" 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, September 14, 2005

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

One of those expelled from the Republican Movement for preventing the 'Connolly Youth' group from marching at an Easter Commemoration was Nobby Ferguson , the 1967 Mayor of Sligo ; a revolt in the ranks was obviously simmering when the bodies of IRA martyrs Barnes and MacCormack were brought back and buried in Mullingar ; the chief organiser of the Mullingar funeral was Ruairi O Bradaigh .

The platform was used by an 'old brigade' man for an attack on the IRA leadership for its left-wing policies - the attack had been preceded by a local Republican woman rubbing it into the 'Commies' - she recited five decades of the rosary just as the proceedings commenced !

Bank raids became fashionable with Saor Eire taking much of the credit ; between the IRA burnings of the foreign-owned farms which caused uproar in the West German Parliament and the bank raids , the Fianna Fail government seriously considered the possibility of selective internment - a figure in the region of 50 people to be interned was discussed .

In early August 1969 , (FS) Taoiseach Jack Lynch met the editors of the Dublin newspapers and requested that they ignore IRA statements about their actions South of the border ; he also drew to their attention that in fact it was illegal to be reproducing IRA statements ! But then the 'Troubles' in the North began to erupt .......


Seamus Mallon , at 50 , has finally made it to Westminster , but the Anglo-Irish Agreement is still a difficult gamble .
Fionnuala O'Connor reports on the North after the elections .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1986 .

Seamus Mallon , SDLP MP , made ritual angry noises on what he would expect in the line of curbing the UDR , though he knew that there was no chance of it being disbanded . Then he flatly denounced the very idea of an anti-violence pledge * to be taken by all future election candidates , still a negotiating gambit on the British side as the Agreement package reached the 'tying-up' stage .

John Hume duly showered Mallon with praise in the conference's big set-piece , the 'Leaders Speech' - he all but called his deputy the conscience of the party , to happy delegates' applause . Another piece of neat Hume 'packaging' .

* Re the British-imposed Political Test Oath :

" I declare that , if elected , I will not by word or deed express support for or approval of -

(A) Any organisation that is for the time being a proscribed organisation specified in Schedule 2 to the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 : or
(B) Acts of terrorism (that is to say , violence for political ends) connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland . "

The British 'Oath' called for the public disowning of the Irish Republican Army , Cumann na mBan , Fianna Eireann and a repudiation of the right of the Irish people to use force of arms to end British occupation . That right has been asserted in every generation and in those 836 years it has been asserted at tremendous cost in terms of life , liberty and human suffering .

Republicans will not allow Ireland's fight for freedom to be branded "...over 800 years of crime.. " - we have never accepted British 'oaths' of allegiance : for fifty years Republican candidates were debarred from public office because of their refusal to take such 'oaths' . Many public bodies were abolished for refusing to take an 'oath' of allegiance to the British Crown - it required the great upheaval of the Civil Rights Movement and the armed resistance of the people to smash the oath at local government level .

Meekly accepting the taking of such an 'oath' demeans the whole cause of Irish Republicanism and dishonour's all those who gave their lives for Irish freedom - particularly the twenty-two men that have died on hunger-strike between 1917 and 1981 .

.......on 'The Sea Green Incorruptible'.

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 .

3. " Look As Natural As Possible... "

The car slowed down and mounted two kerbs or bumps ; from inside the boot John O'Grady could hear a roller door being opened . Dessie O'Hare got into a second car and drove off . The plan had been for McNeill and Toal , who remaimed behind in the house , to drive off after a time in John O'Grady's car which they were then to dump outside the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk . This was to create the impression that the gang had gone across the border .

Dessie O'Hare switched cars and drove off to meet with McNeill and Toal to bring them back to Dublin ; back in the lock-up garage John O'Grady could hear Eddie Hogan snoring . In the boot , O'Grady munched a pear from the stock of provisions . He , too , dozed off . When he woke he asked Eddie Hogan if he could go to the toilet but was supplied with a milk bottle which he filled twice . A short time later Dessie O'Hare returned ; John O'Grady was released from the boot of the car and ordered into the back seat of another car .

The blindfold was removed and he was given a pair of glasses with the lenses blacked out with masking tape . They drove for about half an hour in heavy traffic - O'Grady was given a cigarette on the journey and told to pretend to smoke it and to look as natural as possible . Their destination was a barber's shop at 41 Parkgate Street in Dublin near Guinness's brewery . They were met by the proprietor of the premises , Gerry Wright ; O'Grady was led to a cellar ; his arm was shaking . Wright took his arm , told him he was alright and not to worry . The cellar was dilapidated , dusty and disused .

He was put sitting in a sweaty-smelling armchair in a corner .......