" 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, June 17, 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 .

Noel McCabe agreed to do a bit of work for the Republican Movement ; he began doing the odd bit of fixing walkie-talkies , radios and battery chargers . Before long McCabe became a kind of Provo 'chauffeur' : he would be asked to pick someone up and drive him to , say , Inniskeen and pick the guy up a couple of hours later and drive him back .

He got petrol money for this ; sometimes Paul Finnegan himself was the passenger . Another of the people he drove for was a Northerner called Frankie ; McCabe used to see Frankie around Dundalk from time to time and he would give him the nod . The man never acknowledged the greeting . The next time McCabe gave Frankie a lift he was warned never to speak to him in the street - McCabe was not to be publicly identified with the Provos , he could then be used safely as a driver or helper .

Around March 1984 , Paul Finnegan began leaving guns with Noel McCabe ; first , a .38 automatic for just one night , then a sawn-off shotgun for a month . McCabe hid the guns under a bench in his shed - he was nervous about this and complained . Finnegan was understanding and took the guns away . He asked if McCabe would do one last run for him , he was stuck and he would'nt ask again . McCabe agreed and gave Finnegan a lift to either Inniskeen or Swords (later he could'nt remember) and picked him up later and brought him back to Dundalk .

A couple of months went by in which McCabe was'nt asked to do anything for the Republican Movement ; then , around June or July , Paul Finnegan arrived with a bag of guns : a sten-gun , two carbines , a sawn-off shotgun , a modern pistol and a rusty old revolver - " Everyone has to play their part . Headquarters know you held guns for us before and they expect you to do so again , and to do your part , " Finnegan told Noel McCabe .

McCabe kept the guns under his bench for a few weeks .......

(MORE LATER).




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

In 1976 , on the eve of the anniversary of internment , Gerry Fitts' constituents petrol-bombed his home , burst down the door and mobbed up the stairs to his bedroom . Fitt fired a shot over their heads . The experience made him rely more and more on the British Army and the RUC for protection , as the 'mob' returned again and again . His home had to be protected by floodlights , wire netting and a direct two-way radio link to RUC Headquarters .

There was little link with the SDLP , most of whose members were turning , in those wilderness years , to drink or business affairs , or home life : Paddy Devlin , the left-wing voice of the party , turned to trade-union affairs , saying in his resignation statement that the SDLP made not even a pretence of uniting the workers , never mind uniting Ireland . Austin Currie remembers Gerry Fitt turning up at his home in an RUC car , and asking Currie to drive him the rest of the way to his boat moored on the Shannon , where he was going on holiday . The RUC , said Austin Currie , were worried about going over the border . ('1169...' Comment - that never bothered them in later years .... )

Gerry Fitt says Michael Canavan " ...hardly ever turned up at SDLP Executive meetings .. " . Most of these were held in Donegal , west of the Bann , and were described as 'think-tanks' . But there was actually little to turn up for - the only political action , and it was little enough , was at Westminster . In the North , in November 1977 , Gerry Fitt was to exclaim , there was Roy Mason " ...a colonial administrator , always dressed in a safari suit , walking down the main street in Belfast , with the natives holed up in substandard wigwams on the Falls and Shankill reservations .. "

There was'nt even that much the politicians could do about the 'wigwams' : the 'Housing Executive' , established as an independent body because of the way politicians had exercised discrimination when they had control of housing , was "...treating politicians with contempt .. " , Gerry Fitt snarled in 1979 .......

(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 .

While so far the real pressure exerted within the Nationalist community on the perjurer system has been largely 'internal' (perjurers retracting in response to their families' efforts) - since the Stormont administration will only feel pressurised by 'external' political pressure from Nationalists when the campaign achieves its full impetus - there is undoubtedly strong concern among sections of the Loyalist community too , which may eventually cause headaches for the British government .

That concern stems , obviously enough , not from any opposition to the clinging of the Northern judiciary to the coat-tails of Stormont , which after all is unionist policy , but from the increasingly heavy losses which perjurers are inflicting on loyalist paramilitary groups , and the spin-off effect which this undoubtedly has on loyalist political parties , particularly the DUP .

Although the Official Unionist Party has taken a strong line in support of paid perjurers under their 'law and order' spokesperson , Edgar Graham , individual members of the OUP including John Carson have identified themselves with a campaign of opposition . In April of this year (1983) , DUP leader Ian Paisley condemned the use of perjurers as 'undermining the rule of law' and he specifically opposed the granting of immunity to perjurers . Immediately after the informer Robert Lean's 'evidence' began to lead to the arrest of several prominent Republicans , the DUP appeared to modify its stance considerably when leading spokespersons Peter Robinson and Jim Allister - at a press conference on September 13th , from which , strangely , Ian Paisley was absent - supported the use of
uncorroborated evidence and only opposed the granting of total immunity , implying that perjurers should instead be given heavily reduced sentences for their own admitted involvement .......

(MORE LATER).