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"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...!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

FETCH ....... !
By Gene Kerrigan .
Four years ago this month the RUC began trying to put JOHN O' REILLY away . Four 'Supergrasses' failed to do the job . O' REILLY is now in Michael Noonan's custody . The RUC have demanded that Noonan "...bring him forthwith .. " to answer the accusations of HARRY KIRKPATRICK .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1986 .

The (Free State) Supreme Court has a little egg on its face from its involvement with extradition : the policy of Southern governments since at least the fall of Sunningdale has been to de-politicise the Northern conflict and treat its paramilitary violence as simple 'criminality' . Occasional doubts about the RUC and the Northern courts were voiced , but these were pragmatic attempts to placate Northern nationalists and combat the drift to Sinn Fein .

A (Free State) Government source was quoted in 'MAGILL' magazine in November 1984 as saying - " It's a side road for a year or eighteen months or so to pick up a problem . Once we've dealt with the repairs we'll be back on the main road again . " ('1169... ' Comment - that same attitude , as expressed 21 years ago , is prevalent today from those in Leinster House ; they will occasionally pay 'lip service' to events in the Six Counties [depending on the event] but will not push the issue . There are no votes in it for them .)

The "...main road .. " was the depiction of the RUC and the Northern judicial system as 'normal bodies adhering to accepted standards' - the same political 'wind' was blowing through the (FS) Supreme Court and the door to extradition was opened . The Dominic McGlinchey case was the 'jemmy' that opened the door .......


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

On March 24 , 1972 , Stormont was prorogued to the sound of guns and bombs as the North of Ireland was engulfed in the cross -fire between the British Army , the UDR , the RUC , UVF , UDA , UFF , Official IRA and Provisional IRA ; Gerry Fitt and Bernadette Devlin were the only two anti-unionists left with political status , and even they were forbidden from negotiating with anybody .

While the politicians chaffed at redundancy , people who were in jail as a result of the war chaffed at their criminalisation : a hunger strike was called and Gerry Fitt was instrumental in persuading Northern Secretary Willie Whitelaw to grant , in June , 'special category status' to prisoners convicted of political offences . This , coupled with a mass release of internees , and the famous talks in London with IRA leaders , who included Gerry Adams (specially released from internment for the talks ) , broke the political deadlock . ('1169... ' Comment - Gerry Adams has since publicly declared that he is not now , nor was he ever , a member of the PIRA . As he gave that statement , a cock could be heard crowing for the third time in the background ... )

The IRA declared a ceasefire and the way was open for the SDLP to return to constitutional politics : the IRA ceasefire lasted nine days . Within a month of the granting of 'special category status' , the Provos were responsible for the bombing of Belfast on 'Bloody Friday' and the bombing of the village of Claudy . Many civilians died . The Shankill Butchers were also out that July with knives and many Catholics died . It seemed to Gerry Fitt , who lived in the 'Murder Mile' that stretched from Carlisle Circus up along the Antrim Road where he lived , that every time he opened his front door , or his newspaper , somebody was dead .

Whatever sympathetic links had ever existed between him and 'the people' who defended the area where he lived - "...the vigilantes only ever stood in my front garden with big sticks , in 1969 and 1970 .. " - were well and truly broken . The year 1973 opened with an offer from the British .......


SEAN DELANEY looks at recent developments in the use of perjurers in the North .
From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .

But if the RUC's optimism for the potential of their perjurer strategy has been tempered by a series of retractions in recent months - Walter McCrory (Derry) , Charles Dillon (County Derry) , Robert Lean and Patrick McGurk - and if they have been forced to the realisation that it will continue to be an imperfect strategy , with perjurers as much subject to the persuasion of the nationalist community's abhorrence of their actions as they are to RUC threats and inducements , nevertheless the third major event in this momentous week ensured the continued successful use of paid perjurers as a means of securing convictions .

It was an event that marked a further and fundamental diminishing in the standard of evidence required in Diplock Courts for conviction : (British) Lord Chief Justice Lowry's sentencing of seven men on IRA charges , in Belfast Crown Court , on Wednesday 26 October , on the uncorroborated evidence of Kevin McGrady , was incredible even by Diplock 'standards' . Three weeks earlier , on October 5th , he had released two of the ten defendants and thrown out 13 of the original 45 charges (including charges of murder) , saying that in respect of those he found Kevin McGrady's evidence "...so unsatisfactory and inconsistent that I could not contemplate allowing myself , as a tribunal of fact , to say that guilt has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt . "

Yet in his final summation on the 25th , despite acknowledging that McGrady's evidence had contained "...some glaring absurdities .. " and was "...contradictory , bizarre and in some respects incredible .. " , and despite finding the remaining eight defendants innocent of a further 19 charges , Lowry nonetheless returned verdicts of guilty against seven of them on the remaining 13 charges .

In one case , the former Sinn Fein National Organiser , Jim Gibney (28) , was sentenced to terms of 12 years and 5 years on two charges , even though he was cleared of no less than 20 other charges on Kevin MGrady's " bizarre " 'evidence' .......