Tohill back on the Falls

Leave my family alone: Tohill

Bobby Tohill returned to West Belfast last night after Friday’s alleged kidnapping in Belfast city Centre which threw the peace process into crisis. His return came as a source speaking on behalf of the IRA told the Andersonstown News yesterday: “The IRA did not authorise any action against Bobby Tohill.”

And Tohill, who the Chief Constable Hugh Orde claimed was savagely beaten and kidnapped by the IRA, told the Andersonstown News last night that the IRA had not kidnapped him from Kelly’s Cellars.

“The Provos were not involved in my alleged abduction,” he said.
During a further in-depth interview with the Andersonstown News, the 45-year-old backed the IRA’s denial that they played no part in last Friday’s Kelly’s Cellars ‘kidnapping’. However, Tohill did express fears that his life was still in danger. He also asked the IRA not to impose any conditions on his return to West Belfast.

Bobby Tohill signed himself out of the City Hospital on Monday and was immediately secreted to a safe house near the border by fellow dissident republicans. From there he spoke exclusively to the Andersonstown News about how the IRA were “hounding” him and why a “drunken brawl” could wreck the peace process.

“I do not believe the four men arrested by the PSNI are members of the IRA,” said Tohill.

“I have said it before and I will say it again, I have not, and will not, be making any complaint to the cops.”

Bobby Tohill is adamant that Friday’s incident in Kelly’s Cellars was the fall-out from a drunken brawl.

“I was very, very drunk,” he added. “I was chatting a girl up and her boyfriend and his mates took exception to this. They viciously attacked and knocked me unconscious. The men arrested in the van were taking me to hospital. It is wrong for governments to use us as political pawns.”

Although refusing to point the finger of blame at the IRA for the incident, Bobby Tohill still has deep grievances with them.

“I want to know why they [the IRA] have issued me with five death threats in the space of six months? Why are they hounding my family on the lower Falls, and why they are hounding my son, who suffers from a severe disability, and his family?

“My biggest fear now is for my relatives. My son, Michael, is on the verge of a complete breakdown.”

Bobby Tohill called on the IRA to answer his questions and to allow him to return freely to West Belfast.

“I’ve lived there most of my life, I belong there and I want to go back to West Belfast,” he said defiantly.

“I do not want any conditions put on my return. If the IRA tries to impose conditions I will not accept them.

“I will carry on as a republican and continue to speak my republican views. I have been brought up and always lived my life that way. The IRA needs to understand that I will not be silenced.”

Ending the interview Bobby Tohill repeated his call for a halt to all forms of paramilitarism.

“I told the Andersonstown News last week that after the Danny McGurk murder the IRA closed down the Belfast Real IRA in a very cynical fashion,” said the leading dissident. “It is now time the IRA closed themselves down in a very cynical fashion. The nationalist people want peace and the IRA should give it to them. I want to return to the Falls Road and I should be allowed to do so.”

Journalist:: Ciaran Barnes

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