JULY 15th , 1976 : IRA PRISONERS ESCAPE FROM DUBLIN'S 'SPECIAL COURT' .......
.......a final meeting had been held on Wednesday , July 14th , 1976 , to re-check the rescue operation ; all seemed in order . The next morning , the IRA Unit took up their positions around Green Street Courthouse .......
At 1.30pm , a loud explosion lifted the locked gates off their hinges and crumbled most of the walls either side of where the gates had been - at that time, too , the five Republican prisoners had broke free from their captors and were running towards the remains of the gates - one of the prisoners , Donal Murphy , was dazed by the explosion and lost his bearings ; he ended up in the actual Courtroom , was recognised and jumped on and held by the Gardai .
The other four escapees - Jim Monaghan , Michael O'Rourke , John Hagan and Joe Reilly - ran into a scene of total confusion ; the gates were smoking and still rattling on the ground , bits of concrete and brick were still flying through the air , a dust-cloud made it near impossible to see more than a few yards and people were running in all directions .
The escapees could'nt locate the get-away cars and made off on foot ; but by now the immediate area was filling-up with Gardai and armed Special Branch and , within minutes , things went wrong .......
WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :
war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.
By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.
THE CASTLE OF MACROOM .......
".......the party of British 'toffs' and armed militia had spent a long , weary and fruitless day searching the brushwood and swampy forest for Sean Rua an Ghaorthaig - they gave up the hunt and retired to Macroom Castle for supper . They were about to eat when a musket ball blew the candle beside the 'Lord' of the Manor to pieces ......."
" A stunned silence followed ; the shot had sounded well forward from the front of the castle , not from near the window ; 'Mine Host' had turned pale , but was the first to recover himself - "That was Sean Rua," he said . His voice loosened other tongues , and there were many admonitions to 'Mi'Lord' to move clear of the window , some suggestions for the immediate evacuation of the dining-room , others for the pursuit of Sean Rua , vivid descriptions of the latter and of the ultimate accommodation which they heartily wished him . But 'Mi'Lord' , with a wave of his hand , silenced them all -
- " The man who shot out that candle could , much more easily , have shot me ," he said . And never again did he chase down Sean Rua ...
Someone had blundered by allowing the castle to stand unoccupied and in good working order while smaller mansions in less strategic positions had been destroyed ; such was the case , however , and, in August 1920 , the building was occupied by the Auxiliaries - they numbered one-hundred and fifty men , all ex-Officers who had served in the 1914-1918 war . They had been attracted to Ireland by the good pay , the prospect of adventure and the assurance of an easy discipline . I cannot say whether the rate of pay and the degree of discipline during their sojourn at Macroom were up to their expectations , but I am certain that they had no cause for complaint in the matter of adventure .
For when the Truce of 11th July 1921 brought hostilities to an end , their casualties had reached half their original number . Unfortunately for themselves , as well as for their victims , they added cold-blooded murders to their ordinary activities ......."
TALKING TO THE PROVISIONALS.......
" The British Government has twice entered into detailed negotiations with representatives of the IRA . Nollaig O Gadhra recalls the talks that took place exactly ten years ago between the Northern Ireland (sic) Office and the Provisional Republican Movement . "
By Nollaig O Gadhra .
(From 'The Sunday Press' newspaper , 10th February 1985).
Re-produced here in 12 parts .
12 of 12 .
For the second time within three years , the British Government had negotiated a cease-fire with the Provisional IRA - this time it was with a Labour Government whose Prime Minister , Harold Wilson had hinted throughout his long political career at the need to set the wheels in motion towards ultimate British dis-engagement from Ireland .
That , and the fact that an elaborate monitoring-system had been agreed , meant that this second attempt had a better chance of survival . Negotiations about the more specific issue of British dis-engagement from Ireland continued for almost a year before the entire exercise collapsed . But that is another story which , hopefully , Merlyn Rees will outline in some detail when his book of memoirs is published .......
[END of ' TALKING TO THE PROVISIONALS....... '].
(Tomorrow - ' Colonel Oliver North would'nt do anything that Reagan did'nt approve ....' : from 'The Irish Times' newspaper , 1987).