" 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 28, 2003

IRA attack on Kilmallock RIC Barracks , 28th May 1920.

In 1867 , the Fenians attacked a British military outpost at kilmallock in County Limerick , but were repelled ; fifty-three years after that event, the Fenians (IRA) decided to burn the outpost (now an RIC barracks) to the ground.....

The barracks , a two-storey, solid masonry structure with steel shuttering , was set back from the road, and housed an RIC garrison of one sergeant and seventeen constables, all armed ; it was known to be a 'tough' building but had one possible weakness - its roof .

A house to the right-hand side of the barracks, which was owned by the Carroll family, was taller than the barracks, and had a 'skylight' in its attic ; .... (MORE LATER)>


" Where the life of the forest receded and fought to guard its flanks and outermost perimeter , a road in its infancy lay hollowed out in the black hardened clay , clustered with machinery . A row of houses appeared beyond, then another , leading to a massive concrete jungle where tiny figures moved to and fro .

There were deck-chairs in the gardens where the sun-worshippers gloated in contentment . A group of young lads played with a garden hose, the cool white jet of water rising into the air before toppling down upon them in a thousand shining little silver drops .

To the right lay Belfast , belching out the sweat of the early morning risers , and the cranes of the shipyard towered towards the cloudless sky ; .... (MORE LATER)>

------ 'I once had a life' , by Bobby Sands, 17th March , 1979.


Peter Robinson and his friends in the RAf have at least one admirer (and no doubt more) in Fine Gael ; in June 1993 , Michael Noonan (ex-FG leader) told 'Hot Press' magazine (16th June , page 44) that , in his opinion, Peter Robinson was "extraordinarily bright, very capable and very different from what his public image is in Ireland . I was impressed by him ."

---- Michael Noonan to join the DUP (in place of that Daniel O'Donnell look-a-like , whasisname ...) ?
---- Peter Robinson to be the next leader of Fine Gael (in place of...eh, the present leader.. whasisname ...) ?

Friday, June 27, 2003

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

.... the thirteen-strong 'Cairo Gang' were executed by the IRA in Dublin on Sunday 21st November , 1920 .....

FOOTNOTE - IRA Volunteer Frank Teeling , who was wounded and captured in a laneway at the back of Lower Mount Street , was sentenced to death - however , he escaped with others from Kilmainham Jail ;

Days after the 'Cairo Gang' were wiped-out , it emerged that Major Callaghan and Colonel Jennings , who were both absent from their digs when the IRA visited , had in fact stayed overnight in a local brothel ! ( I can only presume that they were both with women...) ;

On that Sunday ( 21st November, 1920) , a match took place between Dublin and Tipperary : the 'Black and Tans' came on to the pitch and opened fire on the players and the crowd - fourteen people were killed and sixty injured. The British later said they were fired on first....



" Clusters of timid yellow primroses lined both sides of my avenue . A young rabbit scurried across my path and vanished . Everything was alive and buzzing , but there was peace in the activity of nature . A passing crow cawed but the bees fed undisturbed upon the flowers ,while the refreshing scent of pine carried upon the breeze.

I mastered the twisting rising climb and crossed a clearing of lush green grass, where a solitary young sycamore threw its shadow towards a family of bluebells that flourished by a little trickle of a stream . I sat down upon an earthen mound and gazed down the hillside at the sweeping landscape of deep green and every shade of brown , speckled with orange and yellow and splashed with a million white dots " .

------ Bobby Sands , 17th March 1979 . (MORE LATER)>


At the end of June, 1993 , Peter Robinson (DUP) told news-reporters that "the RAF should wipe out the IRA headquarters in Belfast and Dublin . I do not decry a tough security policy which includes a military response " . Perhaps Peter meant that the RAF should drop a couple of hundred gun-licences over Belfast and Dublin - that was the "military response" that Robinson and Big Ian employed on a hillside , when they paraded their 'Third Force' militia .
That mindset is still there - 'No fenians about the place' (not even the tame ones....).

Thursday, June 26, 2003

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

....one of the leaders of the 'Cairo Gang' , a Major Callaghan, was staying at a guesthouse in Fitzwilliam Square ; he was not there when an IRA unit arrived at the premises , but his colleague , Captain Crawford , was ......

Crawford was held at gunpoint by the Volunteers : however , it was decided that, as he was not the intended target his life would be spared if he left the country within twenty-four hours - Crawford threw some things in a case and left immediately .

Another missed target was a Colonel Jennings , who was staying in the 'Eastwood Hotel' ; when the IRA unit broke in the door of his room,it was empty and there was no sign of him in the hotel - the Volunteers left the premises. A total of 13 British Secret Service executioners known as ' The Cairo Gang ' were themselves executed in Dublin on Sunday 21st November , 1920, by the IRA . The loss of those operatives , and the intelligence material they had accumulated, shook the British establishment to its roots , and highlighted on a global scale the extent of the British 'dirty-tricks' campaign in Ireland. (MORE LATER)>


" The sun hung high above , seemingly like a gaping hole in the still blue sky , out of which the golden light came pouring down like honey to feed the land and ripen the barley , while sending shimmering hazes quivering above the melting tarmacadam surfaces . It was hot and humid, the beads of sweat lined my forehead like an ornate jewel.

I walked along the well-trodden path that lay on the perimeter of the forest and which rose steeply before me . I was in no hurry . I had plenty of time to take in and enjoy the beautiful surroundings . A gentle breeze sighed , sending ripples across an ocean of shining green and rustic brown ferns that lay ahead of me " .

---- ' I Once Had a Life ' , by Bobby Sands, first published on 17th March , 1979 . (MORE LATER)>


A West-Belfast man , Patrick Coogan, joined the British Army and eventually obtained the rank of 'Major' ; he left the B A and became an author . On a publicity tour or somesuch, he was asked a question regarding his background in military service and his opinion on the war in the Six Counties - he replied : " If the British government abided by the will of the majority of the people in the first place , it would not have partitioned the country . Historically, partition has never worked, whether it is in Pakistan , Cyprus or Yemen. It is based on the old principle of 'divide and conquer' " .

----- ' G S ' , from Surrey , please copy !

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

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

...six IRA men left number 22 Lower Mount Street by the back of the house, walking away up a laneway - they were challenged by British Auxiliaries and a gun-battle ensued ; two of the Brits were killed and one Volunteer , Frank Teeling, was wounded and captured . The rest of the IRA unit made good their escape ....

British Captain Bagally , who had made his reputation by presenting 'evidence' in showtrials which led to the executions of the Irish Republicans on 'trial' , was staying in number 119 Baggot Street when, on that Sunday morning, 21st November 1920, three IRA Volunteers (including Sean Lemass, a future Fianna Fail Free State Taoiseach) entered his room and shot him dead .

British Captains McCormack and Wilde were staying in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin's O'Connell Street when a number of men , claiming to be undercover British soldiers with a message to deliver to the two Captains, were shown by the hotel staff to the rooms they were looking for : as each man opened his door he was shot dead.

An IRA unit entered a guesthouse in Fitzwilliam Square to deal with a 'Cairo Gang' leader, British Major Callaghan ; he was booked in at the guesthouse but was not there at that particular moment - his colleague , however, a Captain Crawford, was present and was held at gunpoint by the Volunteers...... (MORE LATER)>


"..... I dare not conclude without finishing my grandfathers story . I once asked him whatever happened to the wicked man who imprisoned , tortured and murdered the lark ?

"Son" , he said , "one day he caught himself on one of his own traps, and no-one would assist him to get free . His own people scorned him, and turned their backs on him . He grew weaker and weaker , and finally toppled over to die upon the land which he had marred with such blood . The birds came and extracted their revenge by picking his eyes out, and the larks sang like they never sang before ".

"Grandfather", I said , "could that man's name have been John Bull ?".

---- Bobby Sands, 'The Lark and the Freedom Fighter' , 3rd February 1979.
(NOTE- Bobby Sands did not write that the Lark came to the rescue of its captor or tried to ease its captor's suffering - in short, the Lark did not 'play ball' with its captor ....).


A correspondent, 'GS from Surrey' , from where he/she called "the mainland" (sic) deposited , or dumped, a vile load of .... comment in my 'guestbook' (bottom of page- still there!) a few days ago , telling me ,amongst other things, of how he/she would have dealt with 'The Maguire Seven' and other such "Irish scum" .

As a rule, I don't reply to that type of contact , but 'GS' was unparalleled in his/her ignorance ; so , here's my reply -
The Maguire Seven , the Birmingham Six , Judith Ward and the Guildford Four ; a total of 18 innocent people (13 men, 3 women and two children) who, between them , spent a total of 216 years in prison . Anne Maguire , a mother of 5 children, was menstruating heavily and denied all toiletries for a week, and was beaten senseless .
Carol Richardson , who did'nt even know she was pregnant , miscarried in Brixton Prison days after her arrest. Pat O'Neill , who had minutes before entered the Maguires house to arrange for a baby-sitter when the police arrived , was told by a cop to swear that he saw a big cardboard box on Maguires table or else he would be done , refused to lie - he served eleven years. On his release , he found his marriage was broken beyond repair and that his six children had left the family home.

So there you have part of their story , 'GS' - not that it will make you think twice or anything . Remember this ; there are over 800 years of similar stories in this country . Deposit some of your vile in a Westminster 'in-box' : you have reason to do that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

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

.... two British Lieutenants , McMahon and Peel (specialists in gathering intelligence) , who had been sent to Dublin from Russia , were working with the 'Cairo Gang' ; they were staying at 22 Lower Mount Street .....

McMahon had a score to settle with the IRA : he had previously shot dead a Sinn Fein member , John Lynch, in the mistaken belief that Lynch was the Divisional Commandant of the 1st Southern Division of the IRA , Liam Lynch . The IRA later shot McMahon in a billiard hall , wounding him, and he wanted revenge ...

The two 'Cairo' men were in different rooms in number 22 Lower Mount Street when the IRA unit was let in ; they entered McMahon's room just as he had picked up his revolver and shot him dead. On hearing the gunfire , Peel locked his door and then blocked it with a piece of furniture - unable to get in , the Volunteers fired more than a dozen bullets through the door , but Peel survived that day .

Na Fianna Eireann (Irish Republican Scouts) were also on Lower Mount Street that Sunday morning , as 'lookouts' ; one of their members ran into number 22 to tell the eleven-person IRA unit that the British Auxiliaries were on the street - five members of the IRA unit left calmly by the front door , the other six men went to the back of the house, out the back-door and walked away up a laneway . These six men were challenged by a number of Auxiliaries and a gun battle ensued - IRA man Frank Teeling was wounded , and two of the Brits, Garnin and Morris, were killed . The wounded Volunteer, Teeling, was captured, but the rest of his unit made good their escape. (MORE LATER)>


" But , dare I say it, similar to my little friend , I have the spirit of freedom that cannot be quenched by even the most horrendous treatment . Of course I can be murdered , but while I remain alive , I remain what I am , a political prisoner of war , and no-one can change that. Have'nt we plenty of larks to prove that ? Our history is heart-breakingly littered with them : the MacSwineys , the Gaughans , and the Staggs. Will there be more in H-Block ?

I dare not conclude without finishing my gradfather's story . I once asked him whatever happened to the wicked man who imprisoned , tortured and murdered the lark ...... " (MORE LATER)>


" Strenuous efforts must be made to bend towards the Unionists , to show them that their civil rights and their religious rights will be respected - EVEN (his emphasis) if that means making internal arrangements that will suit Unionists better than they will suit the rest of us ".

---- Gerry Adams , 'Hot Press' magazine, 19th May , 1993 , page 13 : so we can right an historical wrong by ..eh, carrying on in the manner that the wrong inflicted on us in the first place !

.... why did'nt I think of that ...

Monday, June 23, 2003

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

.....the 'Cairo Gang' member , British Captain Newbury , was shot dead by the IRA as he was half-way out of the window of his room ; his body was left draped over the open window for hours , as the Black and Tans believed it to be booby-trapped.....

At 38 Upper Mount Street , a maid let a number of men in to the building and led them to two rooms ; British Captain George Bennett was in one of the rooms, and British Colonel Peter Aimes was in the other one. Both men were armed and resisted the Volunteers, resulting in a gun-battle which left the two 'Cairo' men dead.

More documentation on IRA members, compiled by the 'Cairo Gang', was found at 28 Earlsfort Terrace , where British Captain Fitzgerald was staying ; he was shot dead on that Sunday morning and the paperwork removed for examination by the IRA Intelligence Department.

Two British Lieutenants , McMahon and Peel , had been brought in by the British from Russia, where they had been involved in gathering intelligence information - they were to do the same job , in Dublin, this time as members of the 'Cairo Gang' . They were staying at 22 Lower Mount Street ...... (MORE LATER)>


" I am now in H-Block , where I refuse to change to suit the people who oppress , torture and imprison me , and who wish to dehumanise me. Like the lark I need no changing . It is my political ideology and principles that my captors wish to change . They have suppressed my body and attacked my dignity. If I were an ordinary prisoner they would pay little , if any, attention to me , knowing that I would conform to their institutional whims .

I have lost over two years' remission . I care not . I have been stripped of my clothes and locked in a dirty , empty cell, where I have been starved , beaten and tortured , and like the lark I fear I may eventually be murdered " . (MORE LATER)>

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


" Don't call it the 'Dail' , it isn't the Dail for which people fought " - so said the speaker from the Jackie Griffith/Mairead Farrell Cumann of Provisional Sinn Fein (motion 150) at their Ard Fheis in 2001 .

" There is nothing wrong with using the word 'Dail'; we don't use the word 'Dail Eireann' - replied PSF Vice President, Pat Doherty . Ah well-that's sorted then ....(the speaker should have known that , as a career politician , Pat would have all the answers.)

Motion 147 called for the rejection "of the term Republican Labour" by PSF leaders when describing their party , but Ard Chomhairle member Micheal MacDonncha said to do so "would restrict our language" ; his fellow full-timers (Micheal works in Leinster House) agreed with his answer and the motion was lost .

So the Provos are "Republican Labour" while the other shower are "Partitionist Labour" : and James Connolly would have nothing to do with either of them .

Sunday, June 22, 2003

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

.... number 28 Pembroke Street in Dublin was the first address visited by the IRA on 21st November 1920 - the five members of the 'Cairo Gang' in the house were shot dead and the list they were working on was removed .....

British Lieutenant McLean , John Caldow (McLean's brother-in-law) and known informer T H Smith were staying at 119 Morehampton Road on that Sunday morning when six armed IRA Volunteers entered the building ; McLean , Caldow and Smith were caught off-guard and escorted to the top of the building , where IRA men Vincent Byrne and Sean Doyle shot them . John Caldow survived that morning and , after receiving medical attention, fled to Scotland (where he had come to Ireland from in order to join the RIC).

British Captain Newbury and his wife were staying at 92 Lower Baggot Street and heard the front door being kicked in - he immediately blocked the door to his room and made a run for the window ; he was half-way out of the window when his door was forced open and Volunteers Bill Stapleton and Joe Leonard shot him dead . His body was left draped over the open window for hours , as the Black and Tans believed it to be booby-trapped . (MORE LATER)>


" This brings me directly back to my own situation : I feel something in common with that poor bird . My position is in total contrast to that of an ordinary conforming prisoner : I am a political prisoner , a freedom fighter . Like the lark , I too have fought for my freedom , not only in captivity , where I now languish , but also while on the outside , where my country is held captive . I have been captured and imprisoned, but, like the lark, I too have seen the outside of the wire cage " .

---- Bobby Sands , 1979 . (MORE LATER)>


The American career criminal John Gotti died from throat cancer in June 2002 , at the age of 61 - he was serving a life sentence for racketeering at the time of his death . A few days ago , in 'The New York Daily News' , his family marked the first anniversary of his death with the words of Irish Hunger-Striker Terence McSwiney , Lord Mayor of Cork -
" It is not those who can inflict the most , but those who can suffer the most, who will conquer " ( I believe it is '....those who can endure the most, who will conquer' , but that's not my point). John Gotti may have been a hero to his family (as indeed any father should be to his children) but to insinuate that he followed in the footsteps of Terence McSwiney is to burst the bounds of possibility and reveal an ignorance of the Irish freedom struggle .

" There can be no peace between wrong and right , between truth and fallacy , between justice and oppression , between freedom and tyranny . Between them there must always be war until the wrong is righted , until justice is achieved , until freedom is won " .

----- Terence McSwiney .

' New York Daily News ' please copy .....