" 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 - we made it to the finalists page last year but never got to the stage :- ( 'cause not enough of ye feckers out there voted for us! So we're gonna give ya a second chance - the blog awards this year will be held on Thursday, October 5th (2017) in The Academy, Middle Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre, and we would appreciate if you could keep an eye here and give us a vote when ya can. Or else we'll get our 'Junior' to put up a pay wall and then ye will be sorry...!

Friday, October 07, 2005

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

The (pro-Republican) newspaper 'The United Irishman' and the Fianna Fail-led 'Voice Of The North' newspaper were engaged in a 'war of words' ; when Seamus Brady (Fianna Fail member , and the man in charge of the 'Voice' newspaper) was asked for a comment on ' Fianna Fail takeover attempts' -type articles published in 'The United Irishman' newspaper , he described such comments as a pack of lies - " These people could'nt tell the truth if their lives depended on it . "

Days later , on November 3rd , 1969 , Seamus Brady (as explained in his submission to the subsequent Leinster House inquiry) submitted an invoice for £1,580, 6 shillings , 6 pence to Eoin Neeson in the 'Government Information Bureau' for the organisation and production of the first three editions of 'The Voice Of The North' newspaper . On the day before 'The United Irishman' newspaper exclusive (re the attempt by Fianna Fail to takeover the 'Civil Rights' issue in the Six Counties) , on October 29th , 1969 , Seamus Brady wrote to Eoin Neeson , Director of the (FS) 'Government Information Bureau' , pointing out that the (FS) Minister for Finance , Charles Haughey , had authorised payment of £1,000 to him to cover 'Voice Of The North' expenses .

As agreed between Brady and Neeson the description was '...to preparation of manuscripts for Government Information Bureau.. ' The publicity given to the disclosure meant changes in the way the 'Voice' newspaper would get its finances ; on November 10th , 1969 , £2,500 was withdrawn from the 'undercover' bank account in Clones , County Monaghan , and was used to open the 'Ann O'Brien' account in Baggot Street , Dublin . So the newspaper continued , with the 'Ann O'Brien' account paying its bills , via Captain James Kelly . Meanwhile , a meeting of all key IRA figures was being organised .......


Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months .
Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more .
From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Republican intervention in the British electoral process dates back to the elections of Charles Kickham and O Donovan Rossa , while a political prisoner , between 1869 and 1875 , to the Westminster Parliament .

Five years later , John Mitchel was elected MP for Tipperary and Cork City ; when this election , in which he was returned unopposed , was declared 'invalid' ( because " Mitchel had not purged himself of his felony") he stood again and was returned with an 80 per cent majority against his opponent . These men were Fenians , members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood , jailed for their political affiliations and their opposition to British rule in Ireland .

The question , therefore , of Republican intervention in electoral politics is not a new one and an exploration , even a cursory one , of such interventions , gives an interesting and , at times , an illuminating insight into many of the questions which have bedevilled nationalist politics in Ireland for centuries . Constitutionalism versus physical force ; social issues versus national issues - constitutional nationalism versus militant nationaism versus republicanism and the many and varied efforts by Republicans to bring al these tendencies together against British colonialism . The period 1878-1887 is particularly interesting in this respect .

The Fenian Movement , the Irish Republican Brotherhood , was founded in 1858 , and had as its objective the winning of Irish Independence by armed rebellion . In its reports and communications , incidently, mention of the IRA is made for the first time . That apart , and more interestingly , Fenianism was the first truly nation-wide lay secular society which was distinctly radical and committed to founding '... a Republic based on universal suffrage which shall secure for all , the intrinsic value for their labour . The soil of Ireland belongs to us , the Irish people , and to us it must be restored . We declare , also , in favour of absolute liberty of conscience , and the complete separation of Church and State ... '


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 .

On the evening of Thursday , October 29 , 1987 , a conference was held in Dr. Austin Darragh's apartment , attended by solicitor Hilary Prentice , Detective Superintendent Noel Conroy , Dr. Austin Darragh and members of the O'Grady family ; the following morning 'Auntie Bettie' (Dr. Walter Doyle's wife ) was driven to Limerick Cathedral by Dr. Darragh's chauffeur ; she searched all around the statue for twenty-five minutes , but all she found was a petition to Our Lady asking her to help ' Sean's nerves' . 'Auntie Bettie' returned to Dublin with the petition which she handed over to Detective Superintendent Noel Conroy ; the note to which Dessie O'Hare referred was indeed in the cathedral , but 'Auntie Bettie' would have had to lift the statue up to find it .

That note instructed a courier to go to the Blarney Hotel in Cork on Tuesday , November 3 , 1987 , at 1.00 PM , in a car with a car phone , and the ransom . At the hotel he was to take a call under the name of 'Pat Murray' and would be given further instructions .

On Saturday October 31 , 1987 , Dessie O'Hare made another phone call , this time to the offices of 'The Sunday Tribune' newspaper : he gave an interview to that newspaper , telling them that John O'Grady was safe and would remain so providing certain instructions given to Dr. Darragh were followed carefully .

Over the next day or two , Dessie O'Hare discovered that the Blarney Hotel was useless as a contact point - it was closed for renovations . On Tuesday , November 3rd , 1987 , O'Hare telephoned Hilary Prentice . He was unaware that the ransom note had not been found in Limerick Cathedral ; he wanted Prentice to get 'Auntie Bettie' to contact , by car phone , the courier who O'Hare presumed was sitting outside the Blarney Hotel . O'Hare told Prentice there had been "...a fuck up.. " - that the hotel was closed . 'Auntie Bettie' was to instruct the courier to proceed to the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise - this was to be the new point of contact . But Hilary Prentice had'nt the remotest idea what O'Hare was talking about ; O'Hare said he would ring back shortly after two o'clock .

During this call , Hilary Prentice told O'Hare that 'Auntie Bettie' had gone to Limerick Cathedral as instructed - but had not found the note . It was at this point that Dessie O'Hare flipped his lid .......