" 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 27, 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 .

HENRY McCONNELL of Belfast , fined £65 in April 1975 for possession of ammunition in suspicious circumstances .

JOSEPH DENNIS McCONVILLE of Annaghmore , County Armagh , jailed for two years in September 1976 for theft of ammunition from a (British) Ministry of defence firing range .

HENRY McCOSH of Belfast , sentenced to six months (suspended) in February 1974 for possession of a revolver and more than 200 rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances .

RODERICK SHANE McDOWELL and RAYMOND THOMAS CROZIER , jailed for 35 years in October 1976 for the Miami Showband massacre . Two other UDR men , WESLEY SOMMERVILLE and HARRIS BOYLE , blew themselves up in the same incident . All four were members of the UVF .

JOSEPH McGRANAGHAN of Belfast , jailed for two years in April 1974 for possession of a revolver (previously 'stolen' from an RUC man) in suspicious circumstances .

JAMES McGUCKEN of Coagh , County Tyrone , fined £100 in December 1976 for assaulting local Catholics .


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 turn-out for the funeral of Thomas Ashe (on September 30 , 1917) gave a boost to Irish Republicans ; this was noted by the 'Establishment' in Westminster - 'The Daily Express' newspaper remarked - " The circumstances of Ashe's death and funeral have made 100,000 Sinn Feiners out of 100,000 constitutional nationalists ... " , while 'The Daily Mail' newspaper recalled that , a month earlier , Sinn Fein , despite its electoral successes , had been a waning force . That newspaper said - " It had no practical programme , for the programme of going further than anyone else cannot be so described . It was not making headway . But Sinn Fein today is pretty nearly another name for the vast bulk of youth in Ireland . "

In October 1917 , a Convention in Dublin was able to give more coherence to the political side of the national Movement , when two thousand people including delegates from over a thousand Sinn Fein cumann agreed on a new broadly nationalist constitution and elected a 24-person national executive . Despite the fact that the Movement owed much of its public support to the discipline and organising skill of the Republicans , its weakness , with the election of many anti-physical force constitutionalists to the executive , was becoming obvious to close observers .

However , with the need to build a genuinely broad based national Movement , which drew maximum support from all nationalist tendencies while still permitting the Republicans to manoeuvre in the background , their differences were successfully covered up , at least from the attention of the general populace .

The National Executive contained such diverse personalities as Eoin MacNeill who had tried to cancel the 1916 Rising and Cathal Brugha , an uncompromising Irish Republican who was badly wounded during the 1916 Rising . Interestingly , Eoin MacNeill headed the poll by more than 200 votes over Cathal Brugha who was his closest rival .

Against such political manoeuvrings the IRA stepped-up their raids for arms , and drilling and re-organisation continued .......


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 .

Fergal Toal was in Garda custody ; all the gardai had heard the instructions to hold him but none of them , in statements made subsequenty , made reference to being told that a second man had escaped ; the gardai in whose care Toal had been entrusted formed quite different opinions of him . Garda Fallon and Sergeant Merrigan stress that he appeared plausible and co-operative . When he had first 'arrived' into the garda station , he had asked for water to take tablets . Garda Moriarty thought he might be a mental patient !

Two Garda , Moriarty and Fallon , got Fergal Toal ready to put him into a cell . Sergeant Merrigan was standing about ten feet away ; Garda Moriarty took £222 from Toal's pocket with his left hand , whilst taking the mans belt off him with his right hand . Garda Fallon was helping Toal to step out of his jacket . " What are you doing with my money ? " , said Toal in his phoney Cork accent . His belt was caught in one of the loops of his trousers - Garda Moriarty turned around for a second to put the momey in his left hand on the table behind him ; when he looked back he saw Toal over at the door letting himself out to the reception area of the station .

Moriarty ran after him , as did Merrigan and Fallon . Fergal Toal crossed the reception to a door leading out to the narrow hallway to the entrance to the station , but Moriarty caught hold of his shirt . To his " great dismay ," as Moriarty later said , the shirt ripped and came away in his hand . The hallway was too narrow for the other gardai to get past : Toal jumped the seven steps leading up to the station and ran . It was the third time that Fergal Toal and Eddie Hogan had escaped from the gardai .......