Wednesday, December 01, 2004

IRELAND , JANUARY 15th , 1920 : ELECTIONS .......

....... an interesting 'tangent' re the election of Tomas MacCurtain in January 1920 to the position of Lord Mayor in Cork ; on the 3rd January 1940 , Tomas MacCurtain Junior (Tomas Og) was jumped-on in Cork by Free State Branch men - a gunshot was fired in the scuffle .......

... a Free State Detective , by the name of Roche , fell to the ground - he was fatally wounded and died the next day . On 13th June 1940 , the Free State 'Special Criminal Court' sentenced Tomas Og MacCurtain to death - sentence to be carried-out on 5th July 1940 . An application for 'Habeas Corpus' was lodged and the execution was postponed for a week , but the Free State Supreme Court then dismissed the appeal .

The whole country was divided over the issue - some demanded that MacCurtain be put to death immediately as a 'sign' from the Fianna Fail administration that they were serious about 'cracking-down' on their former comrades in the IRA , while others demanded that he be released . Finally , on 10th July 1940 , the Free Staters issued a statement -

- " The President , acting on the advice of the government , has commuted the sentence of death on Tomas MacCurtain to penal servitude for life . " It has since been alleged that a sister of Cathal Brugha's widow had intervened on behalf of Tomas Og MacCurtain to get his death sentence overturned .......


By Vincent Browne .

First published in 'Magill' magazine , April 1982 , pages 4 and 5 .
Re-published here in 8 parts .
(2 of 8).

Nicky Kelly's own version , given in evidence , of what happened him in Garda custody is as follows ; we have deleated the names of the Gardai from his account -

- " (Garda A) rammed my head off the locker door . Some of the Brits treatment . Spreadeagled . Jabbed in ribs , slapped in face , legs kicked . Lights switched off . Placed behind door . Spreadeagled . Door pushed in . Collision . Ended up on ground . Once on floor refused to get up . Hair pulled . Hit on back . Frightened more than hurt . Taken upstairs by (Garda A) . Smell of drink off him .

Corner of cell . Toilet . Grabbed by hair . 'Tomorrow - long day'. Shoved head 5-6 times down toilet , did'nt wet face . Taken out of cell by (Garda A) . To wall - out of sight of cell . Short delay . Knee in groin . Caught in thigh . Spat in face . Back to cell . 5 minutes there . (Garda A) - 'Eventually you'll talk'.

(Garda A) hit me back of ears after wrong answers . Telephone ears 10 times . (Garda B) slapped in face and arms . (Garda C and Garda D) punched , punched . Fell to ground . (Garda D) hit me with chair - not much force ....... "


By Derek Dunne .
First published in 'Magill' magazine , October 1985 , pages 9,10 and 11.
Re-published here in 13 parts.
(4 of 13).

In November 1980 , John Patrick Quinn passed off more than £10,000 in travellers' cheques ; some of the cheques were passed off in Barclay's Bank in Russell Square in London . The money was passed on to a fellow member of the INLA , to which Quinn belonged at the time , for that organisation .

In April 1981 , Quinn's fingerprints were taken in Dublin - two months later , the travellers' cheques that had been passed in London were sent to the Fingerprint Section in Britain for examination . In March 1982 , a warrant was issued at Horseferry Magistrates Court for Quinn's extradition - the warrant was endorsed in Dublin and Quinn was arrested .

He then went into the High Court claiming that the offence was political and that he was exempt from extradition . The Supreme Court significantly altered its interpretation of the law - Chief Justice Finlay stated that " This court cannot , it seems to me ... grant immunity from extradition to a person charged with an offence , the admitted purpose of which is to facilitate the overthrow by violence of the Constitution and of the organs of state established thereby . "

This was in stark contrast to what the same Chief Justice Finlay had said about Fr. Brendan Burns , a priest who told the court he was holding 130 sticks of gelignite for the IRA .......