The Trouble with Being Harry Part II
Harry’s story is not widely known and it is a real shame, because it is a pretty interesting tale of the folly of youth biting coming back to haunt you later. Harry’s story is a very uncomplicated story.
Harry Fitzsimmons was a young man of 20 in Belfast when he was imprisoned for being involved with IRA (Irish Republican Army). This is an era that was fully of lads like our Harry. He was not unusual in his antics. He was mixed up with the wrong kids in an age of rebellion. He was allegedly a collaborator in the bombings of the Woodburn House Hotel in Belfast, the Colin Glenn bacon factory, and the Daily Mirror colour plant in 1971 and helping formulate a plot to aid in prison escapees in the Maze Prison. Now picture this, age 20, being with cool kids creating mischief. In America, that primarily amounts to petty crimes if that. Think about that for just one minute. Who among us doesn’t know someone we have encountered in our lives that was in a similar situation? That truly regretted getting mixed up with wrong people at the wrong time.
But the time and place of Harry’s youth in Ireland was not as peaceful. It was an age of political upheaval with conspiracies and plots aplenty. This is what young Harry fell into at the young age of 20. He was arrested and went to jail for his crimes. He was released in 1981, a much wiser and appreciative man with life anew ahead of him.
Now fast forward a couple a years, another uprising of the same kind pops up in Belfast. A new generation (with some old sprinkled in) were arrested again for trying to kill a High Court judge by the name of Basil Kelly using a hijacked Red Cross ambulance. Guilty by association only, he was later released with the charges withdrawn.
Harry having seen the precarious nature of his youthful shenanigans, having seen how easy it was for his name to be connected to current day crimes based on his past history, made a clear break from any passing associations with any of the people who might have been still involved in the ongoing political unrest. He became a quite successful businessman who opened a nightclub called Rumors in West Belfast; then a taxi company called, Ace Taxis and then a petrol station in the same general area.
Finally Harry sold off his petrol station and a few other business holdings on Belfast’s Stewartstown Road. That was in 2006 and he walked away from those endeavors with $2 million Euro. With that money, he went to Calabria, Italy where he used half of the proceeds he got from the sale of his businesses to invest into beachfront developments.
Now does any of this sound criminal yet? Of course not! It is a common story with common reality. Yet this is the basis of the Italian police’s theory of Harry’s ongoing crimes. Would you be able to claim your past had no legally questionable activity? Neither do I and neither do the members of the Italian government, I’m sure. None of us are immune to less than stellar behavior in this life. For we are human, just like our Harry.