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 .......