Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Roy Greenslade and an Alleged IRA Plot to Kill Journalist Liam Clarke

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This week former journalist and media academic Roy Greenslade announced that he secretly supported Sinn Féin and the IRA’s armed campaign from 1972 onwards. Greenslade was, in 1988, the Sunday Times line-manager of a journalist, Liam Clarke, who seems to have been an IRA assassination target. The disturbing Greenslade CV includes active participation in a well-documented British Secret State plot to frame the leftwing leader on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Arthur Scargill.

Ed Moloney, a journalist who worked at the time in Belfast, backs up claims about the alleged IRA plot to kill Liam Clarke. Many serious questions arise. Let’s be clear about the basic issue : nothing justifies an apparently serious threat to kill a journalist, merely because he was politically hostile to Sinn Féin.

Roy Greenslade at a Sinn Féin Event

I can verify Kathryn Johnston’s account of an IRA plot to kill her husband, Liam Clarke in 1988 which she described in an article published in the Daily Mail yesterday. Several months after Clarke learned of the plot and left Belfast with his family, I was told about the plot by a senior Loyalist paramilitary leader who had himself been told about it by a senior figure in the RUC Special Branch.

In her article, Kathryn Johnston raised serious questions about the possible role in the plot played by Clarke’s then line manager in The Sunday Times, Roy Greenslade who has recently admitted being a secret supporter of the IRA and its armed campaign as early as 1972, more than a decade before the threat to Clarke.

She asked Greenslade to answer the following questions: ‘Did he know in advance about the IRA threat to kill my husband in 1988? Does he agree that by concealing his allegiance to the IRA he was lacking in his duty of care to a colleague who risked his life covering the Troubles and the Peace Process? And why, in 1995, did he accuse Liam of involvement with British intelligence and endanger him and his family?’

Ed Moloney observes “Perhaps Sinn Féin would be wise to have a closer look at their English friend”. Sinn Féin and the party’s supporters might consult a definition of the legendary “hot potato” 🥔 : “a controversial question or issue that involves unpleasant or dangerous consequences for anyone dealing with it”. Close association with Roy Greenslade looks like extremely bad politics.

John Meehan March 7 2021

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