" 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, December 06, 2005

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

" You are then told to hand over all your clothes , which are taken away and searched . Once your clothes are gone you are asked if you want a 'gown' - this garment comes in two parts : the top consists of a strip of material which slips over the head and consists of two panels , back and front , which are not joined .

The bottom part is similar to a mini-skirt - the purpose of this is to enable the prison staff to raise the material and inspect your body . No woman has ever agreed to wear these distasteful garments . Apart from adding to the already tense embarrassment , they would only tend to prolong the strip-search . After the 'gowns' have been refused , a bedsheet is offered - if you accepted this sheet you would have to wrap it round yourself and then open it to have your body 'inspected' . This also only serves to prolong the strip-searching , so the sheets are also refused . "

From this woman's account , it is obvious that there is no privacy and that , instead of one prison screw , there are sometimes up to ten present . Also , the offer of a 'gown' is used to prolong the strip-search ; not to make it as brief as possible . It does nothing to preserve the woman's dignity or to prevent her from being humiliated .......


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 .

The main advocate of the anti-Republican campaign which was carried-out by the Catholic hierarchy was Long Kesh assistant-chaplain Fr. Denis Faul , with the approval of Cardinal O Fiaich and Bishop Daly .

As early as 1st March 1981 , Bishop Daly of Derry had condemned the hunger-strike as " ...immoral.. " and advised young people "...not to be used by certain groups.. " . The Catholic church broke its silence a few times , asking for compromise and an end to the fast ; on April 28th 1981 , the Catholic Pope's envoy , Fr. John Magee , was despatched to plead with the hunger-strikers to unconditionally end their fast . To no avail .

After the death of Francis Hughes, Cardinal O Fiaich had sent a telegram to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher begging her to negotiate with the prisoners , but his plea was ignored . This was to be the last effort by the Catholic hierarchy to act in favour of the prisoners . Through the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace , the Catholic hierarchy willingly played the British game of deceit .

By then , after six deaths in the H-Blocks , those anti-Republican forces clearly saw the prisoners' 'Achilles heel' to be their distressed relatives , and began a concerted effort in that direction ; repeatedly through the last week of July 1981 , and into August , Fr. Faul , by a series of lies , tried to undermine the trust the families were putting in the H-Block campaign leadership . Although always publicly exposed , Fr. Denis Faul forged ahead , with various meetings of prisoners' relatives - in Toomebridge , Belfast etc , hoping to provide a public platform for any frustration or resentment the families might have had against the whole campaign , or against the Republican Movement .

But the relatives remained united , and even issued a joint statement at the end of such a meeting in Belfast , on August 7th , 1981 .......



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.

Bank Levies , SFWP style : Dundalk Jewellers (cont/d)...

Two of the men who were involved in the May 9th 1980 robbery of a jewellers shop in Dundalk , County Louth , were caught and sentenced to eight years imprisonment by the 'Special Criminal Court' : they were Leonard McAteer of Newry and James Tracey of Horn Drive , Suffolk , Belfast . Two of the Gardai involved in the incident were decorated .

Bank of Ireland , Westland Row , Dublin - £25,000 :
This robbery took place on November 22 , 1977 , while security men from Brinkmat Security Firm were making a delivery to the bank . Three armed men accosted them at the door of the bank and forced them inside ; one of the raiders was armed with a shotgun and the other two had handguns . They got away with £25,000 but missed a larger sum of money which was still in the security van .

Two of the raiders escaped on a motorbike while the third made off on foot . The Gardai later apprehended a man and interrogated him but it was found that he was a barman in a local pub who was confused by locals with one of the raiders .......