" 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. Ah well! Thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again next year!

Friday, April 29, 2005

FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP .......
From the moment a new recruit enters the Irish Republican Army he or she undergoes a rigorous and intensive training to assess the individual Volunteer's level of commitment , general ability and particular aptitudes . After the initial recruitment lectures , this period includes training in personal security and anti-interrogation , basic intelligence work , political education - and of course training in the use of weapons . In this supplied article , a Volunteer in the IRA's Belfast Brigade describes his experience of taking part in an IRA training camp .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 , pages 39 , 40 , 41 , 42, 43 , 44 and 45 .



... day 4 ..



Taking it in turns for each calibre of weapon , we fire off a few shots ; the thing that surprises most of us is that there's no noticeable 'recoil' , although the 'flash' is bigger that I expected and there's a terrible smell of cordite . Firing the Ruger , which has a great 'feel' to it , produces a ringing in the ears , and the Gewher not only looks like an elephant gun but sounds like one as well . We're told it's an accurate sniping weapon at ranges up to 500 yards .

Our confidence is on the increase after seeing the results of the heavy calibre shooting , though there are certainly no 'Annie Oakleys' among us ! One of the IRA Training Officers is patiently explaining the distinction between a marksman and a sniper ; the latter may not be a 'crack shot' , but unlike many of the former category he does possess the toughness of character and individualist aptitude of mind to 'create' the right conditions for a successful 'snipe' . Above all , he tells us , it comes down to total concentration , self-confidence and an unflagging desire for perfection .

The adrenalin's pumping but the total self-confidence has still to be acquired as we each get down to fire 25 rounds of .22 ammunition , in groups of five , into the five miniature 'Faceless Men' on each target . The point of the exercise is to get 'tight grouping' on all five shots in the centre of the blank white space between the peaked cap and the shoulders of the ' RUC man .......'

(MORE LATER).




THE ARMALITE AND THE BALLOT BOX .......
" The military struggle will not slow down to relate to Sinn Fein's political activity . "
Michael Farrell interviews two spokespersons authorised to speak on behalf of the leadership of the IRA .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 , pages 7, 9 and 11 .



MICHAEL FARRELL : " To what do you attribute the recent emergence of supergrasses ? "


IRA : " The Brits have had to resort to bribing IRA Volunteers - supergrasses - because our adoption of 'cells' , or Active Service Units , as we prefer to call them , meant they could'nt get information anymore . Very big sums of money are involved ; Volunteers have been offered up to £250,000 during interrogation .

A few IRA members who had been broken by spells in jail gave in to this temptation . We have learned from this and will be much more careful in future about re-involving people who have been in jail . "



MICHAEL FARRELL : " What effect have the supergrasses had on your organisation ? "


IRA : " The supergrasses were also an attempt by the Brits to shake the confidence of the people - on whom we rely for support - in the IRA . This worked for a while when they saw actual IRA Volunteers giving information , but the effect has worn off .
The proof of this is that the IRA is still operating effectively ; remember that every Volunteer needs a billet and every weapon a dump and these are provided by the people . Even if some Volunteers are jailed because of the supergrasses it will not affect our capabilities . We have never had to deploy even 50 per cent of our membership during the periods of most intense activity .

At one time almost 2,000 alleged IRA members were interned and it did'nt affect our capacity to continue the war . For some years now we have been turning away recruits because we don't need them and directing them into other areas of resistance ....... "

(MORE LATER).




STATEMENT RELEASED BY J. McGarrity , IRISH REPUBLICAN PUBLICITY BUREAU , February 1957 .......
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 6.
(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].
Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.



But threaten and plead as those professional politicians will , denigrate and misrepresent as they do , imprison and persecute as much as they please : in spite of all their efforts they cannot stifle the truth . The young Freedom Fighters of this generation have restored once more for the Irish people and for the world the hard cold truth enunciated by Padraig Pearse -

" One of the sins against Faith is presumption ; which is defined to us as a foolish expectation of salvation without using the necessary means to obtain it .
Surely then it is a sin against national faith to expect freedom without using the necessary means to win and keep it . I know of no other way than the way of the sword ; history records no other . Time , reason and experience suggest no other . "

[END of ' STATEMENT RELEASED BY J. McGarrity , IRISH REPUBLICAN PUBLICITY BUREAU , February 1957'].


(MONDAY - 'FROM BELFAST PRISON' - THE REPUBLICAN INTERNEES AND ELECTIONS ; 17th February 1957 .)





Thursday, April 28, 2005

FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP ....... From the moment a new recruit enters the Irish Republican Army he or she undergoes a rigorous and intensive training to assess the individual Volunteer's level of commitment , general ability and particular aptitudes . After the initial recruitment lectures , this period includes training in personal security and anti-interrogation , basic intelligence work , political education - and of course training in the use of weapons . In this supplied article , a Volunteer in the IRA's Belfast Brigade describes his experience of taking part in an IRA training camp . From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 , pages 39 , 40 , 41 , 42, 43 , 44 and 45 .


DAY 4.

As soon as one of the IRA Training Officers has constructed an acoustic 'tunnel' we're ready to start firing ; the 'tunnel' on this occasion consists of a triangular wire frame with narrow wooden supports , placed on top of a large flat rock several feet high , which we'll be using to rest on while shooting .

The wire frame is covered by strips of foam , with our sleeping bags laid over the top . The whole structure is about ten feet long and eighteen inches at its apex . Another method of constructing a firing 'tunnel' is by using a series of car tyres arranged rim to rim . Its practical effect is to muffle the initial percussion of the bullet as its fired , although the 'crack' as it breaks the sound barrier is still audible for some distance .

The firing range itself has been carefully chosen so that the land relief acts as a barrier to sound travel ; the shooting takes place in a hollow , so that the bulk of the sound is caught by the higher land around it and deflected upwards rather than outwards . Despite these precautions there are always two of us positioned in the high ground keeping watch on the approaches .

This is a 'standard camp' for beginners , so unlike the more specialised 'sniper camps' we do most of our shooting at only 25 yards range with a few shots at 100 yards . The object is for the IRA Training Officers to get a rough guide to our standard of heavy calibre shooting , and then to guage our ability more precisely with a series of shots from the .22 bolt action rifle . The results will be used to determine whether we will come back later for sniper training .......

(MORE LATER).



THE ARMALITE AND THE BALLOT BOX ....... " The military struggle will not slow down to relate to Sinn Fein's political activity . "
Michael Farrell interviews two spokespersons authorised to speak on behalf of the leadership of the IRA .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 , pages 7, 9 and 11 .


MICHAEL FARRELL : " How long will this take ( to remove the British presence by force) ? "

IRA : " In 1978-9 we projected a long war lasting for 20 years or more . That was partly to prepare our people psychologically as there was a certain amount of war-weariness at the time . We are not so sure that it will take that long now ; if the Republican Movement can capitalise on all the social discontent in the 26 counties and continue its electoral successes it could be a lot shorter . "


MICHAEL FARRELL : " In a previous 'MAGILL' interview the IRA predicted bombing attacks in England . Recently a London Labour councillor who supports British withdrawal argued that such bombings hinder the development of a solidarity movement there . Do you still intend to bomb Britain ? "

IRA : " Our activity in Britain at any given time is dictated by our ability to strike there . It is still a target because we believe one bomb in Britain is worth 50 in Ireland . However , we do not intend to hold the British people responsible for their government's crimes in Ireland ; any attacks will be limited to the British political establishment and to military targets .

And if there is a big growth in anti-war feeling in Britain we would have to revise our attitude ....... "

(MORE LATER).



STATEMENT RELEASED BY J. McGarrity , IRISH REPUBLICAN PUBLICITY BUREAU , February 1957 ....... From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 6.(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.


Unable to defeat the Freedom Fighters in the field , unable to trap or capture them because of the help and encouragement given to them by the risen people of the North , the English and Six-County governments called on the Dublin Government for assistance ; the Leinster House politicians , ever willing to sacrifice the friends of Ireland at the behest of Ireland's enemies , used 26-County police force and army in an all-out attempt to prevent the men and women of All-Ireland from going to the assistance of our Northern brothers , and enforced the full rigours of coercion to protect the British Occupation Forces and prevent the people of the North from gaining their freedom .

For this they will have to answer at the bar of history ; for this they must account to the Irish people . Every effort is being made by them to involve those who stand by the people of the North in disturbances in the 26-Counties . It is vitally necessary that the people of Ireland should understand that the declared policy of the Republican Movement has not changed .

We have one enemy and one enemy only - the British Occupation Forces in Occupied Ireland . The men and women committed to the resistance movement will not carry out any operation in the 26-County area ; any attempt to link them with raids for arms or explosives or acts of sabotage in the 26-County area can only be viewed as a deliberate attempt at misrepresentation by the professional politicians .......

(MORE LATER).




Wednesday, April 27, 2005

FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP ....... From the moment a new recruit enters the Irish Republican Army he or she undergoes a rigorous and intensive training to assess the individual Volunteer's level of commitment , general ability and particular aptitudes . After the initial recruitment lectures , this period includes training in personal security and anti-interrogation , basic intelligence work , political education - and of course training in the use of weapons . In this supplied article , a Volunteer in the IRA's Belfast Brigade describes his experience of taking part in an IRA training camp . From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 , pages 39 , 40 , 41 , 42, 43 , 44 and 45 .


...day 3 ..


The cross-country hike takes just under an hour ; it's an unusual sensation to be marching through the countryside uniformed and armed , even though it's dark and we don't expect to be seen .

We've been marching in single file behind the IRA Training Officer and suddenly he stops as the ground rises steeply . We're grateful for what we imagine is a short breather before marching on , but then he stoops to pull some strips of foam from behind a rock , and then scrapes away the surface of a patch of ground to reveal some canvas bags . Soon we're busy constructing a makeshift shelter and camouflaging it with materials that have remained hidden since the previous shooting camp .

There's even a gas bottle and a small stove (I pity the poor devil who had to haul them there !) so we'll be able to brew tea . It takes about another hour to complete the shelter in the darkness , and we're just collapsing thankfully inside , the tea-pot almost boiling , when the other three lads arrive breathless .

Too cramped to stretch out for any sleep , we sit around drinking tea and talking through the night .......

[END of 'DAY 3']. (Tomorrow - 'DAY 4' : 'Firing-tunnel constructed...').




THE ARMALITE AND THE BALLOT BOX ....... " The military struggle will not slow down to relate to Sinn Fein's political activity . "Michael Farrell interviews two spokespersons authorised to speak on behalf of the leadership of the IRA . From 'MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 , pages 7, 9 and 11 .


MICHAEL FARRELL : " What is your strategy ? "

IRA : " Our strategy has been , by military and political action , to frustrate the British aim of making the six counties governable through local power-sharing-type institutions . So far we have succeeded in this and the Brits can only govern in a direct colonial way , using 30,000 armed men .
Ultimate success will come when the British government decides that even colonial rule is no longer feasible . This will come about when , as a result of our military activity , the British people themselves demand an end to the war . "


MICHAEL FARRELL : " How do you see a British withdrawal coming about ? "

IRA : " The level of political and military activity is not yet enough to secure this ; we recognise that , even if the entire nationalist population in the six counties voted for Sinn Fein , that would'nt be enough . There must be an increase in political activity in the 26 counties so that they also demand that the Brits get out .
Even that would'nt be enough , because the only thing colonial rulers will listen to is force . There must also be a big escalation of military activity by us - and there will be ....... "
(MORE LATER).



STATEMENT RELEASED BY J. McGarrity , IRISH REPUBLICAN PUBLICITY BUREAU , February 1957 ....... From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 6.(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.


Encouraged by the apparent dissension in the Nationalist rank , an unofficial Unionist was nominated and elected . Mitchell , the 'felon' , got 24,000 votes , and Mr. O'Neill , the nominee of the Dublin Government , lost his deposit . In spite of all the warnings , 80 per cent of the Nationalist people , when given the opportunity , had declared for the right to use every honourable means to drive the British Army out of Ireland .

The Nationalist people in Occupied Ireland had spoken ; the era of confusion and false hopes was over . The stage was set , but the people of the North were not strong enough in numbers to defeat unaided the forces of British Occupation . They looked for help to their blood-brothers in the 26 Counties , and asked them - " When we rise , will the young men from the South come to help us ? "

They were told in answer that there would be no question of their rising and then looking for help from the young men of the rest of Ireland : they were told that when they decided to strike for freedom there would be men from the four provinces of Ireland with them in the firing line .
And so it happened that when the people of the North rose on the 12th December 1956 , they had with them fighting men from all parts of Ireland .......
(MORE LATER).




Tuesday, April 26, 2005

FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP ....... From the moment a new recruit enters the Irish Republican Army he or she undergoes a rigorous and intensive training to assess the individual Volunteer's level of commitment , general ability and particular aptitudes . After the initial recruitment lectures , this period includes training in personal security and anti-interrogation , basic intelligence work , political education - and of course training in the use of weapons . In this supplied article , a Volunteer in the IRA's Belfast Brigade describes his experience of taking part in an IRA training camp . From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 , pages 39 , 40 , 41 , 42, 43 , 44 and 45 .

...day 3 ..

It'll soon be pitch-black outside , and we're getting ready to move ; almost the last task is to check the assorted rounds of ammo we'll be taking with us , smooth any rounds that are a bit pitted with rust from being buried in an arms dump , using emery cloth , and discard any dud or badly corroded rounds . The camp's low on food now , so we each get handed a small rations pack which will have to do us for about 26 hours .
A car pulls up outside , its lights switched off as it approaches , and two of us climb in , along with one of the IRA Training Officers . The three of us are moving off first to establish a camp at the firing range several miles away , with the others following on an hour later . We're getting driven the first part of the journey , but we still have a couple of miles to march after that .

Lying flat on the folded-down car seats for concealment , dressed in IRA combat uniform and clutching an array of automatic weapons between us , I can visualise the looks of astonishment there would be if any republican-harassing gardai inadvertently stopped our car and found us jumping out !
The hypothetical situation does'nt arise of course - the roads having been thoroughly scouted beforehand - and we reach the drop-off point without incident . The cross-country hike is next .......
(MORE LATER).


THE ARMALITE AND THE BALLOT BOX . " The military struggle will not slow down to relate to Sinn Fein's political activity . "Michael Farrell interviews two spokespersons authorised to speak on behalf of the leadership of the IRA . From 'MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 , pages 7, 9 and 11 .


MICHAEL FARRELL : " Sinn Fein has achieved striking successes at the polls in the last nine months . What do you see as the significance of those successes ? "

IRA : " For years the political establishment claimed that the IRA had very little support . The election results have answered that conclusively and have quantified our support . Of course we do not say that all who voted for Sinn Fein were voting for active support of the IRA but they were showing at least passive support .
The results have been a big morale boost for the IRA and have revived the enthusiasm of any Volunteers who were inclined to flag . We see the Sinn Fein vote as a clear vote for the Brits to get out ."


MICHAEL FARRELL : " What effect will the election successes have on the strategy and tactics of the IRA ? "

IRA : " The history of other anti-colonial struggles like those in Zimbabwe , Mozambique and Vietnam have shown the need for guerrilla movements to have widespread political support to succeed . The election results have shown that we are building up that support . They will not lead to any real change in the strategy or tactics of the IRA , however . ('1169...' Comment - As we now know , the "strategy and tactics" of the PIRA [since 1986] have been subverted to suit the requirements of its political representatives in Provisional Sinn Fein).
We attack when and where we can ; our tactics are determined by intelligence and logistics - the availability of weapons and personnel . The military struggle will not slow down to relate to Sinn Fein's political activity . If anything , subject to logistical considerations , the war is likely to be stepped up . " ('1169...' Comment - the PIRA military struggle , against the British , anyway , is over . Provo Sinn Fein has asked , and indeed encouraged , that this , in effect , be 'put in writing' by the PIRA ; the PSF leadership will then present said statement to Leinster House , Stormont and Westminster . Wrapped , as it should be , in a white flag . ).
(MORE LATER).



STATEMENT RELEASED BY J. McGarrity , IRISH REPUBLICAN PUBLICITY BUREAU , February 1957 ....... From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 6.(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.


When Mitchell's seat was declared vacant because he was a " felon " the people showed again that they had not been fooled and that they had voted for Sinn Fein not because they were deceived but because , at last , they saw the light and once more they voted for Sinn Fein and elected Mitchell - a " felon " who was in jail for fighting against the British Army of Occupation , and who was elected this time with an increased majority .

But England again declared the election invalid and for the third time the issue was put to the people ; again the people put forward Mitchell , and the Unionists , beaten twice , decided not to contest the seat . But the politicians of Leinster House , dismayed by the determination and solidarity of the Nationalist people of the North induced an 'Anti-Partition' candidate to go forward against Mitchell so that , as they put it , " ... the people of the North could show their true feelings . "

Outside every Church and at every cross-roads , in every village and town in Mid-Ulster , the supporters of the 'Anti-Partition' candidate - the representative of the Dublin Government , the protege of Mr. Costello and Mr. de Valera - 'warned' the people of Mid-Ulster that a vote for Sinn Fein was a vote for 'violence' ; that a vote for Mitchell was a vote for war ; that a majority of Nationalist votes , if given to Mitchell , would be a mandate for physical force .......

(MORE LATER).




Monday, April 25, 2005

FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP ....... From the moment a new recruit enters the Irish Republican Army he or she undergoes a rigorous and intensive training to assess the individual Volunteer's level of commitment , general ability and particular aptitudes . After the initial recruitment lectures , this period includes training in personal security and anti-interrogation , basic intelligence work , political education - and of course training in the use of weapons . In this supplied article , a Volunteer in the IRA's Belfast Brigade describes his experience of taking part in an IRA training camp . From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 , pages 39 , 40 , 41 , 42, 43 , 44 and 45 .

...day 3..

We pin up a 'Faceless Man' target and fire some air pistol shots at it ; the 'enemy' survives with only a few flesh wounds . We're beginning to think we can't hit the proverbial barn door when one of the IRA Training Officers (perhaps only to boost morale !) says that the pistol is'nt very accurate . A break for tea , and then back to look at a card on which about 20 rounds of ammo of assorted calibres have been pasted . We are told to memorise these calibres and the specific weapon or weapons they fit : 7.92 (Gewher) , 7.62 Short (AK47) , 7.62 NATO (SLR , FN-FAL) , .30 Carbine (M1) , .223 (AR15) , .45 , 9mm , .38 , .22 , 22.250 , .45 Colt and so on .
If we're sent to an ammo dump one day to collect rounds of a specific calibre , this will come in useful . Right now , our heads are spinning with the effort of it . With all this talk of guns and ammunition , it would be wrong to give the impression that an IRA training camp is purely a military experience - practical limitations make it largely so , as time is short , with a lot of weapons training that can't easily be done elsewhere .

There is not much point having formal political lectures surrounded by IRA guns , with all the risk of a raid , but there is a political element to the camp nonetheless , mostly informal (at meals and tea-breaks) but quite informative at times . On one occasion , somehow, we get talking about Ronald Reagan and American politics , and that develops into a discussion about the Tories and the Labour 'Left' , and then about Irish Republican electoral strategy .
It all ends up pretty intense and animated , with camp democracy meaning that even the T/O's have to shout to get their point of view heard . A very republican style of discussion ....... !
(MORE LATER).


STONE COLD ....... Michael Stone is infamous for his attack on a republican funeral at Belfast's Milltown cemetery . By his own count , he has murdered four men and had a hand in the deaths of six others . He says his war is over - but he still expects to meet a violent end . By Andrew Lynch . First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , July 2003 , pages 34, 36 , and 38 . Re-published here in 13 parts . [13 of 13].


I ask Michael Stone if his war is over -
- " It is ," he says , sounding just a little doubtful . " But I'm not optimistic about the future . I support the principles of the Good Friday agreement but many things are not working out in practice . I think the situation could easy blow up again soon and if it does , there are plenty of dangerous men waiting to step back into the breach .

I'm just trying to get on with my life . I'd like to stay alive for a wee while longer . But when my time comes , I won't be surprised . You should'nt be , either . "
[END of 'STONE COLD'].(Tomorrow - 'THE ARMALITE AND THE BALLOT BOX' ; "The military struggle will not slow down to relate to Sinn Fein's political activity " - PIRA .)



STATEMENT RELEASED BY J. McGarrity , IRISH REPUBLICAN PUBLICITY BUREAU , February 1957 ....... From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 6.(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.


It is well to remember that ever since they were betrayed in 1922 , and thrown to the wolves , the Nationalist people of Occupied Ireland had tried to gain some measure of justice by constitutional processes . Year after year they had elected 'Nationalists' to the Stormont parliament or county councils , for the declared purpose of "... ending partition .. " .
Lulled into a false sense of hope by the specious promises of the party politicians , the people of Ireland on one Sunday morning contributed approximately £54,000 in answer to the hope held out to them that in this way the terrible wrongs of occupation and exploitation could be righted . But like snow of May , the money disappeared and with it the illusion that Ireland's freedom and unity could be gained by propaganda .

A stronger , more virile , spirit of resistance was awakened in the people of the North and in the elections to Westminster , they returned once more to their old allegiance , and voted 152,000 for the old principles and policy of Sinn Fein .
Subsequent to this election , they were told by the politicians of all parties that they had been deceived and that Sinn Fein had betrayed them .......
(MORE LATER).