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"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, August 21, 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 .

As Garda Eugene Watters was handing James Keegan over to Garda John Boyle , he heard shouting on the street ; it was Jack Mahon - he had been in the town for twelve hours and spent most of that time moving from pub to pub . Garda Eugene Watters went outside and arrested Jack Mahon for being drunk and incapable and handed him over to Garda John Boyle : both James Keegan and Jack Mahon were placed in separate cells .

As Station Orderly , Garda John Boyle had certain responsibility towards the two prisoners ; his responsibilities involved taking charge of the two men , carrying out a search , removing any objects with which they might harm themselves , securing them in their cells and looking after their well-being . In order to look after their well-being , he was obliged to check them every fifteen minutes . The garda in charge is also obliged to write into the Station Diary anything found on a prisoner . In James Keegan's case , a box of matches and an old cigarette butt were allegedly found and removed , but no mention was made of this in the Station Diary . In any case , blood pressure tablets and Librium were afterwards found on James Keegan which the garda had apparently failed to locate .

Twelve midnight : Garda John Boyle says he checked both men from the doorway leading into the cells , but did not actually go in to check . He says that he was reluctant to go in because both men were shouting or singing at various times , and that Jack Mahon in particular was calling for immediate release . Between midnight and 1am , he says that he checked both men in this way . At 1.15am , Garda Boyle recorded that James Keegan was singing and that Jack Mahon was shouting.......


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 .

The Gardai's abuse of their powers usually comes to light only when they offend the powerful or articulate . Thus it was when - without warrant or invitation - the Gardai searched the hotel rooms of American delegates to the 'Ancient Order of Hibernians' Convention in Killarney , County Kerry , and seized a banner . When furious delegates realised that their rooms had been entered in their absence , they contacted their embassy to complain .

Shortly afterwards , an abject Detective Garda Kingston was despatched to explain to delegates that Gardai had searched their rooms 'soley to protect them from a possible subversive bomb attack' ! There was no credible explanation for the removal of the AOH banner .

[END of 'Kerry Garda Crisis']
(Next - ' The Quality of Justice is Strained' : from 1987.)

From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

The first port of call was a special meeting point down by Heuston Station , Dublin : at around 10.15pm , a group of three young men , in their early twenties , had gathered for the soup and sandwiches . Most other nights there are a few more . These young men were staying in the (Dublin) Corporation's Model Hostel nearby : it cost them 70p a night and they say that it is fairly strict there . Once out on the street the workers on the 'soup run' treat young and old alike - it is only in the hostel that the 'over forty' rule applies .

One of the young men is a chap called Pat , who came to Ireland almost a year ago to do a thesis on the country as part of his degree course at the University of New York . Pat spent some time in a flat but the landlord kept putting the rent up so he was forced to move out soon afterwards , and had no other alternative but to go to the Model Hostel . He soon found himself in trouble with the Gardai and is awaiting the decision of an appeal he has lodged on the case . In the meantime he can do nothing and he has been waiting for money to be sent from home , but it does'nt look like it is coming . The other two young men have very little to say for themselves , but are glad to get the hot soup and the sandwiches - it is freezing cold weather . They are also given some cigarettes .

Moving on to the fashionable area surrounding Molesworth Street we approach a small frail-looking woman named Mary , who is lying curled up in a ball in a doorway . The blankets cover her totally and she is sound asleep.......