" 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, June 30, 2006

Due to a 'balls-up' with our staff (!) , this blog will publish only on Mondays , Wednesdays and Fridays .
Until .......


THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT : INSIDE THE NORTHERN IRELAND (sic) PEACE TALKS (sic).......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , November 1997 .
By Fionnuala O' Connor .

No-one is more aware than David Trimble himself of how little personal loyality he commands among his parliamentary party , how unreconciled senior colleagues still are to his elevation by the despised rank and file of the 600-strong UUP Council .

In an informal setting , Trimble was once asked why did'nt he tell Orangemen that they must realise the damage done by their yearly equation of unionism with the 'right' to march past angry Catholics ; " And if I did , " said Trimble , " would you find me another party to lead ? "

One veteran talks observer sounds an optimistic though disillusioned note - " He does everything arse about face . It takes forever , he creates obstacles so he can claim concessions , and who knows what that does to his community . But bit by bit with a lot of pressure he's moved in the right direction . And he's still in there . "
[END of 'THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT : INSIDE THE NORTHERN IRELAND (sic) PEACE TALKS (sic).]
(Next - 'PADDY COONEY'S ARMY' : from 1984.)

SHOOT TO KILL .......
The unchanging face of repression .
PETER HAYES examines reactions to the latest shoot-to-kill deaths .
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.

On December 12th , 1982 , at the Mullaghcreevie Estate in Armagh City , two INLA Volunteers , Roddy Carroll and Seamus Grew , were gunned down in an RUC ambush that bore all the hallmarks of earlier shoot-to-kill operations and , again , the RUC claimed that the car in which Carroll and Grew were in had burst through a road checkpoint before they opened fire . All the evidence would later confirm that there were no checkpoints at any of the incidents , only RUC men lying in wait . The INLA Volunteers were not armed .

In Roddy Carroll's case , he had only recently been released - to the RUC's considerable annoyance - after an informer retracted 'evidence' he had initially agreed to give against him .

Since those six Armagh slayings in the space of one month , there has been further incontrovertible proof of a shoot-to-kill policy operating right across the Six Counties , aimed specifically at known republican activists but affecting also other members of the nationalist community found in what the RUC or British Army regard as suitably compromising situations : two men engaged in petty theft have been shot dead in Belfast - Patrick Elliott on December 27th , 1982 , by soldiers of the British Army 'Black Watch' regiment as he ran unarmed from an Andersonstown chip shop he had just robbed .

Francis McColgan , January 19th , 1983 , was shot dead after a car chase by the RUC , following a petrol station robbery by McColgan and two friends using an imitation pistol.......
(MORE LATER).


PILLARS OF SOCIETY : EOGHAN HARRIS .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , October 1985 .

Not the least surprise of the recent Theatre Festival was the emergence into public view of the author of 'Souper Sullivan', one Eoghan Harris , who is better known as a TV producer and less known as a political activist . Harris is so given to secrecy that few people outside the media know of his deep influence within the Workers Party - in fact , more than anyone else , Eoghan Harris has been responsible for the transformation of the Workers Party philosophy from socialist republicanism to a bizarre blend of stalinist unionism .

But strangely , now that the Workers Party is breaking through into electoral politics , it is also shaking itself free from its hard-line mentors . There are new stars rising in the WP , more pliable , more compromising , and more intent on getting their bums onto seats in Leinster House . All of which leaves the moody Eoghan Harris somewhat isolated , somewhat bitter , and with time on his hands to write boring plays .

The son of a well-to-do Cork shop-keeper , Harris was originally an ardent republican ; those who remember him in University College Cork say his early republican persona was almost stage Irish.......
(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Due to a 'balls-up' with our staff (!) , this blog will publish only on Mondays , Wednesdays and Fridays .
Until.......

THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT : INSIDE THE NORTHERN IRELAND (sic) PEACE TALKS (sic).......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , November 1997 .
By Fionnuala O' Connor .

DUP presence in talks , which has begun to seem possible since the recent warm exchange between Ian Paisley and Mo Mowlam , would nonetheless further un-nerve the clearly jittery UUP. The occasional proposition by a few London editorial writers that David Trimble is biding his time , edging his 'troops' forward , meets with derision among talks' participants and a unanimous shaking of heads - however , few predict a Trimble walkout : one delegate put it , gloomily , - " If the Paisley menace revives though , and he stops the thing in its tracks further down the line by starting on again about decommissioning , that would be no surprise . "

Whatever Gerry Adams and the (P) Sinn Fein leadership face in the future , it is the Unionist dilemma which grabs attention now - unionist posturing , mirrored perfectly for one watcher in David Trimble's jerky body language , invites mockery but offers the slightest of hopes - " He can't sit down and the others seem nearly as restless . Perhaps that represents the mood in their community at the moment . Who knows where it might lead ? On good days I think there might be a speeded-up versioin of the shift that brought republicans this far . "

Inside the talks some sympathise with David Trimble's predicament : only a remarkable leader could present the likely outcome of negotiations for unionists as anything other than defeat . Trimble could in theory of course say , as a scornful former colleague puts it - "...this is a process I neither like nor trust , the Shinners are a devious bunch , but I'm staying because my people will go unrepresented if I don't , and I'll argue as hard as I can for a settlement that underwrites the British dimension of Northern Ireland (sic) , no matter what happens to unionist numerical superiority . " That David Trimble who owes his election as leader to his performance at Drumcree 1995 , however , is on past form not the man to make such a pitch.......
(MORE LATER).


SHOOT TO KILL .
The unchanging face of repression .
PETER HAYES examines reactions to the latest shoot-to-kill deaths .
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.

At around 9.35PM on the night of Thursday , November 11th last year (1982) , 31-year-old Gervase McKerr left his home in Lurgan's Teghnaven estate accompanied by Eugene Toman and Sean Burns , both aged 21 . All three were IRA Volunteers in the North Armagh Brigade , all three were unarmed .

Less than ten minutes later they lay dead or dying on a darkened road less than half-a-mile away , Gervase's Ford Escort car riddled with more than 50 bullets in an RUC ambush . Less than two weeks later , on November 24th 1982 , not far away from the scene of the earlier killings , at a farmhouse between Lurgan and Craigavon , 17-year-old Michael Tighe was shot dead and his 20-year-old friend critically wounded in a second RUC stake-out operation . Neither were members of a republican organisation , yet the RUC claimed that a routine patrol had opened fire when the youths had pointed weapons at them . The 'weapons' the RUC produced were three 60-year-old rifles of German and Italian origin , believed to have belonged to the late husband of the elderly woman who lived at the farmhouse - he was a republican veteran of the Black and Tan war .

There was no ammunition with the rifles and considerable evidence that an RUC unit had staked out the farm for some time before the shooting : Martin McAuley , wounded in the attack , was subsequently charged in his hospital bed with 'conspiracy to murder' , in a transparent attempt to cover up the RUC's cold-blooded killing .......
(MORE LATER).



THE RIGHT TO SILENCE.......
Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act has just been renewed for another year by State Communications Minister Jim Mitchell , despite increasing protests and lobbying by the NUJ .
HELEN O'CONNOR examines the results of a recent NIHE survey of the attitudes of Dublin people on the issue and GERRY LAVERY looks back to the roots of Section 31 .
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

In a 1977 directive to RTE , Conor Cruise O' Brien spelled out exactly what organisations were to be banned from the airwaves :

' RTE is hereby directed to refrain from broadcasting any matter which is : an interview or report of an interview with a spokesman for any one or more of the following organisations , namely -
a) the organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army .
b) the organisation styling itself Sinn Fein .
c) the organisation styling itself the Ulster Defence Association .
d) the organisation styling itself the Irish National Liberation Army . '

To that list has now been added Republican Sinn Fein .

The question of electoral broadcasts was contested during the 1982 elections by Sinn Fein candidate Sean Lynch : he won his case in the State High Court , but the State appealed to the Supreme Court , where Judge O' Higgins ruled that the Minister was not acting 'ultra vires' (' outside of his jurisdiction') , by restricting Sinn Fein from taking part in electoral broadcasts , no matter how many candidates they put up .
[END of 'The Right To Silence']
(NEXT : 'Eoghan Harris - Pillars Of Society' , from 1985)






Monday, June 26, 2006

Due to 'staff' (!) shortages here at '1169...' - because of some football matches or other , this Blog will only be updated every second day , for the next few weeks . In short , I have been abandoned by all but this machine ! Sharon . (PS : the exams are over , but now 'Junior' is distracted by the football . What next - girls knocking on the door ... ? )


THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT : INSIDE THE NORTHERN IRELAND (sic) PEACE TALKS (sic).......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , November 1997 .
By Fionnuala O' Connor .

The 'Ulster Unionist Party' were challenged on their 'sloppy' paper-work ; they shrugged and replied - " You know us , always late ... " - however , some suspect the real reason is dread of 'position papers' leaking to Ian Paisley (DUP) or worse , falling under the forensic knife of one-time UUP member and longtime foe , barrister Bob McCartney .

One delegate stated , in language echoed by several others - " It's the absence of McCartney that's made this place more relaxed . When he was there it was like a school with a great big bully and you never knew if it was you that was in for the ritual humiliation . You hoped it would be someone else . Almost everyone felt it , but he hated the UUP worst ; you could see the relief on their faces when McCartney turned on the British government instead of them . " A disloyal colleague said - " David's still looking over his shoulder at Bob , even though he's not there . "

By comparison , the ageing Paisley's thunder has lost some of its intimidatory charge : yet , in the absence of Paisley and Robert McCartney , who between them won 43 per cent of the unionist vote in 1996's Forum Election , the UUP can only claim to speak for a narrow majority of unionists with the support of the tiny loyalist parties , not the most comfortable position for a party which shuns (P) Sinn Fein as indistinguishable from the IRA.......
(MORE LATER).



THE ROMAN REICH....... ?
Following the disbandment of the Dublin-based grouping , the NSIWP , a new right-wing organisation , believed to be linked with right-wing Catholic groups , has been formed . COLM KEENA reports .
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , 1 October 1987.

In July of last year (1986) , 'In Dublin' magazine published an article on the National Socialist Irish Workers Party (following which the magazine received a number of threatening letters , and even a fish's head!) which revealed that the owner of the house in Eugene Street , Dublin 8 , which was being used as a postal address for rascist and anti-semitic material distributed in Ireland and abroad , was a Hazel Etherington , married name Deevy , who lives in Stamer Street , Dublin 8 : M/S Deevy told 'In Dublin' that she was not a member of the NSIWP , and that she simply rented the house to them .

That property has since been put up for sale , as has another property on Daniel Street , Dublin , which is also used by members of the same right-wing organisation . The NSIWP has now been 'absorbed' into a similiar group called the National Socialist Party (NSP) , whose leader is an Allen G. Glenhill , who lives in Warrenpoint , County Down : the NSP says there is 'no love lost' between themselves and the 'Social Action Initiative' , the group which publishes the 'Ar Aghaidh' bulletin , and say they are looking forward to see who will 'win out in the end' , when the 'Social Action Initiative' goes public in 1988 .

Both the NSP and the SAI have political lines which are anti-multinationals , anti-communist , pro-nationalism , and anti-non-EEC foreign nationals : the alternatives to capitalist democratic slavery and world communist tyranny is national socialist liberation , they believe .
[END of 'THE ROMAN REICH']
(Next : ' SHOOT TO KILL ' - from 1983.)


THE RIGHT TO SILENCE.......
Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act has just been renewed for another year by State Communications Minister Jim Mitchell , despite increasing protests and lobbying by the NUJ .
HELEN O'CONNOR examines the results of a recent NIHE survey of the attitudes of Dublin people on the issue and GERRY LAVERY looks back to the roots of Section 31 .
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

A new RTE Authority was appointed and on 16 November 1974 , the 'Irish Press' newspaper commented : ' Since it took up office the present Authority has been asserting itself in an area of management which previous authorities left to the administrative and executive employees of RTE . It has insisted on being represented on interview boards for example , and its tentacles have reached down deeper and deeper into the day by day decision making areas and programme making areas of the organisation . '

In 1976 Conor Cruise O' Brien introduced the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) which stated - 'Where the Minister is of the opinion that the broadcasting of a particular matter or any matter of a particular class which would be likely to promote , or incite to crime , or would tend to undermine the authority of the state , he may by order direct the Authority to refrain from broadcasting the matter or any matter of the particular class , and the Authority shall comply with the order . ' That amendment included the controversial and highly ambiguous phrase '...tend to undermine the authority of the state..' .

And just in case he had'nt made himself clear , in 1977 O' Brien issued a directive to RTE in which he spelled out exactly what organisations were to be banned from the airways.......
(MORE LATER).