The Troubles

"The Troubles " the story is set in Belfast and the North East in 1969.
Seamus Webster and his family flee the riots in Belfast and come to live on Barnstaple Road in North Shields - where he takes up work as a crane driver in Smith's Docks his wife Annie finds a job in the Co-op in Whitley Bay - Seamus is good at DIY and gets lots of work decorating or fitting out new kitchens for people. His father Michael is serving a very long sentence when he is implicated in a
bombing of an army base- his skills as a bomb maker have been passed down to his oldest son and Stephen Mcgill is on the look -out for him as a bombing campaign has begun on mainland Britain. Newcastle has been chosen as the target - can Seamus avoid getting mixed up in this. Read what happens in this tense thriller.


24. 24

The bins outside were full of empty bottles; her mother used to make her food then disappear for a lie down. Janice had been so naïve she hadn’t read the signs but now it all seemed to fit. She took another swallow of the bourbon and it seemed to ease the pain inside that she was feeling. She would not let herself go like her mother had done over the years.




Stephen McGill boarded the plane along with Michael O’Leary, and Finbar Kelly. The three men could slip in and out of the country because they had never been arrested for anything. They sat quietly along with all the other passengers going to Newcastle airport. The flight would take just over ninety minutes. Stephen had already ordered a pick up from the airport when they arrived. It wouldn’t be long before they found out the whereabouts of Seamus Webster. The plane took off right on schedule and as soon as the all clear was given they unfastened their seat belts. They bought duty free packs of cigarettes and ordered four hot drinks. Stephen had told them that they’d only need one change of clothing each as they weren’t planning on a long stay.’ The contacts that they had in Newcastle were going to put them up. They were all taking direct orders from Stephen McGill. They had been living quite peacefully in the North East for over two years. They all had legitimate jobs; socialised with others and just blended in. Now they were ready to receive orders and carry out what ever they were asked to do.

They were what was known as sleepers; people you would not suspect as being IRA terrorists. None of them were on the police radar and could travel about undetected.

They had access to weapons and bomb making equipment all shipped in under the noses of the port and excise people.

The steward arrived with the hot drinks and they took them. Stephen paid for them then picked up his cup of hot chocolate; he didn’t drink tea or coffee. The girl smiled as she gave Stephen his change then went along the aisle with the drinks trolley asking if anyone else would like a drink. Stephen set down his drink in the holder attached to the seat in front then picked up the newspaper that he’d bought and read the front page. There was a front page headline with the words: PEACE TALKS IN NORTHERN IRELAND NEAR TO COMPLESION SAYS EDWARD HEATH PM.

 Stephen read five pages; he knew that what he was reading was all lies. Gerry Adams had not agreed to any talks. And that the Anglo- Irish Agreement was no further forward than it was six months ago.

He flicked through the sports pages then set the paper down.

Peace talks he laughed – we’ll see about that.’


Once the plane had landed Stephen McGill collected his hand luggage and then headed for the exit. They walked through customs after a security man checked their passports. They went through the revolving door then walked to the bus terminal where Billy Lort was waiting to take them to his apartment. Billy Lort was a club singer on the circuit. His voice was suited to must styles and he could sing Swing, Jazz, Rock, and Country. It depended on the audience. The managers would book him and he would ask what the punters liked. He had a good repertoire of songs and always aimed to please. Tonight he was singing at the Heaton Meadow Field Club.

Billy drove them to his apartment in Newcastle. He lived in some privately owned apartments on the quayside. Billy liked to look over the Tyne each morning it gave him a reason to get up each morning.

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