" 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, November 04, 2005

A HISTORY OF ARMAGH JAIL .......

The women's prison in the North of Ireland is situated in the centre of the Protestant/Loyalist city of Armagh .
It was built in the 19th century , a huge granite building which today sports all the trappings of a high-security jail such as barbed wire , guards , arc-lamps , and closed circuit television cameras .
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

In Ireland and in Britain , tens of thousands of people marched in opposition to the British Government's policy of internment : but the shooting dead of 14 unarmed people without any provocation on Bloody Sunday (January 30 , 1972) spelt out clearly that in the North of Ireland mass political peaceful and even pacifist protest by those supporting nothing more than equal civil rights for Catholics would not be tolerated by the British government .

Internment and particularly Bloody Sunday convinced many young people that the British government had no intention of listening to anyone who could not force them to listen . Armed raids on the Catholic ghettoes continued and , as one woman described it , "...anyone who could walk on two legs was making petrol bombs .. " . Not surprisingly , women began to be sentenced to long terms of imprisonment .

Special Category Status was won in 1973 due to hunger strikes by two male political prisoners in Crumlin Road Jail - this meant that all political prisoners could now wear their own clothing , associate freely , receive food parcels and visits every week , organise their own recreation and education and obtain 50 per cent remission of sentence . In Armagh , Special Category Status allowed women the chance to take education and examinations . CSE and RSA exams were sat and classes in Irish , maths , geography , dressmaking , art , music , physical education and handicrafts were held . The prisoners could walk freely from one side of the prison to the other .

There was a kitchen on the wing , and with twice-weekly food parcels (if relatives could afford them) the demoralising prison food was supplemented . As one political prisoner was later to say - " It was'nt a holiday camp but at least you did'nt feel like you were dying from the neck up ....... "

(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 First Dail was making its presence felt , against the background of an increasingly escalating IRA campaign , to the point where even British political commentators were beginning to refer to the Dail and Sinn Fein as the "...de facto government in three-quarters of Ireland .. " . In the local government elections of 1920 Sinn Fein won an overwhelming endorsement of their position : in Ulster , both Tyrone and Fermanagh County Councils , with twenty three town councils , were out of Unionist control ; the Unionists had a majority in only twenty two councils .

In the meantime the British government had passed their 'Better Government of Ireland Bill' - a throw back to the 'Home Rule' days with the added mixture of two domestic bicameral parliaments in Ireland - one for the six north easterly counties and the other for the remaining twenty-six counties . An all-Ireland council with equal representation for the 'two parts' of Ireland was to provide a forum for six and twenty-six county interests and there were to be provisions whereby various functions of both 'parliaments' could be transferred to the all-Ireland Council .

The Westminster Parliament was to retain control of all 'imperial concerns' including trade , customs and excise , defence and foreign affairs . As can be seen , the 'powers' devolved to the two partitionist parliaments were very limited . Finally , the 'Act' declared that if the majority of members of either 'parliament' had not taken their oath of allegiance to the British Crown within fourteen days of the date fixed for the opening of the 'parliaments' , then the assembly in question would be dissolved and that 'part' of Ireland would be administered as a British Crown colony.......

(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 knew that Dessie O' Hare would be travelling in a green BMW car ; they knew its registration number , and the road it would be on at lunchtime on Friday November 27 (1987) . An armed checkpoint was set up . The BMW was now driving towards that checkpoint . Word spread quickly down the garda line to be ready - members of the State Army were there as back-up .

As the car came nearer it swerved , as if the driver had braked suddenly . Dessie O' Hare was driving , Martin Bryan was in the passenger seat . O' Hare rolled down the window - " How's it going? " Inspector Moriarty asked O' Hare , who nodded in reply . Moriarty asked him where they were coming from . O' Hare muttered "Kilkenny." At this stage Moriarty did not recognise the driver as O' Hare , who was dressed in a grey suit and collar and tie - he looked more like a solicitor than the 'Border Fox' . He had blonde highlights in his hair as well .

Moriarty's hesitation may also have been grounded in the fact that the gardai had been told to expect O' Hare to be in the passenger seat . Moriarty turned his attention to the passenger , Martin Bryan , asking him a couple of questions to which Bryan made no reply . He was then ordered out of the car . Bryan moved as if to open the seat belt but produced a gun : at that very moment Sergeant Joseph D'Arcy , who was behind a wall covering Inspector Moriarty , recognised O' Hare and shouted - " That's him . Get him out of the car ." Moriarty jumped back when Bryan produced the gun ; Detective Sergeant O' Rourke already had his hand on his revolver - the BMW rushed forward in a wheel-spin .

From their concealed positions the State Army and the gardai opened fire ; the BMW came to a halt when it crashed into the garda car and a State Army landrover , which had been spread across the road . There was a pause . Dessie O' Hare pointed a gun out the window and started firing at the State soldiers and the gardai to his right . One of the two shots he managed to fire grazed a Lieutenant's leg : the firing started again . The BMW was hit thirty-six times in all . Dessie O' Hare was slumped over towards Martin Bryan , who was already dead . Inspector Moriarty ordered his men to stay in position , as he and Detective Sergeant O' Rourke approached the car.......

(MORE LATER).

( To the person seeking more information on Tom D : I can only suggest you enter his full name in our 'Searchbox' ...and hope for the best ! Thank you for the visit . Sharon )






Thursday, November 03, 2005

A HISTORY OF ARMAGH JAIL .

The women's prison in the North of Ireland is situated in the centre of the Protestant/Loyalist city of Armagh .
It was built in the 19th century , a huge granite building which today sports all the trappings of a high-security jail such as barbed wire , guards , arc-lamps , and closed circuit television cameras .
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

Before the 1970's , Armagh Jail was hardly heard of ; it served as hostel/prison/'drying-out' institution for women criminalised for the usual survival 'crimes' such as theft , alcoholism and prostitution . Few prisoners were in the jail : in fact , in 1969 , the total was 8 !

Armagh Jail hit the headlines in 1970 when Bernadette Devlin MP was sentenced to six months for leading the people of the Bogside in Derry against the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) . She was no criminal , nor was she termed one . She carried out her constituency work from her 11 ft by 8ft cell .

A mandatory sentence of six months in jail for anyone whom an RUC member said had been rioting brought a handful of political prisoners to Armagh ; they were allowed two letters per month , one visit per week and no touching of visitors was permitted . Although the Civil Rights Movement had been widely supported internationally and propaganda proclaimed that the British Army was in the North of Ireland to protect Catholics from a bigoted anti-Catholic 'police force' , Catholics - who were perceived as potential Irish nationalists by the Unionists - were gradually being transformed by the propaganda machine into 'the baddies' .

When internment was introduced by them on August 9 , 1971 , the British government locked up hundreds of actual and potential political opponents without any 'crimes' having been proven or even claimed to have been committed .......

(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 .

Early in January 1919 , Sinn Fein representatives convened the constituent assembly promised in their election manifesto ; the successful candidates in all Irish constituencies , of whatever political complexion , were invited to take their seats in Dail Eireann at its opening session on 21st January 1919 ; as expected , only the members of parliament elected as Sinn Fein candidates attended .

They approved a provisional constitution , endorsed a declaration of independence , appointed delegates to the Peace Conference in Versailles , sanctioned a message to the free nations of the world and adopted a democratic programme of social and economic reform .

While , initially , merely a de jure government , the 1st Dail were quickly successful in establishing some really workable ministries . In particular , the Ministry of Finance , which raised £358,000 in a ' Dail Eireann National Loan' . By 1920 virtually all local bodies switched their allegiance from the (British) 'Local Government Board' to the Dail Local Government Ministry , and in agriculture , where a Land Bank , which advanced small loans for land purchase , flourished .

The most successful aspect of the 1st Dail machinery was in the system of 'Dail Courts' or 'Sinn Fein Courts' , which made decisions in various spheres from land to criminal activity and which managed to supplant to a very large degree the British judicial system .......

(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 .

After being interviewed by Free State Detectives , Tony McNeill was handed notes made out by them and 'invited' to sign them - he declined , and asked that a reference to him 'going down for 25 years' be changed to read 'a long time' . McNeill did'nt want to give the trial judges any ideas .

Gerry Wright was a broken man ; he was arrested immediately after the shoot out at Carnlough Road under Section 30 of The Offences Against The State Act and taken to the Bridewell Station for questioning , where he made statements admitting providing food and shelter for the kidnappers . In the beginning he had become involved because O' Hare and his gang had promised to 'take care' of the man who had shot his brother . As the kidnap progressed the gang had coerced and threatened him , and he was afraid and could see no way out .

27. " Fading , fading , fading fast .. "
It was hard information and very specific - Dessie O' Hare was expected to travel in a green BMW car , registration number 220 EID , on the main Kilkenny to Urlingford road at lunchtime on Friday , November 27 , 1987 . The gardai seem to have got the information around eleven o'clock in the morning . Gardai were recalled from other operational duties and told to report to the Balief Cross , fifteen miles outside Kilkenny to set up a roadblock . The (FS) Army was contacted just after eleven o'clock and asked to provide a company platoon of thirty-two troops as back-up . The roadblock was in position by 12.30 pm .

Nearly an hour later the gardai received a message over the radio to expect the car in the next fifteen to twenty minutes ; there were two garda patrol cars and a (FS) Army landrover blocking the road . Armed gardai and soldiers were in position . Inspector Moriarty from the Tipperary Garda Division and Detective Sergeant P.J. O' Rourke set up a check-point about seventy yards in front of the roadblock . An unmarked patrol car was hidden up a lane further down the road . Once the BMW drove up to the checkpoint the hidden car would move out on the road cutting off its retreat .

They saw the BMW approaching in the distance . " Here we go . This is it , " O' Rourke said to his men .......

(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, November 02, 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 THOMPSON , jailed for three years at Belfast Crown Court in May 1974 for manslaughter of Phillip Lowrey . The killing was described in court as "...an accident.. " .

GERALD TODD of Belfast , sentenced to one year (suspended) in January 1973 for the illegal possession of a sub-machine gun .

DENIS GEORGE WARTON of Loughgilly , County Armagh , jailed for six months in September 1977 for armed robbery .

PATRICIA SHIRLEY WHYTE , UDR 'Greenfinch' , of Limavady , charged in February 1984 for attempted murder of a local woman in the same month .

WILLIAM MICHAEL WORKMAN of Islandmagee , County Antrim , sentenced to five years in March 1977 for possession of a sub-machine gun and three other guns . Known to be the 'Training Officer' of the East Antrim UVF .

KENNETH YOUNG of Portadown , sentenced to five years in February 1978 for shooting up (Catholic) Obins Street area on July 12 , 1977 .

[END of ' UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES ' .]
(Tomorrow - 'A History of Armagh Jail' : from 1984.)


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 poor people and the young people , always supportive of Irish Republicanism , were voting in greater numbers (in the December 1918 election) than before ; this , allied with the number of prominent nationalists of 'the old school' who came out publicly in support of Sinn Fein candidates and the failure of the 'Nationalist Party' to muster an election machine , in no less than 26 constituencies , meant that these constituencies , representing nearly a quarter of the total Irish electorate , went to Sinn Fein even before polling day .

The Sinn Fein election manifesto made it clear that Sinn Fein stood for an Irish Republic and that its elected candidates , refusing to attend at Westminster , would form a National Assemby in Dublin . The results of the election were Sinn Fein 73 seats , Unionists 26 . The Nationalist Home Rule Party retained only six seats , four of which it held thanks to an electoral pact with Sinn Fein . Of the Unionist vote there was a Unionist majority in only four of the nine Ulster counties and in only one of these , County Antrim , was it as high as two to one .

Equally interesting was that although Sinn Fein with a vote of 485,105 had won nearly all the nationalist seats, 237,293 nationalists voted for the 'Nationalist Party' and , presumably , against Sinn Fein . Despite this , however , for the first time in Irish history a party demanding total sovereign independence for Ireland had received a massive national mandate from the Irish people and the Republic , proclaimed in arms in 1916 , was ratified by popular vote . The old 'Nationalist Party' , which had dominated Irish (constitutional) politics for over thirty-five years and held sixty-eight seats in the British House of Commons had been virtually obliterated , at least in terms of seats .

Sinn Fein won 47 per cent of all votes cast and almost 65 per cent of the votes cast in what afterwards was to become known as ' the 26 counties ' .......

(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 .

A £100,000 reward for the capture of Dessie O' Hare had been offered by the Free State Cabinet ; the gardai , meanwhile , were raiding houses of known INLA sympathisers ; on the morning of November 11 , 1987 , eleven armed Detectives with uniformed back-up support called to a house in Le Fanu Drive in Ballyfermot , Dublin - they knocked on the door but got no reply . Detective Sergeant Michael Carolan kicked the door down . Tony McNeill was asleep in the living room on a couch . He gave the Detectives a false name , but was recognised by some of the raiding party who put it to him that he was 'Anthony McNeill' ; he made no reply . There was a gun in his jacket , and a letter addressed to " ...those I love , especially my mother .. " .

In that letter was a poem dedicated to his three-year-old-son , entitled - ' A Bright Star' . McNeill was arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and taken to Ballyfermot Garda Station : once there , he made a half-hearted bid to escape - he was said to be consumed with remorse . " I wish I was dead, " he told Detectives , who claimed that he broke down in tears while in custody and pleaded with them to contact his family to re-assure them that he had played no part in the severing of John O' Grady's fingers and that he had argued against cutting off the fingers and , when it happened , had prayed for John O' Grady .

He was asked if he had tried to prevent the other gang members cutting off John O' Grady's fingers - " No ," he replied , " but when he (Dessie O' Hare) gets wired up nobody could stop him . He acts like he is in Vietnam . " Tony McNeill was said to be co-operative in garda custody , freely admitting his involvement in the kidnap . He refused , however , to discuss specific incidents . " I will have to live with these fellows in Portlaoise, " he told them . One of the detectives asked him " How in the name of Christ did you get involved with O' Hare ? " " I used to think he was a socialist , but I know now he is one dastardly bastard , " he responded .......

(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, November 01, 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 .

BRIAN ROBERTS , sentenced to life in January 1983 for killing of Liam Canning at Alliance Avenue on August 9 , 1981 . The killing was claimed at the time by the 'Ulster Freedom Fighters' (UFF) .

THOMAS SIMPSON of Belfast , jailed for 18 months in April 1976 for illegal possession of two rifles and 40 rounds of ammunition . Known to be a member of the UVF .

WILLIAM SMITH of Belfast , sentenced to nine months (suspended) for illegal possession in March 1973 .

DAVID STONE of South Derry , jailed for 12 months in February 1974 for using a gun to intimidate a woman into with-holding from the RUC the names of people involved in an assault .

LAURENCE TATE of Moygashel , County Tyrone , jailed for 12 years in December 1975 for bombing a Catholic pub in Dungannon .

(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 political atmosphere in Ireland to the British 'Conscription Act' meant that tolerance to IRA activities increased , and increased still further when the British Government arrested Sinn Fein leaders on the 'strength' of a 'German Plot' , which the British Government declared in a sensational proclamation " ...would be put down .. " .

Sinn Fein , having been given notice of the pending arrests through an IRA contact in Dublin Castle , simply made its political leadership open for arrest , while those with military associations went 'on the run' . The result was as they had correctly anticipated and in a by-election in East Cavan , Griffith , back in prison , won easily with a majority of 1,204 .

Continued arrests and harassment increased the popular prestige of Sinn Fein and the Volunteers while the anti-conscription campaign permitted a vehicle for recruitment and spreading Republican influences . The British , temporarily abandoning their conscription idea , initiated a voluntary recruiting campaign and one indication of the weight of nationalist opinion of the old 'Redmonite' school was that , despite an efficient counter campaign by Sinn Fein , 14,013 voluntary recruits were secured for the British Army . The winning over of such nationalist votes was to be the principle task which faced Sinn Fein in the General Election called for December 1918 .

Sinn Fein faced many diverse disadvantages in this election , including censorship and the arrests of consecutive Sinn Fein election directors . But the quickness with which the election was called was certainly in its favour , as was the greatly enlarged new register which almost trebled the previous Irish electorate and the extension of the vote to all males over twenty-one and to women over thirty .......

(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 .

26.. " ONE DASTARDLY BASTARD ..."
Dessie O' Hare had gone to ground ; two days later , on November 8 , 1987 , he resurfaced in Dunleer , County Louth , at around 8.30 PM ; he had been driving through the town with his wife when he decided he wanted a mineral drink . He went into Lorchide's Chip Shop and ordered a tin of coke , attracting the attention of a number of customers who thought he looked a nervous wreck . Suddenly O' Hare threw the can of Coke on the ground ; across the road , Claire O' Hare was out of the car and making a run for it . Dessie O' Hare pulled out a gun and fired a shot from inside the chipper , then he ran out the door and fired down the road , shouting " Come back you bitch ..." .

Dessie O' Hare then went over to the car and took out a shotgun - he fired a shot into the chipper where astonished customers were looking on . A passer-by was told to " ...get out of the fucking way .. " if he did'nt want the same . Meanwhile , Claire O' Hare had run for cover into the Millrace Pub - Dessie jumped into the car and , as the proprietor of the pub came out to the door to investigate , O' Hare fired more shots at the pub from the car , shouting " Get the fucker out .. " - he fired one or two more shots into the pub before driving away . Claire O' Hare was hysterical . Later she was taken to Our Ladys Hospital in Drogheda for treatment , from where she was arrested under ' Section 30 of the Offences against the State Act ' and taken to the Bridewell Station in Dublin .

There was another meeting of the (Free State) Cabinet Committee on Security , this time attended by the (FS) Minister for Finance , Ray MacSharry : there were fears , given the state of his mind , that Dessie O' Hare might make an attempt to kill John O' Grady . The Cabinet sub-Committee offered a £100,000 reward for the capture of Dessie O' Hare .......

(MORE LATER).







Monday, October 31, 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 .

MALCOLM NESBITT of Belfast , sentenced to three years in October 1977 for armed robbery of a pub .

ALBERT MAURICE PARKHILL of Coleraine , suspended sentence in February 1978 for 'robbery' of six rifles from UDR armoury and membership of UVF . Pleaded conversion to Christianity and was suffering from multiple sclerosis .

WILLIAM RAMSEY of Belfast , five years in February 1975 for armed intimidation of Catholics during the UWC strike .

BEN REDFERN , JOHN LITTLE , SAMUEL HUNTER DAVIDSON and GREGORY ALLEN , all from South Derry area , all sentenced to life with an 18-year minimum , in January 1979 , for sectarian murder . REDFERN for murder of John Bolton , James Chivers and Joseph McAuley , the others for murders of Bolton and McAuley . Other concurrent sentences for robbery , arson etc .

(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 three by-election losses by Sinn Fein in early 1918 (Waterford , South Armagh and East Tyrone) showed that while Sinn Fein was still a very vital political force , its strength lay not in clear policies or organisation but in the enthusiasm , discipline and organisational abilities of the Republican volunteers . The extension , by the British Government , of the Conscription Act to Ireland on April 9th , 1918 , was to make things easier for Irish Republicans .

The Catholic Bishops in Ireland unanimously condemned conscription as did local public bodies all over Ireland and the 'Irish Nationalist Party' left the British House of Commons in a block and returned to Ireland .

Such an endorsement of abstentionism was obviously welcome to Sinn Fein and on April 18th , 1918 , an unprecedented conference representing all sections of nationalist opinion issued - in consultation with the Irish Catholic Hierarchy - a call for " ...all true Irishmen to resist [conscription] by the most effective means at their disposal . " The Catholic Hierarchy , for their part , declared conscription to be "...an oppressive and inhuman law .. " and stated that the Irish people had the right to resist it by all means consonant with the law of God .......

(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 .

24. " T'was the luck of God I did'nt kill him ... "
Eddie Hogan was at liberty for less than twenty-four hours . Shortly after five o'clock gardai in Cahir Garda Station received a report that a suspicious person had been seen walking at Ballydrehid , four miles outside Cahir , Tipperary ; Detective Garda Ignatius Seery and Garda James Lynch drove out in their patrol car . Since his escape , Eddie Hogan had stuck to the fields and had only been on the road a few minutes when the gardai met him . They stopped the car and shouted at him - " Gardai . We want to talk to you . "

By this stage it was perfectly obvious that whatever Hogan wanted to do he did not want to talk to the gardai ; he broke into a run , but was caught by Garda James Lynch . Both gardai accompanied him back to their car , but Hogan tried to break free - a fierce fight followed , during which Hogan kicked Lynch and then head-butted him . There was a struggle in which all three men fell to the ground . Hogan struggled with Seery , trying to get possession of his gun , which went off twice within inches of killing someone .

Seery succeeded in releasing Eddie Hogan's grip on the arm in which he held the gun ; at that point Hogan bit into Seery's right thigh , cutting right through the mans trousers - Seery roared in agony . His legs were straddled over Hogan's shoulders ; he began hitting Hogan on the head with the butt of his revolver and eventually Hogan stopped biting . Lynch and Seery got him lying on his chest and managed to handcuff him .

In custody , Hogan drank tea and smoked cigarettes - he assured the gardai there would be no allegations of brutality : " It was either me or ye out there , " he told them , and inquired about Detective Martin O' Connor whom he had shot at Carnlough Road the previous day . He was relieved to hear that his condition was stable - " T'was the luck of God I did'nt kill him . I'd have been gone for twenty-five years if I had . " The gardai asked him about the cutting off of John O'Grady's fingers . " It's war and everything is justified in war , " they were told .

Both Fergal Toal and Eddie Hogan were questioned extensively about their involvement in the kidnapping of John O' Grady . Neither man replied to any of the questions .......

(MORE LATER).