Monday, August 07, 2006

Not since the earliest days of the State has the role of the Irish Army (sic) been under such intense scrutiny . And not since the war years has it had such a forceful political master as Patrick Mark Cooney .
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , 3 February 1984 .

One of the "cures" which seems to be circulating in Paddy Cooney's brain-box is some sort of 'National (sic) Service' ; a "cure" which apparently would be acceptable to Fianna Fail as well , or at least to their Defence Spokesman Sylvie Barrett .

Mr. Cooney has been thinking about the "...formation of a technical corps where , in addition to receiving training in particular skills , the young people concerned would have the benefit of service in a disciplined body with the advantages that that would bring for their personal characters ." ('1169...' Comment : Sounds to us like the first step on the road towards establishing a conscript army , and doing so as cheaply as possible . Besides , it's a bit rich to hear any Leinster House politician talk about "personal character" .)

It remains to be seen how far Generalissimo Paddy Cooney will develop this particular "cure" in the immediate future , but it looks as if the lack of necessary funds is enough to keep it in Cooney's closet for the time being . However , out of that same 'closet' has leaped the issue of State neutrality , which the man views as "...a matter of expediency........."


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 Garda Superintendent who investigated the claims made by Emmet Walsh that he had been beaten in custody sent his findings to the DPP , and charges against the Gardai were ordered : furthermore , a charge of assault that the Gardai brought against Emmet Walsh was withdrawn on the instructions of the DPP . Detective Sergeant Tim O' Callaghan and Detective Garda Con Sullivan were found guilty in the District Court of assaulting Emmet Walsh and were given suspended sentences : there case is currently on appeal .

In an encounter of an entirely different kind , senior Kerry Gardai initiated a remarkable series of events following internal disciplinary charges brought against Sergeant Reddington from Ballyduff , County Kerry : in 1982 , Reddington was found guilty on seven different charges arising out of a bungalow he had constructed in the town . Later , a series of public meetings in the town heard several residents claim they had been forced by senior Gardai into making false and incriminatory statements against Reddington , who was defended at the inquiry by a Sergeant Michael Flanagan from Dublin .

Both 'The Kerryman' newspaper and 'The Irish Times' newspaper printed statements , allegedly made by Sergeant Michael Flanagan , saying that Sergeant Reddington was the victim of a witch-hunt organised by senior Gardai Officers : in 1984 , the two papers' editors , Douglas Gageby and Seamus McConville , and a news journalist from each paper , were summoned to appear at another inquiry , this time to hear disciplinary charges against Garda Sergeant Michael Flanagan ; the journalists were denied permission to bring solicitors with them and , on withdrawing from the inquiry , were summoned under pain of prosecution to appear at a reconvened session .

The four then appeared but refused to answer questions that would incriminate anybody who might have made the 'witch-hunt' allegation . The inquiry , whose last session was held in October 1984 , has yet to reach a verdict on Garda Sergeant Michael Flanagan .......

From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

The bell over the big steel door rings twice . Gerry Fulham makes his way over to answer it but , before he gets to it , it rings a third and fourth time . He opens it to be faced by a weather-worn man in his late sixties but who , by all accounts , is only in his early fifties . The man looks at Gerry with a rather puzzled expression , and Gerry knew he had been drinking - he was drunk as a lord . Drunk as ten lords . It is only 6.15 in the evening and it is a sign that another eventful evening in the Simon Community's shelter for the homeless is about to begin . This scene will be re-enacted several more times as the night progresses .

As 'Project Leader' in the Shelter on Lower Buckingham Street in Dublin , this scene is familiar to Gerry Fulham : he is a big , burly and bearded man and firmly respected by both the staff and residents of the Simon Shelter . To some of the more bellicose and intoxicated residents his burly stature seems almost ominous . One of them tells me that he could take on ten Gerry Fulhams in his day , but would'nt dare do it now . He is far too drunk to even kick the wind out of a paper bag , and is content to shower abuse on some of his fellow residents instead .

This Simon Shelter is an old fire-brigade station : from the outside it looks drab , cold and very impersonal . Inside , it is much the same . As you enter the small re-inforced steel door a stale stench greets you . But you get used to it after a while . A notice-board has a circular to all staff asking them to help Brendan Ryan in his campaign to get elected to the (State) Seanad* : ( * '1169....' Comment - .....a well-known stomping ground for the poor and destitute..) Ryan is said to have spent most of his time working for the homeless in the State over the past decade and , according to some , without him there would be no Simon Community . Another notice advertises to the residents that there will be bingo on Sunday at 3.00 pm.......