Wednesday, August 09, 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 .

Externally , there is little doubt that the move to involve this country (sic) with NATO or at least with an evolving European Defence Union is going on apace . Although Paddy Cooney has stated that it is the policy of Leinster House not to be allied militarily to any particular alliance , he regards this policy as one of expediency rather than principle -

" It is quite clear that though some commentators would see our neutrality as a matter of high principle , the majority of people and the historical evidence would suggest that it is a matter of expediency . It suits us to be militarily neutral . Our territory is not required or desired as a base by the Western alliance and we are in the happy position that , being ideologically and geographically allied to the Western block , we can confidently rely on it to protect our territory * should any state or combination of states hostile to the Western world threaten it . " ( * '1169...' Comment - Like Mr. Cooney and his small-minded colleagues in Leinster House , this "Western block" ignores the on-going " our territory.." from Westminster.)

Mr. Cooney continued : " Our economic , political and cultural interests lie very definitely with the Western world . This is entirely consistent with our historical stance and it is apposite to recall that during the emergency our neutrality was biased in favour of the Allies . " ('1169...' Comment - Apart from the very notion that politicians could be "...entirely consistent.." , there's this - "...our neutrality was biased in favour of the Allies .." - what hypocrisy ! Oscar Wilde probably had politicians in mind when he stated - " I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying ." )


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 Hutchinson Case :
Liam Hutchinson was an emigre Kerryman who had spent 19 years in England . On Valentine's night in 1979 , he was approached by a Garda while looking into a shop window on his way home . The Garda engaged him in casual conversation - said he did'nt know him but had seen him about etc , and invited him to the Garda Station for 'a bit of a chat ' . It was 11.00 PM . Liam Hutchinson was surprised but , not wishing to be offensive , agreed .

On reaching the Garda Station , it became clear that the main topic of conversation was to be Hutchinson's hair and beard (both long) , his style of clothing and the possibility therefore that he might use drugs ! Liam Hutchinson took exception to these attitudes and made clear his desire to leave whereupon , he alleges , he received 'the mother and father of a beating ' . In fact , he alleges , he received a number of beatings in the course of the night involving at least six Gardai : in the morning he was charged with being drunk and disorderly !

But Hutchinson had at least ten years experience in England as a trade-union negotiator and knew his rights ; further , he was determined to see justice done . What happened subsequently was an astonishing series of adjournments at District Court level , concerning which Liam Hutchinson is deeply suspicious : on at least a dozen occasions , the Gardai applied for adjournments . Through an 'odd' conjunction of events , Hutchinson ended up missing the day of his trial - his solicitor then applied for an adjournment but was refused , and Hutchinson was found guilty in absentia and fined £2.00 .

But he would'nt leave it at that.......

From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

A worn wooden stairs leads up to a small landing area adjoining the kitchen , which is probably the homeliest place in the whole building. It is the only room that is heated . Rows of tables and benches , probably belonging to the former occupants , line the dining area . A handful of people sit around , talking and arguing . One or two sit alone . There is always a smell of food cooking .

The building itself is a fairly large one : at any one time there are fifty beds available , but not everyone who arrives to the shelter will get one - first come , first served . Some of them are quite content to sit around the kitchen/dining area all night . Simon is a popular shelter for Dublin's homeless people - it is free , you get three meals a day and they will even help you get resettled in a flat if they can .

Most of the other shelters in Dublin charge anything from 70 pence to £3.00 per night , which is a lot of money if you are fond of a 'few drops' . The hostel , however , only caters for people over the age of forty - it would be virtually impossible to have it any other way , even though it is hard to categorise the type of person that stays there : some have chronic drink problems , others have psychiatric problems and some are homeless because of domestic and financial reasons . One man , 'Tony' , the one who could take on ten Gerry Fulham's 'once upon a time' , has been with the Simon Community for almost five years - he drinks a lot and is fond of meeting his old friends . He prefers the old hostel down on Sarsfield Quay for the simple reason that if one got drunk down in that area , one of the locals would help you back to the hostel.......