" 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. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Friday, October 28, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......

Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North .
But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ?
We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .

EDWARD McILWAINE of Belfast , sentenced to 15 years in February 1979 for kidnapping , assault and possession with intent . One of the Shankill Butchers .

ALASDAIR McKENDRY of Ballymena , charged in August 1983 with armed robbery , illegal possession of arms and UVF membership .

WILLIAM McVEIGH of 7th Battalion UDR HQ , jailed for three years in October 1973 for possession of a revolver in suspicious circumstances .

EDGAR MEEHAN of Castlederg , sentenced (in Dublin) to six months in March 1976 for illegal possession of a sub-machine gun and 35 rounds of ammunition in County Donegal .

RONNIE NELSON 'BILLY' YEARL , SAMMY ANDERSON and BILLY McCLEANAGHAN , all of Cookstown-Maghera area , sentenced to 10 years each in April 1978 for 'robbing' 320 guns , 9,500 rounds of assorted ammunition , grenades and a rocket from Magherafelt UDR armoury , plus robbery and sectarian arson attacks . Also known to be members of the UDA .

(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 .

An interesting insight into how the IRA viewed the new Sinn Fein Movement , in which some of them held executive positions , is given in a letter from the IRA Army Executive , which had come to light some months earlier : " The principle duty of the executive is to put the Volunteers in a position to complete by force of arms the work begun by the men of Easter week . The Volunteers are notified that the only orders they are to obey are those of their own executive . "

IRA Volunteers were reminded that , in the past , the conjunction of Fenianism with constitutional politics had led to the abandonment of physical force as a policy * and were warned to join Sinn Fein only in order to propagate the principles of their own organisation which was the only one to which they owed allegiance . (' 1169 ... ' Comment - * - ...it happened again , beginning in 1986 , when a section of people deserted the Movement to enter constitutional politics . The leadership of that group are now paid salaries and expenses by Westminster , Stormont and Leinster House , and will soon be issuing instructions for their followers to 'police' the occupied Six Counties on behalf of Westminster . Their actions can only be described as treachery and , I believe , will be recorded as such by history. )

Sinn Fein , attempting to win 'moderate nationalists' to its side was much embarrassed by this letter and by the increasing actions of armed Volunteers throughout the country : in particular , the actions of groups of IRA Volunteers , especially in the West of Ireland , in commandeering private land (with compensation for the owners ) in the name of the Irish Republic and ploughing it up for food cultivation as a necessary precaution against famine , caused some discomfort to the Sinn Fein Executive , especially , given the criticism of these and other "...ill-considered agitations.. " by the Catholic Cardinal Logue and by many constitutional nationalists .

Against such a background Sinn Fein fought and lost three by-elections in the early part of 1918 ; however , none of these by-elections - a consoling factor for Sinn Fein - could be said to provide a representation of a cross section of the country as a whole . All three defeats were at the hands of the old Home Rule Nationalist Party - one in Waterford and the other two in South Armagh and East Tyrone . None of those three results were seen as decisive defeats for Sinn Fein , given the lack of organisation in the northern counties and the fact that the Waterford by-election , caused by the death of John Redmond , was contested by his son .......

(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 .

23. "They tore the bloody shirt of my back ... "
Catherine Ryan had spent a pleasant evening with her friend Charles Barret ; they had dinner , met friends and finished off the night in Shaughnessy's Pub , in Kilfinane . They left at 10.30 pm and Ryan dropped off Barret at Buttevant - as she drove towards Tipperary she heard on the late news that the search for the two kidnappers was concentrated in Tipperary . She stopped in Ard Patrick and rang her friend , Charles Barret , who re-assured her that there was nothing to worry about . She ended the call by saying she would ring him when she got home safely .

Just outside Tipperary the road was blocked by a tree ; she stopped to clear it out of her way . Fergal Toal appeared and took the car , and he took Catherine Ryan as a hostage . He wanted to drive to Dublin but , after driving around back roads for three hours , he still had'nt left the county of Tipperary . He was chatting away with Ryan in the car and found out that she was a nurse ; he asked her to examine a cut on his little finger which he was concerned about . The finger was grazed and a little bit of the skin was off the knuckle . The radio news gave details of his escape and Ryan asked him if the report was accurate . " They tore the bloody shirt off my back , " Toal replied .

At one point Fergal Toal drove through a roadblock and within minutes was spotted by a garda patrol car which gave chase ; Toal crashed the car which turned over on its roof and skidded for forty yards . He got out of the car and threatened to kill Ryan , but was surprised from behind by Garda Pat Whelan who put one arm around Toal's neck and put a machine gun to his back with his other hand . For Fergal Toal it was all over .......

(MORE LATER).







Thursday, October 27, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......

Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North .
But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ?
We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .

HENRY McCONNELL of Belfast , fined £65 in April 1975 for possession of ammunition in suspicious circumstances .

JOSEPH DENNIS McCONVILLE of Annaghmore , County Armagh , jailed for two years in September 1976 for theft of ammunition from a (British) Ministry of defence firing range .

HENRY McCOSH of Belfast , sentenced to six months (suspended) in February 1974 for possession of a revolver and more than 200 rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances .

RODERICK SHANE McDOWELL and RAYMOND THOMAS CROZIER , jailed for 35 years in October 1976 for the Miami Showband massacre . Two other UDR men , WESLEY SOMMERVILLE and HARRIS BOYLE , blew themselves up in the same incident . All four were members of the UVF .

JOSEPH McGRANAGHAN of Belfast , jailed for two years in April 1974 for possession of a revolver (previously 'stolen' from an RUC man) in suspicious circumstances .

JAMES McGUCKEN of Coagh , County Tyrone , fined £100 in December 1976 for assaulting local Catholics .

(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 .

The turn-out for the funeral of Thomas Ashe (on September 30 , 1917) gave a boost to Irish Republicans ; this was noted by the 'Establishment' in Westminster - 'The Daily Express' newspaper remarked - " The circumstances of Ashe's death and funeral have made 100,000 Sinn Feiners out of 100,000 constitutional nationalists ... " , while 'The Daily Mail' newspaper recalled that , a month earlier , Sinn Fein , despite its electoral successes , had been a waning force . That newspaper said - " It had no practical programme , for the programme of going further than anyone else cannot be so described . It was not making headway . But Sinn Fein today is pretty nearly another name for the vast bulk of youth in Ireland . "

In October 1917 , a Convention in Dublin was able to give more coherence to the political side of the national Movement , when two thousand people including delegates from over a thousand Sinn Fein cumann agreed on a new broadly nationalist constitution and elected a 24-person national executive . Despite the fact that the Movement owed much of its public support to the discipline and organising skill of the Republicans , its weakness , with the election of many anti-physical force constitutionalists to the executive , was becoming obvious to close observers .

However , with the need to build a genuinely broad based national Movement , which drew maximum support from all nationalist tendencies while still permitting the Republicans to manoeuvre in the background , their differences were successfully covered up , at least from the attention of the general populace .

The National Executive contained such diverse personalities as Eoin MacNeill who had tried to cancel the 1916 Rising and Cathal Brugha , an uncompromising Irish Republican who was badly wounded during the 1916 Rising . Interestingly , Eoin MacNeill headed the poll by more than 200 votes over Cathal Brugha who was his closest rival .

Against such political manoeuvrings the IRA stepped-up their raids for arms , and drilling and re-organisation continued .......

(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 .

Fergal Toal was in Garda custody ; all the gardai had heard the instructions to hold him but none of them , in statements made subsequenty , made reference to being told that a second man had escaped ; the gardai in whose care Toal had been entrusted formed quite different opinions of him . Garda Fallon and Sergeant Merrigan stress that he appeared plausible and co-operative . When he had first 'arrived' into the garda station , he had asked for water to take tablets . Garda Moriarty thought he might be a mental patient !

Two Garda , Moriarty and Fallon , got Fergal Toal ready to put him into a cell . Sergeant Merrigan was standing about ten feet away ; Garda Moriarty took £222 from Toal's pocket with his left hand , whilst taking the mans belt off him with his right hand . Garda Fallon was helping Toal to step out of his jacket . " What are you doing with my money ? " , said Toal in his phoney Cork accent . His belt was caught in one of the loops of his trousers - Garda Moriarty turned around for a second to put the momey in his left hand on the table behind him ; when he looked back he saw Toal over at the door letting himself out to the reception area of the station .

Moriarty ran after him , as did Merrigan and Fallon . Fergal Toal crossed the reception to a door leading out to the narrow hallway to the entrance to the station , but Moriarty caught hold of his shirt . To his " great dismay ," as Moriarty later said , the shirt ripped and came away in his hand . The hallway was too narrow for the other gardai to get past : Toal jumped the seven steps leading up to the station and ran . It was the third time that Fergal Toal and Eddie Hogan had escaped from the gardai .......

(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, October 26, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......

Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North .
But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ?
We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .

RICHARD LONG of Comber , County Down , sentenced to life in May 1977 for conspiracy to kill Catholics .

TREVOR LYLE , jailed for one month (suspensed for two years) for illegal possession of firearms in June 1976 . Charge reduced from attempted murder .

JEFFREY LYNN of Tobermore , County Derry , jailed for six months in September 1976 for handling stolen property . Originally charged with September 1975 armed robbery of Knockloughrim Post Office - prosecution witness , William Millar , subsequently murdered by fellow members of LYNN'S '5th Batt. UDR' .

WILLIAM McCLANAGHAN of South Derry , sentenced to eight years in May 1978 for bombing a Catholic-owned shop in Draperstown .

WILLIAM McCOMB of Banbridge , jailed for 10 years in November 1976 for possession with intent and armed robbery on behalf of the UVF .

(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 .

The election of another Sinn Fein candidate , William Cosgrove , in Kilkenny , by a two-to-one majority , led to more repression from the British ; arrests increased and during a period when some political commentators were noting that the lack of really positive Sinn Fein policies was giving rise to serious second thoughts among nationalist voters , the British governments ill-treatment of those arrested became known .

Over forty Irish Republican prisoners were being force-fed in an effort by the British to break a hunger-strike by the prisoners in pursuance of political status . The Republican prisoners , as part of their campaign , were refusing to work or to wear prison clothes - they had smashed their cell windows , demanded segregation from ordinary prisoners and were generally refusing to co-operate with the prisom regime .

Thomas Ashe died after force-feeding and the brutal details of that force-feeding plus the conditions in which the prisoners were being held were read by an outraged public ; Thomas Ashe was buried on September 30th , 1917 , following a funeral attended by some 40,000 people and marked by a day of mourning throughout nationalist Ireland .

All commentators agreed that a new and much needed stimulus had been given to the Sinn Fein Movement ; the British 'establishment' , and it's supporters in the London media , were startled by this turn of events .......

(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 .

Having escaped to Limerick , Eddie Hogan and Fergal Toal hired a taxi to take them to Tipperary ; they passed through three or four garda roadblocks without incident . Just outside Tipperary the taxi passed another roadblock manned by Garda John Conway - they were waved on but Conway became suspicious and contacted a garda patrol car which then followed the taxi into Tipperary town ; that patrol car was manned by Garda Liam Walsh , Garda Tom Neville and Garda Dan Collins . In Tipperary , the gardai instructed the taxi driver to pull in . Garda Liam Walsh loaded his sub-machine gun .

The description that the Tipperary gardai had of Eddie Hogan and Fergal Toal did not match the two men in the taxi - both were searched and found to be un-armed . However , Toal was speaking with a fake Cork accent and traces of his northern accent were coming through ; both men were polite and co-operative but , because of the suspicions of the gardai and 'the state of the country at the time' , it was decided to take them to the garda station for questioning . The patrol car stopped forty feet from the station entrance ; as they were walking in , Eddie Hogan bolted ; Garda Neville threw his garda cap on the ground and ran after him . Gardai Walsh and Collins rushed Fergal Toal into the station and handed him over to the station orderly team , Garda Andrew Moriarty and Garda Fallon , in the presence of Garda Sergeant Patrick Merrigan .

Walsh and Collins shouted " Hold him ! Another man has escaped ... " : then they ran off to help Garda Neville to find Eddie Hogan , who had run down the road into the Clanwilliam Rugby Club - he ran the length of the pitch and crossed the goal line with Garda Neville in pursuit ; it was a 'good try' by Neville but Eddie Hogan had already disappeared behind the cover of trees beside the pavilion . He escaped over a wall and was gone . The Clanwilliam Rugby Team , who were training , formed an impromptu search party but without success .

Fergal Toal was now in Garda custody - but not for long .......

(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, October 25, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......

Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North .
But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ?
We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .

DAVID LAFFIN of Belfast , sent to Borstal in March 1976 for possession of sub-machine gun and 760 rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances . The gun had been stolen from Portadown UDR armoury in 1973 .

NEIL LATTIMER , WILLIAM ROLESTON , DAVID IAN McMULLAN , JAMES HEGAN , WINSTON ALLEN , NOEL BELL and COLIN WARTON , charged in December 1983 with murder of Adrian Carroll . All based at Drumadd Barracks .

THOMAS LEONARD of County Tyrone , sentenced to life in October 1975 for machine-gun murder of James and Mary Devlin at Edenork in 1974 . He was later given concurrent sentences for a series of other offences . LEONARD , who was 'born again' while on remand , refused 'Special Category' status .

ALISTER ROGER LOCKHART of Armagh , jailed for 10 years in May 1975 for a car bombing in Armagh , illegal possession of firearms and other offences . A known member of the UVF .

SAMUEL JAMES LOGAN , appears to have been the first UDR man to appear on a charge in a court . From Derry , he was convicted in September 1971 for illegal possession of a pistol . Arrested by a UDR patrol while returning from a trip to Donegal .

(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 .

The by-election in Longford was to be contested by Sinn Fein candidate Joe MacGuinness , at the time a prisoner serving penal servitude in Lewes Prison . His name went before the electorate with the simple slogan ' Put him in to get him out' . MacGuinness , incidentally , had no wish to let his name go forward as he felt that to do so would compromise the traditional Republican attitude of contempt for 'parliamentary methods' ; the IRB , mindful of the need to retain a Republican influence over the new political movement , ignored MacGuinness's reservations , with the result that , after a recount , he won by thirty eight votes over the Redmond candidate .

Redmond could clearly no longer afford to consider partition on any terms - the prevailing mood in the country was determinedly against it . He rejected partition but agreed with Lloyd George to an 'Irish Convention' , a device clearly suited to British needs , not least because of American pressure , insofar as it 'passed the buck' from the British government to the Irish unionist and nationalist 'factions' .

While this appeared plausible in British terms , it was of course completely impractical and doomed to failure ; Sinn Fein declared its intention to boycott the proceedings and before the 'Convention' could get down to its deliberations , another Sinn Fein candidate , Eamonn De Valera , was returned as MP for East Clare with a majority of 2,975 over the Redmonite candidate , a popular local man named Lynch . By now released Republican prisoners were being greeted on their return to Ireland by enthusiastic crowds .

Against this background the re-organisation of the IRA continued with predictable counter-measures by the British government , who continued to ignore the open military organisation of the UVF in the North .......

(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 .

John O' Grady had escaped from the kidnap gang and was hiding in the garden of a house on Kilkiernan Road in Cabra , Dublin : he heard the sounds of two men coming into the garden , and thought they were gang members . In fact they were two Detectives who had pursued O' Grady who they suspected was a member of the kidnap gang - from their conversation , John O' Grady realised that they were gardai , and raised his bandaged hands in the air and said " I am John O' Grady ! "

THE TIPPERARY ESCAPE .
Back at 260 Carnlough Road someone had called an ambulance for Detective Martin O' Connor - he was on the ground calling for his wife Rosy and praying ; he thought he was dying . Gerry Wright had gone into the house and got a blanket to cover O' Connor and had remained standing over him . Detective Sergeant Henry Spring had hoped to telephone for support in the house he had broken into , but there was no telephone . He made his way to 260 Carnlough Road to find his colleague Martin O' Connor on the ground with gunshot wounds , and turned to Gerry Wright who was standing close by and said to him - " You bastard , you walked us into this . "

John O' Grady was put into a garda car - he had read in the newspapers that his family had taken rooms in the Blackrock Clinic in anticipation of his release and he asked the gardai to take him there . The news of his release was broadcast on RTE radio within minutes ; Dessie O' Hare was en route to Cork to supervise the payment of the ransom - O' Hare was listening to the radio and , according to a passenger in the car who later made a statement to the gardai , he beat his fists on the dashboard in rage .

Meanwhile , the kidnap gang had escaped the gardai for a second time - Eddie Hogan and Fergal Toal abandoned the Corporation lorry in Blackhorse Avenue and ordered a woman to drive them to Clondalkin , in Dublin South-West - there they called into a house owned by Una Dermody who was having coffee with a friend , Maria Hennessy : they demanded a change of clothes . One of the women cleaned the graze on Fergal Toal's leg , and the gang then took the Saab car belonging to Una Dermody and the two women were taken as hostages - they headed for Limerick , using back roads .

On the way Hogan talked about art and paintings , and conversed with Fergal Toal in Irish ; the two women let them out at Mount St. Laurence cemetery , just outside Limerick - the women then reported what had happened to the first garda they met .......

(MORE LATER).







Monday, October 24, 2005

UDR'S ROTTEN APPLES.......

Five members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , formerly based at Drummad Barracks in Armagh , have been charged with murder , and the recent visits to this barracks by both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs Thatcher caused an uproar in the North .
But how exceptional are the 'Drummad Five' ? Just how many 'rotten apples' are there in the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , which is now the principal back-up force to the RUC in the North of Ireland ?
We have chronicled herewith almost one hundred cases where members of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' (UDR) have been charged with serious offences , mostly involving firearms or explosives . It is a directory of Dishonourable Discharge that is unmatched in the 'security forces' of any country in Europe and probably not even in South America . And even this list does not claim to be exhaustive .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 30 March 1984 .

THOMAS IRVINE of Belfast , jailed for five years in February 1976 for illegal possession of a firearm . Known member of the UDA .

ALEXANDER IRWIN of Armagh , jailed for three years in November 1975 for possession of bomb-making equipment . Known member of the UVF .

GLYNN JONES of Belfast , sentenced to six months in February 1973 for illegal possession of ammunition .

DEREK KENNEDY of Armagh , jailed for 18 months (suspended) in November 1976 for setting fire to a Catholic school and a Methodist church .

WILLIAM FREDERICK KENNEDY of Belfast , fined £50 in January 1977 for being drunk in charge of a loaded pistol . He had wounded a companion while toying with the weapon in a pub .

DEREK HUGH KINKAID of Belfast , jailed for eight years in December 1974 for armed robbery of post office . Known to have UDA connections .

(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 .

After he won the February 1917 North Roscommon by-election for Sinn Fein , Count Plunkett declared that he had been considering whether or not to represent the people of Roscommon in "...a foreign parliament .. " but had decided that his place was beside his own people in their own country , "...for it is in Ireland that the battle of Irish Liberty is to be fought .. " .

While the press speculated that the writing was on the wall for John Redmond's party , there was still no proper organisation to oppose him . In an effort to remedy this , ten days after Easter 1917 , over 1,200 delegates attended an 'Irish Assembly' , convened in Dublin's Mansion House by Count Plunkett . Sixty eight public bodies were represented and forty one Sinn Fein cumainn . The only practical step agreed upon was that an organising committee be formed to establish some form of organisation for the next general election .

At the same time there was an affirmation proclaiming Ireland a separate nation and asserting her right to freedom from all foreign control and denying the ' authority' of any foreign parliament in Ireland . The acceptance of such an affirmation was evidence of the continuing hardening of Nationalist thinking which was now taking its national demand far beyond the Home Rule Act on the statute book .

At the same time Count Plunkett had declared that a policy of abstention from Westminster was an indispensable committment for all members of such a new organisation as might form his committee , which , with another by-election pending at Longford , now had the opportunity of a further electoral test .......

(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 .

In the confusion caused by the shoot-out , John O' Grady had decided to make a run for it . All it needed was for one garda patrol car to arrive from the other end of Carnlough Road and the gang's escape route was blocked . One of the kidnappers , Tony McNeill , hi-jacked a car at gunpoint and calmy drove up Carnlough Road and turned left out of sight .

Eddie Hogan and Fergal Toal also hi-jacked a car about fifty yards up the road ; they were just getting into the car when the second patrol car , manned by Detective Gardai Dick Fahey and Brian Coade appeared - there was an exchange of gunfire . Hogan and Toal reversed the car back up towards Kilkiernan Road and immediately crashed into a bus . The two of them got out and proceeded up Kilkiernan Road on foot . They retreated military style , one giving covering fire while the other ran a few yards and vice versa .

Detectives Fahey and Coade returned fire , and Fergal Toal was hit on the knee - Hogan and the injured Toal then hi-jacked a Dublin Corporation roadsweeper van . The two Detectives , Fahey and Coade , had by now been joined by two more colleagues . Once again the gardai on foot were powerless to do anything ; they commandeered a civilian car but by then the kidnap gang had disappeared .

21. " I AM JOHN O' GRADY . "
John O' Grady had followed the same route as the kidnappers . He had removed his blacked-out glasses and ran up Carnlough Road to the junction where it meets Kilkiernan Road - at the corner he saw a man and a woman at a hall door , and asked them if he could come in but the couple closed the door in his face , so he ran down Kilkiernan Road . He saw a house with a plywood gate at the side , and jumped over the gate . The garden was overgrown . He got down on his hands and knees and climbed into a space in the middle of a patch of brambles . A few minutes later he heard two men come into the garden .......

(MORE LATER).