A Paramilitary's War with Death, Drugs and Demons
When Manny McDonnell was twelve, he awoke to discover British troops surrounding his home in the toughest area of trouble-torn Belfast. Internment had begun and, encouraged by a fiercely Republican mother, he took to the streets with other school kids, throwing bricks, bottles and petrol bombs at soldiers. Jailed at fifteen for having IRA links, he became a unit commander leading deadly missions for the INLA before joining the IPLO, a group so vicious even the IRA ordered it to disband. But his decades of commitment to a free united Ireland turned to disillusion when bombs indiscriminately killed two little boys in mainland Britain. It was a wake-up call and, sickened by the way events were unfolding, McDonnell distanced himself from the Troubles and began to spend more time in Scotland with major gangland players Paul Ferris and Tam 'The Licensee' McGraw. Friendly with both, he then faced difficult choices when the two fell out and became bitter rivals and sworn enemies. Lighting Candles is an astonishing and horrifying exposé of one man's journey through the blood, bombs and bullets of the paramilitaries to the criminal activities of drug-smuggling gangsters. It is also a story of how, no matter what has gone before, it's possible to put the past behind you and begin again.