" 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, September 09, 2005

FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION .......
By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

The late 1960's were also the years of the Fianna Fail financial 'whizz-kids' of TACA : Colley , Haughey , Boland , Blaney and Lynch in the leadership and always in government . It was the days of the 1968 attempt by Fianna Fail to rid the country (sic) of Proportional Representation . But then came Derry in the middle of that campaign -

- on the 5th October 1968 , the RUC baton-charged a small march for Civil Rights at Duke Street , Derry . This was only the second Civil Rights march in the campaign of marches which commenced with 3,000 people marching from Coalisland to Dungannon on August 24th 1968 . On October 16th 1968 Fianna Fail lost the 'PR' referendum and the Derry 'scene' did not help .

Once the referendum was behind him , Fianna Fail Minister Neil Blaney turned his attention to the North ; he criticised the Civil Rights Association in the North for not having the re-unification of the country on its agenda . (' 1169 .... ' Comment - ...that was in 1968 ; in 1973 , Fianna Fail were amongst those telling Republicans that the 'Sunningdale Agreement' was the "solution" to the North . In 1985 they did the same with the 'Hillsborough Treaty' . In 1998 they did the same with the 'Stormont Treaty' ('GFA') . Fianna Fail and "re-unification of the country" are chalk and cheese . )

This was a deliberate tactic by those who initiated the Civil Rights Association - the leadership of the IRA . Neil Blaney strongly advised his party to discontinue the Lynch-O'Neill ' hands-across-the-border' and his speech was seen as an attempt to unseat his Taoiseach Jack Lynch ; Blaney kept up the speech-making on the North taking every opportunity of launching attacks on the Northern 'Premier' , Captain Terence O'Neill who was already under pressure from the Rev. Ian Paisley .......

(MORE LATER).




SINN FEIN ALONE .......
As Sinn Fein has become more active , members of the government parties have sought to isolate the Provos politically .
The record shows , however , that some of those politicians have for years sought support from Sinn Fein - and some continue to do so in so far as it is politically expedient .
By JOHN McHUGH .
First published in ' MAGILL ' Magazine , September 1984.

Pat Brady , a Sinn Fein member of Bundoran Urban District Council , was at a function last Spring in Killybegs at which Minister of State , George Bermingham , was also present ; Brady is a member of the local 'Vocational Educational Committee' and the function was a prize-giving ceremony for students .

Minister Bermingham was attending in his capacity as Minister of State at the Department of Education ; Brady (SF) says that the Minister said hello to him and that he feels he knew who he was .

County Councillors are frequently plagued with requests for support at (FS) Senate election time and often they remain on the Christmas mailing list . One member of Sinn Fein , Fra Browne , even recalls getting a box of chocolates from Fine Gael Senator Joe Lennon at the time of the last Senate elections . Sinn Fein members have often received requests for support from people on behalf of others and they have been asked to support members of other parties on certain local issues .

Before the ban many Sinn Fein members had had dealings with State Ministers such as Dick Spring , Ruairi Quinn , Austin Deasy , Alan Dukes and John Bruton .......

(MORE LATER).




23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O'GRADY KIDNAPPING .......
The Gardai had in their possession a clue which could have led them to the O'Grady kidnappers and their captive some ten days earlier .
A card found in a rucksack after the Midleton shoot-out led them directly to the gang once they checked it out - but this was ten days later , by which time John O 'Grady had lost two of his fingers .
First published in 'MAGILL' Magazine , May 1988 .
By Michael O'Higgins .

Other members of the O'Grady household were aroused by the noisy incursion ; they were ushered at gunpoint by O'Hare into the bedroom of Anthony O'Grady (12) who was already on the telephone attempting to contact the gardai : " You little bastard , " said O'Hare , who promptly took the 'phone from him . The family was ushered into the bedroom of Louise O'Grady (6) , the youngest of the O'Grady family .

John O'Grady was taken downstairs to the front porch where the alarm and console for opening and closing the front gate in the driveway were located . He had difficulty convincing Dessie O'Hare that the alarm had not been switched on because it had been malfunctioning recently .

O'Hare wanted to know where Dr. Austin Darragh , the head of the Institute of Cinical Pharmacology , was . He was told that Dr. Darragh had not lived in the house for three and a half years . O'Hare went back upstairs . There was a telephone in Louise's bedroom too ; Marise O'Grady had dialled 999 , got through to the exchange and was awaiting connection to the police ...

... at that moment O'Hare entered the room - he flew into a rage and called Marise O'Grady a bitch and swore at her . The telephone was ripped out of the wall : Dessie O'Hare said that there had been a "...fuck up .. " and that they had got the wrong man . He told Marise O'Grady that a previous kidnap in which he had been involved had been bungled and it was important that they should not lose face .

John O'Grady was by this time handcuffed ; he had had to walk barefoot out to the porch through the broken glass . He was taken into the kitchen where he met Fergal Toal who was armed with a pump action shotgun and who he noticed was very nervous and breathing heavily .......

(MORE LATER).







Thursday, September 08, 2005

FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION .......
By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

In 1969 , the IRA was experiencing its own 'transformation' - the Cathal Goulding leadership was moving the organisation in a definite left-wing direction . Instead of organising for another border campaign he was openly declaring for a revolution ; but what he meant by revolution was not necessarily a blood bath but a change in the ownership of the resources of the country .

His leadership wanted the working-class to be owners of the country's resources ; a policy document found on an IRA man in 1966 spelt out how this was to be done - infiltration of peoples' organisations - the trade unions , the tenant associations etc and the establishment of organisations where there was a possibility of movement in a left-wing direction .

This development by the post 1962 leadership caused a few 'splutters' among the 'old brigade' ; many became inactive in the Republican Movement while many more dropped out . In the late 1960's this policy of the IRA was directly responsible for the emergence of the ' Northern Ireland (sic) Civil Rights Association ' , the ' Housing Action' committees , the 'Fish-In' Campaign (where the nationalisation of 'privately' owned rivers and lakes was demanded ) , land agitations and a host of other agitations .

Cathal Goulding's idea was to organise the people in support of what he and the majority in his small organisation sought . Inevitably the gun was produced which saw the burning of foreign owned farms in Meath and other areas , in support of small farmers resisting spiralling land prices brought on by foreign bidders . A fishing boat was blown up in Rossaveal in Connemara again in the name of the locals . Buses owned by the Silverdale company which was involved in carrying strike-breakers to work at Shannon were burned and blown-up in several areas around the country .

It was all a far cry from the traditional Republican policy of non-action in the 26 Counties .......

(MORE LATER).




SINN FEIN ALONE .......
As Sinn Fein has become more active , members of the government parties have sought to isolate the Provos politically .
The record shows , however , that some of those politicians have for years sought support from Sinn Fein - and some continue to do so in so far as it is politically expedient .
By JOHN McHUGH .
First published in ' MAGILL ' Magazine , September 1984.

Other examples of the embargo would be the refusal of Liam Kavanagh to see a delegation from Longford County Council to discuss road improvements ; the Sinn Fein member of the delegation , Michael Nevin , withdrew and the meeting then went ahead .

Minister Liam Kavanagh was accused of being anti-democratic ; he did not think he was - " I have accepted the democratic will of the people of Longford and saw the deputation . " He said that people who voted for Michael Nevin (SF) , who was Chairman of the County Council ... "...might not be aware of Sinn Fein policy .. "

Frank Glynn , who was elected by members of both the Fine Gael and Labour parties to the post of Chairman of Galway County Counci in 1979 and who has since voted for Fine Gael as well as Fianna Fail and Independent Chairmen , was turned away from Leinster House on March 15th . Minister of State at the Department of the Environment , Fergus O'Brien , said that he woud only meet a delegation from Galway County Council if Frank Glynn absented himself .

Eddie O'Doherty , a Sinn Fein member of Carrick-on-Suir Urban District Council , says that Minister of State , Eddie Collins , would not meet him on July 18th : O'Doherty says that he wanted to talk to the Minister about the closure of a local industry ........

(MORE LATER).




23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O'GRADY KIDNAPPING .
The Gardai had in their possession a clue which could have led them to the O'Grady kidnappers and their captive some ten days earlier .
A card found in a rucksack after the Midleton shoot-out led them directly to the gang once they checked it out - but this was ten days later , by which time John O 'Grady had lost two of his fingers .
First published in 'MAGILL' Magazine , May 1988 .
By Michael O'Higgins .

1. The O'Hare Gang Comes Calling .
John O'Grady was standing at the top of his stairs when Dessie O'Hare , attired in a grey suit and black balaclava , came smashing through the wooden framed glass-panels of his front door with a sledgehammer . Up to that point it had been an unremarkable day ...

O'Grady had returned home from his dental surgery in Wellington Road at six o'clock , a little earlier than usual . He had dinner with his wife Marise and three children , Darragh , aged thirteen , Anthony , twelve , and Louise , six . After dinner he went up to visit his mother Kitty O'Grady , who was sick . He returned home just before nine o'clock .

The children were already in bed ; John and Marise O'Grady decided to have an early night . They were in bed watching television when at around half past nine they heard the sound of breaking glass . They thought it might have been Anthony and Darragh playacting ; John O'Grady got up in his pyjamas and went to investigate .

Confronted with a stranger breaking down the door with a sledge-hammer , John O'Grady instinctively descended a few steps of the stairs . Now , Dessie O'Hare was standing in front of him pointing a gun at his head , threatening to blow him away . There were three other armed men , also wearing balaclavas , along with O'Hare . O'Grady told O'Hare not to panic , that he (O'Grady) was not going to do anything .......

(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION .......
By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

A bank account in the name of 'Ann O'Brien' was opened just weeks before the December 1969 split in the IRA and the follow-on split in Sinn Fein during January 1970 . The money put into the 'Ann O'Brien' account was used mainly for the running of a newspaper titled ' Voice Of The North' : it was run from an office in Monaghan and put forward the views of Fianna Fail on the North .

The man who ran the newspaper was journalist and Fianna Fail scriptwriter and activist Seamus Brady . ' Voice Of The North ' first set out to influence and take over the Civil Rights Movement in the North and then turned its attention to the IRA .

When the possibility of a split emerged in the IRA , the Fianna Fail Government-financed newspaper and its founder Seamus Brady fanned the flames which eventually led to the establishment of the Provisional IRA . The events which led to the December 1969 IRA split and eventually the Arms Trial had their roots spread back a few years -

- it all began on November 10th 1966 when Sean Lemass resigned as Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fail ; into the ring for the top job came the late George Colley and Charles J. Haughey . Neil Blaney entered on the nomination of another Fianna Fail Minister , Kevin Boland . Haughey and Blaney withdrew when Sean Lemass nominated Jack Lynch .

George Colley stuck in and was defeated by 53 votes to 19 ; the Colley-Haughey power struggle began to develop : meanwhile , the IRA was experiencing its own 'transformation' .......

(MORE LATER).




SINN FEIN ALONE .......
As Sinn Fein has become more active , members of the government parties have sought to isolate the Provos politically .
The record shows , however , that some of those politicians have for years sought support from Sinn Fein - and some continue to do so in so far as it is politically expedient .
By JOHN McHUGH .
First published in ' MAGILL ' Magazine , September 1984.

An example of a stricter attitude towards meeting with members of Sinn Fein would be the proposed meeting between Labour Minister Ruairi Quinn and Gorey Town Commissioners due to take place during a Ministerial visit to the town last February : Quinn would not discuss unemployment with the town Commissioners unless Sinn Fein Town Commissioner , John Sheehan , was absent . The Commissioners refused and the meeting never took place .

John Sheehan was the cause of Minister of State , Michael D'Arcy's absence from the reviewing stand for Gorey's Saint Patrick's Day Parade : D'Arcy could not get an assurance that Sheehan would not be on the reviewing stand and consequently decided to attend the parade as an ordinary spectator . John Sheehan says that he did not get an invitation to an ash planting ceremony in Gorey to mark the GAA's centenary and that Minister D'Arcy was in attendance .

Then on June 16th he says that Minister Michael D'Arcy would not take a place on the platform for the launching of Feile na Gael in Gorey by GAA President , Paddy Buggy . The Gorey Saint Patrick's Day parade was not the only one affected by the new Government policy : Patrick Cooney , the Minister for Defence , ordered members of the 26 County defence forces not to take part in any Saint Patrick's Day parades where members of Sinn Fein were directly involved in reviewing it or organising it .

There was no parade in Longford that day - the organisers felt that it would not be possible without 26 County- army co-operation and they said they could'nt give the undertaking necessary to ensure their participation .......

(MORE LATER).




HUNGER-STRIKING AGAINST SHOW-TRIALS.......
From 'AP/RN' , 2 January 1986 .
No By-Line .

Sinn Fein , while opposed generally to hunger-strikes , recognises the frustrations of the prisoners and has pledged full support for the hunger-strikers' demands . Sinn Fein candidates in the forthcoming elections will be pledged to support publicly and unequivocally the campaign to end the paid-perjurer system .

In a statement , Sinn Fein's Jim McAllister , a Councillor and Chairperson of the party's Six-County Executive , observed -

- " It is noteworthy that here we are at the end of 1985 , which has been hyped-up by some as the year when the London-Dublin deal was going to solve all our problems , and still Irish political prisoners find themselves on hunger-strike for justice . "

[END of ' HUNGER-STRIKING AGAINST SHOW-TRIALS ' .]
(Tomorrow - '23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O'GRADY KIDNAP' : from 1988.)






Tuesday, September 06, 2005

FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION .
By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

When Ruairi O Bradaigh and Daithi O Conaill walked out of the (1986) Sinn Fein Ard Fheis and announced Republican Sinn Fein , many comparisons were made with their walk-out from the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis in January 1970 .

They again were refusing to enter or give official recognition to the parliament of the 26 Counties ; and once again a group of reds had taken control of their organisation . And again a generation gap existed with the younger members voting for change . But this year there was one major ingredient missing - the Fianna Fail gold .

In the course of the media attention focussed on this year's event , the Fianna Fail front-bencher John Wilson stated on RTE's 'Saturday View' radio programme that his party had always condemned the men of violence and that they never had any truck with the dangerous 'Dan McGrews' of the IRA : while Mr. John Wilson himself has consistently adhered to such a stance his party has certainly not .

His current party leader , Charles J Haughey , while Minister for Finance in the Fianna Fail Government which took office following the June 1969 General Election authorised the payment of monies into a number of bank accounts . One of these bank accounts was opened in a Baggot Street bank on 14th November 1969 in the name of 'Ann O' Brien ' .......

(MORE LATER).




SINN FEIN ALONE .......
As Sinn Fein has become more active , members of the government parties have sought to isolate the Provos politically .
The record shows , however , that some of those politicians have for years sought support from Sinn Fein - and some continue to do so in so far as it is politically expedient .
By JOHN McHUGH .
First published in ' MAGILL ' Magazine , September 1984.

On March 9th , Liam Kavanagh (FS Environment Minister) opened a road between Donegal and Ballyshannon : Eddie Fullerton , as a Sinn Fein member of Donegal County Council was at the opening and he says he was standing beside Liam Kavanagh . Afterwards , there was a lunch during which , he claims , he was sitting opposite Minister Kavanagh .

Later on there were two delegations to see the Minister - one from Ballyshannon Town Commission ; there were Sinn Fein members on both . Things got heated when Kavanagh said that he would not meet delegations with Sinn Fein members present . Both sets of Sinn Fein members withdrew but there was some confusion about the Minister's refusal to see Eddie Fullerton in February , his attendance at functions at which it would be reasonable to expect Fullerton's presence and his subsequent refusal to see delegations containing members of Sinn Fein .

Eddie Fullerton claims that he was at the opening of an AnCO centre (ie a State jobs training body) in Letterkenny a month ago at which the State Minister for Labour , Ruairi Quinn , was present . Quinn later pushed this issue to the forefront .......

(MORE LATER).




HUNGER-STRIKING AGAINST SHOW-TRIALS.......
From 'AP/RN' , 2 January 1986 .
No By-Line .

'The Sunday Tribune' newspaper noted - " Peter Barry himself is on record as opposing supergrass trials . Logically , therefore , he cannot go along with convictions arising from those trials and , equally logically , he must have some sympathy with the men who have now gone on hunger-strike arising from them .

If Peter Barry fails to deliver on this , the first thorny issue to confront him in his new role on the Anglo-Irish conference , then the omens for the success of the agreement as a whole are not encouraging . Merely appealing for the men to come off the hunger-strike will not suffice . "

But even if Peter Barry does deliver on the "...thorny issue.. " of paid perjurers and show-trials , although it will be welcomed by Republicans it will also be recognised for what it is - an essential smoothing of the rough edges of Britain's repressive machine in the Six Counties .......

(MORE LATER).







Monday, September 05, 2005

A GAY VIEW ON KINCORA .......
By Sean McGouran .
First published in 'FORTNIGHT' Magazine , May 1984 .
READERS PLEASE NOTE : This article was apparently penned by a gay supporter of McGrath / TARA / Kincora Boys Home . It is published here to give you a taste of the 'spin' which some people attempted to put on that issue ; read it with that in mind ..... Sharon. )
This is a link to the 'objectives' of the TARA loyalist paramilitary organisation with which William McGrath and Roy Garland were associated .

' Welfare on the cheap' was what Belfast wanted - and that's what it got : in William McGrath's day you got a job in Welfare because you ' knew someone at City Hall ' , not because you were qualified for the job or even had an interest in the work .

Sir George Terry is very lenient with the RUC ; he uses the excuse that in the mid-seventies the RUC were in the midst of a campaign of terror . However , they were not so busy that they could not resist arresting twenty gay people over a period of some months in 1976 and asking them questions about practically everything except Kincora .

The 'Northern Ireland (sic) Gay Rights Association' will have no truck with a judicial inquiry , for a number of reasons ; as there was no traffic in boys there is nothing to investigate . The consequences for gays would be dire - they would be driven out of any employment involving young people and they would be kept out of such employment for decades . This would lead to endless complications .

Sexuality is not easily pinned down and codified ; instability would be endemic in teaching , welfare and many other fields . Gay people would be faced with repressing their sexuality or going through life lying and prevaricating at every turn . This would set up destabilising suspicions , and so on ad infinitum , until we had reached the pinnacle of Victorian rectitude , where nobody was honest about their sexuality .

(' 1169 ... ' Comment - The main trust of this article was to attempt to dismiss all fears about Kincora , McGrath and others as "nonsensical" and it was maintained throughout the piece that any investigation into said fears sould be seen as an attack on the gay community as a whole . A truly sickening position to have held on that sordid episode in this countrys history. )

[END of ' A GAY VIEW ON KINCORA' .]
(Tomorrow - 'FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION' - from December 1986/January 1987.)



SINN FEIN ALONE .......
As Sinn Fein has become more active , members of the government parties have sought to isolate the Provos politically .
The record shows , however , that some of those politicians have for years sought support from Sinn Fein - and some continue to do so in so far as it is politically expedient .
By JOHN McHUGH .
First published in ' MAGILL ' Magazine , September 1984.

At the last local elections Sinn Fein won thirty seats on the State's 117 local authorities which represented an increase of ten seats . There are five Sinn Fein Town Commissioners , two in Ballyshannon and one each in Gorey , Loughrea and Passage West . There are twelve Sinn Fein Urban District Councillors (there were fourteen elected but two have since resigned ) - these Councillors are members of the following Urban District Councils : Midleton , Cavan , Tipperary , Carrick-on-Suir , Athy , Monaghan , Listowel , Clones , Dundalk , Buncrana and there are two Councillors in Bundoran , County Donegal .

Eleven Sinn Fein county councillors serve on nine county councils ; Louth , Clare , Kerry , Donegal , Roscommon , Cavan and Leitrim have one member ; there are two members on both Galway and Longford County Councils . So altogether there are now twenty-six members of Sinn Fein holding twenty-eight seats on different local authorities around the country . The two Urban District Councillors who resigned bring the total number of seats down from the 1979 figure .

On February 1st , Eddie Fullerton , Sinn Fein , who had never before been refused access to a Minister , was told that Environment Minister , Liam Kavanagh , would not see him . Fullerton , part of a delegation which had gone to Leinster House to discuss proposals for a sewerage scheme , says he had a meeting with Alan Dukes last autumn and that there had been no problem then .......

(MORE LATER).




HUNGER-STRIKING AGAINST SHOW-TRIALS.......
From 'AP/RN' , 2 January 1986 .
No By-Line .

Last Friday , December 27 , 1985 , several relatives of the Kirkpatrick defendants travelled from Belfast to Cork to see Free State Foreign Minister Peter Barry , but Barry , despite having had advance notice , was conveniently "...not at home .. " .

Following this snub , Peter Barry called on the hunger-strikers to end their fast and leave the issue to the London-Dublin Inter-Governmental Conference of which he is joint Chair . However , his verbal expressions of concern have been viewed with cynicism by the relatives and indeed by many nationalists ; Cathy Tohill commented -

- " Peter Barry asked the relatives to leave it to the politicians , but we've done that in the past and they've just given it lip service . Barry has condemned the 'supergrass system' in Leinster House but if he had taken some positive action maybe it would'nt have come to a hunger-strike . "

That the hunger-strike poses a challenge to Peter Barry's claims about the 'benefits' to nationalists of the Hillsborough Agreement has been noted by at least one of the deal's media supporters , 'The Sunday Tribune' newspaper .......

(MORE LATER).