" 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 - we made it to the finalists page last year but never got to the stage :- ( 'cause not enough of ye feckers out there voted for us! So we're gonna give ya a second chance - the blog awards this year will be held on Thursday, October 5th (2017) in The Academy, Middle Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre, and we would appreciate if you could keep an eye here and give us a vote when ya can. Or else we'll get our 'Junior' to put up a pay wall and then ye will be sorry...!

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 .......