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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!

Monday, October 03, 2005

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

Trouble within the IRA was developing (over the £100,000 Free State 'relief' money ) and both sides (ie the IRA and the 'Northern Defence Committee') were falling over each other in grabbing the money from the Dublin Government ; the internal IRA row flared over the lack of guns in the organisation in mid-August 1969 - the 'old brigade' , who had now become active again , were bitterest in their attacks .

The left wing move of Cathal Goulding and company was the root cause of the shortage of weapons , the 'old brigade' claimed ; by now all heads were turned northwards and the social agitations in the South , and indeed the housing and other agitations in the North , were virtually forgotten about . On August 24th , 1969 , some members of the 'old brigade' aong with some activists discontent with the shortage of guns came together in Casement Park at Andersonstown , Belfast ; the meeting decided to oust the Belfast IRA leadership which was close to the Goulding leadership in Dublin . They also agreed that the Fianna Fail Government's generous offer of guns and money and the conditions of non-action South of the border should be immediately accepted .

While the row was developing , money from the Dublin Government continued to arrive in Belfast and was grabbed by the city's IRA leadership ; on September 14th , 1969 , the 'dissidents' met again in Belfast and were addressed by an un-named person who was described to them as a 'political commentator from Dublin ' - in fact he was a well-known journalist attached to one of the Dublin newspapers . Later in the evening the same journalist met a Staff member of the Belfast IRA in the Wellington Park Hotel on the Malone Road in Belfast ; the journalist explained that money and other assistance would be coming from the South and arrangements were made for a meeting between the IRA Staff Officer and the people in the 26 Counties . The meeting took place a few days later in Dublin - in Government Buildings ; it was hed in the Office of the (FS) Minister for Agriculture , Neil Blaney . Seamus Brady , Fianna Fail activist and the man who was in charge of the 'Voice Of The North' newspaper , was present .

Also there were prominent representatives of the minority community in the North of Ireland -they discussed personalities in the North and problems facing that community and how security for their safety could be improved .......



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 .

From the 1940's when Na Fianna Eireann defied the ban on the main Republican Commemoration at Bodenstown by hiking the 23 miles there and laying a wreath on Wolfe Tone's grave , under the guns of Free State soldiers , to the 1960's when Na Fianna sold the banned Easter Lily publicly and like many other Republicans were prosecuted for doing so , the organisation has refused to be bullied or brow-beaten . They proudly refuse today , too , and continue the glorious heritage of militant resistance bequeathed them by Countess Markievicz , Con Colbert , Sean Heuston , Liam Mellowes and Frank Ryan .

Na Fianna Eireann is the youth organisation of the Republican Movement ; it is a national youth movement organised throughout Ireland (and in the USA) , involved in a broad range of activities , scouting , political and cultural , and deeply committed to the freedom of Ireland and the Irish people . A spokesperson for the Fianna stated - " We are playing an important part in mobilising young people behind the demands of the prisoners . Our last 'Youth Against H-Block/Armagh' march was the largest youth march ever seen in Dublin . We were very pleased with that . It shows that young people do care . They link the oppression the prisoners are suffering under with the oppression they see around them every day - in employment , education , housing , in every aspect of life . "

Asked if Fianna are going totally political , he replied - " Na Fianna Eireann was never non-political . We are a Republican youth organisation , and in that sense we were always political . The Fianna is involved in a whole range of activities - we have Irish classes , we go on hikes and camps , we put up posters and give out leaflets . We are , if you like , at the service of the Republican Movement . Wherever the pressure is greatest , the Fianna will be there . At the moment the pressure is coming from the prisons and naturally we are straining at the leash to do everything we can to support the prisoners . Especially since many of them are our prisoners - members , or former members , of our organisation . Probably most of them are former members . Raymond McCreesh was a member of Na Fianna , Kieran Doherty TD , and Jackie McMullan were also former members .

So Na Fianna Eireann is a political youth organisation as well as being a scouting and cultural one....... "


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 .

State Detective Sergeant Michael Scanlon quickly radioed Detective Inspector Carey to tell him that the kidnappers and hostage had escaped and were headed in their direction . In the confusion he told them they were travelling in a Hi-Ace van ; the kidnappers , driving the Renault 9 , were on top of Detective Carey and his men before they knew it . Carey recognised Eddie Hogan in the Renault and shouted to his men . Garda Gerard O'Donoghue was in a crouched position on the grass verge beside the road with an Uzi machine gun ; there was a gunman pointing a gun out the back window of the car , which he had broken with the butt of his rifle . Garda John Gleeson was beside Garda O'Donoghue with a Smith and Wesson - there was an exchange of shots .

One of the bullets struck the boot of the car , another grazed the neck of Fergal Toal , the driver : the Renault swerved and went around the corner . The Gardai , with the exception of Garda Gerard O'Donoghue - whose lead had pinpointed the kidnappers - proceeded to run on foot to their cars which were parked a quarter of a mile away . Garda O'Donoghue flagged down a civilian car and gave chase . But the kidnappers were already gone .

The developments were radioed back to Superintendent Murray in Midleton Garda Station , who had already detailed eight uniformed gardai to set up roadblocks , but none were yet in position . Meanwhile , (FS) Army support had just arrived . The kidnappers were already miles away ........