back the clock is something we can all do if we want
to fool ourselves. Time moves on regardless of the
clock. If it was just as simple to change things by
fiddling with the hands of a clock who would not have
a try? But as many of our comrades learned to their
cost the hands of the clock can have fatal consequences.
One wrong move when priming a bomb and setting the
clock timer and that was it. Time stopped forever.
I watch the turn political events have taken in recent
years I think back to all those who lost their lives
trying to move out of the time warp this society existed
in. So many dead and so many casualties - for what?
The miles I tramped at the funerals of those who died
as a result of the war here would claim more than
one pair of Horsey Hughess boots. Many of them
were decent, good, honest boys and girls who knew
little of life other than its injustices, which they
place, a comment, an event - it does not take much
to bring a sad memory back of young people who should
be here with us now, but instead lie up the road in
their own silent place. Our local culture has it that
the only volunteers who died were members of our own
organisation, the Provisional IRA. But that is simply
I think of how myths develop I look back to 1972 when
a gun battle took place in what is known as the Lower
Falls. We fought the British Army all day - from corner
to corner in the tight streets. Provisional IRA volunteers
were not alone that day - members of the Official
IRA were there too. One of those involved was a young
Official IRA female volunteer. During the fighting
I ended up in the same small house as her. The Brits
had us pinned down with heavy gunfire from the direction
of Conway Mill. She insisted on moving out and making
a break for it. She was only 19 and I tried persuading
her to hold on until a better chance presented itself.
I knew her mother and father and wanted to do what
was best for them and for her. My only regret at her
being in the Official IRA was that I could not order
her to sit tight. It was a different organisation
and I had no control over its volunteers.
walked out the door and the British Army shot her
dead. Such is life, Ned Kelly would have
said. But I think it is more than that. Life should
not have to be that way where our young die to resist
injustice. She was just a kid - a kid in the Official
IRA, like so many who were with me in the Provisional
IRA. And so many kids went down the same path as she.
A wee Sticky, she was our comrade. A beautiful
kid, Patricia McKay was her name. Although more than
30 years have passed since she lost her life, I have
never forgotten her. She deserves to be honoured like
every other volunteer from this community who lost
their lives fighting the British Army. Whatever benefits
we gained from this war, she as much as any other
volunteer paid for them with her lifes blood.
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