In the beginning there was little or no co-operation or contact between the RUC and the Gardai. Clarke tells of how he and Special Branch officers in the south began to co-operate in the battle against the Provisional IRA — often without the knowledge of their superiors. This co-operation was to save many lives, and was strengthened as the political situation deteriorated.
The IRA was infiltrated north and south of the border; he tells many hair-raising stories of real events. He recalls how intelligence sources led to the arrest of Gerry Kelly, and the Price sisters, Marion and Dolours, for the 1973 London bombings.
There are other stories: Charlie Haughey confiscating surveillance equipment and using it in his own office; how the SAS operated on both sides of the border and some incidents in which they were involved; Clarke’s involvement with Robert Nairac, an astonishing man; a proposed bombing of the Kevin Street Offices of Provisional Sinn Fein in Dublin which was abandoned. He tells a story about attending an IRA commemoration ceremony and how he and his Garda friend had to wear black berets for that occasion.
In this book Clarke tells tales of what the conflict was really like on the ground, and the extraordinary lengths many brave police officers, north and south, went to in order to bring it to an end.
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