" 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.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. Ah well! Thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again next year!

Friday, January 06, 2006

TIME MARCHES ON .......
The Easter Commemoration Parades took place this year in the North as usual . At the regular venues - Belfast , Derry , Crossmaglen , Newry - the same Proclamation was read , the usual speeches were made and the routine Army Council message was delivered to the faithful .
The only difference this year was that by Good Friday the North's death toll since 1969 had reached 2,500 and Ireland's longest period of civil disturbance appeared no nearer an end .
Behind much of the violence stands the Provisional IRA , organisers of most Easter Parades and , by their own claims , direct lineal descendants* of the men of 1916 . But how strong are they and for how long can they continue the military and political struggle ?
PATRICK MURPHY reports from Belfast .
First published in 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , May 1987 .
(* In 1986 the Provisional IRA abandoned that lineage and offered their support to what was to become a Leinster House-registered political party.)

Consider the alternatives to the two methods of fighting : two young-fellow's sit in a car or hang about a car-park in a quiet Loyalist town , such as Portrush or Newcastle , wait for an RUC member or two to walk down the street , shoot him/them and make their escape .

There is little planning needed (RUC members have to walk down most streets in the North every day ) , handguns are by far the easiest weapons to transport - certainly more convenient than half a ton of explosives - and there are no local contacts who can be picked up by the RUC afterwards to find out the structure of the operation . The effect is quite devastating and its psychological impact on the community is enormous .

The secret of success is simple ; there are 'two' RUC's in the North of Ireland - there is the RUC of the Falls Road , the Bogside , Newry and Crossmaglen and there is the RUC of Newtownards , Comber , Portrush , Newcastle , Ballynahinch and Ballymoney : the RUC in Bangor does not expect to be hit - the RUC in Strabane does . So you hit them where they do not expect it - hardly an original guerilla war idea , and you hit them in a way that they neither expect nor can counter . The only way to stop a two-person RUC patrol being shot in the back of the head is for one of them to walk backwards down the street at all times .

Quite simply there is no effective counter-measure that the RUC can adopt .......

(MORE LATER).



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

What had emerged over a two-day period was the involvement in varying degrees and roles of Fr. Denis Faul , Fr. Oliver Crilly and Cardinal O' Fiaich in an attempt to bring an immediate and unconditional end to the hunger-strike ; Fr. Crilly was tasked with providing a completely implausible and incredible 'way out' for the hunger-strikers in which was inherent all of Faul's reasoning the previous week at his meeting with Sinn Fein's Eamonn McCrory - '...help the prisoners to help themselves..' etc .

Faul provided the pressure on the prisoners supporters through subterfuge and exploitation of the emotions of the hunger-strikers families . And Cardinal O' Fiaich , to whom Faul was conceivably 'reporting-in' to on the morning of Wednesday July 29th 1981 , when Gerry Adams was attempting to contact Faul , was on hand to arrange any necessary facilities with regard to prison visits which might arise .

The following morning , Thursday July 30th 1981 , Gerry Adams rang Fr. Faul who expressed his satisfaction that Adams had done everything possible in appraising the hunger-strikers of the grim reality of their situation . But at another meeting he held with the families , again in Toomebridge , later that day , he cast aspersions on the credibility of Adams' account of what took place inside the prison ; to his 'arsenal' of lies and emotional exploitation , Fr. Faul had now added the undermining of the prisoners' supporters as a weapon towards his ends .

From this point onward Faul ignored the 'bulldozer' tactics he had employed on the evening of Tuesday July 28th 1981 , opting for a more sedate pace involving moral exploitation , undermining the prisoners and vilification of the prisoners' supporters on the outside while all the time maintaining his public image by reiterating his 'support' of the prisoners' five demands .......

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

BEATINGS , KNEE-CAPPING AND INTIMIDATIONS , 1975-1982 :
There are countless stories in Belfast of these incidents involving members of the Official IRA , and they are certainly a weekly , if not daily , occurrance .

Only earlier this month the Official IRA were involved in kneecappings of two brothers in the Moyard housing estate . During the hunger-strike protest last year the OIRA intimidated several pub owners into either refusing to close during hunger-strike funerals or , as in one case , forcing a publican to remain closed for one week in retaliation for closing during a funeral .

Members of Sinn Fein The Workers Party also carried out a vendetta against members of the IRSP .......

(MORE LATER).







Thursday, January 05, 2006

TIME MARCHES ON .......
The Easter Commemoration Parades took place this year in the North as usual . At the regular venues - Belfast , Derry , Crossmaglen , Newry - the same Proclamation was read , the usual speeches were made and the routine Army Council message was delivered to the faithful .
The only difference this year was that by Good Friday the North's death toll since 1969 had reached 2,500 and Ireland's longest period of civil disturbance appeared no nearer an end .
Behind much of the violence stands the Provisional IRA , organisers of most Easter Parades and , by their own claims , direct lineal descendants* of the men of 1916 . But how strong are they and for how long can they continue the military and political struggle ?
PATRICK MURPHY reports from Belfast .
First published in 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , May 1987 .
(* In 1986 the Provisional IRA abandoned that lineage and offered their support to what was to become a Leinster House-registered political party.)

Gone are the days when shots were fired at passing RUC patrols or massive landmines destroyed inadequately armoured RUC cars on border duty ; in early 1987 the tactics were switched towards the bullet in the back of the head and the success rate has been phenomenal , although the death of 'Lord Justice' Gibson shows that the Provos have not put all their eggs in one tactical basket .

The reason for the bullet in the back of the head is simple - logistically it is much easier to operate . A landmine operation can take up to a month to prepare , and sometmes longer , as it requires the movement of massive amounts of explosives , normally across country for at least the final part of the journey and , depending on the physical details of the culvert or bridge , anything up to three nights preparing , priming and running wires/fixing radio equipment .

An IRA operation like that would need at least four men , and often up to a dozen , with all of them being exposed at various points before the operation . All are potential security risks and all could 'talk' years afterwards if arrested : the operation itself can involve a wait of up to a month for a suitable vehicle to come along and the RUC are sufficiently flexible to vary their patrol routines in strategic areas . Thus up to a dozen men can be occupied for anything up to two months in the hope of carrying out an operation and always there exists the risk of prior discovery .

This type of operation can be countered by surveillance and by routine intelligence work and generally it represents the old style guerilla campaign which has varied little (apart from the radio switches) since West Cork in 1921 .......

(MORE LATER).



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

The content and outcome of a meeting held on Wednesday July 29th 1981 are now well recorded historical fact - over a period of hours , Gerry Adams , Brendan McFarlane , Owen Carron and Seamus Ruddy saw all the hunger-strikers with the exception of Kevin Lynch whose deteriorating condition prevented him from being present . Having outlined the reasons for their visit the deputation , as requested , gave a painful but necessarily frank assessment of the situation to the hunger-strikers .

In a statement , prepared in conjunction with the hunger-strikers , Gerry Adams said afterwards : " We gave them a factual and hard breakdown on their position - that is , that they would all be dead very soon . They told us , individually and collectively , that they were determined to continue with the hunger-strike until the British government was pressurised into meeting in a commonsense manner with the protesting prisoners on the hunger-strikers' position as outlined in their July 4th 1981 statement . "

The hunger-strikers were fully aware of the situation outside the prison , of its inevitable consequences to themselves , but they were totally determined to continue . One other previously unknown fact arose at that July 29th 1981 meeting - Fr. Oliver Crilly of the ICJP had been in the prison the previous day to see Thomas McElwee with a proposal that the hunger-strike should be suspended to allow a 'monitoring committee' to ensure the implementation of British government commitments ; Fr. Oliver Crilly was to attend the meeting with the families later that day at Toomebridge but did not accompany them to the Belfast meeting late that night .

This strange proposal was obviously a non-starter simply because it had no basis - the British government had not given any public commitments : there was nothing to monitor and as such it was rejected that night as totally implausible by the hunger-strikers and Brendan McFarlane who had been brought from the cells to the hospital wing .......

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

JOE McCABE : SHOT IN THE HEAD , AUGUST 1980 -
There was a riot taking place in the vicinity of Divis Flats close to midnight between local youths and British soldiers .

Official IRA men emerged armed from the vicinity of their drinking club in Cyprus Street - they had two rifles and a handgun . They opened fire on the rioters , hitting 18 year-old Joe McCabe in the back of the head .

As McCabe lay on the ground seriously injured , one of the Official IRA men , who had been in school with him , came up and kicked him .
(Tomorrow - 'Beatings , knee-capping and intimidations ; 1975-1982' .)
(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bhi an saoire caite inne !
The holiday was over yesterday !
....great to be back ; we continue from where we left off on Wednesday 21 December last ...
But first ...three years before the Sinn Fein organisation was founded ; three years after 'The United Irishman' newspaper was founded ; and Anna Johnston died in this year : 1902 . This man , a legend amongst Irish Republicans , was born that year , and celebrated his 104th birthday on Monday last , January 2nd ! 'Respect' , Dan - Congratulations ! From the '1169....' team .

TIME MARCHES ON .......
The Easter Commemoration Parades took place this year in the North as usual . At the regular venues - Belfast , Derry , Crossmaglen , Newry - the same Proclamation was read , the usual speeches were made and the routine Army Council message was delivered to the faithful .
The only difference this year was that by Good Friday the North's death toll since 1969 had reached 2,500 and Ireland's longest period of civil disturbance appeared no nearer an end .
Behind much of the violence stands the Provisional IRA , organisers of most Easter Parades and , by their own claims , direct lineal descendants* of the men of 1916 . But how strong are they and for how long can they continue the military and political struggle ?
PATRICK MURPHY reports from Belfast .
First published in 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , May 1987 .
(* In 1986 the Provisional IRA abandoned that lineage and offered their support to what was to become a Leinster House-registered political party.)

In military terms , British Army personnel are the more difficult to hit ; of course they are by no means impossible to hit , but their military alertness , their firepower , their training and their mobility make them a more difficult target . The problem with fighting the British Army is that they are likely to fire at you first and even if they do not you normally only get one shot at them before they start firing back .

In recent years the alternative tactic has been to bombard their bases with mortar shells and although this has had marked success against the RUC - notably in Newry - the British Army have survived largely intact from this type of attack . British Army superiority in the air and the PIRA inability to bring down helicopters has meant that there really is no contest on a military level between the two sides .

The difficulty in hitting the British Army has been accompanied by a political shift of emphasis in the Westminster 'Northern Ireland (sic) Office' where dead RUC/UDR bodies are apparently more acceptable than dead British bodies ; the switch towards the priority of the RUC as the main 'security force' with the British Army as the 'back-up' organisation has been justified by 'NIO' sources in terms of the primacy of the RUC and the need for an 'acceptable police force' as a foundation for political stability in the North of Ireland . ('1169.... Comment - There will never be 'political stability in the North' as long as Westminster maintains its military and political presence in this country.)

But the political unacceptability of military funerals on a regular basis in Britain must also be a factor and with less British Army personnel on the ground the PIRA have 'obliged' the British by hitting at the softest targets ; ' ...if the Provos must kill people , let them kill the Irish ..' , runs the British 'logic' .

And kill the Provos certainly have .......

(MORE LATER).



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Fr. Denis Faul's complete and deliberate distortion of the truth had achieved for him what he wanted ; he had created a 'chink' in the hitherto unified front of prisoners , hunger-strikers' relatives and prisoners' supporters .

Unashamedly , and with single mindedness , after having been proved in the presence of more than a score of people to have been deliberately untruthful , Faul pressed ahead with his primary intention of having the hunger-strike ended immediately . Like the ICJP before him , he was attempting to use the families of the hunger-strikers as a 'pressure group' towards that end . However , even in this he did'nt have things his own way , coming under vociferous attack , particularly from Mrs Margaret Doherty - Kieran's mother - and members of Thomas McElwee's family who were aghast at the idea of removing pressure from the British and putting it on the prisoners .

But given that Faul's premise for forcing this meeting to take place in the first instance was entirely incorrect - a fact of which he himself was fully aware - the meeting was largely inconclusive ; only one of the several aspects of the discussion could be dealt with . Some of the families raised doubts about whether their relatives on hunger-strike were fully appraised of the political situation outside the prison and its grim consequences for those on hunger-strike . Despite the fact that this was not the case - communications detailing all the known facts accompanied by a full assessment of their implications , were been smuggled into the prison on a daily , and often on a twice daily , basis - Gerry Adams , the following day , contacted Fr. Denis Faul to see if arrangements could be made whereby he could see the hunger-strikers in order to allay those particular fears of the families : after some initial failures , Adams eventually contacted Faul at Cardinal O'Fiaich's residence in Armagh city .

It was in fact Cardinal O' Fiaich who made the necessary arrangements with the British administration at Stormont to facilitate an unprecedented visit between Gerry Adams , the hunger-strikers and the prisoners' representative , Brendan McFarlane , on the afternoon of Wednesday , July 29th 1981 . Also present at that meeting were Owen Carron of Sinn Fein and Seamus Ruddy of the IRSP .......

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

The murder of Hugh Halloran , September 8 , 1979 :
Hugh Halloran , a former member of Sinn Fein The Workers Party , was 'sentenced' to a beating for indiscipline : he was beaten to death with hurley sticks by members of the Official IRA in Belfast .

Two of the men responsible for the murder fled to Cork , where they were looked after by local Official IRA contacts . Meanwhile , public outrage over the killing evinced from Seamus Harrison , who 'mans' the Sinn Fein The Workers Party office in Belfast's Springfield Road , this comment : " Our party wishes to place on record its absolute condemnation and disgust at these murders (caused by street violence generally) . Those responsible showed callous disregard for human life by their unprovoked assaults against innocent and harmless people . "

Public re-action became so intense that the Official IRA decided to order the culprits back from Cork and give themselves up to the RUC ; Francis Macklin of Britton's Parade , Belfast , and Stephen Hunter of Ballymurphy Road , Belfast , duly arrived in Newry and gave theselves up at the RUC Barracks there .

In the course of their trial , their counsel told the court that they had been approached by two Official IRA men and told they would be shot if they refused to return to the North to confess the killing : Macklin was jailed for 15 years and Hunter for 13 years .
(Tomorrow - Joe McCabe - shot in the head in August 1980.)
(MORE LATER).