Telling moment at Toome

By Martin Galvin

It was a profoundly telling moment. Years earlier, Laurence O’Neill had pledged to resist British crown forces and remove British rule. He had risked much, suffered a fifteen year sentence in Long Kesh, and fought a hunger strike in 1972 against a British attempt at criminalization. He could name fellow Republicans murdered by the Royal Ulster Constabulary directly, or in collusion with pro-British loyalists or informer agents from within the nationalist community. He knew victims of Castlereagh torture and Diplock court perjury. He himself was tortured in Palace Barracks, Holywood, for 3 days and 3 nights, and had his eardrums burst when blanks were fired into his ears. He had been harassed for many years by the RUC, and 3 attempts made on his life were facilitated by the RUC. He had refused to be broken, silenced, or intimidated.

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