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"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!

Friday, September 30, 2005

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

The weekend of October 4-5th 1969 saw a meeting to establish a controlling body for all Northern defence committees and according to the stated objectives of the meeting the purchases of arms would also be on the agenda . The meeting was held in the Commercial Hotel , Bailieborough , County Cavan , which is owned by Vincent Kelly , brother of (FS) Captain James Kelly .

The meeting began with an assurance from Captain Kelly that the suspension of arms training at Ford Dunree for people from Derry was just a temporary matter and was due to a newspaper inquiry on the activity . In addition to the activity on all other fronts , the Dublin Government had actually opened a military training camp along the border and was training Northern activists in the use of arms . The principal discussion focussed on the funding of full-time people to control barricaded areas and , of course , the necessary provision of arms .

Meanwhile , the Special Branch were outside the hotel and reported back to Peter Berry in the (FS) Department of Justice on Captain Kelly's association with 'subversives' . Days later Charles Haughey authorised the transfer of £5,000 Red Cross funds (the Red Cross was officialy involved in the distribution of the £100,000 given by the Dublin Government for relief of distress in the North ) into an account in the Bank of Ireland in Clones , County Monaghan . The account holders , described as " Mr F , G and H.. " at the subsequent Dail (ie Leinster House) inquiry and the cover names used in the bank were 'John White , John Loughran' and ' Roger White' .

On October 15th and 30th 1969 amounts of £5,000 drawn on the (FS) 'Government Grant-In-Aid' of £100,000 were paid into the Clones bank account ; the money was to be distributed as agreed at the Bailieborough meeting and so strengthen the position of the newly-established Northern Defence Committee - the intention was to distribute it to full-time IRA organisers and vigilantes in the Defence Committees . But that money caused trouble in IRA circles .......



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 .

After the Rising and the release from prison of many Fianna members at the end of 1916 and 1917 , Na Fianna Eireann was re-organised . From 1919 to 1921 the organisation took an active part in the fight for freedom throughout the country ; they carried despatches for the Volunteers , reconnoitred barracks , engaged in intelligence work and rendered first-aid to the wounded .

These years saw a rapid growth in membership (twenty-five thousand in 1921) and in organisation for the Fianna . Those years also saw great sacrifices and grievous losses . The agony Ireland went through was played out to the full in the Fianna - Fian Billy Myles killed in action at Tralee , County Kerry : Fian Toghd O'Suillivan , died after hunger-strike , Cork , 1917 : Fian Patrick Hanly , murdered in reprisal by the RIC in 1920 and many , many more of their comrades .

Na Fianna Eireann stood solidly behind the Republic after the split in 1922 over the Truce - that Truce , and the Civil War between Republicans and Free Staters which followed it , were to result in the setting up of two states in Ireland ; the twenty-six counties which was to have Dominion home-rule under Britain , and the six counties which were to be represented in the Westminster parliament as well as having their own loyalist government in Belfast . These years were to see more resistance , more deaths and imprisonment and more sacrifices .

This type of military resistance and the sacrifices which resistance demands were to continue long after the end of the Civil War ; indeed , in the six counties , where Na Fianna Eireann has always been an illegal organisation , they continue the struggle to the present day .

Victimisation and harassment , from being stopped and questioned on the street , to being arrested , sometimes charged , convicted and imprisoned for dubious offences - such as membership of Na Fianna , collecting or organising for the Fianna , possession of Fianna documents etc - all these are a regular occurrence both in the North and South of Ireland .......


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 .

The first 'Rescue Team' , led by Detective Inspector Carey , who had helped draw up the plan , took up its position in the field across the road from the house ; the second team , led by Detective Sergeant Michael Scanlon , also moved into position , approaching from the rear of the house . Radio silence was observed until all three teams were in position : at 4.50 PM the team led by Detective Sergeant Michael Scanlon radioed into base that they were in position - they were taking cover behind a large ditch overlooking the container .

The kidnappers and John O'Grady were hiding inside this same ditch - they heard the message being given over the garda radio ; it was then that Detective Michael Scanlon noticed that they were not , in fact , in their correct position . There was another field between them and the container and he ordered his men forward - Detective Garda Gerard Corbett went to climb over the ditch which was covered in dense undergrowth . The sound of a branch cracking beneath his weight was clearly audible . The kidnappers , a few feet below Garda Corbett , made a break for it out onto the open road .

Luck was on their side - a Hi-Ace van was approaching , the occupants of which , Charles and Mary Terry , were ordered out at gunpoint : using Mary Terry as a 'shield' , one of the gang fired two shots at Detective Corbett while roaring " Get down you scum " . More shots were exchanged . A Renault 9 pulled up behind the Hi-Ace van - the kidnappers changed their minds and hi-jacked this car instead - all this time one of the gang was firing shots . Another gunman was shouting - " Bring the hostage!" To the gardai the gang seemed well militarily drilled - the gardai were unable to return fire because Mary Terry was between them and the kidnappers .

The gang took off in the Renault , driving down the road towards the container where the garda 'Team One' was positioned .......