" 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!

Friday, December 03, 2004

IRELAND , JANUARY 15th , 1920 : ELECTIONS .......

....... on 15th March , 1920 , Tomas MacCurtain , the (Irish Republican) Lord Mayor of Cork , was shot dead by a gang of English men - they were members of the RIC and were new recruits to that English police force in Ireland . They were called the Black and Tans by the Irish , because of their 'uniform' - and were a vicious lot .......

A report in the ' Daily News ' newspaper in March 1920 , which was penned by Erskine Childers , stated -

" Take a typical night in Dublin . As the citizens go to bed , the barracks spring to life . Lorries , tanks and armoured search-light cars muster in fleets , lists of objectives are distributed and , when the midnight curfew order has emptied the streets - pitch dark streets - the weird cavalcades issue forth to the attack . A thunder of knocks ; no time to dress or the door will crash in . On opening , in charge the soldiers - literally charge - with fixed bayonets and in full war-kit . "

The 15th January 1920 municipal and urban elections not only saw an Irish Republican Lord Mayor elected in Cork - that same political Office was also conferred on Michael O'Callaghan in Limerick and Tom Kelly in Dublin ; on 6th March , 1921 , Michael O'Callaghan was shot dead in his house by the Black and Tans , in what became known as ' The Curfew Murders ' - because , on that same night (6th March 1921) , the then serving Lord Mayor of Limerick , a Mr. George Clancy (and his wife) were also shot dead in their own house . Tom Kelly took the Free State side after the 1921 Treaty of Surrender, and died in April 1942 .

As mentioned previously in this article , the Brits had hoped that , between the new voting system of proportional representation and their 'banning' of the Sinn Fein organisation , plus the introduction of martial law and the imprisonment and deportation of Irish Republican candidates , that Sinn Fein would do poorly at the 15th January 1920 Elections - but that was not how things turned out .

So ' Plan B ' was put into action ; Westminster called-in British Army General 'Sir' Nevil Macready .......

(MORE LATER).


RELEASE NICKY KELLY .......
By Vincent Browne .

First published in 'Magill' magazine , April 1982 , pages 4 and 5 .
Re-published here in 8 parts .
(4 of 8).

Dr. Samuel Davis , the medical officer at Mountjoy Prison , examined Nicky Kelly the following day . He said in evidence that he found extensive bruising on the left shoulder and scapula ; there was extensive bruising on the upper arm ; the left arm was completely bruised on the outer side , there was a circular bruising on the lateral , or outer surface , of the left forearm and there was circular bruising about two inches in circumference about the wrist on the inner surface .

He found two superficial injuries about an inch in size , over the pectoral area , slightly above the left nipple . Kelly had a large superficial bruise on the outer surface of the right upper arm , measuring seven inches by seven inches and continuing into the back of the right shoulder . There were bruises on both buttocks and also behind the left ear .

There was bruising as well on the front and back of the left thigh .......

(MORE LATER).


THE EXTRADITION FIASCO .......
By Derek Dunne .
First published in 'Magill' magazine , October 1985 , pages 9,10 and 11.
Re-published here in 13 parts.
(6 of 13).

John Patrick Quinn was remanded twice at Horseferry Magistrates Court in March 1985 , the prosecution claiming that the papers had not been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions ; on April 4th 1985 , a police officer told the court that the papers had been sent . Legal counsel for Quinn , Michael Fisher , saw a note in his hand to the effect that " ... the papers were to be sent ..". Magistrate Norma Negus ordered Detective Inspector Barnes to come before the court when this anomaly was pointed out - he was unable to explain-away his subordinate's behaviour . In the event , a further remand for four weeks was granted .

Quinn , in the meanwhile , was classified as an ordinary Category B prisoner ; in the beginning of May 1985 , Detective Barnes asked for a further remand and still no papers had been served on the defence ; the case was adjourned for twenty-four hours and the defence was served with the statements .

However , there was no evidence present which would allow the prosecution to proceed with the charge .......

(MORE LATER).






Thursday, December 02, 2004

IRELAND , JANUARY 15th , 1920 : ELECTIONS .......

....... sentenced to death by a Fianna Fail administration in Leinster House , in June 1940 , Tomas Og MacCurtain had his sentence commuted to one of penal servitude for life , in July 1940 .......

It has since been alleged that a sister of Cathal Brugha's widow , who was then the Reverend Mother of an Armagh Convent , had requested that her 'boss' , Cardinal MacRory , should 'speak to' Eamon de Valera about the case . This , if indeed it did happen , and the fact that Tomas Og's father had actually shouldered a gun alongside many members of the then Fianna Fail administration (before they went Free State , obviously) , saved his life . And that's the end of that 'tangent' on Tomas Og MacCurtain !

Tomas MacCurtain (Snr) , the Lord Mayor of Cork , was shot dead by a gang of masked men on 15th March 1920 ; his killers wore civilian clothes and all spoke with English accents - it later transpired that they were members of the RIC who had been recruited into that British police force in England : they were some of the 7,000 men thus recruited to tackle the IRA .

The quick expansion of the RIC meant that there was not enough of the bottle-green coloured uniforms to go around , so the new recruits were allowed to mix a khaki-coloured trouser or jacket to wear with whatever standard-issue piece of clothing they aready had . They were first seen in County Tipperary and were named , by the Irish , after a famous pack of hunting-hounds in that County - the Black and Tans !

These 'policemen/soldiers' were also issued with black belts and caps , and were a vicious lot .......

(MORE LATER).


RELEASE NICKY KELLY .......
By Vincent Browne .

First published in 'Magill' magazine , April 1982 , pages 4 and 5 .
Re-published here in 8 parts .
(3 of 8).

" ..... on floor , on back , hands stretched backwards . Chair put on palms . (Garda A) sits on chair . Spits on face . Leering . Cried . Frightened . Don't know what they are going to do to me . Very tired , sore , ears ringing , bad headache , stomach sick , afraid of my life . (Garda A) produced black-jack , beaten by (Garda E) on biceps . Left on table . Black lathe 10 inches long , 1 inch in diameter , flexible , swish noise . "Own up , make statement ..." . Beaten above the knee ......."

Dr. Sean O'Cleirigh , an independent doctor , examined Nicky Kelly in Mountjoy Jail hours after this ordeal and gave the following evidence in court : he found extensive bruising on Kelly's outer arms from the shoulder to the elbow ; there were also bruises over the left shoulder blade , over the ribs , over the pubic bone and on his left hip and thigh . The doctor found extensive bruising over the mastoid bone of the left ear , which itself was also bruised . The ear area was also slightly bruised - all of these bruises were tender . He said Kelly was very apprehensive at the time .

The prison doctor then examined Nicky Kelly .......

(MORE LATER).


THE EXTRADITION FIASCO .......
By Derek Dunne .
First published in 'Magill' magazine , October 1985 , pages 9,10 and 11.
Re-published here in 13 parts.
(5 of 13).

The Free State 'Supreme Court' had previously dealth with a case in which a priest , Fr. Brendan Burns , admitted to holding 130 sticks of gelignite for the IRA -

- " It seems to me , " said Justice Finlay in that case in 1974 , " that the safe keeping of explosives for an organisation attempting to overthrow the state by violence is , according to that test , an offence of a political character . "

But prior to John Patrick Quinn's extradition , there had been other developments - Quinn is a fish dealer in Ballina where he lives with his wife and three children . In July 1983 , Detective Constable Kevin Tooher and Detective Inspector John Barnes , both from London , turned up in Ballina to interview John Patrick Quinn .

He finally flew to London on March 1st of this year (1985) , following the 'Supreme Court' decision , to face fraud charges relating to a sum of £600 ; he was interviewed by police on his arrival and thereafter transferred to Wormwood Scrubbs Prison .

Quinn was classified a ' High Security Category 'A' prisoner' and spent twenty-three hours a day in solitary confinement .......

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, December 01, 2004

IRELAND , JANUARY 15th , 1920 : ELECTIONS .......

....... an interesting 'tangent' re the election of Tomas MacCurtain in January 1920 to the position of Lord Mayor in Cork ; on the 3rd January 1940 , Tomas MacCurtain Junior (Tomas Og) was jumped-on in Cork by Free State Branch men - a gunshot was fired in the scuffle .......

... a Free State Detective , by the name of Roche , fell to the ground - he was fatally wounded and died the next day . On 13th June 1940 , the Free State 'Special Criminal Court' sentenced Tomas Og MacCurtain to death - sentence to be carried-out on 5th July 1940 . An application for 'Habeas Corpus' was lodged and the execution was postponed for a week , but the Free State Supreme Court then dismissed the appeal .

The whole country was divided over the issue - some demanded that MacCurtain be put to death immediately as a 'sign' from the Fianna Fail administration that they were serious about 'cracking-down' on their former comrades in the IRA , while others demanded that he be released . Finally , on 10th July 1940 , the Free Staters issued a statement -

- " The President , acting on the advice of the government , has commuted the sentence of death on Tomas MacCurtain to penal servitude for life . " It has since been alleged that a sister of Cathal Brugha's widow had intervened on behalf of Tomas Og MacCurtain to get his death sentence overturned .......

(MORE LATER).


RELEASE NICKY KELLY .......
By Vincent Browne .

First published in 'Magill' magazine , April 1982 , pages 4 and 5 .
Re-published here in 8 parts .
(2 of 8).

Nicky Kelly's own version , given in evidence , of what happened him in Garda custody is as follows ; we have deleated the names of the Gardai from his account -

- " (Garda A) rammed my head off the locker door . Some of the Brits treatment . Spreadeagled . Jabbed in ribs , slapped in face , legs kicked . Lights switched off . Placed behind door . Spreadeagled . Door pushed in . Collision . Ended up on ground . Once on floor refused to get up . Hair pulled . Hit on back . Frightened more than hurt . Taken upstairs by (Garda A) . Smell of drink off him .

Corner of cell . Toilet . Grabbed by hair . 'Tomorrow - long day'. Shoved head 5-6 times down toilet , did'nt wet face . Taken out of cell by (Garda A) . To wall - out of sight of cell . Short delay . Knee in groin . Caught in thigh . Spat in face . Back to cell . 5 minutes there . (Garda A) - 'Eventually you'll talk'.

(Garda A) hit me back of ears after wrong answers . Telephone ears 10 times . (Garda B) slapped in face and arms . (Garda C and Garda D) punched , punched . Fell to ground . (Garda D) hit me with chair - not much force ....... "

(MORE LATER).


THE EXTRADITION FIASCO .......
By Derek Dunne .
First published in 'Magill' magazine , October 1985 , pages 9,10 and 11.
Re-published here in 13 parts.
(4 of 13).

In November 1980 , John Patrick Quinn passed off more than £10,000 in travellers' cheques ; some of the cheques were passed off in Barclay's Bank in Russell Square in London . The money was passed on to a fellow member of the INLA , to which Quinn belonged at the time , for that organisation .

In April 1981 , Quinn's fingerprints were taken in Dublin - two months later , the travellers' cheques that had been passed in London were sent to the Fingerprint Section in Britain for examination . In March 1982 , a warrant was issued at Horseferry Magistrates Court for Quinn's extradition - the warrant was endorsed in Dublin and Quinn was arrested .

He then went into the High Court claiming that the offence was political and that he was exempt from extradition . The Supreme Court significantly altered its interpretation of the law - Chief Justice Finlay stated that " This court cannot , it seems to me ... grant immunity from extradition to a person charged with an offence , the admitted purpose of which is to facilitate the overthrow by violence of the Constitution and of the organs of state established thereby . "

This was in stark contrast to what the same Chief Justice Finlay had said about Fr. Brendan Burns , a priest who told the court he was holding 130 sticks of gelignite for the IRA .......

(MORE LATER).






Tuesday, November 30, 2004

IRELAND , JANUARY 15th , 1920 : ELECTIONS .......

....... Ireland , 1920 - local (ie Council) elections were about to be held (15th January that year) ; the British claimed that the victory secured by the Sinn Fein organisation in the 1918 General Election would not be repeated . The Rebels were confident it would be .......

The result of the 15th January 1920 local elections proved Westminster wrong - Sinn Fein won control of 11 out of 12 cities and boroughs , and the 'outlawed' (underground) Dail Eireann (32 County body) directed all local council's in Ireland to break their connection with the (British) Dublin Castle system of local administration and , within months , most of the local councils in the country were reporting to the Republican administration .

The only municipal council in all Ireland left under Unionist control was in Belfast ; out of 206 Councils elected on the island , 172 now had a Republican/Nationalist majority . In Cork , Tomas MacCurtain was elected 'Lord Mayor' ; an interesting 'tangent' here - Tomas MacCurtain Junior [ the son of the previously-mentioned Republican Lord Mayor] was as involved in Irish Republican activities as his father was .

In Cork one day (3rd January 1940) , Tomas Junior (Tomas Og) was jumped-on by a number of Free State Special Branch men , who had decided to 'arrest' him - he fought with them and , in the scuffle , a gunshot was fired . A Free State Detective , by the name of Roche , fell to the ground .......

(MORE LATER).


RELEASE NICKY KELLY .
By Vincent Browne .

First published in 'Magill' magazine , April 1982 , pages 4 and 5 .
Re-published here in 8 parts .
(1 of 8).

Nicky Kelly , of Arklow , County Wicklow , is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence in Portlaoise Prison for an offence he did not commit , the Sallins mail train robbery in March 1976 . He is likely to go on hunger strike in prison within the next few weeks in protest against his conviction and , given his current mental state , he is very likely to at least do himself very considerabe damage , if not actually starve himself to death .

We hope to be able to publish in Magill within the next few months , proof of Nicky Kelly's innocence by showing how a group with which he was not associated were responsible for the robbery , but at this stage we wish to highlight some of the disquieting features of the police enquiry and the judical conduct of the case .

We have published on a number of previous occasions the evidence of Garda ill-treatment which Nicky Kelly and his co-defendants , Osgur Breathnach and Brian McNally allegedly suffered .......

(MORE LATER).


THE EXTRADITION FIASCO .......
By Derek Dunne .
First published in 'Magill' magazine , October 1985 , pages 9,10 and 11.
Re-published here in 13 parts.
(3 of 13).

Currently , an extradition treaty between Britain and the US is the subject of Senate hearings ; should the treaty be passed , it will have significant repercussions for IRA men claiming political asylum for offences committed against the security forces in the North . The basic requirement in American extraditions - that a 'prima facie' case exists - does not extend to the Extradition Act 1965 .

Absolutely no evidence need be shown to link the accused to the crime ; this glaring anomaly became particularly apparent earlier this year following the extradition of John Patrick Quinn to London . Quinn walked free from Horseferry Magistrates Court in London when all the charges for which he had been extradited were dismissed . The Director of Public Prosecutions in Britain immediately went into the High Court looking for what is known as a 'Voluntary Bill of Indictment'.

That 'Bill' would have allowed John Patrick Quinn to be put on trial in the Old Bailey . It was granted , and detectives rushed to arrest Quinn , and alerted all air and sea ports . They were ten minutes late : Quinn was already on a plane back to Dublin and thereafter to his home in Ballina .

The story of how John Patrick Quinn came to have the charges dismissed against him paints a picture of extraordinary bungling on the part of the British police .......

(MORE LATER).






Monday, November 29, 2004

IRELAND , JANUARY 15th , 1920 : ELECTIONS .......

....... the 'PR' system of voting was intended to confuse the 'uneducated Irish' ; Westminster assumed that 'Paddy' would not bother voting at all , or would do so wrongly and spoil same by mistake . But it did'nt work out like that .......

'Paddy' learned the new system , and spread the word . But the Brits did not just bank on the Irish being 'too stupid' regarding the 'Proportional Representation' voting procedure in the election - they used their 'old methods' , too ; the Sinn Fein organisation had already been banned (on 3rd July 1918) and the country was under martial law .

Those who were declared as Sinn Fein candidates were , if caught by the British , 'arrested' and deported out of the country . Leaflets and posters belonging to Sinn Fein candidates were confiscated and newspapers were notified that they would be put out of business should they publish Sinn Fein statements , manifestos etc . The British had a lot to lose - since the victory for Sinn Fein in the 1918 General Election , the British had claimed that it was their introduction of the 'Military Services Bill' (conscription - on 16th April 1918) which had turned people against them and into the 'arms' of Sinn Fein .

Westminster further stated that the 1918 election victory did not give the Irish a mandate to establish their own parliament and that the IRA war against British forces in Ireland went against what the majority in Ireland wanted . The then up-coming 15th January 1920 elections were to be pivotal for both sides .......

(MORE LATER).


Why We Ended The Hunger-Strike .
The full text of the H-Block Blanket Men's statement announcing the end of the 1981 Hunger-Strike .

First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2, November 1981 , pages 23 , 24 , 25 and 26 .
Re-published here in 18 parts .
[18 of 18].

" We pay a special tribute to the families of our dead comrades - you have suffered greatly and with immense dignity . Your loved ones , our comrades and friends , were and would be very proud of you for standing by them . No tribute is too great .

Also , we give a special mention to those families who could not bear to watch their loved ones die in pain and agony ; we prisoners understand the pressure you were under and stand by you . We thank the National H-Block/Armagh Committee , the H-Block movement , the nationalist people of Ireland , and all those who championed our cause abroad - we are indebted to you and ask you to continue your good work on our behalf .

Lastly we reaffirm our committment to the achievement of the five demands by whatever means we believe necessary and expedient . We rule nothing out . Under no circumstances are we going to devalue the memory of our dead comrades by submitting ourselves to a dehumanising and degrading regime . "

[END of 'Why We Ended The Hunger-Strike...'].
(Tomorrow - ' Release Nicky Kelly ...' - from 1982.)


THE EXTRADITION FIASCO .......
By Derek Dunne .
First published in 'Magill' magazine , October 1985 , pages 9,10 and 11.
Re-published here in 13 parts.
(2 of 13).

Dominic McGlinchey is currently appealing his conviction for the murder of Hester McMullan in County Antrim in March of 1977 . Part of the evidence used to convict him was his affidavit used in High Court hearings in the 'republic' ; these were handed over to the RUC without the knowledge of McGlinchey or his legal advisers .

Another extraditee , Seamus Shannon , was handed over to the RUC in July 1984 ; at a bail hearing in the High Court , Detective Inspector McGann of the RUC in Belfast said that the Book of Evidence against Seamus Shannon " has been prepared " and that the " authorities are in a position to proceed . " Fourteen months later , the case has still not come to trial .

No evidence was presented in the 'republic' to link Shannon with the offences he was wanted in connection with - the killing of Sir Norman Stronge and his son James in County Armagh in January 1981 .......

(MORE LATER).