Óglach James Bryson,22 Sept 1973, Member of the Provisional IRA.

22 Sept 1973, Member of the Provisional IRA
Óglach James Bryson, 26 years, married, of Ballymurphy Road, west Belfast, one of seven escapees from the prison ship Maidstone moored at Belfast Harbour.

POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  Irish Republican History & Remembrance.





A SOLICITOR representing four people charged with membership of the Provisional IRA – who the courts have ruled cannot be named – has said they did not apply for reporting restrictions to be placed on the case. During a hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday, a district judge ordered a special court sitting to be held next month to discuss the unusual press ban.

A total of five people, three men and two women, have been charged with membership of the Provisional IRA on dates between 1999 and 2000. They are also accused of arranging or assisting in the management of a meeting by a proscribed organisation – the IRA – and supporting a proscribed organisation on named dates in 2000. If found guilty the defendants, who deny the charges, would not be eligible for reduced sentences because the alleged offences took place after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement cut-off point. Last month an alleged victim in the case asked for reporting restrictions to be lifted. The women claims she was forced to take part in a Provisional IRA investigation in 2000. The restrictions were put in place at Belfast Magistrates Court on request of a defence representative without objection from prosecution lawyers.

A solicitor for the fifth accused, John Finucane, has told the court : ” Not only was there no objection from the PPS but the PPS on that date instructed that if I hadn’t made the application, they would have.” The alleged victim has since claimed the PSNI told her that despite her wishes, they intend to fight attempts to lift the reporting ban – a move believed to be unprecedented in paramilitary cases. More details emerged during a brief hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday. A solicitor for four of the accused, Peter Madden, said his clients ” have not asked for restrictions ” to be imposed. ” My four clients have not asked for restrictions and won’t be asking for it,” he said. ” While nobody wants their name published for an offence like this, that’s my clients ‘ position they won’t be making any application.” The solicitor added that the four will be ” seriously contesting the charges “. The alleged victim has claimed the reporting restriction is ” fuelling speculation within the community and potentially putting my life at risk “. ” I am also of the opinion that the media should have the right to name the defendants , ” she said. Presiding District Judge Fiona Bagnall yesterday ordered legal representatives to submit written arguments to her by next Thursday, September 28. A special sitting of the court will be held on October 4 to consider the existing reporting restrictions.


Óglach Seamus Twomey, GHQ Staff. 12th Sept. 1989.

Oglach Seamus Twomey, GHQ Staff.
12th Sept. 1989.
In the 1986 IRA split over abstractionism, Twomey sided with the Adams leadershipand remained with the Provisionals.

After a long illness, Twomey died in Dublin in 1989 but was buried in the family plot in Milltown Cemetery, Belfast. His funeral was attended by about 2,000 people. As Twomey is listed on the IRA’s roll of honour under the category

 GHQ staff, this suggests that he was a member of the IRA’s leadership until his death.

In 1969, he was prominent in the establishment of the Provisional IRA. By 1972, he was Officer Commanding of the Provisional IRA Belfast Brigade when it launched its bomb blitz of the city, including Bloody Friday when nine people died. During the 1970s, the leadership of the Belfast Brigade of the IRA was largely in the hands of Twomey.

POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  Irish Republican History & Remembrance.




A PROSECUTION witness in a Provisional IRA membership case claims police are opposing attempts to have the defendants named in open court. The West Belfast women, who says she was forced into cooperating with an IRA investigation more than a decade ago, has argued that the reporting restriction potentially puts her life at risk by ” fuelling speculation within the community “.

The highly unusual order, granted using Contempt of Court legislation, bans identification of three men and two women charged with belonging to a proscribed organisation between 1999 and 2000. During a short hearing last month the prosecution said the alleged victim wants the restriction to be lifted. However, she claims police have since told her they intend to challenge her request. Yesterday police said : ” As with any court case the final decision whether to lift reporting restrictions lies with the court and is based on the wishes of all of the victims involved in a case. ” All involved have to be in agreement before a court could lift the reporting restrictions on any case.” Believed to be virtually unprecedented in any paramilitary case.

English: A republican wall mural in coalisland...

All five defendants are charged with belonging to a proscribed organisation on dates between September 1999 and 2000, namely the Provisional Irish Republican Army, as well as organising a meeting in support of the PIRA between August 1 and August 31 2000. During a hearing in August of this year, in which the defendants – three men and two women – did not appear, a ban on revealing their names was granted at Belfast Magistrates Court at the request of the defence and without objection from the prosecution. The restriction was granted under Contempt of Court legislation. However, later last month the prosecution said the alleged victim now wanted the reporting restrictions lifted. The case was adjourned until September 20, when a magistrate will consider arguments.


However, the alleged victim has said she has since been contacted by the PSNI who have stated despite her wishes they intend to challenge the lifting of the ban. She has claimed that keeping the restrictions in place is ” Fuelling speculation within the community and potentially putting my life at risk “. ” I am also of the opinion that the media should have the right to name the defendants “, she said. A spokeswomen for the PSNI said yesterday : ” As there are currently reporting restrictions on this case we cannot comment on it. Reporting restrictions granted under the Contempt of Court Act, once only applied in the most extreme of circumstances, are now being enforced more frequently in the courts in the North of IrelandPicture by  Derry Sceal

While the PIRA case is believed to be the first time legislation has been used in a paramilitary trail of this type, there have been similar reporting restrictions issued in other cases in recent months. Last week District Judge Paul Copeland, sitting at Banbridge Magistrates Court, ordered the identity of a man accused of possessing indecent images of children to be with-held for his ” health and safety “. The 50-year-old Co Down man was released on bail. In August a Derry magistrate banned the media from naming three men charged with possession of drugs worth an estimated £150,000 after defence lawyers argued that releasing their details would place them at risk of attack from dissident republicans. A 27-year-old women described in court in Derry as ” a significant figure ” in the supply of drugs was granted anonymity last week along with a 19-year-old women charged over a £13,000 drugs haul. They were identified only by their court numbers during the hearing on Friday after a judge was told there could be threats to their lives by ” third parties “.



FIVE people have been charged with Provisional IRA membership dating back to 1999 but cannot be named because of highly unusual reporting restrictions. The case involving senior republicans has been scheduled for a preliminary enquiry later this month, when it will be decided whether the three men and two women will be returned to the Crown Court for trail.

The defendants, who all deny the offences, face five separate charges relating to Provisional IRA activity. These include belonging to a proscribed organisation, ” namely Provisional Irish Republican Army “, between dates in 1999 and 2000. They are also accused of arranging or assisting in the management of a meeting by a proscribed organisation, namely the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and supporting a proscribed organisation on named dates in 2000. If found guilty the defendants would not be eligible for a reduced sentence under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement because the offences are alleged to have occurred after the 1998 cut-off point. The last person convicted of Provisional IRA membership was Co Tyrone man Gerry McGeough, in February last year, when he was also convicted of attempting to murder part-time UDR member Samuel Brush in June 1981. McGeough had parted ways from Sinn Fein over differences in political direction. The defendants in this latest case are believed to be still part of the mainstream republican movement. The reporting restrictions, which are believed to be virtually unprecedented in a paramilitary case, were granted at Belfast Magistrates Court earlier this month. A spokeswomen for the Office of the Lord Chief Justice said : It would not be appropriate for this office to comment on the individual decision making of independent judges in relation to specific cases. ” Judges at all tiers routinely make reporting restriction orders for a variety of reasons, in a variety of cases, on a case-by-case basis.”


Grand-niece of Provo legend endured horrific sexual abuse

17 January 2010

The late Joe Cahill, a founding Provisional, was so shocked by the abuse a female relative claims she suffered he said she should have gone to the RUC. Suzanne Breen hears her story

The PIRAwomen ordered the teenager to go into the room to face the man she’d said had repeatedly raped her. “They said they would read the body language between us to determine who was telling the truth,” says ****** Cahill, who doesn’t want to reveal her first name.”I was only 18. M, the man who raped me, was nearly 40 and a prominent west Belfast PIRA member. The PIRA women drove me to the flat in Kenard Avenue in Andersonstown. And then Seamie Finucane, the Belfast Brigade adjutant, walked in with M. I felt physically sick when I saw M.”Seamie sat down on the living room floor, took off his trainers and joked about having smelly feet. It was surreal. This was meant to be a serious investigation into sexual abuse.

“M was handed the statement outlining the allegations I’d made. He said I was lying. ‘You’re a sick bastard claiming I did this to you,’ he shouted. I yelled back that I was telling the truth. Seamie Finucane asked me to withdraw my statement but I wouldn’t. I said I wasn’t leaving the house until M admitted what he’d done. The Provisional IRA ended the meeting.”

It’s 10 years since that night in Andersonstown and Cahill sits in her own flat in west Belfast. She’s an attractive, intelligent and confident young woman who now holds a good job in the criminal justice system.

Yet it takes her five hours, interspersed with countless tea breaks, because she becomes so emotional, to tell the story of how M raped her dozens of time when she was 16 and how the Provisional IRA and Provisional Sinn Féin engaged in a massive cover-up.

Speaking out isn’t easy, she says, because loyalty to the movement is ingrained in her.

In republican terms, her family is royalty. She’s a grand-niece of Joe Cahill, a Provisional IRA founder and former chief-of-staff who died six years ago. His photograph has pride of place in her house. She produces the copy of his biography that he gave her. “To cheeky face, my favourite niece, love Uncle Joe,” he wrote inside.

She was Ógra Provisional Sinn Féin national secretary when the abuse began in the summer of 1997. She was working for the west Belfast festival radio station. M, an ex-IRA prisoner and leading member of the Provisionals’ punishment squad in the Upper Springfield, was one of many republicans in the station.

Somewhere to stay

Danny Morrison, Jake Jackson, and Eoin O’Broin were all involved in the festival radio station. Caitriona Ruane was the festival director and Gerry Adams sat on its management committee. “My parents were on holiday in Donegal so I needed somewhere to stay that summer. M suggested I stay in Ballymurphy with him and his wife who was a relative,” Cahill says.

“He told my parents he’d look after me. He talked politics with me and I was delighted not to be treated like a child. One night in the house, he was drinking tins of Harp and he offered me one. ‘You’re a big girl not a child,’ he said.

“I hadn’t drunk before that but I took a few tins. His wife went to bed. I fell asleep on the sofa. I woke up to find he’d unzipped my black trousers and pulled them and my knickers down. His fingers were inside me. I should have screamed but I didn’t.

“I kept thinking his wife was upstairs and of the embarrassment this would cause in our family. I pretended to still be asleep. I was a virgin so what he was doing hurt me. He masturbated over me and rubbed it on my stomach. When I went to the bathroom later, I was bleeding.”

M raped Cahill dozens of times after that. It always began when she was sleeping. “Every time, I pretended to continue sleeping. I know that was the wrong thing to do. But I was frightened because of his position in the Provisional IRA and I didn’t want to cause pain to my family. When I didn’t speak out the first time, it set a pattern which I now deeply regret – but I was only 16 then.”


Cahill started rapidly losing weight: “I looked like something out of the famine.” She confided in her cousin Siobhan O’Hanlon, Gerry Adams’ secretary: “I told Siobhan that M was raping me and I was worried I could be pregnant.”

She wasn’t pregnant, and the rape stopped when she returned to live with her parents.

In 1998, Cahill told a north Belfast PIRA woman. Later, she told a female Sinn Féin Belfast politician whose name is known to the Sunday Tribune.

That woman officially informed the Provisional IRA. In September 1999, a west Belfast PIRA woman – whose name is known to the Sunday Tribune – instructed Cahill to attend a meeting that night. “I was told to stand outside Xtravision on the Andersonstown Road. A car pulled up and I was driven to the flat in Kenard Avenue.

“Seamie Finucane walked in. I was terrified. The PIRA woman said: ‘We’re here because you’ve made allegations about M. We can’t have these allegations circulating about a volunteer so we’re investigating them.'”

Five months into the Provisional IRA ‘investigation’ Cahill was brought into the Andersonstown flat to face M. Several weeks later, the PIRA brought Cahill and a male relative to a meeting. They said they’d closed their investigation and it was up to her family to deal with the case. It was the first time any family member had heard she’d been raped. “I burst into tears and my relative hugged me.”

In July 2000, five months after the Provisional IRA had closed its ‘investigation’, two of Cahill’s cousins – then aged 17 and 14 – came forward and said M had sexually abused them two years earlier. People had seen M lifting one of the girls drunk from a social club into a taxi. Neighbours had then watched him carry her from a taxi into his home. The PIRA reopened the investigation. “I told them I wanted nothing to do with it,” Cahill says. “I wanted to go to the Rape Crisis Centre. I said I needed professional help.”

The Provisional IRA said M was under ‘house arrest’ in Ardoyne. Days later, Cahill was told he had ‘escaped’. Now she confided in her Uncle Joe (80) whom she had wanted to protect from hearing she’d been raped. “He said, ‘If I’d known I’d have told you to go to the RUC. There has been a f**k up of the highest order in the movement.'”

The word in Belfast was that the Provisional IRA had spirited M away to Donegal. “I don’t believe he escaped,” Cahill says. “The PIRA facilitated him leaving. I never wanted M killed. I wanted him tied to railings in Ballymurphy with a placard around his neck saying he was a rapist.”

She then had many heated meetings with the PIRA and with Provisional Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams. One IRA meeting at a flat in Andersonstown’s Glassmullan Gardens was attended by Padraig Wilson, the IRA’s go-between with the international decommissioning commission.

“He apologised on behalf of the army council that M had ‘escaped’. I told him I wanted M brought back to Belfast. Padraig said the PIRA didn’t have the resources for that. I said it was only a two-hour drive from Belfast to Donegal, and the PIRA had people in Donegal anyway that could go to the bed-and-breakfast M was staying in and fetch him.

“Padraig said: ‘Do you think we should be running around after you?’ I started crying. I said it wasn’t just about me. M shouldn’t have been allowed to go somewhere else he’d have access to kids.”

Getting nowhere

After equally non-constructive meetings with Gerry Adams, Cahill stopped them, feeling “it was pointless, I was getting nowhere”. She’d continued in Provisional Sinn Féin, addressing the 1999 anti-internment rally in Belfast and working for the party at Stormont. She remained a member until 2001 but grew increasingly disillusioned about how she’d been treated.

Even so, she wrote an article for An Phoblacht about her uncle Joe after he died. Inside, she was falling to pieces. She was on anti-depressants and sleeping tablets for nine years after she was raped. In 2006, she was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital after trying to kill herself.

Gerry Adams asked to meet her on release. “The first thing he said was, ‘Are you still writing?’ I lost my temper at his casual tone. I told him I’d been treated disgracefully and never once had the republican movement told me to go to the police or social services. I asked him to guarantee that no one abused would ever again be treated that way.”

Later that year, M was spotted in the bar of Letterkenny’s Clanree hotel. One of the two other children he abused had seen him in Letterkenny. Infuriated, their mother visited Gerry Adams. Cahill says: “She told me that Gerry replied, ‘What do you want me to do, bar him from every bar in Ireland?'”

Cahill remains a republican but regrets that “a few powerful individuals put the preservation of the movement and their own position above the safety of children”.