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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!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

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

By the middle of October 1969 it was clear that the (FS) government's sub-committee on the North was in full swing and that nobody would be allowed stand in the way of Fianna Fail ; they had commenced their takeover of the Citizens Defence Committee and the 'Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association' - but greater inroads would have to be made on the IRA front .

Fianna Fail began to publish a weekly paper to rival the very influential IRA newspaper 'The United Irishman' , which had a print run , at the time , in the region of 70,000 copies each month . The first edition of 'The Voice Of The North' newspaper appeared on October 12 , 1969 ; Seamus Brady (FF) was its main supervisor and set out to equate the demand for Civil Rights in the North of Ireland with Fianna Fail . In the third edition , on October 26 , 1969 , 'The Voice Of The North' carried a two-page spread titled - ' De Valera on the North' , which was a reprint of a 1939 speech in the (FS) Senate by Dev . Later editions during 1970 advertised meetings organised by Provisional Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA .

The 'United Irishman' newspaper hit back : their November 1969 issue carried an exclusive on the Fianna Fail attempted takeover of the Northern Civil Rights Association . It was clear the orders had come down from the IRA Army Council not to mention the takeover attempts of the IRA itself with the difficult situation prevailing . The 'United Irishman' , November 1969 issue , published at the end of October 1969 , stated - " It is hard to believe that Mr. Jack Lynch is unaware of this cynical double-dealing by his Ministers . These Fianna Fail politicians are doing their best to disrupt Civil Rights and anti-Unionist forces which have been politically embarrassing to them . "

When Seamus Brady (FF) was asked for a comment he described it as a pack of lies.......



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 , mostly in their teens , have always been found in the ranks of Na Fianna : who were prepared to endure death , torture , intimidation , victimisation and harassment . Their courage and daring , their discipline and determination are an inspiration to their older comrades in Sinn Fein , the IRA and Cumann na mBan .

Today , the Fianna is growing and new sluaite (units) are being set up practically every week . Increasingly it is taking a more publicly prominent role in the Republican Movement and addressing itself more and more to the day-to-day problems facing Irish youth . The Fianna is forging a future for itself , worthy of its past . "

[END of ' NA FIANNA EIREANN .......' .]
(Tomorrow - 'ELECTION INTERVENTIONS' ; from 1981 .)

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 .

Dessie O'Hare next visited the house (where John O'Grady was being held) on Saturday , October 31 , 1987 - but never went near the prisoner . In the intervening days O'Grady had been allowed to have a bath and a change of clothes . The other gang members did'nt bother him either . Fergal Toal came into the alcove on one occasion and John O'Grady examined the graze on his head , which he diagnosed as being not serious . He cut away the hair around the spot the bullet had grazed , and told Toal to bathe it in lukewarm , salted water and then apply Sudocreme . Compared to what had gone before , O'Grady's days at Carnlough Road were idyllically spent and incident free . It was to be the calm before the storm ...

From the alcove under the stairs where John O'Grady was there may well have seemed to be a lull in activity ; but away from Carnlough Road there were a number of significant developments . Since the kidnap there had been several articles in the newspapers speculating on Dr. Austin Darragh's wealth - one of the articles valued his assets at £27 million - Dessie O'Hare had upped his ransom to £1.5 million . A week earlier he had dictated a note to John O'Grady demanding ransom which named the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk as a liaison point , but had never followed through on this plan .

On Thursday October 29 , 1987 , Dessie O'Hare decided it was time to collect . He rang solicitor Hilary Prentice of Matheson Ormsby and Prentice , whose name had been given to him by John O'Grady as one of the people who could act as a go-between . O'Hare told the solicitor that his name was John Mohen : he established his bona fides from the information supplied to him by John O'Grady , by giving Hilary Prentice details of work carried out on her teeth by O'Grady . O'Hare told her that she was to contact the wife of ear , nose and throat specialist Dr. Walter Doyle who was known to John O'Grady as 'Auntie Bettie' .

Prentice was to tell 'Auntie Bettie' to go to Limerick Cathedral ; there , underneath a statue of Our Lady , beside the thirteenth 'Station of the Cross' , there was a note with instructions . O'Hare warned of the consequences if Dr. Darragh contacted the gardai .......