" 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 - ooops! It seems that our entry application was "not completed in time to be considered.." (?) and, as such, we are not now in the running. But we wish all the best to the successful entrants and to the organisers, and we hope all goes well for them on the day!

Thursday, May 26, 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 .

Free State Justice Minister Paddy Cooney denied that any concessions had been offered to bring to an end the kidnapping of Dr. Tiede Herrema ; but Free State Garda Commissioner Edmund Garvey had signed a document - this was witnessed by solicitor Stanley Siev .

One of the conditions of that document/agreement was that the conduct of Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle in prison should be " reasonable " and "serious misconduct " avoided . The latter was defined as misconduct which " ...would make it impracticable for the Minister to grant remission . " The deal was ratified by the Free State Cabinet .

Eddie Gallagher claimed that as a result of this deal , he was encouraged to think of his trial as nothing more than a formality and he did not have legal representation there . The document relating to the deal was brought into court and read by the three judges in the Free State Special Criminal Court but was not read out . Later still , Gallagher had to initiate High Court proceedings to get possession of the document . He had given it to Dr. Herrema who had passed it on to the Gardai .

In any event , the promise of release within two years for Marion Coyle and four years for Eddie Gallagher was'nt worth the paper it was written on - according to the authorities , Gallagher and Coyle had broken both of the conditions .......

The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .

Mary Holland's story , ' John Bull's Political Slum' , was scheduled as a major feature on the inside pages of ' The Observer ' newspaper of Sunday 6 October , 1968 ; Gerry Fitt came on the phone again pleading with her to return to Derry for October 5 , " just to see , just to see ... "

Three Labour Party MP's had agreed to come - " Ah come on Mary , for Jaysus sake ... " : 'The Observer' agreed , and sent over a photographer as well . He was the only photographer from a British newspaper . The picture he took of Gerry Fitt being batoned on the head by the RUC and the blood spurting down his shirt went all over the world , accompanied by RTE film . Mary Holland phoned the story in from a fish and chip shop in Duke Street , dictating amid the screams and shouting , and standing in a crush of bodies drenched with water from the RUC cannons and blood from their wounds .

The proprietor of the fish and chip shop handed her his card , hoping for a mention - there was a sense that the North was about to attract journalists on expense accounts ! ('1169 ... ' Comment - it is not only the journalists who are now on expense accounts : some of the Republican activists at that time are now in receipt of a regular stipend from Westminster and/or Leinster House . And their tastes have evolved (?) from fish and chips . )

Was she frightened ? - " I was outraged ; this was a part of Britain (sic) and the police were hitting a Westminster MP over the head . " That night she flew back to London and rang all the journalists she knew - she was crying .......

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 .

State censorship - Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act - was used against Irish Republicans : for instance , in 1976 , the RTE programme 'Feach' was not allowed to transmit a short report of that year's Sinn Fein Ard Fheis , despite the fact that the report did not contain any comments by members of Sinn Fein !
In 1977 , the RTE radio programme 'This Week' highlighted the case of the late Guiseppe Conlon , a Belfastman with no connection with the Republican Movement , who had been jailed in England on explosives forensic evidence so flimsy that even Gerry Fitt and arch-Tory MP John Biggs-Davison had taken up his case . Nonetheless , the Director-General of RTE sharply criticised 'This Week' for even mentioning that there were Irish political prisoners in English jails !

The absurdity of Section 31 was thrown into sharp relief by the screening of ' Ireland : A Television History ' , a series co-produced by RTE and the BBC and screened on both channels in 1982 - one of the episodes which had been allocated to a BBC production team contained interviews with a number of identifiable Sinn Fein members from the North . After some media speculation , Albert Reynolds , the then Free State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs ( who had himself renewed Section 31) was forced to lift the Section 31 restriction for that one episode to save RTE from the ridiculous position of censoring a production that they had partly made and financed !

Yet the clearest exposure of Section 31 censorship occurred during the 1982 general election in the Free State .......