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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.)

This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Wednesday, July 06, 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 .

Paddy Duffy claimed in court that he thought the cars he was providing were to be used by the IRA in the North ; he was found guilty of non-capital murder and sentenced to penal servitude for life .

Of the four found guilty of murder , only Paddy Duffy had a previous conviction , for possession of a revolver . Seamus Lynch was found guilty of robbery and was sentenced to four years ; Joe Gargan was found guilty of robbery and was given 10 years , suspended . None of those mentioned was present at Drumree when Detective Garda Frank Hand was killed .

Paul Finnegan was picked up a couple of times by the gardai but made no statement ; at least one , if not two or three more were involved in the robbery and have never been charged . 'Paul Finnegan' is no longer wanted for the Drumree robbery and murder . The gardai have no evidence against him . It is thought that he may be living abroad .

(Tomorrow : 'Politicos And Paramilitaries' ; from 1986.)

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 .

Jim Wells , DUP , is one of those who frowns on mixed marriage - " I am totally opposed to mixed marriage . Of course I am . First of all because of the authoritarian attitude of the Roman Catholic church , which demands that the children must be brought up as Catholics , but secondly because I believe that anyone who indulges in a mixed marriage is betraying the Protestant cause .

There is no excuse for mixed marriages in the North , not like in the South where the small number of Protestants means that to be blunt there's many a young man and young girl who would'nt marry at all if they did'nt marry a Roman Catholic . There is no problem such as that in the North where there are plenty of suitable Protestant partners . I would be against anything that would lead to a dilution of the Protestant population of this province (sic) " .

Gregory Campbell has no mythology of the planter stock ; in the Waterside area there are no family farms , no tradition of property handed down over the generations . His legend of the Protestant race is different - " I think that that Ulster Protestant is a separate race of people from the rest of the island . In the general area that is now called Northern Ireland (sic) there has always been a separate and distinct type of people , code of ethics , morality . Everything about the way of life in the northern part of the island has been different to the southern part of the island , even before the plantation .

There has always been a different race of people who inhabited the north . It happens at this stage to be the Protestant people who inhabit it . I have a different view from Gerry Adams as to how we came to inhabit this part of the island . He says we just came over as part of the plantation and usurped the Gaelic Catholics . I happen to believe that way before that , when the Picts came from central Europe , there were a people here who were different , who were usurped at that stage . "

For a working-class loyalist like Gregory Campbell the 'mythology' of plantation becomes a 'mythology' of dispossession .......


Last month , BRENDAN McFARLANE was ordered by a Dutch court to be extradited back to the North to serve out a sentence of 25 years . He is appealing the decision . His companion GERARD KELLY had his plea accepted that his offences were political . BRENDAN McFARLANE has been on the run since he led thirty-seven men in an escape out of the MAZE PRISON in September 1983 . In an exclusive interview with MAGILL at Bylmerbages Prison in Amsterdam , McFARLANE talks about his life , his youth and upbringing , and his involvement with the ARMED STRUGGLE in the North .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1986 .

After internment , Brendan 'Bic' McFarlane joined the Provisional IRA and became active on the streets ; he was involved primarily in defence . The previous year (ie 1970) the IRA had earned itself the name ' I Ran Away' when it failed to defend Ardoyne during gun battles . The British Parachute Regiment patrolled the area and were vicious .

In September 1971 , Brendan McFarlane was arrested during a gun battle in which two British soldiers were killed ; he was held for three days and released without charge . He also became very involved with rebuilding part of Ardoyne that had been burned by loyalists . At this time many of his close friends were being killed . He talks casually about his own involvement but when he discusses friends that have been killed , he looks visibly upset . He finds it quite difficult to articulate his feelings and the fact that he was very close to a particular person .

On 11 July 1971 , the Provos were operating cover for people coming out of drinking clubs , and they were waiting for the loyalists to open fire ; the shooting started late that night and then the British Army opened fire with machine guns from three different places . Two men , including McFarlane's close friend , James Reid , were killed behind some sandbags , during the two-hour gun battle . The Provos abandoned their position and re-grouped . Five people were killed in total . Provo leader Martin Meehan was in charge of operations in the Ardoyne and he and Brendan McFarlane were close .

The main thrust of the campaign up to the end of 1974 , when the IRA/British Army truce came into effect , was the bombing campaign : dozens of civilians were killed . Today , Brendan McFarlane thinks the campaign was justified . The object was to "...damage Britain economically .. " . At the time , he was working in a Belfast printing house and , later on , as a fork lift driver . He declines to say what specific operations he was invoved with - " If I tell you that , they'll charge me with it when I get home . They'll say 'Here's something else we forgot' . " He was " ... moderately active .. " in Ardoyne , as distinct from others who were carrying out shootings , bombings and ambushes every day .

He was "...an ordinary Volunteer .. " , not holding any rank . And then , in 1975 , he got caught .......