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More TV History November 12, 2008

Posted by Garibaldy in History, Northern Ireland, Television Shows.
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I’ve finished watching the first part of another six-part TV history show that I think will be of interest to Cedar Lounge Revolution readers. This time it was about Irish history, specifically the use of Informers during the Troubles. Brathadóirí is a TG4 production, with subtitles in English for the narration and the when the interviews are not in English (I never knew Eamon O’Malley had Irish). In order to watch it, go to

http://www.tg4.tv/
Click on the menu on the left where it says Faisnéis-Cartlann, and select the programme.

If you scroll down, you will also find a programme called Soviet na hÉireann, a rather tendentious show arguing Ireland could have had a socialist revolution in the period 1916-23 in case anyone missed it.

The show basically tells the story of Pat Daly, who emigrated with his family from Tuam to England, and who ended up in the Official IRA in Britain. Having gone with the INLA in the 1974 split, he remained active with them, before ultimately being exposed as an informer in a court case in 1992, after an operation to steal explosives which he had been responsible for organising in southern England, under the control of his handlers. The show was a fairly straightforward factual account (though some of the commentary revealed what its opinion of informers was), but it was marked out, as it looks like the whole series will be, by including interviews with handlers from the RUC Special Branch, military intelligence and the Guards. There were also interviews with two people who ended up in gaol after Daly passed on information about them. The series aims to address the moral issues surrounding the state’s use of informers (and included former RUC Sergeant Jonty Brown, who has clashed openly with Special Branch over Mark Haddock, a loyalist multiple murderer and informant), although I found the comparison with Abu Gharib by a Galway Law Professor a little forced. It looks like it will be an interesting series.

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1. More TV at Cedar Lounge Revolution « Garibaldy Blog - November 12, 2008

[…] describing the first show in a new TG4 series about the use of informers during the Troubles here. Watching shows on TG4’s website is not totally straightforwad, and instructions are included […]

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2. Phil - November 12, 2008

If you scroll down, you will also find a programme called Soviet na hÉireann, a rather tendentious show arguing Ireland could have had a socialist revolution in the period 1916-23 in case anyone missed it.

Ireland’s chance of a socialist revolution? Yep, I think we all missed that.

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3. Joe - November 12, 2008

I saw most of that programme and the commentary was clearly biased to the view that informers are bad people, that informing is a bad thing to do. In fairness it went on to point out that, in this case this chap was more of an agent provocateur than an informer – he ran the whole operation. But I would have a strong view that disrupting an INLA operation to steal explosives was a good thing to do. The explosives would have been used to kill people – not a good thing to do.

I remember reading about this incident at the time. This bloke Daly had been involved in a previous INLA operation in England. If I recall correctly that operation was aimed at assassinating a (possibly ex) officer of the Paras. But it too was compromised from the start. The UK police were on the boat from Dublin with some of the INLA gang as they travelled to carry out the operation. If I recall correctly Daly gave evidence against the INLA men in this first case (or maybe it was obvious if you followed this first case that Daly must have been informing). But the INLA was in such turmoil post the IPLO split that they didn’t pick up that Daly was the informer in the first operation. And then they got him to lead the second operation.
Final conclusion: Membership of the INLA at that time or any time – not a good thing.

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4. Garibaldy - November 12, 2008

It is a silly programme Phil, though it is good to point out the reality of working class militancy in the period.

Joe,

The impression I got was that the operation was planned and he asked to become involved rather than that it was his idea. I don’t know where that leaves the agent provocateur versus informer argument. We’ll see how the series develops that argument, if it does.

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5. skidmarx - November 12, 2008

If you scroll down, you will also find a programme called Soviet na hÉireann,

With a rendition of “Seasons Of The Sun” at the very end of it. After the ads for Topaz and Norwegian hand cream.

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6. Garibaldy - November 12, 2008

Missed that. I had to switch off and weep for the lost opportunities.

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