" 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...!


Monday, May 23, 2005

A ROUGH DEAL .......
Ten years ago EDDIE GALLAGHER went to prison for his part in the kidnapping of TIEDE HERREMA . He is still there , even though he did a deal which promised him only four years in jail . His accomplice , MARION COYLE , has been released . DEREK DUNNE reports on GALLAGHER's maverick relationship with the IRA , on the negotiations which led to the release of TIEDE HERREMA and on the roots of GALLAGHER's involvement .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , January 1986 , pages 6 , 7 , 8, and 9 .

What the IRA Army Council did'nt know was that Eddie Gallagher had been tentatively planning a kidnap for eight months - that of Dr. Tiede Herrema , Managing Director of the Ferenka factory in Limerick .
On Friday October 3 , 1976 , Eddie Gallagher , Marion Coyle , Vincent Walsh and Brian McGowan arrived at the house of Dr. Tiede Herrema , managing director of the £20 million steel cord manufacturing plant in Limerick ; shortly after eight o' clock , Eddie Gallagher halted Herrema , who was leaving his house , and ordered him into the back of a Ford Cortina at gunpoint .
They drove him to a cottage in the Slieve Bloom Mountains , where he was held for eight days . At 11.30pm Eric Kwint , First Secretary of the Dutch Embassy in Dublin , received a telephone call giving the kidnappers' demands ; these included the release of Rose Dugdale , Kevin Mallon and Jim Hyland . On October 11 , 1976 , Herrema was moved to a house at 1410 St Evin's Park , Monasterevan , County Kildare .
The search for Tiede Herrema involved over nine thousand (Free State) soldiers and Gardai - but there was another investigation involving the Garda Technical Bureau , headed at the time by Chief Superintendent Thomas McMahon , who brought with him , to Limerick , Detective Inspector John Courtney , Detective Sergeant Michael Canavan , Detective Garda Christy Godkin and Detective Garda Thomas Ibar Dunne .
By October 18 , 1976 , they had arrested and re-arrested Brian McGowan , the man who had 'cased ' the job for Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle and who had checked on the time that Tiede Herrema left for work .......
(MORE LATER).


TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .
In the North of Ireland , a dossier of irrefutable information was being painstakingly compiled by the ' Campaign for Social Justice ' , fore-runner of the Civil Rights Movement : it was just a matter of presenting it to the Wilson government in Westminster and getting them to move on it . But the British government did not want to know the facts -
- in 1967 , a party of Stormont Nationalist MP's were received in Westminster by Roy Jenkins , then Chancellor of the British Exchequer . After they had presented their case and left , a horrified aide said to Roy Jenkins - " ... something will have to be done . " Jenkins replied that nothing would be done because any Englishman who set foot in Northern Ireland (sic) affairs would be setting a foot in his political grave .
Mary Holland , a journalist in 'The Observer ' newspaper at that time , heard the story from the aide after she had been persuaded by Gerry Fitt to break the 'paper wall' on the North that existed in the British media at the time . In the summer of 1968 she had been writing a series of articles entitled ' Them And Us ' , in which she detailed cases of discrimination against individuals : " A lot of it had to do with the difficulties experienced by back people , whose problems in England were then attracting a lot of attention . I got a phone call from Gerry Fitt , saying Catholics were undergoing the same discrimination in Northern Ireland (sic) .
It's a measure of our ignorance in England at that time that I asked him if he was sure he could prove his case . I'd had a lot of difficulty establishing actual discrimination against black people , given the subtleties of bureaucracy , and I was about to drop the series and accept promotion to a position as 'Arts Columnist ' on the Observer . "
Gerry Fitt was insistent and she agreed to meet him for lunch .......
(MORE LATER).


A DECADE OF CENSORSHIP .......Bernadette Quinn looks at the development of SECTION 31 of the Broadcasting Act , used by the Free State government to suppress the Republican viewpoint on state radio and television - and extended by Radio Telefis Eireann itself into a regime of self-censorship . From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .
In July 1970 , Des O' Malley (Free State Minister for Justice at the time) warned RTE that he was not happy with them for "... glamourising subversives (and) criminals .. " : RTE had been put on notice . A little over a year later , Gerry Collins (Free State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs at the time) went further - in October 1971 he invoked his authority under Section 31 of the 1960 Broadcasting Act to issue a directive instructing RTE to refrain from " ... broadcasting any matter that could be calculated to promote the aims or activities of any organisation which engages in , promotes , encourages or advocates the attaining of any particular objective by violent means . " The organisations alluded to were unnamed , but the implication was clear . ('1169...' Comment : If that 'law' had been followed to the letter , then surely RTE would not have been able to interview British combatants , as well as Irish Republican combatants ... ?) .
But it was the Kevin O' Kelly affair in November 1972 that was to kill off any remaining spark of independence in the corridors of RTE , and ensure that what Patrick Hilliard (the previous Free State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs) had alluded to twelve years earlier (ie in 1960) - " ... that the (RTE) Authority should act as its own censor .. " - would become as restrictive to political news coverage as would the veto contained in the legislation itself .
On November 19th 1972 the RTE Radio News Features Editor , Kevin O' Kelly , broadcast a summary of an interview which purported to be with Sean MacStiofain , said at the time to be the IRA's Chief of Staff . A court case followed , with MacStiofain receiving a six-month sentence for IRA membership and Kevin O' Kelly receiving a three-month sentence for contempt of court (later appealed against successfully) after he refused to identify the voice on the interview tape as Sean MacStiofain's .
But equally important was the RTE sequel to the interview .......
(MORE LATER).