" 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 - we made it to the finalists page last year but never got to the stage :- ( 'cause not enough of ye feckers out there voted for us! So we're gonna give ya a second chance - the blog awards this year will be held on Thursday, October 5th (2017) in The Academy, Middle Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre, and we would appreciate if you could keep an eye here and give us a vote when ya can. Or else we'll get our 'Junior' to put up a pay wall and then ye will be sorry...!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

From 1975 onwards , large numbers of people were arrested and taken to interrogation centres at Castlereagh and Gough Barracks ; here , women were sexually abused , both verbally and physically , and often threatened with rape . Men were tortured : the 'confessions' thus extracted were used to convict them .

In the Diplock Courts , set up under the Emergency Powers Act , trial for 'scheduled offences' (ie political offences) is before a single judge sitting without a jury ; statements made involuntarily are admissable as 'evidence' , provided they are not made as a result of "...torture , inhuman or degrading treatment.. " . It is notoriously difficult to prove that a statement was made as a result of coercion . In England , Scotland and Wales , trial for serious offences is always by jury , and statements made involuntarily are inadmissable as 'evidence' .

During the late 1970's , 94 per cent of cases brought before juryless Diplock Courts concluded with a prison sentence , and between 70 and 90 per cent of these convictions were based upon self-incriminating statements obtained during interrogation . Independent evidence is rarely used by the prosecution . Note that for 1976-1979 , the average acquittal rate for contested jury trials was 58 per cent , compared to the average acquittal rate for contested Diplock trials of only 19 per cent .......


First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

The deaths of all the hunger-strikers and all the other evils which have flowed from the partition of Ireland lie squarely on the shoulders of imperial Britain . But the Irish 'establishment' , whose craven acquiescence in the British partition of Ireland , and its maintenance , have made - are making - and will continue to make a major contribution to the general evils of partition as well as to the specific circumstances whereby Westminster was permitted to murder ten young Irishmen in the hospital wing of the H-Blocks rather than make five simple concessions to them .

It was against this background of slavish acceptance by the Irish 'establishment' of Britain's 'right' to do what it will in Ireland , and after the deaths of six prisoners on hunger-strike , that the campaign of demoralisation , instilling of defeatism , undermining the prisoners and vilification of their supporters , got underway in July of that year (1981) .

'Chief Advocate' of that campaign was Fr. Denis Faul , an assistant chaplain to Long Kesh and civil rights activist , who is prominent in the activities of the respected 'Association for Legal Justice' (ALJ) : however , his hunger-strike breaking activities cannot be ascribed to those of an individual . Faul , like Fianna Fail leader , Charles Haughey , or Sinn Fein President , Ruairi O' Bradaigh , cannot be viewed as having taken unilateral action on this most acutely political situation in isolation from the body of which he is a prominent member , the Irish Catholic Church .......


From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

The Official IRA/INLA Feud , 1975 :
It is impossible to apportion blame in such incidents but because the Official IRA was then the largest organisation and its interests most immediately threatened , it is not unreasonable to assume that it was the major culprit in this feud .

Certainly the Official IRA was the first to kneecap an opponent and then it was the first to murder a member of the opposing party , Hugh Ferguson . The 'final tally' ended up with two deaths on each side .

Then the Official IRA Officer Commanding , Billy McMillan , was shot dead by the INLA on the Falls Road in Belfast ; this shooting took place after a truce had been negotiated .......