" 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, October 07, 2005

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

The (pro-Republican) newspaper 'The United Irishman' and the Fianna Fail-led 'Voice Of The North' newspaper were engaged in a 'war of words' ; when Seamus Brady (Fianna Fail member , and the man in charge of the 'Voice' newspaper) was asked for a comment on ' Fianna Fail takeover attempts' -type articles published in 'The United Irishman' newspaper , he described such comments as a pack of lies - " These people could'nt tell the truth if their lives depended on it . "

Days later , on November 3rd , 1969 , Seamus Brady (as explained in his submission to the subsequent Leinster House inquiry) submitted an invoice for £1,580, 6 shillings , 6 pence to Eoin Neeson in the 'Government Information Bureau' for the organisation and production of the first three editions of 'The Voice Of The North' newspaper . On the day before 'The United Irishman' newspaper exclusive (re the attempt by Fianna Fail to takeover the 'Civil Rights' issue in the Six Counties) , on October 29th , 1969 , Seamus Brady wrote to Eoin Neeson , Director of the (FS) 'Government Information Bureau' , pointing out that the (FS) Minister for Finance , Charles Haughey , had authorised payment of £1,000 to him to cover 'Voice Of The North' expenses .

As agreed between Brady and Neeson the description was '...to preparation of manuscripts for Government Information Bureau.. ' The publicity given to the disclosure meant changes in the way the 'Voice' newspaper would get its finances ; on November 10th , 1969 , £2,500 was withdrawn from the 'undercover' bank account in Clones , County Monaghan , and was used to open the 'Ann O'Brien' account in Baggot Street , Dublin . So the newspaper continued , with the 'Ann O'Brien' account paying its bills , via Captain James Kelly . Meanwhile , a meeting of all key IRA figures was being organised .......

(MORE LATER).



ELECTION INTERVENTIONS.
Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months .
Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more .
From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Republican intervention in the British electoral process dates back to the elections of Charles Kickham and O Donovan Rossa , while a political prisoner , between 1869 and 1875 , to the Westminster Parliament .

Five years later , John Mitchel was elected MP for Tipperary and Cork City ; when this election , in which he was returned unopposed , was declared 'invalid' ( because " Mitchel had not purged himself of his felony") he stood again and was returned with an 80 per cent majority against his opponent . These men were Fenians , members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood , jailed for their political affiliations and their opposition to British rule in Ireland .

The question , therefore , of Republican intervention in electoral politics is not a new one and an exploration , even a cursory one , of such interventions , gives an interesting and , at times , an illuminating insight into many of the questions which have bedevilled nationalist politics in Ireland for centuries . Constitutionalism versus physical force ; social issues versus national issues - constitutional nationalism versus militant nationaism versus republicanism and the many and varied efforts by Republicans to bring al these tendencies together against British colonialism . The period 1878-1887 is particularly interesting in this respect .

THE FENIANS.
The Fenian Movement , the Irish Republican Brotherhood , was founded in 1858 , and had as its objective the winning of Irish Independence by armed rebellion . In its reports and communications , incidently, mention of the IRA is made for the first time . That apart , and more interestingly , Fenianism was the first truly nation-wide lay secular society which was distinctly radical and committed to founding '... a Republic based on universal suffrage which shall secure for all , the intrinsic value for their labour . The soil of Ireland belongs to us , the Irish people , and to us it must be restored . We declare , also , in favour of absolute liberty of conscience , and the complete separation of Church and State ... '

(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 .

On the evening of Thursday , October 29 , 1987 , a conference was held in Dr. Austin Darragh's apartment , attended by solicitor Hilary Prentice , Detective Superintendent Noel Conroy , Dr. Austin Darragh and members of the O'Grady family ; the following morning 'Auntie Bettie' (Dr. Walter Doyle's wife ) was driven to Limerick Cathedral by Dr. Darragh's chauffeur ; she searched all around the statue for twenty-five minutes , but all she found was a petition to Our Lady asking her to help ' Sean's nerves' . 'Auntie Bettie' returned to Dublin with the petition which she handed over to Detective Superintendent Noel Conroy ; the note to which Dessie O'Hare referred was indeed in the cathedral , but 'Auntie Bettie' would have had to lift the statue up to find it .

That note instructed a courier to go to the Blarney Hotel in Cork on Tuesday , November 3 , 1987 , at 1.00 PM , in a car with a car phone , and the ransom . At the hotel he was to take a call under the name of 'Pat Murray' and would be given further instructions .

On Saturday October 31 , 1987 , Dessie O'Hare made another phone call , this time to the offices of 'The Sunday Tribune' newspaper : he gave an interview to that newspaper , telling them that John O'Grady was safe and would remain so providing certain instructions given to Dr. Darragh were followed carefully .

14. "THINK OF THE SEASONS , THINK OF SPRING. "
Over the next day or two , Dessie O'Hare discovered that the Blarney Hotel was useless as a contact point - it was closed for renovations . On Tuesday , November 3rd , 1987 , O'Hare telephoned Hilary Prentice . He was unaware that the ransom note had not been found in Limerick Cathedral ; he wanted Prentice to get 'Auntie Bettie' to contact , by car phone , the courier who O'Hare presumed was sitting outside the Blarney Hotel . O'Hare told Prentice there had been "...a fuck up.. " - that the hotel was closed . 'Auntie Bettie' was to instruct the courier to proceed to the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise - this was to be the new point of contact . But Hilary Prentice had'nt the remotest idea what O'Hare was talking about ; O'Hare said he would ring back shortly after two o'clock .

During this call , Hilary Prentice told O'Hare that 'Auntie Bettie' had gone to Limerick Cathedral as instructed - but had not found the note . It was at this point that Dessie O'Hare flipped his lid .......

(MORE LATER).







Thursday, October 06, 2005

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

By the middle of October 1969 it was clear that the (FS) government's sub-committee on the North was in full swing and that nobody would be allowed stand in the way of Fianna Fail ; they had commenced their takeover of the Citizens Defence Committee and the 'Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association' - but greater inroads would have to be made on the IRA front .

Fianna Fail began to publish a weekly paper to rival the very influential IRA newspaper 'The United Irishman' , which had a print run , at the time , in the region of 70,000 copies each month . The first edition of 'The Voice Of The North' newspaper appeared on October 12 , 1969 ; Seamus Brady (FF) was its main supervisor and set out to equate the demand for Civil Rights in the North of Ireland with Fianna Fail . In the third edition , on October 26 , 1969 , 'The Voice Of The North' carried a two-page spread titled - ' De Valera on the North' , which was a reprint of a 1939 speech in the (FS) Senate by Dev . Later editions during 1970 advertised meetings organised by Provisional Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA .

The 'United Irishman' newspaper hit back : their November 1969 issue carried an exclusive on the Fianna Fail attempted takeover of the Northern Civil Rights Association . It was clear the orders had come down from the IRA Army Council not to mention the takeover attempts of the IRA itself with the difficult situation prevailing . The 'United Irishman' , November 1969 issue , published at the end of October 1969 , stated - " It is hard to believe that Mr. Jack Lynch is unaware of this cynical double-dealing by his Ministers . These Fianna Fail politicians are doing their best to disrupt Civil Rights and anti-Unionist forces which have been politically embarrassing to them . "

When Seamus Brady (FF) was asked for a comment he described it as a pack of lies.......

(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 .

A Fianna spokesperson stated - " Young people , mostly in their teens , have always been found in the ranks of Na Fianna : who were prepared to endure death , torture , intimidation , victimisation and harassment . Their courage and daring , their discipline and determination are an inspiration to their older comrades in Sinn Fein , the IRA and Cumann na mBan .

Today , the Fianna is growing and new sluaite (units) are being set up practically every week . Increasingly it is taking a more publicly prominent role in the Republican Movement and addressing itself more and more to the day-to-day problems facing Irish youth . The Fianna is forging a future for itself , worthy of its past . "

[END of ' NA FIANNA EIREANN .......' .]
(Tomorrow - 'ELECTION INTERVENTIONS' ; 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 .

Dessie O'Hare next visited the house (where John O'Grady was being held) on Saturday , October 31 , 1987 - but never went near the prisoner . In the intervening days O'Grady had been allowed to have a bath and a change of clothes . The other gang members did'nt bother him either . Fergal Toal came into the alcove on one occasion and John O'Grady examined the graze on his head , which he diagnosed as being not serious . He cut away the hair around the spot the bullet had grazed , and told Toal to bathe it in lukewarm , salted water and then apply Sudocreme . Compared to what had gone before , O'Grady's days at Carnlough Road were idyllically spent and incident free . It was to be the calm before the storm ...

13. THE NOTE UNDER THE STATUE .
From the alcove under the stairs where John O'Grady was there may well have seemed to be a lull in activity ; but away from Carnlough Road there were a number of significant developments . Since the kidnap there had been several articles in the newspapers speculating on Dr. Austin Darragh's wealth - one of the articles valued his assets at £27 million - Dessie O'Hare had upped his ransom to £1.5 million . A week earlier he had dictated a note to John O'Grady demanding ransom which named the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk as a liaison point , but had never followed through on this plan .

On Thursday October 29 , 1987 , Dessie O'Hare decided it was time to collect . He rang solicitor Hilary Prentice of Matheson Ormsby and Prentice , whose name had been given to him by John O'Grady as one of the people who could act as a go-between . O'Hare told the solicitor that his name was John Mohen : he established his bona fides from the information supplied to him by John O'Grady , by giving Hilary Prentice details of work carried out on her teeth by O'Grady . O'Hare told her that she was to contact the wife of ear , nose and throat specialist Dr. Walter Doyle who was known to John O'Grady as 'Auntie Bettie' .

Prentice was to tell 'Auntie Bettie' to go to Limerick Cathedral ; there , underneath a statue of Our Lady , beside the thirteenth 'Station of the Cross' , there was a note with instructions . O'Hare warned of the consequences if Dr. Darragh contacted the gardai .......

(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, October 05, 2005

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

On the evening of September 22 , 1969 , the 'dissident' IRA members marched into a Staff meeting of the Belfast IRA Command which was being held in Cyprus Street in the Lower Falls - they were armed and informed all present that they were taking over .

In the interests of unity and in the face of possible pogroms , the Officer Commanding of the Belfast IRA agreed to have talks with the 'dissidents' : an agreement was made which brought representatives of the 'dissidents' onto the Belfast Command Staff , a temporary shelving of the IRA's socialist policies , a break with GHQ in Dublin , and abstention from the coming General Army Convention due for December 1969 . That special convention would decide on Sinn Fein's attitude towards parliamentary participation and the development of a National Liberation Front in Ireland which might unite left wing forces . The examples of Vietnam was popular worldwide in left wing circles .

Meanwhile the Fianna Fail strategists realised that influence over the IRA would not be enough - they must have control of Citizens Defence Committees which had sprung up - otherwise 'the tail would still be wagging the (southern) dog' . A meeting initiated by Fianna Fail's operators was held in Lurgan , County Armagh , on Saturday September 27, 1969 , of Central Defence Commitees and a 'Provisional Central Committee' was established . That meeting was held in opposition to a similar gathering called by the IRA for the Oriel Hotel , Monaghan . At the Lurgan meeting , organised by the Fianna Fail government , was Ruairi O Bradaigh who in fact had been an active member of the IRA Army Council for many years .

At this time Republican Ireland was being visited by personalities out of the Celtic Twilight : they were the Belfast 'dissidents' , including Maire Drumm , Jimmy Steele and others , who travelled the 32 Counties 'stirring the pot' , openly campaigning against the existing leadership and making contacts all over the country . They were helped in their travels by Seamus Brady , a Fianna Fail man .......

(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 .

A Fianna spokesperson stated - " Young people in the South suffer a wide range of problems - youth unemployment is twice the national average , working-class youth are effectively denied the right to a third level education through the miserable grants scheme operating there . Apprentices and young workers , especially girls , are discriminated against in pay . There's the whole question of illegitimacy , the age of criminal responsibility , the care of young offenders , the provision of adequate sports and recreational facilities . These are just a few of the problems facing young people in the South - problems which Na Fianna Eireann as a youth organisation is vitally concerned about .

We believe that such a bad situation is made worse by the absence of any effective and comprehensive policy document on youth by the twenty-six county government . This clearly shows the lack of commitment on the part of the establishment parties in the South to solving the real issues facing young people today . The twenty-six county government lacks both the vision to see the measures that would be needed to solve these problems , and the will to put these measures into practice .

Na Fianna Eireann , the Irish Republican youth movement , was founded seventy-two years ago and , in that time , in a history that few youth organisations can parallel , it has served the Republican Movement and the cause of Irish freedom well ....... "

(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 .

12. THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM .

That morning , Tuesday October 27 , 1987 , John O'Grady got a decent breakfast - hamburger , bacon , sausage , double egg and a pint jug of tea . After that he was moved downstairs and put in an alcove under the stairs in the living room . He was told that once inside he could remove his blacked-out glasses - his handcuffs had already been removed . There was a mattress on the floor , a light bulb hanging from a waterpipe and a radio . The electricity supply was controlled from the livingroom outside . The alcove was big enough to sit in comfortably but not large enough to stand in .

He was given a selection of Wilbur Smith novels , a book on Liam Mellowes , the writings of Bobby Sands and a book by Nora Connolly O'Brien on the development of Ireland since 1916 ; he was told to study them carefully as he would be asked questions later .

The newspapers were full of accounts of the shooting incident in Midleton , Cork : it was the first time he knew that he had been in Midleton though from listening to the radio , which had a lot of Cork-based ads , he had suspected that Dessie O'Hare's shots at supposed British soldiers was an attempt to disorientate him . There was criticism in the newspapers over the garda handling of the operation at Midleton ; public disquiet over the way the kidnap was being handled was growing . There was some consolation for the gardai , however - because there had been no contact with the O'Grady family many gardai feared that John O'Grady was dead . Secondly , the gang had left plenty of fingerprints behind in the container : the gardai were now able to harden up their suspicions and positively identify the remaining gang members .

Dessie O'Hare turned up at Carnlough Road the night after the shoot-out , Tuesday October 27 , 1987 ; the gang bought beer and celebrated . In the alcove under the stairs John O'Grady could here O'Hare and the others talking about the escape in excited tones . O'Hare was accompanied by a woman - he never came near O'Grady that night .......

(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, October 04, 2005

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

On September 18 , 1969 , the same people - except Neil Blaney - met the then (FS) Minister for Finance , Chares J. Haughey , at his home . The same matters were again discussed and arrangements made for the establishment of a bank account through which (FS) government aid could be channelled directly to Belfast . The following morning , September 19th , the account was opened with a £5 deposit in Dundalk - but no money ever came .

On September 22 , 1969 , Captain James Kelly and Seamus Brady gave an indication of their Government's strategy regarding the IRA when they called to the home of the South Derry IRA Officer Commanding - this was the man who received the first contact from Fianna Fail earlier in the year ; they were accompanied by two others , one of whom was the businessman who made the initial contact earlier in the year . Seamus Brady put forward the idea of an independent Northern Command for the IRA - this would mean breaking with the Dublin/Goulding leadership .

Such an 'independent' Northern Command of the IRA would lead to more money and more arms - Seamus Brady explained that the IRA's socialist policies were unacceptable to the Dublin Government and he also suggested that if the top people in the IRA were removed they could more easily supply arms . When the IRA Officer Commanding asked who these 'top people' were , he was told , among others , Cathal Goulding , Seamus Costello and Mick Ryan : the top 3 in the IRA at that time . The idea was that the IRA should be used now that Fianna Fail had no support organisation since the demise of the Nationalist Party . ( '1169...' Comment - Fianna Fail now have a 'support organisation' in the North - it is called the Provisional movement !)

The new Fianna Fail message reached the 'dissident' group in Belfast ; with the prospects of massive amounts of cash and guns it was easy to go along with the separate Northern Command concept . The 'dissident group' was made up of people who were too old to adopt socialist policies and/or too young to bother too much . They decided to take over the Belfast IRA with a coup d'etat.......

(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 .

A Fianna spokesperson stated - " We believe there is a great need for such a political youth organisation to combat British imperialism and its effects in both parts of Ireland ; and let's not forget that British imperialism has resulted in the deaths of several children since May of this year in the North - murdered by plastic bullets . It has been responsible for the deaths of eighteen of our members since 1969 and hundreds of other young people , children and teenagers .

British imperialism means the armed and aggressive occupation of Ireland . It means baton-charges , snatch-squads , bullying and torture . It means the bolstering up of a sectarian statelet in which a third of the population have no rights , and play no part . It means that a nationalist school-leaver in the North is twice as likely to be unemployed as his unionist counterpart . Believe you me , the youth of this country are getting a rough lesson in what 'imperialism' is all about . "

To the charge that all this means little to the young people in the South who do not experience sectarian discrimination and who have probably only ever seen British troops on the television , the Fianna spokesperson said - " I think the recent elections in the South where two prisoners were elected , and where all the prisoner candidates did very well , has put paid to the idea that Southern people don't care about the North . Most commentators have accepted that the prisoners won a large section of the young vote , and H-Block/Armagh demonstrations , North and South , have been notable by the large youth presence in them . So H-Block repression , the whole Northern question , is felt to be important and relevant to young people in the South ....... "

(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 .

11. "NOTHING PERSONAL" .

As it happened , the kidnap gang did meet a (FS) soldier that afternoon - Private Mark Nugent had travelled by car to Cork with three friends to see Cork City play Waterford in a League of Ireland football match ; the four had stopped at Cobh Cross to go to the toilet , and were spotted by O'Hare's Unit who decided it was time to change cars . They took the car at gunpoint ; Eddie Hogan told Private Mark Nugent that if he had any objection he would "...blow his fucking brains out .. "

As the gang approached Mallow , County Cork , it was decided to change cars again . They called to the house of John Hannon - when he opened the door , Eddie Hogan pushed a gun to his face and pushed him into the living room onto his couch . Hannon though it was a joke and went to pull the balaclava off Hogan's head - Hogan told him it was nothing personal but they needed his car . Fergal Toal , who had been grazed by a bullet at Midleton , cleaned his wound . John Hannon , his wife Nuala and their seven-year-old child , Colin , were tied up . A seven-month-old baby , John , was left in his pram beside his parents .

Tony McNeill questioned the wisdom of tying up the mother who would then not be able to give the baby attention , but Eddie Hogan told him - " Tie her up . That's an order . " As an afterthought Hogan made up a fresh bottle for the baby before leaving . John O'Grady remained outside in the car : for the first time in twelve days he was left unattended . The gang returned after a few minutes and took off . A few miles up the road they needed petrol , so O'Grady was shoved into a ditch under guard ; the car returned in a few minutes with a full tank , and they drove on to Dublin , staying clear of main roads to avoid roadblocks . They arrived at 260 Carnlough Road , the house of barber Gerry Wright , shorty before midnight . John O'Grady slept in an ordinary bed for the first time in almost two weeks .

It had been a trying day , with almost nothing to eat . All he got before going to sleep was a glass of water , but he slept soundly . When he awoke the following morning it was already bright .......

(MORE LATER).

(To the person who wrote in re the 'unsanctioned UVF killing' - thank you for contacting us . You can leave more information , in the same way , if you want . Sharon.).






Monday, October 03, 2005

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

Trouble within the IRA was developing (over the £100,000 Free State 'relief' money ) and both sides (ie the IRA and the 'Northern Defence Committee') were falling over each other in grabbing the money from the Dublin Government ; the internal IRA row flared over the lack of guns in the organisation in mid-August 1969 - the 'old brigade' , who had now become active again , were bitterest in their attacks .

The left wing move of Cathal Goulding and company was the root cause of the shortage of weapons , the 'old brigade' claimed ; by now all heads were turned northwards and the social agitations in the South , and indeed the housing and other agitations in the North , were virtually forgotten about . On August 24th , 1969 , some members of the 'old brigade' aong with some activists discontent with the shortage of guns came together in Casement Park at Andersonstown , Belfast ; the meeting decided to oust the Belfast IRA leadership which was close to the Goulding leadership in Dublin . They also agreed that the Fianna Fail Government's generous offer of guns and money and the conditions of non-action South of the border should be immediately accepted .

While the row was developing , money from the Dublin Government continued to arrive in Belfast and was grabbed by the city's IRA leadership ; on September 14th , 1969 , the 'dissidents' met again in Belfast and were addressed by an un-named person who was described to them as a 'political commentator from Dublin ' - in fact he was a well-known journalist attached to one of the Dublin newspapers . Later in the evening the same journalist met a Staff member of the Belfast IRA in the Wellington Park Hotel on the Malone Road in Belfast ; the journalist explained that money and other assistance would be coming from the South and arrangements were made for a meeting between the IRA Staff Officer and the people in the 26 Counties . The meeting took place a few days later in Dublin - in Government Buildings ; it was hed in the Office of the (FS) Minister for Agriculture , Neil Blaney . Seamus Brady , Fianna Fail activist and the man who was in charge of the 'Voice Of The North' newspaper , was present .

Also there were prominent representatives of the minority community in the North of Ireland -they discussed personalities in the North and problems facing that community and how security for their safety could be improved .......

(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 .

From the 1940's when Na Fianna Eireann defied the ban on the main Republican Commemoration at Bodenstown by hiking the 23 miles there and laying a wreath on Wolfe Tone's grave , under the guns of Free State soldiers , to the 1960's when Na Fianna sold the banned Easter Lily publicly and like many other Republicans were prosecuted for doing so , the organisation has refused to be bullied or brow-beaten . They proudly refuse today , too , and continue the glorious heritage of militant resistance bequeathed them by Countess Markievicz , Con Colbert , Sean Heuston , Liam Mellowes and Frank Ryan .

Na Fianna Eireann is the youth organisation of the Republican Movement ; it is a national youth movement organised throughout Ireland (and in the USA) , involved in a broad range of activities , scouting , political and cultural , and deeply committed to the freedom of Ireland and the Irish people . A spokesperson for the Fianna stated - " We are playing an important part in mobilising young people behind the demands of the prisoners . Our last 'Youth Against H-Block/Armagh' march was the largest youth march ever seen in Dublin . We were very pleased with that . It shows that young people do care . They link the oppression the prisoners are suffering under with the oppression they see around them every day - in employment , education , housing , in every aspect of life . "

Asked if Fianna are going totally political , he replied - " Na Fianna Eireann was never non-political . We are a Republican youth organisation , and in that sense we were always political . The Fianna is involved in a whole range of activities - we have Irish classes , we go on hikes and camps , we put up posters and give out leaflets . We are , if you like , at the service of the Republican Movement . Wherever the pressure is greatest , the Fianna will be there . At the moment the pressure is coming from the prisons and naturally we are straining at the leash to do everything we can to support the prisoners . Especially since many of them are our prisoners - members , or former members , of our organisation . Probably most of them are former members . Raymond McCreesh was a member of Na Fianna , Kieran Doherty TD , and Jackie McMullan were also former members .

So Na Fianna Eireann is a political youth organisation as well as being a scouting and cultural one....... "

(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 .

State Detective Sergeant Michael Scanlon quickly radioed Detective Inspector Carey to tell him that the kidnappers and hostage had escaped and were headed in their direction . In the confusion he told them they were travelling in a Hi-Ace van ; the kidnappers , driving the Renault 9 , were on top of Detective Carey and his men before they knew it . Carey recognised Eddie Hogan in the Renault and shouted to his men . Garda Gerard O'Donoghue was in a crouched position on the grass verge beside the road with an Uzi machine gun ; there was a gunman pointing a gun out the back window of the car , which he had broken with the butt of his rifle . Garda John Gleeson was beside Garda O'Donoghue with a Smith and Wesson - there was an exchange of shots .

One of the bullets struck the boot of the car , another grazed the neck of Fergal Toal , the driver : the Renault swerved and went around the corner . The Gardai , with the exception of Garda Gerard O'Donoghue - whose lead had pinpointed the kidnappers - proceeded to run on foot to their cars which were parked a quarter of a mile away . Garda O'Donoghue flagged down a civilian car and gave chase . But the kidnappers were already gone .

The developments were radioed back to Superintendent Murray in Midleton Garda Station , who had already detailed eight uniformed gardai to set up roadblocks , but none were yet in position . Meanwhile , (FS) Army support had just arrived . The kidnappers were already miles away ........

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