" 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!

Monday, October 31, 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 .

MALCOLM NESBITT of Belfast , sentenced to three years in October 1977 for armed robbery of a pub .

ALBERT MAURICE PARKHILL of Coleraine , suspended sentence in February 1978 for 'robbery' of six rifles from UDR armoury and membership of UVF . Pleaded conversion to Christianity and was suffering from multiple sclerosis .

WILLIAM RAMSEY of Belfast , five years in February 1975 for armed intimidation of Catholics during the UWC strike .

BEN REDFERN , JOHN LITTLE , SAMUEL HUNTER DAVIDSON and GREGORY ALLEN , all from South Derry area , all sentenced to life with an 18-year minimum , in January 1979 , for sectarian murder . REDFERN for murder of John Bolton , James Chivers and Joseph McAuley , the others for murders of Bolton and McAuley . Other concurrent sentences for robbery , arson etc .



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 three by-election losses by Sinn Fein in early 1918 (Waterford , South Armagh and East Tyrone) showed that while Sinn Fein was still a very vital political force , its strength lay not in clear policies or organisation but in the enthusiasm , discipline and organisational abilities of the Republican volunteers . The extension , by the British Government , of the Conscription Act to Ireland on April 9th , 1918 , was to make things easier for Irish Republicans .

The Catholic Bishops in Ireland unanimously condemned conscription as did local public bodies all over Ireland and the 'Irish Nationalist Party' left the British House of Commons in a block and returned to Ireland .

Such an endorsement of abstentionism was obviously welcome to Sinn Fein and on April 18th , 1918 , an unprecedented conference representing all sections of nationalist opinion issued - in consultation with the Irish Catholic Hierarchy - a call for " ...all true Irishmen to resist [conscription] by the most effective means at their disposal . " The Catholic Hierarchy , for their part , declared conscription to be "...an oppressive and inhuman law .. " and stated that the Irish people had the right to resist it by all means consonant with the law of God .......



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 .

24. " T'was the luck of God I did'nt kill him ... "
Eddie Hogan was at liberty for less than twenty-four hours . Shortly after five o'clock gardai in Cahir Garda Station received a report that a suspicious person had been seen walking at Ballydrehid , four miles outside Cahir , Tipperary ; Detective Garda Ignatius Seery and Garda James Lynch drove out in their patrol car . Since his escape , Eddie Hogan had stuck to the fields and had only been on the road a few minutes when the gardai met him . They stopped the car and shouted at him - " Gardai . We want to talk to you . "

By this stage it was perfectly obvious that whatever Hogan wanted to do he did not want to talk to the gardai ; he broke into a run , but was caught by Garda James Lynch . Both gardai accompanied him back to their car , but Hogan tried to break free - a fierce fight followed , during which Hogan kicked Lynch and then head-butted him . There was a struggle in which all three men fell to the ground . Hogan struggled with Seery , trying to get possession of his gun , which went off twice within inches of killing someone .

Seery succeeded in releasing Eddie Hogan's grip on the arm in which he held the gun ; at that point Hogan bit into Seery's right thigh , cutting right through the mans trousers - Seery roared in agony . His legs were straddled over Hogan's shoulders ; he began hitting Hogan on the head with the butt of his revolver and eventually Hogan stopped biting . Lynch and Seery got him lying on his chest and managed to handcuff him .

In custody , Hogan drank tea and smoked cigarettes - he assured the gardai there would be no allegations of brutality : " It was either me or ye out there , " he told them , and inquired about Detective Martin O' Connor whom he had shot at Carnlough Road the previous day . He was relieved to hear that his condition was stable - " T'was the luck of God I did'nt kill him . I'd have been gone for twenty-five years if I had . " The gardai asked him about the cutting off of John O'Grady's fingers . " It's war and everything is justified in war , " they were told .

Both Fergal Toal and Eddie Hogan were questioned extensively about their involvement in the kidnapping of John O' Grady . Neither man replied to any of the questions .......