" A wealth of information..."

"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!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

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

On the evening of September 22 , 1969 , the 'dissident' IRA members marched into a Staff meeting of the Belfast IRA Command which was being held in Cyprus Street in the Lower Falls - they were armed and informed all present that they were taking over .

In the interests of unity and in the face of possible pogroms , the Officer Commanding of the Belfast IRA agreed to have talks with the 'dissidents' : an agreement was made which brought representatives of the 'dissidents' onto the Belfast Command Staff , a temporary shelving of the IRA's socialist policies , a break with GHQ in Dublin , and abstention from the coming General Army Convention due for December 1969 . That special convention would decide on Sinn Fein's attitude towards parliamentary participation and the development of a National Liberation Front in Ireland which might unite left wing forces . The examples of Vietnam was popular worldwide in left wing circles .

Meanwhile the Fianna Fail strategists realised that influence over the IRA would not be enough - they must have control of Citizens Defence Committees which had sprung up - otherwise 'the tail would still be wagging the (southern) dog' . A meeting initiated by Fianna Fail's operators was held in Lurgan , County Armagh , on Saturday September 27, 1969 , of Central Defence Commitees and a 'Provisional Central Committee' was established . That meeting was held in opposition to a similar gathering called by the IRA for the Oriel Hotel , Monaghan . At the Lurgan meeting , organised by the Fianna Fail government , was Ruairi O Bradaigh who in fact had been an active member of the IRA Army Council for many years .

At this time Republican Ireland was being visited by personalities out of the Celtic Twilight : they were the Belfast 'dissidents' , including Maire Drumm , Jimmy Steele and others , who travelled the 32 Counties 'stirring the pot' , openly campaigning against the existing leadership and making contacts all over the country . They were helped in their travels by Seamus Brady , a Fianna Fail man .......



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 - " Young people in the South suffer a wide range of problems - youth unemployment is twice the national average , working-class youth are effectively denied the right to a third level education through the miserable grants scheme operating there . Apprentices and young workers , especially girls , are discriminated against in pay . There's the whole question of illegitimacy , the age of criminal responsibility , the care of young offenders , the provision of adequate sports and recreational facilities . These are just a few of the problems facing young people in the South - problems which Na Fianna Eireann as a youth organisation is vitally concerned about .

We believe that such a bad situation is made worse by the absence of any effective and comprehensive policy document on youth by the twenty-six county government . This clearly shows the lack of commitment on the part of the establishment parties in the South to solving the real issues facing young people today . The twenty-six county government lacks both the vision to see the measures that would be needed to solve these problems , and the will to put these measures into practice .

Na Fianna Eireann , the Irish Republican youth movement , was founded seventy-two years ago and , in that time , in a history that few youth organisations can parallel , it has served the Republican Movement and the cause of Irish freedom well ....... "


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 .


That morning , Tuesday October 27 , 1987 , John O'Grady got a decent breakfast - hamburger , bacon , sausage , double egg and a pint jug of tea . After that he was moved downstairs and put in an alcove under the stairs in the living room . He was told that once inside he could remove his blacked-out glasses - his handcuffs had already been removed . There was a mattress on the floor , a light bulb hanging from a waterpipe and a radio . The electricity supply was controlled from the livingroom outside . The alcove was big enough to sit in comfortably but not large enough to stand in .

He was given a selection of Wilbur Smith novels , a book on Liam Mellowes , the writings of Bobby Sands and a book by Nora Connolly O'Brien on the development of Ireland since 1916 ; he was told to study them carefully as he would be asked questions later .

The newspapers were full of accounts of the shooting incident in Midleton , Cork : it was the first time he knew that he had been in Midleton though from listening to the radio , which had a lot of Cork-based ads , he had suspected that Dessie O'Hare's shots at supposed British soldiers was an attempt to disorientate him . There was criticism in the newspapers over the garda handling of the operation at Midleton ; public disquiet over the way the kidnap was being handled was growing . There was some consolation for the gardai , however - because there had been no contact with the O'Grady family many gardai feared that John O'Grady was dead . Secondly , the gang had left plenty of fingerprints behind in the container : the gardai were now able to harden up their suspicions and positively identify the remaining gang members .

Dessie O'Hare turned up at Carnlough Road the night after the shoot-out , Tuesday October 27 , 1987 ; the gang bought beer and celebrated . In the alcove under the stairs John O'Grady could here O'Hare and the others talking about the escape in excited tones . O'Hare was accompanied by a woman - he never came near O'Grady that night .......