*****When a media outlet decides to denigrate and deliberately lie about an individual there is very little we can do about it. To sue a newspaper you would need to have at least a couple of hundred thousand pounds to pay the legal costs and then even if you did win there is no guarantee of compensation, nor indeed costs. Therefore, an impecunious pot-smoking, ex-hunger striker has no chance of justice against the corporate tabloid press. The purveyors of lies are above the law – unless you’re exceedingly rich.
I have never met nor spoke with Paula Mackin. She did not contact me to notify me that she was doing a malicious hatchet-job on me. She does not know me, but feels eminently placed to write a dangerous fictional history of me as a leading dissident, thief, robber and general all-round no-gooder. Reading her storey, I didn’t even like myself!
Paula should have contacted me and I could have regaled her with genuine stories of smoking pot on Irish and Scottish off-shore islands while watching the sun slide down over the Atlantic, or on the sunny drive in an open back taxi from Anacapri the couple of miles to Capri Town under a blazing Italian sun; or even the couple of spliffs sitting around St. Peter’s Square in that bastion of Catholicism, The Vatican.
Or we could have discussed the therapeutic effects of a much maligned naturally growing weed on the human condition and the need for some regulation so the medical fraternity can avail of the profound beneficial effects of this substance. There are even other anecdotes closer to home about the Holy-Warriors-Against-Drugs we could equally discuss. That’s an open invitation Paula: if you want to follow up on certain people engaging in inhaling rather than just blowing it back out a-la Bill Clinton.
Freedom of the press is a licence for second rate unscrupulous propagandists-for-hire to meet in The Duke of York (Dear Leader was once the barman here), or some other establishment with Sinn Fein black-propagandists and concoct tissues of lies, threats and denigration against people who don’t “fit in”. I don’t “fit in” and that’s possibly why Paula Mackin thought it rewarding to write dangerous lies about me – despite not knowing me.
In the wake of the phone-tapping scandal the British Government set up The Leveson Inquiry to investigate and make recommendations for fairer regulation of the press. The Government immediately ditched the Leveson Report on learning its recommendations and the corporate media circled the wagons to fight off any control being exercised over their powers to lie, deceive and slander. R.I.P. the Leveson Report.
The small man and woman has no chance of a fair hearing when it comes to corporate media aligned with political interests. Organs like The Sunday World will always be around to do the bidding of the paymasters who feed them the lies to print behind their “anonymous sources” and their own lack of ethics.
Paula Mackin constructed a history of me which is completely fictitious and offensive, during The Life of Gerard Hodgins in Mackin’s account I have variously been an officer in the Continuity IRA before robbing them and moving on to a leadership position within the New IRA; along the way receiving the proceeds of multiple robberies of drugs and money and Iiving it up like a Playboy. There is even an “anonymous source” from within the Dissidents wondering why I should be his leader: whoever you are (if you do indeed exist) I am not even in your organisation let alone your leader!
Far from leading a lavish lifestyle I actually live on benefits and just about make it from one week to the next; indeed I have an outstanding bill with an undertaker for burying my mother and am in no position to cover it yet. It’s a few years since I bought any new clothes, life on benefits is not like life in the money class. I rarely leave my home and just about manage to look after myself and my dog, let alone run a revolution with all the organising and running about that would entail. And then have to attend to my criminal/drug empire.
The last time I was arrested was in January 1990 (nearly 24 years ago); since 1996 when I got out of prison and parted company with the Provos I have never been a member or associate of any organisation, grouping or party, dissident or otherwise. I have been critical and questioning of republicans who think that if we are not in a state of perpetual war we are somehow lesser republicans. I have never endorsed any armed dissident grouping nor encouraged anybody to get involved in such organisations. But hey, why let little things like facts get in the way of a good storey?
Over the years I have often spoken with academic researchers, journalists, students and others with an interest in our recent history. Some of these people have grown to know me and none have ever implied they don’t accept my bona fides.
Paula Mackin’s agenda was to undermine any credibility I might have. Her scurrilous article contained only two facts; I am a pot-smoking ex-hunger striker. Everything else was the propaganda of Sinn Fein in Belfast desperate to impugn my character because I have the audacity to speak about my past with honesty, and critically about the merry-dance Adams and Co. led us down to the land of a few bob and a few houses for the few.
If Paula Mackin in any way believes the shite she wrote about me I would be happy to accompany her to a police station in the company of my solicitor where she can furnish all the “facts” at her disposal to the relevant authorities who will then be obliged to investigate. I have absolutely nothing to hide and nothing to fear.