Thursday, January 13, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... on 2nd September , 1920 , the Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig , demanded that Westminster establish a " special constabulary " in the Six County 'State' ; the Brits looked at the existing ' Ulster Volunteer Force ' (UVF) , a pro-British armed paramilitary organisation , and decided to give them uniforms .......

Nationalists knew the danger of such a move for them - the UVF were not by any means 'neutral' in the conflict . The then ' Daily News ' newspaper stated , re the proposed establishment of the 'Specials' -

" The official proposal to arm "well-disposed" citizens to "assist the authorities" in Belfast raised serious questions of the sanity of the government . It seems the most outrageous thing which they have ever done in Ireland . A citizen of Belfast who is "well-disposed" to the British government is , almost from the nature of the case , an Orangeman , or at any rate , a vehement anti-Sinn Feiner .

These are the very same people who have been looting Catholic shops and driving thousands of Catholic women and children from their homes . " But all words of opposition , or even caution , were ignored .

Sixteen (16) battalions (approximately 10,000 armed men) were organised throughout the Six County area , with about three times that number (ie about 30,000 men) being placed in the areas where the battalion structure did'nt reach : approximately 40,000 fully-armed and , for the most part , militarily-trained men , in all .

It was'nt only Nationalist and Republican's that were aware of the potential for trouble that could come from arming one section of a population - voices were raised in Westminster itself , against such a move .......



For the past thirteen years , British solicitor ALISTAIR LOGAN has pursued with dogged determination an almost single-handed campaign to prove the innocence of a number of Irish people convicted of bombings in Britain in the seventies .

DEREK DUNNE talks to him about his motivation and his experiences .

First published in ' IN DUBLIN ' magazine , No. 274 , 19th March 1987 , pages 8 and 9 .

Re-published here in 5 parts .

( 4 of 5).

The case , Alistair Logan says , " never leaves you , it is always there ... " . He was a middle-class solicitor in the Stock Broker belt in Surrey trying to get established when he took the case on . He had " notions of justice " which were a product of his upbringing and schooling and training as a lawyer .

" I did not believe that this sort of thing could happen , and in that sense I grew-up on the case . I could'nt even understand the Belfast accent when I started and it was three or four weeks before I was getting every second word from Patrick Armstrong (one of those convicted) ." The Guildford Case brought him into the areas of prisoners' rights and into the European Court of Human Rights - areas where he would not otherwise have gone .

The case has changed him in some ways ; " I'm not completely changed and I think the fundamental values still remain . We invest in judges but some of them have shown themselves capable of abusing their position , and that applies to politicians and to police officers . I no longer trust authority and I actually believe that authority will be abused . I can not now read a newspaper without first questioning the political standpoint of the person who wrote the article or the newspaper which published it , and wanting to know what is missing .

It has taught me that there are certain basic things about people which cannot change . "



Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
(22 of 31).

In the fall of 1980 , NORAID smuggled two former prisoners , Fra McCann and Liam Carlin , into the U.S. to talk about conditions in Long Kesh Prison ; they toured American cities , hosted by one INAC Unit after another , giving interviews to the press and other media . Slowly , interest began to revive , not only through direct contact with the prisoners who had been brought over , but also because Irish-Americans could see the increasingly large demonstrations that were being reported from Belfast and Dublin .

Those demonstrations were in favour of the prisoners' demands for recognition of their political status . The change was reflected in the increase in the funds NORAID reported ; almost $70,000 for the perion between July 1980 and January 1981 , as compared with just over $50,000 for the previous six months .......