" 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!

Friday, July 01, 2005

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 .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , March 1986 .

Sunday 12th August 1984 ; two days after the killing of Detective Frank Hand . Noel McCabe went to Tommy Eccles's house . Eccles was there with Paul Finnegan - McCabe asked them about the robbery but Finnegan warned him not to talk about it to anyone or he would be shot - " It went wrong , we did'nt mean to shoot anyone , " said Finnegan , " I did'nt intend to involve you in anything like this . " Then he laughed . " It's only another stiff , anyway . "

When Finnegan was gone McCabe and Eccles talked : " It's ironic , " said Eccles , according to McCabe , " but it's a Scotsman who shot him . "

The gardai drew up a questionnaire and began a house-to-house inquiry . On Monday 13th August 1984 both Seamus Lynch and Joe Gargan received routine visits at their homes in Kentstown ; both answered the routine questions , placing themselves well away from Drumree at the time of the killing (which was , in fact , true ) . A Garda Michael Miley interviewed Joe Gargan - he thought that Gargan talked a lot , very freely , but gave short and to-the-point answers to specific questions about his movements . There was space at the bottom of the questionnaire marked - ' Member's Personal Opinion ? ' ; Garda Miley wrote - ' Very talkative , seemed very friendly , but not genuine . '

The Gardai lifted a lot of people , the routine round-up . Among them were Seamus Lynch , Joe Gargan , Tommy Eccles and Paddy Duffy . They all made statements , some bare admissions of their own roles in the robbery , others lengthier and fuller . There would later be allegations of garda beatings , but there was little evidence to sustain them . What seemed to have happened is that , faced with the unexpected enormity of the situation in which they found themselves , the suspects crumbled .

The money and guns were recovered from the shed at Kentstown .......


The Democratic Unionist Party would prefer a Civil War to acquiescence in a role for the Dublin Government in the affairs of the North of Ireland after the Anglo-Irish summit .
FINTAN O'TOOLE spoke to DUP activists about the depth of their opposition to the Anglo-Irish deal and their willingness to resort to violence .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , November 1985 .

One of the 'signs' that the Reverend Ivan Foster sees that 'the End' may be at hand , that it may be necessary to fight on to Armageddon , is that homosexuality has been legalised in the North of Ireland - " As a Protestant , and not a mere political Protestant , but as one who without apology believes the Bible , I come to portions of the scripture like Romans Chapter 1 where it indicates that society and mankind reaches the depths of decline and depravity when men turn from the natural use of women unto men . That's the pits , to use a modern phrase - you can go no lower . Paul at that stage speaks about the judgement of God coming upon a nation that does that . And whether we like it or don't like it , history indicates that when nations decline to those depths , they come to an end .

It may have been their next door neighbour that put an end to them , and you may see no more to it than that , but I as a Christian see the moving of the neighbouring nation against the decadent nation as the judgement of God . Consequently I abhor the legalising of sodomy . I like that term , because if nothing else it annoys those who prefer to use modern euphemisms for what is nothing less than the sin which is associated with a city the doom of which is recorded in scripture . " ('1169...' Comment - .... and that , reader , is the closed and defunct mind-set of those that most Unionists/Loyalists voted-in as their representatives . 'Trouble' was , and is , inevitable ....)

Gregory Campbell shares this 'horror' : " It's an evil , wicked , abhorrent practice . My opposition to that is based on the bible and also based on natural justice and I know many people who do not share my Protestant faith but who would share my opposition to homosexuality because they believe it is something which would corrupt society as a whole , and is something so radically awful as to merit total and utter opposition . You're not even talking about something which is a run-of-the-mill sexual practice but something which is totally and utterly depraved , and to me anyway the AIDS scare which is currently running through America is proof that homosexual practice is something which calls upon the curse of God ....... "


From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 .
No 'By-Line' .

Unfortunately , the plan of escape began to go wrong at the first 'tally-hut' due to there being larger numbers of Screws coming on duty than anticipated . While the escapees kept arresting more and more Screws , the situation got out of control and the alarm was raised . At this point the escapees were forced to make a run for it on foot across fields , many of them successfully commandeering local cars . In the final melee several Screws were stabbed and one escapee , Harry Murray , was shot and wounded .

It was inevitable , given the eventual breakdown of the plan , that there would be some re-arrests , some within minutes and some within two days of the break-out . Nonetheless , the massive total of 19 Republican prisoners of war did successfully escape and eventually reach freedom - to the massive embarrassment of the British and the jubilation of Nationalists throughout the 32 Counties !

The 19 H-Block escapees that were then at liberty are - Kevin Barry Artt , (24) North Belfast ; Paul Brennan (30) Ballymurphy ; Seamus Campbell (26) Coalisland , County Tyrone ; James Clarke (27) Letterkenny , County Donegal ; Seamus Clarke (27) Ardoyne ; Gerard Fryer (24) Turf Lodge ; Dermot Finucane (22) Lenadoon ; Kieran Fleming (23) Derry ; Anthony Kelly (22) Derry ; Gerry Kelly (30) Belfast ; Anthony McAllister (25) Belfast ; Gerard McDonnell (32) Belfast ; Seamus McElwair (22) Scotstown , County Monaghan ; Brendan McFarane (31) Ardoyne ; Padraic McKearney (29) Moy , County Tyrone ; Dermot McNally (26) Lurgantarry , North Armagh ; Robert Russell (25) Ballymurphy ; Terence Kirby (27) Andersonstown ; and James Smith (38) Ardoyne .