Martin Dillon has won international acclaim for his unique, investigative works on the Ireland conflict.
Dr. Conor Cruise O’Brien, the renowned historian and scholar, described him as “our Virgil to that inferno.”
The Irish Times hailed him as one of the most creative writers of our time and the Guardian compared him to John Le Carrie and Len Deighton.
Martin Dillon’s trilogy, The Shankill Butchers, The Dirty War & God and the Gun, sold over a quarter of a million copies in the British Isles. His twelve non-fiction works are considered definitive accounts of the conflict.
He began his distinguished career as a newspaper reporter and later became a programme editor with the BBC and a writer/producer with its award winning Timewatch. Throughout his BBC career he campaigned against its flawed interpretations of what constituted balance. He has been a terrorism expert for news outlets in Europe and North America. His play ‘The Squad’ was one of the first about The Troubles and was produced on BBC radio and television by the late Ronald Mason, the esteemed Head of BBC Radio Three Drama.
Dillon’s books include The Enemy Within, an account of the IRA’s terror campaigns in Britain, starting at the outbreak of World War II. Stone Cold was a portrait of a natural born killer and in The Trigger Men he delved into the lives of the most notorious assassins. Dillon exposed the IRA’s secret burials, the use of State-sponsored assassins and the phenomenon of sadistic torture by paramilitaries. He helped prepare the way for peace in Ireland by bringing together Nobel Prize winner, John Hume, and Gerry Adams, the IRA’s political leader. His help and advice were sought by the Margaret Thatcher and John Major governments. As a journalist and writer his life has been intertwined with the history of the Irish Troubles and its darkest days. He is often described as one of the most important voices of the conflict.
In Crossing the Line Merrion Press (August 25, 2017), Dillon recalls his courageous journalistic career spent ‘on the edge’ during the worst years of the modern Troubles. Following his childhood on Belfast’s Falls Road and his wild, rebellious teenage years, Dillon’s move into the world of journalism lead him down dark paths of extreme danger, putting himself in harm’s way to reveal the shocking truths of the conflict.
His astonishing story details his encounters with a roll-call of major political figures, paramilitaries, and Irish literary greats: Conservative Prime Ministers Ted Heath and John Major, John Hume, Gerry Adams, Freddie Scappaticci, John McMichael, Joe Doherty, Denis Johnston, Sean O’Faolain, Ben Kiely, and JP Dunleavy.
Dillon’s memoir is as compelling as it is exhilarating, a roller-coaster of drama, action and emotions, and a riot of revelations on the political and sectarian conflict that rocked Belfast during the 1970s and ’80s. But it’s his former paymasters in the BBC who get both barrels as Dillon launches a scathing attack on the ‘ethics’ of the British state broadcaster, while lifting the lid on the Machiavellian manoeuvres of a unscrupulous Dublin art dealer, with his eye on a lucrative deal.