" 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, September 30, 2005

FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION .......
By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

The weekend of October 4-5th 1969 saw a meeting to establish a controlling body for all Northern defence committees and according to the stated objectives of the meeting the purchases of arms would also be on the agenda . The meeting was held in the Commercial Hotel , Bailieborough , County Cavan , which is owned by Vincent Kelly , brother of (FS) Captain James Kelly .

The meeting began with an assurance from Captain Kelly that the suspension of arms training at Ford Dunree for people from Derry was just a temporary matter and was due to a newspaper inquiry on the activity . In addition to the activity on all other fronts , the Dublin Government had actually opened a military training camp along the border and was training Northern activists in the use of arms . The principal discussion focussed on the funding of full-time people to control barricaded areas and , of course , the necessary provision of arms .

Meanwhile , the Special Branch were outside the hotel and reported back to Peter Berry in the (FS) Department of Justice on Captain Kelly's association with 'subversives' . Days later Charles Haughey authorised the transfer of £5,000 Red Cross funds (the Red Cross was officialy involved in the distribution of the £100,000 given by the Dublin Government for relief of distress in the North ) into an account in the Bank of Ireland in Clones , County Monaghan . The account holders , described as " Mr F , G and H.. " at the subsequent Dail (ie Leinster House) inquiry and the cover names used in the bank were 'John White , John Loughran' and ' Roger White' .

On October 15th and 30th 1969 amounts of £5,000 drawn on the (FS) 'Government Grant-In-Aid' of £100,000 were paid into the Clones bank account ; the money was to be distributed as agreed at the Bailieborough meeting and so strengthen the position of the newly-established Northern Defence Committee - the intention was to distribute it to full-time IRA organisers and vigilantes in the Defence Committees . But that money caused trouble in IRA circles .......

(MORE LATER).



NA FIANNA EIREANN .......

Their courage and daring , their discipline and determination are an inspiration to their older comrades in Sinn Fein , the IRA and Cumann na mBan .
Each Easter the ROLL OF HONOUR is published ; a list of those who have died in the service of their country in this phase of the struggle for Irish Freedom .
Among those names are the names of eighteen young martyrs - members of NA FIANNA EIREANN . They gave their young lives at different ages (the youngest was twelve , the oldest was eighteen ) and in different ways .
From 'IRIS' Magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

After the Rising and the release from prison of many Fianna members at the end of 1916 and 1917 , Na Fianna Eireann was re-organised . From 1919 to 1921 the organisation took an active part in the fight for freedom throughout the country ; they carried despatches for the Volunteers , reconnoitred barracks , engaged in intelligence work and rendered first-aid to the wounded .

These years saw a rapid growth in membership (twenty-five thousand in 1921) and in organisation for the Fianna . Those years also saw great sacrifices and grievous losses . The agony Ireland went through was played out to the full in the Fianna - Fian Billy Myles killed in action at Tralee , County Kerry : Fian Toghd O'Suillivan , died after hunger-strike , Cork , 1917 : Fian Patrick Hanly , murdered in reprisal by the RIC in 1920 and many , many more of their comrades .

Na Fianna Eireann stood solidly behind the Republic after the split in 1922 over the Truce - that Truce , and the Civil War between Republicans and Free Staters which followed it , were to result in the setting up of two states in Ireland ; the twenty-six counties which was to have Dominion home-rule under Britain , and the six counties which were to be represented in the Westminster parliament as well as having their own loyalist government in Belfast . These years were to see more resistance , more deaths and imprisonment and more sacrifices .

This type of military resistance and the sacrifices which resistance demands were to continue long after the end of the Civil War ; indeed , in the six counties , where Na Fianna Eireann has always been an illegal organisation , they continue the struggle to the present day .

Victimisation and harassment , from being stopped and questioned on the street , to being arrested , sometimes charged , convicted and imprisoned for dubious offences - such as membership of Na Fianna , collecting or organising for the Fianna , possession of Fianna documents etc - all these are a regular occurrence both in the North and South of Ireland .......

(MORE LATER).



23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O'GRADY KIDNAPPING .......
The Gardai had in their possession a clue which could have led them to the O'Grady kidnappers and their captive some ten days earlier .
A card found in a rucksack after the Midleton shoot-out led them directly to the gang once they checked it out - but this was ten days later , by which time John O 'Grady had lost two of his fingers .
First published in 'MAGILL' Magazine , May 1988 .
By Michael O'Higgins .

The first 'Rescue Team' , led by Detective Inspector Carey , who had helped draw up the plan , took up its position in the field across the road from the house ; the second team , led by Detective Sergeant Michael Scanlon , also moved into position , approaching from the rear of the house . Radio silence was observed until all three teams were in position : at 4.50 PM the team led by Detective Sergeant Michael Scanlon radioed into base that they were in position - they were taking cover behind a large ditch overlooking the container .

The kidnappers and John O'Grady were hiding inside this same ditch - they heard the message being given over the garda radio ; it was then that Detective Michael Scanlon noticed that they were not , in fact , in their correct position . There was another field between them and the container and he ordered his men forward - Detective Garda Gerard Corbett went to climb over the ditch which was covered in dense undergrowth . The sound of a branch cracking beneath his weight was clearly audible . The kidnappers , a few feet below Garda Corbett , made a break for it out onto the open road .

Luck was on their side - a Hi-Ace van was approaching , the occupants of which , Charles and Mary Terry , were ordered out at gunpoint : using Mary Terry as a 'shield' , one of the gang fired two shots at Detective Corbett while roaring " Get down you scum " . More shots were exchanged . A Renault 9 pulled up behind the Hi-Ace van - the kidnappers changed their minds and hi-jacked this car instead - all this time one of the gang was firing shots . Another gunman was shouting - " Bring the hostage!" To the gardai the gang seemed well militarily drilled - the gardai were unable to return fire because Mary Terry was between them and the kidnappers .

The gang took off in the Renault , driving down the road towards the container where the garda 'Team One' was positioned .......

(MORE LATER).







Thursday, September 29, 2005

FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION .......
By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

Due to the booklet and his personal friendship with Seamus Brady (FS Government employee) , Hugh Kennedy ( Bord Bainne rep in Belfast) was elected Public Relations Officer of the 'Central Citizens Defence Committee' (CCDC) , whose Chairperson was the well known IRA activist Jim O'Suillivan ; a staunch supporter of the Cathal Goulding leadership .

In Dungannon , County Tyrone , a jointly-written booklet by Seamus Brady and local Civil Rights activist Aidan Corrigan was produced , entitled - ' Eye Witness in Northern Ireland' ; this too was financed by the Dublin Government Information Bureau and was printed - 5,000 copies - at the Cityview Press in Dublin despite its imprint stating - ' Published and printed in the Province of Ulster ' . The booklet was launched at a press conference in Dublin's Jury's Hotel on October 5th , 1969 . Seamus Brady arranged the press conference .

Brady resigned suddenly from the (FS) Government's Propaganda Squad on September 21st to become a full time activist on a weekly newspaper and a mobile radio station beamed on the North ; the success of illegal stations in the Bogside and Belfast had upset the Dublin Government because of their left wing attacks on them . Seamus Brady set up the weekly 'Voice Of The North' newspaper in consulation with Charles Haughey who initially suggested the title , according to Brady . Final plans for the newspaper were taken at a meeting between Charles Haughey , Captain James Kelly , Aidan Corrigan and Seamus Brady .

Captain Kelly had already organised the distribution of the newspaper and the first edition was due off the press at the Anglo-Celt on October 12th .......

(MORE LATER).



NA FIANNA EIREANN .......

Their courage and daring , their discipline and determination are an inspiration to their older comrades in Sinn Fein , the IRA and Cumann na mBan .
Each Easter the ROLL OF HONOUR is published ; a list of those who have died in the service of their country in this phase of the struggle for Irish Freedom .
Among those names are the names of eighteen young martyrs - members of NA FIANNA EIREANN . They gave their young lives at different ages (the youngest was twelve , the oldest was eighteen ) and in different ways .
From 'IRIS' Magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Na Fianna played an active part during the 1913 strike ; the great lock-out of 1913 was the first confrontation between the Irish working-class and the bosses and it saw united actions by Republicans and socialists in defence of the people . Patsy O'Connor , a Fianna Officer , was batoned savagely on the head whilst giving first-aid to an injured worker during a baton-charge by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) on the strikers . He died shortly afterwards .

When the Irish Volunteers (the forerunners of today's IRA) were formed in the same year (1913) the value of the work undertaken by the Fianna became obvious ; the senior Fianna were ready and competent to train the Volunteers and accustom them to discipline . Fianna stewarded the inaugural meeting of the Volunteers and four of their members were elected to the first Executive Council of the Volunteers . The following year , 1914 , saw na Fianna Eireann taking part in the Howth gun-running and shortly afterwards organising a gun-running expedition at Kilcoole .

The history of the Easter Rising in 1916 , when the Republican forces took over the centre of Dublin , proclaimed an independent Irish Republic and held off vastly superior British Army forces for six days , is interwoven with Fianna exploits and Fianna heroes ; Fianna Officers were given command of important sections of the operations . A party of Fianna and Volunteers successfully attacked and destroyed the arms and munitions in the Magazine Fort in Dublin's Phoenix Park , thus signalling the start of the Rising .

Fianna Officers Sean Houston , Con Colbert and Constance Markievicz were in command of the Mendicity Institution , the College of Surgeons and the Marrowbone Lane units ; members of the organisation were also engaged in fighting in other parts of the city where they carried out the dangerous work of despatch-carrying and scouting . Six members of Na Fianna Eireann were killed in the fighting and Fianna Officers Sean Houston and Con Colbert were executed by firing squad on 8th May 1916 .......

(MORE LATER).



23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O'GRADY KIDNAPPING .......
The Gardai had in their possession a clue which could have led them to the O'Grady kidnappers and their captive some ten days earlier .
A card found in a rucksack after the Midleton shoot-out led them directly to the gang once they checked it out - but this was ten days later , by which time John O 'Grady had lost two of his fingers .
First published in 'MAGILL' Magazine , May 1988 .
By Michael O'Higgins .

The Detectives left Midleton Garda Station at 4.30 PM to take up their designated positions : the plan failed miserably - its success hinged on the presumption that the kidnappers were inside the container . It was fundamentally flawed . The most serious omission was the failure to set up roadblocks sealing off the area . Even if the primary aim was merely containment , it was already known the gang was armed ; if it came to a shoot-out , which was a likely possibility , road blocks were essential , not just to keep the kidnappers hemmed in but , more importantly , to keep the civilian population out .

10. COCK-UP AT MIDLETON .
For the previous three-and-a-half-days , John O'Grady had only been outside the container once , for a twenty minute exercise period . Most of the time he spent listening to the radio and reading the newspapers . At regular intervals during the day a man came and knocked on the container and gave the code-word ' Geronimo' ; he would then open up the container and pass in meals . The container was locked from outside ; O'Grady's guards were as much prisoners as himself . Eddie Hogan had returned to the container on the previous evening - that evening , Hogan and another gang member left early . Sometime during the morning O'Grady and the remaining guard heard someone outside the container ; soon afterwards , Hogan arrived and told John O'Grady to dress quickly . He again put on his blacked-out glasses and was handcuffed . They moved to a tunnel close by .

John O'Grady remained in the tunnel for an hour or so listening to the RTE Radio 2 marathon ; suddenly the headphones were grabbed off his head and he was taken out of the tunnel - the gang had spotted Garda Gerard O'Donoghue and his two colleagues examining the container and calling to the house of Mrs. O'Neill . Hogan led him by the hand across a couple of fields to a ditch beside the road . The four men crouched in the ditch eating currant cake , and Fergal Toal and Tony McNeill shared a cigarette .

Meanwhile , the three teams of detectives were moving in to take up their positions , unaware that the kidnappers and John O'Grady had vacated the container . 'Rescue' Team number two payed no part in what followed .......

(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, September 28, 2005

FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION .......
By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

The Irish (sic- Free State) Army's main role after August 15 , 1969 , became one of gathering information about events and people in the North ; the special Garda squads , operating on both sides of the border , had their input , too . The (FS) Government's refugee camps along the border were used as sources of information .

With the trouble dying down in Belfast , the (FS) Director of Army Intelligence , Colonel Hefferon , met the (FS) Minister for Finance , Charles Haughey , in McKee Barracks in Dublin and talked about the requirements on the intelligence front for the future as regards the North of Ireand ; at this meeting the idea developed of using a centre in Monaghan , which had been set up to deal with relief , for intelligence gathering . It was agreed to subsidise the activities of the office and the first £100 was paid over on September 9th , 1969 .

The objective was to pay the cost of maintaining the office and staff and help publish a weekly news-sheet , which would generate contacts in the North and so gather information . At the same time (FS) government employee Seamus Brady had produced a booklet entitled ' Terror in Northern Ireland' for the Central Citizens Defence Committee (CCDC) in Belfast ; Brady had been chosen to infiltrate the CCDC and this publication launched him nicely into his work . The full costs of producing the booklet were paid by the Dublin Government's 'Information Bureau' .

Hugh Kennedy , the Bord Bainne representative in Belfast , was known to Seamus Brady from journalistic work carried out for the Bord , which was then under the control of the (FS) Minister for Agriculture , Neil Blaney . Mr. Blaney was also a member of the Leinster House Government's sub-committee on the North .......

(MORE LATER).



NA FIANNA EIREANN .
Their courage and daring , their discipline and determination are an inspiration to their older comrades in Sinn Fein , the IRA and Cumann na mBan .
Each Easter the ROLL OF HONOUR is published ; a list of those who have died in the service of their country in this phase of the struggle for Irish Freedom .
Among those names are the names of eighteen young martyrs - members of NA FIANNA EIREANN . They gave their young lives at different ages (the youngest was twelve , the oldest was eighteen ) and in different ways .
From 'IRIS' Magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Na Fianna Eireann is the youth organisation of the Republican Movement , the revolutionary vanguard of Irish youth . Throughout its long history , longer indeed than that of either Sinn Fein or the IRA , it has been called upon to play an often vital role in the fight for national liberation .

The organisation was founded by Countess Markievicz in 1909 "...to train the youth of Ireand to fight Ireland's fight when they are older .. " . A Gaelic renaissance was sweeping Ireland at the time and the Fianna were to be an Irish and Gaelic answer to the pro-British Baden-Powell scouts : indeed the National Youth Council of Ireland cites Na Fianna Eireann as the first national Irish youth Movement .

Na Fianna looked on the mythological Fianna of Fionn MacCuamhail as their exemplars , and took their motto , " Glaine 'nar gcroi neart 'nar ngeaga agus beart do reir ar mbriathar " (" Purity In Our Hearts , Strength In Our Arms And Truth On Our Lips ") as their own . The legends of old Ireland extolled the courage and the daring , the discipline and the determination of the country's defenders of Cuchulainn and the Red Branch Knights , and of Fionn and the Fianna .

Their own courage and discipline were soon to be tested in the great lock-out of 1913 , the training of the Irish Volunteers throughout 1914 , 1915 and 1916 , and the Easter Rising .......

(MORE LATER).



23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O'GRADY KIDNAPPING .......
The Gardai had in their possession a clue which could have led them to the O'Grady kidnappers and their captive some ten days earlier .
A card found in a rucksack after the Midleton shoot-out led them directly to the gang once they checked it out - but this was ten days later , by which time John O 'Grady had lost two of his fingers .
First published in 'MAGILL' Magazine , May 1988 .
By Michael O'Higgins .

Garda Gerard O'Donoghue and two of his colleagues knocked on the container but got no reply ; they went to an adjacent house where an elderly woman , a Mrs O'Neill , lived : she told them she had not noticed any suspicious activity , so they returned to Midleton Garda Station . The matter might have ended there but for the fact that at 3PM Garda O'Donoghue received new information - on the basis of this O'Donoghue was convinced he had located the kidnap gang .

Garda Superintendent Murray arrived into Midleton Garda Station to take charge at 3.30 PM - he acted quickly ; he telephoned surrounding garda stations to request back-up assistance , and then telephoned Commandant Grey of Collins Barracks in Cork City . Murray briefed Grey and requested a Company of troops and emergency lighting to assist him ; Grey's reply was that it would take two hours to mobilise troops . Twenty minutes later , however , Commandant Grey rang back to say that a Captain Kenneally would be in Midleton in three-quarters of an hour with a party of nine soldiers .

By this stage Garda Detective Inspector Carey had arrived from Union Quay Station in Cork ; over the next twenty minutes Murray and Carey cobbled together a plan - there were sixteen armed gardai of various ranks detailed to implement this plan . The Detectives split into three teams : 'Team One' was to take up a position in a field directly across the road from the container , whilst 'Team Two' and 'Team Three' were to approach the container from two directions behind . The ditches in the fields around the container were to give the surrounding party cover .

The purpose of the plan , according to Superintendent Murray , was merely to contain the gang until the soldiers arrived and roadblocks were set up . Each team was instructed to abandon their transport on farms half a mile away from the target .......

(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, September 27, 2005

FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION .......
By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

At the end of the trouble in Belfast , which threatened a major pogrom , the IRA Chief of Staff has issued a press release over his name saying that Active Service Units of his organisation were involved in defence activities in the North . During that period also the 'old brigade' arrived on the scene ; these were 'old' Republicans who had dropped out or resigned over the years because of the IRA's leftward drift and in some cases they dropped out due to lack of interest or laziness .

The atmosphere in the South was fully in favour of aiding 'the minority in the North' with guns - 'Give us guns , bags of guns' was the popular demand . At one rally demanding guns in Dundalk , a Catholic priest was reported to have fired three shots into the air from the platform and everyone cheered . It gained just a few inches in an inside page of the national dailies . But that was the mentality .

The 'old brigade's ' re-appearance on the scene produced some hero-leaders ; people like Daithi O Conaill , a distant relation of Ruairi O Bradaigh , rejoined . He was a hero from the 1956-1962 IRA border campaign , having being wounded in battle - a Corkman living in Donegal , O Conaill became the principal IRA man in the key county of Donegal . This was an appointment that Cathal Goulding would live to regret .

There were similar appointments in different parts of the country ; the IRA Chief of Staff had spent most of the 1956-1962 campaign in a British prison and therefore did not realise that the left wing politics he was pushing would not be taken on board by Daithi O Conaill and others returning to the fold . But it was better to have someone active in an area than to refuse their offer of help . Or so it appeared at the time .......

(MORE LATER).



THE SEA GREEN INCORRUPTIBLE .......
Seamus Mallon , at 50 , has finally made it to Westminster , but the Anglo-Irish Agreement is still a difficult gamble .
Fionnuala O'Connor reports on the North after the elections .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1986 .

To date , Unionist Councillors feel they have been carrying the main burden and the policy of endless adjournments have worried many . This month they must strike a rate or be exposed to individual surcharges or replaced by British-imposed commissions .

The small revolts of the old Stormont 'fire eater' Captain Robert Mitchell in Coleraine and of Belfast Official Unionist Councillor Billy Corry may not be omens but they are certainly straws in the wind .

No one , it seems , especially the Unionist leaders , knows where their strategy is headed . After a period of stagnation , we live in stirring times ...

[END of ' THE SEA GREEN INCORRUPTIBLE ' .]
(Tomorrow - 'NA FIANNA EIREANN' : from 1981.)


23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O'GRADY KIDNAPPING .......
The Gardai had in their possession a clue which could have led them to the O'Grady kidnappers and their captive some ten days earlier .
A card found in a rucksack after the Midleton shoot-out led them directly to the gang once they checked it out - but this was ten days later , by which time John O 'Grady had lost two of his fingers .
First published in 'MAGILL' Magazine , May 1988 .
By Michael O'Higgins .

When John O'Grady was writing his own ransom note , Eddie Hogan was worried that the light from the car would attract attention , even though the windows were covered with blankets . The note warned Dr. Austin Darragh not to contact the police , and instructed that a courier be sent to the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk where a call would come through for a 'Pat Murray' ; the courier was to take the call which would give further instructions .

John O'Grady was then taken from the car and led to a freight container where he was bedded down for the night . Tony McNeill and Fergal Toal resumed guard duties ; Dessie O'Hare and Eddie Hogan left them to it .

9. A BREAKTHROUGH FOR THE GARDAI .
October 26 was a Bank Holiday . Dessie O'Hare was in great form , saying that he was soon to be a millionaire - it was also his birthday . Unknown to him , however , the gardai were about to get their first break in their investigation : Garda Gerard O'Donoghue succeeded in doing what every member of the force from raw recruit to the Garda Commissioner himself wanted to do - he located the kidnappers . O'Donoghue was on plain clothes duty ; the gardai in Midleton had been informed of suspicious activity around a container just outside Midleton , in Ballymascinley .

Attempts to contact the local Garda patrol car failed due to radio interference , so Garda O'Donoghue went out with two of his colleagues in one of their own cars.......

(MORE LATER).







Monday, September 26, 2005

FIANNA FAIL AND THE IRA CONNECTION .......
By Breasal O Caollai .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' Magazine , December 1986/January 1987 .

At that time (ie August 1969) it was felt that any IRA action on the border could lead to a resumption of trouble in Belfast , rather than drawing it off , reasoned the IRA Chiefs ; Cathal Goulding ordered the four IRA Units to withdraw and so the 1969 'Border Campaign' was over without a shot being fired in anger .

On Sunday August 17th 1969 , the Sunday following the Belfast 'mini-pogrom' , a person attached to the Irish Centre in London contacted Cathal Goulding with the news that he could be put in contact with people who had an unlimited supply of money available for arms purchasing , provided they would be for use only in the North of Ireland . The following morning , Monday , August 18th 1969 , Goulding flew to London where he met the contact . When they met , Goulding was fully satisfied that the contact was indeed representing the Dublin Government .

The contact asked if Goulding was supplied with money could the Northern people be supplied with arms ? 'No problem' , said Goulding , provided the money was supplied but the figure would have to be in the region of £50,000 - 'No problem' , said the contact , and handed Goulding £1,500 ; the balance of the £50,000 would be provided within days . Goulding returned to Dublin and put the money into the IRA arms fund . The contact's trip and expenses were paid for out of State funds .

Another contact with the IRA was made back home ; a director of a factory in County Louth contacted a member of the IRA Command Staff from Belfast , at Dundalk . When they discussed the matter , figures of £50,000 to £150,000 for arms were thrown about - but the company director had one big provision : that the arms would not be used South of the border . On the day previous to this meeting the Dublin Government sub-committee had been given £100,000 "...to provide aid for the victims of the current unrest in the Six Counties .. " .......

(MORE LATER).



THE SEA GREEN INCORRUPTIBLE .......
Seamus Mallon , at 50 , has finally made it to Westminster , but the Anglo-Irish Agreement is still a difficult gamble .
Fionnuala O'Connor reports on the North after the elections .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1986 .

Catholics living in remote rural areas near Orange Halls have been well aware for months past of the frequent late-night meetings , the lines of cars . The Clubs have developed from a start last August with only a few DUP people willing to get involved - the ever-practical DUP Deputy Peter Robinson of course addressed the first meeting to set up a co-ordinating Ulster (sic) Loyalist Front , side by side with the UDA's John McMichael ; to the position now where the Unionist politicians recognise the necessity to be in there or lose status and dominance entirely to the paramilitaries .

The joint OUP/DUP working party on the 'Agreement' (ie the 1985 Hillsborough Treaty) probably owes its existence to the same pressure . Of the Westminster muddle , the 'Ulster Clubs' said that both Unionist councillors and Assembly-men had come to them to ask for guidance on the next step in the anti-'Agreement' strategy .

For politicians aware that the Clubs only reason for being is to prepare for the day when their strategy breaks down or runs out , that must have been an ominous message . Already they knew that the eternal maverick Belfast Lord Mayor , John Carson , had held a closed meeting of council leaders , mayors and chairmen , to air worries about the strategy .......

(MORE LATER).



23 DAYS IN HELL : THE STORY OF THE O'GRADY KIDNAPPING .......
The Gardai had in their possession a clue which could have led them to the O'Grady kidnappers and their captive some ten days earlier .
A card found in a rucksack after the Midleton shoot-out led them directly to the gang once they checked it out - but this was ten days later , by which time John O 'Grady had lost two of his fingers .
First published in 'MAGILL' Magazine , May 1988 .
By Michael O'Higgins .

Manor House , on Brennanstown Road , is in the area for which Dun Laoghaire Garda Station has responsibility and this became the station from which the hunt for the kidnappers was to be co-ordinated . Every piece of information which was turned up was to be collated and analysed at Dun Laoghaire .

At eleven o'clock on the morning of October 15 , Detective Sergeant Neill visited Manor House and showed Marise O'Grady a dozen photographs - she quickly picked out Dessie O'Hare and , from the account given by Mrs O'Grady , the gardai believed the gang to be "...a bunch of amateurs.. " : many detectives spoke of an early breakthrough .

Dessie O'Hare had told Marise O'Grady to pack wellington boots for her husband as he would be kept in the open , so initially searches concentrated on woodlands but that method did not reveal any significant clues .

8. A RANSOM NOTE .
On the night of October 22 John O'Grady was asleep in the shed when he was woken up by Dessie O'Hare ; wearing the blacked-out glasses he was led out of the shed down a slope covered in gorse and bushes . His chains kept catching in the undergrowth and progress was slow . There were two cars waiting for them . O'Grady was given a cup of tea , then they drove for about ten minutes until they reached Ballymascinley , just outside Midleton , in Cork . Dessie O'Hare handed John O'Grady paper , a felt pen and a book to lean on and was told to move his glasses up on his forehead .

O'Hare dictated a ransom note addressed to Dr. Austin Darragh , demanding a million pounds sterling and half a million in punts .......

(MORE LATER).

( To 'Joe's great grand-daughter' : thank you for the visit and the comments - I hope I did not include any material which your family were not already aware of . Thanks again , Sharon .)