SF's IRA history 'forgets' Whitey Bulger arms deal
Published 17/01/2016 | 02:30
An IRA arms deal with America's most notorious serial murderer and drugs gangster, 'Whitey' Bulger, has become part of Sinn Fein's pantomime 1916 centenary celebrations.
Without apparent irony last week, Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris and three other men posed for pictures on a Kerry beach to celebrate the 1984 'Marita Ann' arms escapade as part of the party's election/centenary pageantry.
The Marita Ann PR exercise is part of Sinn Fein's campaign to create a continuity of context between the 1916 Rising and the heavily audited 'highlights' of the Provisional IRA campaign. The arms smuggling ranks alongside the 1981 Maze Prison Hunger Strike, the British Army's killing of 12 Catholics on 'Bloody Sunday' in January 1972, the murder of Pat Finucane in 1989 and the 1983 escape of 38 IRA prisoners from the Maze in Sinn Fein's revised and very severely curtailed history of the 'Troubles'.
The linking of the IRB of 1916 and PIRA of 1971 onwards excludes the more than 1,800 murders including 12 gardai and one member of the Defence Forces carried out since 1971. From the 1972 abduction, murder and disappearance of the widowed mother-of-10 Jean McConville to the bludgeoning to death of Paul Quinn in 2007 the atrocities are airbrushed from Sinn Fein's historical memory.
It will also presumably exclude reference to the IRA's collaboration with the Nazis and the IRA's bombing in Britain including the killing of five and injuring 70 people in a busy Coventry shopping street - an act in which Gerry Adams' uncle, Dominic, was implicated but not charged.
It is unlikely any mention will be made in the retelling of the Marita Ann story of the starring role of James 'Whitey' Bulger, the Irish-American monster responsible for 19 murders including the strangulation of two women. He was the IRA's 'point man' in the arms shipment intercepted by gardai and Naval Service off the Kerry coast in September 1984.
The 'celebrations' linking the Provos' arms smuggling operation to the men and women of the 1916 Rising is also unlikely to give much prominence to the former Sinn Fein Kerry councillor and senior IRA figure in Munster, Sean O'Callaghan. As one of the Garda's informants inside the IRA leadership it was he who sold out his fellow IRA men landing Ferris and two others with 10-year sentences and the seizure of the seven tons of rifles, handguns and ammunition after it was transhipped to the Marita Ann fishing boat from Fenit off the Skelligs. Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald said the weapons 'were being brought to this country to murder Irish people North and South'.
There will be no mention of the Boston fisherman, John McIntyre, who Bulger hired to help load the weapons onboard the Valhalla for shipment to the Irish coast. In his rage at the seizure of the weapons Bulger tortured and killed McIntyre despite the fact he was innocent of informing.
The deal with Whitey Bulger was negotiated by Joe Cahill, the veteran Belfast IRA man and Sinn Fein treasurer who travelled to Boston via Canada on a false passport. After leaving Boston Cahill travelled to Tripoli to negotiate a many times larger arms shipment from Col Maummar Gaddafi. One of the rifles from that shipment was used to murder Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in Adare, Co Limerick in June 1996.
There will be no mention of Libya or Gadaffi in the Sinn Fein's revised history. That would be awkward given the Colonel's role in the killing of all 243 passengers and crew on board Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland in December 1988. The awkwardness of that could cost donor dollars at Sinn Fein's dinners in Manhattan.
Nor will there be mention of the IRA's association with the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Hezbollah and their joint sponsors of international terrorism Libya, Syria and Iran.
To mention that the IRA was in bed with the progenitors of modern Islamic terrorism is not the type of 'history' Sinn Fein, would particularly want known in the United States.
Last week's publicity shoot on Banna Strand was part of a continuing attempt by Sinn Fein to romanticise the history of the Provisional IRA, an organisation which Sinn Fein, somewhat ironically, insists no longer exists but which still gives the Party its orders.