" 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!

Tuesday, October 25, 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 .

DAVID LAFFIN of Belfast , sent to Borstal in March 1976 for possession of sub-machine gun and 760 rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances . The gun had been stolen from Portadown UDR armoury in 1973 .

NEIL LATTIMER , WILLIAM ROLESTON , DAVID IAN McMULLAN , JAMES HEGAN , WINSTON ALLEN , NOEL BELL and COLIN WARTON , charged in December 1983 with murder of Adrian Carroll . All based at Drumadd Barracks .

THOMAS LEONARD of County Tyrone , sentenced to life in October 1975 for machine-gun murder of James and Mary Devlin at Edenork in 1974 . He was later given concurrent sentences for a series of other offences . LEONARD , who was 'born again' while on remand , refused 'Special Category' status .

ALISTER ROGER LOCKHART of Armagh , jailed for 10 years in May 1975 for a car bombing in Armagh , illegal possession of firearms and other offences . A known member of the UVF .

SAMUEL JAMES LOGAN , appears to have been the first UDR man to appear on a charge in a court . From Derry , he was convicted in September 1971 for illegal possession of a pistol . Arrested by a UDR patrol while returning from a trip to Donegal .



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 by-election in Longford was to be contested by Sinn Fein candidate Joe MacGuinness , at the time a prisoner serving penal servitude in Lewes Prison . His name went before the electorate with the simple slogan ' Put him in to get him out' . MacGuinness , incidentally , had no wish to let his name go forward as he felt that to do so would compromise the traditional Republican attitude of contempt for 'parliamentary methods' ; the IRB , mindful of the need to retain a Republican influence over the new political movement , ignored MacGuinness's reservations , with the result that , after a recount , he won by thirty eight votes over the Redmond candidate .

Redmond could clearly no longer afford to consider partition on any terms - the prevailing mood in the country was determinedly against it . He rejected partition but agreed with Lloyd George to an 'Irish Convention' , a device clearly suited to British needs , not least because of American pressure , insofar as it 'passed the buck' from the British government to the Irish unionist and nationalist 'factions' .

While this appeared plausible in British terms , it was of course completely impractical and doomed to failure ; Sinn Fein declared its intention to boycott the proceedings and before the 'Convention' could get down to its deliberations , another Sinn Fein candidate , Eamonn De Valera , was returned as MP for East Clare with a majority of 2,975 over the Redmonite candidate , a popular local man named Lynch . By now released Republican prisoners were being greeted on their return to Ireland by enthusiastic crowds .

Against this background the re-organisation of the IRA continued with predictable counter-measures by the British government , who continued to ignore the open military organisation of the UVF in the North .......



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 had escaped from the kidnap gang and was hiding in the garden of a house on Kilkiernan Road in Cabra , Dublin : he heard the sounds of two men coming into the garden , and thought they were gang members . In fact they were two Detectives who had pursued O' Grady who they suspected was a member of the kidnap gang - from their conversation , John O' Grady realised that they were gardai , and raised his bandaged hands in the air and said " I am John O' Grady ! "

Back at 260 Carnlough Road someone had called an ambulance for Detective Martin O' Connor - he was on the ground calling for his wife Rosy and praying ; he thought he was dying . Gerry Wright had gone into the house and got a blanket to cover O' Connor and had remained standing over him . Detective Sergeant Henry Spring had hoped to telephone for support in the house he had broken into , but there was no telephone . He made his way to 260 Carnlough Road to find his colleague Martin O' Connor on the ground with gunshot wounds , and turned to Gerry Wright who was standing close by and said to him - " You bastard , you walked us into this . "

John O' Grady was put into a garda car - he had read in the newspapers that his family had taken rooms in the Blackrock Clinic in anticipation of his release and he asked the gardai to take him there . The news of his release was broadcast on RTE radio within minutes ; Dessie O' Hare was en route to Cork to supervise the payment of the ransom - O' Hare was listening to the radio and , according to a passenger in the car who later made a statement to the gardai , he beat his fists on the dashboard in rage .

Meanwhile , the kidnap gang had escaped the gardai for a second time - Eddie Hogan and Fergal Toal abandoned the Corporation lorry in Blackhorse Avenue and ordered a woman to drive them to Clondalkin , in Dublin South-West - there they called into a house owned by Una Dermody who was having coffee with a friend , Maria Hennessy : they demanded a change of clothes . One of the women cleaned the graze on Fergal Toal's leg , and the gang then took the Saab car belonging to Una Dermody and the two women were taken as hostages - they headed for Limerick , using back roads .

On the way Hogan talked about art and paintings , and conversed with Fergal Toal in Irish ; the two women let them out at Mount St. Laurence cemetery , just outside Limerick - the women then reported what had happened to the first garda they met .......