- 11 Mar 08
Ex-IRA man Gerry Kelly talks to Jason O'Toole about his run-ins with the British Army, his near death experiences, the part he played in inflicting civilian casualties and his time on hunger strike.
Gerry Kelly has frequently been described as the IRA’s chief of staff.
But Kelly dislikes discussing his precise rank in the IRA. When the subject is broached, the 54-year-old laughs it off. “There has been all sorts of descriptions of me (smiles) in terms of what my position is. Everybody has a title but I’d prefer not to give mine!”
It echoes a similar quote Martin McGuiness gave to Hot Press only last year. Regardless of whatever rank he may have held, there is no disputing the fact that he is venerated in Republican circles. Kelly was in the thick of things during the height of the Troubles. He was convicted of participating in the bomb attack on the Old Bailey in 1973. Banged up in Wormwood Scrubs, Kelly went on hunger strike for an astonishing 205 days in an effort to gain political prisoner status and to be repatriated.