Wednesday, September 28, 2005

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

The Irish (sic- Free State) Army's main role after August 15 , 1969 , became one of gathering information about events and people in the North ; the special Garda squads , operating on both sides of the border , had their input , too . The (FS) Government's refugee camps along the border were used as sources of information .

With the trouble dying down in Belfast , the (FS) Director of Army Intelligence , Colonel Hefferon , met the (FS) Minister for Finance , Charles Haughey , in McKee Barracks in Dublin and talked about the requirements on the intelligence front for the future as regards the North of Ireand ; at this meeting the idea developed of using a centre in Monaghan , which had been set up to deal with relief , for intelligence gathering . It was agreed to subsidise the activities of the office and the first £100 was paid over on September 9th , 1969 .

The objective was to pay the cost of maintaining the office and staff and help publish a weekly news-sheet , which would generate contacts in the North and so gather information . At the same time (FS) government employee Seamus Brady had produced a booklet entitled ' Terror in Northern Ireland' for the Central Citizens Defence Committee (CCDC) in Belfast ; Brady had been chosen to infiltrate the CCDC and this publication launched him nicely into his work . The full costs of producing the booklet were paid by the Dublin Government's 'Information Bureau' .

Hugh Kennedy , the Bord Bainne representative in Belfast , was known to Seamus Brady from journalistic work carried out for the Bord , which was then under the control of the (FS) Minister for Agriculture , Neil Blaney . Mr. Blaney was also a member of the Leinster House Government's sub-committee on the North .......


Their courage and daring , their discipline and determination are an inspiration to their older comrades in Sinn Fein , the IRA and Cumann na mBan .
Each Easter the ROLL OF HONOUR is published ; a list of those who have died in the service of their country in this phase of the struggle for Irish Freedom .
Among those names are the names of eighteen young martyrs - members of NA FIANNA EIREANN . They gave their young lives at different ages (the youngest was twelve , the oldest was eighteen ) and in different ways .
From 'IRIS' Magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Na Fianna Eireann is the youth organisation of the Republican Movement , the revolutionary vanguard of Irish youth . Throughout its long history , longer indeed than that of either Sinn Fein or the IRA , it has been called upon to play an often vital role in the fight for national liberation .

The organisation was founded by Countess Markievicz in 1909 " train the youth of Ireand to fight Ireland's fight when they are older .. " . A Gaelic renaissance was sweeping Ireland at the time and the Fianna were to be an Irish and Gaelic answer to the pro-British Baden-Powell scouts : indeed the National Youth Council of Ireland cites Na Fianna Eireann as the first national Irish youth Movement .

Na Fianna looked on the mythological Fianna of Fionn MacCuamhail as their exemplars , and took their motto , " Glaine 'nar gcroi neart 'nar ngeaga agus beart do reir ar mbriathar " (" Purity In Our Hearts , Strength In Our Arms And Truth On Our Lips ") as their own . The legends of old Ireland extolled the courage and the daring , the discipline and the determination of the country's defenders of Cuchulainn and the Red Branch Knights , and of Fionn and the Fianna .

Their own courage and discipline were soon to be tested in the great lock-out of 1913 , the training of the Irish Volunteers throughout 1914 , 1915 and 1916 , and the Easter Rising .......


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 .

Garda Gerard O'Donoghue and two of his colleagues knocked on the container but got no reply ; they went to an adjacent house where an elderly woman , a Mrs O'Neill , lived : she told them she had not noticed any suspicious activity , so they returned to Midleton Garda Station . The matter might have ended there but for the fact that at 3PM Garda O'Donoghue received new information - on the basis of this O'Donoghue was convinced he had located the kidnap gang .

Garda Superintendent Murray arrived into Midleton Garda Station to take charge at 3.30 PM - he acted quickly ; he telephoned surrounding garda stations to request back-up assistance , and then telephoned Commandant Grey of Collins Barracks in Cork City . Murray briefed Grey and requested a Company of troops and emergency lighting to assist him ; Grey's reply was that it would take two hours to mobilise troops . Twenty minutes later , however , Commandant Grey rang back to say that a Captain Kenneally would be in Midleton in three-quarters of an hour with a party of nine soldiers .

By this stage Garda Detective Inspector Carey had arrived from Union Quay Station in Cork ; over the next twenty minutes Murray and Carey cobbled together a plan - there were sixteen armed gardai of various ranks detailed to implement this plan . The Detectives split into three teams : 'Team One' was to take up a position in a field directly across the road from the container , whilst 'Team Two' and 'Team Three' were to approach the container from two directions behind . The ditches in the fields around the container were to give the surrounding party cover .

The purpose of the plan , according to Superintendent Murray , was merely to contain the gang until the soldiers arrived and roadblocks were set up . Each team was instructed to abandon their transport on farms half a mile away from the target .......