September 1969 witnessed more milestones in the journey towards the split in the IRA. From a Belfast perspective, key events happened over the course of 22-24 September when the Battalion informed Cathal Goulding’s Dublin-based IRA leadership that it no longer recognised it’s authority. This had its roots in multiple different historical issues. The most immediateContinue reading “The path to the IRA Split: September 1969”
Tag Archives: Billy McKee
Revisiting 1969: the Belfast IRA, reactions and responses
This is a brief account of IRA activity in Belfast over the course of 13-15th August 1969 and its reaction to events. [A brief warning: I’ve included some graphic press images of the violence in Belfast below. Published images and footage of the night-time violence appear to be almost non-existent, despite the clear presence ofContinue reading “Revisiting 1969: the Belfast IRA, reactions and responses”
Billy McKee, 1921-2019
The death of veteran Belfast republican Billy McKee has been reported this morning. Born in 1921, he had joined Fianna Éireann in his teens against the backdrop of intermittent violence in the 1930s. He was then arrested in the McKelvey Club in Rockmount Street in November 1938 along with twenty-three others. The McKelvey Club wasContinue reading “Billy McKee, 1921-2019”
Death of Sean Garland announced
This evening it is being reported that Sean Garland has passed away. Garland was one of the key figures on the left of the republican movement. He was a key figure in the split that followed the upheavals of the summer of 1969, but perhaps not in the way that many people might think. DespiteContinue reading “Death of Sean Garland announced”
Who was in charge of the Belfast I.R.A.?
Who was in charge of the Belfast I.R.A. from the 1920s to the 1960s? Formally, the I.R.A. designated Belfast as either a Battalion or Brigade from 1922 through to the late 1960s with it’s commander usually listed as O/C Belfast. As a clandestine organisation, the identity of it’s leadership was not usually transparent. Occasional arrestsContinue reading “Who was in charge of the Belfast I.R.A.?”
Interview with Ivor Bell
Interesting interview with Ivor Bell (pictured below) about 1969-70, with reference to strategy, particularly in Belfast where he was Brigade Adjutant. Much of the analysis offered for this period is based on journalistic opinion, often heavily influenced security briefings. While Frank Kitson has become a bit of a bogeyman in writing the history of theContinue reading “Interview with Ivor Bell”
List of O/Cs of Belfast IRA, 1924-69.
The following is a draft list of the officers commanding the IRA’s Belfast battalion (the name normally given to its structures in the city) from 1924 to 1969. The list is based on a variety of sources. There are gaps and may well be omissions since those listed are those named in accounts of differentContinue reading “List of O/Cs of Belfast IRA, 1924-69.”