herald

Friday 19 December 2014

'IRA didn't threaten to kill Dave Allen – we were fans and watched in prison'

HIS enemies included the Catholic Church, TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse and the establishment – but Irish comedian Dave Allen never had anything to fear from the IRA.

The news comes after a BBC documentary Dave Allen: God's Own Comedian – broadcast last week – alleged the legendary comedian received death threats from the IRA at the height of the Troubles.

Not so, says former IRA man Danny Morrison.

"We loved Dave Allen. When I was imprisoned in Long Kesh, Dave Allen was a major hit with republican prisoners.

"We all loved his show, we particularly loved his anti-clerical material.

"You have to remember that Dave Allen was a subversive in the Seventies.

He was anti-establishment, and you couldn't get more anti-establishment than us, so we identified with him," Mr Morrison told the Herald.

 

Crank

The former national director of publicity for Sinn Fein said he felt "frustrated" last week hearing news reports claiming Allen, who died in March 2005, had been threatened by the IRA during his TV career.

"There is no evidence that any such threat being issued by the IRA. I would have known as editor of the Republican News from 1975, and then editor of An Phoblacht from 1979.

"Now, it could have happened Dave got a crank call from someone pretending to be the IRA, anyone can do that, someone disgruntled because he didn't buy them a drink, and that could have been left him worried.

"But I say again, in jail Dave Allen was light relief for us, and we were proud of Dave as an Irishman who had made it big on British TV," said Mr Morrison. He was such a fan of Allen that he mentioned him in the prologue to his 2002 memoir, All The Dead Voices.

Another former republican prisoner, who asked not to be named, responded with "incredulity" to any death threat against Allen from republicans.

"At the height of the armed struggle the IRA had more on their minds than Dave Allen. we were fans."

Born in Firhouse, Dublin, Allen, real name David Tynan O'Mahoney, became a major star. He died in London in 2005.

hnews@herald.ie

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