" 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. Ah well! Thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again next year!

Saturday, January 04, 2003

.......the English had strengthened the Antrim Garrison and were better prepared than was known ......
Though lacking adequately-trained officers and now with only 3000 men , due to a belief shared by the majority of his previous force that an attack on Antrim was unwise , McCracken assembled the insurgents on Donegore Hill , above Antrim and , after assembling his force and issuing instructions , they began the fight . Within hours , nearly all of Antrim , except Carrickfergus and Belfast , had been captured by the United forces .
The attack on Antrim was a disaster ~ the insurgents occupied strategic positions and forced the English troops to retreat : however , it went wrong due to bad communication - the United forces from County Down , under Samuel Orr , were advancing on Antrim after their success at Randalstown and , on seeing the fleeing Englisg garrison , mistook it for an attack . Orr's men scattered and soon the panic spread to McCracken's men who broke ranks and fled . When English reinforcements arrived to Antrim that evening they took revenge on insurgents and civilian's alike .
McCracken hid for months in the Slemish Mountains and transport was arranged for him to escape to America . But it was not to be - he was arrested by the English , tried by court-martial , found guilty of treason and hanged at Belfast Market House on July 17 , 1798 . He was 31 years of age . McCracken's legacy will always be remembered , whereas those that helped do him in , like Magin , leave nothing but a bad taste in the mouth .

On U S President Abe Lincoln's orders , political opponents and dissidents of his war policy were jailed without charge at Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbour - among those jailed were the Mayor ,Police Chief , Police Commissioner , thirty-one members of the State Legislature , newspaper reporters and members of the U S Congress and Judges !!
Will George Bush Jnr do the same ?

Friday, January 03, 2003

Another informer , Nicholas Magin , earned his 30 pieces of silver during the 1798 Rising ......
Henry Joy McCracken , leader of the United Irishmen in County Antrim during the 1798 Rising , was born in High Street , Belfast , in August 1767 . When he was 24 years young , he founded the United Irishmen with Wolfe Tone and Thomas Russell . At 29 years of age he was known to the authorities and was arrested for his involvement in an ' illegal organisation' (sounds familar!) ~ he was imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail and kept there for 13 months before being allowed out on bail .
He made himself scarce and , unlike many of the other United Irish leaders , he succeeded in avoiding arrest in the months leading up to the rising , and was appointed to command the insurgents in County Antrim . By June 6 , 1798 , two weeks after the beginning of the rising , McCracken mobilised 12,000 fighters , armed with muskets , swords and pikes and prepared to attack Antrim town . Arrangements had been made for thousands of insurgents from County Down to join them in the battle and then to march on Belfast itself .
However , the English commander of the northern garrison , General Nugent , was already aware of the plan , thanks to Nicholas Magin , a man trusted by the united Irish leadership ,~ and an informer . The English had strengthened the Antrim garrison and were better prepared than was known .......(MORE LATER ) >

" You people of the Shankill Road - what's wrong with you ? Number 425 Shankill Road : do you know who lives there ? Pope's men , thats who ! Forte's ice-cream shop , Italian Papists on the Shankill Road ! How about 56 Aden Street ? For 97 years a Protestant lived in that house and now there's a Papisher in it . Crimea Street , number 38 ! Twenty-five years that house has been up , 24 years a Protestant lived there but there's a Papisher there now " .
----- Ian Paisley , speaking in 1959 , in the run-up to that years July 12 ' celebrations' . Most people dismiss Paisley as a loud-mouthed dinosaur , a figure of fun, almost - but he is dangerous enough in that he will set people up for a ' visit' from his buddies in the Loyalist community , even if he condemns those same friends afterwards .

Thursday, January 02, 2003

..... Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen were in agreement that the best hope of carrying out a successful revolution was with aid from France , which was by now at war with England ; the French responded favourably to Tone's plan . Being sympathetic , the French knew that if they could land a large army in Ireland it could overrun the country , make it independent from England and so weaken their enemy ~ a meeting was arranged for Tone to discuss war details with a French nominee : the Reverend William Jackson .
The meeting took place and a plan of action was agreed - however , shortly afterwards , the informer Cockayne lead the English forces to Jackson , who was arrested . Presumably , Cockayne was paid his thirty pieces of silver . In April 1795 , Jackson was charged with high treason and brought forward to ' trial ' where he was found guilty .
On April 30 , 1795 , at 58 years of age , Jackson poisoned himself , and died , in the dock of the courthouse . Although perhaps not as well known as other aspects of that period , the ' Jackson Affair ' is yet another example of how informers have stymied possible advances at cruical times in Irish history ~ a history which is still being written .....

" Let me first of all make quite clear that I do not advocate anything other than British withdrawal(from Ireland) . We stayed in India on much the same plea that there would be much greater communal violence if we withdrew and indeed there was very great communal violence . Part of that was due to the fact that we should have withdrawn twenty years before " . -----
A J P Taylor , British historian , who died aged 84 on September 7 , 1990 . Wise words , and still time to act on them .....

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

The Reverend William Jackson , who was born in Dublin in 1737 , lived most of his life in London , where he edited a radical journal , the ' Public Ledger and Morning Post ' . He was vocal in his support of the American revolutionaries of 1776 . Following the founding of the United Irishmen in October 1791 by Wolfe Tone , the newly-established French revolutionary government sent several emissaries to Ireland , the most important of whom was the Reverend Jackson .
His betrayal and arrest , following his arrival in Ireland , caused consternation in the United Irishmen and forced many of the leaders of that organisation to go into exile to avoid arrest .
When he was fifty-five years of age , Jackson went to France and was commissioned by the authorities there to ascertain the chances of success of a French invasion of England and , while in London , en route to Ireland , he renewed acquaintance with a man named Cockayne ~ an encounter he was to regret later .......

One of our better known career politicians in this State ( better known now because he was actually caught with his hand in the greasy till) is Liam Lawlor (now ex) Fianna Fail , a man who was always full of his own self-importance , and perhaps never more so than in February 1990 when , in an interview with ' Dublin Diary' magazine ,he stated - " Politicians are trusted , and up to 75 per cent of the population turn out to vote for their politicians , thereby recording their faith and trust in public representatives " .
.... Told ya so - voting for them only encourages them !

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

" .... lets shoot 100 men a week " ~ No doubt MacReady learned his ' peace-keeping' skills in other countries which the British sought to claim as their own -- Wales , Scotland , North America , Africa , India , Australia , New Zealand , Burma , Afghanistan , China , Sudan , Egypt , and South Africa !!

Like most of the above-named countries , Ireland has had various British ' solutions ' imposed on her ~ direct rule , indirect rule , genocide , apartheid , puppet parliaments , so-called 'real' parliaments (Stormont) martial law , civil law , colonisation , land reform and partition . All have failed , being successful only in prolonging the conflict . The alternative , so far ignored and dismissed by the establishment as " unworkable " ( and not even up for discussion by the professional politicians in Leinster House , Stormont or Westminster) is that of a complete British military and political withdrawal from the 32 Counties of Ireland .
However , there are still those amongst us pushing for that solution ...

Eamonn's friend , Garret Fitzgerald , is remembered (by me, anyway !) for his conduct during the November 1982 Leinster House election campaign in this State , when he verbally lashed the then Fianna Fail leader , Charlie Haughey , for not supporting Maggie Thatcher in her Malvinas(Falklands) War _- Fitzgerald stated that if he was Free State Taoiseach during said episode he would have supported her ! According to ' The Sunday Tribune' newspaper of July 24 , 1983 , a former senior Free State civil servant (not named) claimed that Fitzgerald made a rushed secret visit to London in 1974 to persuade the British Government NOT to withdraw from the Six Counties . It was also claimed that the then leader of Fianna Fail , Jack Lynch , also made it known to the Brits that he was against withdrawal - he is said to have pleaded with the then British Foreign Secretary , James Callaghan . I can just picture a small queue of sniveling Free Staters waiting outside Downing Street .......

Monday, December 30, 2002

.........indeed, after his stint as a British ' peace-keeper ' , Widgery maintained his British Army connections by continuing to serve with the British Territorial Army for several years after the war . He is perhaps best remembered in Ireland for his statement on Bloody Sunday ~
" I would not be surprised if , in the relevant half-hour , as many rounds were fired at the (British) troops as were fired by them " ! It was obvious that defence of the Para's actions , not inquiry into them , was what Widgery saw as his task .
The British Minister of State for the Six Counties at the time , a Mr Van Straubenzee , later stated that he had visited many British Army barrackrooms and was constantly told , and I quote - " The average troops feeling is that if only they could be let off the leash they could finish the whole thing " . An echo of a similar statement by British General MacReady , who vowed to solve the Six County situation by proposing to shoot 100 men in a week ! (MORE LATER) .

He is said to be this States highest paid journalist , and is certainly never far from the headlines ~ Mr Eamonn Dunphy , that is - you may see him on a bus near you soon ...
The man was once a member of Fine Gael , and said he joined because he was " attracted by Garret Fitzgerald . He seemed a man of reason , a cut above the rest . He did'nt pander to the Catholic Church , did'nt promise to do away with the border overnight , or indeed at all , nor did he promise to make us wealthy in the morning . I knew nothing of Blueshirts - I had lived in England for nearly 25 years , and was unfamilar with the fine print of Irish politics " .
I would have thought it wise to check-out the political scene before joining any political party - but apparently the Blueshirts will accept the politically ignorant , perhaps even depend on them ......

Sunday, December 29, 2002

" It strikes me that the British Army ran amok that day and they shot without thinking of what they were doing . They were shooting innocent people . I say it without reservation - it was sheer unadulterated murder "
------ So said British Major Hubert O Neill , the then Derry City Coroner , at the end of the inquest into Bloody Sunday ; O Neill delivered the above comments on August 21 , 1973 - a full 19 months after the massacre had taken place . It took the British that long to admit to something that must have been obvious to the rest of the world within hours of it happening - that the British Army were under instructions to let the Nationalist population in the Six Counties know that their then existence , their then lifestyle , such as it was , WAS IT ! There was no more on offer , whether requested politely by so-called Nationalist leaders or whether demanded on the streets - there was no more for the Nationalist population ! And that in-built discrimination which Bloody Sunday , January 30 , 1972 , symbolised , still lives on in the Six County area , even if it has been given a new coat of gloss with the Stormont Treaty .
On that Sunday , 15,000 people assembled in the Creggan Estate and , when the march reached the perimiter of the Bogside , near the high-rise Rossville Street flats , the marchers were confronted by barricades manned by the British Para's - the Parachute Regiment were under orders to prevent the marchers from entering the walled city ; suddenly , with no warning , the British Troops opened fire on the crowd - they shot 42 people , 14 of whom died . The British ' Report ' into Bloody Sunday was headed by British Lord Widgery , a man who had seen service in the British Army during WW2 - indeed , after his stint as a British ' peace-keeper ' ........ (MORE LATER) >

Although it is often assumed that the Free State ' Offences Against the State Act 1939 ' was introduced as an emergency measure due to the imminence of what became known as ' World War Two ' , it was in fact a routine adoption by the State of repressive powers . According to the then Fianna Fail Minister for Justice , Seamus Ruttledge , who introduced the OAS Bill in February 1939 , the FS administration " had it under consideration " since the adoption of the 1937 Free State Constitution . The period 1937 - 1939 was one of exceptional calm , as was agreed at the time by the Free State Labour Party leader , William Norton , and Fine Gael leader T F O' Higgins . Fine Gael , however , voted for the Bill on the day .
They may have thought it was'nt necessary , but then again , if it helps secure the position of the Establishment .....