Any Old Port In A Storm
Tom McFeely could rightly be regarded as something of a hero in old IRA folklore. But then again after this episode that is open to debate.
The 64 year old building contractor, also known in some circles as a property tycoon has recently been declared bankrupt and been evicted from his 10 million Euro mansion in a plush Dublin suburb. In November last year he was also sentenced to a custodial term for failing to act upon a court order to rectify serious structural faults in a buildings his company had erected in the Priory Hall development in Donaghmede, Dublin. He has appealed that decision and is currently a free man. Unlike the 12 years he spent in Long Kesh Prison from 1977 after he was convicted of a Post Office robbery and shooting. McFeely was one of the original hunger strikes in the first strike which was abandoned in December 1980, and spent a total of 53 days on the protest. He didn’t take part in the second strike in 1981 which of course culminated in the death of 10 prisoners. McFeely was a Dungiven man, which we all know is a small town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. In declaring McFeely bankrupt the High Court in Dublin in effect has banned him from running any further businesses in the Republic for a possible period of 12 years. If someone is declared bankrupt in Northern Ireland or indeed the mainland, it is still possible to be and trading again within twelve months. The High Court judge said that in his opinion McFeely’s main interests were in the South of Ireland and not the North. On appeal, McFeely has stated that he in fact doesn’t live in Dublin—despite having a 10 million euro mortgage on a house there—but he actually claims to live in London and is really a British citizen. Quite a remarkable volte face for an Irish Freedom fighter from yesteryear, who was prepared to starve himself to death in belief of his principles and opposed the state who had “oppressed Ireland and slaughtered countless innocent victims” over a period of centuries. But then just like his former cohorts—some of whom were also Blanketmen and Hunger Strikers—who have heard the clink of pieces of silver—principles don’t really mean a lot. The age old enemy can, and will become the closest of allies even to those most diehard Republicans—whenever it suits their Cause—or helps line their pockets.