" 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 27, 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 .


In 1978 , the then Free State Minister for Justice , Gerry Collins (Fianna Fail) wrote to Marion Coyle's mother in Derry and stated that the two conditions attached to the (early release) deal were broken by Ms Coyle - she was said to have assaulted a Ban (female) Garda on November 26 , 1975 . She was released late last year (ie 1985) having served ten of the fifteen years imposed on her .

Last October (ie October 1985) Eddie Gallagher's solicitor wrote to the Bishop of Raphoe , the Most Reverend Dr. S Hegarty , looking for support on several grounds with a view to entering a petition to the Free State Department of Justice for his release .

Some of the grounds included the fact that members of the UDA served less than one-third of their sentences when convicted and jailed in the 'Republic' ; the fact that the Littlejohns served eight out of their fifteen and twenty years respectively ; the fact that there is fifty per cent remission in the Six Counties ; the fact that he treated his trial as a formality on the basis of the agreement which he had entered into ; the fact that vision in one of his eyes is impaired eighty per cent ; the fact that he spent thirty-nine days on hunger strike ; the fact that his father is permanently hospitalised and he has not seen him for over ten years ; the fact that he has a ten-year-old son whom he has seen only twice in the last ten years .

However , the fact remains that Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle released Tiede Herrema unharmed on the basis that they would not serve more than four and two years in jail respectively , and the authorities refused to honour the undertaking . The siege might not have ended so peacefully if they had known what was going to happen . Tiede Herrema fully expected the deal to be honoured ; more importantly , the credibility of anyone attempting to make some similar arrangement at some future date in similar circumstances is undermined .

If Eddie Gallagher serves the same sentence as Marion Coyle on a pro-rata basis , he will be released in 1988 . He would then have served more than nine years longer than he envisaged when he surrendered on November 7 , 1975 .......

(MORE LATER).




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

Mary Holland was crying - with vexation , frustration , anger , outrage and pity . She rang Bernard Levin ; he rang David Frost . 'The Observer' newspaper front-paged her story of October 5 March , and directed readers to the back-ground expose on the inside pages . David Frost came to Northern Ireland (sic) within days to do a live programme . The media wall burst to flood Britain with the facts . ('1169... ' Comment - this scribbler , for one , doubts that the British people ever have got the 'facts' about their government's involvement in this country . And certainly not from 'The Observer' or any other British newspaper.)

Gerry Fitt had done what he set out to do ; he had turned the spotlight on the North of Ireland , though he was run off his feet in the process . 'The Irish News' newspaper recorded proudly that on one historic day he attended Belfast Corporation as Councillor , in the morning , Stormont as MP for Dock in the afternoon , and Westminster as MP for West Belfast in the evening .

To Unionist protests that the whole civil rights thing was a plot by communists , republicans , intent on overthrowing the 'Crown' , murdering gunmen standing in the wings etc , Fitt would say across the floor of Stormont - " ... when I was on the Murmansk convoy .. " . He then reminisced about the dangers of the merchant seaman's lot in World War Two when he had helped defend Britain and the 'Free World' : the titled peers and majors on the Stormont government benches , most of whom had never fought in the war , chewed their lips .

The 'reasonable' response from the 'reasonable' members of Westminster , by which Gerry Fitt had set such store , came in the 'Cameron Report .......' ('1169 ... ' Comment - ...and here we are , some 30 years after Gerry Fitt expected a "reasonable response from reasonable members of Westminster ... " , witnessing another Gerry expecting much the same . 'Lord Adams' , anyone ...)

(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 .


The clearest exposure of Section 31 censorship occurred during the 1982 general election in the Free State ; Sinn Fein fielded seven candidates and as such were entitled to make a party political broadcast on RTE . RTE agreed , but Patrick Cooney at Posts and Telegraphs ordered that Section 31 should be extended to include electoral broadcasts !

The Sinn Fein candidate in Cooney's own constituency of Longford/Westmeath , Sean Lynch , took an action in the High Court claiming that Section 31 was unconstitutional and interfered with his rights - the High Court agreed , and ruled that Section 31 of the 1976 (Amended) Broadcasting Act was repugnant to the Free State constitution . Making the ruling , Justice Hanlon said that the amendment to Section 31 " ... appeared to contain insufficient safeguards for the constitutional guarantee of the right of freedom of expression of opinion , with particular reference to the freedom of the press . "

Patrick Cooney immediately took the case to the Supreme Court , where the Chief Justice , Kevin O'Higgins , over-ruled the High Court and upheld Cooney's ban on a Sinn Fein election broadcast .
As well as being used to suppress any political comment by Sinn Fein , the indirect effect of Section 31 creates a self-censoring atmosphere in RTE that even prevents the playing of certain records (!) : 'The Men Behind The Wire' topped the charts in the South for weeks during the 1970's but was never played on RTE . And that was'nt the only song to be 'banned' .......

(MORE LATER).





Thursday, May 26, 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 .


Free State Justice Minister Paddy Cooney denied that any concessions had been offered to bring to an end the kidnapping of Dr. Tiede Herrema ; but Free State Garda Commissioner Edmund Garvey had signed a document - this was witnessed by solicitor Stanley Siev .

One of the conditions of that document/agreement was that the conduct of Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle in prison should be " reasonable " and "serious misconduct " avoided . The latter was defined as misconduct which " ...would make it impracticable for the Minister to grant remission . " The deal was ratified by the Free State Cabinet .

Eddie Gallagher claimed that as a result of this deal , he was encouraged to think of his trial as nothing more than a formality and he did not have legal representation there . The document relating to the deal was brought into court and read by the three judges in the Free State Special Criminal Court but was not read out . Later still , Gallagher had to initiate High Court proceedings to get possession of the document . He had given it to Dr. Herrema who had passed it on to the Gardai .

In any event , the promise of release within two years for Marion Coyle and four years for Eddie Gallagher was'nt worth the paper it was written on - according to the authorities , Gallagher and Coyle had broken both of the conditions .......
(MORE LATER).





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


Mary Holland's story , ' John Bull's Political Slum' , was scheduled as a major feature on the inside pages of ' The Observer ' newspaper of Sunday 6 October , 1968 ; Gerry Fitt came on the phone again pleading with her to return to Derry for October 5 , " just to see , just to see ... "

Three Labour Party MP's had agreed to come - " Ah come on Mary , for Jaysus sake ... " : 'The Observer' agreed , and sent over a photographer as well . He was the only photographer from a British newspaper . The picture he took of Gerry Fitt being batoned on the head by the RUC and the blood spurting down his shirt went all over the world , accompanied by RTE film . Mary Holland phoned the story in from a fish and chip shop in Duke Street , dictating amid the screams and shouting , and standing in a crush of bodies drenched with water from the RUC cannons and blood from their wounds .

The proprietor of the fish and chip shop handed her his card , hoping for a mention - there was a sense that the North was about to attract journalists on expense accounts ! ('1169 ... ' Comment - it is not only the journalists who are now on expense accounts : some of the Republican activists at that time are now in receipt of a regular stipend from Westminster and/or Leinster House . And their tastes have evolved (?) from fish and chips . )

Was she frightened ? - " I was outraged ; this was a part of Britain (sic) and the police were hitting a Westminster MP over the head . " That night she flew back to London and rang all the journalists she knew - she was crying .......
(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 .


State censorship - Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act - was used against Irish Republicans : for instance , in 1976 , the RTE programme 'Feach' was not allowed to transmit a short report of that year's Sinn Fein Ard Fheis , despite the fact that the report did not contain any comments by members of Sinn Fein !
In 1977 , the RTE radio programme 'This Week' highlighted the case of the late Guiseppe Conlon , a Belfastman with no connection with the Republican Movement , who had been jailed in England on explosives forensic evidence so flimsy that even Gerry Fitt and arch-Tory MP John Biggs-Davison had taken up his case . Nonetheless , the Director-General of RTE sharply criticised 'This Week' for even mentioning that there were Irish political prisoners in English jails !

The absurdity of Section 31 was thrown into sharp relief by the screening of ' Ireland : A Television History ' , a series co-produced by RTE and the BBC and screened on both channels in 1982 - one of the episodes which had been allocated to a BBC production team contained interviews with a number of identifiable Sinn Fein members from the North . After some media speculation , Albert Reynolds , the then Free State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs ( who had himself renewed Section 31) was forced to lift the Section 31 restriction for that one episode to save RTE from the ridiculous position of censoring a production that they had partly made and financed !

Yet the clearest exposure of Section 31 censorship occurred during the 1982 general election in the Free State .......

(MORE LATER).





Wednesday, May 25, 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 8pm on November 7 , 1976 , the guns were thrown out of the siege house - that part of it was over . Eddie Gallagher gave Tiede Herrema a live .38 bullet before the end ; the kidnappers had had only five live rounds left for their three weapons . Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle were taken to the Bridewell Garda Station in Dublin and charged .

On February 12 , 1976 , Gallagher and Coyle , Brian McGowan and Vincent Walsh went on trial - the affair lasted twelve days ; Eddie Gallagher got twenty years , Marion Coyle got fifteen years , Davy Dunne got a three-year suspended sentence , Vincent Walsh and Brian McGowan got eight years each . In March 1977 , Thomas Dunne was given seven years , Michael Hall and P.J. Bailey were given five years each . The State entered a nolle prosequi in relation to Mrs Hall and Mrs Bailey . Eight people had been sentenced to a total of seventy-one years imprisonment in relation to the kidnapping of Dr. Tiede Herrema .

The day following the kidnap , Free State Justice Minister Paddy Cooney was asked , at a jubilant press conference , if there had been any concessions to the kidnappers ; he replied - " None at all . " Following protracted negotiations , Garda Commissioner Edmund Garvey put his signature on a document that gave a written assurance that Eddie Gallagher would have to spend no more than four years in prison and Marion Coyle no more than two years in prison , irrespective of the sentence imposed on them by the court . For the safe release of Dr. Tiede Herrema , Commissioner Garvey undertook to "... recommend to the Minister for Justice at the appropriate time that he should exercise his powers so as to remit in full the balances of such sentences then remaining after the expiry of four years in the case of Eddie Gallagher and two years in the case of Marion Coyle .

I understand and intend this undertaking to include , as well as the kidnapping itself , all other offences incidental to it . " The conditions attached to that agreement were that it should be kept confidential , save in the event of it not being honoured .......
(MORE LATER).




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

On Tuesday , October 1 , 1968 , journalist Mary Holland found herself in Gerry Fitt's home on the Antrim Road in Belfast : " It was a complete culture shock . I sat in the room he uses as a clinic on the ground floor - the basement underneath was the kitchen where his family spent their time . He had a wife and five daughters . Everytime he wanted a cup of tea he'd stamp three times on the floor , and up from the basement beneath would come a woman with a tray . I sat there and listened to him and the stream of constituents who called into the room to see him . They were still calling well after midnight . "

Next day she hired a car and drove him to Dungannon to see Austin Currie , Stormont Nationalist MP . Gerry Fitt did'nt know the way and it took them ages . His lifelong refusal to learn how to drive , which made him dependent on someone who could , and his ignorance of areas west of the Bann were to be major factors in his later political career . Paddy Kennedy ('Republican Labour Party ') said - " When he first started operating out of Dock , the Falls Road was Outer Mongolia to him ! "

Politically , Dungannon must have seemed beyond Mongolia to Mary Holland . Austin Currie told her of the house allocated to the single unmarried female secretary of the local Unionist party branch , and the dozens of large Catholic families on the waiting list . Currie had squatted in the house in protest and the RUC had evicted him .

Gerry Fitt whirled her onto Derry that evening ; she was worried that they had'nt made appointments - " Ah , not at all , " he said , " you just arrive in the City Hotel and it all happens . " They arrived , she ordered tea and sandwiches , he went out into the street for a few minutes and returned with Eamonn McCann , Ivan Cooper , and the future Brigade Staff of the Official IRA , Provisional IRA and the INLA . On that night , though , they were no more than what they represented themselves to be - young militant civil rights activists . Ivan Cooper was the 'radical mascot' , a Protestant who had defected from the Unionist Party .

They were going to march in Derry that coming weekend - Mary Holland flew back to England on Wednesday with her story .......
(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 .

In 1973 , a different administration took over power in Dublin - a Fine Gael and Labour coalition .

The new Free State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was the Labour politician , Conor Cruise O' Brien . In 1972 he had opposed the sacking of the RTE Authority , saying in a Leinster House debate - " We believe that in modern conditions the degree of autonomy possessed by a body like RTE is a major bastion of democracy . " Yet , two years later , this 'champion of democracy' was accusing any journalists who were opposed to Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act of being - " ...crypto-Provos and fascists .. " , and it was he who re-amended Section 31 to specifically ban members of named organisations - Sinn Fein , the IRA , and all other organisations banned in the North - from appearing on RTE .

The amendment that gave Conor Cruise O' Brien the power to do this read - (paragraph 1) ' Where the Minister is of the opinion that the broadcasting of a particular matter or any matter of a particular class would be likely to promote or incite to crime , or would tend to undermine the authority of the State , he may by Order direct the (RTE) Authority to refrain from broadcasting the matter or any matter of the particular class and the Authority shall comply with the Order . '

Paragraph 1(A) of the amendment made Section 31 renewable every 12 months by the Free State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs , and it has been religiously renewed ever since . This has meant that not only have Sinn Fein members , including elected representatives , not been allowed to appear in RTE coverage of events in the Six Counties , but that even Sinn Fein Councillors in the Free State have not been allowed to be interviewed on matters such as hospital closures , water charges or the provision of school buses ! There are innumerable instances since then of the use of Section 31 against Republicans .......

(MORE LATER).
(To Paul William Stapleton : thank you for the visit and your words of encouragement . We are glad you found the site of some value to you in your quest . Our sources are varied ; old books , manuscripts , newspapers and , in some cases , writings left behind by those we mention in this blog . We have received literally hundreds of such 'leads' from our readers , and we hope to continue doing so . Should we receive more information on that particular person , we will post it here . Go raibh maith agat aris - Sharon. ).




Tuesday, May 24, 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 October 18 , 1976 , the Gardai had arrested and re-arrested Brian McGowan , the man who had 'cased ' the job for Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle ; McGowan , according to the Garda evidence , accepted a lift to Tullamore , County Offaly from the garda station - he had been released again after questioning - from Detective Inspector John Courtney and Detective Inspector Myles Hawkshaw . On the way to Tullamore he suddenly announced that he wanted to tell the truth ; the car stopped in a lay-by and Brian McGowan made a written statement in which he admitted his part in the kidnap .
On the basis of his evidence the gardai were able to find the location of Marion Coyle , Eddie Gallagher and Dr. Tiede Herrema - there followed a siege of the house at Monasterevan , County Kildare , which lasted from October 21 1976 until November 7 1976 . Garda Chief Superintendent Larry Wren was the man who talked to Gallagher and Herrema , every day of the eighteen-day siege . The demands were modified as the siege wore on - they wanted a plane to take all three to Tanzania . Food was hoisted up to the room - just enough to keep them alive . Bright lights were set up and panned over the window of the bedroom in an effort to keep everyone inside awake .
Garda Detective Sergeant Michael Egan was shot by Eddie Gallagher as he attempted to remove a pane of glass from the bathroom ; the index finger of his left hand had to be amputated . The gardai claimed that they were trying to create a flow of air in the house which would freeze the two out . On October 29 1976 , Seamus Sorohan , barrister , and Stanley Siev , solicitor , went in and talked for three and a half hours with the kidnappers . At 8pm on November 7 1976 , Marion Coyle asked for medication for Herrema saying that he had pains in his neck ; Eddie Gallagher thought the man was dying . The guns were thrown out the window and they surrendered .......

(MORE LATER).


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

Journalist Mary Holland agreed to meet Gerry Fitt to discuss his claim that Catholics in the North of Ireland were being discriminated against -
- " I named a restaurant in Soho - Wheeler's - and then there was something about his accent and his way of talking that made me add by way of caution ' it's very fashionable and it only serves fish dinners . ' " Ah Jaysus , Mary , " he said , " I want a real dinner . We'll go to the Irish Club and eat meat . "
When she arrived there , Gerry Fitt ordered drinks and opened a suitcase of documents and cuttings from the Irish News newspaper , gospel of Belfast Catholics , and The Skibbereen Eagle newspaper , of everything Unionists had ever done anywhere in the North against the Nationalist population . He held her spellbound for several hours : " I could'nt believe it , " she says simply of the things she heard that afternoon . Fitt cajoled and charmed and bullied and lured her across the Irish Sea .
Three days later , on Tuesday October 1 , 1968 , the reluctant would-be arts columnist found herself in the Fitt home on the Antrim Road - it was a complete shock to her .......
(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 .

On November 19th , 1972 , RTE broadcast an interview with Sean MacStiofain , the alleged IRA Chief of Staff ; MacStiofain got six months in jail and the RTE man in charge , Kevin O'Kelly , got three months in jail . But equally important was the RTE sequel to the interview ; the Free State government immediately demanded that RTE take disciplinary action against O'Kelly , but RTE instead defended the editor and denied that the broadcasting of the summary was in breach of Gerry Collins' 1971 Directive . The Free State government responded by sacking the nine-member RTE Authority .
The new RTE Authority was predictably quick to demonstrate its willingness to uphold Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act , by issuing a set of 'guidelines' to RTE broadcasters ; these are interpreted , however , by RTE journalists , as strictly-enforceable rules which result in dismissal if broken .
The 'guidelines' stated - " In view of the consequences which can be anticipated if RTE is again judged to have contravened the directive , it will be clear to all concerned that the strictest care must be taken in all these matters and that action will be called for where the individuals are deemed to have disregarded the instructions or to have been careless in observing them . "
It was Fianna Fail who had used and strengthened Section 31 to suppress the voice of Republicanism , but the situation did not change under the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government which came to power in 1973 .......
(MORE LATER).
(Apologises for the occasional (!) mistake in the spacing between threads etc : our 'Junior' has set-up a new Operating System for us . Trouble is , he's out chasing girls when he should be here showing us how to use it ... !).




Monday, May 23, 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 .

What the IRA Army Council did'nt know was that Eddie Gallagher had been tentatively planning a kidnap for eight months - that of Dr. Tiede Herrema , Managing Director of the Ferenka factory in Limerick .
On Friday October 3 , 1976 , Eddie Gallagher , Marion Coyle , Vincent Walsh and Brian McGowan arrived at the house of Dr. Tiede Herrema , managing director of the £20 million steel cord manufacturing plant in Limerick ; shortly after eight o' clock , Eddie Gallagher halted Herrema , who was leaving his house , and ordered him into the back of a Ford Cortina at gunpoint .
They drove him to a cottage in the Slieve Bloom Mountains , where he was held for eight days . At 11.30pm Eric Kwint , First Secretary of the Dutch Embassy in Dublin , received a telephone call giving the kidnappers' demands ; these included the release of Rose Dugdale , Kevin Mallon and Jim Hyland . On October 11 , 1976 , Herrema was moved to a house at 1410 St Evin's Park , Monasterevan , County Kildare .
The search for Tiede Herrema involved over nine thousand (Free State) soldiers and Gardai - but there was another investigation involving the Garda Technical Bureau , headed at the time by Chief Superintendent Thomas McMahon , who brought with him , to Limerick , Detective Inspector John Courtney , Detective Sergeant Michael Canavan , Detective Garda Christy Godkin and Detective Garda Thomas Ibar Dunne .
By October 18 , 1976 , they had arrested and re-arrested Brian McGowan , the man who had 'cased ' the job for Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle and who had checked on the time that Tiede Herrema left for work .......
(MORE LATER).


TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .
In the North of Ireland , a dossier of irrefutable information was being painstakingly compiled by the ' Campaign for Social Justice ' , fore-runner of the Civil Rights Movement : it was just a matter of presenting it to the Wilson government in Westminster and getting them to move on it . But the British government did not want to know the facts -
- in 1967 , a party of Stormont Nationalist MP's were received in Westminster by Roy Jenkins , then Chancellor of the British Exchequer . After they had presented their case and left , a horrified aide said to Roy Jenkins - " ... something will have to be done . " Jenkins replied that nothing would be done because any Englishman who set foot in Northern Ireland (sic) affairs would be setting a foot in his political grave .
Mary Holland , a journalist in 'The Observer ' newspaper at that time , heard the story from the aide after she had been persuaded by Gerry Fitt to break the 'paper wall' on the North that existed in the British media at the time . In the summer of 1968 she had been writing a series of articles entitled ' Them And Us ' , in which she detailed cases of discrimination against individuals : " A lot of it had to do with the difficulties experienced by back people , whose problems in England were then attracting a lot of attention . I got a phone call from Gerry Fitt , saying Catholics were undergoing the same discrimination in Northern Ireland (sic) .
It's a measure of our ignorance in England at that time that I asked him if he was sure he could prove his case . I'd had a lot of difficulty establishing actual discrimination against black people , given the subtleties of bureaucracy , and I was about to drop the series and accept promotion to a position as 'Arts Columnist ' on the Observer . "
Gerry Fitt was insistent and she agreed to meet him for lunch .......
(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 .
In July 1970 , Des O' Malley (Free State Minister for Justice at the time) warned RTE that he was not happy with them for "... glamourising subversives (and) criminals .. " : RTE had been put on notice . A little over a year later , Gerry Collins (Free State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs at the time) went further - in October 1971 he invoked his authority under Section 31 of the 1960 Broadcasting Act to issue a directive instructing RTE to refrain from " ... broadcasting any matter that could be calculated to promote the aims or activities of any organisation which engages in , promotes , encourages or advocates the attaining of any particular objective by violent means . " The organisations alluded to were unnamed , but the implication was clear . ('1169...' Comment : If that 'law' had been followed to the letter , then surely RTE would not have been able to interview British combatants , as well as Irish Republican combatants ... ?) .
But it was the Kevin O' Kelly affair in November 1972 that was to kill off any remaining spark of independence in the corridors of RTE , and ensure that what Patrick Hilliard (the previous Free State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs) had alluded to twelve years earlier (ie in 1960) - " ... that the (RTE) Authority should act as its own censor .. " - would become as restrictive to political news coverage as would the veto contained in the legislation itself .
On November 19th 1972 the RTE Radio News Features Editor , Kevin O' Kelly , broadcast a summary of an interview which purported to be with Sean MacStiofain , said at the time to be the IRA's Chief of Staff . A court case followed , with MacStiofain receiving a six-month sentence for IRA membership and Kevin O' Kelly receiving a three-month sentence for contempt of court (later appealed against successfully) after he refused to identify the voice on the interview tape as Sean MacStiofain's .
But equally important was the RTE sequel to the interview .......
(MORE LATER).