" 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!

Friday, October 21, 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 GAW of Greenisland , County Antrim , sentenced to 10 years in March 1977 for possession of arms and training UVF East Antrim members . Involved in 76-day UVF trial which ended in 27 men receiving a total of 700 years plus eight "Lifes" for UVF activity .

RONALD GIBSON , MARK MAM and KENNETH SPENCE , all of Newtonabbey , fined £50 each in February 1979 for breaking into local 'Star of the Sea' Roman Catholic Church and shitting on the altar .

JAMES GILLIES of Belfast , jailed for four years in May 1975 for illegal possession of firearm .

THOMAS GRUERS of Magherafelt , fined £50 in February 1981 for firing shots from a Walther pistol during the fracas - apparently between Nationalists and Loyalists - in Portrush .

LOUIS HATHAWAY of Gilford , County Down , fined £100 in August 1979 for possession of a loaded pistol while drunk during anti-internment protest .

RAYMOND HIGGINS of Belfast , jailed for two years in March 1981 for illegal possession of a firearm and attempted rape .

HENRY WILLIAM HUTCHINS of Limavady , jailed for five years in March 1975 for armed robbery . A known member of the UDA .


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 .

Among the ranks of Sinn Fein was a mixture of IRA Volunteers who had gone out at Easter 1916 , IRB men who were committed to an Irish Republic at all costs , and many exponents of the orthodox constitutional Sinn Fein doctrine of pre-war days as preached by Arthur Griffith . While a new mood was sweeping the country , Sinn Fein had virtually no organisation at all and nothing like a coherent political organisation needed to co-ordinate the new mood .

However , with the death of J.J. O' Kelly , the MP for Roscommon and a by-election in that constituency scheduled for February 1917 , Sinn Fein had its first opportunity to oppose Redmond's Party : Count Plunkett , father of Joseph Mary Plunkett and of two other imprisoned sons , stood against Redmond's man . Plunkett faced a number of practical disadvantages - his opponent was a well known local man , and Plunkett's 'election machine' was inexperienced . Much of the constituency was snow-bound and Plunkett himself remained in England , where he had been deported , ill , until a few days before polling .

On top of that he remained ambiguous on whether he would take his seat at Westminster if elected . Furthermore , Sinn Fein had contested and badly lost a North Leitrim by-election in 1908 , though it fought that election on Arthur Griffith's dual-monarchy policy .

Now , however , the bulk of 'dissident' Nationalist voters were concerned about one thing only - that was , voting for a candidate who would not accept partition of Ireland in any form and against a party which had shown itself too easy or too willing to be duped into doing so . Count Plunkett won the election for Sinn Fein with a majority of almost twice as many votes as Redmond's man .......


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 .

Detective Martin O' Connor , dazed from the beating , stood up and gang member Eddie Hogan used his gun to wave him towards a wall ; O' Connor put his hands on his face which was sore - he could feel blood . He was now about two feet from the barrel of Hogan's gun . He was so uncomfortably close he could make out green masking tape around the stock of the gun - Hogan fired : the shot blew a hole the size of a fist in O' Connor's stomach . His bowel was peppered with gunshot pellets . He felt the tear in his stomach and a severe burning sensation - he staggered backwards , but refused to fall down . Instead , he pulled out his own gun and fired at one of the gang . Hogan shot him again , in the shoulder , shattering his collarbone . O' Connor fell to the ground and crouched in a ball clutching his stomach . Eddie Hogan advanced on O' Connor .

The wounded Detective asked that Hogan not shoot him again ; Hogan kicked him in the side and said " Give me your gun , you pig . " Hogan held O' Connor's gun aloft , head high .

At first it was almost an action replay of Midleton : a Hi-Ace van came down Carnlough Road and was stopped at gunpoint - John O' Grady was pulled by one of the kidnap gang over towards the passenger door . At that moment the first of the patrol cars which had responded to the call was arriving . Detective Garda Gregory Sheehan had been in Phibsboro when he heard the call on the radio . He approached from the same direction in which the Hi-Ace van was travelling . Detective Sheehan got out of the car and shouted - " Armed gardai . Halt ! " Immediately he heard the sounds of bullets whizzing over his head - he fired back : six shots from his Smith and Wesson . The gang member who had been ushering John O' Grady into the Hi-Ace van dived for cover . O' Grady took his one chance . He ran .......