" 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 - we made it to the finalists page last year but never got to the stage :- ( 'cause not enough of ye feckers out there voted for us! So we're gonna give ya a second chance - the blog awards this year will be held on Thursday, October 5th (2017) in The Academy, Middle Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre, and we would appreciate if you could keep an eye here and give us a vote when ya can. Or else we'll get our 'Junior' to put up a pay wall and then ye will be sorry...!

Monday, September 04, 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 .

It was self-evident to the inquest that , taking both Jack Mahon's evidence , along with that of Dr. John Harbison , at least ten minutes had elapsed between the time the tearing of the blanket took place and the time of death .

Garda John Boyle made three statements about the death : in the first he made no mention of the fact that he had taken a three-quarters of an hour break . Neither did he mention that the prisoners had been searched in his first statement . It was in his third statement that he clarified matters further by stating that he had checked the prisoners from the doorway . Garda Eugene Watters made three statements also about the death , while Garda David Martin made two statements .

The jury of three women and five men took just a few minutes to bring in a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence . They also added a rider to their verdict , which was aimed at the (State) Department of Justice , to the effect that the quality of blankets in cells could be improved to prevent further similar tragedies . The (State) Attorney General , in a highly unusual move , was represented at the inquest in order , he explained to the court , that events would be seen to proceed fairly.......

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.

Last year (ie 2002) the taxpayer footed a bill of over €1 million in out-of-court settlements involving members of the Garda . On the list of these cases provided to 'Magill' magazine by the (State) Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act , no names are mentioned , no Garda stations listed . In fact , there is more information blacked out than revealed .

In the opinion of the deciding officer in the (State) Department of Justice , there are "...no public interest factors (requirement for openness , exposure of wrongdoing/corruption , mismanagement of public funds) in favour of release which outweigh the right to privacy of the individual to whom the information relates . " Claims for assault and wrongful arrest are common , but no information is available to show whether or not the same gardai or even the same stations feature in different settlements .

Some of the largest claims apparently don't warrant any description at all . The action by 'Claimant 65' in the year 2000 cost the taxpayer £225,000 but no information is given as to why that money was paid out.......

Vincent Browne is the nearest thing to Robert Maxwell that Ireland has got - in style , if not in scale .
From 'PHOENIX' magazine , 1985.

Vincent Browne's manner of handling awkward trade-unionists was best exemplified last week when he gave NUJ President-elect , Ray McGuigan , a shoulder-charge , followed up by a right hook to the body . Minutes earlier , a dismayed Sunday Tribune financial controller , Martin Dobey , had pulled Vincent Browne off Ray McGuigan , who had pleaded with Browne to re-enter negotiations on staffing-levels and back-monies promised to the paper's journalists .

But the near-hatred that Vincent Browne engenders in many of his journalists and Dublin NUJ members is matched by bottomless admiration from many in the business world . The commercial staff of 'The Sunday Tribune' , too , venerate Browne who is seen as the dynamic saviour of a perpetually threatened newspaper .

The mini-magnate of Irish publishing is either loved or loathed , with most colleagues experiencing both emotions at different times depending on Browne's vagaries or the prevailing circumstances . Guinness Peat Aviation boss , Tony Ryan , was at first enamoured of the editor's tough , independent and dynamic character , and sank almost half a million pounds into the newspaper before relations between the two deteriorated almost to the level of last week's encounter with Ray McGuigan.......