" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)

IRISH BLOG AWARDS 2017 - ooops! It seems that our entry application was "not completed in time to be considered.." (?) and, as such, we are not now in the running. But we wish all the best to the successful entrants and to the organisers, and we hope all goes well for them on the day!

Monday, February 06, 2006

THE DUBLIN COUNCIL OF TRADE UNIONS - founded on March 3rd , 1886 : 120 years ago this year .......
First published in 'AP/RN' , 27th February 1986 .

The 1930's and 1940's were dominated by the political rise and retention of power by Fianna Fail - * that organisation attracted widespread working-class support and generally had the support of the DCTU for its social and economic policies , particularly their policy of protection of native industries . ( * '1169...' Comment - It is only fair to acknowledge that , in its early days , Fianna Fail did stand for something ; they actually had a 'bottom line' then . But not now - they have been for years simply a political vehicle for snake-oil salesmen to climb aboard and attempt to etch out a career for themselves in . Their representatives and members are one-hundred per cent 'swop-able' with any other Leinster House party , and they with it .)

This period is also marked by the role the trades' council played in all major disputes in the Dublin area : builders' labourers in 1931 ; transport in 1935 ; the building industry for six months in 1937 ; municipal workers in 1940 ; and primary school teachers in 1946 . During this time the DCTU had many of the powers of the present-day Irish Congress of Trade Unions . The DCTU had the machinery for centralised wage bargaining and for handling inter-union disputes . It also took on a more militant political role and when Fianna Fail attempted to bring in a wages freeze and a trade union bill , the Council launched an opposition campaign - massive demonstrations were organised and a special paper , 'Workers' Action' , was produced .

The trades' Council was also in the vanguard of the Dublin movement against fascism and demonstrations were organised against O' Duffy's 'Blueshirts' .

The Irish Trade Union Congress split of 1944 (basically over the national question) had its mirror image in the DCTU and a rival grouping , the Dublin Trades' Union Council , was formed.......


On 30 January 1972 , 14 civilians were shot dead by the British Army . They had been taking part in a civil rights march in Derry , protesting against internment without trial .
British 'Lord' Widgery was highly selective in the 'evidence' he used in his 'official' report on the matter - and some of the accounts he chose to include were highly suspect. The victims' families have campaigned for justice ever since . Their case is too strong to ignore any longer .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1998 .
By Eamonn McCann .

British 'Lord' Widgery's political objective is even clearer from looking at examples of his handling of the evidence that he did choose to hear - for example , relating to the key moment when British paratroopers opened fire in the courtyard of Rossville Flats and shot dead 17-year-old Jackie Duddy , the young man seen in a much-used film clip being carried dying through British Army lines by a group of men including Dr. Edward Daly .

British 'Lord' Widgery heard from eight members of 'Support Company' , 1 Para , who told of how they had 'come under fire' as they de-bussed from an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the flats' courtyard , intending to 'arrest' "...hooligans.." - however , every soldier's account of the 'hostile fire' contradicted every other soldier's account ; the 'fog of battle' (!) hardly accounts for the discrepancies . British Sergeant 'O' told of around 80 shots being fired in this enclosed space in the course of two to three minutes from different calibre weapons ; British Lieutenant 'N' , on the other hand , could not recall any civilian gunfire at all .

British Major '236' described "...continuous firing .. " not for 'two to three minutes' but for ten minutes : British Lance Corporal 'V' heard only 'single-shot rifle-fire' . And so on . Some of those British soldiers 'took cover' behind the APC , a 'bulkier' vehicle than , say , a Ford Trasit van . But not only did the 'blizzard' of (incoming) bullets miss the sheltering British soldiers , it missed the APC as well .......


INFORMERS : The RUC's Psychological War .......
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.
By Sean Delaney.

But while changing circumstances were forcing the British administration to look to new methods of getting a flow of information from the nationalist ghettos , it was the McWilliams and Kennedy affairs that provided the 'dry run' for the later more widespread use of informers recruited to give 'evidence' in 'court' .

In March 1980 the 'trial' of four men , including North Belfast Republican Martin Meehan , took place , accused of conspiring to kidnap Stephen McWilliams from the New Lodge Road on July 11th 1979 and holding him against his will . McWilliams , a petty thief caught in the act of robbing a bar , had been recruited by the British Army some time earlier (in return for cash and not being prosecuted) to report on the movements of suspected local Republicans , including Martin Meehan .

At the 'trial' , McWilliams' testimony constituted the only 'evidence' for the prosecution , while monetary gain was shown to be his primary motivation for informing . Nevertheless , despite the evidence of defence witnesses , three of the men - Martin Meehan , Chris Doherty and Patrick Burnside - were convicted and jailed for twelve years . Meehan was later to protest his innocence in the H-Blocks by embarking on a 66-day hunger-strike that brought him close to death .

In November 1982 , Stephen McWilliams , abandoned by his British Army paymasters and in hiding in England , and apparently remorseful at his role in framing Martin Meehan and the others , wrote a letter to the 'Sunday World' newspaper confessing that he had deliberately perjured himself on British Army instructions to obtain the convictions .......