Monday 21 October 2019

John Lennon's family `hit the roof' when funds were donated to IRA

By HUGH DAVIES JOHN Lennon's relatives were ``up in arms'' on learning the Beatle had given money to the IRA in New York, Stanley Parkes (67

JOHN Lennon's relatives were ``up in arms'' on learning the Beatle had given money to the IRA in New York, Stanley Parkes (67), his cousin, said yesterday.

His Aunt Mimi, who raised him in Liverpool, ``tore him off a strip'' in an angry transatlantic phone call, asking him ``What the heck do you think you are doing?'' Mr Parkes said he had no idea how she found out, ``but she hit the roof. Unfortunately, John was totally gullible and naive. He was always a soft touch at that time and gave away thousands to several groups''.

The details emerged as the British Government urged the FBI against bowing to a judge's order to release two letters and notes of a telephone conversation between London and Washington about M15 surveillance of Lennon. Documents relate to an intelligence file started because of his support for the Irish republican cause as well as his funding of the Trotskyite Workers' Revolutionary Party.

According to A J Weberman, a cult figure in New York because of his `garbology' exploits in sifting through Bob Dylan's dustbins, Lennon met an IRA man in New York because of his need for drugs.

Weberman, who was attacked by Lennon in the Village Voice newspaper for his persecution of Dylan, became a firm friend because of his subversive underground contacts.

Weberman's version, as recounted to Albert Goldman, Lennon's biographer, is that the IRA was using marijuana to shop for guns to be smuggled to Belfast. Weberman introduced Lennon to Irish Northern Aid, an IRA front that was just starting to raise money for the Provisionals.

It was then headed by Michael Flannery, an IRA man from the Twenties, who was a powerful Irish character in the Bronx.

Weberman said that the Irish fundraisers were agog at Lennon's generosity, telling him ``You got us thousands of dollars in contributions.''

( Daily Telegraph, London)

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News