" 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, August 16, 2006

James Keegan died in Granard Garda Station last September (1986) . Earlier this month , an inquest was held in Longford to ascertain the cause of death.
The central question - how James Keegan managed to tear a blanket and hang himself within four minutes - still remains unanswered .
DEREK DUNNE reports.
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

Jimmy Keegan lived with his brother three miles outside Granard , a small town in north County Longford : he was fifty-four years old and had been a cattle drover all his life . In the 1940's , '50s and '60s there was a good living to be made from cattle droving but , as marts began to replace fairs , Jimmy Keegan found that his livelihood was being eroded .

Some cattle drovers bought lorries and became more professional - others , for one reason or another , did not , including James Keegan . He was fond of drink and spent most of his money in that way . As a degree of prosperity made itself apparent in the 1960's he was left behind . In the 1970's and 1980's he survived by what he got from the dole and by selling ash plants to farmers at the local mart for one pound at a time . Locals regarded him as 'harmless' - he might make a nuisance of himself by singing in bars or on the street but he was never considered nasty or violent .

He was occasionally barred from pubs in Granard for his tendency to sing and generally create annoyance and he was well known to the gardai in the town . Sometimes they would pick him up and leave him home , or leave him in the garda station to sober up . He suffered from alcoholism , and he had a heart condition.......


There is a crisis among the Gardai in Kerry and it is much deeper than one of morale . For years the Kerry Detective force has enjoyed a free hand in dealing with Section 30 cases in this heavily Republican county .
But the free rein given in these cases has had the inevitably corrupting effect . Now individual Gardai are being fingered for conduct that most of them had taken for normal : the heat is now on . Only the fall-guys remain to be named .......
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

Rathmore schoolteacher Noel O' Sullivan died on the 28th of December 1981 after a visit to Kenmare Garda Station in the south of the county of Kerry . This case is now being openly spoken of as Kerry's Shercock .

According to the report of Cork City coroner , Con Riordan , Noel O' Sullivan's death was as a result of "...extradural haemorrhage and contusion of the brain due to fracture of the skull caused by trauma to the head " . The position at the moment is that civil proceedings were begun in January 1983 and are still awaiting trial .

James Sheehan was arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act in the summer of 1982 . He had 12 or 13 previous arrests : he was taken to Tralee Garda Station where , he alleges , local detectives told him they wanted 'yes' answers to a series of questions . He alleges they beat him and that , in the course of the beating , a window was broken and his hand was cut . He was then handcuffed and dragged by the hair to another room . The questioning continued.......

From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

At around 7.45pm some of the co-workers arrive for their shift , and the full-time workers have a chance to go off for a pint or whatever until they come back again at 11.30pm . Again , like the full-time workers , the co-workers (part-timers) are a friendly bunch . A good many of the residents have gone off to bed at this stage , some of them are still sitting around in the kitchen area , chatting amongst themselves , and others are just sitting there looking on with blank expressions on their faces .

Downstairs in a small room another group of co-workers have arrived in to give up some of their time to the Simon Community . They will go out on the streets and visit people who are sleeping rough and give them soup and sandwiches . The 'soup run' takes place every night between 10.00pm and 2.00am and those working on it have full time jobs during the day - they are mainly young people and are drawn from all walks of life . They will split up into small groups , depending on the number of cars that are available , and some of those groups will visit people living in flats that Simon have managed to find for them while another group will seek out people sleeping rough .

The co-workers will arrive in the shelter anytime after 8.30pm to make the soup and the sandwiches : tonight it is beef , cheese and egg sandwiches as well as French onion soup and tea . One of the residents who seems to have been wandering around the shelter all day sits down and looks at the assembled night crew who , before they actually set off , are being 'paired' and having their destinations designated . On the way out one of the girls smiles and says to the rest " Let's be careful out there..." Too right - Dublin's Buckingham Street and its environs may not be like Hill Street but it sure is a tough area.......