" 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!


Wednesday, July 06, 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 .

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 .

[END of 'THE DEATH OF FRANK HAND'.]
(Tomorrow : 'Politicos And Paramilitaries' ; from 1986.)



FIRE AND BRIMSTONE .......
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 .......

(MORE LATER).




McFARLANE - THE INSIDE STORY .......
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 .
By DEREK DUNNE .
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 .......

(MORE LATER).