For those unfamiliar with the context. Northern Ireland was in the beginnings of 'The Troubles' and the British government decided to arrest and jail over 350 people with suspected links with the IRA, many of whom were entirely uninvolved. This process of internment was a significant event in the history of Ireland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Demetrius).

On the morning of August 9th 1971 my house in Northern Ireland was raided and the British Army took me to an army camp for questioning. Following two days of what courts called 'inhuman and degrading treatment' we were transferred to the Maidstone Prison Ship for 6 or 7 weeks. Following this I transferred to Long Kesh prison camp. After almost a year I was released having never been connected to any crime, presented with no evidence, seen no lawyer and been subjected to what I, and others like me, describe as torture. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HM_Prison_Maze).

Ask me (Almost) Anything.

Comments: 176 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

Nilja17 karma

Have you gotten any apology or reimbursement for their actions?

LK197140 karma

There were no apology, after nearly a year I was given 20 minutes warning of my release then there I was at the front gates without my family even being told and holding my release papers that made no reference to why I was even there. As for reimbursement a test case was brought before the courts Moore vs Shillington, the judge totally dismissed the government evidence and was found guilty of abuse, everyone got a small claim. I was given a paltry £800 pound.

Reece08813 karma

I too live in Northern Ireland so it's nice to see someone from the same country for once! :)

My question is: Surely the British Government had some information regarding why you were arrested! Do you have any commitments to any paramilitaries? How do you feel about where our country is headed and in which direction?

I personally hate our country. A family member of mine( who won't be named for safety issues) hasn't been able to visit his father freely in his adult life because he is a member of the PSNI. (Northern Irish Police) I hate the endless fighting and hatred that has been passed down from family member to family member. I hate that i can go certain places in my own country because for the sole purpose that I'm Protestant. And even at that, I wouldn't consider myself one as i despise everything about these two religions. I sympathize with you that you were 'tortured' as I have seen how gruesome and grim this process is.

LK197120 karma

Hi! Its great to see someone from Northern Ireland here! I too sympathise with your situation and hope our country will keep moving forward since the Good Friday Agreement (Peace Process), as for your question on information; The British Government has admitted in later years that most of the top IRA men they wanted 'slipped the net' and escaped, soldiers under orders then lifted anyone in the same house over the age of 18. My post wasnt about making political statements and was purely personal, something I wish to share with everyone on reddit. Of the 350 intially lifted, about 40% were in no-way involved (British estimate). Personally, I was offered no proof of why they suspected me and spent a year in prison without ever being accused of anything.

JacoVainglorious7 karma

What was it like, day-to-day? How were your inmates?

LK197112 karma

After the initial questioning/torturing, we were on the Prison Ship as Long Kesh was being assembled. It was pretty rough considering it was a submarine supply ship and you were locked below decks 24 hours a day.

Long Kesh itself though was much like what you'd see in the Great Escape though. A wire surrounding 4 huts in a 'cage' as we called it. Every day was the same, relatively bored, any excitement was almost unwanted as it could have resulted in raids to search the hunts and that kind of thing. We did keep ourselves entertaining with escape plots however. Prison officers were allowed to walk around the huts but our almost political prisoner status resulted in a more POW style treatment. I hope this sort of answers your question, if not fire away and be more specific.

MrMysterious959 karma

Were you allowed to read or listen to radio? Were the prisoners able to talk to each other?

What about religion, were there Masses or pray times?

LK197116 karma

Yes you were allowed to listen to radio. Yes, if you think of the Great Escape it was a similar set up. Food was brought in and you distributed it yourselves. You wore your own clothes. You had the official status of 'Political Prisoner' much like a POW and were therefore. Yes priests were allowed to attend once a week to say mass. I enjoyed this question, this is the insight Im trying to give :)

plusroyaliste7 karma

Are you willing to describe your interrogation/torture? What kind of contact with the outside world, if any, were you allowed while being held?

LK197119 karma

Initially it consisted of physically wearing you down by exercises, stress positions, sleep deprivation. One drink of water per day, one piece of bread, no sleep, no contact with the outside of the world for the 1st 5 days. All of this was done in a boarded up disused army camp. You have to bare in mind that this was after being pulled from the house at 4.30 am by armed soldiers without charge, I had no idea what was happening or what was going to happen next.

I refused at one point to hold a stress position and was made an example of. My hands were handcuffed behind my back and legs were crossed, my feet clipped into the handcuffs. It sort of looked like a chicken, my hands and feet clipped together, it was described in American media somehow as looking like a trussed chicken. I was left like this, I think, for 24 hours, my memory plays tricks on me on that one (as you might imagine).

ForcesEqualZero6 karma

Going by my rough knowledge of history, you would've been released before the hunger strikes, right? Was there any type of government or rules between the prisoners?

If you don't mind answering, what's your oppinion on the peace process and modern day Northern Ireland?

LK197111 karma

Yes I was released a fair few years before the Hunger strikes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Irish_hunger_strike).

Rules amongst prisoners? There were free and open elections for each hut (40 men) to elect their own commander and overall elections to represent the camp as a whole to the prison authorities. Relations among prisoners 'involved' or 'uninvolved' were good, there was a great sense of camaraderie amongst all the prisoners.

I believe that what looked initially promising it has stalled drastically. I personally dont like the political structure in which there is no opposition of government. I dont see great signs of the bitterness disappearing either, but I believe future generations may have more hope, but it will be a slow process.

SnookSnook6 karma

What are your thoughts on Guantanamo Bay?

LK197122 karma

I think if people looked at what happened in our situation they would be very much against Guantanamo Bay. Regardless of the moral aspects which I find questionable, it simply doesnt work. You create martyrs at your own cost. Thats not any propaganda point, its simply counter-productive, if you were a general who thought I need guantanamo bay, if you'd any sense youd say no, this just costs us in the end.

perche-14 karma

it simply doesn't work

And yet Northern Ireland is still part of the UK.

LK197118 karma

it was 30 years of murder and mayhem. I dont think it worked and the largely the consensus. As I said it proved to be the greatest recruitment drive the IRA has ever seen.

slapyou5 karma

Same thing happened my Dad, PJ the teacher from Tyrone. Im sure you know him.

LK19715 karma

Paddy Joe and a few got much more than any human being should of took. Actually I'm answering this for my dad, nice to see another son of an internee on this!

slapyou2 karma

yeah, the guys of that generation had alot to go through, we got off lucky enough compared to what they had to endure!!

LK19713 karma

Haha certainly. Thank God though, I'm the same age now as my dad was when he was lifted, can't imagine going through that.

slapyou2 karma

i think it would have been the thought of not knowing what was going to happen that would have scared me the most of i was in their shoes back then. I mean the army could have done anything and have it hushed up.bad times...but hey look where we are at now, N. Ireland is a great place to live with great prospects for the future....you have to go through the hard times before you can have the good times.If you were to say to the lads back then that N.Ireland was going to be a peaceful and somewhat prosperous land in 30 odd years they would have laughed at you lol

LK19712 karma

Very true. And thats what my Dad has been saying, about the fear of 'are they just gonna take us out and kill us after this?'

slapyou2 karma

yeah the not knowing what lay ahead would have been the worst!I'll pass on your kind regards to my father, should be going back to Tyrone during the week so i'll mention it to him then. all the best in future buddy and all the best to your father also!!

LK19712 karma

Great! You too and my dad's chuffed hes got talking to PJ's son over this lol, all the best yourself :)

Deanomanc5 karma

How would you of handled Irish terrorism if you were the British Government?

LK197110 karma

It's a tricky question as it depends were you start in history and how you define terrorists, you could even say it was British policy that created the question, be it 500 years ago or in 1921 in the creation of Northern Ireland. As you can see its full of value judgement and not just as simple as it may seem from an outside observer. In direct response, certainly not by colluding with one side.

MagnoMurmure5 karma

[deleted]

LK19717 karma

Demographic figures are hazy, although Catholics have a higher birth rate it has slowed and is some years away. If this did occur (Id reckon more than 20 years) I would see real problems, the loyalist community don't see themselves as part of the UK simply because of their majority. I'm not bitter against the British state or British people as they would have considered themselves fighting a war and taking certain measures. I do hold a certain amount of bitterness for individuals in my own treatment but nothing to any great extent. As for S.Africa's programme I think one here would be inappropriate. South Africa's status had come to a more stable conclusion given the power transfer, we're still in flux.

I really cant see the referendum next year prevailing but if it did (or will in future) it would have a drastic effect. Alot of people here consider themselves Ulster-Scots as much as British and this would have an effect I'd say.

I hope you do get to go to Sligo, ive spent alot of time in it myself, beautiful place.

Gumshooo5 karma

Fuck. You're gone. I know. Still, I did my Fulbright on this topic, so on the off-chance you check back I'll post these questions:

During what years were you deposed?

Did you ever achieve legal status as a political prisoner?

were you allegedly affiliated with a faction of the IRA? if so, was it RIRA, PIRA, Volunteers or other?

Finally, Do you see this conflict as an ethnic, religious, cultural or a political one primarily?

LK19713 karma

I was interned for just under a year. Yes I was automatically a political prisoner. The vast majority of people were accused and presumed to be in the PIRA as it was the predominant 'faction' I see it as totally political as it was a war between primarily two institutions, the IRA and the British Government rather than a war against any ethnic or religious group.

My son is familiar with the Fulbright programme, were you successful?

pmar4 karma

At the time, how far removed from the IRA would an un-involved person have to be to be considered 'un-involved'? Or maybe the better question would be how broad was the IRA's involvement with the larger community? Even if a person had no desire to get involved, would they still have known who to contact or where to go to 'join'?

LK19715 karma

The IRA was heavily involved in the community as it did of course come from the community, so I'm sort of unsure how to answer the question. I'm unsure as to the last part either but as a clandestine army they did have ways and means of recruitment, well-known republicans may have been contacts but I doubt they would have been inner-circle type people.

EvilTech51504 karma

Not to be rotten or anything, but did you learn any tradecraft from real criminals/terrorists while locked up there ? Not counting the guards or members of the UK gov of course. ;)

LK19717 karma

Well first off there were no 'ODC' (ordinary decent criminals as we called them) with us. Tradecraft, no there were no afternoon lectures on bomb making lol

iluvucorgi3 karma

How did the community and the British respond after your release?

LK197112 karma

After Operation Demetrius there was a big backlash from the nationalist community, some were killed. It proved to be counterproductive as it encouraged young Catholics to join the IRA in response to their family members being taken away from them.

My own personal release: I was somewhat of a celebrity and to the police a constant target of harassment as I was assumed guilty. Common tactics included being held for as many hours as possible just to inconvenience me, sometimes up to 72 hours (legal limit) before I was released. All of this was without legal counsel.

TouchDownBurrito4 karma

How did the arrest impact life after your release? You mentioned the detainment just for inconvenience and I've heard that the RUC was very persistent in their harassment of those they though to be involved in IRA/INLA activity, and later in the 80's the claims of collusion. Were you ever fearful of being targeted by loyalist paramilitaries simply because you were arrested and (presumably) accused of being in the IRA? Did you ever consider moving abroad or to the republic after your arrest? How did the arrest affect your ability to find a job or just live in your community after your release?

LK19718 karma

To be interned was of course to be labelled, IRA/INLA this painted a target on your back, I was aware that this painted a target on my back. I felt this big time! As for moving I wasnt prepared to be threatened out of my own home, I never left. Job prospects changed drastically, I couldnt work anywhere that would require me being in a more mixed zone as it did for many.

filmsanddreams3 karma

How has it affected your life? Do you still hold a grudge?

LK19715 karma

Like I said any grudges are long forgotten now.

emcgrath1003 karma

Great AMA, I'm from Castlederg, a town Notoriously bad during the troubles. I am only 22 so can only relate to stories I have heard. Just want to know, where exactly are you from?

LK19715 karma

Hi! Sorry I dont want to get too personal but from a deeply divided town also.

pete904ni3 karma

1) Putting internment aside, do you agree that people who have been convicted of heinous crimes (a la Mary McArdle) should not be now allowed positions of influence ?

2) UTV made a documentary a couple of years ago (can be found on YouTube) about the IRA prison escape from the Maze where Gerry Kelly MLA recalls breaking and entering a house nearby and holding a woman and child at gunpoint until the husband took them to safety. The final threat to this innocent family was not to tell the police or the child would be shot. Can you stand over the fact that Kelly is now in a position of power in the government of this country? (yes I know there is current DUP and others that should not hold these government positions but am interested in you're opinion on Kelly since he so freely admitted on TV that he "had" to put that gun to that child's head)

LK19714 karma

Tricky question. On one hand is the well documented Mary McArdle and on the other well documented collusion, which doesnt result in the British government standing down, singling out individuals caught rather than those that really believe did it. I dont think anyone should be barred from standing politically.

2) With 3000 people killed, one person's admission that he threatened someone at gunpoint, apart from Loyalist and Republican killings, the British government was as responsible and certainly not by legal means. Kellys own admission should not bar him from office given the veil of silence held across the politics on both sides.

pete904ni3 karma

I dont think anyone should be barred from standing politically.

Standing is one thing, being appointed another.

LK19713 karma

If its okay to be formerly convicted and still be elected, I dont see why it should bar you from being appointed.

pete904ni1 karma

Because at least then the public can have say.

LK19711 karma

Looks the like law is going through next week to prevent it anyway

LegitimateRage3 karma

Great to see someone else from NI here, the numbers of such people are very few and I must say a great story to tell. Op Demetrius was a great read thank you and really opened my eyes to what really happened all those years ago as someone who wasn't really brought up amongst a new generation (I used to be Catholic, went to an Integrated school and my best friends are Protestant).

So my question is; how do you think The Troubles reverberate today? You say you're a Catholic and depending on what County you live in there's mixed reactions towards Protestants in some Catholic areas of Tyrone (Dungannon, Stewartstown, Coalisand and the likes) and Vice-Versa for my home town. Is this a problem in your area? More to the point, do you think the barrier will ever fully be broken? Where I am some Catholics/Protestants hold mild grudges over what happened in the 70s and 80s that I think are pointless but to them is very important to their backgrounds.

LK19713 karma

As I said the town i live in is deeply divided and there are alot of bitter people, I don't see major changes in this generation but hopefully the next generation will be more fruitful. EDIT: You mentioned you went to an integrated school and have best friends that are Protestant, is this not some sort of pointer of the value of integrated education? Great to see I think.

LegitimateRage2 karma

My town is the same, a lot of grudges but its 50/ 50 in terms of Catholics and Protestants.

(Not an Edit. but it replies to yours) And I think you're right, the new generation and generations to come should slowly come to terms with it all and move on wholly. Personally I'm hoping more Primary Schools integrate, it worked out well for me and my peers as opposed to others I know who went to Catholic Primary Schools and don't feel the same as me towards Protestants. Take away that barrier at a young age and less sectarian biases from children and teens will shortly follow.

LK19717 karma

just to show the depth of the barrier when my oldest son was a kid i jokingly told him the moon was made of cheese and wee men eating it.he asked me were they protestants.lol

perche3 karma

Just to clarify. You are a Catholic living in Northern Ireland?

LK19713 karma

Yes.

perche2 karma

How are your day to day relations with Protestants today? How were they during the troubles?

LK19715 karma

During the troubles they were non-existant, even prior they were. And to be quite honest things have not improved, although violence has largely disappeared its sad to say communities have not come together, in fact we're more segregated than we were before the troubles. So the simple answer, things are much the same.

Vesuvius6663 karma

I would have to disagree with you here. In certain areas there are still deep divisions between both communities. Im in my low 30's. I gladly missed a large part of the troubles, though I do remember a lot of bombs and killings but I was very young.

I grew up outside belfast. many of my friends growing up were catholic, I was raised in what would be considered a unionist community, though I have no affiliation to religion, in NI religion and politics often go hand in hand.

What im trying to say here is maybe for you where your from which im assuming is a republican community, maybe a lot hasnt changed. there are loyalist areas that are the same. but for someone like me there has been a world of change.

Just for anyone else reading this whos maybe not from NI. we have come a long way in a few years, Northern Ireland is a much more integrated society than it has ever been. to blanketly say 'things are much the same' im sorry I cant agree with that. and I know there are lots more like me.

LK19719 karma

I certainly see that things have changed, but I was answering as asked what were my -own- interaction with the Protestant community, which have still not moved on, not because I dont wish it too however. Rightly as you have said things have changed, but my own personal experience is I live in an area still deeply divided.

Vesuvius6663 karma

do you think convicted terrorists should be glorified in the proposed peace centre at the maze site? not interned prisoners, detainees who were convicted of terrorist offences?

LK19716 karma

I dont think the purpose of the peace centre is to glorify any killing. Really I dont see the purpose of the peace centre, Im not sure what it would achieve. EDIT: I would like the see a peace centre down the line! But too many things are in living memory, I think it may still be insensitive.

Vesuvius6666 karma

I am in favour of the centre. but not if it names individuals. I think it should tell stories of what went on, but as a collective. We have a rich history, if not a very dark one. tourism could become a major player for our future economy.

It would be a hard thing to get right, its easy to upset families who have been scarred by the troubles. to quote a famous person from Northern Ireland politics 'those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it'.

LK19715 karma

Yes I find the quote to be quite true. However I dont believe the situation has progressed to the point that people would be able to sit down and use the centre for reconciliation, many people with much worse memories than myself would find it insensitive.

Vesuvius6663 karma

you touched on the NI divide taking a long time to sort itself out. I agree, in my opinion it will take generations. But I truely believe we will get there one day, though I dont think I will be alive to see it or my kids.

LK19712 karma

Yes I agree, generations rather than years!

iPNewok2 karma

Did you ever meet Bobby Sands, or any of the hunger strikers?

Also, did you ever write to anybody outside of your family/close friends? I know my mother wrote to prisoners and hunger strikers from the US while she was in high school.

LK19715 karma

The hunger strike was years after internment so no i didnt meet them. Yes i did answer letters to myself from people i didnt know personally and were just concerned with my situation. I also received birthday cards from american senators including the kennedys when an irish politician mentioned my personal case whilst speaking in america.

Hallyington2 karma

[deleted]

LK19714 karma

No not really.

hitlerchernobyl2 karma

[deleted]

LK19716 karma

To be physically and mentally abused. We were subjected to the now infamous 'Five Techniques' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_techniques)

"wall-standing, hooding, subjection to noise, deprivation of sleep, and deprivation of food and drink" The European Court under pressure decided to not classify it as the word torture, which was disappointing. It was classed as inhuman and degrading treatment, you can make your own mind up.

Yes, plenty, many escapes from Long Kesh, but from the interrogation centre now.

Btw in another comment I mentioned something I was subjected to:

"I refused at one point to hold a stress position and was made an example of. My hands were handcuffed behind my back and legs were crossed, my feet clipped into the handcuffs. It sort of looked like a chicken, my hands and feet clipped together, it was described in American media somehow as looking like a trussed chicken. I was left like this, I think, for 24 hours, my memory plays tricks on me on that one (as you might imagine)."

Deusgero2 karma

Do you agree with the terrorism that the IRA used?

LK19713 karma

In retrospect, everyone regrets what happens, but at the time everyone seen themselves as being in the right. If you look at were we are now and asked was it worth 3000 lives, I'd say no. Thats not to say the IRA took 3000 lives, all sides were involved.

owlife2 karma

Did you ever carry out parades/drills when in Longkesh? Did the IRA members integrate with civvies like yourself? Did you all hang out in the same gangs (of friends- not the other prison type)? Were there any escapes during your time and were any prison guards killed there during your time? and if so were there any repercussion's for you and the others? Great AMA, thanks for taking the time to answer the other questions even if you don't get time to answer mine

LK19716 karma

Yes parades were a regular occurrence. Everyone integrated although there was some slight disagreement at times.Yes the first person to escape was f.rom the same hut as myself,a good friend and a good guy.No guards were killed during my time there but there were certainly serious incidents.The repercusions after escapes were worth the bother and not serious

iluvucorgi2 karma

How did you feel when Thatcher passed away?

LK197112 karma

I wouldnt dance on anyones grave, but I shed no tears.

A recent memo was linked (http://www.thejournal.ie/thatcher-cannot-trust-the-irish-873496-Apr2013/)

"You can’t trust the Irish, they are all liars” - This was leaked recently, something that horrified many people - Not me.

Killybug1 karma

Firstly, thank you for your IAMA, and I'm sorry for your experience. May I ask if you have any contact with loyalists and if so, is there a genuine movement for reconciliation between the two communities today?

LK19713 karma

Personally no I've had no contact with loyalists, there are some community groups doing this. There is a genuine movement by some people however.

MagnoMurmure1 karma

[deleted]

LK19716 karma

Republic of Ireland for sure! 1-1 wasnt too bad!

obscuredreference1 karma

I'm not sure what to ask, but I wanted to point out to other people reading, that this is what happens when a government has no respect for its citizens.

In the US, it's something the constitution was made to protect us from. But the recent governments (of either political leaning, the current one and the previous) have worked hard to erode those freedoms and make it possible to do the same thing in America also.

This used to be officially impossible in the past, but nowadays it can happen to anyone, at any time, in the US. The current laws state it's up to the government's wishes to whisk anyone away without a proper reason.

And this should never, ever be that way, anywhere in the world.

LK19711 karma

In respect of civil liberties be careful of those holding power who will at times of high emotions ask for laws that will they say help fight the enemy.Once in place those powers will come back to bite your arse.

redditmansam1 karma

I figured out your user name, tell me if I'm right. The LK stands for long kesh and 1971 stand for the year you were taken.

LK19711 karma

Yes lol

California_Dutch1 karma

goodday, have you read Leon Uris' Trinity? and yes how realistic in your opinion was it?

LK19711 karma

Sorry never read that one. If youve questions the book might raise ask away.

Suofficer1 karma

Had you ever committed a crime in the UK?

LK19711 karma

The emphasis Im getting at here was that I was never even charged, let alone convicted of a crime in the UK. Also, since then ive never been accused of any crime.

Goodman210431 karma

Honest question: Please explain to me the justification for the killing of innocent men, women, and children by the IRA in the name of?

LK19713 karma

There is NO justification for the killing of the innocent. According to Malcolm Sutton's Index of Deaths from the Conflict in Ireland:[138]

Of those killed by British security forces:

187 (~51.5%) were civilians
145 (~39.9%) were members of republican paramilitaries
18 (~4.9%) were members of loyalist paramilitaries
13 (~3.5%) were fellow members of the British security forces

Of those killed by republican paramilitaries:

1080 (~52%) were members of the British security forces
728 (~35%) were civilians
187 (~9%) were members of republican paramilitaries
56 (~2.7%) were members of loyalist paramilitaries
10 (~0.4%) were members of the Irish security forces

Of those killed by loyalist paramilitaries:

868 (~85.4%) were civilians
93 (~9%) were members of loyalist paramilitaries
41 (~4%) were members of republican paramilitaries
14 (~1.3%) were members of the British security forces

brklynby1 karma

Do you think that North Ireland should should join the Republic of Ireland or remain a part of the UK.

LK19711 karma

personally i think it will be a natural progression that we will eventually join the republic but that is some way off and will only be by political agreement

chunkyrice131 karma

Were you involved with the IRA? Are you able to answer that?

If so, can you explain what motivated you and how you became involved?

LK19717 karma

As I explained, the first 2 days were torture and interrogation, the best interrogators in the British Army were asking that same question. They were never satisfied with my answers, so I doubt you would be.

What motivated -people- to join the IRA? I can give you an overview, but of course you realise this would not be a personal thing?

chunkyrice137 karma

Sure. Of course I don't want you to incriminate yourself if that's an issue, and nothing you might have done would justify the treatment you received.

I'd be interested to hear what you would say motivated people who were involved with the IRA, either casually or deeply. Especially people you knew or met during this experience.

LK197111 karma

The initial motivating factor was one of inequality. Catholics found themselves to be second class citizens in terms of housing, votes etc. When this was brutally put down by the police and army, secterain violence flared and all weapons were on the 'other side' of loyalists backed by the police. The response was people joining the IRA to defend their own community. The development then was more than civil rights but Irish unification. Young working class males from the catholic community were the vast majority of volunteers.

Pratchett-5 karma

They were never satisfied with my answers, so I doubt you would be.

Give us a yes or no answer then. I'd like to know if you were actually in the 'ra.

LK19718 karma

being in the ira is still a criminal offence you know

fishforbrains1 karma

I was going to ask you the same question and did not know that belonging to the IRA is still a criminal offense. So, the question has to be why it is still a crime? Is the IRA still blowing shit up? Or do they want to prevent the catholics from political organization?

LK19713 karma

Current membership is illegally as certain IRA factions are still fighting. Whether or not anyone was part of the IRA isnt so much what I was here to discuss, more the illegality and immorality of Op Demetrius.

scribblingwoman1 karma

Keeping on topic is all well and good - but you did say ask me anything.

LK19710 karma

sorry but initial post said ask me (almost) anything

equilshift1 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA. Not that it is relevant, but my family comes from Derry (a loooooong time ago), and I have no idea whether they were catholics or protestants.

Point is, to an outsider, I guess it all looked rather silly. But I was never there, and never experienced what it was like to be catholic in N. Ireland.

So, as to the question: Why did people in the northern part of Ireland (accurate to say Ulster?) want to become North Ireland, rather than sticking with the ROI?

Also, have you seen the movie "The Wind that Shakes the Barley"? I thought it was great, curious to know if you felt likewise.

LK19713 karma

Thats a very broad question, some people do and some people dont want a united Ireland. I wouldnt want to give you an unfair (and incomplete) answer on the entire question of Irish constitutional question. If you google the plantation of Ulster which was in very basic terms the English conquerors giving land in Ireland to the Scottish and English, these people still hold their loyalty to the UK while the "indigenous" (Loose term given Irelands history) people largely catholic believe to a large extent that Ireland as an island should be one. This is a huge debate and open to many opinions, so Im avoiding giving a lecture.

Yes I have seen the film, very good! Emotional for sure and although this was in a different time period it was a relatively accurate historical portrayal for Hollywood standards. To a point yes then I can empathise greatly even though it was a different time period you can obviously see similarities.

equilshift3 karma

I believe the phrase, "The more shit changes, the more it stays the same" applies there.

Thank you, I realize that my question has probably been the subject of a few books, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask someone who had lived it. I appreciate your answer. Also, if you ever want to feel good about your island, read "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill. It's a little bit of a stretch, but a good read.

LK19711 karma

I know of the book but my point on the reddit was really my own bad experiences rather than getting into a personal account of the troubles which may be different than others, my own ill-treatment is not debatable.

fishforbrains1 karma

Have you considered suing the government for a more reasonable amount of money, say 800,000 pounds?

LK19711 karma

There is no way to do it, they make the laws. However there are people still trying to sue the government for abuse while we were interned such as the use of CR gas, now totally banned, you can google that if you like.

Also some men were separated from us, 11 men taken after our few days of abuse to a still unknown destination and very badly tortured for 7 days. The 'Hooded Men' have had many books written on them. In this case the British gov' was found of torture which was then amended to inhuman and degrading treatment. Even for this, they only received 10 or 11 thousand pound each.

Pmall35351 karma

I really wish this were more popular. I myself am American but my family is from Northern Ireland. My grandfather used to tell me some crazy stories.

LK19713 karma

I'm getting to the age story telling is all I'm good for

Kythulhu0 karma

How was the sex?

LK19711 karma

nothing beats the real thing

fishforbrains-5 karma

How old were you when you were grabbed?

Do you think it will ever be possible to remove all Englishmen from Ireland and unite the island?

What thing(s) stands out most from this experience in your mind?

Do you have a job now? What?

How can you tell (if you can) who is protestant/catholic or what areas are which? Do the groups look different/talk different/live in different areas/rich clothes vs. poor clothing?

Thanks for doing this AMA. This is an area which it is very difficult for us to get good info about.

LK19713 karma

I was 20 years old. Don't think you've quite got the grasp of that one as the other comments have stated, a better term would be British. At my age now what stands out most was the camaraderie and friends I made, people make the most of any situation, we did laugh. I'm actually retired for health reasons, I had worked from the year I got out until just last year however. Everyone knew what area was 'loyalist' 'republican' 'mixed' etc so in the more dangerous days you would stay out of the opposite areas. There are no physical features that distinguish us. Names sometimes provide a clue however.

Youre welcome :)

WangCaster-7 karma

[deleted]

LK19711 karma

For you the very appropriate song would be The West Awake, for your own Galway roots.

WangCaster0 karma

Thanks! If you're ever in the PacNW let me buy you a beer.

LK19710 karma

Always ready for one, thanks lol

aracistcomment-8 karma

You should've shared your Guinness.

LK19716 karma

Thats why we're famous, we do share it! :)