Friday, September 29, 2006

From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987.

The bank robbing was a bone of contention with all the relations : going out with the late Joe McGrath and Jack O' Sheehan to collect donations at the point of a revolver , and leaving some bank manager with a receipt signed by either de Valera or Michael Collins on behalf of the Irish Republic - ' When the country takes her place amongst the nations of the earth , then , and not till then , will you get your money...'

Jack could rob a bank as well as McGrath or O' Sheehan , but he didn't have the same head for business : Aunt Molly used to rock with laughter to recall the time four of them , McGrath , O' Sheehan , Archie Doyle and Uncle Jack , rolled up to rob a money shop in Dame Street in Dublin . Jack had been told to 'commander' a car , and the only one in Westmoreland Street that day was owned by a chap who said he would get the sack if the IRA took his motor .

" Well , " says Aunt Molly , " yeh know the soft touch yer uncle was . Good for any ould sob story . Lets yer man get away , so as he wouldn't lose his job , do ya understand ? In those days automobiles in Dublin were as rare as Christians in Belfast . What does he do ? Yer Uncle Jack ? What does he do ? He orders a cab ! Joe McGrath was fit to be tied . Couldn't believe it . Nobody in the history of the trade had ever hired a taxi to rob a bank . McGrath told yer Uncle Jack that he should have shot the other fella , that it would serve him right for not donating the loan of his car to the Cause . Joe always thought that people who didn't want to be free would be better off dead . "

And God knows , patriots haven't changed a great deal.......

Allegations of Garda brutality only hit the headlines intermittently . But the problem may be much more widespread than most people imagine . Last year out-of-court settlements of cases involving members of the Garda cost the taxpayer over €1 million . What's going on ?
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 2003 .
By Mairead Carey.

Robbie Dawson (25) was brought to a room in Buswell's Hotel to be examined by a doctor : " A doctor took drawings of the bruises on my leg . They went from my knee to my hip . He wasn't impressed , let me tell you , " said Robbie . The report from the CPT was sent to Leinster House in December - they have been asked to respond to it within six months . Whether it is ever published is entirely within the discretion of Leinster House .

Michael McDowell says he has had "...a quick look.." at the report . " A number of things struck me , but I am not going to comment on them at this stage , " he says . He expects to bring the report to (the Free State) Cabinet between Easter and the summer recess . " The number of claims for damages against the Garda is not an insignificant problem by any means . It is pointless denying that there have been assaults . Gardai in executing the law have to act within it , that is a fundamental proposition . If you can't accept that you should not be in the force at all . "

Fr. Peter McVerry doesn't think "...that every garda is bashing up suspects in stations . But where it does happen , it's not seen as significant . Sadly , there is a culture of silence in the force . Other gardai are not going to rat on their fellow officers . May Day showed that there is a strong sense that the garda no longer see themselves as accountable . "

Grainne Walsh (scroll to Comment #18) feels "...braver.." for the action she took against the gardai - " I always remember when I was at school there was a guy in the class who was bullied . I never did anything about it . I was too scared myself . It is something I will always regret . I can't just turn a blind eye anymore . "
(Next - 'PASSPORTS , PLEASE' : from 1999)

From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

The collapse of C.J. Haughey's Administration in November 1982 was about the worst thing that could have happened to Tony Gregory : barely eight months as a TD (sic - he was then , and remains to this day , a member of the Leinster House partitionist assembly) he was wielding more power than anyone would have believed possible before the election the previous February .

For several years , Gregory and a closely-knit team of inner-city activists had been cultivating a political base ; the issues were stark - massive social problems , compounded by official disinterest .

Back in November 1979 , a local community worker , Fergus McCabe , had been jailed following a housing protest in Gardiner Street , Dublin : at that time , street protests were about the only way of highlighting issues . But Tony Gregory's election in February 1982 changed all that - even if only for a while . He just about scraped in on the fifth count on transfers from Workers Party candidate Michael White , in the Dublin Central constituency.......