Liam Daltun, Peter Graham, Maureen Keegan: in defence of three dead Irish socialists

Submitted by dalcassian on 27 September, 2016 - 8:07 Author: Sean Matgamna
Troops go onto the streets in Belfast, 1969

Having recently completed a witch-hunting series of articles 'exposing' various left-wing organisations as being responsible for industrial strife in Britain, the News of the World on December 10th [1971] launched a new series. This time the message is that the real cause of the "trouble" in Northern Ireland is not that the Catholics are being repressed. No, it's all produced by the intervention of... yes, Russian and Fast European agents!

Both series can be seen by anyone with even a slight knowledge of either the British trade union movement or Irish revolutionary politics, as a tissue of misinformed nonsense, a rehash of news cuttings served up in a sauce of speculation and innuendo. Everything is grist to their mill.

One "item" on this poisonous menu concerns three comrades of ours who all died tragically within three months of each other, between October 1971 and January 1972, Peter Graham, Mairin Keegan, and Liam Daltun. Peter Graham was assassinated in Dublin, and his killers are unknown. Mairin Keegan died of cancer. Liam Daltun committed suicide.

According to the News of the World these three were each successively "heads" of the Fourth International in Ireland. Preventing it as a"'rumour" they allege that Peter Graham was killed because he was a paid police informer against Republicans. As for Mairin Keegan, "revolutionary circles" are alleged to be "wondering" "whether her death is linked with the theory that carcinomous substances can be associated with the manufacture of bombs". Daltun is alleged to have claimed that suicide was the only escape [!] from... a horrible death

Thus the diseased minds of the News of the World hacks find employment in this season of short-time working for journalistic peeping toms in slandering and maligning the dead, who cannot speak for themselves. They also join in the current game of branding the Fourth International (an international organisation of revolutionary socialists) as the "terrorist international".

The simple counter-posing of facts to fantasies and speculations will do to start with, because most of their "facts", even the minor, easily checked ones, are false.

Peter Graham died in October 1971, not November 1971. Far from Republicans shooting him, both Officials and Provisionals issued statements condemning the murder, and the Provisionals were represented at his funeral, as was Saor Eire (a small Guevarist group). There is no Irish "head' of the Fourth International, because there is no Irish section, only a small (about 10 members), very young group, which certainly supports the Republican struggle in Northern Ireland, but functions as a study circle publishing a duplicated theoretical journal. No-one on the left or in the Republican movement in Ireland or in England who knew Peter Graham believed or has ever supposed that Peter was other than a revolutionary socialist.

Mairin Keegan was not in her 20s (as the News of the World states) but in her 40s. She fought a ten year battle against the disease which killed her. She was in Derry, we believe, but the fighting was in August 1969, not August 1968, as the News of the World states. They are right only in describing the comrade as a serious revolutionary dedicated, as they put it, to "urging rebellion" against the system of which the News of the World is one of the ornaments.

There is no other connection between these two deaths than that both people were human beings with vulnerable bodies and minds. There is a connection between Mairin Keegan's death and Liam Daltun in that her death, and the funeral he attended, seem to have been the final blow which turned Liam Daltun's mind No more than that. The News of the World presents his suicide as a rational choice, Daltun having fled from Dublin in fear! He had lived in London permanently since 1957. He was also a man remarkable for his courage, which was nothing less than extravagant.

At his death (less than two weeks after Mairin Keegan's death) he was certainly not in full political agreement with the other two comrades he is alleged to have "succeeded" as "head" of the Irish section of the Fourth International.

Only an amoral cretin, a lying hack low enough to merit a job with the News of the World and light years away from the ideas and battles in which these comrades spent their lives could produce such scurrilous rubbish. The most charitable thing that can be said about the sewer-tied creep who, quite casually, brands Peter Graham as a police informer, is that this News of the World tout probably sees police informing as all in a day's work. The same moral idiocy is necessary to both the police informer and the News of the World "journalist".

The memories of these three comrades are as far from the possibility of being tarnished by this paper, the most foul and disease-ridden rag in Fleet Street, as their lives were distant from the condition of moral imbecility natural to its paid slanderers.

Sean Matgamna.


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