Friday, September 09, 2005

By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

The late 1960's were also the years of the Fianna Fail financial 'whizz-kids' of TACA : Colley , Haughey , Boland , Blaney and Lynch in the leadership and always in government . It was the days of the 1968 attempt by Fianna Fail to rid the country (sic) of Proportional Representation . But then came Derry in the middle of that campaign -

- on the 5th October 1968 , the RUC baton-charged a small march for Civil Rights at Duke Street , Derry . This was only the second Civil Rights march in the campaign of marches which commenced with 3,000 people marching from Coalisland to Dungannon on August 24th 1968 . On October 16th 1968 Fianna Fail lost the 'PR' referendum and the Derry 'scene' did not help .

Once the referendum was behind him , Fianna Fail Minister Neil Blaney turned his attention to the North ; he criticised the Civil Rights Association in the North for not having the re-unification of the country on its agenda . (' 1169 .... ' Comment - ...that was in 1968 ; in 1973 , Fianna Fail were amongst those telling Republicans that the 'Sunningdale Agreement' was the "solution" to the North . In 1985 they did the same with the 'Hillsborough Treaty' . In 1998 they did the same with the 'Stormont Treaty' ('GFA') . Fianna Fail and "re-unification of the country" are chalk and cheese . )

This was a deliberate tactic by those who initiated the Civil Rights Association - the leadership of the IRA . Neil Blaney strongly advised his party to discontinue the Lynch-O'Neill ' hands-across-the-border' and his speech was seen as an attempt to unseat his Taoiseach Jack Lynch ; Blaney kept up the speech-making on the North taking every opportunity of launching attacks on the Northern 'Premier' , Captain Terence O'Neill who was already under pressure from the Rev. Ian Paisley .......


As Sinn Fein has become more active , members of the government parties have sought to isolate the Provos politically .
The record shows , however , that some of those politicians have for years sought support from Sinn Fein - and some continue to do so in so far as it is politically expedient .
First published in ' MAGILL ' Magazine , September 1984.

Pat Brady , a Sinn Fein member of Bundoran Urban District Council , was at a function last Spring in Killybegs at which Minister of State , George Bermingham , was also present ; Brady is a member of the local 'Vocational Educational Committee' and the function was a prize-giving ceremony for students .

Minister Bermingham was attending in his capacity as Minister of State at the Department of Education ; Brady (SF) says that the Minister said hello to him and that he feels he knew who he was .

County Councillors are frequently plagued with requests for support at (FS) Senate election time and often they remain on the Christmas mailing list . One member of Sinn Fein , Fra Browne , even recalls getting a box of chocolates from Fine Gael Senator Joe Lennon at the time of the last Senate elections . Sinn Fein members have often received requests for support from people on behalf of others and they have been asked to support members of other parties on certain local issues .

Before the ban many Sinn Fein members had had dealings with State Ministers such as Dick Spring , Ruairi Quinn , Austin Deasy , Alan Dukes and John Bruton .......


The Gardai had in their possession a clue which could have led them to the O'Grady kidnappers and their captive some ten days earlier .
A card found in a rucksack after the Midleton shoot-out led them directly to the gang once they checked it out - but this was ten days later , by which time John O 'Grady had lost two of his fingers .
First published in 'MAGILL' Magazine , May 1988 .
By Michael O'Higgins .

Other members of the O'Grady household were aroused by the noisy incursion ; they were ushered at gunpoint by O'Hare into the bedroom of Anthony O'Grady (12) who was already on the telephone attempting to contact the gardai : " You little bastard , " said O'Hare , who promptly took the 'phone from him . The family was ushered into the bedroom of Louise O'Grady (6) , the youngest of the O'Grady family .

John O'Grady was taken downstairs to the front porch where the alarm and console for opening and closing the front gate in the driveway were located . He had difficulty convincing Dessie O'Hare that the alarm had not been switched on because it had been malfunctioning recently .

O'Hare wanted to know where Dr. Austin Darragh , the head of the Institute of Cinical Pharmacology , was . He was told that Dr. Darragh had not lived in the house for three and a half years . O'Hare went back upstairs . There was a telephone in Louise's bedroom too ; Marise O'Grady had dialled 999 , got through to the exchange and was awaiting connection to the police ...

... at that moment O'Hare entered the room - he flew into a rage and called Marise O'Grady a bitch and swore at her . The telephone was ripped out of the wall : Dessie O'Hare said that there had been a "...fuck up .. " and that they had got the wrong man . He told Marise O'Grady that a previous kidnap in which he had been involved had been bungled and it was important that they should not lose face .

John O'Grady was by this time handcuffed ; he had had to walk barefoot out to the porch through the broken glass . He was taken into the kitchen where he met Fergal Toal who was armed with a pump action shotgun and who he noticed was very nervous and breathing heavily .......