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Censorship of Belfast Author Joe Graham, Rushlight Magazine

category antrim | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Tuesday May 13, 2008 19:04author by Roisin Donnellyauthor email donnellyroisin at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

Show Me the Man by Joe Graham Rushlight Magazine Belfast

When a local journalist and editor of a West Belfast Newspaper recently voiced his opinion concerning the neglect of duties and responsibilities by the Member of Parliament for West Belfast. Many in the community considered this a breakthrough in fair and honest reporting. However, this was short lived when the newspaper printed a front page public apology to the Member of Parliament and then obliterated all trace of the article from its internet webpage and any other associated worldwide newspapers websites.

When a local journalist and editor of a West Belfast Newspaper recently voiced his opinion concerning the neglect of duties and responsibilities by the Member of Parliament for West Belfast. Many in the community considered this a breakthrough in fair and honest reporting. However, this was short lived when the newspaper printed a front page public apology to the Member of Parliament and then obliterated all trace of the article from its internet webpage and any other associated worldwide newspapers websites.

This matter was quickly followed when the same newspaper group printed a public letter in 2 of its Belfast newspapers publishing the concerns of some of the Meehan family regarding the book “Show Me the Man” written by popular local Belfast historian Joe Graham. Once again many remained astonished when Mr Graham did not utilize his legitimate right to reply and remaining asking if Joe Graham was offered a right to reply at all.

The Martin Meehan Book written by Joe Graham has now become a matter of public interest and the book seems to have become entwined with power censorship and power agenda. However, it is difficult to extract why.

The Rushlight Magazine and its editor local historian Joe Graham have remained synonymous for more than 35 years to making history real and relevant to the ordinary people specifically the ordinary people of Belfast.

Since its inception in 1972, the publication has been attacked by the British establishment in all its guises. Many believe The Rushlight made His story – Our Story and this is about right for those who were inspired, encouraged and enthused by the magazine to take full ownership of who writes our history and current events and more pertinently what they record or don’t.

Martin Meehan a legendary militant IRA commander and Sinn Fein politician could well be one of those people described above when he decided to ask and entrust his lifelong friend Joe Graham and only Joe Graham to record his life story, now history.

Joe Graham has dutifully and honourably fulfilled the task requested by his now dead friend Martin Meehan and the book has since been published called “Show Me the Man”.

The book is an exceptional read and so easy to follow, so easy in fact one reading is suffice to digest and comprehend why Meehan would request Joe Graham and not the countless Sinn Fein high flyers available to him.

Joe Graham’s writing style and Irish oral tradition manner which others might regard as similar to Joyce’s stream of conscious including the various epiphanies that permeate the book serves to clearly compliment the old Seanachie style utilized and employed by Graham.

Joe Graham easily achieves the fullest condensing, embracing and encompassing of much of the big picture news, life events and micro events that shape the gaze and psyche of Irish Republicans like Martin Meehan living under British Unionist domination in the North of Ireland and especially Martin Meehan’s Ardoyne.

The book is an excellent tribute from a friend - for a dead friend. The book endeavours to show Martin Meehan the boy growing up to become the man, husband father and Grandfather in troubled and turbulent times.

The author has since set out to defend his own integrity after bizarre public attacks in local newspapers emanating from some of the Meehan family. This aspect has added a new dimension to the Former Officer Commanding IRA Martin Meehan story, an aspect that has included thus far: physical attacks, cyberspace threats, legal threats and Rushlight Magazine censored and closed down by its internet provider after receiving written communication from some Meehan family members.

The Book can be purchased by contacting or Telephone 028 90626631. Joe Graham 78 Andersonstown Park. Belfast. Ireland BT11 8FH.

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author by Mairtin Og Meehanpublication date Wed May 14, 2008 06:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Chairde,

I would like to respond to recent controversy surrounding the publication of 'Show Me The Man' by Joe Graham.......

The reason my family and I do not support or endorse the book is due in part to its content. In which the Author claims that my late father did not support the current Sinn Fein Leadership and its policies in relation to the peace process and policing.

When we asked Joe Graham to provide us with more information on this issue, he told us he had video recordings of him interviwing our Dad. When we asked could we view the said tapes, Mr. Graham refused, imposing a censorship ban on us.....Then he proceeded to publicly attack my family and I through his website, Rushlight.Com. When we asked him to remove the offending remarks, he refused......We then had no option but contact his internet provider and complain. It was they (Bravenet) and not us, who closed the site down.

Since the publication of 'Show Me the Man' and our rejection of it's contents. The Meehan Clann have been labelled everything under the sun by the Author. It is a strange irony for someone who claims he opposes censorship and was a good friend of Oglach. Martin Meehan. I think I'll leave that judgement up to my fellow readers?

We again ask to be left in peace, we did not write this book and we believe all these stories appearing in the media are done for monetary gain.

In matters of principle, there can be no compromise!

Is Mise Le Meas,
Mairtin Og Meehan

author by Interestedpublication date Wed May 14, 2008 12:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have just finished reading “Show me the Man” by Joe Graham, I must admit I bought it because of reading all about things on the internet that had been written about it, and was curious to see for myself what it was all about. I have to agree with Roisin what a good read so very easy to understand and shows there was a great friendship between the two men.
I am at a loss now to know what all the fuss is about I have seen some of the comments made by some members of the family and they just don’t wash as reasons to put Joe Graham and his family through what has been happening, there has to be other agendas to all this. Joe Graham has written a very flattering account of Martin Meehan as he was asked to do, and good account of what was happening at the time for future generations to read.
I have also read the comments from Mairtin Og and again at a loss now to know what is meant by “the media stories being for monetary gain” means?? If they want to be left in peace maybe they should stop keep making wild accusations about people and maybe go and write their own book.

author by Roisinpublication date Wed May 14, 2008 12:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr Meehan junior, thank you for your endorsement regarding my piece about “Show Me the Man” in Indymedia.

I am so sorry that you, your greater family and Ireland has lost your Father and I am striving to ensure that do not add to your bereavement in any manner.

Your measured comment while seemingly reasonable at this time is very welcome.

I can assure you that I am not receiving money from anyone regarding my endorsing piece concerning “Show Me the Man”. I enjoyed the book and I still regard the book as an honourable tribute to Martin Meehan, Oglaigh Na hEireann and Sinn Fein indeed so honourable that I believe others should read it. This is my sole motivation.

I do not regard the book or its dignified content as controversial. Your Father was no fool this is clear to me in the book which adds to his political astuteness and my admiration for him.

It is also clear within the book that your Father attended funerals of all Irish Republicans irrespective if they endorsed the current leadership of Sinn Fein and he also visited many “dissenting voices” in hospital and elsewhere. This for me demonstrates your Father’s deep compassion for all his comrades and the bigger picture of Irish Republicanism. He truly cherished all the children of the nation.

May your God Bless you.


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author by Kevin Meehanpublication date Wed May 14, 2008 16:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The following letter appeared in the ‘North Belfast News’ on April 10th and in the ‘Andersonstown News’ on April 14th 2008:

A Chairde,
We children of the late Volunteer. Martin Meehan want to make it clear that we do not support or endorse the book ‘Show Me The Man’, written by Joe Graham in which he claims our father did not support the current leadership of the Republican Movement and the direction in which it was going. Our father was a true Republican through every stage of his life and 100 per cent supported the current leadership of the Republican Movement and its direction. Our father even spoke of his support for the leadership at an Ard Fheis less than a year before his death and the so- called evidence which Joe Graham claims he has to the contrary, was never shown to any family members. We have asked Joe to show us this evidence and he has refused our requests on many occasions. We do not believe what Joe Graham has claimed and we would challenge him to publicly prove his claims. We state that currently is and was not the truth at any stage of our father’s life We would also like to make it clear that none of the Meehan family are profiting from the sale of his book and did not contribute to the writing of the book in any shape or form. We did not see a copy of the book before it was released and did not agree to its publication in any way whatsoever. We are sick and tired of our father’s name being dragged through the mud. We want him to be left in peace to rest. He dedicated his entire life to the Republican Movement and we would be concerned that people with their own agendas may be using his death for their own ends. He fully endorsed the current leadership of the Republican Movement and fully supported the direction in which it was going until his untimely death.
Is Sinne,
Kevin, Mairtin Og and Mary Meehan-Watson
Beal Feirste

author by Mairtin Og Meehanpublication date Thu May 15, 2008 13:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just been notified that the above group (another name for Rushlight) has archived onto DVD;

the actual Video recordings of Martin Meehan and others used in relation to the writing of the Book "Show Me The Man".....

It has been stated by Rushlight that; 'the DVDs' will be available for viewing by 'genuine' students of Irish History, not history re-writers......:confused:

Anyone wishing to view the videos is asked to make an appointment....

The Meehan Family have been asking Joe Graham to allow us a viewing since March 10th 2008? However, he has denied us access but is now proposing to allow 'genuine' students of Irish History, not history re-writers to view the same tapes?

Is that not a little strange for someone who claims he is against censorship?

author by Roisinpublication date Thu May 15, 2008 16:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In response to an e-mail from Martin Og Meehan

Mr Meehan

I would like to place my piece in its full perspective.

I consider myself as a reader of a highly partisan book concerning your Father written by his friend, Joe Graham. I hold a fondness and admiration for both men above and therefore I am a partisan reader.

I grew up with Rushlight Magazine and I always welcomed its perspective on how things really were, is and might be. Few could challenge this assertion regarding Rushlight and Joe Graham.

In an e-mail to me although numbered 1-8 with no 6 missing you outline in total 6 objections in relation to the author and the book. Which I acknowledge.

I am concerned that you would e-mail me -a stranger - personally rather than list your objections on this or any other public forum.

My genuine concerns arise from subsequent and disturbing actions surrounding the now removed contradictory correspondence that were openly displayed by Joe Graham as the “Final Chapter” on the Rushlight Magazine website and the IRSM board. Actions that commenced after your e-mails and content were divulged relating to among other matters, certain people calling to your house. I do not want these certain people near my home or around my children. I am deeply mindful that a similar pattern might be developing again.

I am genuinely afraid that my family or I might be subjected to similar action or worse simply because I read a book which I considered worthy enough for others to read and I voiced it.

Mr Meehan, I take no pleasure from disagreeing with you concerning the book, “Show Me the Man” which I still consider a sincere, favourable and gentle endeavour by your Father’s friend, Joe Graham.

I do not want to privately engage with you on any matter, whether this is the book “Show Me the Man” or indeed any subsequent matters which have surfaced. Please don’t e-mail me again.

Many families have not endorsed books concerning their Irish Republican dead and they have done so with dignity. Bobby Sands family is one that I immediately recall and I still read this book. Others vehemently refuted with dignity Richard O Rawe’s book “Blanketmen” and I still read this book.

I regard reading books a peaceful pastime which is enlightening and enjoyable. I encourage my children to read Rushlight and “Show Me the Man” for the same reasons.

Thanking you


author by Joe Graham - Rushlight Magazinepublication date Thu May 15, 2008 19:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Roisin, thank you so much for your very pleasant comments and I am very pleased you enjoyed the book , at present it is being read throughout the world and I am receiving wonderful feed back on it. I am also pleased that it reaches out to a younger generation of reader. We must never forget our past and those who manfully stood up for equality and total Civil rights. Rushlight Magazine in its 40 years has always strove to interest the younger reader. For many years my daughter Deborah contributed greatly with her articles on our colourful history and particularly the heroines of 1798, my son Sean , now an award winning photographer contributed photographs to the site from a young age. And at present my grandson Joseph, aged 14, has joined the staff of Rushlight Magazine , as a photographer, this is Sean’s son and forgive me if I appear to be bragging , he recently won a young photographers award, there I go, the doting grand father , ha. ha . and my Grand daughter, Daniella is presently posting in some pages in the site. I so agree with you that children should be encouraged to read, and yes like you suggest , read good books. So yes there is no doubt Rushlight Magazine will go on and on . Once again thank you for your kind comments.

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