The Blanket

The Old Brigade and Anto
 
Kathleen O Halloran

 

I read the letter in your letters page condemning Anthony McIntyre as a hypocrite for speaking out against the murder of Jean McConville while allegedly being involved in murder himself. Many would say it is a fair point. I was wondering what it was he was involved in that merited all those years in prison, so I thought I would take a wee look. In an interview with Liz Curtis she tells us that McIntyre was convicted of the murder of a UVF man in 1976. Once you have that date - 1976 - it is possible to cross-reference it with the book 'Lost Lives' and come up with the name Kenneth Leneghan. This fellow Leneghan was shot outside Victor's bar in Walnut Place, which is directly behind Havelock House. He was a security guard there. Victor's bar used to be owned by Morrison's and it is only a small bar, for my own husband worked there in 1968 as an apprentice bar man.

Anyway 'Lost Lives' states that the fingerprints of one of those convicted was found on the door of the vehicle used in this incident. On June 9th 2002 In Pleading Guilty McIntyre writes of his trial in Jan 1977. He was offered 4 - 7 years himself with out regard to the other two who faced life. He stuck to what he calls Republican theology and refused to recognise the British court. Liz Curtis tells us he served seventeen years and 'Lost Lives' tells us he was one of the longest serving paramilitary prisoners.

So is this fellow a hypocrite for condemning the murder of Jean McConville in 1972? At that time the provisional IRA had a list of legitimate targets. That is anything which represented British interests, strategic political or economic. The targets on this list knew they were targets and were able to take defensive measures. Thus we had rings of steel around our town centres, and defensive measures were taken by people serving British interests. This UVF man was a protagonist in the war with Britain. He knew the risks involved in being in an organisation such as the UVF. He was the flip side of McIntyre.

The murder of Jean McConville did not fall into this category. It was the cold blooded murder of an unarmed civilian. She was also a woman, a widow, a mother and the sole carer of ten children. Usually the punishment for women who broke the rules of the IRA was to be tied to a lamp post and have tar poured over them. The fate which Jean McConville met was what the Americans would call cruel and unusual punishment. If indeed she broke any of the rules at all.

When Col. Collins the Northern Irish British Commander in Iraq was accused of slapping Iraqi civilians - this was a war crime. The mistreatment (or murder and secret burial) of civilians is a war crime perpetrated by war criminals. It smacks of Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany.

Therefore, McIntyre who is a stickler for Republican tradition and dogma can call the murder of Jean McConville a war crime and not be accused of being a hypocrite. This is not semantics but a purely military way of thinking and out look. I can see where he is coming from. I don't think he has seen the light. No. He is still standing where he was in 1976 and feels it is the Republican leadership who have abandoned Republicanism and it's ideals.

I don't think hypocrisy/insincerity is one of McIntyre's faults, although like the rest of us I am sure he has many. What I do think is that McIntyre is part of an old brigade who have given much while other hypocrites in Armani suits have benefited from their sacrifice.


 

 

 

 

 

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