" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



IRISH BLOG AWARDS 2017 - ooops! It seems that our entry application was "not completed in time to be considered.." (?) and, as such, we are not now in the running. But we wish all the best to the successful entrants and to the organisers, and we hope all goes well for them on the day!


Saturday, March 29, 2003

In 1974 , a mass break-out from Long Kesh prison camp had been organised , but had to be postponed after a large part of the camp was set on fire by the POW's on the night of October 16th that year......
After the trouble in the camp, and with the tunnel not having been discovered by the British , it was agreed that the escape plan should stand - early November (1974) was chosen as the time to put the plan into action. On November 6th , 1974, in Cage Five of Long Kesh prison camp, the plan was outlined ~ the tunnel led from that Cage to the fields on the camp's farm , close to the perimeter fence ; on leaving the tunnel , the escapees would have to crawl through rolls of barbed-wire and then climb over the Camp's outer wire fence . IRA units had been notified to collect the escapees at an arranged rendezvous point and drive them to safe houses where the POW's were expected .
Thirty-three men went into the Cage Five tunnel but, when the first few emerged from same in the field , they were spotted by a patrol of British soldiers in a jeep ; each escapee knew that the element of surprise was gone and their chances now of success were slim , but all those who could exit the tunel made a run for it just the same . The British soldiers immediately raised the alarm as the POW's scattered , running through a ditch and crawling through coils of barbed-wire ; the British troops in the jeep opened fire without warning , and IRA Volunteer Hugh Cooney was badly wounded .
By this time , some of the British soldiers from the jeep had made it to the mouth of the tunnel and threatened to shoot the men still emerging from same unless they lay down .
Requests for a doctor or a priest to attend the dying Hugh Cooney , who was in a ditch, were refused and, indeed, the recaptured POW's later spoke of how the British soldiers standing over Cooney had urinated over the dying man . British Army re-inforcements, with dogs, were by this time searching the area and those escapees that were found had the dogs set on them . When they were returned to the camp , the POW's were thrashed with batons , .......... (MORE LATER)>>

In the late 1960's/ early 1970's , the ' security ' of the Six Counties was left in the hands of the British Army Command in Belfast , under General Freeland ( ! ) , a veteran colonial soldier renowned for his command of the MAU MAU campaign in Kenya ~ in other words , the Brits felt it was time to get even tougher with the natives ......
In 1979 , British Army Captain Mike Biggs told listeners on BRM Radio - "Northern Ireland(sic) is a problem , a problem that we started ..... " ~ and it's not finished yet , Mike...
In 1993 , the Free State administration spent 410 million punts on on their Army , which included 135 million punts on so-called ' border security ' ~ the Brits impose it on us , and the Free Staters help pay for it ! " Take it down from the mast ........ "

Friday, March 28, 2003

One of the earliest escapes from Long Kesh prison took place in September 1973 , two years after it first opened . IRA Volunteer John Francis Green walked out of the camp dressed as a Catholic priest !
Following the introduction of internment in August 1971 , the internees were initially held in Magilligan Prison in County Derry and on the Maidstone prison ship , moored in Belfast Lough . In September that year (1971) the majority of those held were moved to Long Kesh , a disused Second World War British Army airfield near Lisburn , County Antrim . Here they were housed in nissen huts in 21 cages surrounded by a huge barbed-wire perimeter fence .
Eventually , sentenced prisoners were transferred to Long Kesh and the cages were divided between republican and loyalist internees and sentenced prisoners . On the night of October 16th , 1974 , in protest over conditions , the sentenced prisoners and internees burnt a large part of the camp , destroying sentry towers and most of the huts . After CS gas was dropped on the detainees from a helicopter , a large force of British troops entered the camp and , in the riot which followed, the POW'S were severely assaulted . They were then returned to the various cages , moving into make-shift accommodation . The burning of Long Kesh camp on that October night in 1974 meant that a plan to escape , which was by then finalised, had to be postponed - a mass break-out had been organised via a tunnel out of Cage Five , and dozens of IRA men from that cage were ready to go .........
(MORE LATER)>>

' Number-crunchers ' reading this may find the following information interesting and , hopefully, bring up the subject at their next social gathering(which could very well be their last such outing....) ~
In September 1971(after internment) a MORI Opinion Poll in Britain found that 59 per cent of those polled wanted their troops out of the Six Counties ;
In December 1975 , a GALLUP Poll found that 64 per cent wanted their troops out /
February 1977 , GALLUP 53% / May 1978 , GALLUP 53% / September 1978 GALLUP 55% /
November 1980 'WEEKEND WORLD' Poll 50% / April 1981 MARPLAN 58% /May '81 MORI 59%
August 1981 GALLUP 54% / May 1984 MORI 53% / January 1987 MORI 61% / Nov '87 MARPLAN 40%
March 1988 MORI 50%/ December 1989 HARRIS 51%/ December 1990 BRITISH SOCIAL ATTITUDES -
59% / October 1991 MORI 61% / March 1992 MORI 54% .
....and the British claim to be in the Six Counties because a majority of people want them there !

Thursday, March 27, 2003

~ all six men( the three IRA 'Gardai' and their 'prisoners' ) were admitted into Mountjoy Jail ;
Once inside , the warders were over-powered and one of their master-keys was taken . The three'Gardai' and 'prisoners' made their way un-challenged through the series of gates and passageways and freed 19 IRA prisoners . The twenty-five men , escorted by three of their number dressed in Gardai uniform, again bluffed their way past the confused jail staff and made it safely to the street ( included in those that walked to freedom that night were Jim Killeen , Michael Carolan and David Fitzgerald) .
A number of cars had been arranged to take the escapees away , but only one car turned up (driven by taxi driver Tom Finlay) and had parked on the North Circular Road , outside the prison. This car loaded-up with as many men as it could fit in and sped off ; the rest of the IRA men escaped on foot . Within less than an hour the area around the prison was sealed off by Free State military and police but it was too late - the twenty-five men were already in safe houses .
This event took place on November 25th , 1925 , and proved highly embarrassing to the Cosgrave Free State administration : it was not the only time they were to be embarrassed .........

.........the cost of loading their tenants on a ship to Canada was £4 per person , compared with a cost of £7 per person per year for tenants sent to the workhouse , a sum the ' landlord' would have been liable for ; hundreds died making the passage to Canada ....
The local Catholic Bishop claimed that another 3,060 people were evicted , and that most of those died on the roadside, trying to live on the bogland or in the workhouses . On November 2nd , 1847 , Major Mahon was shot dead because he had overseen the eviction of a whole town . The Mahon family offered to let the tenants come back if informants came forward , and two men were later hanged in Roscommon Square on the strength of fake confessions which the Mahon family had printed up . An estimated one million people died and 1.3 million people emigrated during the years of The Great Hunger .
The above is just one incident among many that the Irish people were put through during those years ...

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Through contacts inside Mountjoy Jail , Sean Russell, before he was arrested , had located a twenty-minute ' gap ' when internal secirity was slack , and had built the escape-plan to suit same ~
It was proposed by the escape committee that six IRA Volunteers , three disguised as Free State Gardai and the others as prisoners , would bluff their way into the prison , hold up the warders and the sentries and release their comrades . Three Garda uniforms had already been procured and false paper-work had been forged , 'stamped' and signed - transport had also been arranged . On the evening of November 25th , 1925 , George Gilmore and five IRA comrades met in a house in Drumcondra , Dublin , and held a final rehearsal of their roles ; three of them changed into Garda uniforms and , as well as the forged committal orders , armed themselves with revolvers . All six then drove to Mountjoy Jail .
At the prison gates , ' Sergeant Ryan ' ( George Gilmore) and 'Gardai Shelly' and 'Malone' informed the prison staff that their three 'prisoners' would be serving a three-month prison sentence for poaching in Wicklow ~ all six were admitted to the jail ...... (MORE LATER)>>

One of the most harrowing tales still remembered in this country from the times of ' An Gorta Mor' ('The Great Hunger') is that of British Major Denis Mahon , the 'landlord' of Strokestown Park in County Roscommon ~
Major Mahon inherited the estate after his cousin , Lord Hartland , was declared to be insane . At the time , the estate consisted of 9,000 acres on which thirteen-thousand people lived , but later , in 1847, it expanded to 27,500 acres when the Major's daughter married a Roscommon landowner . The Major employed another cousin , John Ross Mahon , as the land agent for the estate , and he drew up a memorandum saying that due to the potato blight, the growing of potatoes should be replaced by oats . But , since oats required 12 acres and potatoes only one acre per family for subsistence , he estimated that two-thirds of the tenants had to be evicted or ' made ' to emigrate . The Mahon family hired charter ships to assist the emigration to Canada of about 1,000 of their tenants - this cost £4 per person , instead of supporting those evicted in the workhouse , which would have cost over £7 a year , a sum the 'landlord' would have been liable to pay - hundreds died making the passage ....... (MORE LATER)>>

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

On November 25th , 1925 , an event took place in Dublin which was highly embarrassing to the Free State ( Cosgrave) administration , and a spectaculat propaganda coup for the IRA ; six IRA Volunteers disguised as Gardai (police) and prisoners managed to free 19 of their comrades from Mountjoy Jail ~

After the Civil War ended in May 1923 , republican prisoners were led to believe that their release was imminent - however , they soon realised that that was not the case , and a mass hunger-strike by republican prisoners and internees in camps and jails throughout the island began . In December that year (1923) , the internees and the women political prisoners were released and , by the end of 1924 , all of the sentenced IRA prisoners had been set free .
The IRA began to re-group in 1925 , and the Free State regime once more began to imprison large numbers of republicans . David Fitzgerald and Jim Killeen , two IRA Officers , were arrested and put in Mountjoy Jail ; the O/C of the Dublin Brigade , Mick Price, and the IRA's Director of Intelligence , Michael Carolan, along with Sean Russell , set about organising a jail-break from Mountjoy but , before the plan could be finalised , both Carolan and Russell were arrested .
Mick Price and George Gilmore took over the operation ; they were aware that Mountjoy Jail was now more or less being run as a ' civilian' jail , but also knew that there was a light contingent of armed Free State military present . Through contacts inside the jail , Russell, before he was arrested, had located a twenty-minute 'gap' when internal security was slack , and had built the escape-plan to suit same ........ (MORE LATER)>>

Khalid succeeded Faisal to the throne as ruler of Saudi Arabia , and ruled from 1975 to 1982 . King Fahd once lost £8 million in one evening's 'play' in Monte Carlo , in 1962 . He has seven huge palaces in Saudi Arabia worth at least $11 billion , and also has a 100-room palace in Marbella , another fitted out for 18th century French kings outside Paris , a third with 1,500 telephone lines in Geneva and a huge house near London which cost £30 million to refurbish ! He has a flying palace , a Boeing 747 fitted with a sauna , a lift , chandeliers , gold bathroom fixtures and gold tooth-brushs .....
When he travels , his Boeing 747 is followed by another for his entourage , and three 707's to carry the 'Royal' party's luggage . No fewer that fifty members of the ruling family are billionaires . Political parties are illegal in Saudi Arabia , as is the right to peaceful assembly .
So - Bush , Blair and our own lap-dog Ahern ~ if corrupt regimes are in your sights ............

Monday, March 24, 2003

In 1941 , a ' witness ' was beaten by Free State detectives into agreeing to give incriminating statements against two Irish Republicans who were being charged with the execution of an informer ( George Plant was one of the men) but , on the day of the ' trial ' , in the Special Court , the 'witness' refused to co-operate with the system and the 'trial' collapsed . George Plant was , as expected, immediately re-arrested and Gerry Boland(the Fianna Fail Justice Minister) transferred the case from the Special Court to the Special Military Court , where the only sentence was death and the verdict could not be appealed .
De Valera , like the good vindictive Free Stater he was , wanted to ensure the demise of his former comrades and , in an unprecedented manipulation of the legal system , issued an ' Emergency Powers Order' in December 1941 , which was retrospective and provided for the acceptance of ' witness ' statements in evidence even if they had been withdrawn and even though the people who had originally made them were not present in court !
At his second ' trial ' , George Plant was found guilty , sentenced to death and executed in March 1942 . Today , courtesy of the 1998 Stormont Treaty (' Good Friday Agreement ') , those convicted of 'offences' similar in nature to those of George Plant and his comrades , are denied political status and labelled as ' dangerous criminals' by Free State administrations . Those that signed-up , supported and campaigned for that Treaty in 1998 knew that those still fighting against the British presence would be thus labelled but , like Dev , were prepared to turn on their former comrades ......

.......one of Ibn Saud's sons , the Crown Prince, built a palace for $10 million , knocked it down when it was finished because he did'nt like it , and built a second one on the same site for $30 million ! Another son drove a Cadillac until it ran out of petrol , gave it away and bought another one which had a full tank ......
Ibn Saud's eldest son and heir , Saud , ruled from 1953 for eleven years , and squandered ten's of millions of dollars on trivialities such as the use of 25,000 light bulbs in the garden of his palace . In the early 1960's , Saud's palace was using 4,000 eggs , 200 chickens and 30 lambs daily . In 1964 , Saud was replaced by his younger brother , Faisal , who ruled for eleven years until he was assassinated by an irate nephew for non-political reasons , in 1975 . Khalid succeeded Faisal to the throne , and ruled from 1975 to 1982 .......... (MORE LATER) >>

Sunday, March 23, 2003

....the ' Emergency Powers Act' of September 1939 gave the new Free State justice Minister Gerry Boland powers to intern suspected members of the IRA and suspected republican sympathisers .
However , the 53 internees held in Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin had to be released in December 1939 when ' Part Six ' of the June 1939 'Offences Against the State Act' was found to be unconstitutional in the Free State High Court and , in an attempt to remedy that situation and to close -off what the Free Staters considered to be a 'loop-hole' in the legislation, the Fianna Fail administration used the excuse of the Magazine Fort raid , which took place just before Christmas 1939 , and the fatal shooting of a garda in Cork at the beginning of January 1940 , to justify the introduction of even more draconian legislation ~ in early January 1940 , the Free State administration rushed through the 'Emergency Powers (Amendment) Act 1940' giving them the power to intern without trial . Because of the "state of emergency" which existed , the new legislation could not be challenged in the courts !
Hundreds of republicans were arrested and interned in a new internment camp , ' Tin Town' , at the Curragh in County Kildare . Three detectives were shot in Dublin in August 1940 , two fatally, and the 'Emergency Powers (Amendment) Act' was altered with the right to appeal against the findings of the military tribunals removed . Within a month , Paddy McGrath and Tom Harte , who had been arrested in the raid in which the two detectives were killed , had been convicted and executed in Mountjoy Jail . Between the years 1940 and 1944 , a further four prisoners were to meet the same fate .......... (MORE LATER)>>

Saddam Hussein lives a life of luxury and , should he survive his present troubles , will no doubt continue to do so ; meanwhile , his people scratch an existence on rubbish-tips and hand-outs from Hussein's local gangsters ~it is a life-style which he probably picked-up from his near neighbours :
In Saudi Arabia , in 1946 , a mere $150,000 was spent on building schools , while $2Million was spent on the 'Royal' garage ! Ibn Saud , the first King and founder of today's Saudi Arabia , once turned down a request from his son Tallal to build a hospital , telling him to " do something useful instead" ....
In 1950 , the funds for development projects (roads , bridges etc) were held up so that the family could spend the money on a lavish simultaneous wedding for six of Ibn Saud's sons. Ibn Saud personally owned hundreds of slaves and has hundreds of wives who , between them , have given him 42 sons and , it is said , 125 daughters ! On a state visit to Egypt , he said ~ " This country is full of pretty women . I would like to buy some of them and take them back home . How about $100,000 worth of them ?" ....... (MORE LATER)..........