" 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...!

Monday, October 17, 2005

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 .
It is commonly argued from facts that the UDR is , effectively , the B Specials under another name ; this is a mistake . The B Specials was a fairly casually organised 'police' auxiliary , whereas the B Specials were armed with rifles and had access to heavier weapons and armour only * in conjunction with the RUC . ('1169...' Comment - * ...the RUC 'guarding' B Special arms ... !)
The UDR is different ; it is not a 'police' auxiliary but a British Army regiment . It has all the weaponry and equipment available to 'ordinary' British Army regiments , with the exception of helicopters and bomb disposal and undercover units . It is now the first line of military back-up for the RUC over four-fifths of the North . That is , when the RUC calls for military assistance , it is the UDR which responds in all areas except West Belfast , west of the Foyle and South Armagh .
Under the policy of 'Ulsterisation' , it is intended that this will gradually be extended to all areas . Towards this end , UDR Units were deployed for the first time in South Armagh in 1983 .
As stated here at the start of this article - We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive :
GERALD ATKINSON of Magherafelt sent to Borstal in March 1974 for attempted bombing of Catholic Church .
JOHN ALEXANDER AUGHEY of Belfast fined £100 for illegal possession of ammunition in May 1976 .
DAVID FREDERICK BECK of Belfast sentenced to five years in February 1975 for armed intimidation of Catholics during the UWC strike .


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 .
The Fenian John Devoy insisted consistently that the Land League could provide a stepping stone to separation and that the refusal of the British Government to concede the Land Leagues demands could still create the condition for a possible withdrawal from the British parliament .
In the final analysis the 'New Departure' policy was aimed at changing Fenian strategy ; it called for a combination between revolutionary and constitutional nationalists on prescribed terms aimed at breaking the union of Ireland and Britain . The agrarian struggle was one of a series of its objectives aimed at a radical land settlement the pursuance of which would further revolutionary aims and create the potential for further revolutionary action .
The Fenians were deeply involved in the Land League and in the agitation which continued from 1879 to 1881 ; those Fenians at leadership level in the Land League certainly believed that by smashing landlordism in Ireland they would also smash the British connection . At the end of the day the British Government succeeded in undermining the impetus of the agrarian struggle by reaching a compromise with Charles Stewart Parnell through the Land Act and the Arrears Act .
During the height of the agitation the British had introduced internment and a Coercion Bill .......


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 .
The Gardai still had not made a breakthrough in their attempts to locate the kidnappers . One of the main searches that day concentrated in the woodlands of Meath and Westmeath - those searches were instigated after somebody had seen a car with North of Ireland registration plates acting suspiciously . Nothing came out of this , however .

On Thursday November 5 , 1987 , there was , it seemed , a light at the end of the tunnel : on October 26 the gang had left Midleton , County Cork , in a hurry . During the shoot-out the gang had stopped a Hi-Ace van with the intention of hi-jacking it , but then changed their mind and took a Renault car which came up behind the van . In the confusion a rucksack was left behind by the gang in the Hi-Ace van - it contained fifty-one items , all of which were clues in the kidnap investigation ; those clues could be neatly classified into three categories -

'Category One' comprised twenty-two items which were readily identifable as belonging to John O'Grady : the only immediate value of these to the investigation was fingerprint evidence which might be used to obtain a conviction .
'Category Two' contained 26 sundry items , among them a copy of 'The Sunday World' newspaper , a length of chain , a map of Cork and Kerry , a pair of socks with the label 'Trackers' , a hacksaw and a leaflet on combination locks . These , too , might yield fingerprint evidence but were unlikely in themselves to add anything of substance to the investigation .
'Category Three' was by far the most important : it contained just three items - a letter to a Mr. B. Jennings , a bank deposit book with an address on the northside of Dublin and a Guinness Bi-Centennial pass card made out in the name of Paul O' Suillivan , 'Traffic Department Staff Number 23726 ' . It might have been expected that the gardai would check out these items immediately . On Friday October 30 , 1987 , however , all fifty-one items in the rucksack were still in Midleton Garda Station . They were collected by Detective Sergeant Tom Foley of the Fingerprint Section and taken back to Dublin for examination .
On November 3 , 1987 , there was a conference held in Dun Laoghaire Garda Station , the HQ of the kidnap operation ; Detective Sergeant Henry Spring was assigned the task of checking out the Guinness Bi-Centennial pass , which he then collected from the Fingerprint Section on November 4th . There was no difficulty checking out the identity of Paul O' Sullivan - he has worked in Guinness's for twenty-five years . On November 5th , Detective Sergeant Spring and Detective Martin O' Connor called to Guinness's Brewery to see Paul O' Sullivan , who identified the card but said he had not seen it for a number of years .
The clue the gardai were following was an obvious and vital one in the kidnap investigation , but they had not acted on it for ten days .......