" 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...!


Friday, January 14, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... in September 1920 , Westminster decided to arm " well-disposed citizens " in the Six County 'State' (ie those that were pro-British) , give them uniforms and call them a 'police force' - these were the 'Special Constabulary' , consisting of members of the UVF , an anti-Irish Loyalist paramilitary organisation .......


In October of 1920 , a Mr. J.R. Clynes of the British Labour Party voiced his concern , in Westminster , that the British Government were actully " arming the Orangemen " to " police their Catholic neighbours ... " in the Six County 'State' , while Joe Devlin ('United Irish League' - UIL) pointed out that 300 of the 'Special Constables' from the Lisburn area , had already " resigned in protest " because their " fellow Constables " would not stop looting their (Catholic) neighbours !

Mr. Devlin stated - " The Protestants are to be armed . Their pogrom is to be made less difficult . Instead of paving stones and sticks they are to be given rifles . " Joe Devlin led a busy life , but died young , at 63 years of age , in 1934 . A barman and journalist at the start of his working life , he was elected as a 'Home Rule MP' (British Parliament) for North Kilkenny in 1902 , at 31 years young , and held his seat until 1906 , when he was elected again , this time for the West Belfast area .

He was that area's representative in Westminster until 1922 ; he acted as General Secretary for the 'United Irish League' (UIL) / Home Rule Party , from 1904 to 1920 , and was also involved with the 'Ancient Order of Hibernians' .......

(MORE LATER).


PASSIONATE FRIEND .......
For the past thirteen years , British solicitor ALISTAIR LOGAN has pursued with dogged determination an almost single-handed campaign to prove the innocence of a number of Irish people convicted of bombings in Britain in the seventies .
DEREK DUNNE talks to him about his motivation and his experiences .

First published in ' IN DUBLIN ' magazine , No. 274 , 19th March 1987 , pages 8 and 9 .
Re-published here in 5 parts .
[ 5 of 5].

When Alistair Logan goes in to see Paul Hill or Gerry Conlon or Patrick Armstrong or Carole Richardson in prison , he says - " They will put their arm around my shoulder and say ' Don't worry , Alistair , the truth will come out .' Now , they are people who are serving an unending sentence for something they have'nt done . And at the moment , they have'nt the remotest prospect of being released .

And yet they have this belief in the truth which is totally at odds with the situation in which they find themselves . When you see the way they behave , you feel ashamed about the comfortableness of your life and the comfortableness of your belief's . "

Alistair Logan has spent the last thirteen of his forty-four years involved with the case ; now , there are very senior 'establishment' figures such as Cardinal Hume , Lord Devlin and Lord Scarman on his side . This intimidates people who hitherto would have tended to put him down and as a result they give Logan a lot of respect these days because they are wary of what he might be able to achieve .

Even people who believed that he was wrong in 1974 and 1984 , have now come to believe that this case has been a miscarriage of justice .

[END of ' PASSIONATE FRIEND ... '].
( Monday , 17th - ' THE POLITICS OF H-BLOCK ' : from 1980 ).


NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......

Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
(23 of 31).

The 1981 Hunger Strike brought feelings to a pitch ; as sympathy increased in the spring of 1981 , NORAID organised a tour by the relatives of the starving men . Bobby Sands' immediate successors on the hunger strike were Francis Hughes , Ray McCreesh , and Patsy O'Hara : Hughes died on May 12th , McCreesh and O'Hara nine days later .

Sands' brother Sean , and Malachy , the brother of Ray McCreesh , were available to come to the United States , and Patsy O'Hara had a sister , Liz , an attractive and vivacious woman who was at the same time outspoken and articulate .

Liz O'Hara was , on the surface , an ideal person to tour the United States ; however , there was a complication : like Bobby Sands , Ray McCreesh and Francis Hughes were both members of the IRA , but Patsy O'Hara belonged to the smaller , left-wing Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) .

Left-wing connections were a liability in Irish-American circles - some INAC activists feared that the 'Marxist' taint would counteract the kind of support the hunger strike was producing .......

(MORE LATER).






Thursday, January 13, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... on 2nd September , 1920 , the Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig , demanded that Westminster establish a " special constabulary " in the Six County 'State' ; the Brits looked at the existing ' Ulster Volunteer Force ' (UVF) , a pro-British armed paramilitary organisation , and decided to give them uniforms .......


Nationalists knew the danger of such a move for them - the UVF were not by any means 'neutral' in the conflict . The then ' Daily News ' newspaper stated , re the proposed establishment of the 'Specials' -

" The official proposal to arm "well-disposed" citizens to "assist the authorities" in Belfast raised serious questions of the sanity of the government . It seems the most outrageous thing which they have ever done in Ireland . A citizen of Belfast who is "well-disposed" to the British government is , almost from the nature of the case , an Orangeman , or at any rate , a vehement anti-Sinn Feiner .

These are the very same people who have been looting Catholic shops and driving thousands of Catholic women and children from their homes . " But all words of opposition , or even caution , were ignored .

Sixteen (16) battalions (approximately 10,000 armed men) were organised throughout the Six County area , with about three times that number (ie about 30,000 men) being placed in the areas where the battalion structure did'nt reach : approximately 40,000 fully-armed and , for the most part , militarily-trained men , in all .

It was'nt only Nationalist and Republican's that were aware of the potential for trouble that could come from arming one section of a population - voices were raised in Westminster itself , against such a move .......

(MORE LATER).


PASSIONATE FRIEND .......

For the past thirteen years , British solicitor ALISTAIR LOGAN has pursued with dogged determination an almost single-handed campaign to prove the innocence of a number of Irish people convicted of bombings in Britain in the seventies .

DEREK DUNNE talks to him about his motivation and his experiences .


First published in ' IN DUBLIN ' magazine , No. 274 , 19th March 1987 , pages 8 and 9 .

Re-published here in 5 parts .

( 4 of 5).


The case , Alistair Logan says , " never leaves you , it is always there ... " . He was a middle-class solicitor in the Stock Broker belt in Surrey trying to get established when he took the case on . He had " notions of justice " which were a product of his upbringing and schooling and training as a lawyer .

" I did not believe that this sort of thing could happen , and in that sense I grew-up on the case . I could'nt even understand the Belfast accent when I started and it was three or four weeks before I was getting every second word from Patrick Armstrong (one of those convicted) ." The Guildford Case brought him into the areas of prisoners' rights and into the European Court of Human Rights - areas where he would not otherwise have gone .

The case has changed him in some ways ; " I'm not completely changed and I think the fundamental values still remain . We invest in judges but some of them have shown themselves capable of abusing their position , and that applies to politicians and to police officers . I no longer trust authority and I actually believe that authority will be abused . I can not now read a newspaper without first questioning the political standpoint of the person who wrote the article or the newspaper which published it , and wanting to know what is missing .

It has taught me that there are certain basic things about people which cannot change . "

(MORE LATER).


NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......

Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
(22 of 31).

In the fall of 1980 , NORAID smuggled two former prisoners , Fra McCann and Liam Carlin , into the U.S. to talk about conditions in Long Kesh Prison ; they toured American cities , hosted by one INAC Unit after another , giving interviews to the press and other media . Slowly , interest began to revive , not only through direct contact with the prisoners who had been brought over , but also because Irish-Americans could see the increasingly large demonstrations that were being reported from Belfast and Dublin .

Those demonstrations were in favour of the prisoners' demands for recognition of their political status . The change was reflected in the increase in the funds NORAID reported ; almost $70,000 for the perion between July 1980 and January 1981 , as compared with just over $50,000 for the previous six months .......

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, January 12, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... on 7th October 1924 , Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig , delivered a speech in that institution in which he 'reminded' the Westminster Government that there were 40,000 armed men in the Six County 'State' who were , like him , not prepared to accept an " unfavourable " decision by the Boundary Commission .......


'Sir' James stated that he and his men would take any steps necessary " to defend their territory ... " (sic) ; he was referring to the 'Ulster (sic) Special Constabulary Association' , which was organised in three groups - the full-time A Specials , the part-time B Specials , and an 'on-call' (" loose category ") of C Specials .

The A Specials lived in barracks' and were used as re-inforcements for the RIC ; the B Specials concentrated on street-patrols and setting-up checkpoints , while the C Specials had no specific duties but were 'on call' as an armed militia .

Incidentally , when 'Sir' James Craig (Stormont 'Prime Minister') demanded the establishment of " a special Constabulary " for the Six County area (which he did , at a meeting in London on 2nd September 1920) he had only to wait six days for a reply - on 8th September 1920 , Westminster agreed that a force of " loyal citizens " should be raised - the then 'Ulster Volunteer Force' (UVF) , an armed pro-British paramilitary organisation in the Six Counties was , effectively , to become a ('legitimate') force of ' Special Constabulary ' - with a simple change of uniform !

It is arguably the position that this was the first instance of Westminster treating the Six County 'State' as a separate unit from what they alleged to believe was the 'United Kingdom' . However - the fact that Westminster was about to 'dress-up' a Loyalist militia as a ' Police Force ' , and arm same , sent shock-waves into the Nationalist community .......

(MORE LATER).


PASSIONATE FRIEND .......

For the past thirteen years , British solicitor ALISTAIR LOGAN has pursued with dogged determination an almost single-handed campaign to prove the innocence of a number of Irish people convicted of bombings in Britain in the seventies .

DEREK DUNNE talks to him about his motivation and his experiences .


First published in ' IN DUBLIN ' magazine , No. 274 , 19th March 1987 , pages 8 and 9 .

Re-published here in 5 parts .

( 3 of 5).


Alistair Logan received death threats from the 'National Front' and went to the police with them - they fell over laughing . He says they could have found out who had written the threats - they were posted in West Glamorgan and one of them indicated that one of the people responsible was related to one of those who had been injured in the pub in Guildford .

Friends and relatives have said to Alistair Logan that he has become " obsessive " about the case , but he would say it was a matter of conscience and determination . People , he says , tend to look at the case in hand rather than the wider issues : " If you are a believer in a democratic system and an impartial system of justice , cases of this nature are extremely important , because ultimately it depends on power and it's power which has caused these people to go into prison . "

In the event of the latest appeal failing , Logan would be prepared to go on doing it . At present , the case takes about one day out of every week , and he finances the entire campaign himself , flying to Ireland to attend meetings and so on .

" One of our battles is to keep the case in the public eye and it's very difficult to do that . There are so many other things going on ....... "

(MORE LATER).


NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......

Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
(21 of 31).

NORAID's lawyers and F.A.R.A. representatives met in court ; the battle was waged for four years - in 1981 , the courts found against NORAID , ordering it to register as an agent of the IRA . While appeals were heard , NORAID refused to file returns , in protest .

The wrangle lasted until the U.S. Justice Department threatened to sue NORAID for contempt of court in late 1983 ; early in 1984 , the court gave the Committee ninty days to comply with its ruling . Finally , something of a compromise was reached : NORAID agreed to file as an agent of the IRA , but with the stipulation that it be allowed to add that it had done so only under the court order .

The court agreed , and NORAID registered in the summer of 1984 , naming its " foreign principal " as the IRA " ... as ordered by the court ... " . During the period in which NORAID was facing the court order to file as an agent of the IRA , it was undergoing the greatest resurgence of sympathy and support it had ever experienced .......

(MORE LATER).






Tuesday, January 11, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... on 3rd December 1925 at a meeting in Downing Street in London , Free State President William Cosgrave and his 'Minister for Home Affairs' , Kevin O'Higgins , agreed that there should be no change to Britains imposed 'border' in Ireland , that the 'Council of Ireland' be scraped and that monies received from the Brits by way of financial compensation for the damage that Westminster's Black and Tans caused in Ireland would be re-paid ! Those Free State gombeens also agreed to continue paying land annuities to the British Exchequer ....... !


On their return to Dublin a few days later , Cosgrave and O'Higgins , after selling-out to the Brits once more , stuck their chests out and declared - " Today we have sown the seeds of peace ... " ! Bullshit 'spin-doctors' .

And to ensure that nobody could find out just how those " seeds of peace " had been 'won' , it was not only agreed that the Boundary Commission be revoked , but also that its 'findings' be kept hidden ; it was only published 44 years later , in 1969 !

Another episode relating to the Boundary Commission centres around the speech which the Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig , delivered in said institution on 7th October 1924 , in which he 'reminded' the Westminster Government that he had 40,000 armed men who , like him , were not prepared to accept an " unfavourable " decision by the Boundary Commission and would take any steps necessary " to defend their territory ... " (ie - the Six County 'State') .

'Sir' Craig was referring to the 'Ulster (sic) Special Constabulary Association ' .......

(MORE LATER).


PASSIONATE FRIEND .......

For the past thirteen years , British solicitor ALISTAIR LOGAN has pursued with dogged determination an almost single-handed campaign to prove the innocence of a number of Irish people convicted of bombings in Britain in the seventies .

DEREK DUNNE talks to him about his motivation and his experiences .


First published in ' IN DUBLIN ' magazine , No. 274 , 19th March 1987 , pages 8 and 9 .

Re-published here in 5 parts .

( 2 of 5).


Alistair Logan was practicing in Guildford about three years at that time and was slightly afraid of taking the case ; firstly because it was so big , secondly because of the " attitude of the community ... " and thirdly because , unless he was prepared to go around saying that it was a " terrible job to have to act on behalf of these bastards .. " - under sufference - he was in trouble .

" If one was going to say that one had serious doubts about whether or not these people were guilty of the offences , it was going to cause a lot of trouble ... " At that time , as now , there was considerable anti-Irish hysteria in Britain due partly to the bombing campaign that was being carried out by the people later captured at Balcombe Street ; Alistair Logan was threatened by the National Front because of his involvement in defending his clients -

- " I was ostracised . I was sentenced to death by the National Front . I got hate mail . My car was done over . I published a letter in 'The Times' in which I asserted the innocence of the people involved and I got formal notification of sentence of death by the National Front . There was very great detail as to how they were going to carry it out - I would be taken out to one of the army ranges and dismembered whilst I was alive , and a variety of other things would be done to me . "

That letter from the National Front was " the straw that broke the camel's back ... " and his marriage broke up .......

(MORE LATER).


NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......

Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
(20 of 31).

The U.S. Justice Department was not allowing this decline in INAC support to prevent it from pressing forward with its aim of proving NORAID in violation of FARA statues and of reducing its fund-raising efforts even more . Early in 1976 , it was decided that there was now enough evidence to file suit against the INAC to demand that it declare as its 'foreign principal' not the Belfast Northern Aid Committee or the Green Cross , but the Irish Republican Army .

An attack on NORAID was also launched from a different quarter - the year 1977 witnessed the first St. Patrick's Day appeal from the most powerful Irish-American politicians ; Senators Edward Kennedy and Daniel Moynihan , New York State Governor Hugh Carey , and House Speaker Tip O'Neill , directed at Irish Americans , asking them to stop supporting organisations connected to violence .

Though NORAID was not actually named in their statement , it was obviously the target . NORAID's lawyers fought back , accusing the U.S. Government of using FARA as an excuse to interfere with their fund-raising .......

(MORE LATER).






Monday, January 10, 2005

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... with 'their man' on the Boundary Commission (Eoin MacNeill) gone from that body (and , indeed , gone from Leinster House as well !) the Free State President , William Cosgrave , and his 'Minister for Home Affairs' , Kevin O'Higgins , arrived in Downing Street in London for a meeting with British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and Stormont 'Prime Minister' 'Sir' James Craig - that was on the 25th November 1925 . Within nine days (ie by the 3rd December 1925) , the Free Staters had been 'sold' another 'pup' by the Brits ....... !


On the 3rd December 1925 , all those present at a meeting (ie all those mentioned in the intro.) agreed that the 'border' , as fixed 5 years earlier in the ' 1920 Government of Ireland Act ' and as stated in the 1921 Treaty of Surrender , would so remain , and an agreement was signed to that effect by those present . But the Brits , no doubt smelling fear and relief at the same time from the Free Staters , wanted more 'concessions' .......

.......they pushed for , and got , a separate agreement that the 'Council of Ireland' (a 'talking-shop' which the 1921 Treaty promised to set-up) be scraped (even though it had not , in fact , ever been established !) , and , as a final insult to the Free State muppets , the Brits demanded that they repay the compensation which Westminster had paid to them for damage which the Brits themselves had caused in Ireland during the Black and Tan War !

And , in for a (British) penny , in for a (British) pound - no doubt by now realising the 'calibre' of the men they were up against , the Brits also insisted , and again, got , a commitment from the Free Staters that they would continue to pay land annuities to the British Exchequer !

The British Government 'leak' of mis-information to the 'London Morning Post' newspaper (on 7th November 1925) had worked as intended ; put the fear of God into the Free Staters and paid handsome dividends to the Brits . That is , of course , unless you believe the Free State version of how that meeting went .......

(MORE LATER).


PASSIONATE FRIEND .

For the past thirteen years , British solicitor ALISTAIR LOGAN has pursued with dogged determination an almost single-handed campaign to prove the innocence of a number of Irish people convicted of bombings in Britain in the seventies .

DEREK DUNNE talks to him about his motivation and his experiences .


First published in ' IN DUBLIN ' magazine , No. 274 , 19th March 1987 , pages 8 and 9 .

Re-published here in 5 parts .

( 1 of 5).


In 1975 , eleven people were wrongly convicted of the Guildford and Woolwich pub bombings in Britain the previous year . In the past eighteen months , there have been numerous television programmes about the case and British Home Secretary Douglas Hurd has finally sent the convictions back to the Court of Criminal Appeal for reconsideration .

One man , solicitor Alistair Logan , was mainly responsible for that gain , but his single-mindedness has cost him dearly ; it is now generally accepted that the eleven people are innocent , and should not be in jail . But Alistair Logan did'nt even want the case in the first instance - " I was on the panel of legal aid solicitors and they rang me up one morning and asked if I'd take the case of the Guildford bombers - thats exactly how they put it - and I said 'No' . I was a sole practitoner at the time and I felt that a case of that size would be too big for me to handle .

And they rang me back two hours later and said nobody else would take the case , so I said 'okay'....... "

(MORE LATER).


NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......

Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
(19 of 31).

Other NORAID activists were brought before the courts in places as far apart as Butte , Montana , and Baltimore to face weapons-smuggling charges ; on February 14th , 1974 , Federal Agents scored a 'coup' in New York - Treasury Department Agents arrested James Conlon and Michael Larkin , accusing them of conspiring to smuggle twenty thousand dollars' worth of arms , purchased at a Maryland gun shop owned by William Westerfund .

Westerfund was also arrested , as were two other Irish-American activists , Harry Hillick and Kieran MacMahon . Involved were one hundred Armalite rifles , which they were alleged to have obtained from William Westerfund .

All went to prison - James Conlon , who was in poor health , died soon after his release . From around this time , in the mid-1970's , NORAID's filings show a sharp decrease in funds . in 1975 , their returns reveal that for the first time the yearly collections dropped below $200,000 ; during 1975 , $174,000 was reported . The following year the amount fell to $119,500 , and the decline continued into 1977 , when the INAC registered collections of only $108,000 .......

(MORE LATER).
(If Mr. Peter Knox from Australia is reading this : I am unable to locate any further information on that person - I tried a number of times to contact you on the e-mail address you gave me , but my letters were , as Elvis would say , 'returned to sender' ! Sorry its not better news ; Sharon ).