" 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!

Monday, October 10, 2005

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

Cathal Goulding , in an attempt to rally his troops , called a meeting of all key IRA men in the country ; the meeting was held in the gymnasium beneath Billy Wright's barber shop in Parkgate Street , Dublin . It was not a decision-making body - just the IRA Chief of Staff and his Council informing the key men in the organisation what was happening around them .

The Fianna Fail proposals were outlined , the situation in Belfast explained , and it was made clear that the IRA Army Council was against accepting the Fianna Fail offer - that offer was guns and money in return for a cessation of activities south of the border and the dropping of socialist policies everywhere . Daithi O Connell ( 'Mr Barry' was his IRA code name) was very vocal at the meeting and was obviously upset with the leadership .

Ruairi O Bradaigh (IRA code name 'Oliver' ) also expressed dis-satisfaction with the arms situation but he remained quite restrained . Sean MacStiofain explained his role in August (1969) when it appeared he had disobeyed the order for a withdrawal - he had not received the order to withdraw in time . The IRA Army Council intention was to 'flush out' the 'dissidents' in the ranks , but only Daithi O Conaill was in any way drawn .

Meanwhile , (FS) Taoiseach Jack Lynch commenced expressing views in conflict with his Government's sub-committee ; on September 27th , 1969 , speaking in Tralee , County Kerry , Mr. Lynch stated that the Dublin government had no intention of using force to end partition . In October 1969 Neil Blaney , speaking at celebrations for his 21st year in Leinster House , said - " The Fianna Fail party has never taken a decision to rule out the use of force if the circumstances in the Six Counties so demand ....... " ('1169...' Comment - Republicans would consider Westminster's claim of jurisdiction , and its use of force to maintain that claim , as 'circumstances so demanding' .) .......


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 .

Fenianism was the first Irish political movement to channel the energies of agricultural labourers and small farmers - hitherto expressed through 'ribbonism' and faction fighting - into the national organisation ; by involvement in agrarion agitation and by a process of linking local 'discontents' with the national question , the Fenians fostered and developed a sense of national political consciousness .

While their recourse to physical force came to little in the ill-fated and badly planned 'insurrection' of 1867 , the IRB served as a school for sedition for the next generation .

All this lies outside the scope of this article but , in passing , it is worth mentioning James Connolly's view of this period , when he observed that "...a close study of the events of that time would immensely benefit the militant socialists of all countries . It would help to demonstrate how the union of the forces of social discontent with the forces of political agitation converted the latter from a sterile Parliamentarian impotent for good into a virile force transforming the whole social system and bringing a political revolution within the grasp of the agitators . "

The failure of the insurrection in 1867 and recriminations between the Irish and Irish American leaderships left the IRB considerably weakened ; many of its members had become involved in the Home Rule Movement of the 1870's which was led by Isaac Butt , who supported a system of Home Rule within a federal framework . He enjoyed the sympathy of many Fenians because of his efforts to secure amnesty for Fenian political prisoners . Following the election of 1874 , with the backing of a parliamentary party of about sixty members , Isaac Butt embarked upon a policy of convincing , by reason and debate , the British Government of the desirability of conceding Home Rule to Ireland based on a federal solution .......


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 .

The hotel to be used as a contact point was closed and the ransom note had not been found ; Dessis O' Hare lost the cool - he told solicitor Hilary Prentice - " I am going to fucking chop his fingers off . How many fucking cathedrals in Limerick are there ? " There was more conversation between O'Hare and Prentice in which the latter assured him that his instructions had been followed . In the middle of the conversation O'Hare said " Fuck this " and hung up the phone .

O'Hare then returned to 260 Carnlough Road : he turned on Eddie Hogan whom he blamed for the mix-up over the Blarney Hotel and a swearing match ensued . Next O'Hare put on a balaclava and went to talk to John O'Grady under the stairs . He dictated a new note to O'Grady , instructing the courier to go to the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork with the money , car and telephone . O'Hare returned a few minutes later - he put two pillow cases over John O'Grady's head , and led him down to the kitchen , where his legs were tied together .

He was gagged and his head was covered again , with another two pillow cases . His left hand was splayed out and a bread board inserted underneath his hand . His small finger was then hacked off with a hammer and chisel by Dessie O'Hare . The finger was then cauterised three times with a hot knife to stop the blood flowing . O'Hare then did the same to the little finger on O'Grady's right hand .

The pillow cases were removed and the blacked-out glasses were put on O'Grady ; O'Hare then took three photographs of John O'Grady using the polaroid camera . He told O'Grady to " ... think of the seasons , think of Spring .. " and to keep his hands up beside his ears . The blood was trickling down his sleeves .......