The Broken Elbow

By Ed Moloney & Bob Mitchell

It was one of the most compelling and gripping episodes to feature in the series of interviews that Brendan Hughes gave to Boston College about his life in the IRA. The story of the frenzied attempt to kill him in his native lower Falls area by plainclothes British soldiers in the early 1970’s illustrated several defining aspects of Hughes’ life as an IRA activist and later as one of its leaders.

One was the danger he faced constantly, the possibility that each day might end with his violent death; the other was the closeness and depth of his friendship with Gerry Adams who arranged for the treatment of his injuries suffered that day. The intensity and ardor of their relationship helps explain his subsequent anger when, as the peace process unfolded, Adams disowned his involvement – and their shared life – in the IRA.

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