" 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 - we made it to the finalists page last year but never got to the stage :- ( 'cause not enough of ye feckers out there voted for us! So we're gonna give ya a second chance - the blog awards this year will be held on Thursday, October 5th (2017) in The Academy, Middle Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre, and we would appreciate if you could keep an eye here and give us a vote when ya can. Or else we'll get our 'Junior' to put up a pay wall and then ye will be sorry...!


Friday, December 03, 2004

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

....... on 15th March , 1920 , Tomas MacCurtain , the (Irish Republican) Lord Mayor of Cork , was shot dead by a gang of English men - they were members of the RIC and were new recruits to that English police force in Ireland . They were called the Black and Tans by the Irish , because of their 'uniform' - and were a vicious lot .......

A report in the ' Daily News ' newspaper in March 1920 , which was penned by Erskine Childers , stated -

" Take a typical night in Dublin . As the citizens go to bed , the barracks spring to life . Lorries , tanks and armoured search-light cars muster in fleets , lists of objectives are distributed and , when the midnight curfew order has emptied the streets - pitch dark streets - the weird cavalcades issue forth to the attack . A thunder of knocks ; no time to dress or the door will crash in . On opening , in charge the soldiers - literally charge - with fixed bayonets and in full war-kit . "

The 15th January 1920 municipal and urban elections not only saw an Irish Republican Lord Mayor elected in Cork - that same political Office was also conferred on Michael O'Callaghan in Limerick and Tom Kelly in Dublin ; on 6th March , 1921 , Michael O'Callaghan was shot dead in his house by the Black and Tans , in what became known as ' The Curfew Murders ' - because , on that same night (6th March 1921) , the then serving Lord Mayor of Limerick , a Mr. George Clancy (and his wife) were also shot dead in their own house . Tom Kelly took the Free State side after the 1921 Treaty of Surrender, and died in April 1942 .

As mentioned previously in this article , the Brits had hoped that , between the new voting system of proportional representation and their 'banning' of the Sinn Fein organisation , plus the introduction of martial law and the imprisonment and deportation of Irish Republican candidates , that Sinn Fein would do poorly at the 15th January 1920 Elections - but that was not how things turned out .

So ' Plan B ' was put into action ; Westminster called-in British Army General 'Sir' Nevil Macready .......

(MORE LATER).


RELEASE NICKY KELLY .......
By Vincent Browne .

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

Dr. Samuel Davis , the medical officer at Mountjoy Prison , examined Nicky Kelly the following day . He said in evidence that he found extensive bruising on the left shoulder and scapula ; there was extensive bruising on the upper arm ; the left arm was completely bruised on the outer side , there was a circular bruising on the lateral , or outer surface , of the left forearm and there was circular bruising about two inches in circumference about the wrist on the inner surface .

He found two superficial injuries about an inch in size , over the pectoral area , slightly above the left nipple . Kelly had a large superficial bruise on the outer surface of the right upper arm , measuring seven inches by seven inches and continuing into the back of the right shoulder . There were bruises on both buttocks and also behind the left ear .

There was bruising as well on the front and back of the left thigh .......

(MORE LATER).


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

John Patrick Quinn was remanded twice at Horseferry Magistrates Court in March 1985 , the prosecution claiming that the papers had not been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions ; on April 4th 1985 , a police officer told the court that the papers had been sent . Legal counsel for Quinn , Michael Fisher , saw a note in his hand to the effect that " ... the papers were to be sent ..". Magistrate Norma Negus ordered Detective Inspector Barnes to come before the court when this anomaly was pointed out - he was unable to explain-away his subordinate's behaviour . In the event , a further remand for four weeks was granted .

Quinn , in the meanwhile , was classified as an ordinary Category B prisoner ; in the beginning of May 1985 , Detective Barnes asked for a further remand and still no papers had been served on the defence ; the case was adjourned for twenty-four hours and the defence was served with the statements .

However , there was no evidence present which would allow the prosecution to proceed with the charge .......

(MORE LATER).






Thursday, December 02, 2004

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

....... sentenced to death by a Fianna Fail administration in Leinster House , in June 1940 , Tomas Og MacCurtain had his sentence commuted to one of penal servitude for life , in July 1940 .......

It has since been alleged that a sister of Cathal Brugha's widow , who was then the Reverend Mother of an Armagh Convent , had requested that her 'boss' , Cardinal MacRory , should 'speak to' Eamon de Valera about the case . This , if indeed it did happen , and the fact that Tomas Og's father had actually shouldered a gun alongside many members of the then Fianna Fail administration (before they went Free State , obviously) , saved his life . And that's the end of that 'tangent' on Tomas Og MacCurtain !

Tomas MacCurtain (Snr) , the Lord Mayor of Cork , was shot dead by a gang of masked men on 15th March 1920 ; his killers wore civilian clothes and all spoke with English accents - it later transpired that they were members of the RIC who had been recruited into that British police force in England : they were some of the 7,000 men thus recruited to tackle the IRA .

The quick expansion of the RIC meant that there was not enough of the bottle-green coloured uniforms to go around , so the new recruits were allowed to mix a khaki-coloured trouser or jacket to wear with whatever standard-issue piece of clothing they aready had . They were first seen in County Tipperary and were named , by the Irish , after a famous pack of hunting-hounds in that County - the Black and Tans !

These 'policemen/soldiers' were also issued with black belts and caps , and were a vicious lot .......

(MORE LATER).


RELEASE NICKY KELLY .......
By Vincent Browne .

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

" ..... on floor , on back , hands stretched backwards . Chair put on palms . (Garda A) sits on chair . Spits on face . Leering . Cried . Frightened . Don't know what they are going to do to me . Very tired , sore , ears ringing , bad headache , stomach sick , afraid of my life . (Garda A) produced black-jack , beaten by (Garda E) on biceps . Left on table . Black lathe 10 inches long , 1 inch in diameter , flexible , swish noise . "Own up , make statement ..." . Beaten above the knee ......."

Dr. Sean O'Cleirigh , an independent doctor , examined Nicky Kelly in Mountjoy Jail hours after this ordeal and gave the following evidence in court : he found extensive bruising on Kelly's outer arms from the shoulder to the elbow ; there were also bruises over the left shoulder blade , over the ribs , over the pubic bone and on his left hip and thigh . The doctor found extensive bruising over the mastoid bone of the left ear , which itself was also bruised . The ear area was also slightly bruised - all of these bruises were tender . He said Kelly was very apprehensive at the time .

The prison doctor then examined Nicky Kelly .......

(MORE LATER).


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

The Free State 'Supreme Court' had previously dealth with a case in which a priest , Fr. Brendan Burns , admitted to holding 130 sticks of gelignite for the IRA -

- " It seems to me , " said Justice Finlay in that case in 1974 , " that the safe keeping of explosives for an organisation attempting to overthrow the state by violence is , according to that test , an offence of a political character . "

But prior to John Patrick Quinn's extradition , there had been other developments - Quinn is a fish dealer in Ballina where he lives with his wife and three children . In July 1983 , Detective Constable Kevin Tooher and Detective Inspector John Barnes , both from London , turned up in Ballina to interview John Patrick Quinn .

He finally flew to London on March 1st of this year (1985) , following the 'Supreme Court' decision , to face fraud charges relating to a sum of £600 ; he was interviewed by police on his arrival and thereafter transferred to Wormwood Scrubbs Prison .

Quinn was classified a ' High Security Category 'A' prisoner' and spent twenty-three hours a day in solitary confinement .......

(MORE LATER).






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 .......

(MORE LATER).


RELEASE NICKY KELLY .......
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 ....... "

(MORE LATER).


THE EXTRADITION FIASCO .......
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 .......

(MORE LATER).






Tuesday, November 30, 2004

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

....... Ireland , 1920 - local (ie Council) elections were about to be held (15th January that year) ; the British claimed that the victory secured by the Sinn Fein organisation in the 1918 General Election would not be repeated . The Rebels were confident it would be .......

The result of the 15th January 1920 local elections proved Westminster wrong - Sinn Fein won control of 11 out of 12 cities and boroughs , and the 'outlawed' (underground) Dail Eireann (32 County body) directed all local council's in Ireland to break their connection with the (British) Dublin Castle system of local administration and , within months , most of the local councils in the country were reporting to the Republican administration .

The only municipal council in all Ireland left under Unionist control was in Belfast ; out of 206 Councils elected on the island , 172 now had a Republican/Nationalist majority . In Cork , Tomas MacCurtain was elected 'Lord Mayor' ; an interesting 'tangent' here - Tomas MacCurtain Junior [ the son of the previously-mentioned Republican Lord Mayor] was as involved in Irish Republican activities as his father was .

In Cork one day (3rd January 1940) , Tomas Junior (Tomas Og) was jumped-on by a number of Free State Special Branch men , who had decided to 'arrest' him - he fought with them and , in the scuffle , a gunshot was fired . A Free State Detective , by the name of Roche , fell to the ground .......

(MORE LATER).


RELEASE NICKY KELLY .
By Vincent Browne .

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

Nicky Kelly , of Arklow , County Wicklow , is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence in Portlaoise Prison for an offence he did not commit , the Sallins mail train robbery in March 1976 . He is likely to go on hunger strike in prison within the next few weeks in protest against his conviction and , given his current mental state , he is very likely to at least do himself very considerabe damage , if not actually starve himself to death .

We hope to be able to publish in Magill within the next few months , proof of Nicky Kelly's innocence by showing how a group with which he was not associated were responsible for the robbery , but at this stage we wish to highlight some of the disquieting features of the police enquiry and the judical conduct of the case .

We have published on a number of previous occasions the evidence of Garda ill-treatment which Nicky Kelly and his co-defendants , Osgur Breathnach and Brian McNally allegedly suffered .......

(MORE LATER).


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

Currently , an extradition treaty between Britain and the US is the subject of Senate hearings ; should the treaty be passed , it will have significant repercussions for IRA men claiming political asylum for offences committed against the security forces in the North . The basic requirement in American extraditions - that a 'prima facie' case exists - does not extend to the Extradition Act 1965 .

Absolutely no evidence need be shown to link the accused to the crime ; this glaring anomaly became particularly apparent earlier this year following the extradition of John Patrick Quinn to London . Quinn walked free from Horseferry Magistrates Court in London when all the charges for which he had been extradited were dismissed . The Director of Public Prosecutions in Britain immediately went into the High Court looking for what is known as a 'Voluntary Bill of Indictment'.

That 'Bill' would have allowed John Patrick Quinn to be put on trial in the Old Bailey . It was granted , and detectives rushed to arrest Quinn , and alerted all air and sea ports . They were ten minutes late : Quinn was already on a plane back to Dublin and thereafter to his home in Ballina .

The story of how John Patrick Quinn came to have the charges dismissed against him paints a picture of extraordinary bungling on the part of the British police .......

(MORE LATER).






Monday, November 29, 2004

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

....... the 'PR' system of voting was intended to confuse the 'uneducated Irish' ; Westminster assumed that 'Paddy' would not bother voting at all , or would do so wrongly and spoil same by mistake . But it did'nt work out like that .......

'Paddy' learned the new system , and spread the word . But the Brits did not just bank on the Irish being 'too stupid' regarding the 'Proportional Representation' voting procedure in the election - they used their 'old methods' , too ; the Sinn Fein organisation had already been banned (on 3rd July 1918) and the country was under martial law .

Those who were declared as Sinn Fein candidates were , if caught by the British , 'arrested' and deported out of the country . Leaflets and posters belonging to Sinn Fein candidates were confiscated and newspapers were notified that they would be put out of business should they publish Sinn Fein statements , manifestos etc . The British had a lot to lose - since the victory for Sinn Fein in the 1918 General Election , the British had claimed that it was their introduction of the 'Military Services Bill' (conscription - on 16th April 1918) which had turned people against them and into the 'arms' of Sinn Fein .

Westminster further stated that the 1918 election victory did not give the Irish a mandate to establish their own parliament and that the IRA war against British forces in Ireland went against what the majority in Ireland wanted . The then up-coming 15th January 1920 elections were to be pivotal for both sides .......

(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 .
[18 of 18].

" We pay a special tribute to the families of our dead comrades - you have suffered greatly and with immense dignity . Your loved ones , our comrades and friends , were and would be very proud of you for standing by them . No tribute is too great .

Also , we give a special mention to those families who could not bear to watch their loved ones die in pain and agony ; we prisoners understand the pressure you were under and stand by you . We thank the National H-Block/Armagh Committee , the H-Block movement , the nationalist people of Ireland , and all those who championed our cause abroad - we are indebted to you and ask you to continue your good work on our behalf .

Lastly we reaffirm our committment to the achievement of the five demands by whatever means we believe necessary and expedient . We rule nothing out . Under no circumstances are we going to devalue the memory of our dead comrades by submitting ourselves to a dehumanising and degrading regime . "

[END of 'Why We Ended The Hunger-Strike...'].
(Tomorrow - ' Release Nicky Kelly ...' - from 1982.)


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

Dominic McGlinchey is currently appealing his conviction for the murder of Hester McMullan in County Antrim in March of 1977 . Part of the evidence used to convict him was his affidavit used in High Court hearings in the 'republic' ; these were handed over to the RUC without the knowledge of McGlinchey or his legal advisers .

Another extraditee , Seamus Shannon , was handed over to the RUC in July 1984 ; at a bail hearing in the High Court , Detective Inspector McGann of the RUC in Belfast said that the Book of Evidence against Seamus Shannon " has been prepared " and that the " authorities are in a position to proceed . " Fourteen months later , the case has still not come to trial .

No evidence was presented in the 'republic' to link Shannon with the offences he was wanted in connection with - the killing of Sir Norman Stronge and his son James in County Armagh in January 1981 .......

(MORE LATER).