Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vol. Paddy Doyle- O/c Belfast

     In 1956 Belfast received a new O/c by the name of Paddy Doyle. Doyle was a veteran of the 40's, a former internee, and a close friend of the "3 Macs." He had been on the governing council in 51 such was their trust in him that while almost two dozen organizers were sent across the North to prepare for the Operation Harvest, Belfast was left entirely in Doyle's hands.
   Under Paddy's direction a more vigorous investigation to uncover an informer- whose presence was obvious but whose identity was not- was carried out by Joe Cahill and another volunteer. They conducted a thorough investigation and narrowed it down to one man. They informed Paddy Doyle; "He didn't want to know the name of the suspect at that stage," Cahill said, "but he said he wanted us to begin our investigation all over again and see if we came to the same conclusion."  In such cases, Cahill afterwards noted, one had to be 110% sure of the conclusion.
     A general convention was held that October to which the O/c's and organizers were supposed to report. Doyle was unable to attend so he sent Joe Cahill and the other volunteer in his place. They informed Tony Magan of the situation with the informer. Magan gave the same reply but told Cahill to transfer all the arms dumps under his control out of the city.
     In November Doyle was arrested with a copy of An-tOglach on him and received 3 months in Crumlin Road, which was commuted to internment until the campaign was almost over. His arrest so close to the commencement of the campaign, and the presence of the informer, sealed the lid on Belfast's non-involvement. The informer continued to inflict damage after his arrest and was never uncovered.
     Paddy Doyle was among the first 15 prisoners released in 1961. Like many others of his generation, he retired from active politics and what became of him in later years has not been recorded by the usual Republican historians.

Sources: "Joe Cahill: A life in the IRA" by Brendan Anderson; "The Insider" by Eamonn Boyce and Anna Bryson. If anyone can, for posterity's sake, fill in some details on his life please contact at: lublog@hushmail.com
GRMA in advance.

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