" 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, September 01, 2006

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS .......
James Keegan died in Granard Garda Station last September (1986) . Earlier this month , an inquest was held in Longford to ascertain the cause of death.
The central question - how James Keegan managed to tear a blanket and hang himself within four minutes - still remains unanswered .
DEREK DUNNE reports.
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

Dr. John Harbison found that , in effect , James Keegan died not from hanging but from strangulation which was self inflicted . He had 135 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood , with a higher reading for his urine . According to Dr. Harbison , James Keegan was only slightly over the limit , which might have affected his manual dexterity .

He placed the time necessary for performing all the various actions including tearing the blanket , tying it up and so on , at ten minutes . That time might have been increased by his alcohol level . Dr. Harbison found other unexplained marks on the body : there were three small grazes on the neck , a small scratch on the back of the neck and a scratch at the root of the neck , and the doctor offered the explanation that some of these injuries could have been caused by the loosening of the noose , or the laying out of the body .

There was also bruising on the spine , and shoulder bruising , which was not part of the hanging process . Neither were the marks on the neck typical of noose marks . There were further unexplained puncture marks on the right groin . No drugs or poisons were found in the body . While Dr. John Harbison was pressed by the solicitor for the gardai into stating that he could not exclude totally the possibility of death due to a heart attack , neither could he positively say that there was evidence of death by hanging.......
(MORE LATER).



THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE IS STRAINED.......
Many who fully support the concept of law and order cannot but feel some disquiet about developments in recent years .
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987 .
('Editorial' page)

The legal system and the law enforcement policies which go with it are there for the protection of society , for everyone . In a democratic system the State has a right and a duty to protect itself and its citizens . Other regimes operate on the basis of maintaining order and give scant regard for law in doing so ; this works , at least in the short-term but , almost invariably , it works at the expense of ordinary , law-abiding citizens .

Should the Irish public not be entitled to a legal and law enforcement system which is above most , if not all , suspicion ? Are they getting it ?

The former deputy Chief Constable of the Manchester Area , John Stalker (and here) , made a very telling point in a recent interview when he distinguished between evidence and very well-founded opinion : asked if there had been a conspiracy against him , he replied that , as a former policeman , he did not have proof of such a conspiracy , but , as a man , he had no doubt . Some members of the public , looking from the other side of the mirror , may feel similarly about the legal system at times .
[END of 'THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE IS STRAINED'].
(Next - 'The Heavy Hand of The Law' : from 2003)



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

The trojan work of the people in the Simon Community is highly laudable - nobody asks them to do it . Last year the Dublin branch of the Simon Community got a paltry grant of £15,000 from the State politicians , but to run the night shelter , the soup run and the residential house in the neighbouring Sean MacDermott Street costs somewhere in the region of £270,000 a year .

Last year (ie 1986) the politicians gave a grant of £315,000 to local authorities to enable them to look after stray dogs!

It is no wonder that many people who work with the homeless in this State feel let down by successive political administrations . Because they have been .

[END of 'A HARD 'OUL STATION : LIFE ON THE STREETS']
(Next - 'VINCENT BROWNE : PILLARS OF SOCIETY' - from 1985)

'1169...' Comment : before we leave the issue of homelessness , we want to bring the following to your attention -
Frederic Ozanam , who founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul , defined its role as - " The question which is agitating the world today is a social one . It is a struggle between those who have nothing and those who have too much . It is the violent clash of opulence and poverty which is shaking the ground under our feet .

Our duty , as Christians , is to throw ourselves between these two camps in order to accomplish , through charity , what justice alone cannot do . "


" There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich , and that is the poor . The poor can think of nothing else . That is the misery of being poor . " - Oscar Wilde .


Could I suggest that , as we rush around in our car , on the journey from our house to our job - only to be stuck , yet again , in a traffic jam - that we reflect on how fortunate we are in that we enjoy reasonably good health , we have a home , a car and a job . We have family , friends , colleagues and comrades . As John from this parish is fond of saying - "...sure is'nt there many in Glasnevin would love it.."


Sharon.
Also , useful information here . Thanks .






Thursday, August 31, 2006

A picket in support of the prisoners in Maghaberry Prison who are currently fighting for political status will be held at the GPO, Dublin on Saturday, September 2nd 2006 at 12:45pm .


Annual Eve-Of-All-Ireland Rally -
DATE - Saturday 16th September 2006 .
Assemble at the Garden Of Remembrance at 2pm , for parade to the GPO .
Also , on this same Saturday (16th) , Republicans will be holding a 12-hour fast at the GPO in support of Irish Republican political prisoners .






Wednesday, August 30, 2006

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS .......
James Keegan died in Granard Garda Station last September (1986) . Earlier this month , an inquest was held in Longford to ascertain the cause of death.
The central question - how James Keegan managed to tear a blanket and hang himself within four minutes - still remains unanswered .
DEREK DUNNE reports.
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

Even supposing that Jack Mahon is wrong about the time , due to the amount of drink he had taken , there is other evidence to suggest that James Keegan could not have carried out everything he was supposed to have done in the four minutes between 2.45am and 2.49am .

Dr. Donohue was called to Granard garda station and arrived at 3.05am , sixteen minutes after the discovery of the body ; he noticed no piece of blanket hanging from the bars of the cell and , in fact , did not even know that James Keegan had hanged himself . He had been treating James Keegan for a heart complaint and thought that the man had suffered a heart attack . He proceeded to administer a heart stimulent - to no effect . In any event it made no difference . On the RTE News the following morning , the doctor heard that James Keegan had hanged himself ; he visited the garda station again . He saw the torn piece of blanket tied to the cell bars .

Two post mortems were carried out : the first was done by a Dr. Cunnane , and the second was performed by State Pathologist Dr. John Harbison . While their findings were slightly different , they were not inconsistent . Dr. Harbison found that death was due to asphyxia (lack of air to the lungs) and cerebral anoxia (compression of arteries and veins in the neck) . In effect , James Keegan died not from hanging , but from strangulation which was self inflicted.......
(MORE LATER).



THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE IS STRAINED.......
Many who fully support the concept of law and order cannot but feel some disquiet about developments in recent years .
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987 .
('Editorial' page)

People have died in Garda Stations in circumstances where the State accepted responsibility and paid compensation to relatives . People have been ill-treated in Garda stations and this has been accepted by the Courts . In no case has it been possible to find evidence to convict any garda responsible . A death in Bunratty , in County Clare , has never been satisfactorily explained . The failure to come to terms with these isolated incidents can only damage the very high reputation of the Garda , a reputation and a public acceptance which is envied by police forces throughout the democratic world * . ( * '1169...' Comment - .......or at least in Garda Headquarters !)

Irish (sic- 26-County State) courts , Judges and justices have shown an amazing inconsistency in passing sentence on convicted criminals . A foreign national recently walked free after being convicted of the possession of a very substantial quantity of herion : it was speculated widely that an address in certain parts of Dublin could have earned that woman a sentence of up to 10 years .

People whose work takes them to the District Courts on a regular basis claim that , very often , justice is of the 'hit and miss' variety , with sentencing apparently at the whim of the particular District Justice in some cases.......
(MORE LATER).



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

At 2.15am there are about twelve men and women in the kitchen area : some of them are chatting and some of them are asleep on the floor . Tea is available for them right through the night . The two women that were found sleeping in a doorway only a short while ago are annoyed that there is no bed for them , but finally accept that they will have to try and get the head down in the kitchen . It is warmer there than the doorway of a bookshop .

Once the co-workers have gone , plans get underway for the breakfast which will be served at nine in the morning , then the preparation for the lunch begins . Some of the residents will help out in the shelter if they stay . Dinner is always between 7pm and 7.30 pm - the routine is always the same and the faces seldom change .

Some of the residents live in hope of bettering their plight , others are doomed to live out their lives moving from shelter to shelter or from doorway to doorway , trying to hold on to what little they have left.......
(MORE LATER).







Monday, August 28, 2006

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS .......
James Keegan died in Granard Garda Station last September (1986) . Earlier this month , an inquest was held in Longford to ascertain the cause of death.
The central question - how James Keegan managed to tear a blanket and hang himself within four minutes - still remains unanswered .
DEREK DUNNE reports.
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

James Keegan and Jack Mahon knew each other for about twenty-five years ; during their incarceration they talked about old times and James Keegan sang a number of songs , some of them more than once . Jack Mahon said that at around 2am he looked at his watch and noted the time . Shortly afterwards , James Keegan said " Jack , I'll never be in a cell again . This is the last time I'll be behind these bars ". Jack Mahon told James Keegan that he would be getting out shortly . James Keegan said he was going to hang himself .

Throughout the period when both men were in their cells , Jack Mahon said that he never saw a garda , although he could hear footsteps . Mahon said that Keegan tore at something for about ten minutes in the corner of his cell and that he then wrapped a piece of blanket around the bars of his cell . Mahon says that he was calling for the gardai but that nobody came : James Keegan then tied the blanket to his neck , slumped forward with his hands down by his sides , gave a few snorts , and then there was silence .

Mahon said that it was between thirty and forty-five minutes between the time James Keegan started to tear the blanket and when Garda John Boyle came into the cell . While Jack Mahon's evidence was made to appear vague and unspecific at times during the inquest - for example , he could not be sure if James Keegan tied the blanket to the bars or his neck first - the general thrust was the same as his statement . If he was correct about the time scale , then it should have been possible to see James Keegan perform some of his last acts at 2.45am , the time at which Garda John Boyle says he last checked the two men.......
(MORE LATER).



THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE IS STRAINED.......
Many who fully support the concept of law and order cannot but feel some disquiet about developments in recent years .
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987 .
('Editorial' page)

The Dublin Administration have decided to investigate , rather belatedly , some of the allegations made by Messrs Colin Wallace and Fred Holroyd , two former British intelligence officers . Many will ask why substantial , albeit far from conclusive , evidence of British intelligence involvement in the indiscriminate bombing of civilians , murders and kidnappings did not merit very thorough investigation before now .

Unhappily , convictions in Irish (ie Free State) courts , as in Britain , are not above suspicion any longer . The Sallins mail robbery had its moments of farce with a Judge who , unfortunately , as later events were to show was dying , asleep on the bench during much of the trial . This was ignored even when drawn to the attention of the Court by independent witnesses . That , of course , was a case with political overtones , a fact which may have lessened public concern - this despite the fact that there should be absolutely no distinction between politically-motivated 'crime' and any other crime when they come before the Courts .

Apart from any politically-related 'crimes' , there is much in Irish (ie Free State) law enforcement which not everyone will feel proud of . The notorious Kerry Babies case was , in the view of many , handled in a very heavy-handed way both by the gardai who originally investigated it and by the subsequent Tribunal which investigated it.......
(MORE LATER).



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

The visits go on until nearly 2am . The circumstances of the people we meet don't really change : the one thing they do have in common is that they are homeless and 'living' in miserable conditions .

The last visit is to a chap called Michael who is living in a disused car in a car park off Kevin Street . The stench from the car is nauseating - mouldy sandwiches , sour milk and rotten fruit are scattered throughout the car . Whiskey and wine bottles by the dozen . Michael is permanently in bad health as a result of his chronic drinking bouts .

At 2am all the co-workers return to the hostel where they write up their comments on the people they visited . This is so the workers on the route the next night can check up on the people they are due to visit . The stories some of the other soup run workers have to tell seemed less harrowing . Probably . One of the women they visited in the flats had been badly beaten up and was afraid to divulge the name and identity of her attacker . It was'nt the first time either . Another group bring back two women they found sleeping in a doorway . There are no beds left for them and they will have to sleep in the kitchen area.......
(MORE LATER).







Sunday, August 27, 2006

A picket in support of the prisoners in Maghaberry Prison who are currently fighting for political status will be held at the GPO, Dublin on Saturday, September 2nd 2006 at 12:45pm .


Annual Eve-Of-All-Ireland Rally -
DATE - Saturday 16th September 2006 .
Assemble at the Garden Of Remembrance at 2pm , for parade to the GPO .
Also , on this same Saturday (16th) , Republicans will be holding a 12-hour fast at the GPO in support of Irish Republican political prisoners .