" 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. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Friday, November 19, 2004

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

....... having 'lost' out badly in the 15th January 1920 local elections in Ireland , the Brits decided to 'batten down the hatches' ; within one year (ie by February 1920) a Bill was passed at Westminster .......

'The Government of Ireland Bill' was introduced at Westminster , having being produced after a five month 'consultation process' (sic - the Irish people were not consulted) - ie from October 1919 to February 1920 ; a British government cabinet committee gave the Bill its seal of approval .

This Bill proposed two 'Home Rule' parliaments in Ireland - one for the nine counties of Ulster , the other one for the rest of the country . The 'powers' that Westminster proposed to 'give' to those two puppet parliaments was strictly limited , with Westminster having the final say and , in order to 'sell' the idea to Nationalists/Republicans , a 'Council of Ireland' was promised by the Brits .

This 'sweetner' , the 'Council of Ireland' , was to be tasked " ... with a view to the eventual establishment of a parliament for the whole of Ireland and to bring about harmonious action between the parliaments and governments .."

The Unionists in Ireland were sceptical as to the 'benefits' for them of said Bill and 'Council'.......

(MORE LATER).


Why We Ended The Hunger-Strike .
The full text of the H-Block Blanket Men's statement announcing the end of the 1981 Hunger-Strike .

First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2, November 1981 , pages 23 , 24 , 25 and 26 .
Re-published here in 18 parts .
(12 of 18).

" From the outset , the Catholic hierarchy opposed the hunger-strike even though they offered no alternative course of action . We contended that their position has at all times been established by political consideration rather than the Christian values of truth and justice . Therefore , their stance has been extremely immoral and misleading .

At no time did the church publicly support the five demands or for that matter reject them ; equally, when specifically asked to respond to our August 6th 1981 statement , they kept silent .

Even though hunger-strikers were dying virtually on a weekly basis , they kept silent ......."

(MORE LATER).


A CASE OF IRISH JUSTICE .......
By Maureen Armstrong .

First published in ' The Spirit of Freedom ' magazine ; An Independent Journal of Irish News and Opinion ' .
Volume 2 , Number 5 , May 1987 , page 3 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(2 of 6).

British 'Lord' Justice Gibson was always picked to sit in judgment in cases of murder committed by RUC and British Army forces as it was understood that , in his court , they were certain to go free no matter how heinous the crime against the Nationalists .

As a Diplock court judge , Gibson was particulary harsh ; Martin Meehan , a Belfast man , was sentenced to a long term on the 'evidence' of a paid British informer . In November 1982 , Eugene Toman and his two friends were ambushed by an RUC 'death squad' in Craivagon . These young men were unarmed but they were riddled with British bullets .

In July 1984 , the three RUC agents who were responsible for the murders came before 'Lord' Justice Gibson ; he ordered the three murderers released at once and said that they should never have been charged ! Gibson commended them on their courage and determination and told them they had sent the three young Catholics "... to the final court of justice ."

(MORE LATER).






Thursday, November 18, 2004

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

....... in order to confuse the issue , the Brits decided that the 15th January 1920 local elections would be held under a 'Proportional Representation' (PR) system of voting - but only in Ireland . It 'backfired' on Westminster .......

The results of those local elections shocked the Brits - between them , Sinn Fein and the 'United Irish League' (UIL) won control of Derry City , Fermanagh and Tyrone County Councils , ten urban councils ( including Armagh , Omagh , Enniskillen , Newry and Strabane) and a further 13 rural councils - but it was the 'loss' of Derry which all minds concentrated on .

Derry was built by the 'Planters' in 1614 , and had been controlled by pro-British elements since the siege in 1688 and had been 'gerrymandered' since then to ensure it remained so . The " high and proud " City of Derry looked out (and down) on the surrounding slums of the nationalist Bogside ; now those same " slum-dwellers " were about to have their say . That was in January 1920 - the Brits could see 'the writing on the wall' , and decided to 'tighten ship' -

- in February 1920 , a Bill entitled ' The Government of Ireland Bill ' was introduced at Westminster .......

(MORE LATER).


Why We Ended The Hunger-Strike .
The full text of the H-Block Blanket Men's statement announcing the end of the 1981 Hunger-Strike .

First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2, November 1981 , pages 23 , 24 , 25 and 26 .
Re-published here in 18 parts .
(11 of 18).

" When defeated by their own rules at the polls the British government's concept of democracy altered and the rules were changed to suit them ; when they are defeated even by their new rules , they ignore the democratically expressed voice of the electorate and thus undermine the entire principle and purpose of using their " democratic " processes to effect social or political change . ('1169...' Comment - Provos please note ; it is not 'a new path' you are on - it's been tried before , and failed before .)

The logical conclusion of this analysis is that nationalist pacifism in the North of Ireland context dooms the nationalist population to subserviency , perpetuates partition , and thwarts the quest for a just and lasting peace in Ireland .

Another facet of this hunger-strike was to expertly expose the true face of the present Irish establishment , consisting of the Catholic Church , the Dublin government , and the SDLP ....... "

(MORE LATER).


A CASE OF IRISH JUSTICE .
By Maureen Armstrong .

First published in ' The Spirit of Freedom ' magazine ; An Independent Journal of Irish News and Opinion ' .
Volume 2 , Number 5 , May 1987 , page 3 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(1 of 6).

On August 14 , 1976 , the body of ten-year-old Majella O'Hare lay in front of a Catholic church in British-occupied Ireland ; she was riddled with bullets from the rifle of a British soldier as she was on her way to Confession . Her father , who was working in the grounds of the church , heard the shots and came out to find his little daughter dying in a pool of blood .

Charles Haughey , Brian Lenihan and members of the Dublin government at that time , were strangely silent . The hierarchy of the Catholic Church were strangely silent . Only the mothers , fathers , and children of the Nationalist community mourned for the loss of this beautiful Irish girl .

When (British) Lord Justice Gibson acquitted the British soldier who murdered little Majella O'Hare there was a cry of anguish and anger all around the world : but the anguish was confined to the exiles who were concerned with the suffering people of British-occupied Ireland .

The members of Dail Eireann (sic) - including Charlie Haughey , Brian Lenihan and others , were strangely silent . And , again , so were the members of the church hierarchy .......

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, November 17, 2004

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

....... using the shooting dead of two RIC men in Tipperary by the IRA as a reason to 'crack-down' on the Republican Movement and the population in general , the Brits realised , too late , that they were doing themselves out of what little support they had left in Ireland . And local elections were looming .......

The Brits , stupid as they were (and are !) in regards to Irish affairs , were not dense ; they realised that public opinion was running against them , and to cancel or postpone the local elections , set for 15th January , 1920 , would only further inflame feelings against them so , in order to 'save face' from the shambles they had put themselves in , they attempted to confuse the issue -

- they declared that the 15th January 1920 municipal and urban elections would take place as due , but under a new system of voting - 'Proportional Representation' (PR) , which was introduced for Ireland only : Westminster was of the opinion that the PR voting system would reduce the number of seats likely to be won by Irish Republicans in the South of the country , but apparently did not forsee the effect it would have in the Ulster wards (ie - 9 Counties) .

At that time , Derry was 'the jewel in the (British) Crown' in Ireland ; but that was about to change .......

(MORE LATER).


Why We Ended The Hunger-Strike .
The full text of the H-Block Blanket Men's statement announcing the end of the 1981 Hunger-Strike .

First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2, November 1981 , pages 23 , 24 , 25 and 26 .
Re-published here in 18 parts .
(10 of 18).

" Despite the electoral successes , despite the hundreds of thousands at hunger-strikers' funerals , despite massive and unprecedented displays of community support and solidarity , the British government adhered rigidly to the precept that 'might is right' and set about hammering home the point that nothing has really changed since the fall of Stormont or from the inception of this state .

That is , that nationalist Ireland must always be subjected to the British and loyalist veto .

On the same theme , the lesson of Fermanagh and South Tyrone is that the self-exalted ' British democracy ' is an expediency manufactured - again from the setting up of the border (the 'first and biggest gerrymander') - to preserve a continued British presence in Ireland ....... "

(MORE LATER).


ONE THAT GOT AWAY .......
Donegal IRA man , Patrick McIntyre - wanted by the RUC and by Gardai - was released by the High Court last month when his lawyers convinced the Court that he was not properly arrested and held by the Gardai . Tommie Gorman details McIntyre's story of two escapes and meets him 'on the run' .
From ' Magill ' magazine , June 1987 , pages 24 , 25 , 26 , 28 and 29 .
Re-produced here in 13 parts .
[13 of 13].

Asked about his family and his future , Patrick McIntyre stares at the floor - " They let me out for three days to attend my mother's funeral in March . I was told the best I could expect was to go there escorted , in handcuffs , but I fought the case for compassionate bail in the High Court and won . Then there was a rumour that the decision might be appealed by the state and I was thinking about that all the way during the journey from Dublin to Donegal . That was a shattering experience .

I tried to spend the three days with my family . There were thousands of people at the funeral and to the house . It was the first time that we had the family together for a long time , and we had photographs taken . I met a lot of people that I grew up with . Just before I left , my sister gave me a Saint Patrick's Day card that my mother had written , to me , in Saint Luke's Hospital . "

A knock comes to the door - it is time for him to go . What does he intend to do now ? , I ask - " Make it third time lucky . Or at least stay out longer than the past two times... "

[END of ' ONE THAT GOT AWAY .......'].
(Tomorrow - British 'Lord Justice' Gibson ; ' A CASE Of IRISH JUSTICE' - from 1987 .)






Tuesday, November 16, 2004

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

....... Ireland , January 1919 - two RIC men had been shot dead in Tipperary by an IRA Unit - the 'Establishment' closed ranks and loudly condemned the killings , while the IRA and its political supporters were themselves divided over the operation . The Brits could have moved in , using that division against the Republican Movement .......

....... but they did'nt ; instead , they used a 'sledgehammer' where a 'pin hammer' would have yielded better results for them . They cracked-down all over the place : certain newspapers were banned , Sinn Fein meetings were broke-up , and speakers and members of the public at same were 'arrested' - in short , they attempted to 'bully' the population into turning their back on the Rebels but the people , in turn , disgusted with the Brits, went to the Movement for protection . The Brits were themselves 'setting the stage' for their own downfall in the local elections which were then less than a year away .

Local elections were held every three years in Ireland , with those elected forming an 'area' Council which administered the amount of rates etc to be levied in return for services for that particular town or city ; these 'area' (or 'Local') Councils reported to the British 'Local Government Board' , a Department within the British Dublin Castle Administration which , in turn , took its orders (and any 'shortfall' in funds !) from Westminster .

Westminster realised that public opinion was running against them in Ireland , but did not want to 'fan' those feeling's by cancelling or postponing the Local Elections - so they went with 'Plan B' : the 'Proportional Representation' (PR) system of voting , which , they hoped , would secure victory for their preferred candidates .......

(MORE LATER).


Why We Ended The Hunger-Strike .
The full text of the H-Block Blanket Men's statement announcing the end of the 1981 Hunger-Strike .

First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2, November 1981 , pages 23 , 24 , 25 and 26 .
Re-published here in 18 parts .
(9 of 18).

" The situation exists at present that a considerable majority of present hunger-strikers' families have indicated that they will intervene and under these circumstances we feel that the hunger-strike must , for tactical reasons , be suspended .

We feel that it is of paramount importance that the political revelations , lessons , and consequences of the hunger-strike are recognised and perpetuated in the minds , the hearts and demeanour of the nationalist population of Ireland .

One of the primary lessons to emerge from this second hunger-strike is that the nationalist community is politically inconsequential and impotent in the context of the six-county statelet .... "

(MORE LATER).


ONE THAT GOT AWAY .......
Donegal IRA man , Patrick McIntyre - wanted by the RUC and by Gardai - was released by the High Court last month when his lawyers convinced the Court that he was not properly arrested and held by the Gardai . Tommie Gorman details McIntyre's story of two escapes and meets him 'on the run' .
From ' Magill ' magazine , June 1987 , pages 24 , 25 , 26 , 28 and 29 .
Re-produced here in 13 parts .
(12 of 13).

As Patrick McIntyre says - " The situation I'm in now prevents me from walking around in this country . I am not wanted for anything in this jurisdiction ; I am being sought for things related to the British administration . If the Birmingham Six were in the 26 Counties now , they could and would be extradited . If the British issue warrants for any person's extradition , the request will come before the Irish courts and the person opposing it must pay his own costs . "

The free legal aid scheme does not apply to extradition cases ; costs in the Patrick McIntyre case , expected to run into several thousand pounds , will be paid by Sinn Fein .......

(MORE LATER).






Monday, November 15, 2004

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

....... on 21st January , 1919 (the same day that the 32-County Dail Eireann met for the first time) , two RIC men were shot dead in an 'unauthorised' IRA attack in Soloheadbeg in County Tipperary ; the IRA Active Service Unit involved was led by Dan Breen and Sean Treacy - Breen was called in front of the leadership to explain his actions .......

Dan Breen recalled that meeting , and said that he explained to the leadership that the target that day was the cartload of gelignite , not the RIC men who were guarding it . He later told his comrades -

- " If we were to have waited for orders from Headquarters or Dail Eireann , nothing would ever have happened . We had had enough of being pushed around and getting our men imprisoned while we remained inactive . It was high time that we did a bit of the pushing . We considered that this business of getting in and out of jail was leading us nowhere . "

The response to the shooting of the two RIC men was mixed - Michael Collins stated - " The sooner fighting is forced and a general state of disorder created throughout the country , the better it will be for the country . Ireland is likely to get more out of a general state of disorder than from a continuance of the situation as it now stands . "

Dan Breen himself wrote - " The clergy , the public and the press had unanimously condemned our action . At this time , scarce a word would be heard in our defence . Our former friends shunned us . Even from the Irish Volunteers , who were now known as the Irish Republican Army , we got no support . " ('1169 ...' comment - this scribbler , for one , is genuinely puzzled as to why anyone would take that attitude with a person who had 'had a go' at the enemy ; either in those days [ie 1919] or today ; same enemy , same issue , and the same way of dealing with it ...)

At that particular moment , had the Brits exploited the situation , ie 'played it smart' , they could have used those divisions within Irish Republicanism to their own advantage - but did they ? .......

(MORE LATER).


Why We Ended The Hunger-Strike .
The full text of the H-Block Blanket Men's statement announcing the end of the 1981 Hunger-Strike .

First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2, November 1981 , pages 23 , 24 , 25 and 26 .
Re-published here in 18 parts .
(8 of 18).

" On August 20th , 1981 , Owen Carron was elected (to fill Bobby Sands' seat) with an increased majority as proxy political prisoner MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone . Even so , the British premier , Margaret Thatcher , again spurned this mandate for we political prisoners and with encouragement from Dr. Garret Fitzgerald (Free State 'Taoiseach') she went further , by refusing even to meet with Owen Carron MP to discuss the continuing spiral , and gruesome spectre , of death .

On August 20th , 1981 , Micky Devine was the tenth hunger-striker to die ; mounting pressure and cleric-inspired demoralisation led to further intervention and , at present , five hunger-strikers have been taken off their fast . We accept that it is almost a physical and pyschological impossibility to recommence hunger-strike after intervention ; also , two men ended their fast to avoid a premature , non- hunger-striking death . "

(MORE LATER).


ONE THAT GOT AWAY .......
Donegal IRA man , Patrick McIntyre - wanted by the RUC and by Gardai - was released by the High Court last month when his lawyers convinced the Court that he was not properly arrested and held by the Gardai . Tommie Gorman details McIntyre's story of two escapes and meets him 'on the run' .
From ' Magill ' magazine , June 1987 , pages 24 , 25 , 26 , 28 and 29 .
Re-produced here in 13 parts .
(11 of 13).

Patrick McIntyre is on the run ; we meet in a nondescript suburban room . McIntyre's physical appearance has not altered since the Donegal court hearings - maybe he is a little less fidgety , but he speaks in a soft voice which frequently quivers . The sentiments are resolute .

He was sleeping when the gardai came to the house in south Donegal , he says : " I gave the surname of the people who own the house but they did'nt believe me . They said I was Patrick McIntyre . "

Yet the evidence given by gardai in court suggested that the prisoner was not positively identified until solicitor John Murray named him in Ballyshannon garda station . It was also stated that the detectives went to Kilcar after a 'tip-off' that an armed man or men had been seen in the area . It appears the gardai were not aware they would find Patrick McIntyre in the house ...

It has not been possible to establish whether they knew him by sight ; they seem to have 'struck lucky' - and then got the procedure wrong .......

(MORE LATER).