" 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!


Friday, February 25, 2005

'THE PRESS' Newspaper , October 1797 - March 1798 .
Too Radical for the Radicals .......

... at 34 years young (in 1797) , Dr. William James MacNeven , a leader of the United Irishmen organisation , travelled to France to seek help for an armed Rising in Ireland . Eight months previously , the French had attempted to offer assistance to the Irish .......


In December 1796 , a French expedition to assist the Irish Rebels had failed ; that was under the command of French General Hoche . The Irish , one and all , were now paying the price for daring to involve the French in British 'internal' affairs . Now the British had a fleet of fighting ships anchored off the French Coast - William MacNeven's plea for assistance was described by the French as being "impractical" , and he returned to Ireland empty-handed .

Dr. William James MacNeven was one of the 15 members of the Leinster Provincial Directory of the United Irishmen that were 'arrested' by the British in March 1798 at the home of Oliver Bond in Dublin ; the informer Thomas Reynolds had led the Brits to them , and MacNeven was imprisoned in Kilmaimham Jail in Dublin .

With most of the United Irishmen leadership in prison , the Brits went on the rampage throughout the country , slaughtering the rank-and-file of the (now leaderless) Irish Rebel Army . The men in prison had to do something .......

(MORE LATER).


LIGHTS , CAMERA , REAGAN .......!
By John Dean.
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , October 1980 , pages 30, 31, 35, and 37.
Re-published here in 20 parts .
(7 of 20).

Ronald Reagan's political 'package' is an attractive one ; the simple slogans , the irrevalent data , jokes , camera appeal and social grace - neatly wrapped and presented with the skill and timing of a professional actor . It has , in an age of confusion , brought the American Presidency within Reagan's grasp . It's a development that many find difficult to take seriously - the rumour goes that when Jack Warner , the head of Warner Brothers , first heard that Ronald Reagan was going to run for President he responded - " No , no , the casting is all wrong . Jimmy Stewart for President , Ronnie Reagan for best friend . "

Reagan's first political speech was as 'Class President' at Eureka College , a small Christian college in rural Illinois ; he entered the college in 1928 after a relatively poor childhood , with his family moving from one small Midwest town to another .

Ironically , that speech was in support of a student strike , a phenomena that Reagan would encounter again and again as Governor of California in the turbulent 1960's .......

(MORE LATER).


DEATH LIST 1989 .......
Two RUC Officers and two British soldiers , one based in West Germany , were killed by the IRA since mid-May , while a Catholic barman was shot by the UFF bringing the total death toll to 39 this year .
No by-line.
From 'MAGILL' magazine , July 1989 , pages 22 and 23 .
Re-published here in 14 parts .
(3 of 14).

9th February : Tony Fusco (33) of Milford Row , Divis Flats was shot by the UVF as he walked to work in the Smithfield Market in Belfast city centre . His family denied a UVF claim that Mr. Fusco was a member of the IRA and said he was shot solely because he was a Catholic .

12th February : A solicitor Patrick Finucane was killed by a UFF squad in front of his wife and children at his home in Fortwilliam Drive in North Belfast . A UFF claim that he was a member of the IRA was denied by his family and by the Republican Movement . Mr. Finucane was solicitor for Bobby Sands during the 1981 hunger strike and was prominent in representing families of the victims of the shoot-to-kill policy later investigated by John Stalker .

14th February : John Davey , a Sinn Fein Councillor in his late fifties , from Magherafelt , County Derry , was shot dead as he returned to his home after a meeting of Magherafelt District Council . Exactly a year earlier he had survived a similar assassination attempt . Mr. Davey's car was found stationary with its headlights switched off and handbrake on - giving rise to speculation that he thought he had been stopped at a checkpoint at the end of a wooded laneway to his home .

(MORE LATER).






Thursday, February 24, 2005

'THE PRESS' Newspaper , October 1797 - March 1798 .
Too Radical for the Radicals .......

....... at 20 years young , in 1783 , William James MacNeven returned to Dublin to establish himself as a medical doctor ; he also joined the 'Catholic Committee' , which sought legal changes to the way Catholics were being victimised because of their religion .......


However - a campaign , well-meaning as it was , to obtain better employment opportunities in 'high' Office for ('upper-class') Catholics was not the number-one priority when you and yours had empty bellies ; the immediate cause of that type of poverty was British mis-rule and the treatment dished-out to the Irish 'peasantry' by Westminster's military and its political leadership .

Dr. William James MacNeven must have come to that same conclusion because , at the invitation of 'Lord' Edward Fitzgerald , he joined the militant 'Society of United Irishmen' and soon became one of the leaders of that organisation . However , the two men were later to 'fall-out' over how , and when , to tackle the Brits in an armed uprising . When he was 34 years young (ie in 1797) Dr. William MacNeven would have witnessed the British Yeomen and Militia , under direction from their General Lake , persecuting the starving Irish ; it was agreed that MacNeven should travel to Paris in July that year (1797) to again seek French help for a Rising in Ireland .

He would have been aware of French efforts to assist the Irish eight months previously (ie in December 1796) .......

(MORE LATER).


LIGHTS , CAMERA , REAGAN .......!
By John Dean.
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , October 1980 , pages 30, 31, 35, and 37.
Re-published here in 20 parts .
(6 of 20).

Ronald Reagan almost always talks in generalities , making it extremely difficult to pin him down on specifics ; Elizabeth Drew , of 'The New Yorker' says - " Talking to Reagan can be something like grappling with a wet cake of soap . He is pleasant enough , responsive , even garroulous , but often he follows much the same script that he does on stage , and many of his answers slide away . "

Ronald Reagan is not dumb : he knows full well that elections are won on image , and by generalists . Saying the same things over and over is safe , lessening the chance of being tripped up and looking bad . He is also one of the best public speakers in American politics today , knowing how to stir a crowd and keep them in their seats listening - it's the use of humour with a good delivery .

He is sincere , and whether you agree or not with what he's saying , he says it well and obviously believes what he is saying .......

(MORE LATER).


DEATH LIST 1989 .......
Two RUC Officers and two British soldiers , one based in West Germany , were killed by the IRA since mid-May , while a Catholic barman was shot by the UFF bringing the total death toll to 39 this year .
No by-line.
From 'MAGILL' magazine , July 1989 , pages 22 and 23 .
Re-published here in 14 parts .
(2 of 14).

28 January : RUC Constable Stephen Montgomery (26) was killed and another RUC man seriously injured when a drogue bomb hit their vehicle close to midnight at Sion Mills in County Tyrone . The bomb was thrown from a roof top . The IRA claimed responsibility .

31 January : British Army Private Nicholas Peacock (20) from Grantham , Lincolnshire , was killed in a bomb blast at the side of the 'Rock Bar' at the junction of the Falls Road and Rockmore Road in West Belfast . In the North for less than a month , Private Peacock was the first British soldier to die in Ireland in 1989 .

6 February : James Joseph Connolly (20) , an IRA Volunteer from Castlederg , County Tyrone , was killed when a bomb he was planting under the car of an RUC Officer exploded prematurely at Drumquin , County Tyrone . Josie Connolly was born in Glasgow in August 1968 and was a bricklayer by trade and a well-known amateur boxer .

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, February 23, 2005

'THE PRESS' Newspaper , October 1797 - March 1798 .
Too Radical for the Radicals .......

....... the other 'main man' in the leadership of the United Irishmen organisation who was wary of (if not actually opposed to) ' The Press' newspaper was Dr. William James MacNeven .......


MacNeven was a Galway man , born in March 1763 at Ballymahowma , near Aughrim . At the time of his birth , the 'Penal Laws' were in operation in Ireland - that British instrument practically 'outlawed' the Catholic Religion .

Augustinians , Dominicans and Roman Catholic Bishops and Archbishops etc were " banned on pain of transportation or death ... " and it was further 'deemed' that Catholic children need not be educated . When he was 12 years young (in 1775) William James MacNeven's parents sent him to Prague to live with his uncle and get some schooling ; at 20 years young (in 1783) , he graduated in medicine from a college in Vienna and returned to Dublin to establish a practice .

He was interested in working against injustice and soon joined the 'Catholic Committee' , which fought against the existing legal discrimination which victimised Catholics because of their religion . However , a campaign to obtain the 'right' for ('upper-class') Catholics to sit in Parliament and/or occupy other 'high' Offices was not the number-one priority when your belly was empty and you and your family were starving .......

(MORE LATER).


LIGHTS , CAMERA , REAGAN .......!
By John Dean.
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , October 1980 , pages 30, 31, 35, and 37.
Re-published here in 20 parts .
(5 of 20).

Ronald Reagan had the same 'Speech' for different occasions ; it had two main points -

- One : there is too much government in our lives ,therefore we have inflation , high taxes , a bloated bureaucracy and any other domestic evil he can think of at the time ;
Two : the Russians are coming , therefore let's spend on defence , and lets re-assert ourselves in foreign affairs .

The key phrases - many times even the gestures and cadences - are repeated over and over again , even in informal , spontaneous situations . Another favourite Reagan tactic is throwing out grossly exaggerated 'examples' to make his point : discussing government waste , for instance , he will announce that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has 144 regulations on climbing ladders . In fact , it has two !

The problem here is what his staff members explain as Reagan's over-reliance on magazine and newspaper articles that support his and Nancy's ideas , or as one aide complains - " He's stubborn . He says 'I know I read this somewhere' , and if he thinks it's accurate and you can't find out otherwise , he'll use it ....... "

(MORE LATER).


DEATH LIST 1989 .
Two RUC Officers and two British soldiers , one based in West Germany , were killed by the IRA since mid-May , while a Catholic barman was shot by the UFF bringing the total death toll to 39 this year .
No by-line.
From 'MAGILL' magazine , July 1989 , pages 22 and 23 .
Re-published here in 14 parts .
(1 of 14).

15 January : Former RUC Reservist Harry Keys (23) from Ballycassidy , Co. Fermanagh , was killed outside his girlfriend's home in Ballintra , Co. Donegal . He had been warned of the danger of crossing the Border to visit his nineteen-year-old girlfriend by his former colleagues .

18 January : Ian Catney (27) a Catholic from Smithfield in West Belfast was shot dead in the Smithfield Market by the UVF , who alleged that he was a member of the INLA , a claim disputed by the IRSP.

25 January : David Dornan (26) a Protestant from Ballynahinch , Co. Down , was shot dead in Lisburn by loyalists apparently in a case of mistaken identity . His killers , according to the RUC , thought he was a Catholic . A 'Free Presbyterian' , he was shot at 8.30 am by two men as he sat in his mechanical digger at a site on Knockmore Road just outside Lisburn .

(MORE LATER).






Tuesday, February 22, 2005

'THE PRESS' Newspaper , October 1797 - March 1798 .
Too Radical for the Radicals .......

....... when Oliver Bond's house was raided (on 12th March 1798) by the Brits , Thomas Addis Emmet was fortunate enough not to have been there . He knew he was a wanted man , and went 'on-the-run' .......


He was eventually captured by the Brits around May that year (1798) and imprisoned in Fort George Prison in Scotland until 1802 ; on his release , at 38 years young , he went to Brussels . When his younger brother , Robert , led the Rising in Ireland in 1803 (at 25 years young) , Thomas Addis Emmet was in Paris .

Following the failure of that armed insurrection , Thomas went to America and practiced law in New York . He had by this stage married an Irish girl , Jane Patten , the daughter of the Rev. John Patten from Clonmel in County Tipperary - that marriage took place in Ireland in 1791 , when he was 27 years young . Thomas Addis Emmet , born in 1764 in Cork , Ireland , died in New York City on 14th November 1827 , at the age of 63 .

The other 'main man' in the leadership of the United Irishmen organisation who was wary (if not opposed to) 'The Press' newspaper and its two main proprietors , Arthur O'Connor and 'Lord' Edward Fitzgerald , was Dr. William James MacNeven .......

(MORE LATER).


LIGHTS , CAMERA , REAGAN .......!
By John Dean.
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , October 1980 , pages 30, 31, 35, and 37.
Re-published here in 20 parts .
(4 of 20).

Nancy Reagan is said to be the real power ; a case in point occurred during a recent press conference in Florida when Ronnie Reagan remarked that a marijuana cigarette was probably a bigger cancer hazard than a tobacco cigarette . A reporter catching Reagan offguard pointed out that it was'nt necessary to smoke as many marijuana cigarettes to get the desired effect ; as Reagan hesitated a beat , Nancy nudged him and whispered loud enough for one reporter to hear "... you would'nt know " .

" I would'nt know , " Reagan replied . Such momentary lapses are rare for Ronnie Reagan , who has pledged to take an annual senility test if he is elected .

Usually he knows what he's talking about , and for good reason - whenever he speaks he always falls back on what has come to be known as 'The Speech' : no matter how much the parts are re-arranged , updated or edited , the message - and the two main points - are the same and have been for the past 15 years .......

(MORE LATER).


BIG BROTHER HAS ARRIVED .......
An investigation into the extent of telephone surveillance in Ireland shows that with the aid of new technology , telephone tapping has reached alarmimg proportions and most of it is done illegally .
By Frank Doherty .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , page 19.
[6 of 6].

More recently , the UDA intercepted the telex line used by Pierre Salinger , U.S. President Kennedy's former Press Secretary , when he came to Belfast as a correspondent for ABC TV to interview IRA men . When Salinger telexed his office in Paris that he had made contact , the RUC , who intercepted the line as a matter of course , pounced .

But when they closed the net the only people in it were Salinger and a few local Sinn Fein people ; the Provos , it seemed , had either tapped Sallinger's line or the RUC lines .

The UDA , annoyed at the Provos' propaganda coup in getting the RUC to arrest Salinger without any loss to themselves , then showed copies of his primitively-coded messages to Paris to other pressmen , claiming he had come to Belfast to meet the IRA .

[END of ' BIG BROTHER HAS ARRIVED ....... '].
(Tomorrow - 'DEATH LIST 1989' - from 'MAGILL' magazine , July 1989).






Monday, February 21, 2005

'THE PRESS' Newspaper , October 1797 - March 1798 .
Too Radical for the Radicals .......

....... one of those opposed to taking immediate action against British mis-rule in Ireland was Thomas Addis Emmet , who believed that no such move should take place until such time as the French were willing to assist .......


Thomas Addis Emmet was born in Cork on 24th April 1764 ; when he was fourteen years young , his mother gave birth to another boy , Robert , who became more closely associated with the Emmet name than Thomas Addis .

He was educated at Trinity College in Dublin and Edinburgh University in Scotland , following which he went abroad to study medicine and returned to Ireland in 1788 , to help his family cope with the death of his older brother , Christopher Temple Emmet (who was only 27 years young [and a practicing barrister] when he died in 1788) . Thomas Addis Emmet dropped medicine as a career that year , and studied law .

He was called to the Bar in 1790 , and specialised in dealing with prisoners charged with political offences . This work brought him into contact with the United Irishmen organisation , which he joined in 1795 at 31 years young - within two years (ie by 1797) he was on that organisations Executive Committee .

As with 'Lord' Edward Fitzgerald , Thomas Addis Emmet escaped capture by the British when Oliver Bond's house was raided on 12th March 1798 and , as with Fitzgerald , was forced to go 'on-the-run' .......

(MORE LATER).


LIGHTS , CAMERA , REAGAN .......!
By John Dean.
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , October 1980 , pages 30, 31, 35, and 37.
Re-published here in 20 parts .
(3 of 20).

Nancy Reagan is more than just a smiling lady in the pictures ; rather she is a true power and influence on her husband and his thinking . " Hell , Nancy's the one who brought him over to the right and made a conservative out of him ," a close friend of theirs told me . " She's strong and subtly pushes him , letting him think something was his own idea . But Ronnie would still be selling soap if it were'nt for Nancy , and I'll tell you this also : if he's elected President , she'll end up running the country . "

A bit of an overstatement , perhaps , but probably not much ; by all accounts Nancy Reagan is as sweet and charming as she appears . She is also intensely devoted to her husband and all that he stands for . So much so , in fact , that she has no qualms admitting - " Ronnie is my life ; my life began when we met ... " . Yet the line between fierce loyalty and overt control , whatever the degree , may be a fine one with the Reagans , be the issue large or small .......

(MORE LATER).


BIG BROTHER HAS ARRIVED .......
An investigation into the extent of telephone surveillance in Ireland shows that with the aid of new technology , telephone tapping has reached alarmimg proportions and most of it is done illegally .
By Frank Doherty .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , page 19.
(5 of 6).

'Official IRA' 'taps' even confirmed suspicions about an SAS presence in the North by providing a movement list ordering individual British soldiers and Officers on leave or to training camps for various courses . Almost all the messages were in plain language - a sign that even the British Army underestimated the ability of Irish tappers .

Walter Ellis , the 'Cork Examiner's ' sole employee in the North , was an east Belfast Protestant who had no connection with any Irish Republican group ; he left Belfast to report for 'The Irish Times' newspaper in Europe without ever discovering the story behind his office telex .......

(MORE LATER).