Several RIC officers sat around the table at breakfast.
Bulkeley said, ”You see Moore what concerted action can do? We took quick and decisive action and we have netted four prisoners already and a few firearms. We can roll up their organisation in a week!” he bragged.
”Yerra sir ” said Moore looking away and scratching his bald pate ”we have had success but I fear for the consequences. We already knew Lynne was a bad one but he is a respected figure in the town. Headmaster of the national school and all.”
”Nonsense” said Bulkeley ” and have you arrested no one since the IRA started shooting police over a year ago?”
”Sir, yes we have. We arrested two fellas for illegal drilling. They are up in Ballykinlar. That is it. Then as you know a month ago the real trouble started and we became virtual prisoners inside our own station. Only since your boys arrived have we been able to go on the offensive.” said Moore.
“We have taught these Shinners a lesson! Gave those perishers a taste of our spunk.” said Bulkeley proudly.
”That is right sir. But I am worried about ructions in the town.” said Moore.
”What sort of ructions in the town? Our only problem now is commandeering a cart and taking the prisoners to Macroom. We have no more room here and we shall be capturing more suspects soon I am sure. Macroom is a much bigger barracks. From there they can be transferred on to Cork. Did you not have horses here at the barracks?” said Bulkeley.
”Yes we did sir. But someone throw some poisoned carrots into the stables one night and that killed them both. We asked fro replacement draughts. Never got them.” said Moore.
Just then they heard a distant murmuring approaching. There was chanting out in the square.
Louis went to the window and looked out. He saw from the far side of the square dozens of people approaching. Men, women and children. They were shouting slogans and holding a banner. He read the legend, ”Release Peter Lynne”.
Louis turned to Bulkeley ”Sir, there is a crowd of protesters outside.”
”Oh my God. Real policing work. How am I going to handle this?” said Bulkeley seeming stumped.
”Sir, this is what I was trying to warn you about.” said Moore trying not to crow.
”Well at least they are not trying to shoot us” said Bulkeley.
”I would not be so sure sir. They might hide gunmen in the crowd. Then we cannot shoot for fear of hitting and innocent.” said Moore.
”Damn” said Bulkeley. ”if it is a battle then it is so straightfoward. But these bloody cowards bring a crowd of women and children with them.”
The crowd of demonstrators drew closer.
”What do we do sir?” said Moore.
Bulkeley looked agitated. For a moment he yearned to be a squaddy. He wished to ask Moore what to do but he could not let himself down in front of the men. That would not do. He gathered his composure and said ”Stay hidden. Do not provoke them. Let them tire themselves out get bored and go home. It might rain. That could help.”
”Sir, looks like they have most of the boys from the school” said Louis.
”Limtay – away from the window. Now tell the others upstairs. Draw the curtains.”
”Yes, sir” said Limtay. He closed the curtains and went upstairs to pass on the orders.
Over 100 people gathered outside the front of the station. They chanted and were in a party atmosphere. The Irish Tricolour was borne aloft. Then they turned to sing God Save Ireland.
”Their headmaster did not turn up so the whole school came to demand his release” said Moore.
In his cell Lynne heard the chanting and his name. He was bucked up. He imagined that pressure might be so great that he would actually be let go. He crossed his fingers that he would be released. What an occurrence. But then was the information that got the others lifted traceable to him? Oh God! It was. Those handwritten confessions quoting chapter and verse on IRA activities. It was a who s who of the local IRA co^mplete with addresses of those who abbetted them. He uncrossed his fingers.
The RIC men stayed back from the windows. They occasionally glimpsed out of gaps in the curtains. They could see no guns.
Moore reported ”I see the other teachers from the school. Looks like Lynne’s colleagues brought their pupils along.”
”Damn. How they hell do we get out of here? We are being besieged. We need to go out on patrol, to deliver prisoners to Macroom, to get supplies or receive them. We are stuck here – kept in by an unarmed mob. ” said Bulkeley. This was not an eventuality for which he had been prepared at Sandhurst.
”Sir, it gets worse. They are not going away. More are gathering.” said Moore. Some of the protestors were astonishingly Young.
Upstairs in a bedroom Limtay sat with Short. They looked out the rear window onto the courtyard. The old stables behind had been turned into a dormitory. They saw the crowd was at the rear of the building too – outside the stable wall. Over 200 people had surrounded the station. Short went into the cell and started to Knock the male prisoners about.
”Short” said Louis ”Are you sure you should be punching prisoners?”
”Of course I should be hitting prisoners. What is wrong with you a big girl’s blouse or something?” said Short disdainfully.
”I mean is it legal.?” asked Louos gravely. If the prisoners were released with contusions all over them then it would pour fuel on the flames.
”Legal – what the fuck that mean?” said Short peevishly.
”Is it allowed by law” said Louis.
”I will be fucked if I know. I am a soldier. I am fighting. I kill the enemy. I do whatever I can to win. If that means beating the living crap out of a prisoner I do it. Who gives a shit?” said Short.
”Well I do. I want to do right. So I interview them softly. I get information out of them.” said Louis.
”Yes but that only works because they know that if they do not talk to you I am going to beat the hell out of them.” said Short.
”Well maybe I can get better and trick the truth out of them ”
”Maybe you can but it is going to take a long time. Fists save a lot of time. It is like they said in training. Time is very important. Get the information fast before they move the guns and the wanted men,” said Short.
”I said to some of them like Lynne that he could go. It was a promise. I feel bad about that. He should be released. I can salve my conscience. He can go back to his wife and children but maybe it many years. He must pay for his crimes first.” said Louis.
”Yeah he can go back to them in a coffin” said Short with a smoker’s laugh. ”Why you so het up about right and wrong? This is war.”
”I never hit prisoners. ” said Louis.
”You threatened to kill them though”
”No I threatened that you might kill them – that is true.” said Short.
”Stop trying to be Jesus fucking Christ. We are fighting. We do whatever we have to and that is it. You kill? So why don t you punch? You fucking thick of somefing?”” said Short.
”Some methods are unacceptable” said Louis.
”Stop using long words that I don’t understand. We kill the IRA and that is it. We are nice that we have not killed this 4 already.” said Short
”I know you are not that bad. You did it to a man we knew was guilty. He was not a boy. He was a high officer. He had beaten many people to death.” said Louis.
”There you go then. You know how it works with the police in England. If they catch a man who they know is a criminal they beat him till he talks. They won’t do it to a boy under 15. They do not do it to a woman or an old man but if they know that someone is a toerag they do it. Particularly if they know he got previous. They know he gone to prison three times for burglary so they beat seven different types of shite out of them until he tells all. Sometimes he did not do that job but they say this gets the bastard back for all the times he did a crime and got away with it . That is the way it works isn’t it?” said Short.
”I suppose so but it is not really right. I want to be better than the enemy. We might have to bend the rules sometimes. I know you did not torture him just slapped him around. I mean there were no flames. Heard the Jerries used electric shocks. There were no threats to the family. No animals involved.” said Louis.
”So we is nice then” said Short
”But I know what the IRA are going to say – the English are beasts and they use horrible torture. Ok we were a bit rough but only a bit. They are outside the Geneva Convention – no uniform and no proper command structure.” said Louis;
”What the fuck is the Geneva what.?” asked Short.
”The laws of war.” said Louis. He knew he would never convince Short but by distracting Short this meant that Louis had saved the prisoners from a hammering.
”There is only one war of law. Win the fucking war.” said Short firmly.
Louis shrugged. He found that hard to argue with but he could not bring himself to agree. He wrestled with his conscience. Had he done wrong? The enemy had done worse. He knew that in war one had to do bad in order to do good. But this was not a war. This was a police action. Bending the rules. He had not bent them to breaking point – so he told himself. Maybe he could be better in future.
The chanting showed no signs of abating. There was a crack and the sound of another crack. The crowd had been out there for half an hour. They had began to fling stones at the windows. The glass in the windows began to smash. There were iron bars in the windows and barbed wire above the sandbags. The RIC did not fear being hit by the stones. Some of the protesters stood just below the upper windows laughing and jeering.
”What do we do sir? Read the riot act?” asked Moore visibly shaken. The crowd was growing unaccountably bigger.
”No.” said Bulkeley. ”In two hours they will get bored and push off – so I thought. But more of them have gathered; Sit tight. Remain calm.” he said nervously – avoiding eye contact with Moore.
A minute later Bulkeley turned to Moore ”On second thoughts Moore you are right. Read the Riot Act. You have had to deal with this sort of situation much more than me. What I wouldn’t give to be in Passchaendaele again. At least there I knew who the enemy was , where he was and that I was allowed to shoot him.” Bulkeley was having difficulty holding his nerve.
”Very good sir.” Moore had sensed that Bulkelely would relent so he had the Riot Act in his hands. He opened the window popped his head in front of it and then ducked around behind the wall as the inevitable volley of stones pelted the the floor. In a loud and monotonous voice Moore slowly read the Riot Act. The crowed were puzzled that Moore would think reading Something would disperse them. *
*Bulkeley was in the mother of all quandaries. If he allowed the mob to mass they might break into the station and set it on fire. The number were so great that the police would be overwhelmed and beaten to death. On the other hand if he opened fire and some civilians were killed he would go down as a man who murdered children. Was this a protest or an attempt to storm the station? If the IRA did not take the station they would say it was the former.
”Sir I know a way to get rid of some of them.” said Moore
”What’s that? We cannot fire on them” said Bulkeley perspiring.
”Ah no sir we will make no martyrs. Get the prisoners buckets and slop out onto the mob.” said Moore.
”Bloody good idea. But not yet. Pass the order around. Every man to use a chamber pot. ” said Bulkeley.
With that the men all took turns to micturate. A couple managed to defecate. The chamber pots were taken away from the prisoners.
The RIC on the upper storey opened the windows.
The crowd suddenly hushed. The RIC had no shown themselves in the hour the noisy demonstration had been in progress. The crowd gazed up – holding stones ready for a volley. They were flummoxed to see steel buckets.
Then the contents of the buckets were emptied onto the people below.
A cry of shock and disgust went up. The protesters foremost were audacious young men. They found themselves covered in filth. They scattered muttering imprécations. Moore was glad to have robbed the mob of its dignity. It also hinted at what he made of the IRA;
The RIC laughed heartily.
”That got a good dozen of them” said Louis.
Those soaked in faeces and urine hurried off to change their clothes.
The crowd was still almost 200 strong.
”We cannot stay here all day. I think even more are coming. They might keep us trapped here till the IRA attack at night” said Bulkeley. He was silently praying for the heavens to open. A torrential downpour might send the crowd indoors.
”Should we even release Lynne?” asked Moore with knitted brow.
”If we do that then they will have won. They will come back and do this every time we arrest and IRA man. No – we must not give in” said Bulkeley.
The volleys of stones continued.
”I have got it. We are going to have to scare them off and then nab the ringleaders. I have seen the crowd. Only half are male. Of the 200 only about 20 are grown men. We get the ringleaders and the others will run for the hills. We need a volley over their heads. Must be over their heads. We are not to shoot anyone – understand?” said Bulkeley.
”understood sir – not to shoot anyone” said Moore.
”Correct. Then we will have our fittest men baton charge. They will baton the stone throwers to the ground and drag a few of them in here for a good kicking – arrest them. Got that?” said Bulkeley
”Yes sir. ” said Moore.
”Right gather the men – leave two upstairs. I shall relay orders to them later. Plan will go into action in ten minutes. The party that baton charges will carry revolvers not rifles. Rifles could be too easily snatched. Understood?” said Bulkeley
”Yes sir” said Moore ”In ten minutes.”
The men were gathered in the dayroom. Bulkeley told them the plan. They repeated it back to him. They went to battle stations. The two who had been left keeping watch upstairs were summoned down to be briefed.
Watches had been synchronised.
At 11 am the plan went into action. The chanting had slackened only a little. There was no sign of rain and the crowd had swollen to 250. Moore could have sworn he saw a couple of IRA faces in the crowd. They were becoming bolder.
Bulkeley blew on his whistle. The upstairs window opened. The crowd drew breath and pulled back. They expected more buckets of human waste. Instead they saw rifles peering out – the men kept their heads inside and out of the way of any stones. Some of the women screamed and ran off – taking their children with them.
The front door was unlocked and creaked open an inch. A volley stones hit it.
Bulkeley waited five seconds and blew on his whistle again. ”Fire” he shouted
Upstairs six rifles fired above the crowds’ heads. The crowd shrieked again and half of them legged it.
The door opened fully and six men including Louis dashed out holding truncheons. They were pumped up with adrenaline.
Louis saw a red haired young man with a stone in his hand. His eyes met Louis’. Louis pressed his lips together and wrinkled his crow’s feet He raised his truncheon. He saw the fear on the man’s face – the man raised his right hand in pleading as much as self-defence.
Louis managed to evade the raised hand and bring his truncheon down across the man’s forehead. That felled him. Louis dealt him two more blows for good measure.
A man tried to grab Louis’ truncheon. Louis kneed the chubb man in the groing. He then pointed the truncheon like a sword and stabbed him in the solar plexus one, two three times. The men fell to his knees. He put his hands up top stop the baton. Louis again stabbed it into the man;s face getting him in the eye till the man fell over.
The others were making short work of the few men who had not fled. Teacher delt a man a hefty blow. The unfortunate man’s scalp split and he bled heavily. The blood poured over his face and temporarily blinded him.
There was a third blast on the whistle. Battle had been joined outside for only twenty seconds. Bulkeley wanted the RIC to get back into the station while they still had the initiative. He feared a counter attack.
Louis grabbed the red haired man and dragged him by the legs. The man was semi conscious. and barely resisted. The other police officers dragged man each into the station.
Inside Bulkeley took a truncheon himself and clubbed them more for good measure. They were dazed but none were senseless.
The RIC went outside again. The six men dragged into another six men whom they had beaten to the ground. The heftier fellow was coming around and put up a fight. Louis had to beat him again and again. He was knocked out and was the dragged in as a dead weight.
March had to threaten his suspect with a revolver to get him inside.
The four prisoners from the day before were then handcuffed together in a group of four and held in the day room. The RIC tumbled plenty of men this day. Some of them gave dreadful shrieks as they were clubbed almost insensible.
The 12 rioters were then all piled into the cell. It was standing room only.
The RIC opened the door and dragged them out one by one to pat them down. No weapons were found.
The crowd had well and truly dispersed. This was contrary to their earlier vow not to disperse until Lynne was set at liberty.
*The dozen new prisoners were questioned. It had been unthinkable that these doughty republicans would peach on their comrades. Yet they suddenly felt disposed to be communicative. They were mostly republicans of doubtful repute. Not flying column men that is. There had been a heavy bill of damage to some of them when they had been subdued on the square. Louis was extraordinarily busy quizzing these men.
”Very good” said Bulkeley. ”Worked even better than I had hoped. The thing to do now is to regain the initiative.” He sent six men on a patrol around the town at a fast pace and with bayonets fixed. They glowered and jabbed at any recalcitrant civilians they saw. There was no more trouble.
The town was cowed by the RIC s déprédations.
Next day six men including Louis went out during mass. They commandeered two horses and carts. They took Lynne and Williams with them. They drove to Macroom and handed the prisoners over to the RIC there.
There the RIC took Delivery of some poultry. They drove back a circuitous route. They feared that the IRA would set up an ambush of they came back the way they gone out. They felt uneasiness because of the events of the day before.
” Funny how a truncheon sets tongues wagging ” Louis had quipped to his colleagues.
“IRA may try to spring an ambush on us” said Short;
“Dont try to scare us” said Louis
“I am not. I will not surrender; Fight to death. I know what them fuckers would do : cut us up alive” said Short. With this resolution taken they drove on in silence.
Once they got back t the barracks safely there was no more dampener on their spirits. They had made it. They hoisted a glass to the King.
Fr Meagher said mass to reduced congregation. The mood was tense and subdued. Meagher chose to skirt around the ructions. Meagher noticed that several well known men were missing – under arrest. Others had gone to ground in the light of heightened RIC activity.
When it came to parish notices he said ”Fr Downy will no longer take the confessions of girls under the age of 16.” There was suspicious muttering in the pews and meaningful glances were exchanged. ”Let me repeat that. Fr Downy will no longer take the confessions of girls under the age of 16. He will take the confessions of boys, men and women. Girls under the age of 16 will confess exclusively to me. That is a parish order.”
Fr Downy turned the colour of beetroot.
”Good the mass is ended” said Fr Meagher authoritatively. Nunc dimitis was played. He felt embarrassed about the announcement he had made but was proud of himself for spitting it out. He had feared that his nerves would fail him. It was much easier to say once had simply begun saying it. Nunc dimitis was sung.
The congregation dismissed with unusual rapidity. Meagher stood at the door saying Farewell to his parishoners. Fionnulas mother tipped him a thankful wink.
Meagher hummed a melody to himself as he strode back to the parochial house. Then he had his cusomary tot of whiskey. Downy had not sauntered back but had instead gone to the house of one of his GAA team mates to bad mouth Meagher as little better than an Orangeman. Only after a few hours did he return to the parochial house.
LUNCHEON AT THE PAROCHIAL HOUSE
At the parochial house the priests dined.
”Why did you have to say that?” said Downy.
”For the sake of the children. To protect them? Why did you have to commit lascivious sins with them.” said Meagher angrily.
Downy crumpled and ate his soup. A minute later he perked up
”Terrible what the English have done – shooting people outside the station” said Downy
”I don’t think they shot anyone” said Meagher
”Oh yes they did they shot lots of people men , women and children/” said Downy
”Did they? I heard they opened fire but I thought they fired into the air. No one got hit.” said Meagher
”Oh no they shot people.” said Downy
”Who did they shoot?” said Meagher
”I do not know but they shot a lot of people.” said Downy.
”Well you must know at least one name this is a small town.” said Meagher
”No I do not know any names I just know they shot lots of people the swine” said Downy
”I do not believe it. You have no corroborative evidence. Some false rumour has got around. Not a single person was shot. Was anyone killed?” said Meagher
”Ah well no but lots were shot.” said Downy
”How many were shot?” said MEAGHER
”About 20 shot.” said Downy
”20 shot and not one dead. I do not believe it.” said Meagher
”Yes 20 were wounded.” said Downy
”Yet you cannot mentioned any of the woundeds names. Did anyone go to the doctor?” said Meagher
”I am not aware of any going to the doctor” said Downy
”It just does not add up. 20 wounded and none went to the doctor. Fr Downy you are believing nonsense. It is political prejudice. You want to believe the English are rats so you believe lies about them. ” said Meagher
”Well you want them to be good so you believe they are all saints.” said Downy
”I do not. I know the English police beat up Mr Lynne.” said Meagher
”Ah well then so they are not all good.” said Downy
”Yes, people saw him being taken away on the cart bruises on his face but he may have resisted arrest. ” said Meagher
”’You see the ENglish cowards arrest a school master.” said Downy
”Well he is chief of the local IRA.” said Meagher
”So what he is a teacher and he should be allowed to teach his school” said Downy
”Come on even if he is leading men around in masks at night to rob people at gunpoint and beat them to death? All the world knows they have been robbing cattle and horses – burning down houses.” said Meagher
”This is revolutionary warfare” said Downy
”Sounds more like common crime to me. You think Lynne did not keep any money for himself? I noticed he bought himself a lot of nice clothes lately and whiskey. Even if this is a war then Lynne is a soldier and not a teacher. His enemies have the right to take him prisoner.” said MEAGHER;
”Ah well he is an army officer and he deserves a few perks.” said Downy
”Does he indeed? ” said Meagher
”The English are swine; Pure evil. The English are a filthy race hated all over the world: Arrogant They are stupid : an inferioor breed. We had a civilisation when the English ran about naked and could scarcely stand up straight.” said Downy;
”If you were in their position how would you defeat the IRA?” said Meagher
”I would not. I would see the IRA are righteous and give Ireland its freedom” said Downy
”We are free. People protested outside the police station and were not harmed. Only when they stoned the police did the police break it up. The police used minimum force. They only hit men. A stone can kill a man. The police had guns but they did not shoot anyone. The police could have killed those who were trying to kill them. That is the mark of a humane police force. Would the police be s good in France or Spain or Russia? I doubt it.” said Meagher
”We are slaves of the English.” said Downy.
”We are not slaves. That is an outright lie. That casts doubt on everything you say. If we are slaves run away then. There really are slaves in the world in Arabia and China. The English and ourselves freed the slaves in Africa and India. It is an insult to those who are held in bondage that you should say that. Slavery is not a word to be used so glibly. You should be ashamed of yourself.” said Meagher
”You have a slave mentality.” said Downy
”No I do not I have a rational mentality. I say what actually happened. I do not invent lies or pretend to believe things I know to be false. I do not demonise a brother nationality. I am not guided by prejudice. I seek the truth and I tell the truth. I do not resort to preposterous hyperbole. That smacks of desperation. It shows how plain daft your claims really are that you are compelled to throw about such ridiculous insults. My mentality is as free as can be.” said Meagher.
”I have had just about enough of this” said Downy FURiously. He put down his spoon and got up. He stalked out of the room.
SCREENING THE PRISONERS.
Louis and Short interviewed the prisoners one by one. Short would make short work of them. They would then be handed over to Louis after they had been softened up. The processed prisoners were blindfolded, cuffed and held in the stables. The unprocessed ones were held in the cell. They had soon worked their way through all 12. The prisoners were shown Lynne’s confession and the written confessions of the others.
Bulkeley realised he had caused some ill will in the town but that was unavoidable. He had not killed anyone and he had not let the station fall into enemy hands. He had defended his post. He had minimised the danger.
Only three IRA men were among them – Pascal Harrington, Michael English and Walter Perkins. All but two of the prisoners were sent to be interned.
Michael English was a weak willed man of 18. He had blond pudding bowl hair and a vacant together with a Habsburg lip. Michael’s blue eyes indicated unintelligence and that he was easily cowed. Louis had interviewed him before letting Short loose on him. Michael English was more afraid than most but not terrified as some were. Louis perceived that this youth did not apprehend the situation he was in. Michael had opted into the IRA without taking on board that this could involve suffering and even death. He was very suggestible. Louis sat outside the cell where the screened prisoners were held. He remained silent and listened to their conversation intently for an hour. Michael spoke only when spoken to by the others.
Louis then went to Bulkeley, ”Sir, one young man we have arrested could be an asset to us.”
”What do you mean Limtay?” said Bulkeley sounding almost annoyed.
”Michael English – he was foolish enough to admit to being in the IRA. The other two IRA fellows denied it despite us having them in the book for about a year as IRA men. They realised that convincing us that they were not in the IRA was their only chance of release. It did not work but they had the gumption to try. I said to English what I said to all of them . You are in the IRA. I know because the others told me’ . The other prisoners were not dim enough to fall for it but he was” said Louis,
”How do we know he really is in the Irish Volunteers? Could just agree with the gist of the question if he has no backbone? Maybe he said yes because he was afraid what would happen if he said no.” said Bulkeley putting his hands on his hips.
”Sir, remember I am sugar not shit with these men. I do not scare them. I try to get genuine information and not just any old nonsense they assume that I want to hear. He quickly made a confession. I took notes. Confirmed much of what we already know. Only a little bit of extra information which all seems plausible. I asked him to write it down. He agreed. So I have taken him beyond the point of no return. We can recruit him as an informer within the IRA. If he does not play ball with us we can show his signed confession to the others with all the secret information that he revealed.” said Louis
”Seems a decent idea but as he is such a weakling won’t the IRA suspect it if we release him? They might think he is being let go because he is a plant?” said Bulkeley.
”That is true sir but he only joined the IRA a month ago. It is credible that we did not know that. In fact we did not until he told us. I asked the others and most of them confirmed that he is in the IRA. Only his fellow IRA comrades were loyal enough not to dob him in. We can tell him if the IRA debrief him to say that he denied being in the IRA and we believed it. He is a pathetic boy and we simply did not consider it worth it to send him to internment.” said Louis.
”All right” said Bulkeley thoughtfully ”I am coming around to the idea. But what if he is exposed? What if the IRA do not fall for it? They are not stupid you know. They could question him hard. You said he cannot stand up to questioning for a minute. If he is exposed as a spy then he will be shot. Where are we then?”
”No worse off than we are now. In fact the IRA will be one man down. They will have alienated another family. He is no use to use if he goes to prison. He might be valuable to us if we let him go.” said Louis
”This Michael English – thick as two short planks he seems. How is he to communicate intelligence to us_? He can hardly come to the station to tip us off? The IRA intercepts and reads the post. We know that. I have seen enough letters stamped ‘censored by the IRA’ ” said Bulkeley.
”I am working that out. We can arrange a dead letter drop. We could also teach him to write in invisible ink. Maybe post things to an inoccuous address in Cork. And yes sir ‘ – English is short on the grey matter. I have seen his writing. He cannot spell to save his life and he has no grasp of grammar but gets the point across that is the main thing. Unemployed farm labourer. His poor English is not because he speaks Irish as his native language. He does not speak Irish at all. Only joined the IRA because he does what he is told.” said Louis.
”It seems this wretch responds to fear. So we have got to convince him to stand up to IRA interrogation. Persuade him to be more afraid of us than of them. He has got to believe that if he helps us he will be safe. The moment he stops helping us he is dead.” said Bulkeley.
”Exactly. Trouble is we cannot protect him.” said Louis.
”All right Limtay. I am going to authorise this. I leave it to you to work out the particulars. We are going to need someone inside the IRA. We know their addresses and they are aware of that now. If they have half a brain they are not going to go to known addresses . We found their HQ on Sweet Hillocks so they probably won’t go back there. On the other hand there might be a double bluff. They might assume we will not raid it again. If they had any guts they would have put up a fight,” said Bulkeley
”Too true sir. Cowardly fiends” said Limtay.
”What about the woman what did you get out of Mrs Ogley?” said Bulkeley.
”She was a tough nut to crack. Of course Short could not go to work on her as she is a woman. She told me she is in Cuman na mBann. She was truculent. No other information out of her.” said Louis
”Well we will intern her. If we let her go she will just be hiding IRA men in her house, carrying ammunition for them and so on.” said Bulkeley.
GROOMING AN INFORMER
Louis had to speak to Michael English alone but he could not single him out. Otherwise suspicion would fall on English. Therefore all the prisoners were interviewed again – most not by Louis. For the most part this yielded no additional information. A few even retracted admissions they had made. This usually tended to underline the importance of the things that they had said.
Louis called English out of the cell about half way through the list of interrogations.
Michael English was brought into a policemen’s dormitory. Only Louis and English were there.
”Well Michael -nice to see you again” said Louis managing to smile believably.
”Nice to see you again” Michael mumbled.
”I am Jack, remember?” Louis said extending his hand
”Oh Jack I forgot” said Michael indistinctly.
”So Michael. You were very helpful. Thanks a lot. I like you. You were very brave to write all that for you. You know what happens now?” said Louis;
”You send me to gaol?” Michael whimpered
”Michael -come on I told you I did not want that to happen. You are not going to gaol not for one day. So long as you help me out” said Louis
”Yes I will help you” he said almost eagerly.”But the other man said I was dirt and was going to gaol. He wanted to beat me up” said Michael
”But I would not let him” said Louis. ”I know you are against the IRA. You are on our side. You made a big mistake joining the IRA. You did not want those people to get beaten up, to get robbed, those men to be killed. No you want Ireland to be free and so do I. Agreed?”
”Yes, agreed” said Michael.
”Great” said Louis meretriciously.”But what I need you to do is to go back to the IRA”
”What but you said the IRA is bad” said Michael sounding perplexed.
”It is. But you have to help us beat these bad guys. You are going to tell us what is going on in the IRA” said Louis
”Ok. But what if the IRA find out?” said Michael
”They are not going to find out. How could they possibly know? Only way they would know that you are helping us is if you tell them. That would be idiotic. You are not an idiot -you are smart. So you have to pretend that you are on their side. Say all the things they do. Say up the republic. Do all the things they told you to before. Go along when they rob people. Only thing is you have to tell us what is going on.” said Louis
”So I come here sometimes and tell you?” said Michael
”No Michael no. You never do that. If you are seen coming to the police they think something is wrong. If you see police you avoid us. Do not look at us. If we arrest you act normal. Do not worry we will not hurt you. What you will do is write for us. Write what is going on. Every day if you can. If there is no news or you do not have a chance then do not write it. There is an abandoned old cottage half a mile up the hill behind Corrigan’s.” said Louis
”Oh yes that is not far from my grandmother’s place” SAID mICHAel
”Even better. You have a reason to walk that way. Now in the old kitchen there there is a space in the chimney if you put your hand up ‘ remove the brick and hide you notes there. You are going to write notes about what you saw or heard. Who is in the IRA._? Any new men in it’? Where are the guns hidden? What are the plans? I might leave you notes there asking questions. Where are they moving? Which houses do the IRA stay in? Understand. ? ” said Louis.
”I get it I write notes. But I am not good at writing. The teacher used to hit me every day for my writing” said Michael
”Your writing is brilliant. I used to be a teacher. I really like it.” said Louis
”All right then I can write notes” said Michael
”I will hide paper and pencils there. You do not put your name on it or my name on it. Do not give a clue as to who you are. You just write. Got that?” said Louis
”Yes I got it” said Michael
”All right. So you do that. .Be an IRA man in every way but give us the secret information” said Louis
”But Jack I am scared. The IRA said if we tell the police what is going on they kill us” said Michael lugubriously.
”They are not going to find out. I would not let them kill you. We beat the IRA. Yesterday we beat so many of them. We have better guns. We arrested so many. We already have a spy in the IRA in the town. That is how we know so much. He never got caught. I am not going to tell you who it is. You will never guess” said Louis
”I am still scared. Can I just go home and leave the IRA.?” Michael English asked
”No you cannot . You made a deal. You agreed to work for us. Do you want me to tell the IRA that?” said Louis
”Ah no don’t tell them don’t tell them!” Michael wailed
”Good. You do not want me to show them this confession you wrote?” Louis inquired
”Ah no don’t please don’t” Michael wept
”Of course I won’t. Calm down. But I just need you to tell me what is going on in the IRA. Agreed?” said Louis
”Yes I agree I promise” said Michael English.
”Very good. Now the IRA might ask what happened. You tell about being arrested. You just said no I did not say I was in the IRA.I said no, no, no. The others did not accuse you. You are just a quiet boy who lives with his mother and is looking for a job” said Louis
”Ok so if the IRA ask me I say the police said are you in the IRA and I said no” said English
”That is it. You always denied it and we believed you. Now I need to help you prepare for this. The IRA might ask you questions. I am going to get an Irish policeman to come in here. He is going to pretend to be the IRA. Just make believe. He will act the IRA and ask you lots of questions. Did the police say this or did the police say that? You have to answer so the IRA do not believe you are working for us. Understand” said Louis
”Yes it is a practise. It is play acting. An Irish policeman comes in and pretends to be the IRA. I have to practise what I say to them later”
”Fantastic.” said Louis
Moore came in wearing mufti. He questioned Michael sometimes softly and sometimes aggressively. Michael said the right words but his facial expressions and hand gestures did not fit.
Louis had to come back in and coach him over these.
Michael was then questioned again by Moore and he stood up to it better the second time.
Then Moore broke character. He and Louis worked together on the fundamentals of credible lying. They had Michael do the right facial affect and avoid touching his face. He had to work on maintaining his gaze.
Then Moore had a third go. This time Michael stood up to it more or less convincingly.
The next morn there was a final preparatory session with Michael.
Bulkeley chose to release one man of 68 named Fiachra O’Toole and a feeble boy of 16 named Aengus Snow. Bulkeley reasoned this would gain some good will. These two were not capable of causing much trouble. It would also spread the word that Lynne and others had broken. That would put a chill wind in the minds of the IRA. The other non IRA men together with English were released on Sunday.
By the end of Monday prisoner transfers were complete. Escorting prisoners to Macroom had been time consuming. Some men had had to stay behind to guard the station. This meant that the RIC had not been able to raid anywhere on Monday.