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 .......