Monday, September 12, 2005

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

Fianna Fail Minister Neil Blaney advised Northern Catholics not to support Northern Premier Captain Terence O'Neill , who was seeking their support in the Stormont elections in early 1969 . While O'Neill gave away ground to Ian Paisley , Fianna Fail were shattered by the result .

Their lap dog party , 'The Nationalist Party' , was smashed in the election and its leader Eddie McAteer was defeated for the Derry seat by John Hume . On this stage Kevin Boland's recollection was - " We considered the establishment of Fianna Fail on the other side of the border and had almost decided that this might have to be done . " He explained his reasoning : re-unification was not an issue in the Northern elections .

Others in Fianna Fail felt the danger of the Northern issue dictating politics in the South was real and something must be done to control the situation . This second possibility was very dangerous for Fianna Fail if they were to remain a force in the 26 Counties ; therefore it was essential that the Fianna Fail presence in the North be restored following the collapse of their close associates 'The Nationalist Party' . It was during this period that the first contact in modern times between Fianna Fail and the IRA took place .

A prominent businessman in South Derry approached his local IRA Officer Commanding whom he personally knew and passed on the message that there were plenty of guns and money available from the South ; the IRA man played along and reported back to his GHQ in Dublin while the businessman reported this recitation to a leading Fianna Fail TD from the border area .......


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.

The decision of the (FS) Government not to see members of Sinn Fein is important but even if there was'nt a general government policy on the matter , Ministers Kavanagh and Desmond could carry out a very effective embargo on their own . Environment and Health and Social Welfare are surely the two most important political Departments for a local politician .

Liam Kavanagh has made his position clear , the Donegal incident notwithstanding , and Barry Desmond has said that he would find it repugnant to have a member of Sinn Fein in his office , and that he would regard it as an act of political hygiene to have no dealings with a Sinn Fein member - Desmond was talking about a specific member of Sinn Fein : Phil Flynn , Vice President of Sinn Fein and General Secretary of the State's largest public service union , the LGPSU .

That trade union has several thousand members working in the health sector and it is doubtful that Phil Flynn will be withdrawing from delegations .

(Tomorrow - ' THE SEA GREEN INCORRUPTIBLE' - from 1986.)

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 .

Dessie O'Hare told John O'Grady to open the safe - all that it contained was birth , baptism and marriage certificates , passports , a TV licence , other personal documents and jewellery worth just over a thousand pounds . O'Hare took everything . Marise O'Grady was upstairs in one of the bedrooms with her three children - they were under armed guard by another member of the gang , Tony McNeill .

Marise O'Grady found that McNeill was reasonable - he acceded to all her requests but attempts to draw him into conversation failed . He put his finger up to his lips to indicate that she should be quiet . Downstairs , Dessie O'Hare was in a foul temper . He summoned Marise O'Grady ; he was trying to think of a ruse that would entice Dr. Austin Darragh out to the house : one of his suggestions was that John O'Grady should ring him and tell Dr. Darragh that Marise had fallen down the stairs and broken her neck . Marise O'Grady told O'Hare the plan would not work - O'Hare kicked her on the backside . On the way back upstairs he called her a " ...lying cunt.. " .

The kidnap gang held a conference over tea and biscuits ; O'Hare lamented the fact that O'Grady was not a son of Dr. Darragh - he took the view that John O'Grady would be 'expendable' . The idea of taking Marise O'Grady was discussed but O'Hare was against taking a woman . John O'Grady was summoned downstairs again - the fourth member of the gang , Eddie Hogan , produced a video camera and filmed O'Grady , flanked on either side by Dessie O'Hare and Tony McNeill who had guns pointed at his head .

Afterwards they asked O'Grady where his video cassette player was , to check if the camera worked . 'MANOR HOUSE' has almost every modern convenience imaginable but John O'Grady told an incredulous O'Hare that they did not own a video cassette player . The reason , he explained to O'Hare , was that he did'nt want his children to watch video nasties .......