" 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.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

" DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

I was arrested under the infamous 'Section 12 of the PTA' and then 'stitched-up' by the British 'Paid Perjurer' System . I maintained my silence , knowing that within the week I would join those women whose very existence denies every atrocity inflicted by their oppressors . I was charged , and taken from the court to Armagh .

I remember a tremendous feeling of unreality about my arrival in Armagh Jail ; detached , I entered the prison , thinking wryly of my next forthcoming encounter with British rule : photographed , weighed , then brought into the 'reception room' where eight screws were present , standing silently , waiting , hoping to see another one 'break' . Then the dreaded words - " RIGHT ! STRIP ! "

I was hustled into a small cubicle and slowly began to undo the buttons of my shirt .... " This can't be happening to me ..it can't...." - but of course it could . Item by item , I removed my clothes , each article taken from me and scrutinised . I knew there was no need to search me - I had been in custody for over a week , I had'nt seen one friendly face or heard one word of kindness since 'leaving' the house : dragged out , shoeless and coatless , by a mixed force of British troops and RUC men .

As I stood there naked , I grasped my ideals to my heart . They were'nt going to succeed . I would NOT break .......

(MORE LATER).



THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE .......
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition - which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From 'AP/RN' , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .

Over forty thousand copies of 'The Writings Of Bobby Sands' and 'The Diary Of Bobby Sands' were sold through the campaign : extracts were quoted in the world press . Sentences appeared on the walls of Belfast and Derry , and the lark has now become the symbol of the jailed freedom fighters . Bobby Sands gave the prisoners a voice .

Francis Hughes died on May 12th 1981 after fifty-nine days on hunger-strike : Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O'Hara died on May 21st 1981 after sixty-one days on hunger-strike . huge crowds of mourners attended their funerals , pickets were organised all over Ireland , mock coffins were carried by thousands of protestors to British embassies or consulates all over Europe , in America , Australia , New Zealand ; vigils and pickets were organised in Britain .

On May 23rd 1981 , local elections took place in the Six Counties and , although Sinn Fein did not field any candidates , in Belfast , two IRSP and two 'People's Democracy' candidates , standing on anti-H-Block manifestos , were elected to the city council . Gerry Fitt , who had despicably sided with Margaret Thatcher on the prison issue , lost the seat which he had held for twenty-three years . Paddy Devlin scraped through on the last count .

The 'Irish Independence Party' , which had publicly supported the prisoners demands , gained twenty-one seats , an increase of eleven .......

(MORE LATER).



IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

The Official IRA is still very visible in Belfast as the incident in Ardmonagh Gardens on January 29 this year (1982) shows : this incident occurred in the Turf Lodge area of Belfast , when about 20 members of the Official IRA took part in an eviction of a family from a house : the OIRA members carried rifles and short arms openly on the street in broad daylight and they pursued a man in a manner that suggested that they intended to cause him serious injury at least .

The incident started when members of Provisional Sinn Fein (actually probably PIRA members) went around to families living in flats in Ardmonagh Gardens , asking if any of them would like to move into a house which was about to become vacant . A Seamus Smith said that he would like to move his wife and three young children in , and this was agreed . A few days later he started cleaning the vacant house and began some re-decoration , and moved some of the furniture from his flat into the house . A knock came to the door of the house on the evening of Thursday , January 28 1982 and , when he answered it , there were two men standing on the doorstep with their hands inside their coats , suggesting that they were armed .

They said to him - " You had better be out of here tomorrow at six o' clock or you're going to be shot . " They said they were from the Official IRA but he did'nt recognise either of them . Naturally frightened by the visit , he approached the local PIRA and was told later that night that they (the Provos) had been in touch with the Official IRA and that the matter had been sorted out - that he could continue moving into the house . The following evening at around six o' clock (Friday , January 29 , 1982 : the second day of the recent general election campaign) , Seamus Smith left the house to go across the road for his tea to his mother-in-law's home ; immediately after he did so he was informed by a neighbour that armed men had broken into the house . Two Ford vans had driven into Ardmonagh Gardens and about twenty men had got out ; about six of them held rifles and several others were carrying short arms .

These men effectively took over the street , manning corners , standing in the centre of the road and even taking up positions in the fields at the back of the street : three of them dashed into the flats where Seamus Smith and his family had lived and smashed down the front door and then kicked in the sitting-room sliding door . Neither Smith nor any of his family were there , so the men left .......

(MORE LATER).