" 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 - ooops! It seems that our entry application was "not completed in time to be considered.." (?) and, as such, we are not now in the running. But we wish all the best to the successful entrants and to the organisers, and we hope all goes well for them on the day!


Friday, October 21, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......
Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North .
But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ?
We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .

JOHN GAW of Greenisland , County Antrim , sentenced to 10 years in March 1977 for possession of arms and training UVF East Antrim members . Involved in 76-day UVF trial which ended in 27 men receiving a total of 700 years plus eight "Lifes" for UVF activity .

RONALD GIBSON , MARK MAM and KENNETH SPENCE , all of Newtonabbey , fined £50 each in February 1979 for breaking into local 'Star of the Sea' Roman Catholic Church and shitting on the altar .

JAMES GILLIES of Belfast , jailed for four years in May 1975 for illegal possession of firearm .

THOMAS GRUERS of Magherafelt , fined £50 in February 1981 for firing shots from a Walther pistol during the fracas - apparently between Nationalists and Loyalists - in Portrush .

LOUIS HATHAWAY of Gilford , County Down , fined £100 in August 1979 for possession of a loaded pistol while drunk during anti-internment protest .

RAYMOND HIGGINS of Belfast , jailed for two years in March 1981 for illegal possession of a firearm and attempted rape .

HENRY WILLIAM HUTCHINS of Limavady , jailed for five years in March 1975 for armed robbery . A known member of the UDA .

(MORE LATER).




ELECTION INTERVENTIONS.......
Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months .
Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more .
From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Among the ranks of Sinn Fein was a mixture of IRA Volunteers who had gone out at Easter 1916 , IRB men who were committed to an Irish Republic at all costs , and many exponents of the orthodox constitutional Sinn Fein doctrine of pre-war days as preached by Arthur Griffith . While a new mood was sweeping the country , Sinn Fein had virtually no organisation at all and nothing like a coherent political organisation needed to co-ordinate the new mood .

However , with the death of J.J. O' Kelly , the MP for Roscommon and a by-election in that constituency scheduled for February 1917 , Sinn Fein had its first opportunity to oppose Redmond's Party : Count Plunkett , father of Joseph Mary Plunkett and of two other imprisoned sons , stood against Redmond's man . Plunkett faced a number of practical disadvantages - his opponent was a well known local man , and Plunkett's 'election machine' was inexperienced . Much of the constituency was snow-bound and Plunkett himself remained in England , where he had been deported , ill , until a few days before polling .

On top of that he remained ambiguous on whether he would take his seat at Westminster if elected . Furthermore , Sinn Fein had contested and badly lost a North Leitrim by-election in 1908 , though it fought that election on Arthur Griffith's dual-monarchy policy .

Now , however , the bulk of 'dissident' Nationalist voters were concerned about one thing only - that was , voting for a candidate who would not accept partition of Ireland in any form and against a party which had shown itself too easy or too willing to be duped into doing so . Count Plunkett won the election for Sinn Fein with a majority of almost twice as many votes as Redmond's man .......

(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 .

Detective Martin O' Connor , dazed from the beating , stood up and gang member Eddie Hogan used his gun to wave him towards a wall ; O' Connor put his hands on his face which was sore - he could feel blood . He was now about two feet from the barrel of Hogan's gun . He was so uncomfortably close he could make out green masking tape around the stock of the gun - Hogan fired : the shot blew a hole the size of a fist in O' Connor's stomach . His bowel was peppered with gunshot pellets . He felt the tear in his stomach and a severe burning sensation - he staggered backwards , but refused to fall down . Instead , he pulled out his own gun and fired at one of the gang . Hogan shot him again , in the shoulder , shattering his collarbone . O' Connor fell to the ground and crouched in a ball clutching his stomach . Eddie Hogan advanced on O' Connor .

The wounded Detective asked that Hogan not shoot him again ; Hogan kicked him in the side and said " Give me your gun , you pig . " Hogan held O' Connor's gun aloft , head high .

At first it was almost an action replay of Midleton : a Hi-Ace van came down Carnlough Road and was stopped at gunpoint - John O' Grady was pulled by one of the kidnap gang over towards the passenger door . At that moment the first of the patrol cars which had responded to the call was arriving . Detective Garda Gregory Sheehan had been in Phibsboro when he heard the call on the radio . He approached from the same direction in which the Hi-Ace van was travelling . Detective Sheehan got out of the car and shouted - " Armed gardai . Halt ! " Immediately he heard the sounds of bullets whizzing over his head - he fired back : six shots from his Smith and Wesson . The gang member who had been ushering John O' Grady into the Hi-Ace van dived for cover . O' Grady took his one chance . He ran .......

(MORE LATER).







Thursday, October 20, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......

Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North .
But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ?
We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .

GEOFFREY EDWARDS of Armagh , charged in December 1983 with the murder of Sinn Fein election worker Peter Corrigan , plus four attempted murders including that of Seamus Grew (subsequently shot dead by the RUC) .

MERVYN JOSEPH FALOON of Tandragree , sentenced to five years in February 1978 for shooting into Catholic Obins Street enclave in Portadown on the 'Twelvth' in 1977 .

SAMUEL FARRELL of Enniskillen , sentenced to 18 months in November 1977 for bombing a dance hall in Donegal in 1974 .

WILLIAM FERRIS of Belfast , suspended sentence in February 1974 for possessing a shotgun and ammunition in suspicious circumstances .

JAMES GALLAGHER of Belfast , six months suspended in February 1974 for possession of firearms in suspicious circumstances .

WILLIAM GALLAGHER of Belfast , sentenced to 10 years in April 1979 for five armed robberies . Known to be also a member of the UVF .

ROBERT JOSEPH GAMBLE of Belfast , sentenced to five years in February 1972 for bombing Lisburn Council offices . Fellow bomber killed in the operation . Known to be also a member of the UVF .

(MORE LATER).



ELECTION INTERVENTIONS.......

Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months .
Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more .
From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Republican intervention in the British electoral process in this century dates back to February 1917 ; a year had passed since the proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916 , and many of the internees released before Christmas 1916 were back in Ireland . While they and other Republicans had differing political attitudes on future policy , the political climate during the eight months of their imprisonment had changed dramatically ; a number of factors had contributed to this change .

Foremost of these were the executions by the British government of the leaders of the Easter Rising and the loss of credibility by John Redmond's Irish Parliamentary Party among Nationalists . In 1914 a Home Rule Act for all Ireland , without any mention of a separate treatment for any Ulster county , had been passed by the British parliament and signed by the English King . That Act had then been suspended for 12 months or for the duration of the war , a war in which at the behest of John Redmond , many Irishmen had fought on the British side "...for the independence of small nations.. "

Now , with the war over , the British government's only response to such a sacrifice was to amend the Home Rule Act to exclude six of the Ulster Counties and to repudiate the basic nationalist idea of an undivided Ireland . In this climate , the actions of those who had gone out in the 1916 Rising , and the subsequent murders of their leaders was seen in sharp contrast to the collaborationist policies of the Irish Parliamentary Party , especially as such collaboration had achieved far less than had been promised .

Sinn Fein itself had changed ; while still without a coherent policy on social and economic matters and with no clear idea of how it could achieve independence , it at least had rejected partition .......

(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 .

John O' Grady heard strange voices conversing outside in the living room - the gardai were in the house , but he did'nt know it . Detective Martin O' Connor , the barber Gerry Wright and (gang member) Tony McNeill went downstairs to the living room where Detective Sergeant Henry Spring and (gang member) Fergal Toal were talking . The two Detectives , Spring and O' Connor , exchanged glances ; they did'nt need to say anything . O' Connor turned to Gerry Wright and asked what was going on - how it was that he was able to have lads lying around doing nothing in the middle of the day . Detective O' Connor then left the house to go to the patrol car ; Gerry Wright followed him . O' Connor asked Wright if he was paying tax on the money he got for rent from the lads in the house .

O' Connor sat sideways into the patrol car with his legs on the street , radioed base and asked for urgent plainclothes back-up at 260 Carnlough Road . Gerry Wright ran back into the house , shouting - " He's calling for reinforcements ! " Gang member Tony McNeill was standing with his back to Detective Spring : he turned around with a gun in his hand and shouted - " Get down you bastard ." Spring was forced to the ground at gunpoint ; Eddie Hogan jumped out from under the stairs . Spring was kicked repeatedly in the head and body , and was momentarily stunned . Hogan dragged John O' Grady out from under the stairs , and Tony McNeill ran out after Detective O' Connor , followed closely by Fergal Toal . Detective Spring , who was unarmed , escaped out the back door of the house and jumped over a back wall .

He ran up the neighbours garden to the house but , despite pleas that he was in danger of being shot , he was refused entry , so he smashed one of the windows to get in . Meanwhile , Tony McNeill came up to Detective O' Connor , who was still at the patrol car , and put a gun to his chest .

THE SHOOTING OF DETECTIVE O' CONNOR .
O' Connor's radio call had been picked up by two or three different patrol cars , and all were now racing towards Carnlough Road . Fergal Toal and Tony McNeill were now trying to disarm Detective O' Connor - he was struggling with McNeill over the gun and Toal was punching O' Connor in the face . He put his fingers into O' Connor's mouth and began twisting his lips and head . An ESB meter reader saw O' Connor's head bobbing up and down and approached the car - he was told " Fuck off and mind your own business . This man is trying to steal our car . " Eddie Hogan emerged out of the house with John O' Grady , and told McNeill and Toal to back off so that he could shoot O' Connor in the knees .......

(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, October 19, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......
Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North . But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ? We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .
SAMUEL COOKEY of Belfast , sentenced to life in March 1977 for possession of home-made machine gun , sawn-off shotgun , 10 short-arms , a SLR and 3,089 rounds of ammunition . Member of UVF .
BASIL CORBETT of Fermanagh , sentenced to two years in March 1983 for 15 sectarian offences including issuing death threats to local Catholics .
GEORGE HENDERSON CORRY of Portadown , fined £50 in June 1975 for being drunk in charge of a gun .
TREVOR CRAIG of Antrim , suspended sentence in June 1978 for attempted armed robbery .
RAYMOND CRAINEY of Armagh , jailed for six months in March 1973 for illegal possession of a pistol and firing it while drunk .
THOMAS CROSSEY of The Maze area , jailed for 18 months in June 1973 for possessing a loaded pistol in suspicious circumstances .
IVAN DALGLEISH and THOMAS CANAVAN of Belfast , each jailed for nine years in March 1974 for bombing a Catholic pub in County Down .
MICHAEL DOHERTY of Belfast , sentenced to four years in February 1984 for illegal possession of three rifles , a silencer , six magazines and 101 rounds of ammunition .

(MORE LATER).



ELECTION INTERVENTIONS.......Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months . Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more . From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Essentially , Charles Stewart Parnell was not a Republican . That such opposite positions governed the land agitation issue and that the entire Fenian leadership was not in agreement on the land issue is a key to the national question and speaks volumes on how it was possible for such a compromise to be forced upon the radical Republican activists .
The inevitable result was the integration of many ex-Fenians into conventional Parnellism . Involvement with constitutionalism had badly divided the IRB and when Parnell's party itself split in 1887 , the IRB split too . Up to this time regardless of the official IRB attitude there had been a considerable Fenian involvement in constitutional politics - in fact , 21 out of 83 listed Parnellite MP's are believed to have been Fenians , 4 were believed to be Fenian supporters and 2 were regarded as ex-Fenians .

The conditions for a withdrawal from Westminster of Irish MP's to set up an Irish Parliament with massive 'peasant' support had been removed when Gladstone defused the land movement with his 'Land Act' , which had detached a sufficient number of Land Leagues to make the project impossible and anyway Charles Stewart Parnell had never embraced such a policy .
For many prominent Fenians the failure of even partial 'New Departure' policies was taken as an endorsement of their total reliance on a purely physical force strategy - there had been a number of significant physical force actions during the period covered here - and left the Fenians facing yet another bout of Irish/American factionalism as well as on-going problems about finances and war materials . But , as stated earlier , the whole period was to serve as a school of sedition for the next generation .
Republican intervention in the British electoral process in this century dates back to February 1917 .......

(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 .

Dessie O' Hare had made it abundantly clear to Dr. Austin Darragh that John O' Grady would suffer further if Darragh informed the gardai about the ransom demand ; now it was all over the front page of 'The Irish Independent' newspaper .
Back in the patrol car the two Detectives made small talk with Gerry Wright about boxing and scuba diving , both sports in which Wright had a passionate interest . Gerry Wright was hoping against hope that the gang would have left when they reached his house .

19 . "HE'S CALLING FOR REINFORCEMENTS ... "
At the house , Gerry Wright made a point of rattling the keys in the lock when opening the door ; as he had walked from the patrol car to the house Wright started to change the original story he had given to the gardai in Parkgate Street - he told them there were a couple of people staying in the house but they would be out on an AnCO course . The rattling of the keys gave the gang the briefest of notice of the gardai arriving . They were forewarned and forearmed .
Eddie Hogan grabbed his shotgun and ran in under the stairs beside John O' Grady ; Tony McNeill ran upstairs and jumped into bed , fully clothed . Fergal Toal went to the rear of the house . Gerry Wright led the Detectives into the living room , spread his hands out and said - "See , there is nothing here ." The Detectives looked around the room - there was a two-bar electric fire on as well as a fire in the grate , and the television was on . On one of the chairs there was what looked like a walkie-talkie .
At that moment Fergal Toal walked into the room .
Gerry Wright told him the two men with him were Detectives , who were looking around , and asked him why he was'nt at his AnCO course . At this point , Detective Martin O' Connor went upstairs with Wright ; Detective Henry Spring asked Fergal Toal what AnCO course he was doing - "Labouring , " , came the reply . Detective O' Connor found Tony McNeill in bed , and asked Wright who he was while shaking the bed . "This is one of the lads from AnCO . He must not have gone to school ." O' Connor asked Tony McNeill to get up . He noticed that McNeill was fully clothed - he felt the bed and noted there was no heat from the bedclothes .
John O' Grady was still unaware the gardai were in the house - immediately after the rattling of the door Eddie Hogan had landed in beside him . Hogan was armed and was breathing heavily .......

(MORE LATER).





Tuesday, October 18, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......
Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North . But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ? We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .
JOHN BEST of Belfast , sentenced to two years in in February 1978 for assembling a bomb for the UDA .
DESMOND WILLIAM BOYD of Strabane , fined £20 in April 1978 for firing off a machine-gun while drunk and off duty .
WILLIAM JOHN CAHOON of Belfast , fined £125 in December 1983 for reckless driving . Allegedly tried to run down two Ardoyne youths .
HAROLD CARDWELL of Carrickfergus , jailed for 18 months in January 1976 for illegal possession of shotgun . UVF connections .
SAMUEL CARSON of Bangor and NOEL MOORE BOYD of Belfast , jailed for 15 and 12 years respectively in October 1976 for bombing an Irish pub in Kilburn , London .
BARRY CLARKE of Fivemiletown , convicted of attempted armed robbery . Suspended sentence in February 1981 .
KENNETH JOHN COCKRANE of Magherafelt , fined £100 in August 1983 for possession of loaded firearm , drunkeness and assault .

(MORE LATER).




ELECTION INTERVENTIONS.......
Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months . Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more . From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .
In what is known as the Kilmainham Treaty in 1882 , Charles Stewart Parnell agreed to use his influence to restore order in Ireland while the British Government would release the prisoners , would deal with the question of 'rent' arrears in a manner satisfactory to the 'tenants' and would amend the Land Act of 1881 in certain ways , in particular by extending the benefit of its fair 'rent' clauses to leaseholders .
In fact the Land Act legalised the three 'F' 's , and while this did not ease the pressing social problems which remained especially in the West of Ireland , it was seen to be a considerabe victory .
In national terms , the power of the landlords was considerably reduced over large areas , the IRB had become increasingly involved in mass organisation of the people and in agitationary action by them together with localised armed actions . There was a partial undoing of the 'conquest' but not the progression into a nationalist war of independence with full 'peasant' backing as anticipated by many Fenians . This was based on the presumption , widespread among most quarters at that time , that the British would not concede the full demand of the land agitation . Parnell , with whom an alliance of sorts - unoffical but there all the same - was forged did not subscribe to this view .
He believed that a good measure of land reform , sufficient to end the agrarian social conflict , could be got from the British Parliament and that such reform would bring the landlords into the nationalist ranks and from there to a Home Rule Government .......

(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 .

John O'Grady's fingers had been hacked off ; the kidnappers had shown themselves to be inept and sloppy . The Guinness Bi-Centennial card left at the scene of the Midleton shoot-out was almost as good as a forwarding address - the owner of that card , Paul O' Sullivan , told the gardai he had given the card to an acquaintance , Gerry Wright , who ran a barber's shop a few doors away . Detectives Henry Spring and Martin O' Connor went down to Wright's barber shop : when they went in Gerry Wright , who was reading a newspaper , jumped up and asked " Which of you is first ?" . The Detectives introduced themselves and asked Wright about the card . He told them he had used it as an admission card to get into the Guinness leisure centre and use their swimming pool . He also told them that he had lost the card a long time ago , and could not help them in their inquiries as to how it had been found at the scene of the Midleton shoot-out .

They questioned Gerry Wright further - he told them he lived at 260 Carnlough Road . He was asked by O ' Connor was there anybody else there ; Wright replied " No , " adding " ...you can look if you like . " Detective Henry Spring said they would need a search warrant . Wright started bluffing , and told them that there was nothing or nobody in his house and the gardai were welcome to search it without the necessity of getting a search warrant - Spring , O' Connor and Wright then got into the unmarked patrol car . It was nearly twelve noon .
Fr. Brian D'Arcy had earlier called to the Bank of Ireland in Baggot Street , Dublin , to collect the £1.5 million ransom and was already on his way to the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork to make the delivery .
Dr. Austin Darragh was in Leinster House locked in a heated exchange with (FS) Justice Minister Gerry Collins (FF) ; Darragh had been critical of the media coverage of the kidnap , which he considered reckless and irresponsible .

That morning the lead story in 'The Irish Independent' newspaper broke the news that the kidnappers had increased their ransom demand . 'The Irish Times' newspaper had also got the story from garda sources but had agreed to a news blackout . 'The Irish Independent' had apparently got their information from a (FS) Department of Justice source .......

(MORE LATER).





Monday, October 17, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......
Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North . But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ? From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .
It is commonly argued from facts that the UDR is , effectively , the B Specials under another name ; this is a mistake . The B Specials was a fairly casually organised 'police' auxiliary , whereas the B Specials were armed with rifles and had access to heavier weapons and armour only * in conjunction with the RUC . ('1169...' Comment - * ...the RUC 'guarding' B Special arms ... !)
The UDR is different ; it is not a 'police' auxiliary but a British Army regiment . It has all the weaponry and equipment available to 'ordinary' British Army regiments , with the exception of helicopters and bomb disposal and undercover units . It is now the first line of military back-up for the RUC over four-fifths of the North . That is , when the RUC calls for military assistance , it is the UDR which responds in all areas except West Belfast , west of the Foyle and South Armagh .
Under the policy of 'Ulsterisation' , it is intended that this will gradually be extended to all areas . Towards this end , UDR Units were deployed for the first time in South Armagh in 1983 .
As stated here at the start of this article - We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive :
GERALD ATKINSON of Magherafelt sent to Borstal in March 1974 for attempted bombing of Catholic Church .
JOHN ALEXANDER AUGHEY of Belfast fined £100 for illegal possession of ammunition in May 1976 .
DAVID FREDERICK BECK of Belfast sentenced to five years in February 1975 for armed intimidation of Catholics during the UWC strike .

(MORE LATER).



ELECTION INTERVENTIONS.......
Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months . Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more . From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .
The Fenian John Devoy insisted consistently that the Land League could provide a stepping stone to separation and that the refusal of the British Government to concede the Land Leagues demands could still create the condition for a possible withdrawal from the British parliament .
In the final analysis the 'New Departure' policy was aimed at changing Fenian strategy ; it called for a combination between revolutionary and constitutional nationalists on prescribed terms aimed at breaking the union of Ireland and Britain . The agrarian struggle was one of a series of its objectives aimed at a radical land settlement the pursuance of which would further revolutionary aims and create the potential for further revolutionary action .
The Fenians were deeply involved in the Land League and in the agitation which continued from 1879 to 1881 ; those Fenians at leadership level in the Land League certainly believed that by smashing landlordism in Ireland they would also smash the British connection . At the end of the day the British Government succeeded in undermining the impetus of the agrarian struggle by reaching a compromise with Charles Stewart Parnell through the Land Act and the Arrears Act .
During the height of the agitation the British had introduced internment and a Coercion Bill .......

(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 .
The Gardai still had not made a breakthrough in their attempts to locate the kidnappers . One of the main searches that day concentrated in the woodlands of Meath and Westmeath - those searches were instigated after somebody had seen a car with North of Ireland registration plates acting suspiciously . Nothing came out of this , however .

18. THE CLUE THE GARDAI OVERLOOKED .
On Thursday November 5 , 1987 , there was , it seemed , a light at the end of the tunnel : on October 26 the gang had left Midleton , County Cork , in a hurry . During the shoot-out the gang had stopped a Hi-Ace van with the intention of hi-jacking it , but then changed their mind and took a Renault car which came up behind the van . In the confusion a rucksack was left behind by the gang in the Hi-Ace van - it contained fifty-one items , all of which were clues in the kidnap investigation ; those clues could be neatly classified into three categories -

'Category One' comprised twenty-two items which were readily identifable as belonging to John O'Grady : the only immediate value of these to the investigation was fingerprint evidence which might be used to obtain a conviction .
'Category Two' contained 26 sundry items , among them a copy of 'The Sunday World' newspaper , a length of chain , a map of Cork and Kerry , a pair of socks with the label 'Trackers' , a hacksaw and a leaflet on combination locks . These , too , might yield fingerprint evidence but were unlikely in themselves to add anything of substance to the investigation .
'Category Three' was by far the most important : it contained just three items - a letter to a Mr. B. Jennings , a bank deposit book with an address on the northside of Dublin and a Guinness Bi-Centennial pass card made out in the name of Paul O' Suillivan , 'Traffic Department Staff Number 23726 ' . It might have been expected that the gardai would check out these items immediately . On Friday October 30 , 1987 , however , all fifty-one items in the rucksack were still in Midleton Garda Station . They were collected by Detective Sergeant Tom Foley of the Fingerprint Section and taken back to Dublin for examination .
On November 3 , 1987 , there was a conference held in Dun Laoghaire Garda Station , the HQ of the kidnap operation ; Detective Sergeant Henry Spring was assigned the task of checking out the Guinness Bi-Centennial pass , which he then collected from the Fingerprint Section on November 4th . There was no difficulty checking out the identity of Paul O' Sullivan - he has worked in Guinness's for twenty-five years . On November 5th , Detective Sergeant Spring and Detective Martin O' Connor called to Guinness's Brewery to see Paul O' Sullivan , who identified the card but said he had not seen it for a number of years .
The clue the gardai were following was an obvious and vital one in the kidnap investigation , but they had not acted on it for ten days .......

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