Friday, October 14, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES....... Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North . But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ? From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .
A random check of some of the names on a list of imprisoned UDA members ( published in the October 1976 issue of the UDA's 'COMBAT' magazine) suggests that membership of the British 'security forces' was mentioned in as few as a third of the court cases which led to their convictions . However , to complicate matters further , it is almost certainly the case that some of the UDA prisoners listed joined the UDA after being charged in order , spuriously , to claim political motivation , and therefore political status .
The list is based on files of Dublin publications , particularly of 'Hibernia' and 'The Irish Times' ; many cases not reported in these publications , either for reasons of space or because they did not appear mewsworthy at the time , are therefore omitted . Some additional material has been supplied from his personal files by Larry Kildea of 'The Irish Press' newspaper .
Excluded is a substantial number of lesser cases invoving UDR personnel in sex offences , minor larcenies , fraud , driving offences and run-of-the-mill blackguardism . Other cases have been missed because the fact of defendants' UDR membership did not emerge . A final qualifying point is that the list includes , of course , only UDR personnel who were caught , and whom the North's DPP then considered it proper to prosecute , and who therefore were convicted in the courts . It is commonly argued from facts like these that the UDR is , effectively , the B Specials under another name . This is a mistake .......

ELECTION INTERVENTIONS.......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 recognition of the economic crisis in Irish agriculture , the Fenian John Devoy modified his ideas while maintaining his political position : instead of the type of movement outlined in the 'New Departure' proposals he accepted a purely agrarian one as advocated by Michael Davitt and was later to claim that he and Davitt "...speaking for large bodies of Fenians , although not official representatives .. " reached an agreement with Charles Stewart Parnell in 1879 - Parnell consistently denied such an agreement , which had four main points :
1. In the conduct of the public movement , as far as Parnell and Davitt were able to influence it , there should not be anything said or done to impair the vitality of the Fenian Movement or to discredit its ideal of complete national independence to be secured by the eventual use of physical force .
2. The demand for self government should not for the present be publicly defined , but nothing short of a national parliament with power over all vital national interests and an executive responsible to it should be accepted .
3. The settlement of the land question to be demanded should be the establishment of a peasant proprietory to be reached by compulsory purchase .
4. The Irish members of parliament elected through the public movement should form an absolutely independent party , asking and accepting no places , salaried or honorary , under the British government , either for themselves , their constituents or anyone else . (' 1169...' Comment - Compare those principle's with those of others who claim to be following the Fenian tradition .)
This policy was something of a gamble for John Devoy who , while admitting that the Movement could be sidetracked * into mere reformism , strongly insisted that "...the demands of the Land League will not be granted by a Parliament of British Landlords ... " ('1169...' Comment - * which has now happened to the 'others' mentioned above . )

23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O'GRADY KIDNAPPING ....... 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 .
17. ENTER FR. BRIAN D'ARCY . Dr. Austin Darragh had dispatched his chauffeur back to Limerick Cathedral ; the chauffeur lifted the statue right up off its wooden plinth and discovered the note underneath . Taken together , the ranson notes instructed that a courier go to the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork an one o'clock the following day , November 5 , 1987 ; the car driving there was to be equipped with a car phone . At the hotel reception the courier would get a call for a 'Mr Pat Murray' - on taking this call there would be further instructions .
The notes also gave the standard warning about contacting the gardai . The O'Grady family were resigned to paying the ransom and spent the day raising the money ; this presented difficulties in itself . Though Dr. Darragh is a person of considerable means , he did not have that kind of money in cash . But by now they realised that Dessie O'Hare was not bluffing . The gardai were fully aware of the family's intentions .
That evening there was a meeting of the State Cabinet sub-committee on Security to discuss the situation - the meeting was attended by (FS) Taoiseach Charles Haughey , Tanaiste Brian Lenihan , Justice Minister Gerry Collins , Defence Minister Michael Noonan , Garda Commissioner Laurence Wren and senior civil servants and advisors . The sub-committee was concerned about the decision by the O'Grady family to pay the ransom but , in view of Dessie O'Hare's well-proven capacity for mutilation , they found their position understandable . The meeting decided that the best course of action was a 'hands-off' approach .
The Silver Springs Hotel was to be staked-out by the Special Branch but no effort would be made to intercept payment . It was hoped to trail whoever picked up the money covertly and later , after John O'Grady was released , arrest the recipient . Fr. Brian D'Arcy was chosen by the O'Grady family to act as their courier .......