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  • By George F O'Doherty
    Mar 23, 2011
    REVIEW – Michael Mc Monagle – Reporter. The Derry Journal – December 2010 NEW BOOK LIFTS THE LID ON MI 5 A new book by Derry author and historian Fionnbarra O’Dochartaigh investigates the role played by British intelligence services in the North during the Troubles. “IRELAND: England’s Vietnam 1960s to 1990s – Writings of a civil rights veteran” is a collection of articles written by Mr O’Dochartaigh from the beginnings of the civil rights campaign right up to the IRA cease-fires. The book spans the author’s own political involvement through the years,, firstly as a co-founder of the N. Ireland Civil Rights Association in 1967, through the splits within republicanism, and the short-lived unity created by the Irish Front, as well as his numerous campaigns for republican prisoners. It also contains photographs and original documents from various campaigns and political movements. Patrick Mc Guill, secretary of the influential Dublin-based lobby group, the Irish National Congress, paid... More > tribute to Mr O’Dochartaigh’s writings in his preface to the book: “I was both honoured and humbled to be asked to write this preface for the writings of one of the Titans and founding members of Ireland’s civil rights campaign. “The struggle that civil rights campaigners like Fionnbarra O’Dochartaigh teaches us is that regardless of the odds or the obstacles placed in our way, if you believe in the justice of your cause, endure whatever your opponents throw at you and relentlessly persist in exposing the truth, We Shall Overcome,” he said. The book features articles written by Mr O’Dochartaigh throughout the Troubles about a range of topics such as profiles on Sean MacBride and Bishop Edward Daly, continuing discrimination, state collusion in loyalist murders, state bias and manipulation of the media, the N. Ireland civil service, and much more. One of the claims the author makes in the book is that British intelligence officers were able to check what parties’ people voted for at elections. He claims they then used this information to identify who voted for Sinn Fein, allowing them to target republicans for assassination. Mr O’Dochartaigh writes that revelations from former MI5 agent James Rushbridger support his theories. “The retired senior official in the counter-espionage agency, MI5, permitted his name to be used when he made his leak. James Rusgbridger, who is the cousin of Peter Wright of ‘Spy-Catcher’ fame, went on to claim that trawling ballot papers was ‘quite common practice for MI5 officers after elections in Northern Ireland”. Another claim which the civil rights founder also highlights centres on a book, The Nemesis File, which states that a secret SAS unit was involved in killing and secretly burying dozens of republicans and nationalists during the conflict. The author reprints the claims from a former soldier, using the pen-name Paul Bruce, that he was involved in the murders of up to 30 Catholics, kidnapped in the Republic and then were secretly buried this side of the Border. Bruce also provided maps for the locations of the alleged burials, which are re-produced, in this new book. Commenting on the claims, Mr. O’Dochartaigh writes: “One wonders, is Bruce really credible? Are the names of those ‘disappeared’ recorded anywhere? “It seems very strange that ‘the authorities’, RUC, military and Garda, if they really wanted to totally rubbish these claims, that they did not carry out any official searches of the areas clearly identified. “Bruce’s claims may possibly invite many to have a re-think.” The book, running to around 275 pages, and illustrated throughout, was launched at the Museum of Free Derry, where it is on sale, and is available internationally both as an e-book and in paperback from BOOK REVIEW: Dispatches from the barricades Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh has been a stalwart civil rights campaigner for over 40 years and was one of the 40 people who founded the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) in Belfast in January 1967. In late December 2010 he published a book entitled “Ireland: England’s Vietnam 1960’s- 1990’s”. This book is an eclectic collection of articles spanning the full spectrum of Northern Nationalism’s struggle for civil liberties and human rights. The book covers a wide period from the author's public speaking days at Speakers Corner, in Hyde Park, London in 1965 on behalf of the Derry Unemployed Action Committee to the celebrations in Derry’s Guildhall Square following the publication of the Saville Report on the 15th June 2010 which vindicated the 14 innocent martyrs murdered by British paratroopers on the streets of Derry in Bloody Sunday in January 1972. (Chapter 2) Many of Fionnbarra’s articles have an eyewitness quality to them, so much so that they read like dispatches from the front line in the battle for civil rights in Ireland. The book contains a wide variety of articles from biographical portraits of the life and works of people such as Bishop Edward Daly of Derry (chapter 9), Nobel peace prize winner, Sean Mc Bride (Chapter3) and 1970 arms trial fall guy, Captain James Kelly (Chapter 23) to book reviews such as of Fionnuala Connor’s ‘In Search of a State’ (Chapter 11), Mark Ryan’s ‘War and Peace in Ireland’ (Chapter 18) and David Miller’s ‘Don’t Mention the War (Chapter 16).’ The book also contains some interesting investigations into the murky world of British state collusion with loyalist paramilitary death squads. Chapter 6 examines the career of UDA chief intelligence officer and British military intelligence ‘double agent’, Brian Nelson and his role in reinvigorating the UDA/UFF and rearming them with arms from the racist apartheid regime in South Africa in 1988. These revelations forced Britain to establish the Stevens Inquiry, the conclusions of which have been suppressed to this day. Chapter 21 examines the claims contained in Paul Bruce’s book ‘The Nemesis file’ and allegations made by former British intelligence agent Colin Wallace that MI5 destabilised the British Labour government of Harold Wilson and ran a paedophile blackmail ring from the Kincora boys' home to blackmail senior unionist politicians and paramilitaries. Chapters 12 and 13 examine Amnesty international and Committee for the Administration of Justice reports into allegations of security force collusion and shoot to kill policies as well as harassment of the bereaved and abuse of the inquest system. The book also contains many unique photographs and reproductions of important documents such as the ‘Irish Front manifesto’ of the mid 1970’s (chapter4). I believe that Fionnbarra’s book provides a useful and unique insight into northern nationalism’s struggle for civil liberties and human rights over the past 40 years and would be an essential acquisition for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of that struggle. Both as an e-book and hardcopy it is available on and as a paperback only on the Amazon website. Personalised signed first editions are available on request via or 07783660181. Source: Irish National Congress Newsletter< Less
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Product Details

First Edition
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh
January 14, 2011
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.03 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
5.83 wide x 8.26 tall
Product ID
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