" 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!


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Czech writer Milan Kundera once stated - " The struggle of freedom against tyranny is a struggle of memory against forgetting . The people remember their cause is just while their oppressors try to induce them to forget and turn their backs on the struggle ."
Ireland , Iraq , Lebanon - to name but three countries - are well-versed in experiencing the tragedies inflicted by imperialist governments . We salute and commend those opposition forces which "...struggle for freedom against tyranny.." in the above-mentioned countries . Your struggle is our struggle .
" It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inarticulate manner that they hurt one by their crude violence , their absolute incoherence , their absurd want of meaning , their entire lack of style ." Oscar Wilde.






Friday, August 11, 2006

PADDY COONEY'S ARMY .......
Not since the earliest days of the State has the role of the Irish Army (sic) been under such intense scrutiny . And not since the war years has it had such a forceful political master as Patrick Mark Cooney .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 3 February 1984 .

As well as Mr. Paddy Cooney , there are many others in Fine Gael , and of course in the (State) Army , who would like to see this country (sic) tied into NATO : Paddy Cooney has not gone that far yet , but his performance over Poppy Day last November showed that he is determined to impose his political will on the perceived role and involvement of the (State) Army with one particular member of NATO ; when a group of high-ranking former (State) Army Officers came out publicly against the parading of State troops to the Union Jack flag , Generalissimo Paddy Cooney chose to dismiss their objections as "...the bigoted reaction of a coterie of retired army officers..." !

That "...coterie.." in fact included such 'stars' in the Pantheon of Irish (FS) Army 'greats' as Lt-Gen. Sean MacEoin and Lt-Gen. Costello , and it can hardly be forgotten that the Commander-In-Chief of the (State) Army , (FS) President Patrick Hillery , similarly declined to participate in the ceremony a year earlier .

Paddy Cooney's insistence on the Poppy Day turn-out split the (FS) Army right down the middle and it is not without significance that the new (FS) Chief-Of-Staff , Gerry O' Sullivan , was foremost among those who answered the call to attention in St. Patrick's Cathedral on Poppy Day in November 1983 . Slowly , very slowly , the (State) Army is assuming an ever-increasing role in the maintenance of 'law and order' in this State.......
(MORE LATER).



KERRY GARDA CRISIS .......

There is a crisis among the Gardai in Kerry and it is much deeper than one of morale . For years the Kerry Detective force has enjoyed a free hand in dealing with Section 30 cases in this heavily Republican county .
But the free rein given in these cases has had the inevitably corrupting effect . Now individual Gardai are being fingered for conduct that most of them had taken for normal : the heat is now on . Only the fall-guys remain to be named .......
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

Liam Hutchinson was not pleased with the outcome of his court case , and an appeal was lodged immediately . Once more , adjournment followed adjournment . Eventually , Hutchinson approached both Bench and media in open court and , suggesting that his day in court was long overdue , requested that a date be fixed . That same day he was charged by the Gardai with assault !

However - at the Circuit Court , a Dr. Spring gave evidence that Liam Hutchinson's injuries were not consistent with his being restrained , which was the Garda case - another doctor gave evidence that he had not been drunk , as claimed by the Gardai . It took the jury five minutes to decide that Hutchinson was right and six Gardai wrong : the conviction was quashed .

Would he take a civil action ? No chance ! It had taken Liam Hutchinson two years , at least 30 court appearances (with consequent loss of wages ) and £600 in straight legal fees to get that far . End of story as far as Liam was concerned . The next case involving Kerry Garda is to do with a State Minister for Justice , a car crash and the transfer of two Garda Superintendents.......
(MORE LATER).



A HARD 'OUL STATION : LIFE ON THE STREETS .......
From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

The staff in the hostel are about the friendliest bunch of people you are likely to meet : they make all the residents feel welcome and work tirelessly day in , day out for the homeless of Dublin . They all have an enormous sense of humour and indeed they would want to , judging by some of the 'carry-on' of the residents . They get a meagre £28 per week (about €35) and they are not entitled to any form of social welfare , and the hours are long - working three days on and two days off .

All in all there are nine full-time workers , who all sleep in one small cramped room that doubles also as a store for medical supplies , and which is painted in an overpowering red and black . A long strip spanning the length of one wall bears the words ' Sex and drugs and country and western .' In addition to the full-time staff there are part-time voluntary staff , or co-workers as they are known : these will ensure that the full-time workers get their well deserved break and that the hostel will be staffed 24 hours a day - most co-workers have their own nine-to-five jobs as well .

As 7.00pm draws nearer the smell of roast meat wafts through the cold corridors . Tonight it is roast beef , boiled potatoes and mashed carrots with parsnips . The beef is intervention beef and Simon are absolutely delighted to get it . At this stage most of the people who will get beds have arrived back to the shelter - indeed , some of them never even left it that morning . They have a rule that if you leave it in the morning you can't come back until 6.30pm . The ones that do leave are very often the people who will go off and get drunk for the day and then arrive back in time for dinner and of course a bed.......
(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, August 09, 2006

PADDY COONEY'S ARMY .......
Not since the earliest days of the State has the role of the Irish Army (sic) been under such intense scrutiny . And not since the war years has it had such a forceful political master as Patrick Mark Cooney .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 3 February 1984 .

Externally , there is little doubt that the move to involve this country (sic) with NATO or at least with an evolving European Defence Union is going on apace . Although Paddy Cooney has stated that it is the policy of Leinster House not to be allied militarily to any particular alliance , he regards this policy as one of expediency rather than principle -

" It is quite clear that though some commentators would see our neutrality as a matter of high principle , the majority of people and the historical evidence would suggest that it is a matter of expediency . It suits us to be militarily neutral . Our territory is not required or desired as a base by the Western alliance and we are in the happy position that , being ideologically and geographically allied to the Western block , we can confidently rely on it to protect our territory * should any state or combination of states hostile to the Western world threaten it . " ( * '1169...' Comment - Like Mr. Cooney and his small-minded colleagues in Leinster House , this "Western block" ignores the on-going "threat....to our territory.." from Westminster.)

Mr. Cooney continued : " Our economic , political and cultural interests lie very definitely with the Western world . This is entirely consistent with our historical stance and it is apposite to recall that during the emergency our neutrality was biased in favour of the Allies . " ('1169...' Comment - Apart from the very notion that politicians could be "...entirely consistent.." , there's this - "...our neutrality was biased in favour of the Allies .." - what hypocrisy ! Oscar Wilde probably had politicians in mind when he stated - " I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying ." )
(MORE LATER).



KERRY GARDA CRISIS .......

There is a crisis among the Gardai in Kerry and it is much deeper than one of morale . For years the Kerry Detective force has enjoyed a free hand in dealing with Section 30 cases in this heavily Republican county .
But the free rein given in these cases has had the inevitably corrupting effect . Now individual Gardai are being fingered for conduct that most of them had taken for normal : the heat is now on . Only the fall-guys remain to be named .......
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

The Hutchinson Case :
Liam Hutchinson was an emigre Kerryman who had spent 19 years in England . On Valentine's night in 1979 , he was approached by a Garda while looking into a shop window on his way home . The Garda engaged him in casual conversation - said he did'nt know him but had seen him about etc , and invited him to the Garda Station for 'a bit of a chat ' . It was 11.00 PM . Liam Hutchinson was surprised but , not wishing to be offensive , agreed .

On reaching the Garda Station , it became clear that the main topic of conversation was to be Hutchinson's hair and beard (both long) , his style of clothing and the possibility therefore that he might use drugs ! Liam Hutchinson took exception to these attitudes and made clear his desire to leave whereupon , he alleges , he received 'the mother and father of a beating ' . In fact , he alleges , he received a number of beatings in the course of the night involving at least six Gardai : in the morning he was charged with being drunk and disorderly !

But Hutchinson had at least ten years experience in England as a trade-union negotiator and knew his rights ; further , he was determined to see justice done . What happened subsequently was an astonishing series of adjournments at District Court level , concerning which Liam Hutchinson is deeply suspicious : on at least a dozen occasions , the Gardai applied for adjournments . Through an 'odd' conjunction of events , Hutchinson ended up missing the day of his trial - his solicitor then applied for an adjournment but was refused , and Hutchinson was found guilty in absentia and fined £2.00 .

But he would'nt leave it at that.......
(MORE LATER).



A HARD 'OUL STATION : LIFE ON THE STREETS .......
From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

A worn wooden stairs leads up to a small landing area adjoining the kitchen , which is probably the homeliest place in the whole building. It is the only room that is heated . Rows of tables and benches , probably belonging to the former occupants , line the dining area . A handful of people sit around , talking and arguing . One or two sit alone . There is always a smell of food cooking .

The building itself is a fairly large one : at any one time there are fifty beds available , but not everyone who arrives to the shelter will get one - first come , first served . Some of them are quite content to sit around the kitchen/dining area all night . Simon is a popular shelter for Dublin's homeless people - it is free , you get three meals a day and they will even help you get resettled in a flat if they can .

Most of the other shelters in Dublin charge anything from 70 pence to £3.00 per night , which is a lot of money if you are fond of a 'few drops' . The hostel , however , only caters for people over the age of forty - it would be virtually impossible to have it any other way , even though it is hard to categorise the type of person that stays there : some have chronic drink problems , others have psychiatric problems and some are homeless because of domestic and financial reasons . One man , 'Tony' , the one who could take on ten Gerry Fulham's 'once upon a time' , has been with the Simon Community for almost five years - he drinks a lot and is fond of meeting his old friends . He prefers the old hostel down on Sarsfield Quay for the simple reason that if one got drunk down in that area , one of the locals would help you back to the hostel.......
(MORE LATER).







Monday, August 07, 2006

PADDY COONEY'S ARMY .......
Not since the earliest days of the State has the role of the Irish Army (sic) been under such intense scrutiny . And not since the war years has it had such a forceful political master as Patrick Mark Cooney .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 3 February 1984 .

One of the "cures" which seems to be circulating in Paddy Cooney's brain-box is some sort of 'National (sic) Service' ; a "cure" which apparently would be acceptable to Fianna Fail as well , or at least to their Defence Spokesman Sylvie Barrett .

Mr. Cooney has been thinking about the "...formation of a technical corps where , in addition to receiving training in particular skills , the young people concerned would have the benefit of service in a disciplined body with the advantages that that would bring for their personal characters ." ('1169...' Comment : Sounds to us like the first step on the road towards establishing a conscript army , and doing so as cheaply as possible . Besides , it's a bit rich to hear any Leinster House politician talk about "personal character" .)

It remains to be seen how far Generalissimo Paddy Cooney will develop this particular "cure" in the immediate future , but it looks as if the lack of necessary funds is enough to keep it in Cooney's closet for the time being . However , out of that same 'closet' has leaped the issue of State neutrality , which the man views as "...a matter of expediency........."
(MORE LATER).



KERRY GARDA CRISIS .......

There is a crisis among the Gardai in Kerry and it is much deeper than one of morale . For years the Kerry Detective force has enjoyed a free hand in dealing with Section 30 cases in this heavily Republican county .
But the free rein given in these cases has had the inevitably corrupting effect . Now individual Gardai are being fingered for conduct that most of them had taken for normal : the heat is now on . Only the fall-guys remain to be named .......
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

The Garda Superintendent who investigated the claims made by Emmet Walsh that he had been beaten in custody sent his findings to the DPP , and charges against the Gardai were ordered : furthermore , a charge of assault that the Gardai brought against Emmet Walsh was withdrawn on the instructions of the DPP . Detective Sergeant Tim O' Callaghan and Detective Garda Con Sullivan were found guilty in the District Court of assaulting Emmet Walsh and were given suspended sentences : there case is currently on appeal .

SERGEANT REDDINGTON :
In an encounter of an entirely different kind , senior Kerry Gardai initiated a remarkable series of events following internal disciplinary charges brought against Sergeant Reddington from Ballyduff , County Kerry : in 1982 , Reddington was found guilty on seven different charges arising out of a bungalow he had constructed in the town . Later , a series of public meetings in the town heard several residents claim they had been forced by senior Gardai into making false and incriminatory statements against Reddington , who was defended at the inquiry by a Sergeant Michael Flanagan from Dublin .

Both 'The Kerryman' newspaper and 'The Irish Times' newspaper printed statements , allegedly made by Sergeant Michael Flanagan , saying that Sergeant Reddington was the victim of a witch-hunt organised by senior Gardai Officers : in 1984 , the two papers' editors , Douglas Gageby and Seamus McConville , and a news journalist from each paper , were summoned to appear at another inquiry , this time to hear disciplinary charges against Garda Sergeant Michael Flanagan ; the journalists were denied permission to bring solicitors with them and , on withdrawing from the inquiry , were summoned under pain of prosecution to appear at a reconvened session .

The four then appeared but refused to answer questions that would incriminate anybody who might have made the 'witch-hunt' allegation . The inquiry , whose last session was held in October 1984 , has yet to reach a verdict on Garda Sergeant Michael Flanagan .......
(MORE LATER).



A HARD 'OUL STATION : LIFE ON THE STREETS .
From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

The bell over the big steel door rings twice . Gerry Fulham makes his way over to answer it but , before he gets to it , it rings a third and fourth time . He opens it to be faced by a weather-worn man in his late sixties but who , by all accounts , is only in his early fifties . The man looks at Gerry with a rather puzzled expression , and Gerry knew he had been drinking - he was drunk as a lord . Drunk as ten lords . It is only 6.15 in the evening and it is a sign that another eventful evening in the Simon Community's shelter for the homeless is about to begin . This scene will be re-enacted several more times as the night progresses .

As 'Project Leader' in the Shelter on Lower Buckingham Street in Dublin , this scene is familiar to Gerry Fulham : he is a big , burly and bearded man and firmly respected by both the staff and residents of the Simon Shelter . To some of the more bellicose and intoxicated residents his burly stature seems almost ominous . One of them tells me that he could take on ten Gerry Fulhams in his day , but would'nt dare do it now . He is far too drunk to even kick the wind out of a paper bag , and is content to shower abuse on some of his fellow residents instead .

This Simon Shelter is an old fire-brigade station : from the outside it looks drab , cold and very impersonal . Inside , it is much the same . As you enter the small re-inforced steel door a stale stench greets you . But you get used to it after a while . A notice-board has a circular to all staff asking them to help Brendan Ryan in his campaign to get elected to the (State) Seanad* : ( * '1169....' Comment - .....a well-known stomping ground for the poor and destitute..) Ryan is said to have spent most of his time working for the homeless in the State over the past decade and , according to some , without him there would be no Simon Community . Another notice advertises to the residents that there will be bingo on Sunday at 3.00 pm.......
(MORE LATER).