" 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.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Saturday, June 21, 2003

....the British 'Cairo Gang' in Dublin , 1920 ....

... the operation to wipe out 'The Cairo Gang' was set for Sunday 21st November , 1920 , as it was felt that the GAA match due to take place in Dublin that day would provide 'cover' in which the IRA units could escape in ....

British Army Captain Leonard Price , a Major Dowling , a Captain Keenlyside and two British Army Colonels, Woodcock and Montgomery, were staying in premises at 28 Pembroke Street in Dublin when , at 9am on Sunday 21st November 1920, eight armed IRA Volunteers entered the building ; Price and Dowling were in a room by themselves sorting paperwork when the IRA entered the room and shot them dead - one of the Dublin Volunteers , Andrew Cooney , gathered up the sheets of paper and left the building .

At the same time , British Captain Keenlyside and the two Colonel's found themselves confronted by some of the same IRA unit and a struggle ensued between Keenlyside's wife (no doubt present as part of what her husband probably considered a 'working holiday') and IRA Volunteer Mick O'Hanlon ; another IRA man , Mick Flanagan, pushed Mrs. Keenlyside out of the way and shot her husband dead . (MORE LATER)>


" Take an ordinary prisoner . His main aim is to make his period of imprisonment as easy and as comfortable as possible . The ordinary prisoner will in no way jeopardise a single day of his remission . Some will even grovel , crawl, and inform on other prisoners , to safeguard themselves or to speed up their release . They will comply to the wishes of their captors , and unlike the lark, they will sing when told to and jump high when told to move .

Although the ordinary prisoner has lost his liberty he is not prepared to go to extremes to regain it , nor to protect his humanity . He settles for a short date of release . Eventually , if incarcerated long enough, he becomes institutionalised , becoming a type of machine , not thinking for himself , his captors dominating and controlling him . That was the intended fate of the lark in my grandfathers story ; but the lark needed no changing , nor did it wish to change , and died making that point " .

----'The Lark and the Freedom Fighter' , by Bobby Sands , 1979.
(Each time I read the part about becoming "institutionalised , not thinking for himself, being dominated and controlled " , I picture Martin McGuinness and his colleagues shrivelling up in a grovelling position when sharing the same space with the Unionists or the Brits , in an attempt to appear less threatening - sickening !)


As President of the World Bank , James Wolfensohn , in launching its 2001 edition of its 'World Development Indicators' , pointed out re Cuba -

'Infant mortality rate was eleven in 1000 births in 1990 , then seven in 1000 by 1999 ; the sixth lowest in the world . Mortality rate for under 5's was thirteen per 1000 in 1990 , then eight per 1000 in 1999 - Latin America average 38 . Net primary enrolment for Cuban children reached one-hundred per cent in 1997 , up from ninty-two per cent in 1990 - higher than in the U S . Public spending on education in Cuba is 6.7 per cent of gross national income - the average youth (ages 15-24) illiteracy rate in Cuba is zero (seven per-cent in Latin America).

Public spending on health care accounts for 9.1 per-cent of its GDP (similar to Canada) , and Cuba has a ratio of 5.3 doctors per 1000 population , the highest in the world ' .

For all its faults , the Cuban leadership has apparently recognised at least one golden rule - stroke , fiddle and rip-off the system for your own personal benefit, by all means, but don't hog all the wealth ; let some of it trickle down to Joe Soap ......

Friday, June 20, 2003

.....the British 'Cairo Gang' in Dublin , 1920 .....

This gang of trained assassins settled quitely in bording houses and hotels in Dublin, and set about compiling a 'hit-list' of Irish Republicans for assassination : but the IRA were one step ahead of them .....

A Sergeant Mannix of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force,stationed at Donnybrook, was an IRA agent, and obtained the names and addresses of all the 'Gang' members and passed the list on to his IRA contact, Frank Thornton. A situation then developed that 'The Cairo Gang' were monitoring the movements of the IRA members that they intended to assassinate while being monitored themselves by the IRA Intelligence Department !

The Dublin Brigade of the IRA and the IRA Intelligence Department decided to work together on a plan to wipe out 'The Cairo Gang' , and a meeting was held at which Michael Collins , Dick McKee , Liam Tobin , Peadar Clancy , Tom Cullen , Frank Thornton and Oscar Traynor were present : the operation was to take place on Sunday morning, 21st November 1920 , as the then Leinster champions, Dublin and Tipperary, were to play in a GAA match, and large crowds would be in Dublin for the occasion, providing 'cover' for the IRA teams to escape in . (MORE LATER)>


"..... the lark refused , and the man became angry and violent . He began to pressurise the lark to sing , but inevitably he received no result . So he took more drastic steps . He covered the cage with a black cloth , depriving the bird of sunlight . He starved it and left it to rot in a dirty cage , but the bird still refused to yield . The man murdered it .

As my grandfather rightly stated , the lark had spirit - the spirit of freedom and resistance . It longed to be free , and died before it would conform to the tyrant who tried to change it with torture and imprisonment . I feel I have something in common with that bird and her torture, imprisonment and final murder . She had a spirit which is not commonly found , even among us so-called superior beings, humans " .

----Bobby Sands, 3rd February , 1979 .


In an 'Editorial' comment published on 6th May , 2001 (page 16), 'The Sunday Business Post' stated -

" The H-Block prisoners , and in particular the hunger-strikers, were people of extraordinary calibre and commitment, no less than the freedom fighters of earlier years that are celebrated as the heroes of our limited independence " .

---- And it should also be noted that Bobby Sands and the other hunger-strikers did not join or support the policies of the SDLP - the Provos today have policies similar to (if not borrowed from) the SDLP , yet the Provos still claim that Sands and the other men died for what Adams and Family are up to now . Each of the 22 hunger-strikers supported the use of arms to overthrow British rule and establish Irish democracy : Provisional Sinn Fein has condemned the use of armed struggle against British rule.

The Provos have retreated from the struggle , an indication that they have been purchased by partition.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Serving British soldiers , former British soldiers, RIC members and ex-members, carpenters, plumbers, electricans, landlords(and landladies), servants , busdrivers and taximen , businessmen and women , postmen and housewives - and the IRA ; all the above, and others, combined their knowledge and skills to great effect on the morning of Sunday, 21st November , 1920 : it was on that morning , 83 years ago, that thirteen senior British intelligence officers were executed in Dublin ......

The IRA Intelligence Department at that time was an extremely efficient machine, run by Michael Collins , and the British were well aware of that fact ; Sir Henry Wilson wanted it and Collins eliminated , and sanctioned the use , in Ireland, of 'The Cairo Gang' , a unit of British agents which specialised in political assassinations - they got their name , and their reputation, from 'hits' in the Middle East, carried out on the instruction of Wilson and others in Westminster.

'The Cairo Gang' lived quietly in boarding houses and hotels in Dublin , never drawing attention to themselves, and set about compiling a 'hit-list' of Irish Republicans for assassination ; the IRA , however, were one step ahead of them ...... (MORE LATER)>


" My Grandfather once said that the imprisonment of the lark is a crime of the greatest cruelty because the lark is one of the greatest symbols of freedom and happiness . He often spoke of the spirit of the lark relating to a story of a man who incarcerated one of his loved friends in a small cage.

The lark , having suffered the loss of her liberty, no longer sung her little heart out, she no longer had anything to be happy about . The man who had committed the atrocity, as my grandfather called it, demanded that the lark should do as he wished : that was to sing her heart out , to comply to his wishes and change herself to suit his pleasure or benefit . The lark refused , and the man became angry and violent ...... "

----'The Lark and the Freedom Fighter' , by Bobby Sands - first published on 3rd February , 1979. (MORE LATER)>


At their foundation in 1986, and since then , the 'Progressive Democrats' (PD's) stated that their intention was to reform the libel laws, abolish the Free State Senate, eliminate God from the Free State Constitution , to end the dual mandate and to curtail Free State ministerial pensions until members had either reached 55 years of age or left Leinster House ; and the result of this 'wish list' ... ?

---- the 'dual mandate' issue is being discussed now (as is a legal action against the proposed changes) , but the libel laws are still used by the media as a reason not to expose their buddies in the political and business worlds (save for the odd bone thrown to the public dogs), the Free State Senate is still in existence and still used by the politicians , including the PD's, as a 'holding centre' for their friends while they attempt to get their'career' back on track ,elected politicians (again including the PD's) continue to receive pensions from their previous political positions , and God ....well , they all think they're him (or her) !

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

....released from the Free State internment camp at the North Dublin Union in 1924 , Katie O'Connor was elected leader of Clann na nGael , a position she was to hold for almost fifty years ......

On one of her visits to England in the late 1920's , in a hall in Gay Street in Liverpool, the 'Countess Markievicz' branch of the Clann was established ; Katie O'Connor and two other Clann leaders, Cissie Cunningham and Kathleen McLaughlin, became firm friends with the 'Markievicz' membership, especially the O/C , Kathleen Walsh and sisters Rita and Kathleen McSweeney .

It was members of Clann na nGael that organised the first van-load of supplies for the nationalist population of Belfast, and other areas, following the August 1969 pogroms. In the 1970's, Katie O'Connor stepped down as Clann leader (her replacement was Maura Lyons) but Katie did not end her support for the Movement - she assisted the IRA and worked with the prisoners organisation, 'An Cumann Cabhrach' (now 'Cabhair').

On 11th January , 1983, at 83 years of age, Katie O'Connor died ; another patriot whose name is not as well known as it should be - she spent sixty-seven years as a 'dissident' and a 'terrorist' . Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.


".....don't let them beat you . I need to hear those voices. They anger the monster. It retreats. The voices scare the devils. Sometimes I really long to hear those voices. I know if they shout louder they will scare the monster away and my suffering will be ended. I remember , and I shall never forget, how this monster took the lives of Tom Ashe , Terence MacSwiney , Michael Gaughan , Frank Stagg, and Hugh Coney , and I wonder each night what the monster and his black devils will do to me tomorrow .

They always have something new. Will I overcome it ? I must. Yes, I must . Tomorrow will be my seven hundred and fortieth day of torture - an eternity. Yes, tomorrow I'll rise in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. Yes, tomorrow I'll fight the monster and his devils again ! ".

-----' I Fought a Monster Today' , by Bobby Sands, first published 0n 7th October , 1978.


" Subject to the justification by overriding considerations of public interest , a journalist shall do nothing which entails intrusion into private grief and distress. A journalist shall strive to ensure that the information that he/she disseminates is fair and accurate , avoid the expression of comment and conjecture as established fact and falsification by distortion , selection or misrepresentation " .

------ the 'Code of Conduct' issued by the 'National' Union of Journalists : Bryan Dobson , and all the others who have'nt been collared yet , take note .....

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

..... like all other members of Clann na nGael , and its leadership, Katie O'Connor opposed the Treaty of December 1921 , and took the Republican side in the Civil War ; there was no split in the Clann over this issue .....

Katie O'Connor was jailed in Kilmainham in the autumn of 1922 and was subjected to degrading treatment by her Free State captors : she was stripped naked and jeered at by the Staters , who delighted in terrorising their 22 years-young female prisoner. She was the youngest of the women political prisoners , and was transferred along with other female prisoners to the Free State internment camp at the North Dublin Union Workhouse .

When released two years later (1924), Katie O'Connor was elected leader of Clann na nGael and, from then until well into the 1940's ,she travelled throughout Ireland and England setting up branches of the organisation (she was to hold her leadership position for almost fifty years)...... (MORE LATER)>


"..... Monsters do not exist . Nor do devils. There cannot be so many devils . I'm mad . Yes , that's it ; I'm insane. But my pain , suffering, and grief are real . It must be all real . No, I'm right , I know I'm right . I must resist, I have nowhere to run . My tomb may be my grave . I'm surrounded by a barbed wire jungle . The monster roars at me : ' You shall never get out of here . If you don't do as I say I shall never release you . ' I refuse.

My body is broken and cold . I'm lonely and I need comfort . From somewhere afar I hear those familiar voices which keep me going: 'We are with you, son . We are with you . Don't let them beat you ' " .

------- Bobby Sands, 7th October , 1978. (MORE LATER)>


.....the 'famine' of 1877-1878 in the North-Western provinces of India killed 1.3 million people when the harvest failed and surplus grain had been exported to Britain and southern India (shades of the Irish 'famine')......

Salt in their diet could have saved many people : sixty-three per cent of deaths were ascribed to fever and bowel complaints that could have been alleviated by salt , but still the British pressed these provinces for their salt tax and continued their bounty on any salt smugglers. The 'Great Hedge' was of a scale to be comparable to the Great Wall of China. Ghandi organised a 'salt march' in 1930 ; he marched 241 miles to the coast at Dandi , picked up a lump of salt and gave it away without paying taxes - millions followed his example and done the same , thus undermining British 'authority' in the country .

India , like so many other countries, has had its taste of British mis-rule ; Ireland continues to experience that 'bad taste' .....

Monday, June 16, 2003

At the funeral of the Fenian leader Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin , in August 1915, a fifteen-years young girl , from Henrietta Street in Dublin, was moved by the scenes she witnessed ......

One year later, that girl , Katie O'Connor , now aged 16, involved herself in the Easter Rising carrying messages between the different rebel garrisons , and the following year she joined Clann na nGael , the Irish Republican girl scout organisation ( which had been founded by the Kelly sisters in 1910).

During the Tan War (1919-1921) Katie O'Connor was a dispatch carrier and , like all other members of Clann na nGael, she opposed the Treaty of December 1921 , and took the Republican side in the Civil War (there was no split in the Clan over this issue) ...... (MORE LATER)>


"... but the monster does not kill me. I often wonder why not ? But each time I face it, death materialises before me. The monster keeps me naked . It feeds me. But it did'nt feed me today because it had tried so hard to defeat me and failed . This angered it once more, you see. I know why it won't kill me. It wants me to bow before it, to admit defeat .

If we don't beat it soon it will murder me . Of this I am certain. It keeps me locked up in a dark smelly tomb and it sends its devils to keep me on edge , to keep the torture going . Each time the door of my tomb opens , the black devils attack me ! They nearly won yesterday . It was inhuman . They beat me into unconsciousness . I think -'is this really happening to me ?' and 'can this happen in this day and age?' " .

---- 'I Fought a Monster Today' , by Bobby Sands , October 1978 . (MORE LATER)>


.... the British 'customs line' in India was over 2,300 miles long , and was guarded by 12,000 men - it was a massive hedge of native trees and bushes, bolstered with rocks when vegetation became too patchy ; it was a ruthlessly policed barrier that cut off an affordable supply of an absolute necessity of life for Indian people : salt !

Famine is common in India and salt depletion is often the fatal ingredient in illness caused by malnutrition - the 'famine' of 1877-1878 in the North-Western provinces killed 1.3million people when the harvest failed and surplus grain had been exported to Britain and southern India (shades of the Irish 'famine') ....... (MORE LATER)>

Sunday, June 15, 2003

.....ex-British Army Quartermaster Sergeant Harry Timothy Quinlisk, from Waterford , Ireland, made it his business to mix in Irish Republican circles ; Michael Collins refused his request to join the IRA as a training officer , and Quinlisk then contacted the British Under-Secretary , claimimg to have information on Collins and the IRA ; there was a £10,000 reward on offer from the British for information leading to the capture of Collins , and Quinlisk was determined to claim it ......

A meeting was duly arranged at Dublin Castle between the representatives of the British administration in Ireland and Quinlisk - however , the IRA had people working for them in the Castle and were notified immediately that Quinlisk had been in contact with the British Under-Secretary. An IRA investigation into the contacts uncovered a telegram and a copy of a despatch which confirmed that Quinlisk was an informer ; arrangements were made to deal with him .

In February , 1920, Quinlisk was 'inadvertently' made aware that Michael Collins was staying in Cork , and went there himself to confirm it ; on 18th February , 1920, IRA Volunteers from Ballyphehane in County Cork shot him dead .

These days , if known (so-called) Irish Republicans meet with representatives of the British administration in Ireland they are praised as 'peace-makers' : but look who's doing the praising ......


" When I resist , it does'nt understand . You see it does'nt even try to comprehend why I resist . 'Why don't you give in to me ?' it says . 'Give in ! Give in to us !' the monster's army jibes . My body wants to say: 'Yes, yes,do what you will with me . I am beaten , you have beaten me'. But my spirit prevails . My spirit says: 'No , no, you cannot do what you want with me . I am not beaten. You cannot do what you want with me . I refuse to be beaten' .

This angers the monster . It goes mad . It brutalises me to the point of death . But it does not kill me . I often wonder why not ........ " .

----- 'The writings of Bobby Sands' : above article first published on 7th October , 1978 . (MORE LATER).


THE BRITISH IN INDIA .......

.... did not succeed in grabbing all of the Indian landmass , and in the princely states to the west of the country , the last descendants of the Mughal emperors were still clinging on to the fading vestiges of their glory . The British declared that goods passing from the autonomous states into 'British-controlled' territory were subject to custom duties (!) and so a 'customs line' was established , stretching across the whole of India -- an area, which, at the time (1869), extended from the Indus to the Mahanadi in Madras ; over 2,300 miles long ...... (MORE LATER)>