" 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!

Thursday, October 20, 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 .

GEOFFREY EDWARDS of Armagh , charged in December 1983 with the murder of Sinn Fein election worker Peter Corrigan , plus four attempted murders including that of Seamus Grew (subsequently shot dead by the RUC) .

MERVYN JOSEPH FALOON of Tandragree , sentenced to five years in February 1978 for shooting into Catholic Obins Street enclave in Portadown on the 'Twelvth' in 1977 .

SAMUEL FARRELL of Enniskillen , sentenced to 18 months in November 1977 for bombing a dance hall in Donegal in 1974 .

WILLIAM FERRIS of Belfast , suspended sentence in February 1974 for possessing a shotgun and ammunition in suspicious circumstances .

JAMES GALLAGHER of Belfast , six months suspended in February 1974 for possession of firearms in suspicious circumstances .

WILLIAM GALLAGHER of Belfast , sentenced to 10 years in April 1979 for five armed robberies . Known to be also a member of the UVF .

ROBERT JOSEPH GAMBLE of Belfast , sentenced to five years in February 1972 for bombing Lisburn Council offices . Fellow bomber killed in the operation . Known to be also a member of the UVF .



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 .

Republican intervention in the British electoral process in this century dates back to February 1917 ; a year had passed since the proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916 , and many of the internees released before Christmas 1916 were back in Ireland . While they and other Republicans had differing political attitudes on future policy , the political climate during the eight months of their imprisonment had changed dramatically ; a number of factors had contributed to this change .

Foremost of these were the executions by the British government of the leaders of the Easter Rising and the loss of credibility by John Redmond's Irish Parliamentary Party among Nationalists . In 1914 a Home Rule Act for all Ireland , without any mention of a separate treatment for any Ulster county , had been passed by the British parliament and signed by the English King . That Act had then been suspended for 12 months or for the duration of the war , a war in which at the behest of John Redmond , many Irishmen had fought on the British side "...for the independence of small nations.. "

Now , with the war over , the British government's only response to such a sacrifice was to amend the Home Rule Act to exclude six of the Ulster Counties and to repudiate the basic nationalist idea of an undivided Ireland . In this climate , the actions of those who had gone out in the 1916 Rising , and the subsequent murders of their leaders was seen in sharp contrast to the collaborationist policies of the Irish Parliamentary Party , especially as such collaboration had achieved far less than had been promised .

Sinn Fein itself had changed ; while still without a coherent policy on social and economic matters and with no clear idea of how it could achieve independence , it at least had rejected partition .......



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 heard strange voices conversing outside in the living room - the gardai were in the house , but he did'nt know it . Detective Martin O' Connor , the barber Gerry Wright and (gang member) Tony McNeill went downstairs to the living room where Detective Sergeant Henry Spring and (gang member) Fergal Toal were talking . The two Detectives , Spring and O' Connor , exchanged glances ; they did'nt need to say anything . O' Connor turned to Gerry Wright and asked what was going on - how it was that he was able to have lads lying around doing nothing in the middle of the day . Detective O' Connor then left the house to go to the patrol car ; Gerry Wright followed him . O' Connor asked Wright if he was paying tax on the money he got for rent from the lads in the house .

O' Connor sat sideways into the patrol car with his legs on the street , radioed base and asked for urgent plainclothes back-up at 260 Carnlough Road . Gerry Wright ran back into the house , shouting - " He's calling for reinforcements ! " Gang member Tony McNeill was standing with his back to Detective Spring : he turned around with a gun in his hand and shouted - " Get down you bastard ." Spring was forced to the ground at gunpoint ; Eddie Hogan jumped out from under the stairs . Spring was kicked repeatedly in the head and body , and was momentarily stunned . Hogan dragged John O' Grady out from under the stairs , and Tony McNeill ran out after Detective O' Connor , followed closely by Fergal Toal . Detective Spring , who was unarmed , escaped out the back door of the house and jumped over a back wall .

He ran up the neighbours garden to the house but , despite pleas that he was in danger of being shot , he was refused entry , so he smashed one of the windows to get in . Meanwhile , Tony McNeill came up to Detective O' Connor , who was still at the patrol car , and put a gun to his chest .

O' Connor's radio call had been picked up by two or three different patrol cars , and all were now racing towards Carnlough Road . Fergal Toal and Tony McNeill were now trying to disarm Detective O' Connor - he was struggling with McNeill over the gun and Toal was punching O' Connor in the face . He put his fingers into O' Connor's mouth and began twisting his lips and head . An ESB meter reader saw O' Connor's head bobbing up and down and approached the car - he was told " Fuck off and mind your own business . This man is trying to steal our car . " Eddie Hogan emerged out of the house with John O' Grady , and told McNeill and Toal to back off so that he could shoot O' Connor in the knees .......