Tuesday, October 04, 2005

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

On September 18 , 1969 , the same people - except Neil Blaney - met the then (FS) Minister for Finance , Chares J. Haughey , at his home . The same matters were again discussed and arrangements made for the establishment of a bank account through which (FS) government aid could be channelled directly to Belfast . The following morning , September 19th , the account was opened with a £5 deposit in Dundalk - but no money ever came .

On September 22 , 1969 , Captain James Kelly and Seamus Brady gave an indication of their Government's strategy regarding the IRA when they called to the home of the South Derry IRA Officer Commanding - this was the man who received the first contact from Fianna Fail earlier in the year ; they were accompanied by two others , one of whom was the businessman who made the initial contact earlier in the year . Seamus Brady put forward the idea of an independent Northern Command for the IRA - this would mean breaking with the Dublin/Goulding leadership .

Such an 'independent' Northern Command of the IRA would lead to more money and more arms - Seamus Brady explained that the IRA's socialist policies were unacceptable to the Dublin Government and he also suggested that if the top people in the IRA were removed they could more easily supply arms . When the IRA Officer Commanding asked who these 'top people' were , he was told , among others , Cathal Goulding , Seamus Costello and Mick Ryan : the top 3 in the IRA at that time . The idea was that the IRA should be used now that Fianna Fail had no support organisation since the demise of the Nationalist Party . ( '1169...' Comment - Fianna Fail now have a 'support organisation' in the North - it is called the Provisional movement !)

The new Fianna Fail message reached the 'dissident' group in Belfast ; with the prospects of massive amounts of cash and guns it was easy to go along with the separate Northern Command concept . The 'dissident group' was made up of people who were too old to adopt socialist policies and/or too young to bother too much . They decided to take over the Belfast IRA with a coup d'etat.......



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 .

A Fianna spokesperson stated - " We believe there is a great need for such a political youth organisation to combat British imperialism and its effects in both parts of Ireland ; and let's not forget that British imperialism has resulted in the deaths of several children since May of this year in the North - murdered by plastic bullets . It has been responsible for the deaths of eighteen of our members since 1969 and hundreds of other young people , children and teenagers .

British imperialism means the armed and aggressive occupation of Ireland . It means baton-charges , snatch-squads , bullying and torture . It means the bolstering up of a sectarian statelet in which a third of the population have no rights , and play no part . It means that a nationalist school-leaver in the North is twice as likely to be unemployed as his unionist counterpart . Believe you me , the youth of this country are getting a rough lesson in what 'imperialism' is all about . "

To the charge that all this means little to the young people in the South who do not experience sectarian discrimination and who have probably only ever seen British troops on the television , the Fianna spokesperson said - " I think the recent elections in the South where two prisoners were elected , and where all the prisoner candidates did very well , has put paid to the idea that Southern people don't care about the North . Most commentators have accepted that the prisoners won a large section of the young vote , and H-Block/Armagh demonstrations , North and South , have been notable by the large youth presence in them . So H-Block repression , the whole Northern question , is felt to be important and relevant to young people in the South ....... "


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 .


As it happened , the kidnap gang did meet a (FS) soldier that afternoon - Private Mark Nugent had travelled by car to Cork with three friends to see Cork City play Waterford in a League of Ireland football match ; the four had stopped at Cobh Cross to go to the toilet , and were spotted by O'Hare's Unit who decided it was time to change cars . They took the car at gunpoint ; Eddie Hogan told Private Mark Nugent that if he had any objection he would "...blow his fucking brains out .. "

As the gang approached Mallow , County Cork , it was decided to change cars again . They called to the house of John Hannon - when he opened the door , Eddie Hogan pushed a gun to his face and pushed him into the living room onto his couch . Hannon though it was a joke and went to pull the balaclava off Hogan's head - Hogan told him it was nothing personal but they needed his car . Fergal Toal , who had been grazed by a bullet at Midleton , cleaned his wound . John Hannon , his wife Nuala and their seven-year-old child , Colin , were tied up . A seven-month-old baby , John , was left in his pram beside his parents .

Tony McNeill questioned the wisdom of tying up the mother who would then not be able to give the baby attention , but Eddie Hogan told him - " Tie her up . That's an order . " As an afterthought Hogan made up a fresh bottle for the baby before leaving . John O'Grady remained outside in the car : for the first time in twelve days he was left unattended . The gang returned after a few minutes and took off . A few miles up the road they needed petrol , so O'Grady was shoved into a ditch under guard ; the car returned in a few minutes with a full tank , and they drove on to Dublin , staying clear of main roads to avoid roadblocks . They arrived at 260 Carnlough Road , the house of barber Gerry Wright , shorty before midnight . John O'Grady slept in an ordinary bed for the first time in almost two weeks .

It had been a trying day , with almost nothing to eat . All he got before going to sleep was a glass of water , but he slept soundly . When he awoke the following morning it was already bright .......


(To the person who wrote in re the 'unsanctioned UVF killing' - thank you for contacting us . You can leave more information , in the same way , if you want . Sharon.).