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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!

Wednesday, September 06, 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 .

James Keegan's family was represented at the inquest . There was also a Garda Superintendent there who intervened from time to time . And the gardai had another solicitor : at times , the representative of the (State) Attorney General was interrupted on the grounds that his questions were considered irrelevant .

It has been said that inquests raise more questions than they answer - the inquest into the death of James Keegan would appear to be no exception , despite the attempts by the representative of the (State) Attorney General to put as broad an interpretation as possible on the rules of the inquest , to wit : who died , where did they die , when did they die and how did they die . As the jury brought in their verdict , one observer remarked " Why did'nt the guards just bring him home...?
(Next - 'THE WALLACE AND HOLROYD FILE' : from 1987)

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.

As a compromise between this magazine and the 'Information Commission' (which supervises the workings of the 'Freedom of Information Act') , 'Magill' magazine was given details of two sample incidents which appeared on last year's list in return for dropping a case to the Office of the Information Commissioner , which could have taken over a year .

The first of these claims against the Gardai occurred in the Bridewell Garda Station in Dublin - the total bill to the taxpayer was almost €100,000 : the events which led to the settlement were as follows ;

" The plaintiff , while under arrest , claimed that he was pushed on the way into the Garda station and that his head went through one of the glass panels in the door . The four Garda members who witnessed the incident stated that the plaintiff lunged at the door with the intention of inflicting an injury to himself . The case was settled on the advice of senior counsel and the Office of the Attorney General ." The amount of the settlement was €57,138 and 50 cents , but legal costs brought the claim up to €99,457. No disciplinary procedures were brought against any of the gardai involved and no complaint was made to the Garda Complaints Board .

A second incident involved four gardai from the Bridewell , Store Street and Fitzgibbon Street stations . The plaintiff alleged that the gardai broke in the door where he resides with his parents and assaulted him during a raid . He also alleged that he was harassed by the gardai . The gardai explained the incident by saying officers were following up a report of a possible burglary when they noticed somebody who looked like the plaintiff leaving a house holding something in his hand . " The members requested him to stop , and when he failed to do so , they went in pursuit . One of the members chased the plaintiff into the house , which required the member to push the door open , damaging the lock . When the other occupants - the plaintiff's parents - came from the kitchen it was acknowledged that the plaintiff was not one of the people the gardai were looking for ."

In that instance , the plaintiff and his parents sued but the case never went to court ; the plaintiff settled for €31,743 and 61 cents , his parents each received half that amount , and costs in the case were €56,087 . A complaint was made to the Garda Complaints Board but was not upheld . No disciplinary proceedings were ever taken against the gardai involved.......

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 told a shocked staff early last year that Guinness Peat Aviation boss , Tony Ryan , had threatened "...to beat the shit.." out of him at a Board meeting in the GPA boss's house !

The row with Tony Ryan underlined most of Browne's and The Sunday Tribune's problems ; Tony Ryan was willing to fund a loss-making operation for one , two or even three years , but he wanted to know to what end his losses were being put , and so insisted , in spite of Browne's tantrums , on installing his protege , Eugene O' Neill , as Managing Director . Vincent Browne , however , had become accustomed to the multiple role of editor , managing director and financial controller . This meant that none of those functions were being carried out properly . As one journalist at the time remarked - " The 'Tribune' is like Dallas , except that Browne's editorial style is like JR , and his business acumen is closer to that of Cliff Barnes . "

Tony Ryan soon decided to cut his losses and quit , albeit with a financial stranglehold over the company's future in the form of a secured claim for half-a-million pounds : the radicals on the newspaper's staff were not happy to see their big , bad capitalist depart , as they were left with a small , bad one with no money to guarantee future jobs . Having persuaded his long-standing friend and colleague , Gordon Colleary , head of USIT travel company , to fund the paper's weekly losses for a few months , Browne got down to editing the paper . The Tribune's political and investigative features have improved markedly since then , and the paper has began to develop a definite character . But even when Vincent Browne performs journalistically , as only he can , feathers are ruffled and enemies are made.......