
Kesh. I was released in April '76, just before
the end of political status. I was there during
the burning of the prison, as was my brother George
(later shot dead by the SAS in 1981) and it was
a very worrying time for myself and my family."
said that on his release he reported back to the
republican movement and found himself back in
jail by 1978, on what he described as a "trumped
up" charge. He took part in the fledgling
blanket protest, until released again in 1979.
charges against me this time were dropped, and
with hindsight we know that this was basically
a method of interment by proxy," Danny said.
McBrearty spent the next seven years 'on the run'.
He entered the USA via Canada, and was arrested
at a bus terminal in New York State that was under
surveillance by the FBI. During this time Danny
estimates he was shifted around 6 or seven different
prisons in the USA, for what the US Governmment
told him were "security reasons". McBrearty
also said that the FBI attempted to recruit him
as an informer, offering him $500,000 and plastic
surgery as part of a witness protection programme.
Crucially, Danny McBrearty says that he has learned
in subsequent years of visits to the USA, by murdered,
self-confessed IRA informer Dennis Donaldson,
who was allegedly there months before to reorganise
republican contacts in the USA. McBrearty says
he now personally does not discount the possibility
that American security forces had been alerted
to his presence.
Deported back to Dublin in 1987, he went to England
in 1989 and was arrested over the Deal bombings,
in which 12 people died. McBrearty said that forensic
teams claimed that his hands tested positive for
RDX, a constituent component of Semtex explosives.
release of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham
Six meant that media focus was quite rightly concentrated
on innocent Irish prisoners. My charges were fabricated
anyway, but they were immediately dropped, and
so I was released through the side door of Brixton
jail without a word after five months," McBrearty
Previous to this point McBrearty recalled the
famous 1986 Sinn Féin annual convention,
in which the republican movement split over the
move to abolish political abstentionism from Stormont
and the Dáil. It was here that he claims
that prominent members of the Sinn Féin
leadership attempted to coerce him into 'persuading'
someone into removing their name from the papers
for election to the party's ruling executive.
And, that this was in order to load the vote in
favour of the prevailing faction. Moreover, he
contends that two extremely prominent Belfast
Provisionals, one still in a very high Sinn Féin
leadership position, gave him a direct Army order
to do this.
It could not be disobeyed.
The man told not to stand for the Ard Comhairle
meeting was subsequently executed by loyalists
in his Donegal home on May 25 1991.
Danny McBrearty said: "I wish to state that
at no point did I leave the republican movement,
they left me. I was gradually ostricised and replaced
by 'Yes' men whom the leadership could be sure
would acquiesce and implement this strategy. The
GFA (Good Friday Agreement) is where we are at
now and the policing issue is a part of that.
I contend that Sinn Féin were deceitful
over their approach to this stage and went back
on everything they stood for. In effect, as a
result of the Hume/Adams talks, John Hume succeeded
in establishing two SDLP's. The current Sinn Féin
leadership systematically abandoned the principles
of the last 35 years, and are attempting to airbrush
the last 35 years. This includes support for the
PSNI, who are comprised of 75% of former RUC members.
And, despite Sinn Féin's claims the PSNI
is in our belief totally controlled by MI5."
illustrate his claims concerning the PSNI, last
Wednesday outside the City Hotel, members of Ex-Pows
Against RUC/PSNI and MI5 were photographed handling
what they claim were illegal Grade A narcotics,
they say were confiscated from a known drug dealer
in the Creggan area of the city. The organisation
was there to protest at a meeting of the Foyle
District Policing Partnership. The drugs were,
the organisation claim, were seized at the behest
of concerned local people who claimed Ecstasy
tablets were being openly sold whilst PSNI patrols
passed by close at hand. The drugs were later
handed over to the Northland Centre to be disposed
Danny McBrearty says that what he expects to get
from his organisations campaign given the current
high levels of support for the political set-up
in Northern Ireland, is the following : "Firstly
I cannot stress enough that the campaign is totally
peaceful. We simply want to expose the lies told
by the Adams/McGuinness leadership and bring out
the message that republicans were sold out and
humiliated, and bring back some self-respect to
the ideology. In effect we state that the RUC/PSNI
is a British instrument of political control who
put their relationship with certain anti-social
elements ahead of those of the community.
believe that sections of the unionist and loyalist
community are being subjected to the same harmful
influences and control, and that there are areas
of commonality between our communities that could
and should be explored to the benefit of everyone.
The same social problems and lack of resources
exist within working class communties and the
current policing and justice system must be radically
altered in order to make improvements. This does
not exclude respect for each others culture or