Council education chief quits over IRA revelations
A council education chief quit today after admitting she worked with the IRA in the 1970s.
Conservative councillor Maria Gatland resigned as a cabinet member on Croydon Council after being exposed as the author of a "kiss and tell" book about the provisionals.
The book described how, among other tasks, she acted as an interpreter for the movement on an arms-buying trip to Europe.
The council appears to have been unaware of her past because the book was published in 1973 under her maiden name, Maria McGuire.
A spokeswoman for Croydon Council said today: "The council has been advised that Maria Gatland has resigned as cabinet member for children, young people and learners.
"This follows emerging news of her connection to the Provisional IRA - which has come as a complete shock to Croydon.
"Officers understand she has been urged to resign from the council. It is also understood that urgent steps are being taken to replace her as cabinet member."
Ms Gatland's book - To Take Arms: My Year With The IRA Provisional - was described in a review in Time magazine in 1973 as a "kiss and tell story" about her relationships with the movement.
It was written after she became disillusioned with the provisionals, and fled to England. The turning point was apparently when 20 bombs were detonated in Belfast on 21 July, 1972, killing 11 people and injuring more than a hundred.
"Almost for the first time, I wondered about the crippled and the widowed and the lives that had been changed forever," she wrote.
She is believed to have been sentenced to death by the IRA as a result.
Ms Gatland's activities when in her 20s only emerged after cryptic clues in a public meeting yesterday.
The Croydon Advertiser reported that Peter Latham, a leader of the local Save Our Schools campaign, referred to her as "Councillor McGuire".
Apologising and suggesting he was a bit mixed-up, Dr Latham added that he was a devotee of Irish history and had been reading a book about the IRA which "you, Councillor Gatland, might have heard about as you are Irish".
According to the newspaper, Ms Gatland has been suspended by the local authority's ruling Conservative group pending an investigation.
"I have resigned. I am not prepared to say anything more at this stage," she told the Advertiser.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...