George Harrison (Irish republican)

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George Harrison (1915–2004) was a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

Born in Shammer, Kilkelly, County Mayo, in western Ireland, Harrison emigrated to the United States to facilitate arms transfers to the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland. He, Tom Falvey, Michael Flannery, Pat Mullin, and Danny Gormley comprised the North American branch of an arms-running network that is estimated to have provided more than 2,500 weapons and perhaps a million rounds of ammunition to the IRA.

In 1981, the gun-runners were arrested in an FBI sting code-named "Operation Bushmill".[1] All five were acquitted in a criminal trial held in New York City, which lasted from December 1980 to June 1981. Their acquittal was widely attributed to the unconventional efforts of Harrison's personal attorney, Frank Durkan; the men admitted to their activities, but claimed that they believed the operations had Central Intelligence Agency sanction.[2][3]

Post-acquittal

Although he had spent much of the previous decade involved in this operation, his acquittal marked the end of his active career as an IRA gun-runner. In the latter part of his life, he would devote his time to various causes, including support for the African National Congress, the Sandinista movement, and the Independista (Puerto Rican nationalist) campaign against Puerto Rico's status as an American Commonwealth.

Harrison broke with the Provisional Republican Movement in 1986 when Provisional Sinn Féin dropped the traditional Republican stance of not taking their seats in the Irish parliament. He remained within the Republican Movement through Republican Sinn Féin and was a founder and activist of the Republican support group Cumann na Saoirse/Irish Freedom Committee in the USA. He was a patron of Republican Sinn Féin until he died.

He also took a number of controversial stances within the broader Irish-American community within New York City, including outspoken support for former Mayor David Dinkins and open defiance of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

He died in 2004 from natural causes at his home in Brooklyn, New York.

References

  1. ^ The rebel with a cause…. Western People (Ireland). 23 February 2005. http://archives.tcm.ie/westernpeople/2005/02/23/story23855.asp
  2. ^ Cox, Thomas J. _The Trial of the IRA Five_. Riverside Books, 1992.
  3. ^ Alexander, Shana. "The Patriot Game". _New York_, November 22, 1982. pg 58+. Retrievable from https://books.google.com/books?id=0ucCAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA58&hl=en&ei=_ylHTL33A4OC8gaK5bjpBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

External links

  • George Harrison 1915-2004 An Appreciation
  • Unbowed, and Unashamed of His I.R.A. Role
  • Ex-gunrunner fights ban on rebel Sinn Fein
  • Mayo-born gun runner dies in USA
  • George Harrison of Shammer R.I.P.
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