Reading Ireland’s national and regional newspapers the worried expectations of the media establishment that Sinn Féin and various smaller parties will make unprecedented gains in the upcoming European and local elections, and largely at the expense of the country’s traditional ruling parties, is almost palatable. Hardly a day goes by without an anti-SF report or opinion piece being published, some perfectly legitimate criticisms over policy or concerns about the personal records of elected politicians, others simply fantasy histories from the nuttier fringe of the Irish commentariat (a vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for the Nazis in 1930s’ Germany or something…). Given that for several decades politics in Ireland was essentially tripartite in nature, government by either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael with the Labour Party (and occasional guests) in a supporting role, it is hardly surprising that the pet monkeys of the press are rattling their gilded cages. What, no more bananas? Of course in the north-east of the country the picture is complicated by SF now functioning as the (Nationalist) establishment but that doesn’t stop the Belfast members of the national Independent group of newspapers playing their part in the ongoing struggle, albeit with the rhetoric turned all the way up to eleven. Suzanne Breen, who I respect more than most Irish journos, has this uncharacteristically OTT report in the Belfast Telegraph. Remember the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army? The insurgent force that declared a ceasefire in 1997 and a compete end to the “armed campaign” in 2005?
“The IRA has a secret arsenal of deadly munitions capable of bringing down military helicopters and penetrating PSNI Land Rovers, killing all personnel travelling inside.
Millionaire Florida stockbroker turned IRA gunrunner, Mike Logan, says he sent the powerful incendiary shells to the Provisionals who tested them and were “delighted with the results”.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Life, Logan reveals new details of the weapons cache he sent to IRA leader, Sean ‘Spike’ Murray.
As well as arming the Provisionals with hundreds of handguns as previously reported, he has now disclosed that he also sent munitions as powerful as those the US Army deployed against Saddam Hussein in the Iraq war.
He claims that years after the IRA ceasefire, the Provos were still keen to buy heavy weapons capable of killing dozens of police officers and British soldiers.
“I sent them .50 calibre shells called Raufoss rounds,” Logan says.
“The Americans used them to annihilate miles of Saddam Hussein’s tanks in Iraq. I can’t stress how powerful they are.
“These shells are armour piercing. They penetrate the vehicle they’re fired at, then explode and ignite. They can incinerate everything and everybody inside.
“I bought 20 of them for just $10 a piece at a gun show. I sent them to Spike. On my next visit to Ireland, he said he was delighted with them. The look on his face was priceless.
“He told me he’d personally tested one of them on a scrap car down South. He said, ‘Wow, they’re good. They really do the business.’ There are still 19 of these rounds out there. Somebody somewhere in Ireland has them.”
The Raufoss rounds are fired from a heavy duty machine gun or large sniper rifle.”
So the secret arsenal of “deadly munitions” is exactly 19 – that’s nineteen – bullets?
As for their location we know exactly where they are: in one of several permanently sealed underground bunkers along with the weapons that could fire them, placed there as part of the international decommissioning process of the early 2000s. By the by, the use of Raufoss Mk 211 .50 calibre rounds to “annihilate miles of Saddam Hussein’s tanks in Iraq”? Bollocks…