" 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, June 16, 2005

THE DEATH OF FRANK HAND .......
On February 10 , 1986 , the courts turned down the appeals of three men sentenced to hang . The men now face , on commutation of sentence by the (Free State) government , 40 years in prison without remission , for their involvement in the Drumree robbery and killing .
By GENE KERRIGAN.
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , March 1986 .

Joe Gargan had a yellow Ford Escort car ; he was a Provo sympathiser , aged 34 , a lorry driver who lived at Kentstown , County Meath . Noel McCabe , aged 44 , from Dundalk , County Louth , was a Provo sympathiser : he was handy with cars and , around July , he began repairs to a car belonging to another Dundalk man - it was a blue Ford Cortina , and when McCabe fixed it he did'nt return it to its owner immediately , but began driving it himself .

A stolen beige Open Ascona , a stolen red Mercedes , Joe Gargan's yellow Escort , Noel McCabe's 'borrowed' blue Cortina : two cars brought within reach , two local cars 'on tap' . Noel McCabe was an alcoholic who was beating his problem ; by August 1984 he was eight months off drink . To fill his time and keep his mind off drink he fixed television sets in a shed at the back of his house in Oliver Plunkett Park , Dundalk , County Louth : his odd-jobs extended to various kinds of electrical work and car repairs .

Some time in 1983 a man arrived at Noel McCabe's house with a TV that needed fixing ; the man was a Northerner , a hardened Provo now living in the South . As legal proceedings may yet ensue against this man we will for the purposes of this narrative call him Paul Finnegan , though that is not his name . McCabe fixed the TV and Finnegan asked him to fix the TV again in February 1984 ; on this occasion McCbe went to Finnegan's house to do the job . The two chatted for a long time about politics , about the Provos .

Finnegan said his family had been harassed by the RUC and the British Army and he was forced to go ' on the run ' and come to live in Dundalk . McCabe expressed sympathy with Finnegan's republican sentiments - the two became friendly and McCabe sometimes dropped into Finnegan's house for tea . Finnegan sometimes dropped around to McCabe's with some little repair job on a car or radio .

Eventually , Finnegan asked Noel McCabe if he would "... do a bit of work for the republican movement ......... "

(MORE LATER).




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

Gerry Fitt operated almost exclusively from Westminster ; he could have forged links with groups like the Socialist International to which the SDLP was affiliated , but he did'nt . His entire temperament went against formal relationships of any kind - " I hate being in parties , they keep trying to tell you what to do , passing resolutions on every little thing .. "

It was his proud boast that the SDLP never had a branch in his West Belfast constituency ! He was a saloon man , and his saloon was Westminster , and he liked wandering in and out of hotels and bars , seeing people when he came home . Since the fall of the Executive , he spent more and more time in the Europa Hotel in Belfast ; the bars were dangerous places now for him and his very home was unsafe . He was under attack from his own constituents .

When the Executive collapsed they were left with internment , punitive repayment of the rent they had withheld during the years of protest against it , replacement of internment in 1975 by non-jury courts , and British Army camps and RUC stations all over West Belfast . Their sole representative upheld British rule as an alternative , he said , to civil war and they turned on him . ('1169...' Comment - in later years , this was refined to read - " If it was'nt for ye lot taking pot shots at them , the Brits would have gone home years ago .. " . Expect much the same now from Adams and Co. in reference to those they call 'dissidents' . )

In 1976 , on the eve of the anniversary of internment , Gerry Fitts' constituents went looking for him .......

(MORE LATER).




UPS AND DOWNS FOR RUC's PERJURER STRATEGY .......
SEAN DELANEY looks at recent developments in the use of perjurers in the North .
From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .

The Catholic Church have maintained a low profile on the issue of paid perjurers , with the exception of Dr. Edward Daly , Bishop of Derry , and a handful of priests , who have condemned the use of perjurers . Bishop Cahal Daly , previously so vocal on political issues , has adopted a studious silence .

For his part , Dungannon priest , Fr. Denis Faul , having failed to limit the opposition to perjurers to relatives (whose emotions , his experience during the hunger-strikes leads him to believe , can, at critical points , be exploited against republicans ) has concentrated much of his efforts on vitriolic attacks on Sinn Fein - on one occasion going as far as to allege that Sinn Fein were 'using' the perjurer campaign to finance their involvement in the EEC elections !

Also ranged against the use of perjurers have been the SDLP-controlled Derry Council , the Belfast and District Trades Council and a number of British MP's and British and American legal figures . British Labour MP , Martin Flannery , has said that the use of perjurers is bringing "...the whole of the British system of justice into disrepute . It is the kind of thing that Hitler and company engaged in .. " .

The use of paid perjurers by Westminster was welcomed by some Unionists but condemned by others - sometimes both 'pro' and 'anti' camps were in the same political party .......

(MORE LATER).