" 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, May 20, 2005

A ROUGH DEAL .......


Ten years ago EDDIE GALLAGHER went to prison for his part in the kidnapping of TIEDE HERREMA . He is still there , even though he did a deal which promised him only four years in jail . His accomplice , MARION COYLE , has been released . DEREK DUNNE reports on GALLAGHER's maverick relationship with the IRA , on the negotiations which led to the release of TIEDE HERREMA and on the roots of GALLAGHER's involvement .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , January 1986 , pages 6 , 7 , 8, and 9 .


By 1975 , Eddie Gallagher was carrying-out military operations without the authority of the IRA leadership ; he refused to tell the leaders anything until the operation was complete , and considered that he should be just let get on with it . At that time , he was particularly active in the Donegal area , and had recruited a number of individuals of like mind . At the time Brendan Hughes was IRA Director Of Operations in the twenty-six counties , Eddie Gallagher was his Adjutant and Marion Coyle acted as Courier ; they were not attached to any particular IRA Unit .

Following the cease-fire , there was a botch up of a certain Provo operation in the twenty-six counties , and the IRA Army Council attempted to re-organise the entire membership . In mid-April , Marion Coyle was summoned to Dublin and told that she was being moved to another area ; the people who informed her of this decision were in favour of a truce and she associated the change with their attitude . In mid-May , the Provo Officer in charge of the area she had been sent to informed his superiors that she had'nt turned up . Moves were made to suspend her from membership .

Eddie Gallagher was at this time involved in a major operation but was refusing to give any money to the Provo leadership ; the IRA Army Council became worried when they did not hear from Brendan Hughes or Eddie Gallagher . Marion Coyle was afterwards cleared of doing anything untoward with these funds . The fact that Gallagher's was a maverick group did little to distinguish them from the Provos in the minds of most people ; a kidnapping would bring the Gardai and the (Free State) Army down hard all over the country (sic) - there would be searches in places there had never been . And , in fact, these searches turned up firearms in several places .

The Provos were displeased with Brendan Hughes , Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle - but the main bone of contention about any kidnapping would be that it would not be sanctioned by the IRA Army Council or any local IRA Unit .......

(MORE LATER).




TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .

Gerry Fitts' stories were wonderful ; about the 2,000 couples he knew in Dungannon who could'nt get a house , the intricate saga of why Derry did'nt get the University and Coleraine did , and the " ... 468 telegrams , 700 letters and 1,000 phone calls .. " from people who opposed him in religion but supported him in his new approach to politics . Unionists , he finished , " ... cannot believe that 3,000 Protestants voted for me .. " .

Sir Douglas Glover , Conservative member from Ormskirk , followed him : " Whatever we may think about the arguments put forward , we like people who speak with sincerity and fire in their bellies . " He praised Gerry Fitts' " ... descriptive turn of phrase .. " and smoothly dismissed the complaints about Stormont - " In any parliament that is always the view of the minority about the actions of the majority . " Why , he too was about to spend five years watching the majority Labour Party members go through the lobbies like fodder , " ... used by whips in carrying through legislation in which they do not believe .. " .

British Captain L.S. Orr , Unionist member at Westminster for South Down said , smoothly , that Mr. Fitt had made no complaints to the RUC upon his election , that the University had been sited in Coleraine following recommendations by an independent board that included many prominent and eminent British academics , that the Northern Ireland (sic) Labour Party should confirm that religion was never mentioned when the NILP fought elections , and he finished with a quotation from the 'Irish Independent' newspaper Editorial - ' Captain O'Neill has a new respect from the Catholics of Belfast who cannot remember a time when the police were more fair or more efficient than they were last Sunday , when two rival parades were taking place in the city . '

But still Gerry Fitt had faith that when Harold Wilson's government knew the facts , they would take corrective action in Northern Ireland (sic) - one hundred Labour MP's had come together in a caucus called ' Campaign For Democracy in Ulster ' (sic) and in the North itself a dossier of irrefutable information was being painstakingly compiled to convince Westminster of the wrongs which existed .......

(MORE LATER).




A DECADE OF CENSORSHIP .Bernadette Quinn looks at the development of SECTION 31 of the Broadcasting Act , used by the Free State government to suppress the Republican viewpoint on state radio and television - and extended by Radio Telefis Eireann itself into a regime of self-censorship . From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .

Section 31 was first proposed as part of the Broadcasting Act of 1960 by the then Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in the Free State , Patrick Hilliard . It was intended to provide the Free State government with a veto which would make broadcasting an instrument of government policy and was supposedly intended to ensure that ' foreign governents were not embarrassed . '

Paragraph 1 of the section stated : ' The Minister may direct the (RTE) Authority in writing to refrain from broadcasting any particular matter or matter of any particular class , and the Authority shall comply with the direction . ' Admitting that the provision of the veto was "... restrictive.. " , Patrick Hilliard said : " It is the Government's wish that the Authority should act as its own censor , recognising the absolute importance of safeguarding truth and preserving intact the moral integrity of our people . "

Exactly ten years later , the Fianna Fail government's lack of action in response to the Northern crisis was becoming an embarrassment to it , as events there increasingly showed up the hollowness of the party's claim to 'republicanism' . In July 1970 , the then (Free State) Minister for Justice , Des O' Malley , wrote to his counterpart at Posts and Telegraphs , Gerry Collins , protesting bitterly about the " ... irresponsible behaviour of RTE in glamourising persons who are well known to have engaged in subversive or criminal activities . "

RTE had been warned ; a little over a year later , Gerry Collins went further .......

(MORE LATER).





Thursday, May 19, 2005

A ROUGH DEAL .......


Ten years ago EDDIE GALLAGHER went to prison for his part in the kidnapping of TIEDE HERREMA . He is still there , even though he did a deal which promised him only four years in jail . His accomplice , MARION COYLE , has been released . DEREK DUNNE reports on GALLAGHER's maverick relationship with the IRA , on the negotiations which led to the release of TIEDE HERREMA and on the roots of GALLAGHER's involvement .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , January 1986 , pages 6 , 7 , 8, and 9 .


Rose Dugdale was given prison sentences ranging from three to nine years for her part in the hijacking of a helicopter on January 24 , 1974 , and also for the theft of the Beit paintings , valued at £8 million , in County Wicklow . She gave birth to a son - Ruairi - in Limerick Prison . Marion Coyle and Martin McGuinness were the godparents .

By mid-'74 , the Provos knew that Eddie Gallagher was anxious to get Rose Dugdale out of prison ; in August , he got himself arrested with another famous escapee - Richard Behal - and having spent one day in Portlaoise Prison , helped eighteen others to blast their way to freedom . Kevin Mallon was amongst those who got away . As 1974 drew to a close , it was dawning on the Provos that the struggle in the North was going to be a long drawn out affair .

In January 1975 , Kevin Mallon was again arrested in a raid on a house in Foxrock ; the 37-year-old native of Coalisland , County Tyrone , was sentenced to ten years . Rose Dugdale was having her own problems in Limerick Prison - visiting conditions were stringent , and in April , she went on hunger strike . A cease-fire was called in the North early in 1975 ; Eddie Gallagher was opposed to the IRA leadership because of this . To him , they seemed incapable of organising anything but " ... pompous press handouts and their own appearances at Republican dinner dances .. " .

Eddie Gallagher continued to do military operations without the authority of the IRA leadership .......

(MORE LATER).




TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .

Gerry Fitt blithely welcomed the defeat of Glasgow Rangers , heroes of the Shankill , by Glasgow Celtic , heroes of the Falls , shortly after his own Westminster defeat of the sitting Unionist MP for West Belfast - " We beat them in politics , now we've beaten them in football , " he told the Catholics who had come onto the Falls Road after the match . ' The Belfast Telegraph ' newspaper ran an editorial criticising him for being sectarian - " The editorial was a joke to us , " Paddy Kennedy recalled , " we'd never heard of sectarianism or ecumenism in those days . There were bigoted Protestants in Belfast as top dogs , and poor wee Catholics as under dogs . The only time the Catholics won anything was when Gerry (Fitt) was elected and the night Celtic beat Rangers .

I rang Gerry down at the pub to tell him and it did'nt mean a thing to him , because he backed horses , not football teams , but I said they were out celebrating on the Falls and he'd better come up . He was up like a flash and they carried him along the street since they could'nt carry the football team . Fans meant votes , and if football teams kept their spirits up , Gerry identified with the football team . It was just another way to keep the fight going against the Unionists . "

In Westminster , Gerry Fitt dispensed with football teams and flags ; he thought the facts would suffice . The (British) Queens speech , outlining the priorities for Harold Wilson's incoming government , had lain heavy emphasis on the Rhodesian problem , where Ian Smith's white government had just declared independence from a Britain that had been considering reforms for Rhodesia's black majority . There was an exact parallel to Ireland , Gerry Fitt argued , where a minority had used guns in 1912 to subjugate the majority and Northern Ireland (sic) had resulted .

As with so many of his subsequent speeches , he did not tease out the difficult abstract problem any further , but relapsed into telling stories .......

(MORE LATER).




IT HAPPENED IN IRELAND ....... From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 8.(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 foregoing incidents are typical but by no means comprehensive ; much worse has been reported , but verification is difficult because of censorship and because the people fear reprisals . These things are happening in Ireland , not Cyprus , Algeria or even Hungary . If we have sympathy for export perhaps we can spare a little for our kith and kin at home .

A good beginning would be to aid the families or dependents of the men in jail - you can do that through the Republican Aid Committee , care of this newspaper . There are now 112 men in Crumlin Road Jail , Belfast , 7 men jailed in England and 55 men in Mountjoy Prison , Dublin .
Their Cause is your Cause : the Cause of Irish Freedom .

[END of ' IT HAPPENED IN IRELAND '].

(Tomorrow - ' A DECADE OF CENSORSHIP ' - from 1983 ).






Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A ROUGH DEAL .......


Ten years ago EDDIE GALLAGHER went to prison for his part in the kidnapping of TIEDE HERREMA . He is still there , even though he did a deal which promised him only four years in jail . His accomplice , MARION COYLE , has been released . DEREK DUNNE reports on GALLAGHER's maverick relationship with the IRA , on the negotiations which led to the release of TIEDE HERREMA and on the roots of GALLAGHER's involvement .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , January 1986 , pages 6 , 7 , 8, and 9 .



At exactly 3.41pm on Wednesday October 31 , 1973 , a helicopter took off from Mountjoy Prison with three leading Provos aboard - Seamus Twomey , J.B. O'Hagan and Kevin Mallon . Mallon's freedom was shortlived and he was arrested at a dance-hall in Portlaoise six weeks later : he got four years . Marion Coyle was charged with allegedly firing at a detective at the dance-hall but she was acquitted through lack of identification .


The helicopter escape severely embarrassed the government in the south and led directly to a review of national (sic - the Leinster House Administration has not got national authority) security carried out by Justice Finlay . But if the escape was an embarrassment to the (Free State) government , it was an inspiration to the Provos and inspired another operation : on January 24 , 1974 , Rose Dugdale posed as a journalist and hired a helicopter along with two others to fly to Tory Island . Eddie Gallagher and Rose Dugdale had registered as man and wife in a hotel in Gortahork prior to the operation .

According to Eddie Gallagher , they first met in a 'doss house' in Edinburgh - they were both fascinated at how 'dossers' could sleep on ropes when they could not afford to pay for a flea-infested bed in the dormitory . They were very close and Dugdale later gave birth to Gallagher's son in prison . However - the helicopter was hijacked and forced to fly to Strabane RUC Station with three milk-churn bombs aboard . The bombs failed to explode when dropped .......
(MORE LATER).




TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .

Gerry Fitt read James Connolly at sea and other socialist literature : " You know the way it is " , he says , " you dock into any port in the world and in some wee back lane you'll find the Communist Party bookshop , and wee cheap pamphlets . "

When he finally returned to Belfast and started his political career as a councillor , Gerry Fitt quickly attracted the attention of student militants like Eamonn McCann and Michael Farrell - " There was no smell of the Catholic grammar school off him , " says McCann , " he was an urban working class man . He was abrasive . He was nice . "

Paddy Kennedy , the other half of the Republican Labour Party presence at Stormont , learned his politics at Gerry Fitt's electoral knee : " He came off the merchant ship and back into Belfast and he used to say to me that what he would really love to be was an MP for Cardiff or Liverpool , a dockside place where he could get stuck into a straight fight .

Gerry called himself Republican Labour because the 'Northern Ireland (sic) Labour Party' was tied into union with Britain and the Irish Labour Party was preoccupied with the border . " Also , he added , Fitt did'nt like big parties .
Gerry Fitt's republicanism was entirely internal and personal , freeing him from bondage to any flag , although being Gerry Fitt he could wave flags with the best of them when electoral advantage was to be gained from it .......

(MORE LATER).




IT HAPPENED IN IRELAND . From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 8.(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 men seized at Warrenpoint , County Down , were threatened by nervous RUC men toting sten guns and were covered by machine guns : a man seized in Fermanagh , and later freed for there was nothing against him , was beaten for a whole night in an RUC Barracks cell - an enraged Sergeant threatened to kill him . A woman was informed by the RUC that her husband would be shot - they were looking for information on his movements .

Fathers have been threatened by the RUC with loss of job unless they explain in detail the activities of their sons . A youth was seized at his father's funeral and when relatives travelled to Belfast they were'nt allowed to visit him . Men are being held without trial and their families are not allowed to see them .

Remand prisoners at Crumlin Road Jail can't associate - they exercise singly , ten paces or so behind one another , with a prison warder on each side . It is difficult to get information on conditions at Crumlin Road Jail but the fact that warders and prisoners clashed recently is symptomatic .......

(MORE LATER).





Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A ROUGH DEAL .......


Ten years ago EDDIE GALLAGHER went to prison for his part in the kidnapping of TIEDE HERREMA . He is still there , even though he did a deal which promised him only four years in jail . His accomplice , MARION COYLE , has been released . DEREK DUNNE reports on GALLAGHER's maverick relationship with the IRA , on the negotiations which led to the release of TIEDE HERREMA and on the roots of GALLAGHER's involvement .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , January 1986 , pages 6 , 7 , 8, and 9 .


At first , Marion Coyle was not directly involved in military operations ; she acted as a 'lookout' and ran errands . She was known within the Republican Movement as a woman with a lot of nerve who did not fold under pressure . In August 1972 , when the British Army tore down the barricades separating ' Free Derry' from the rest of the world , she led six men safely across the border into Donegal , one at a time , by pretending to be their girlfriend .

In January of the following year , she was acquitted on a charge of possession of a rifle ; Leo Martin admitted full responsibility for the weapon and was given three years . The Provos sent her first to Buncrana and then to Leitrim . She was'nt attached to any particular Active Service Unit of the IRA . Eddie Gallagher , meanwhile , was jailed for twelve months in the Curragh for IRA activity .

It was around this time that Marion Coyle met Kevin Mallon - increasingly , she looked to him for guidance and a close platonic friendship grew up between the two . She admired his political clarity . Coyle moved to Dublin and returned to Derry at weekends . The raids on her home in Derry became more frequent , so the visits had to be curtailed . Increasingly , she was spending her time with the same people she worked with . In September of 1973 , Kevin Mallon was arrested in Monaghan and given twelve months for membership .......

(MORE LATER).




TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .

Gerry Fitt's 'trust' in the Brits to do the 'right' thing in Ireland earned him the sobriquet ' Fitt The Brit' , applied with such bitterness to him now by Northern nationalists who have suffered under direct rule from England since 1972 , could have been applied with equal accuracy but a lot more affection in 1966 and more before that .

For many of Gerry Fitt's generation and background , religious and political , England offered an escape and refuge from the direct rule of the Unionist Party in Northern Ireland . Back in the North , Fitt told his Westminster audience on that first day , Catholics could'nt get homes , could'nt get jobs , could'nt even get the vote . They could'nt even get a hearing in the Stormont parliament , where a contrived Unionist majority turned a deaf ear to such as him , the democratically elected Stormont representative for Dock . " No matter what pleas I made to the Unionists , I would'nt get anywhere . "

Born in Belfast in 1926 , Gerry Fitt got out quick : his father died when he was eight and his mother was left to bring up the children in the depressed 1930's ; he ran away from home to become a fifteen-year-old cabin boy , in the British merchant navy , in 1941 , and sailed in wartime convoys to Russia . After the war , during a port call to London , he met his future wife Anne Doherty , from County Tyrone , who was then working as a clerk in the Conservatives Ladies' Club : " I used shout 'Vote Labour' during elections and they were annoyed ," she remembers .......

(MORE LATER).




IT HAPPENED IN IRELAND . From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 8.(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.


If we had a national Press worthy of the name our people would be aware by now of the conditions in occupied Ireland ; the Americans and the English are much better informed because their Press coverage of events in the North is so much more extensive . Most of it - coming as it does from British sources - is biased of course but unlike the 26 County population they get a view of things even if that view is slanted .

We are not aware of the terrorism by British military , police and armed B-Specials ; we are not informed of the treatment handed out to captured men by these forces . We should make it our business to get the facts for the victims involved are young Irishmen fighting for our freedom . Tony Cooney and his two comrades taken at Torr Head , County Antrim , were fired on by police while they held their hands in the air and later were threatened with murder .

Seamus Heuston was beaten into insensibility by B-Specials near Armagh ; they smashed his head and broke his arm . Shots were fired at John Kelly and his comrades after they were taken in County Tyrone ; a Belfast Det-Sgt held a grenade from which the pin had been withdrawn and threatened them as they stood facing a wall with their hands up .......

(MORE LATER).





Monday, May 16, 2005

A ROUGH DEAL .......
Ten years ago EDDIE GALLAGHER went to prison for his part in the kidnapping of TIEDE HERREMA . He is still there , even though he did a deal which promised him only four years in jail . His accomplice , MARION COYLE , has been released . DEREK DUNNE reports on GALLAGHER's maverick relationship with the IRA , on the negotiations which led to the release of TIEDE HERREMA and on the roots of GALLAGHER's involvement .

First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , January 1986 , pages 6 , 7 , 8, and 9 .


A few nights before internment was introduced , a Catholic worker from Derry named Harry Thornton was driving past Springfield Road RUC Station in Belfast when his car backfired - a British soldier shot him dead . A passenger in the car ran , thinking he too was about to be shot - he was attacked by British soldiers , taken into the RUC station and badly beaten up .

Eddie Gallagher watched as the British jumped from their jeeps ; one British soldier shouted " One down , one to go ... " , according to Gallagher . That particular incident coupled with what happened in the next few days convinced Eddie Gallagher to become more actively involved with the IRA .

On March 14th , the Provos had a forty-minute gun battle with the British Army near Dove Gardens in Derry ; 90 minutes later , Eugene McGillen and Colm Keenan were shot dead as they came out of a house . The householder later told the inquest that they had come in for shelter . The Provos admitted that they were members but said that they had not been involved in anything at the time .

Marion Coyle and a friend had spent their summer holidays in Bundoran with Eugene McGillen and Colm Keenan . Almost immediately , her brother Philip , whom she was especially close to , got six years for possession of a firearm : Marion Coyle joined the Provisional IRA .......
(MORE LATER).



TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .

The difference between Gerry Fitt and Gerry Adams was established as long ago as Monday April 25 , 1966 , 7pm : exactly when the Right Honourable Gerald Fitt , Esquire , Republican Labour Party , rose to his feet to speak for the first time in the House of Commons -
- " Since my election , I have read in sections of the British press that I have been classified as an Irish Republican . I should take this opportunity to classify my political allegiance . To classify me as an Irish Republican is not strictly correct ; the Irish Republican Party in Ireland does not recognise the authority of this House in any part of Ireland and its members would indeed refuse to take their seats in this House .

I have not yet given up hope , and I have not yet determined to follow the line of the Irish Republican Party , because I believe that during my term as the representative of West Belfast in this House I will be able to appeal to every reasonable member in the Chamber , and through them , to every reasonable member of the British public . I feel certain that at the end of this Parliament dramatic changes will have taken place in the North of Ireland ....... "

Through all the dramatic changes that subsequently took place in the North of Ireland , Gerry Fitt never did give up hope that the British Government would sort things out . He placed particular trust in the British Labour Party ('1169...' Comment - as does Gerry Adams today...) , which had in 1966 swept to power under Harold Wilson with a hundred seat majority .
His 'faith' in the Brits earned him a new nickname .......

(MORE LATER).




A MESSAGE OF HOPE TO OCCUPIED IRELAND ...... From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 8.(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.


Jim Dolan stated that the people of Sligo-Leitrim had given Sinn Fein a mandate to go forward to greater victories , and certainly , it would be a message of hope to our people in Occupied Ireland . It would be a message to all of them that the people of Sligo-Leitrim were behind the freedom fighters who were fighting Ireland's Cause today .

It would also be an answer to Lord Brookesborough and his Quisling Government and to Mr. Costello who , during the past three months, has been responsible for sentencing many young men to terms of imprisonment . As a result of this election Mr. Costello would be a much wiser man .

The success achieved here would be a warning to the new administration that the people would not support them in suppressing the freedom fighters in the North of Ireland . Concluding , Jim Dolan returned thanks to all who had assisted them in achieving victory , as nobody could deny that they had scored a great success in Sligo-Leitrim constituency .

[END of 'A MESSAGE OF HOPE TO OCCUPIED IRELAND'].(Tomorrow - ' IT HAPPENED IN IRELAND ' : from the same source).