" 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, January 28, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... in Ireland in the early 1920's , a 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates (the Stormont 'Minister for Home Affairs') gave himself unprecedented powers to , for instance , " ... outlaw organisations..to detain or intern people indefinitely without charge or trial ..(and)..to destroy houses and buildings .... " , amongst other things . He was to become the envy of others with a similar mind-set .......


Some 40 years later (ie in [April] 1963) a Mr. Vorster , then South African 'Minister for Justice' , was introducing a new Coercion Bill in the South African Parliament when , no doubt thinking of 'Sir' Bates and his colleagues in Stormont and Westminster , stated that he "... would be willing to exchange all the legislation of that sort for one clause of the Northern Ireland (sic) Special Powers Act . " Birds of a feather indeed ...

'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates was a known bigot , and apparently took it as a compliment when it was said of him in Stormont (by a Senior Civil Servant) - " (He) has such a prejudice against Catholics that he made it clear to his Permanent Secretary that he did not want his most juvenile clerk or typist , if a Papist (Catholic) , assigned for duty to his ministry ." In 1935 , however , he seemed to believe that he could treat everyone like shit (pardon the language) regardless of their religion -

- on 18th June that year (1935) , 'Sir' Bates issued an Order banning all parades , not just those with a Republican/Nationalist 'flavour' : the Orange Order objected and told Bates and his people that it was their intention to hold a parade on the 23rd June (1935) and that said parade would be going ahead . Bates was not pleased - it was one thing to trample over the rights of the 'Papists' , but the Orange Order were his own people .......

(MORE LATER).


THE POLITICS OF H-BLOCK .......
By Vincent Browne .

From 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , pages 26 and 27 .
Re-published here in 10 parts .
[10 of 10].

The State Coalition Government , and recently Garret Fitzgerald (Fine Gael) , have at all times maintained that at no stage did they surrender to a threat of a hunger strike but the facts seem to suggest otherwise ; the fact of the matter is that changes of a kind being demanded by the Republican prisoners during the hunger strike occurred immediately after the protest .

The obvious conclusion must be that the Coalition Government has capitulated to hunger strikes but that the integrity of the prison system was in no way threatened by the nature of the concessions granted . The next big protest in the campaign comes on Saturday , December 6th , when there will be a protest outside the British Embassy ; the National H-Block Committee will be hoping for a demonstration at least as big as that to Leinster House on November 22 last , when as many as 30,000 people marched .

But whatever the outcome , the divide between the Catholic community in the North and the rest of the population on this island is deeper now than ever . The Catholic minority must now bear whatever further tribulations arise very much as an isolated case , ignored and reviled by the rest of Ireland .

[END of ' THE POLITICS OF H-BLOCK '].
(Monday , 31st : 'How The Gay Life Killed Mountbatten' - from 1989).


DE VALERA AND THE AMERICAN CONNECTION .......
By Micheal MacGiolla Phadraig .
From 'NOW' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 4, October 1989 , pages 28 and 29 .
Re-published here in 6 parts .
(2 of 6).

The Irish Press newspaper group wrote a lot about Ralph Ingersoll , the second-generation American newspaper magnate who was to take half-control of the Group , but nothing about the Irish Press Plc company structure .

This was not surprising ; the Irish Press group of companies has been shrouded in secrecy since its formation in the year before Fianna Fail first took power in 1932 . Added to this secretiveness there is now a confusing permutation of company structures involving Irish Press Plc and its subsidiaries - Corduff Investments Ltd , Press Group Ltd , Irish Press Corporation , Irish Press Newspapers Ltd , and Irish Press Publications ; Ralph Ingersoll is to take a 50 per cent stake in the latter .

The Concerned Shareholders Group believes that if all the facts are revealed , the Fianna Fail Party would have a strong legal and moral claim to ownership . Letters concerning this claim have been sent to the Board of Irish Press Plc - so far , no reply has been received . Fianna Fail General Secretary , Frank Wall , has also been informed of the results of research carried out in Ireland and the U.S. for the Concerned Shareholders Group .......

(MORE LATER).






Thursday, January 27, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... December 1921 : the Stormont 'Minister for Home Affairs' , a 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates , introduced a new 'law' (on 6th December 1921) compelling all local authorities (ie County Councils etc) in the (then 'new') Six-County 'State' to recognise and work with the new Stormont 'Government' . Tyrone County Council refused the order , and 'Sir' Bates instructed the RIC to close that Council down , which they did . Then , on 21st December 1921 , Fermanagh County Council ,too , issued a statement refusing to do as 'Sir' Bates had 'ordered' .......


Bates put together his RIC raiding-party and stormed the Offices of Fermanagh County Council ; the building was seized , the Council Officials were expelled and the institution itself was dissolved ! In the following four months (ie up to April 1922) , 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates and his RIC raiding-party were kept busy ; Armagh , Keady and Newry Urban Councils , Downpatrick Town Commissioners , Cookstown , Downpatrick , Kilkeel , Lisnaskea , Strabane , Magherafelt and Newry No. 1 and No. 2 Rural Councils and a number of Boards of Poor Law Guardians had all been dissolved and (pro-Stormont) 'Commissioners' appointed to carry out their functions !

The people of those areas (ie the voters !) were not asked their opinion on whether their Council should be closed down or not , nor were they asked if they agreed with the 'appointment' of a new 'Commissioner' ; in all cases , the new 'boss' understood what his 'job' was - to do as instructed by 'Sir' Bates and his bigoted colleagues in Stormont. In actual fact , the new 'Commissioner' for Armagh and Keady Councils , for instance , was a Colonel Waring , who later 'progressed' through the ranks to become a County Commandant of the 'B' Specials !

'Sir' Bates must have considered himself an all-powerful 'God' by this stage , because he then gave himself the 'legal authority' to -

- ".... outlaw organisations , to detain or intern people indefinitely without charge or trial , to make it an offence to refuse to answer questions put by a policeman , Special Constable or soldier , to impose curfews , make exclusion orders , to examine bank accounts and seize same if required , to block roads and bridges , and to evacuate or destroy houses and buildings . " The man was only short of issuing a decree that he should live forever and walk on water if he wanted to ..... !

That 'law' was introduced in Ireland in the early 1920's ; some forty years later , a certain South African Minister for 'Justice' was to make reference to it .......

(MORE LATER).


THE POLITICS OF H-BLOCK .......
By Vincent Browne .

From 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , pages 26 and 27 .
Re-published here in 10 parts .
(9 of 10).

Concessions were wrung out of the (Free State) Coalition government by a hunger strike by a number of prisoners , including former IRA Chief of Staff , Joe Cahill . In an affadavit which Cahill swore during another hunger strike in 1975 , he states that the 1973 hunger strike ended when the Governor of Mountjoy , Frawley , read a letter to the prisoners in which the authorities conceded a list of demands , including that the Provisional IRA prisoners would be segregated from all other prisoners , would'nt have to do prison work etc .

The prison leadership replied that the hunger strike would continue until the government recognised the political status of the prisoners . The Prison Governor withdrew , according to the affadavit , and returned later to inform the protesting prisoners -

- " (a) since 1922 the Government had refused to afford any group of prisoners recognition as political prisoners .
(b) that in the present circumstances , because of the situation in the North , the government recognised that because of the involvement of the Provisional Republican Movement in the Northern situation , the prisoners were in a special category . "

On the basis of this assurance the hunger strike was ended . Shortly afterwards there was the helicopter escape from Mountjoy Prison and subsequently the Provisional IRA prisoners were moved to Portlaoise Prison .......

(MORE LATER).


DE VALERA AND THE AMERICAN CONNECTION .
By Micheal MacGiolla Phadraig .
From 'NOW' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 4, October 1989 , pages 28 and 29 .
Re-published here in 6 parts .
(1 of 6).

Money to launch The Irish Press newspaper in 1931 came from thousands of Irish-Americans . Contributing dollars and dimes at fund-raiser events , poor emigrants - many driven out of Ireland in the aftermath of the Civil War - helped build up a multi-million dollar fund that was to achieve the dream of the Fianna Fail party ; owning a daily newspaper .

Control of the money which was invested in The Irish Press was given to the President of Fianna Fail , Eamon de Valera .

Nearly 60 years later , there are signs that White Anglo-Saxon Protestant tycoon Ralph Ingersoll the Second - whose ideas must be poles apart from those Irish emigrant founders of the Press - will get control of the newspaper . But a group of small investors , who call themselves the Concerned Shareholders , have emerged to challenge the secrecy which has surrounded not only the Ingersoll deal , but much of the affairs of The Irish Press Group down the years .

Led by a former Irish Editor of The Irish Press , Michael MacGiolla Phadraig , the Concerned Shareholders have been investigating the organisation and structure of the secretive Irish Press Corporation of America which controls the voting in the Dublin company , Irish Press Plc. It has been suggested that an American court should be asked to rule on a number of matters connected with the mystery American corporation . The possibility is that The Irish Press Group belongs to Fianna Fail and is the responsibility of that Party's present President , Taoiseach Charles Haughey .

When a partnership deal between Ingersoll Publications of the U.S. and Irish Press Plc of Dublin was announced last July (ie July 1989) , The Irish Press gave a front-page report and devoted two inside pages to the joint venture .......

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, January 26, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... in December 1925 , the 'A' and 'C' Special Constabulary had 'rebelled' and taken hostages - their own Officers ! They were dealing with (or trying to !) the Stormont 'Minister for Home Affairs' , a 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates , a solicitor by profession , who was also the then Secretary of the 'Ulster Unionist Council' (1905-1921). He was known as a 'hard-man' .......


'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates 'made his name' (or added to it !) in 1921 , when he ordered the RIC to close-down the Offices of Tyrone County Council as said institution had declared its allegiance to the rebel Dail Eireann (32 County body) !

On 6th December that year (ie 1921) , 'Sir' Bates seen to it that a 'Local Government (Emergency Powers) Bill' was passed into 'law' ; this new 'law' stated - " The Ministry , in the event of any of the local authorities refusing to function or refusing to carry out the duties imposed on them under the Local Government Acts , can dissolve such authority and in its place appoint a Commission to carry on the duties of such authority . "

However , 15 days later (ie on the 21st December 1921) Fermanagh County Council followed the lead set by its counterpart in Tyrone : the following statement was issued by Fermanagh Officials -

- " We , the County Council of Fermanagh , in view of the expressed desire of a large majority of people in this county , do not recognise the partition parliament in Belfast and do hereby direct our Secretary to hold no further communications with either Belfast or British Local Government Departments , and we pledge our allegiance to Dail Eireann . "

Short , sharp , and to the point . And it was (rightly) seen by 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates as a direct challenge to his 'authority' ; 'Sir' Bates ordered the RIC to ready themselves immediately .......

(MORE LATER).


THE POLITICS OF H-BLOCK .......
By Vincent Browne .

From 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , pages 26 and 27 .
Re-published here in 10 parts .
(8 of 10).

The reaction of the southern political establishment to the H-Block protest is all the more surprising given the fact that the political prisoners in Portlaoise enjoy virtually all the 'privileges' being demanded by the H-Block men .

The Portlaoise political prisoners wear their own clothes , they enjoy free association among themselves and they are segregated from the other prisoners in the jail . They have special recreational and educational facilities and there is a prison shop where they can purchase food and cigarettes .

They have their own jail organisation - their Officer Commanding negotiates on behalf of the prisoners with the prison authorities and they hold classes and lectures on a wide variety of issues , including political subjects . For instance , one of the classes currently being held is on the origins of the war ie the war in the North of Ireland.......

(MORE LATER).


NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......

Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
[31 of 31].

But NORAID spokesmen have consistently denied that their organisation is providing the funds for IRA weapons ; Martin Galvin is categorical -

- " It matters to me very strongly that when I say this money goes to dependents that it does so - I don't want to deceive people , " he affirmed in 1985 , " but morally I support the IRA's struggle . "

The spokesman for NORAID in San Francisco , Seamus Gibney , told the 'Los Angeles Times' newspaper -

- " We can't prove the money does'nt go for guns . But the British government never offers proof when it says that it does . "

[END of ' NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......'].
(Tomorrow - ' De Valera and the American connection' - from 'NOW' magazine , 1989 .)






Tuesday, January 25, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... December 1925 : Westminster decided to get rid of the (5 year-old) 'A' and 'C' Special Constabulary , but to hold on to the 'B' Specials ; 'Sir' James Craig (Stormont 'Prime Minister') was given £1,200,000 to 'buy' them off and , on 10th December 1925 , the 'A' and 'C' men were offered two months pay each - the offer got a bad re-action .......


When the 'A' and 'C' Special Constabulary realised that they were to lose their jobs , on the mouth of Christmas (10th December 1925) and with unemployment running at over 20 per cent , whereas the 'B' Specials were to be kept on , discontent in the ranks grew . The 'A' and 'C' Specials held meetings between themselves and , on 14th December 1925 , they mutinied !

'A' and 'C' members in Derry 'arrested' their own Officers (!), as they did in Ballycastle - two days later (ie on 16th December 1925) a demand from the 'A' and 'C' 'rebels' (!) was handed over to 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates , the Stormont 'Minister for Home Affairs' , a solicitor by trade , who was also Secretary of the 'Ulster Unionist Council' , a position he had held since 1905 . 'Tangent' here , re 'Sir' Bates -

- ... the man 'made his name' in 1921 when , at 44 years of age , he ordered the RIC to close down the Offices of Tyrone County Council - 'Sir' Bates did'nt like the way they were doing their business .......

(MORE LATER).


THE POLITICS OF H-BLOCK .......
By Vincent Browne .

From 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , pages 26 and 27 .
Re-published here in 10 parts .
(7 of 10).

The Provisional IRA leadership on the outside has been apprehensive about this protest for a long time and were fervently opposed to the hunger-strike . Contrary to the frequently asserted belief , the Provo leadership have always tried to dampen down prison protests for these have consequences to the conduct of the military campaign which are entirely unpredictable and , in any event , often conflict with the immediate strategic plans of the IRA Headquarters Staff .

They have been more apprehensive about this present protest and hunger-strike than ever before , recognising that if the protest fades out or is beaten , then the 'loss of face' for the Republican Movement as a whole is almost catastrophic .

They have of course attempted to 'steer' its course - for instance , it was the IRA leadership which managed to hold off the hunger-strike until October 27th and they have had a say on which prisoners were to join the strike , but in no sense could the Provisional IRA leadership be accused of cynically exploting the situation in H-Block for its own advantage .......

(MORE LATER).


NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......

Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
(30 of 31).

The traumatic months of the hunger strikes fused Irish-American emotional sympathy with the IRA's struggle against Britain in the North of Ireland . NORAID went through a resurgence that saw an immediate increase in the number of members . Martin Galvin claims that from that time onward NORAID has been able to raise about $150,000 every six months , double or triple what it was collecting in the years before the protest .

He also notes that now , for the first time , the number of American-born NORAID members exceeds those of Irish origin . The organisation keeps no recruitment figures , so it is not known exactly how many people are involved .

Of its founding members , only Michael Flannery is still alive . He remains steadfast in his identification with the IRA , even when they carry out attacks , such as that outside Harrods department store in London , in which innocent people die . His attitude is -

- " I wait to hear what the IRA have to say . When it happens in London it's good propaganda . I've no qualms when they take the war to England . Innocent people get killed in all wars . ......"

(MORE LATER).






Monday, January 24, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... having spent the previous two years dealing with the new Free Staters in the 26-County State , the Brits had them well-sussed ; Westminster realised that it had no need for the 40,000-strong 'Special Constabulary' force in the Six Counties of Ireland it was (and still is) occupying - the Staters were now known to be no threat to the British-enforced 'border' . 'Sir' James Craig (Stormont 'Prime Minister') was called to Westminster to discuss the proposed redundancies .......


Westminster offered the approximately 40,000-strong 'Special Constabulary' organisation a few bob to 'go away' (!) - £1,200,000 was put on the table , provided most of them agreed to disband (similar to what is happening today , with the PIRA - buying them out with a 'bank-load' of money ...) . 'Sir' James Craig , up to then a great friend and supporter of the Specials , stated that they would have to go : on 10th December 1925 , Craig told the 'A' and 'C' Specials that they were out of work and offered each man two months pay . End of announcement !

The 'B' Specials were to be kept - indeed , it was only in 1969 that that gang of thugs 'disbanded' (ie changed uniform into that of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) and carried-on with their mis-deeds) . It was actually in September 1969 that the (British) 'Cameron Commission' described the 'B' Specials as " a partisan and paramilitary force... " , while the October 1969 'Hunt Report' recommended that the 'B' Specials be disbanded .

However - the 'A' and 'C' Specials were not happy with the ".. disband ..." Order from their old friend , 'Sir' James Craig .......

(MORE LATER).


THE POLITICS OF H-BLOCK .......
By Vincent Browne .

From 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , pages 26 and 27 .
Re-published here in 10 parts .
(6 of 10).

Brendan Hughes , 32 years of age , had been on the Belfast Brigade Staff of the Provisional IRA prior to his capture in 1974 , and was now able to provide the young inexperienced prisoners with the kind of hard determined leadership which their protest campaign had lacked previously . The young prisoners had been pressing for some considerable time for a hunger strike in order to bring their protest to a head . Brendan Hughes had the maturity to resist this pressure , knowing that without adequate support from the outside there would be needless and wasteful deaths .

He went along with the various attempts that were being made for mediation , through Cardinal O Fiaich and Bishop Daly and others but eventually saw that there was no option but to accede to the demand for a hunger strike .

The prison authorities , recognising the pivotal role Brendan Hughes was playing in the unfolding protest , split up the protesting prisoners into different sections of the prison ; therefore , Hughes could no longer effectively act as overall Officer Commanding but his influence was nonetheless decisive .......

(MORE LATER).


NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......

Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
(29 of 31).

In November 1985 , Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams ('1169...' Comment - Adams is now President of a Leinster House-registered political party , 'Provisional Sinn Fein' ) made a speech at Sinn Fein's Ard Fheis that was run in full in 'An Phoblacht' : that speech strongly identified the IRA's struggle with that of third-world liberation struggles , and berated Ronald Reagan , Margaret Thatcher and the Dublin Government .

Soon after the beginning of his address , Adams went on the attack -

- " It is no accident that the Dublin government finds common ground with Thatcher and Reagan in their attitude to liberation struggles . Dublin's attitude on these issues is but an extension of its attitude to the British presence in this country . The natural and logical place for Ireland is alongside the Palestinians , the Chileans , Salvadorans , and Nicaraguans . "

The approximately ninty paragraphs of the address also dealt with Sinn Fein's role in fighting various social evils like drug abuse in Ireland , and its support for social reforms such as divorce . A week later , 'The Irish People' newspaper ran an excerpted version of Gerry Adams' speech , some seventy-six paragraphs in length .

Among the most prominent omissions were the remarks by Adams quoted above , the appeal of Sinn Fein as a radical alternative , and the section on social reform .......

(MORE LATER).