" 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!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

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

In December 1969 , the General Army Convention of the IRA was held at an old mansion-type house at Knockvicar , Boyle , County Roscommon ; this special convention was held to decide on the findings of an 'Internal Commission' which had been inquiring into the structure of the Republican Movement . Participation in parliament was also on the agenda .

Belfast was not represented at the convention because of the agreement with the 'dissidents' and the unique situation there . One delegate complained that other delegates were not collected at their pick-up points and blamed it on a move against those opposed to the proposed changes in electoral strategy .

The vote in favour of taking seats in parliament was carried by a very large majority (more than 3 to 1) and the IRA Chief Intelligence Officer up to then , Sean MacStiofain , declared that this was " ...the end of the IRA .. " : after the convention - nobody walks out of such gatherings- Ruairi O Bradaigh , Daithi O Conaill , Sean MacStiofain , John Joe McGirl and others met at O'Bradaigh's mother's house on the Battery Road , Longford .

On December 29th , 1969 , the first statement from the Provisional Army Council and signed in the name of 'P O' Neill' was published : it warned of the dangers to the abstentionist policy at the coming Sinn Fein Ard Fheis . On the weekend of January 10th/11th 1970 the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis was held .......


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 .

In 1875 , Joseph Biggar , at that time a member of the IRB , which he joined while MP for County Cavan , initiated a policy of obstruction in the British House of Parliament . While this policy , aimed at delaying and frustrating the British Government from passing Irish coercion acts , outraged Isaac Butt , it was regarded with approval by even the most militant varities of Nationalist opinion , including some prominent Fenians .

Having said that , however , it should also be stressed that many Fenians , especially Kickam and O'Leary , remained totally opposed to any form of constitutionalism and the development of the IRB's attitude to the constitutionalists was an uneasy process , leading almost to the destruction of the IRB itself .

In 1877 , Joseph Biggar was joined by Charles Stewart Parnell and other Irish MP's and the policy of obstruction and filibustering undertaken by them increased their standing among militant nationalists , especially the Clann na Gael (the IRB's American ) leadership . At the same time , John Devoy was finding the relative absence of publicly expressed opposition to British rule in Ireland an impediment to enlisting foreign support for the Republican cause . The Clann na Gael leadership were already sold on the idea of an alliance of sorts with C. S. Parnell in which they hoped he would espouse separatism .

Discussions between Parnell and individual Fenians , like J.J. O' Kelly and Dr. William O'Connor , led them to believe that Parnell was committed to the principle of absolute independence , something to which he was not in fact disposed .......


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 .

Ampliclox antibiotics , Ponstan pain killers and k50 sedatives were administered to John O'Grady , who had just had two of his fingers cut off . Tony McNeill , one of the kidnap gang , had been upstairs in the house when that happened ; he came in to the room with a basin of hot water and dressings - " Jesus Christ , Jesus Christ ... " he repeated , and left . It fell to Eddie Hogan to apply the dressings , which proved inadequate . O'Grady instructed the gang to cut up a linen sheet and boil it for one hour to sterilise it , and told them to boil a scissors in the same way .

Under O'Grady's guidance , Hogan re-dressed both hands and applied a tourniquet to both fingers ; O'Grady then fell asleep holding his hands up to stop the bleeding .

Dessie O'Hare , meanwhile , had left Carnlough Road and was back on the telephone to Hilary Prentice ; he wanted her home telephone number so that he could ring her later to tell her where John O'Grady's fingers could be picked up . During that call it was clear to Prentice that O'Hare's temper had not improved . She began telling him that 'Auntie Bettie' had searched the area around the statue carefully - " It's just cost John two of his fingers . Now I am going to chop him up into bits and pieces and send you fresh lumps of him every fucking day if I don't get my money fast . " He told Prentice to send someone back to the cathedral and "...smash up the fucking statue if necessary .. " to get the note .

Dessie O'Hare rang Hilary Prentice at home that evening ; she told him that she had been in contact with the O'Grady family and they were anxious to co-operate - " Well they would want to now , because there's two fingers lying in Carlow Cathedral .." , replied O'Hare .......