Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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Patriot Or Traitor?

Dominic Óg McGlinchey, delivers a sober take on the fate of Peadar Heffron whose situation has been at the centre of a public controversy this week. 

There are times in life when one should know to hold one’s tongue. Surely this was the case last week when Joe Brolly took it upon himself to raise the plight of Peadar Heffron currently living in exile from his native parish as a direct result of joining a British paramilitary police force in the occupied six counties.

Joe who supposedly loves the Gaelic sporting culture has now endangered the lives of many club members along the shores of lough Neagh. It’s not as if they hadn’t seen enough murder at the hands of loyalist death squads at the behest of those who shared the uniform which young Peadar came to wear. One does not need to look too far for the tell-tale signs that those who killed Bellaghy GAA chairman Sean Brown used these very roads and hinterlands to make good their escape during that particular sectarian murder.

British security services have been turning on and off this murder tap for many years. The people of the area stretching from Staffordstown all the way to Mid Ulster knows this only too well. This countryside is littered with family names, Davys, Gallaghers, O’Hagans, Caseys, Stratherns, Ryans, Browns and many, many more who suffered as direct result of this campaign. This campaign also led to communities living in absolute fear. Citizens within these communities were shunned in pubs and social clubs for being seen to be friendly with republicans and in turn might have seen you being targeted for murder.

Special credit must go to Mr Brolly for giving loyalists the information, which usually comes from the mouth of the very reverend William Mc Crea, alleging that members of the Creggan community might be complicit in the attack on Constable Heffron. We only know too well that those loyalists during the sectarian fest of the summer will need little or no excuse to kick some poor Gael to death for wearing a Creggan football top. Will Joe attend the house and carry the coffin? Will he offer his apology to the family for his loose allegations?

Creggan GAA are a wonderful club built in a community who are no strangers to the violence of loyalists or the police. The tradition of Irish nationalism stretches right the way back to the young men who left Cargin and Creggan to go and fight for Irish freedom in the GPO in 1916. There members and former members have had family die as a direct result of the occupation of Ireland by the British.

Peadar Heffron grew up in a republican community with many of his family being very active in republican politics. He had numerous friends who became prominent members of the republican movement. He also has family who are at the very top of the republican leadership within Sinn Fein. Peadar attended Irish republican folk nights along with his friends and cousins, banging bottles and singing songs in Cargin club and other locations. He also attended family weddings in which prominent members of the Movement where present and who report orders having been sent down that Peadar was not to be touched at the function because he had joined the police. Bear in mind that this happened long before Sinn Fein endorsed policing.

People who now sit and selectively review the past through rose tinted glasses would need to look at what happened 15 years or more ago through the lens of the people who were actually there. What it looked like to the naked eye was that this man had betrayed community, a way of life and a tradition going back hundreds of years. In their search for redemption they might also stumble across a truth that they might not be able to handle. What we have known for years is that the British government have been complicit in the killing of its own citizens in the northern state. Their DNA is imprinted on countless killings. They also have been up to their necks in killings carried out by republicans using agents as proxies to carry out the dirty work.

The story of Peadar Heffron makes for sorry reading like many other stories that have been told across this island since the occupation of our country. A blind man in a storm can see what happened. Are people’s memories so short that they don’t see it every time; Kitson type strategies are alive and well.

When Joe and Peadar meet up for dinner at Christmas they might well put a little thought into current and past strategies by British intelligence services in the North, places like Kenya and the middle east. They might also ask who pushed a young easy led lad with an ego as big as a house to allow himself not only to join the police but to be prominent in the promotion of the Irish language and Gaelic Football within the force. That all said, the biggest question that stands out is who gave him the go-ahead to move home to an area in which republican activity persisted. Bearing in mind that his home where the device went off was only a few miles from where an attack took place on the British Army less than a year before which resulted in the only loss by the occupying colonial military since the Provisional ceasefire. British Intelligence are all over this. The spider's web has been well spun. One just has to look closely enough.


Dominic Óg McGlinchey is a republican commentator. 

22 comments :

Steve R said...

From the Beeb,


"Despite that, Mr Heffron has described the stunned silence from his team-mates from Creggan Kickhams GAA near Randalstown when he told them he intended to join the PSNI.
"I joined the PSNI as soon as it was formed because deep down, naively, I thought this was the little bit I could do... to help this island become one again," he said.
"I thought if policing here was normalised, we could in due course join with the Gardaí (Irish police) and then further down the line, who knows," he told Mr Brolly, who is himself a former GAA All-Ireland winner.

Despite how the news was taken by his team-mates, Peadar Heffron tried to continue playing with the club until he was given a leaflet warning against joining the police by republican activists at a training session. He never returned."

I thought the GAA were supposed to be unpolitical? Sure sounds as though Mr Heffron viewed himself as identifying with the Republican movement.

What lovely teammates he must have had.

Niall said...

Steve R,
Apparently Heffron courted controversy and he made sure everyone was aware of his career choice. A trait that would have been exhibited within ‘the Force’ with his non-fluent Irish speaking and love of GAA which I’m sure considering his Unionist colleagues, had nothing to do with the intelligence regarding his life not being passed on.
And while we are on his career choice, his brave decision to make a difference in a New Ireland all boiled down to the fact that he failed in his application to join the fire brigade.
Also his so called ostracising by club and members wasn’t exactly as he described since he kept returning especially a year later after his much reported intimidating visit by ‘activists’. He even returned a year after becoming a fully-fledged member of the PSNI and only to be asked in the changing room, What has changed from last year Peadar!
If Heffron at that time had been playing for Brolly's Kevin Lynch's club would he have been welcomed with open arms....I think we can safely assume they would have been the non-fleshy type ‘arms’!
Brolly also courts controversy but it is slightly less obvious what his agenda is in this debacle......he certainly isn’t sincerely concerned for Heffron.
Understand your response considering the media reports but I think we need to consider that the reports are all one dimensional and we need to be aware of the context of when this occurred. Would it be different today? I would say no as the PSNI, well, to most Nationalists, it's just RUC spelt differently.

AM said...

Steve R,

Peadar Heffron's colleagues have every right to treat his decision to join the PSNI with disdain and the right to freely express that disdain, much the same as they would had he decided to become a priest or vicar. If he wanted to become a British peeler there is no reason for everyone else to applaud it. They are free to praise him so why should they not be free to criticise him?

Peter said...

2 Irish nationalists attacked, one killed the other grieviously injured for what exactly? What "crime" deserved that punishment? Republicanism proving once again that it is completely out of step with the vast majority of people on this island.

AM said...

Peter,

for the same reason that previous cops were targeted.

Are we supposed to think that the attacks on Ronan Kerr and Peadar Heffron were somehow less justified than the deaths of David Johnston and John Graham?

The more recent attacks were just as right or just as wrong depending on whatever perspective we take on these matters.

In my view none of them served any useful purpose - all were equally cruel, equally futile.
But the above article is about none of this - it is about the impact of Heffron's decision to join the police and the possible role of British dirty tricks in the attack on him.

Steve R said...

AM,

Criticizing is one thing, actively targeting is another. This also smacks of internal RM feuds.

" Peadar Heffron grew up in a republican community with many of his family being very active in republican politics. He had numerous friends who became prominent members of the republican movement. He also has family who are at the very top of the republican leadership within Sinn Fein. Peadar attended Irish republican folk nights along with his friends and cousins, banging bottles and singing songs in Cargin club and other locations. He also attended family weddings in which prominent members of the Movement where present and who report orders having been sent down that Peadar was not to be touched at the function because he had joined the police. Bear in mind that this happened long before Sinn Fein endorsed policing."

Then this quote from the BBC.

""I'd be fairly certain guys I played with passed on my details to others."

Not hard to disagree with him on that one.

Niall,

"Apparently Heffron courted controversy and he made sure everyone was aware of his career choice"

Wouldn't you? Here's a man playing GAA and a Republican telling people what he is doing so they didn't think he was being sleekit.

Any man with honour would have told him to his face that they disagreed with his career choice, maybe even tried to talk him out of it, but to then set him up?

And back to my point, isn't the GAA supposed to apolitical these days?

AM,

"But the above article is about none of this - it is about the impact of Heffron's decision to join the police and the possible role of British dirty tricks in the attack on him. "

So Heffron's OK to join the PSNI from senior republicans in his own family according to McGlinchey's report could still be British dirty tricks? I'm not following you. Why would BInt allow the attempted murder of one of the very few RC's AND self proclaimed Republican to go ahead? Surely they'd want to protect that asset above all else?




AM said...

Steve,

no one writing or commenting here has sought to defend the targeting of PH.

PH expresses an opinion that he thinks his team mates set him up. There is not the slightest sign of this being substantiated by anything other than opinion.

Why would the Brits allow the murder of one of its assets?

To protect a better asset.

How often has this happened?

I have not a scintilla of evidence that this took place but the author raises the possibility.

The GAA may be apolitical but that does not mean the members are not allowed to have political opinions.

The biggest change in the RUC was its name. The force remains up to its neck in cover up and denying information to people about the role of the state in a dirty war. It is hardly unreasonable for many to be deeply wary of it and those who join it.

I prefer the honest opinion expressed by the author to the self serving careerist one expressed by Gerry Kelly.

Niall said...

Steve R,
"Any man with honour would have told him to his face that they disagreed with his career choice, maybe even tried to talk him out of it, but to then set him up?"

One of his former team mates did, met him in a bar in Belfast and Heffron broke down but said he appreciated his honesty in telling him to his face that he wouldn't have played along side him...Heffron's PSNI constable mate out with him response was to call his team mate a SF bastard...my goodness how things have changed!

Peter said...

"no one writing or commenting here has sought to defend the targeting of PH"
And no-one sought to condemn it either, just to imply that the Brits did it. There are never articles here criticising the dissos' futile and evil campaign; no articles about the maiming and intimidation of teenagers; no articles about the murder of Irishmen by their fellow Irishmen for no sane reason. Funny that.

Steve R said...

AM

That would have to be some asset!

Absolutely horrendous damage from a PR point of view against those trying to sell the peace process as being bipartisan.

For the life of me I can't see PH being sacrificed for someone greater, especially since a much softer target could easily have accomplished the same goal.

A very dirty war but even the state won't actively shoot itself in the foot in such an egregious way when the benefit would be minimal.

But then again, you know what they say about opinions lol

AM said...

Steve,

given that they allowed their own troops and police to die in order to protect an asset, it takes no great leap of the imagination to allow for the possibility of their involvement. The guy lived in an area where many people were aggressively opposed to the PSNI. You would imagine the state would have relocated the guy at least. As for them doing stupid things think of Pat Finucane.

AM said...

Peter,

only I have reason for believing different I would be tempted to dismiss your comment as the rant of somebody either blind or bigoted, even both.

If the description "equally cruel, equally futile" is not condemnation then it seems you have limited imagination.

As for no articles appearing here criticising the dissidents, you must also have a cataract. Funny that you never seem to see them.




AM said...

Steve,

I wrote on Peadar Heffron a few years back.

Steve R said...

AM,

Thanks for that, your previous article sheds new light and new thoughts for me so cheers.

Got to say, coming from a community that is encompassed by a siege mentality that Republicans are the ones who are plagued from many varied angles both inside and out!

Brian Patterson said...

It needs to be said here that the attack on this young man was cruel, pointless and wrong. It did not advance the cause of Irish unity by one millimetre. Speculation about the involvement oF state agencies is just that , speculation. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

sean bres said...

I think a slight confusion may have arisen in that it was the Kerr job where the state was thought to have played a hidden role and not the attack on Heffron. I could be wrong - or indeed it could be the case that both were set up by their own - but I noted when originally reading the article that it mistakenly places the Heffron job as having been carried out post-Massarene. I didn’t comment at the time in case it read as correcting what is nothing other than a cursory oversight. Given how the discussion developed underneath, however, it might be worth making mention of this now.

Those who doubt the hideous capacity of the British state need look no further than Omagh, 15th August 1998. There is no length or low beyond these anti-Irish racists and to which they will not stoop. As for Joe Brolly, that idiotic fool is simply courting the limelight for his own material gain. The bigger the controversy the bigger the headline the bigger his profile the more he is sought for his opinions. A self-serving mouthpiece, pure and simple.

An excellent and timely article from Dominic - himself no stranger to the hideous, depraved activities of the unreconstructed RUC, now known as the PSNI. No Irishman in their right mind should have anything to do with this outfit. The fact that it continues to collude in the cover-up of Britain’s Dirty War in Ireland, making it an active as well as a historical participant, is surely reason enough here is it not?

AM said...

Sober points Sean.

I have seen nothing that would lead me to feel the Brits had a hand in the fate of either man. But, as you suggest, if it comes to light that they have been involved, there is no reason whatsoever to be surprised.

Steve R said...

When I hear hoof-beats I think of horses not zebras.

A singular act can be the product of many moving parts before. Certainly conspiracy, but let's not kid ourselves that a good old fashioned fuck up could have played it's part as well.

The whole 'pin the blame on the Brits no matter what' mentality is beginning to seem like narcissism, especially since even you Anthony have pointed out that there was a great deal of incompetence in the Provos at times.

Omagh could simply have been a fuck up, with the car not parked in the right spot and the cops confused by the warning.

Kerr and Heffron could have been solely set up by those in his community who knew their career choices and violently disagreed with it.

Still, I don't think any of us will know for certain unless a commission for truth is set up, with Amnesty in its remit. Any we all know that's unlikely to happen.

Peter said...

Steve
On social media some are saying that MI5 were behind the pipe bomb at Omagh cenotaph yesterday. Republicans blame the Brits for absolutely everything and think that every soldier not in uniform is in the SAS, and every time republicans fall out they accuse the other of being a tout. This shows a deep paranoia and also conveniently allows them to avoid condemning dissident actions. Presumably it's the SAS behind the spate of kneecappings of nationalist teenagers.

Steve R said...

Peter,

From memory even the alleged Hurst Document that was venerated as being 'evidence of State collusion' intimated that 1 in 4 volunteer level PIRA to be an agent of one of the arms of British Intelligence and those odds shortened to 1 in 2 'Officer' class.

But then if this was true, what military actions can the Republican Movement actually take credit for? They can't have it both ways. Trying to claim even 'spectaculars' would therefore be open to question.

It does come strongly across as being that any successful operation against the BAF is being lauded as some sort of evidence of 'sticking it up the Brits' but when something goes horrifyingly wrong its "because Brit Intel were the ones really involved".

They can't have it both ways.

Steve R said...

Peter,

Meant to add, I have to disagree with you regarding condemning dissident actions as I distinctly remember several commentators and articles on TPQ doing exactly that.

Peter said...

Steve
Fair enough but take the spate of kneecappings of nationalist youths and the recent suicides due to harrassment for example. If it was the Provos doing the kneecapping and the PSNI doing the harassment you would see Mallory and the Societies filling TPQ with articles, but its the Dissos and nothing is said.