There has been much information, fake news, alternative facts, call it what you will regarding Corbyns ties to the IRA.
However how much of this is truthful from either side? lets have a look.
1. On 29th November 1994, Jeremy Corbyn signed a House of Commons Early Day Motion no.24 deploring the “terrorist atrocity & murderous violence” of the pIRA’s Birmingham pub bombings.
This item is on record in the Hansard notes (transcripts from parliament) – so the claims that he has never condemned the IRA are clearly false
2. In 1994, Jeremy Corbyn met four loyalist leaders including David Ervine whom he met five times both to discuss the wrongful imprisonment of UDR man Neil Latimer, and at Labour Party Conference in Blackpool in the October to receive notification of an impending ceasefire that was called just over a week later.
This backs up Corbyns claims that he was meeting to further the agenda on peace and that he worked tirelessly for those wrongly imprisoned due to the conflict.
3. In an interview to the Belfast Telegraph on 10th October 2015, Ian Paisley’s wife commented that Ian Paisley always found Jeremy Corbyn very courteous and polite. And that “he though Jeremy Corbyn was a gentleman”.
It seems strange that a fervent unionist like Paisley, and His wife would use words such as Gentleman for someone who was apparently an IRA sympathiser, supported, and enabler as some people would like to claim he was. If anything it would be contempt that the Paisleys would feel towards him if this was the case.
4. In February 1987, after initially incorrectly smearing him, Rupert Murdoch’s The Times apologised to Jeremy Corbyn and admitted that he had ordered staff to phone the police to warn them of a suspected pIRA operative in London.
So he actually tipped of police regarding a threat, wheares Murdoch’s media smeared him as a terrorist. The Times was forced to apologise for this – yet now the Sun has since ran the story. You couldn’t make this up – Murdoch clearly doesn’t care about the truth, just his agenda.
5. On 11th August 1988, the Irish Times ran an article praising Jeremy Corbyn as a “tireless camapigner for the Irish”. Jeremy had worked to quash the wrongful conviction of the Guildford Four, and pushed for a reopening of the Bloody Sunday inquiry.
Not exactly the most endorsing of praise being as it is coming from the Irish times. People do take issue with him pushing for a reopening of the bloody Sunday enquiry. However those that do are looking at it along partisan lines which is what fueled the divisions in the first place. Corbyn has worked for peace and reconciliation, and we do need to acknowledge that the UK troops and the RUC were not whiter than white during this period, and that both sides need to be accountable for when they stepped across the line, even while acknowledging the difficult scenarios they were faced with.
6. It was the Tory government who first spoke to Gerry Adams 11 years before Corbyn became an MP. MI5 files released under the thirty year rule showed that the Tory government released Gerry Adams from prison for secret talks in London. 476 people had died in 1972, the worst year of violence. MI5 files show that the Tory government concluded “there is no doubt whatsoever” that Gerry Adams “genuinely wants a ceasefire and a permanent end to violence”. The British government also recorded that Adams “response to every argument was reasonable and moderate”.
This fact is often forgotten, or ignored by the Corbyn detractors. Even before he was an MP the government was talking with the ‘terrorists’ and acknowledged that talks were the way to solve the issue. Something which Corbyn has worked timelessly for.
7. Jeremy Corbyn only ever met Gerry Adams when the latter had entered electoral politics a full 14 years after the outbreak of the Northern Irish Conflict, in Adams’s capacity as an elected MP. In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher placed a ban on elected Sinn Fein politicians’ voices being broadcast. Jeremy thought this ran contrary to the principles of free speech. He was also keen that constituents from West Belfast were not silenced.
This shows his principled approach and his consistency in how he handles things. Whether you agree with this is a matter of choice and preference, however looking at the bigger picture, free speech and debate were the solution so it looks like he was on the right side of history on this one
8. Gerry Adams visited Westminster in November 1996 to meet several Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn. The only item on the agenda was to resurrect the ceasefire that had collapsed. The ceasefire was recommended months later and has lasted ever since. Bill Clinton had invited Gerry Adams to the White House the previous year, thus Corbyn’s actions fitted with the broader efforts for peace.
This is the picture this often used by detractors to say Corbyn is some terrorist loving hippy. He didn’t just meet Corybn but a group of MPs to talk about the ceasefire, which was then built upon by the Blair Government later next year.
It also means that Clinton was a terrorist sympathiser going by this logic as well.
9. There were at least two controversies throughout all of this that do deserve explanation. Shortly after the Brighton bombing Corbyn along with other MPs met Republicans in Westminster.
Corbyn’s motivation was to end the strip searching of female prisoners on remand. which was a serious issue, and had been the cause of a number of cases of sexual assault claims, as well as being degrading. His timing on this one was wrong, and it was insensitive. On this he can be accused of lacking some sensibility and while his intentions were for a good cause, it was probably not he time or place to be involved at that point.
10. On 13th May 1987, Jeremy Corbyn stood for a minute’s silence to mark the eight people who had been killed by HM Armed Forces one week earlier in Armagh. One was an innocent civilian but seven were pIRA men. The minute’s silence was held at an intellectual gathering of Irish sympathizers in London. The bodies were not all yet buried, and the circumstances were not wholly clear. There was controversy at the time over whether or not this was a shoot to kill incident. Indeed, the European Court awarded £10,000 compensation to each of the eight families.
Again timine wasn’t great. He claims he stood as a mark for all those that were killed not just those 9. However its again its probably an event that he shouldn’t have attended even if he had issues regarding the manner of their death.
He was clearly right though as the courts ruled on this.
So what we can see about the Corbyn and IRA issue is that it is more complex that the main stream media portray. Also they media are exceptionally selective on how they have presented their ‘facts’ I would implore people to look deeper than the tabloid columns, and look at why this smear is taking place and question the agenda behind them,