" 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!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Due to a 'balls-up' with our staff (!) , this blog will publish only on Mondays , Wednesdays and Fridays .

From 'MAGILL' magazine , November 1997 .
By Fionnuala O' Connor .

DUP presence in talks , which has begun to seem possible since the recent warm exchange between Ian Paisley and Mo Mowlam , would nonetheless further un-nerve the clearly jittery UUP. The occasional proposition by a few London editorial writers that David Trimble is biding his time , edging his 'troops' forward , meets with derision among talks' participants and a unanimous shaking of heads - however , few predict a Trimble walkout : one delegate put it , gloomily , - " If the Paisley menace revives though , and he stops the thing in its tracks further down the line by starting on again about decommissioning , that would be no surprise . "

Whatever Gerry Adams and the (P) Sinn Fein leadership face in the future , it is the Unionist dilemma which grabs attention now - unionist posturing , mirrored perfectly for one watcher in David Trimble's jerky body language , invites mockery but offers the slightest of hopes - " He can't sit down and the others seem nearly as restless . Perhaps that represents the mood in their community at the moment . Who knows where it might lead ? On good days I think there might be a speeded-up versioin of the shift that brought republicans this far . "

Inside the talks some sympathise with David Trimble's predicament : only a remarkable leader could present the likely outcome of negotiations for unionists as anything other than defeat . Trimble could in theory of course say , as a scornful former colleague puts it - "...this is a process I neither like nor trust , the Shinners are a devious bunch , but I'm staying because my people will go unrepresented if I don't , and I'll argue as hard as I can for a settlement that underwrites the British dimension of Northern Ireland (sic) , no matter what happens to unionist numerical superiority . " That David Trimble who owes his election as leader to his performance at Drumcree 1995 , however , is on past form not the man to make such a pitch.......

The unchanging face of repression .
PETER HAYES examines reactions to the latest shoot-to-kill deaths .
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.

At around 9.35PM on the night of Thursday , November 11th last year (1982) , 31-year-old Gervase McKerr left his home in Lurgan's Teghnaven estate accompanied by Eugene Toman and Sean Burns , both aged 21 . All three were IRA Volunteers in the North Armagh Brigade , all three were unarmed .

Less than ten minutes later they lay dead or dying on a darkened road less than half-a-mile away , Gervase's Ford Escort car riddled with more than 50 bullets in an RUC ambush . Less than two weeks later , on November 24th 1982 , not far away from the scene of the earlier killings , at a farmhouse between Lurgan and Craigavon , 17-year-old Michael Tighe was shot dead and his 20-year-old friend critically wounded in a second RUC stake-out operation . Neither were members of a republican organisation , yet the RUC claimed that a routine patrol had opened fire when the youths had pointed weapons at them . The 'weapons' the RUC produced were three 60-year-old rifles of German and Italian origin , believed to have belonged to the late husband of the elderly woman who lived at the farmhouse - he was a republican veteran of the Black and Tan war .

There was no ammunition with the rifles and considerable evidence that an RUC unit had staked out the farm for some time before the shooting : Martin McAuley , wounded in the attack , was subsequently charged in his hospital bed with 'conspiracy to murder' , in a transparent attempt to cover up the RUC's cold-blooded killing .......

Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act has just been renewed for another year by State Communications Minister Jim Mitchell , despite increasing protests and lobbying by the NUJ .
HELEN O'CONNOR examines the results of a recent NIHE survey of the attitudes of Dublin people on the issue and GERRY LAVERY looks back to the roots of Section 31 .
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

In a 1977 directive to RTE , Conor Cruise O' Brien spelled out exactly what organisations were to be banned from the airwaves :

' RTE is hereby directed to refrain from broadcasting any matter which is : an interview or report of an interview with a spokesman for any one or more of the following organisations , namely -
a) the organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army .
b) the organisation styling itself Sinn Fein .
c) the organisation styling itself the Ulster Defence Association .
d) the organisation styling itself the Irish National Liberation Army . '

To that list has now been added Republican Sinn Fein .

The question of electoral broadcasts was contested during the 1982 elections by Sinn Fein candidate Sean Lynch : he won his case in the State High Court , but the State appealed to the Supreme Court , where Judge O' Higgins ruled that the Minister was not acting 'ultra vires' (' outside of his jurisdiction') , by restricting Sinn Fein from taking part in electoral broadcasts , no matter how many candidates they put up .
[END of 'The Right To Silence']
(NEXT : 'Eoghan Harris - Pillars Of Society' , from 1985)