Columns: February - April
"Bobby Sands, the Provisional IRA hunger striker, will be out to prove that this time the IRA means it: the government must give in or he will die. And the Provisional IRA itself will be wondering whether or not it should stand by as it did before while the strike continued, suspending its campaign; it is likely that this time round there will be no such undeclared ceasefire from the Provisionals...
Northern Ireland has lived through such dangerous
times before-but always at the terrible expense of innocent lives lost,
caught in the vice of its opposing and converging forces, which seem able
to crush and pulverize any hoped-for compromise."
"Margaret Thatcher has waited too long. Northern Ireland has now
become an American problem. And Americans, including our Irish-American
President, are now going to see to it that Mrs. Thatcher spares no effort
to solve that problem-as soon as bloody possible."
[He] gives a concise and articulate history of the struggle for "special category status"-and the struggle to regain it. He concludes, referring to the failure of the British to implement the promised concessions they were alleged to have given.
'As I sit here writing this letter we are back in the same position we
were before the hunger strike started but the torch of resistance still
burns brightly and once again we are left with no option but to take drastic
action, another hunger strike. Possibly by the first reports you hear
of the hunger strike you might not have received this letter. That is
because of the difficulty of smuggling this out of the prison, but I can
assure your readers of this, there will be only two possible conclusions
to this forthcoming hunger strike. An end to the inhuman conditions imposed
on the blanketmen, or an agonizing death for myself and my comrades…I
plead with you on behalf of myself and my comrades, do something to help
"One of the reasons this violence continues, O'Regan and his fellow members of Cooperation North believe, is that certain Irish-American elements, many of them living in the Bay Area, actively support violence as the answer to Protestant-Catholic and North-South Irish problems. With the ignorance of true provincials out of touch with the developing consciousness of their mother culture, these barroom commandos, made brave and patriotic by copious potations of whiskey and stout, together with running dog American politicians who couldn't find Ireland on the map if they had to, hold to hatreds long since abandoned by the vast majority of the Irish of Europe, whose Republic has absorbed Catholic and Protestant patriots alike…
These acolytes of violence-at-a-distance contribute money to terrorist
organizations, who in turn use this Irish-American money to buy guns,
with which they shoot Irish people, thus continuing the cycle of violence
and hatred. Back in the Bay Area, they all stand around the bar singing
IRA songs and feeling on the cutting edge of the Cause."
"There is something special about Ireland. There
is certainly something worth dying for - a concept of freedom. People
on both sides of the struggle do it all the time. People in this country
can't figure a reason to get out of bed and the President appoints commissions
to study the national purpose, but in Ireland, people die for their beliefs
and have a sense of purpose."