Kevin Hannaway, Gerry Adams’ Cousin And Former IRA QMG And A/G, Arrested On Dissident Charges

News tonight that veteran West Belfast Republican,  Kevin Hannaway, one of the ‘hooded men’ tortured by British intelligence after the 1971 internment swoop has been arrested in Dublin on charges apparently connected to dissident armed republican activity. He appeared in court yesterday evening along with four others, including another member of the Hannaway clan.

Kevin Hannaway, arrested in Dublin, accused of involvement with dissidents.

Kevin Hannaway, arrested in Dublin, accused of involvement with dissidents.

The significance of the allegation is twofold. First of all Kevin Hannaway’s father Liam was a brother of Gerry Adams’ mother, Annie Hannaway, which makes Gerry and Kevin cousins. The fact that such a close relative of the architect of the Sinn Fein/Provisional IRA peace process strategy has been accused of being in sympathy with enemies of the peace process is likely to be a source of considerable embarrassment and political discomfort for the SF President – at least in pre-peace process republican circles.

When things were simpler. A young Gerry Adams, in spectacles, poses with his uncle Liam Hannaway, Kevin Hannaway's father, who is on the extreme right. The other two are Geordie SHannon and Eddie Keenan, famous IRA men for the Forties.

When things were simpler. A young Gerry Adams, in spectacles, poses with his uncle Liam Hannaway, Kevin Hannaway’s father, who is on the extreme right. The other two are Geordie Shannon and Eddie Keenan, famous IRA men from the Forties. None of the early media reports in Ireland about Kevin Hannaway’s arrest mentioned his connection to Gerry Adams, evidence of either appalling ignorance or unforgivable timidity. Or both.

The second important feature of Kevin Hannaway’s arrest is that he is one of the most respected survivors of the Provisional IRA’s founding fathers and won enormous respect for surviving British Army and RUC Special Branch torture during the 1971 internment swoop.

In a sidebar to the internment operation, he was one of twelve men selected for in-depth interrogation by British intelligence, an experience which the victims said was torture. They took the case to Europe, initially won but lost on a British appeal. The decision was later cited as justifying CIA torture by the Bush White House.

Following a recent decision to re-open the case, their legal action is now being re-fought at the European Court of Human Rights; one of the leading lawyers acting for Hannaway is Amal Clooney, wife of the movie star George Clooney.

Kevin Hannaway rose to become Quarter-Master General of the IRA and held that post when the IRA negotiated the ‘Eksund’ arms deal with Libya’s Col Gaddafi. However he became ill shortly afterwards, suffering from the long lasting after effects of his torture, and quit that post. His successor was Michael McKevitt, who along with Tom ‘Slab’ Murphy, then Northern Commander of the IRA, successfully transported all the Libyan arms shipments to Ireland, bar the final one on the Eksund.

Hannaway became Adjutant-General after leaving the QMG post but not long afterwards resigned from the IRA, again citing ill-health.

The fact that such a distinguished and high-ranking IRA veteran has been accused of a relationship with dissident republicans – even though the details are not yet clear – is a development that will not be welcomed by the ‘New Provos’, especially after a weekend which saw one of their leaders, Martin McGuinness, condemn republicans who clashed with the PSNI as they commemorated the anniversary of internment.

5 responses to “Kevin Hannaway, Gerry Adams’ Cousin And Former IRA QMG And A/G, Arrested On Dissident Charges

  1. This may damage the case being taken by the ‘hooded men’ in terms of support for their campaign – though legally unless they are arguing they were not involved (which I presume they are not arguing?) – then it should not make any difference to the case.

    Bit of a propaganda coup for the ‘dissers’ IF charges have foundation.

    For Gerry and SF it is clearly not great – but does serve as a good reminder to the British that SF still have to hold the line.

  2. The fact that Kevin Hannaway in some way or another belongs to the universe of the so called “dissdents” isn’t really new:

    Also remember the 2010 hunger strike of his grandson Liam Hannaway at Maghaberry.

  3. Kevin is a dear friend of mine, so I feel the need to comment on this. First of all, Ed, you more than anyone should know that one should not believe everything one reads in the media. Kevin has never disavowed his role as a younger man in the IRA, unlike some others. He is also not “anti-peace,” he does not want a return to the armed struggle. He just doesn’t believe that the GFA brought what he, and so many others, fought for — a free and united Ireland. He feels the current SF leadership sold out the republican movement — as do many others. This does not make him a dissident, just a man with conviction.

    As for the Hooded Men, their involvement with the IRA, INLA, or any other group at any point in time should not be used as an excuse for torture.

  4. Lauretta,

    “As for the Hooded Men, their involvement with the IRA, INLA, or any other group at any point in time should not be used as an excuse for torture.”

    Certainly not in a legal sense but in the sense of backing up their moral argument – if those who were hooded belonged to an organisation which practiced torture – then that is relevant to the debate. Any IRA (or other) member would have been expected to follow orders and that would have included interrogation techniques on a par with and probably worse than what the hooded men were subjected to.

    This does not in any way give the British an excuse for law breaking but is relevant in a debate on torture – I think it is a feature of all Republican groups (understandably for propaganda purposes) to expect standards of the state higher than those they adopted for themselves.

    I say the above as someone broadly supportive of the Republican cause but with serious reservations about the tactics adopted by PIRA and others. The ‘what-about-the-Brits’ line of defence doesn’t really wash except with those who buy the Perfidious Albion versus Hibernia Immaculata view of the world.

  5. Pingback: Kevin Hannaway, Gerry Adams’ Cousin And Former IRA QMG And A/G, Arrested On Dissident Charges | voiceoftreasonandthat

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