" 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...!

Tuesday, October 18, 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 ? 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 .From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .
JOHN BEST of Belfast , sentenced to two years in in February 1978 for assembling a bomb for the UDA .
DESMOND WILLIAM BOYD of Strabane , fined £20 in April 1978 for firing off a machine-gun while drunk and off duty .
WILLIAM JOHN CAHOON of Belfast , fined £125 in December 1983 for reckless driving . Allegedly tried to run down two Ardoyne youths .
HAROLD CARDWELL of Carrickfergus , jailed for 18 months in January 1976 for illegal possession of shotgun . UVF connections .
SAMUEL CARSON of Bangor and NOEL MOORE BOYD of Belfast , jailed for 15 and 12 years respectively in October 1976 for bombing an Irish pub in Kilburn , London .
BARRY CLARKE of Fivemiletown , convicted of attempted armed robbery . Suspended sentence in February 1981 .
KENNETH JOHN COCKRANE of Magherafelt , fined £100 in August 1983 for possession of loaded firearm , drunkeness and assault .


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 what is known as the Kilmainham Treaty in 1882 , Charles Stewart Parnell agreed to use his influence to restore order in Ireland while the British Government would release the prisoners , would deal with the question of 'rent' arrears in a manner satisfactory to the 'tenants' and would amend the Land Act of 1881 in certain ways , in particular by extending the benefit of its fair 'rent' clauses to leaseholders .
In fact the Land Act legalised the three 'F' 's , and while this did not ease the pressing social problems which remained especially in the West of Ireland , it was seen to be a considerabe victory .
In national terms , the power of the landlords was considerably reduced over large areas , the IRB had become increasingly involved in mass organisation of the people and in agitationary action by them together with localised armed actions . There was a partial undoing of the 'conquest' but not the progression into a nationalist war of independence with full 'peasant' backing as anticipated by many Fenians . This was based on the presumption , widespread among most quarters at that time , that the British would not concede the full demand of the land agitation . Parnell , with whom an alliance of sorts - unoffical but there all the same - was forged did not subscribe to this view .
He believed that a good measure of land reform , sufficient to end the agrarian social conflict , could be got from the British Parliament and that such reform would bring the landlords into the nationalist ranks and from there to a Home Rule Government .......


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 .

John O'Grady's fingers had been hacked off ; the kidnappers had shown themselves to be inept and sloppy . The Guinness Bi-Centennial card left at the scene of the Midleton shoot-out was almost as good as a forwarding address - the owner of that card , Paul O' Sullivan , told the gardai he had given the card to an acquaintance , Gerry Wright , who ran a barber's shop a few doors away . Detectives Henry Spring and Martin O' Connor went down to Wright's barber shop : when they went in Gerry Wright , who was reading a newspaper , jumped up and asked " Which of you is first ?" . The Detectives introduced themselves and asked Wright about the card . He told them he had used it as an admission card to get into the Guinness leisure centre and use their swimming pool . He also told them that he had lost the card a long time ago , and could not help them in their inquiries as to how it had been found at the scene of the Midleton shoot-out .

They questioned Gerry Wright further - he told them he lived at 260 Carnlough Road . He was asked by O ' Connor was there anybody else there ; Wright replied " No , " adding " ...you can look if you like . " Detective Henry Spring said they would need a search warrant . Wright started bluffing , and told them that there was nothing or nobody in his house and the gardai were welcome to search it without the necessity of getting a search warrant - Spring , O' Connor and Wright then got into the unmarked patrol car . It was nearly twelve noon .
Fr. Brian D'Arcy had earlier called to the Bank of Ireland in Baggot Street , Dublin , to collect the £1.5 million ransom and was already on his way to the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork to make the delivery .
Dr. Austin Darragh was in Leinster House locked in a heated exchange with (FS) Justice Minister Gerry Collins (FF) ; Darragh had been critical of the media coverage of the kidnap , which he considered reckless and irresponsible .

That morning the lead story in 'The Irish Independent' newspaper broke the news that the kidnappers had increased their ransom demand . 'The Irish Times' newspaper had also got the story from garda sources but had agreed to a news blackout . 'The Irish Independent' had apparently got their information from a (FS) Department of Justice source .......