" 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 - we made it to the finalists page last year but never got to the stage :- ( 'cause not enough of ye feckers out there voted for us! So we're gonna give ya a second chance - the blog awards this year will be held on Thursday, October 5th (2017) in The Academy, Middle Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre, and we would appreciate if you could keep an eye here and give us a vote when ya can. Or else we'll get our 'Junior' to put up a pay wall and then ye will be sorry...!


Friday, April 15, 2005

FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP .......
From the moment a new recruit enters the Irish Republican Army he or she undergoes a rigorous and intensive training to assess the individual Volunteer's level of commitment , general ability and particular aptitudes . After the initial recruitment lectures , this period includes training in personal security and anti-interrogation , basic intelligence work , political education - and of course training in the use of weapons . In this supplied article , a Volunteer in the IRA's Belfast Brigade describes his experience of taking part in an IRA training camp .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 , pages 39 , 40 , 41 , 42, 43 , 44 and 45 .


.....day 1 ...

The IRA Training Officers enter the room ; each of us is immediately assigned responsibility for some of the weapons stacked against the wall - in the event of a raid on the Camp at any time our first job is to grab our own particular weapons , and so throughout the camp we will always have to know exactly where the weapons have been left down .

IRA Standing Orders forbid the use of firearms in the 26 Counties other than for training , but the T/O's reckon we've a fair chance of getting away if we're raided , as long as we are quick enough not to get surrounded in the farmhouse . In that case , we have no intention of leaving much-needed IRA weapons in Free State hands . The T/O's explain what direction we're all to head in if raided , and the spot where we'll all try and regroup .

After the raid procedure we're told to clean the weapons ; it's something we'll do repeatedly in the course of the camp . One of the most frequent causes of a gun jamming is dirt and excess oil , and the result of this happening on an operation could be disastrous .......

(MORE LATER).


STONE COLD .......
Michael Stone is infamous for his attack on a republican funeral at Belfast's Milltown cemetery . By his own count , he has murdered four men and had a hand in the deaths of six others . He says his war is over - but he still expects to meet a violent end .
By Andrew Lynch .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , July 2003 , pages 34, 36 , and 38 .
Re-published here in 13 parts .
(7 of 13).


Michael Stone stated - " I was trained to block out the human aspect . I never wanted to think about the grieving widow or the crying children left behind . But when you take a man's life , a little part of you dies too . You lose that part of your humanity forever . "

The way Stone tells it , he never really had a chance ; growing up in East Belfast in the 1970's , he quickly learned to accept street battles and random killings as a way of life . At the age of 13 he joined the Tartans , an infamous loyalist group that roamed the streets at night , beating up Catholics and vandalising property .

Before long his reputation as a hard man attracted the attention of Tommy Herron , a 'legendary' UDA 'Supreme Commander' , who spotted the young Stone's potential .......

(MORE LATER).


MUNSTER ....... !
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 4.
(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].
Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.

In his victory speech , the Sinn Fein TD for South Kerry , John Joe Rice , stated -

- " I ask you to continue the good work you have started for the realisation of a 32-County Republic and not to be bam-boozled by talk of good times and talk of grants . Organise and stand shoulder to shoulder and stand up for your rights . "

Mr. J. O'Shea (Killarney) , who presided at the event , said that it had been brought to their notice that an insidious rumour had been set in motion during the election that they were using the funds of the Prisoners' Dependents to fight the election in South Kerry ; he denied that such was the case and said that all the work on behalf of the Sinn Fein candidate was done voluntarily .

He thanked the people who worked for them , subscribed and gave their cars free of charge on the day of the elections . The meeting concluded with the National Anthem played by the Cullen Pipe Band .

[END of ' MUNSTER ....... ! '].
(TOMORROW - 'FACING REALITIES ' : from the same source).






Thursday, April 14, 2005

FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP .......
From the moment a new recruit enters the Irish Republican Army he or she undergoes a rigorous and intensive training to assess the individual Volunteer's level of commitment , general ability and particular aptitudes . After the initial recruitment lectures , this period includes training in personal security and anti-interrogation , basic intelligence work , political education - and of course training in the use of weapons . In this supplied article , a Volunteer in the IRA's Belfast Brigade describes his experience of taking part in an IRA training camp .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 , pages 39 , 40 , 41 , 42, 43 , 44 and 45 .


..... day 1 ...
In a room on the IRA Camp ; a collection of books on a table - the one surprise in the pile is a copy of Frederick Forsythe's 'The Day Of The Jackel' , but on reflection even that does'nt seem to be out of place here . Finally , the black plastic sheeting tacked up across the window re-inforces our awareness that the semi-derelict farmhouse we have just arrived in is thought locally to be uninhabited , and that despite its relative isolation the next few days will be spent on the alert against the possibility of Garda raids . None of us is keen on spending the next few years in Portlaoise Prison !

We had left Belfast about twelve hours earlier , travelling separately to avoid the risk of being arrested together if anything went wrong . We reached our first pick-up point in the Free State without incident , however , and made the pre-arranged contact with the local IRA ; we then found ourselves waiting silently in a draughty bedroom until after dark , the four of us spending hours trying to find a game we all knew , with the 51-card pack which was all we could find in the room .

Night fell at last , thankfully , and we were smuggled out of the house and into a car , on our way now to the IRA Camp itself . Two changes of car later , several delays while other cars scouted ahead or while we doubled back , and an endless succession of winding country lanes behind us , we were just beginning to appreciate how the IRA is able to organise a regular flow of training camps for Volunteers across the North , despite the best efforts of the Garda Task Force .

Just then , the car glided to a halt , two figures stepped forward from the shadows towards us , and the driver said : " Okay . We're here . "

The same sense of security and anticipation that we had experienced on the way is echoed again now , the moment the IRA Training Officers enter the room .......

(MORE LATER).


STONE COLD .......
Michael Stone is infamous for his attack on a republican funeral at Belfast's Milltown cemetery . By his own count , he has murdered four men and had a hand in the deaths of six others . He says his war is over - but he still expects to meet a violent end .
By Andrew Lynch .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , July 2003 , pages 34, 36 , and 38 .
Re-published here in 13 parts .
(6 of 13).


These days , Michael Stone's work is sold through galleries in Belfast and London and he can command up to £6,000 for a painting ; he is , however , still a very long way from respectability . Despite his support for the peace process he remains something of a 'folk hero' to the Loyalist movement - a status which he claims (not altogether convincingly) makes him deeply uncomfortable .

" I've had songs and poems written about me , " he says , " and I've met plenty of kids who think I'm some kind of hero . I'm like Rambo to them . But I always say that there's nothing romantic about taking a life . People bleed , and there's no Hollywood director to say 'cut' . You get to hear their dying words , see the final seconds of their life . I was trained to block out the human aspect ....... "

(MORE LATER).


MUNSTER !.
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 4.
(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].
Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.


The Sinn Fein T.D. for South Kerry , John J. Rice , received a big ovation at a victory meeting held in College Square , Killarney , on Saturday 9 . It was one of the biggest meetings held in Killarney for many years . In the course of his address , J.J. Rice said that since his election he had received shoals of telegrams and messages of congratulations on his success , but he believed that those should have been addressed to the gallant band of workers who strived night and day in Killarney and throughout the constituency to make his campaign a success .

His next thanks should go to the 5,500 voters in South Kerry who gave him their No. 1 votes : " I am not suffering from any swelled head and I know that I did not get those votes as John Joe Rice , but as the standard bearer of Sinn Fein in South Kerry .

I believe that the heart of the people of South Kerry is as good today as it was 40 years ago . I believe that the people of South Kerry are staunchly Republican . "

Continuing , he said that he did not want the people to sit back because they had elected a T.D. , but to carry on the Movement , because they did not know when another election would be sprung on them .......

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, April 13, 2005

FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP .
From the moment a new recruit enters the Irish Republican Army he or she undergoes a rigorous and intensive training to assess the individual Volunteer's level of commitment , general ability and particular aptitudes . After the initial recruitment lectures , this period includes training in personal security and anti-interrogation , basic intelligence work , political education - and of course training in the use of weapons . In this supplied article , a Volunteer in the IRA's Belfast Brigade describes his experience of taking part in an IRA training camp .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 , pages 39 , 40 , 41 , 42, 43 , 44 and 45 .


DAY 1 .
Shortly before midnight . The four of us , after scrambling across rock-strewn fields from where the last car dropped us off , are ushered quickly , without a word spoken , into a cramped and sparsely furnished room by two IRA Training Officers , and left on our own to look around .

Four sets of combat fatigues are laid out neatly beside a pile of folded sleeping beds . An assortment of pistols , two sub-machine guns , rifles , stand stacked against a wall next to plastic tubs of ammunition . A few posters sellotaped to one wall provide the room's only decoration ; one is of Bobby Sands , two more are hand-drawn wallcharts , illustrating operations procedures , breathing control , ammo calibres and weapons maintenance .

The fourth poster is the simplest and most striking : a black-and-white sketch beneath the caption - " Faceless Men : British terrorists who rule our country ." It takes a while before we realise that it is meant to depict the peaked cap and shoulders of an RUC man and is the target we'll be using for shooting practice . The 'face' has no shape and no features ; when you look through the sights of an automatic rifle at a target one-hundred yards away , we will be told later on , the outline of the uniform - not the face itself - is all you see .

Almost the only other contents the room can boast of are a pile of books on the table , weapons manuals , Republican literature , political books and pamphlets .......

(MORE LATER).


STONE COLD .......
Michael Stone is infamous for his attack on a republican funeral at Belfast's Milltown cemetery . By his own count , he has murdered four men and had a hand in the deaths of six others . He says his war is over - but he still expects to meet a violent end .
By Andrew Lynch .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , July 2003 , pages 34, 36 , and 38 .
Re-published here in 13 parts .
(5 of 13).


Despite being sentenced to over 800 years in prison , Michael Stone ended up walking free from the Maze in July 2000 as one of the last inmates to be given early release under the terms of the 'Good Friday Agreement' (ie the Stormont Treaty) . Since then , he has spent much of his time concentrating on his prison hobby of painting .

" I was in solitary confinement for a year and they gave me pencils and a sketch book to pass the time , although they took the pencils off me at night , because I was on suicide watch , " he says , " I had to draw from memory because there obviously was'nt much to look at . Eventually , I got access to a lot more materials , including watercolour and oil paints .

Painting on the back of lockers and bed headboards in the H-Blocks helped to keep me sane ....... "

(MORE LATER).


ULSTER !.
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 4.
(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].
Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.


At the Sinn Fein rally in Church Square , Seamus Sabhat said they should regard this victory rally as the start , and not the end , of their campaign . He congratulated the people of Monaghan on electing a Sinn Fein candidate , and he congratulated Eineachan O'Hanlon on his success .

Eineachan O'Hanlon thanked all who had voted and worked for Sinn Fein in the election ; he made it clear that he would not take his seat in Leinster House because the people had voted for him to take his seat in a 32-County Parliament only . Mr Tom Carragher , Donaghmoyne , also spoke , and the meeting concluded with the sounding of the Last Post for Sean Sabhat and Fergal O'Hanlon .

Then the playing of " A Nation Once Again " and the National Anthem brought proceedings to a close .

[END of 'ULSTER !'].
(TOMORROW - 'MUNSTER!' ; from the same source).






Tuesday, April 12, 2005

DYING BY THE SWORD .......
By Emer Woodful .
The murder of LVF leader BILLY WRIGHT has ignited the most violent spell in the North's recent history and threatened the peace process . He may well have considered it an appropriate legacy .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1998 , pages 30,31,34 and 35 .
Re-published here in 17 parts .
[17 of 17].


Billy Wright has a 'weird calmness' for a man who has survived gun and bomb attacks : " Well , I've been prepared to die for long many a year . I don't wish to die , but at the end of the day no one will force their opinions down my throat - no one . "

Since Billy Wright's death (and at the time of going to press ) eight Catholics and one Protestant have been murdered ; and even while Wright was in prison last year , the LVF is believed to have been responsible for the killings of two GAA men ; Sean Brown , in Derry , and Gerry Devlin , from Glengormley .

There have also been the many attacks on churches . Only time will answer the questions of whether Billy Wright really was just a maverick , and whether he'll be an inspiration for others , and in his death become a hydra-headed killer .

[END of 'DYING BY THE SWORD'].
(Tomorrow - ' FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP').


STONE COLD .......
Michael Stone is infamous for his attack on a republican funeral at Belfast's Milltown cemetery . By his own count , he has murdered four men and had a hand in the deaths of six others . He says his war is over - but he still expects to meet a violent end .
By Andrew Lynch .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , July 2003 , pages 34, 36 , and 38 .
Re-published here in 13 parts .
(4 of 13).


When the mourners (in Milltown Cemetery) eventually caught up with him , Michael Stone was beaten so badly that even today he can walk only with immense difficulty ; he was probably only moments from death when the RUC rescued him and brought him to an interrogation centre , where he admitted his part in three other murders and numerous terrorist offences .

At his trial , Stone sat stony-faced in the dock , listening to the prosecution unfold the grim details of his murderous career ; his only utterance was made after his sentence was read out , when he roared : " Long Live Ulster . No Surrender ! " He told me later that that was " ..carefully prepared . It's what the 36th Ulster Division shouted as they went over the top at the Somme . They were brave soldiers , and that's exactly the way I saw myself ....... "

(MORE LATER).


ULSTER !.
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 4.
(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].
Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.


Sinn Fein held a 'victory rally' on Monday , March 18 (1957) . Several thousands , including young women , marched in a torchlight procession through the streets in pouring rain . A big crowd assembled in Church Square to listen to brief speeches interspersed with items of Irish dancing , songs and recitations .

Present were the mother , brother and sister of Sean Sabhat who was killed with Fergal O'Hanlon at Brookeborough . Concert items were rendered by the Fitzpatrick Sisters , Irish dancers , Clones ; Michael McGuinness , ballad singer ; the Carragher Sisters , Irish dancers , Castleblayney , and Tom Fitzpatrick , Inniskeen , recitation .

Addressing the meeting , Seamus Sabhat referred to a rumour that the Sabhat family did not support Sinn Fein and said he had worked as Director of Canvassing in Limerick during the elections .......

(MORE LATER).






Monday, April 11, 2005

DYING BY THE SWORD .......
By Emer Woodful .
The murder of LVF leader BILLY WRIGHT has ignited the most violent spell in the North's recent history and threatened the peace process . He may well have considered it an appropriate legacy .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1998 , pages 30,31,34 and 35 .
Re-published here in 17 parts .
(16 of 17).


And there he was - Billy Wright ; calmly drinking coffee in that same sitting room with the stripy wallpaper , where the armed and hooded LVF Colour Party later stood guard over his Lenin-lookalike corpse , with the thin face and the tiny pencil-line beard .

He had one eye on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the other on the big windows , vetting each car that drove up the cul-de-sac : " My heart goes out to my family at a time like this . " But he seemed so unafraid . " Well , if you think you're right , then you're right .

And I have done nothing wrong except express an opinion that's the prevalent opinion of the people of Northern Ireland , (sic) and I will always do that , dear , no matter what the price ....... "

(MORE LATER).


STONE COLD .......
Michael Stone is infamous for his attack on a republican funeral at Belfast's Milltown cemetery . By his own count , he has murdered four men and had a hand in the deaths of six others . He says his war is over - but he still expects to meet a violent end .
By Andrew Lynch .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , July 2003 , pages 34, 36 , and 38 .
Re-published here in 13 parts .
(3 of 13).


Television cameras captured the horror as Michael Stone , dressed in flat cap and all-weather jacket , appeared from behind a gravestone and opened fire ; when he missed his intended targets , Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness , he fled and was pursued by the outraged mourners . In the ensuing chaos , Stone shot three of them dead and injured dozens of others , including pensioners and children .

" I've actually only seen that film a couple of times , " says Stone , whose recently-published autobiography has become a bestseller both north and south . " But I'm told it's been shown on television practically every day for the last 15 years . Militarily , Milltown was an absolute disaster . My intention was to take out the Republican leadership and I ended up killing people I knew nothing about .

I regret what happened and I take full responsibility for the hurt I've caused . But I firmly believe my actions were unavoidable ....... "

(MORE LATER).


Letter to the Editor from RUAIDHRI O BRADAIGH , MOUNTJOY PRISON , DUBLIN .
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 4.
(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].
Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.


" Gabhaim buiochas o chroi agaibh , a mhuintir Longphoirt is Iarmhidhe . Chruthaigh sibh thar barr ar fad sa gcoimhlint , fe mar a rinneabhar i mbliain 1917 , is thug sibh treoru arist don Naisiun uilig . Is cinnte gur mor an cuis athais bhur-n-eacht dar muintir ata fe smacht ag Gallaibh sna Se Condaethe . Go mba fada buan sibh uilig !

I wish to express my sincerest thanks to you for electing me as your representative to an All-Ireland Parliament ; I appreciate the amount of arduous work that went into the election campaign , and am proud that your efforts have met with such resounding success . Longford and Westmeath have matched their achievement of 40 years ago , and have written yet another page in the history of our struggle for unity and independence .

Your great stand for the Cause of Irish Freedom must surely be a wonderful source of hope and consolation to our people in the North who have been abandoned for so long , and who are at present enduring bitter persecution at the hands of the British Occupation Forces . The people of Longford-Westmeath , in electing me , have given their decision on the Freedom Fighters of 1956-57 , and on the coercionists who came to England's aid in her hour of need .

It is indeed inspiring in this age of self-seeking and materialism , to find in my native county and in Westmeath , so many people prepared to rise above all selfish interests and rally in such great numbers to the Cause of National Independence . Great credit is due to the 'Longford Leader ' newspaper which upheld fearlessly the best traditions of journalism in giving its news impartially , at a time when the 'national' press and radio joined forces in a conspiracy of silence against Sinn Fein .

With Fermanagh and South Tyrone , with Mid-Ulster , Monaghan , South Kerry and our neighbours in Sligo-Leitrim and Longford-Westmeath : all have , once more , taken a time-honoured place in the van of the march to freedom , an achievement which may be regarded with pride . If 1957 has been another 1917 , then let us in God's name look forward to another 1918 , to the day in the near future , when the All-Ireland Parliament , pledged to legislate for the whole 32 Counties will be re-assembled .

In conclusion , I would like to thank all the kind people who have sent scores of telegrams , letters and other messages of congratulations which have come to me here in prison .

Go raibh mile maith agaibh ar fad !

Is mise ,
Ruaidhri O Bradaigh .
Mountjoy Prison . "

[END of ' Letter to the Editor from RUAIDHRI O BRADAIGH , MOUNTJOY PRISON , DUBLIN . ' ].
(Tomorrow - 'ULSTER !' : from the same source.)