31 July 2008 Edition
Riveting action stuff!
IRIS, The Republican Magazine (Special Edition)
The Greatest Escape (H-Block Break-Out)
Published by An Phoblacht
REVIEWED BY ELLA O’DWYER
IRIS, The Republican Magazine, has just republished its much-sought-after Autumn 1993 edition on the 1983 H-Block escape with updates on what’s happened to the prisoners since.
The escape, which saw 38 republican POWS break out of H-Block 7, was one of the most exceptional IRA operations ever carried out in the history of the struggle against British occupation.
Now, on the 25th anniversary, we get an overview on the escapees’ current locations in an updated version of the chapter ‘Where are they now?’ Otherwise, the material – which in the main was prepared and written by the escapers themselves – is only very slightly altered with minor additions.
Outlining the lead-up to, planning and execution of the what is known as The Greatest Escape, IRIS takes us through a gripping account of the whole event from the beginnings of the idea for a mass escape to the actual takeover of H-Block 7 and the riveting action that ensued.
The escapees themselves tell us what it was like to participate in this most daring of prison escapes and about living life ‘on the run’ thereafter.
The Greatest Escape is a dynamic action-packed read guaranteed to keep you enthralled to the very end.
The 60-page magazine contains a wide range of photographs and diagrams depicting the route of the escape along with photographs of the escapees themselves.
As part of the escape plan, the IRA’s South Armagh Brigade was to provide military back-up. This part of the escape story is also carried exclusively in this IRIS special edition and the magazine pays tribute to two members of the South Armagh Brigade, ‘the two Brendans’ – IRA Volunteers Brendan Moley, who played a central role in the H-Block escape plan, and Brendan Burns – both of whom died in a premature explosion in 1988.
At €7 this is a priceless memento of a great moment in Irish republican history and should be on every activist’s shelf. It’s also an ideal way for our younger comrades to get an insight into the psyche of the political prisoner who, seeing it as their duty to try to escape, would spend hours, weeks, months and even years tirelessly searching for cracks in the system that might deliver an exit.
When this edition of IRIS was first published in 1993, on the 10th anniversary of the break-out, it proved hugely popular, sold out within weeks and became a highly-sought-after republican collectors’ item. Having read it now for the first time, I am certain that experience will be repeated. Rush out and buy this magazine now.
An Phoblacht Magazine
AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:
- Don't miss your chance to get the first edition of 2019 published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of An Chéad Dáil and Soloheadbeg.
- In this edition Gerry Adams sets out the case for active abstentionism, Mícheál Mac Donncha takes us back to January 21st 1919, that fateful day after which here was no going back and Aengus Ó Snodaigh gives an account of the IRA attack carried out on the same day of the First Dáil, something that was to have a profound effect on the course of Irish history.
- There are also articles about the aftermath of the 8th amendment campaign, the Rise of the Right and the civil rights movement.