Dublin Journalists Co-Operate with Garda Black Propaganda
March, 1982

Another Starry Plough Exclusive By Brian O'Neill and Frank Farrell

Leading journalists on the two Dublin evening papers are co-operating with a "black propaganda" unit attached to the Garda Press Office in a campaign to discredit the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the Irish National Liberation Army and other progressive organisations by blaming them for a rash of murders, bank robberies and other violent crimes in the Twenty-Six Cos.

The aim of this campaign is to discredit the Socialist Republican movement in the eyes of ordinary working people and also divert attention from the failure of the Dublin Metropolitan Garda to halt the growth of criminal gangs in the capital who now control rackets netting over £10 million a year from drugs, prostitution, moneylending and armed robberies.

The fact that the Mr. Big of Dublin gangland openly boasts that he spends over £2,000 per week in protection money to corrupt cops in the city is known to the news editors of both the Dublin evening papers, but both refuse to print the story.

Stories like this are considered "illresponsible" by the heirs of William Martin Murphy. Better by far to divert attention by a black propaganda campaign against the IRSP.

A classical example of this black propaganda campaign was an Evening Press front page report on the 21 st January 1982 about the transfer of some prisoners from Portlaoise to Limerick prison.

Among those to be transferred were three men, Patrick McCann, Peter Pringle and Colm O'Shea, all of whom were convicted of the murder of Garda Henry Byrne after the Ballaghadereen bank robbery.

On the direct orders of Evening Press news editor Sean Ward a completely false paragraph was inserted in this news story claiming that the trio convicted for this murder were members of the Irish National Liberation Army.

This false statement was made despite that fact that on the day the trio were convicted both Evening Press and its daily sister The Irish Press carried a factual statement from the Garda that the trio were "lone wolves preying on Irish society whose motives were purely criminal".

The Evening Press or Sean Ward are not the worst offenders in this campaign which is slowly destroying the professional standing of journalists working on these papers. The Evening Herald is far worse and in the future we shall be exposing those behind the campaign in Middle Abbey Street.

But we name Sean Ward today because we know that he knew that on the week this false story appeared a member of the IRSP had been arrested for questioning about an armed robbery and murder carried out by criminal elements at Cleary's of O'Connell St., Dublin.

This IRSP member, who has since being released, was arrested simply because at the time of the robbery he drove the car of another IRSP member into O'Connell Street. Since then the evening papers in Dublin had been running a campaign to blame the IRSP for this murder.

In other words Sean Ward's decision to publish a false claim about the political allegiance of this "trio of lone wolves" could easily have helped create the scene to set up an innocent man for a murder charge, were it not for the fact that the Garda knew that the Cleary's murder had nothing to do with the IRSP, the Irish National Liberation Army or indeed any political organisation.

Sean Ward for the sake of a cheap "flyer" was playing with the life and endangering the liberties of a completely innocent Irish citizen for no other reason than his membership of the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

Ward was able to insert his false claim because up to now no newspaper has revealed the full background of the trio convicted for the capital murder of Garda Byrne after a bank robbery on the Bank of Ireland branch in Ballaghadereen.

But now to nail this lie once and for all, Starry Plough reveals the background to this trio:

Patrick McCann planned to invest his share of the £41,000 loot from the Ballaghadereen bank robbery in a Dublin city-centre night club.

McCann, also know as Michael Burke and Patrick McGill, had made arrangements with a Dublin-based Belfast massage parlour operator to invest £10,000 in a half ownership of a seedy nightclub at the rear of TCD much frequented by Dublin's criminal underworld.

For despite a long criminal record McCann had managed to convince business partners that he was a successful antique dealer able to afford a luxury lifestyle.

McCann never claimed any connection with any political or national organisation and in fact had none.

Colm O'Shea, another member of the gang, has been described as a member or ex-member of either the Communist Party of Ireland or the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

In fact O'Shea, the son of two UUC scientists, was a member of the anti-republican and anti-communist pro-British grouplet known as the British and Irish Communist Organisation, which has connections with the UDA, the British Army and James Kemmy but no connections with any Irish socialist or republican group.

Only one member of the murder trio, Peter Pringle, had ever been involved with any republican organisation but this connection had ended several years before the bank robbery which led to the murder of the two Gardai. Twenty two years ago he was sentenced to six months imprisonment for failing to give an account of his movements.

Pringle was born in Dublin in 1938, the son of a Garda. In 1956 at 18 years of age he was interned in the Curragh. After his trial Gardai described Pringle as "the leader of a gang of lone wolves (sic) who preyed on Irish society for purely criminal motives", a verdict which despite Pringle's earlier service to the cause of Irish freedom, few would disagree with.

But now the black propagandasts in the Garda Press Office with the active help of journalists like Sean Ward are using him and the trio he was a member of as a stick to damage the struggle for Irish freedom.

They will not be allowed to succeed.

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