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 .......