" 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!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Great to be back .... !! Bhi an saoire caite inne ('the holiday was over yesterday') and we hope that this post will signify a return to 'normal service' on '1169 And Counting..... ' . But we are not quite sure that we have shaken-off the holiday 'cobwebs.....' : so check back tomorrow , as well , and see how we are doing ....... ;-) . Sharon .

Fionnuala O'Connor on the struggle for the Loyalist leadership as the politicians and their paramilitary allies gear up for a strike .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1986 .

Ask Unionists , either political or paramilitary , or anywhere on the spectrum in between , to explain the 'Ulster' Clubs and they talk first of Carson's legacy , the 'Ulster' Clubs of 1912 , and next of how remarkably naive but sincere Alan Wright is . He resents the pointed queries about the UDA's position in his organisation , and is tired fending off suggestions that he might be easy to manipulate : " No one's behind Alan Wright except the Lord . "

It's an odd habit , referring to yourself in the third person . On the same theme , his independence , he told ' Fortnight' magazine ... " ...Alan Wright's a thirty-one year old man from Portadown ... " , with no political axe to grind . But he does have a religious axe and he keeps it sharp . He's a Salvationist , a Salvation Army man - " At the end of the day my politics are not divisible from my faith . It's Protestantism versus Rome . "

Like all convinced evangelists he speaks of matters spiritual and in his case matters politico-spiritual with complete unselfconsciousness . Basically , it's a harsh message all the more startling for being delivered in an 'unpolished' way . You feel as if you've stumbled on someome completely untried , rehearsing their lines . Smashing the Hillsborough 'Agreement' is his first and prime aim but the Clubs will not go out of existence once that 'Agreement' is scrapped . There can only be peace when a new environment is created : " Militant Nationalism must be addressed . You can't kill the dream but you can remove the dreamer . The Ulster (sic) Clubs are not anti-Roman Catholic for the sake of being anti- Roman Catholic and anyone who smashes a Roman Catholic's windows , say , will have us to deal with , let me tell you . But we are anti-Nationalist...".......


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 .

Gregory Campbell , DUP , stated (re Fianna Fail) - " What they are beginning is a process . John Hume calls it a healing process ; well , as far as we are concerned it is to open a wound , to fester the wound and to rub salt in the wound . We will find ourselves at the very end of the constitutional road and we will find ourselves in the very same position as Carson found himself in at Balmoral in 1912 , where we will have to get every able-bodied man in Ulster (sic) armed as best we can , whether it is with guns or sticks . Once the ink is dry and the unionists acquiesce in any way to Dublin involvement , then we are finished . "

Sammy Wilson , DUP , stated - " You don't give a consultative role if it does'nt mean anything . Once that role is conceded , nationalists on both sides of the border would want to work on it and develop it , and what might seem innocuous initially could be the embryo for a huge monster which would eventually gobble us up . Our case is this : that when it comes to the internal arrangements in this province (sic) , to the devolving of powers , the (British) government requires that there be widespread acceptance of any changes . Yet when it comes to a much more major constitutional change , that is giving an outside government (by which he meant Dublin) a role in Northern Ireland (sic) , the (British) government is not prepared to concede that it requires the measurable widespread acceptance of this community . "

According to Jim Allister , the DUP Chief Whip at the Assembly , Unionists have a carefully planned strategy of opposition to the Anglo-Irish package : " If it gives a role to the Dublin government it is unacceptable , no matter how innocuous it may seem . Assuming that that is the case , then we set ourselves on a course of seeking to undo that process . Our first bounded duty is to exhaust each and every constitutional and democratic facility we have ....... "


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 .

In prison in Amsterdam , Brendan 'Bic' McFarlane has no association with any of the other prisoners ; he cannot attend Mass with the other men and he is only allowed one hour's fresh air a day , taken separately . In relation to the appeal , he says that he's " ...prepared for the worst , so that when it happens , you're better prepared to deal with it . "

He has a colour TV in his cell , which costs nine guilders - seventy cents a week . But he gets 'paid' three guilders ( eighty cents) a day - just to be in prison . He is very critical of the " ...misinformation .." that is being "..put about.. " regarding the North of Ireland - " People here are educated and they think that there's two religions fighting it out and the poor Brits are stuck in the middle . The BBC version of events always comes across . When an eleven-year-old schoolgirl gets blown away by a plastic bullet , the British Army version comes across . "

When asked if he ever thought of stopping his activity through pressure , he says - " ...you have to soldier on . If you sit down you'd collapse under that pressure . You have to fight . " ('1169..... ' Comment : But , of course - that was 'then' , this is 'now' ; no more fighting for 'Bic' and his colleagues [not against the Brits , anyway...] . Instead , 'concerns' will be raised in Stormont and Leinster House . And Westminster to follow , no doubt . And those same 'concerns' will also , no doubt , be raised on the so-called 'Policing Boards' in the Six Counties when the Provisionals eventually take their seats on same . "Soldering on ... " , Brendan ..... ?)

(Tomorrow - ' CHAOS IN THE GARDAI ' - from 1986 . )