" 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, February 17, 2006

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND THE IRISH STRUGGLE .......
This article is based on a lecture delivered by Sean O Bradaigh in Dublin on January 21 , 1989 , marking the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the First (All-Ireland) Dail Eireann in the Mansion House on January 21 , 1919 , and the links between Irish and French Republicans - 'Partners in Revolution' 200 years ago .
Published in 1989 by Sean Lynch , Cleenrath , Aughnacliffe , County Longford , on behalf of the County Longford Branch of the National Graves Association .
By Sean O Bradaigh .
Liberte ! Egalite ! Fraternite ! Ou La Mort ! ( (Freedom ! Equality ! Brotherhood ! or Death!).
Unite Indivisibilite De La Republique !

Bad weather separated General Lazare Hoche's vessel from the fleet ; an easterly gale continued for several days and by December 22 , 1796 , only half the fleet had entered Bantry Bay . French Marshal Emmanuel Grouchy , the second-in-command , decided not to disembark as he had only 6,400 men and the storm would have made a landing hazardous . " England , " said Wolfe Tone , " has not had such an escape since the Armada . "

W.B. Yeats wrote many years later that " John Bull and the sea are friends ... " . Ireland lost a good friend and skilled soldier when Lazare Hoche died of fever in 1797 : more fleets were organised , notwithstanding the strain on military resources , as the new Republic came under attack from Monarchs and Emperors throughout Europe , including the British , and despite the fact that the French navy was not at all well organised or equipped .

Three expeditions were authorised by the French Directory in July of 1798 and command of the first and smallest of these was given to General Jean-Joseph Humbert . His small fleet of three frigates , loaded almost to danger point with munitions and other supplies and carrying 1,090 seasoned troops , of whom 80 were Officers , broke the English naval blockade . The fleet's Commander , Chef de Division Savary a competent mariner , outwitted the British Royal Navy and landed his men at Cill Chuimin on August 22 , 1798 .......
(MORE LATER).


THE UNBROKEN LINKS IN THE IRISH REPUBLICAN CHAIN .......
By Martin Calligan.
(No year of publication.)

Britain suppressed the lawful elected Government of Ireland by sending in her Black and Tans : when brute force failed Britain called a cease fire ; the negotiation was then between the two sides of the conflict (now it is only between her allies) .

Michael Collins insisted that he would be one of the negotiators , the great and noble Cathal Brugha objected in case the negotiations broke down : that delegation to London had very definite instructions from their Government that the independence of the Irish nation was not negotiable and nothing was to be signed in the absence of their Government . The delegates broke their trust by signing what was in fact only the British Government of Ireland Act 1920 , put over as a treaty in 1921 .

Erskine Childers , who was Secretary of the Treaty delegation , said that Michael Collins was blackmailed into signing , that he did have an affair with one of the 'establishment' people and who was 'in the family way' : Lady Lavery threatened to expose Collins if he did not sign ; that would ruin Collins and put him in the same position as Charles Stewart Parnell . Later the First Free State Government demoted Collins by 'promoting' him to Chief of the Free State Army and making him answerable to the Free State Cabinet .......
(MORE LATER).


INFORMERS : The RUC's Psychological War .......
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.
By Sean Delaney.

After the chaotic ending of the Clifford McKeown and Sean Mallon (no link) preliminary enquiries , and desperately anxious to prevent the premature collapse of their informer tactic , the RUC acted swiftly in collusion with the six-county Director of Public Prosecutions and the Orange judiciary to resurrect the almost obsolete 'Bill of Indictment' : this legal ploy , against all precedent , disposed with the preliminary hearing altogether , preventing defence counsels properly enquiring into the evidence against the defendants they represented until the commencement of the trial itself , and enabled the RUC to maintain the isolation of their informers , where necessary , for significantly longer periods than would otherwise have been the case .

To date , the 'Bill of Indictment' has been used on two occasions : on September 21 in the case of nine Dungannon men incriminated on the 'evidence' of informer Patrick McGurk , and subsequently in the Christopher Black case : Black , in fact , although his trial commenced on December 6th , 1982 , was only obliged to be in court for the 13-day period in January during which he actually gave 'evidence' , and then was whisked back to his hide-out in 'protective custody' in England . After the use of the 'Bill of Indictment' in the informer Patrick McGurk case a number of solicitors and barristers protested briefly and ineffectually against the 'Bill' , but there is at present little evidence other than that most members of the legal profession in the North of Ireland are so compromised by their acceptance of the Diplock Court system that they are incapable and unwilling to mount any effective protest .

There is no doubt that if , as must be thought likely , the Orange judiciary shows a willingness to further reduce the minimum safeguards remaining in the legal system in the North of Ireland and accept the uncorroborated 'evidence' of paid informers and alleged accomplices , the RUC will enthusiastically try to use the informer tactic as part of a long-term strategy against Nationalist resistance .......
(MORE LATER).







Thursday, February 16, 2006

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND THE IRISH STRUGGLE .......
This article is based on a lecture delivered by Sean O Bradaigh in Dublin on January 21 , 1989 , marking the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the First (All-Ireland) Dail Eireann in the Mansion House on January 21 , 1919 , and the links between Irish and French Republicans - 'Partners in Revolution' 200 years ago .
Published in 1989 by Sean Lynch , Cleenrath , Aughnacliffe , County Longford , on behalf of the County Longford Branch of the National Graves Association .
By Sean O Bradaigh .
Liberte ! Egalite ! Fraternite ! Ou La Mort ! ( (Freedom ! Equality ! Brotherhood ! or Death!).
Unite Indivisibilite De La Republique !

' Is ta an Francach faobhrach is a loingeas gleasta
Le cranna geara acu ar muir le seal ;
Se an siorsceal go bhfuil a dtriall ar Eirinn
Is go gcuirfid Gaeil bhocht aris 'na gceart ... '

' For on the ocean are ships in motion
And glad devotion on France's shore
And rumour's telling they'll now be sailing
To help the Gael in the right once more ... '

On December 16 , 1796 , a fleet of 46 ships sailed from Brest with a formidable army of 14,750 men under the command of General Lazare Hoche , one of the great Generals of the Revolutionary Army . Wolfe Tone was with them and so also was General Humbert - their watchword for their campaign in Ireland was : " Paix aux chaumieres , mort aux chateaux " - " Peace to the cottages , death to the castles . "

Bantry Bay was their destination , Cork City their first objective and Dublin their second .

Chualas areir (I heard last night)
Na daoine a re (The people to say )
Go raibh Cathair Chorcai a do go lar ; (That the City of Cork was being burned to the ground ;)
Go raibh Ginearal Hoche (That General Hoche)
Is a chlaiomh chinn oir (And his gold-headed sword)
Ag reiteach an roid (Was smoothing the road)
Do Bhonaparte ; (For Bonaparte ;)
Is O , bhean a' ti (And,O,woman of the house)
Cen bhuairt sin ort ? (What ails thee now ?)
(MORE LATER).



THE UNBROKEN LINKS IN THE IRISH REPUBLICAN CHAIN .
By Martin Calligan.
(No year of publication.)

P.H. Pearse said we have renewed the struggle down the centuries and that's the way we will be while one British soldier remains on Irish soil . Today there are up to 20,000 , and 9,000 armed sectarian 'police' in the pay of England on Irish soil .

Republican Sinn Fein and the Continuity Irish Republican Army are the only true organisations that uphold the Proclamation of 1916 , and the Declaration of Independence 1919 . It is sickening to hear the propaganda of the pro-British-Irish media styling individuals and their parties 'Republicans' , just to spread confusion .

The Proclamation of 1916 was endorsed by the Irish people at the general election of all Ireland in 1918 and the people's representatives in 1919 in National Parliament declared that foreign parliaments in Ireland were an invasion of the Irish people's rights and must never again be tolerated . Yet you hear people today styling themselves 'Republicans' who recognise two parliaments in Ireland (the 26 and the 6 counties) set up under the 'Government of Ireland Act 1920'.......
(MORE LATER).


INFORMERS : The RUC's Psychological War .......
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.
By Sean Delaney.

IRSP informer Jackie Goodman incriminated a total of 21 people following his arrest in March 1982 and had been taken with his wife into 'protective custody' in England . He returned to the North of Ireland in mid-September and retracted his earlier statements .

A far greater problem for the RUC was posed in the cases of UVF informer Clifford McKeown and IRSP informer Sean Joseph Mallon (no link) : at the preliminary enquiries into charges against the individuals these two had incriminated , in July 1982 and September 1982 respectively , both McKeown and Mallon - coming for the first time since their arrests into contact with members of their families in court - retracted their statements and refused to give 'evidence' .

Futhermore , McKeown revealed that during his period in 'protective custody' he had been kept in a luxurious London flat and had been promised £50,000 if he gave 'evidence' ; the RUC have denied at all times that they have offered cash sums in return for individuals turning informer . Following Sean Joseph Mallon's retraction , two of those he had incriminated , and against whom there was no further 'evidence' , Armagh men Roddy Carroll and Oliver Grew (no link), were set free .

The other side of the RUC's determination to use every conceivable means against those they believed to be Republicans was to be seen shortly afterwards when - on December 12th , 1982 - Roddy Carroll and Oliver's brother , Seamus Grew , were shot dead by an RUC patrol in a stake-out that formed part of the grisly shoot-to-kill policy which - in Armagh alone - resulted in six men being shot dead by the RUC in the space of one month .......
(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, February 15, 2006

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND THE IRISH STRUGGLE .......
This article is based on a lecture delivered by Sean O Bradaigh in Dublin on January 21 , 1989 , marking the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the First (All-Ireland) Dail Eireann in the Mansion House on January 21 , 1919 , and the links between Irish and French Republicans - 'Partners in Revolution' 200 years ago .
Published in 1989 by Sean Lynch , Cleenrath , Aughnacliffe , County Longford , on behalf of the County Longford Branch of the National Graves Association .
By Sean O Bradaigh .
Liberte ! Egalite ! Fraternite ! Ou La Mort ! ( (Freedom ! Equality ! Brotherhood ! or Death!).
Unite Indivisibilite De La Republique !

When the French Revolution happened , prayers of thanksgiving were offered in Belfast , songs of the French Revolution were published and the fall of the Bastille was celebrated each year . Henry Joy McCracken Junior had this to say :

" The exultation with which they hailed the downfall of civil and spiritual despotism in France in the year 1789 , affords a decisive proof of their disinterested solicitude for the universal diffusion of liberty and peace . Their joy was expressed by affectionate congratulations to the French patriots and by annual commemorations of the destruction of the Bastille , conducted with pomp and magnificence and calculated to impress in innumerable spectators a conviction of the vast importance which they attached to this glorious occurrence , and sensations of gratitude to the divine providence 'for dispersing the political clouds which has hitherto darkened our hemisphere' . "

In a memorandum to the French Government , Wolfe Tone described the Dissenters or Presbyterians as "...the most enlightened body of the nation ...enthusiastically attached to the French Revolution . The Catholics " , he added , " the great body of the nation , are in the lowest degree of ignorance and want , ready for any change , because no change can make them worse . "

From abroad , the American War of Independence inspired the freedom movement , but it was from France that the second and brightest beacon of all shone : Wolfe Tone became , in his own words , "...a diplomat , incognito , in Paris .. " . The Revolutionary Government listened to him .......
(MORE LATER).


BLOODY SUNDAY.......
On 30 January 1972 , 14 civilians were shot dead by the British Army . They had been taking part in a civil rights march in Derry , protesting against internment without trial .
British 'Lord' Widgery was highly selective in the 'evidence' he used in his 'official' report on the matter - and some of the accounts he chose to include were highly suspect. The victims' families have campaigned for justice ever since . Their case is too strong to ignore any longer .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1998 .
By Eamonn McCann .

The British Public Records Act (1958) provides for a decision by the British 'Lord Chancellor' to release official papers at any time ; the current 'Lord Chancellor' , Derry Irvine , could , with the approval of Tony Blair , take an Executive Decision to order the publication forthwith of all papers relevant to Bloody Sunday . This , in itself , might go a long way towards answering the questions that must be disposed of before the relatives can put the grief of Bloody Sunday behind them .

On the other hand , publishing the papers might suggest - and a new inquiry might show clearly - why British 'Lord' Widgery averted his eyes from some of the evidence and distorted some of the rest so as knowingly to reach conclusions at variance with the truth .

The truth about Bloody Sunday , which the relatives desperately need to know , may go so deep into the heart of British politics and law as to be mortally dangerous to the authority of the State .
[END of 'BLOODY SUNDAY' .]
(Tomorrow - ' THE UNBROKEN LINKS IN THE REPUBLICAN CHAIN' .)

INFORMERS : The RUC's Psychological War .......
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.
By Sean Delaney.

RUC Sergeant Thomas McCormick had recruited Anthony O' Doherty in 1971 as an RUC paid informer to report on Irish Republican activities , but gradually the two of them were alleged to have engaged in a series of bank and post office robberies to finance their lifestyles , eventually killing RUC Sergeant Joseph Campbell when he became suspicious . Shortly afterwards , McCormick and O' Doherty fell out , with O' Doherty being charged in 1980 and sentenced to 18 years .

British Justice Murray , however , refusing to accept O' Doherty's uncorroborated testimony at the 1982 trial , argued that : " O' Doherty has to be treated as an accomplice and it is dangerous to convict McCormick on all the offences on the evidence of O' Doherty alone . " He went on to criticise the regular visits made by the RUC to O' Doherty in jail to go over his evidence and to 'school' him in giving it .

Another problem for the RUC in subsequent informer cases was that several of those who initially 'broke' under interrogation and incriminated others , subsequently refused to give 'evidence' and retracted their original statements once either they were in jail , and freed of the RUC's isolation tactics , or , even when they had been spirited away to a hiding place in the North or in England , after they had had time to consider the enormity of their intended actions .......
(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, February 14, 2006

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND THE IRISH STRUGGLE .......
This article is based on a lecture delivered by Sean O Bradaigh in Dublin on January 21 , 1989 , marking the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the First (All-Ireland) Dail Eireann in the Mansion House on January 21 , 1919 , and the links between Irish and French Republicans - 'Partners in Revolution' 200 years ago .
Published in 1989 by Sean Lynch , Cleenrath , Aughnacliffe , County Longford , on behalf of the County Longford Branch of the National Graves Association .
By Sean O Bradaigh .
Liberte ! Egalite ! Fraternite ! Ou La Mort ! ( (Freedom ! Equality ! Brotherhood ! or Death!).
Unite Indivisibilite De La Republique !

Towards the end of the 18th century , two beacons shone to rally the people : at home , Theobald Wolfe Tone * became a champion of the oppressed - " This horrible system " , he said , " had reduced the great body of the Catholic peasantry of Ireland to a situation , morally and physically speaking , below that of the beasts of the field . " (* '1169...' Comment - Re the death of Wolfe Tone : a British 'Black-Op' job ... ?)

Theobald Wolfe Tone was Secretary to the Catholic Committee in 1792-1795 : " I have laboured " , said Tone , " to create a people in Ireland , by raising three million of my countrymen to the rank of citizen . " The Society of United Irishmen was founded , and succeeded in uniting large numbers of Catholics and Dissenters , and some Protestants , against English rule . Maire Mac Neill , in her biography of Mary Ann McCracken relates how the writings of Locke , Rousseau and Paine were widely read in Ulster at this time .

She makes the point that "...throughout the Province , but especially in the neighbourhood of Belfast , political , economic and philosophic thought had prepared the community in a remarkable degree for the great upheaval of the French Revolution ....... "

(MORE LATER).



BLOODY SUNDAY.......
On 30 January 1972 , 14 civilians were shot dead by the British Army . They had been taking part in a civil rights march in Derry , protesting against internment without trial .
British 'Lord' Widgery was highly selective in the 'evidence' he used in his 'official' report on the matter - and some of the accounts he chose to include were highly suspect. The victims' families have campaigned for justice ever since . Their case is too strong to ignore any longer .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1998 .
By Eamonn McCann .

Reporting the publication of the Widgery Report in April 1992 , 'The Sunday Times's ' 'Insight Team' claimed that the plan of action for 30 January 1972 had been approved in advance by the 'Northern Ireland' (sic) Committee of the British Cabinet - because it carried an "...obvious.." risk of casualties .

This was the obvious possibility James McSparran had continued to pursue at the tribunal - " Do you know if the question of firing in the course of the arrest operation was discussed by the Security Committee ? " he asked ; British General Robert Ford replied - " I do read the minutes . I can recall that the Joint Security Committee did take note of a comment made by the GOC and the (RUC) Chief Constable that it was possible that the events in Londonderry (sic) might lead to shooting by the IRA . "

After an exchange about the standing instructions governing return of fire , McSparran tried to return to his key question : " Did the operation which you carried out in the Bogside and in Derry conform , in your view , to the tenor of the instructions issued by the Joint Security Committee ? " But British 'Lord' Widgery stepped-in here - " No , you need not answer that . " However - from the point of view of the relatives , this brings up precisely what needs answering . Under the Public Records Act (1958) , the minutes of both Stormont and Westminster cabinet committees are released after 30 years unless specific reasons , usually 'national security' , are 'adduced' for keeping them closed .

In the normal course of events , then , the Bloody Sunday files should be opened in 2003 ; but the 1958 Act allows differently .......

(MORE LATER).


INFORMERS : The RUC's Psychological War .......
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.
By Sean Delaney.

Aspects of British 'psy-ops' operations included black propaganda operations such as the deliberate British Army detonation of unprimed IRA explosives in Springfield Avenue in West Belfast in June 1982 which wrecked scores of Nationalist homes and which the Brits attempted to blame on the IRA . Also , in September 1982 , a blatant propaganda ploy in which the RUC launched a 'campaign' against "...protection rackets.. " , primarily aimed at discrediting the IRA .

But undoubtedly the most important component of the 'psy-ops' strategy has been the use of informers to create a sense of fear and demoralisation among the Nationalist community , and to create an illusion that the resistance struggle is riddled with informers - although in overall terms the numbers involved are small . The use of informer 'evidence' as a means of securing convictions of suspected Republican and Loyalist activists has not however been without hitches , and without on some occasions considerable embarrassment to the RUC .

For instance - in a reserved judgement given in the Belfast crown court on April 2nd 1982 , British Justice Murray sentenced RUC Sergeant Thomas McCormick to 20 years imprisonment for the armed robbery of a North Antrim bank - a charge for which there was corroborating evidence - but he acquitted McCormick of a further 23 charges against him , including the killing of a fellow RUC Sergeant , Joseph Campbell , in 1977 , because the only evidence was that of an RUC informer and alleged accomplice , Anthony O ' Doherty .......

(MORE LATER).







Monday, February 13, 2006

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND THE IRISH STRUGGLE .......
This article is based on a lecture delivered by Sean O Bradaigh in Dublin on January 21 , 1989 , marking the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the First (All-Ireland) Dail Eireann in the Mansion House on January 21 , 1919 , and the links between Irish and French Republicans - 'Partners in Revolution' 200 years ago .
Published in 1989 by Sean Lynch , Cleenrath , Aughnacliffe , County Longford , on behalf of the County Longford Branch of the National Graves Association .
By Sean O Bradaigh .
Liberte ! Egalite ! Fraternite ! Ou La Mort ! ( (Freedom ! Equality ! Brotherhood ! or Death!).
Unite Indivisibilite De La Republique !

The French Revolution was not without fault - it had its excesses and its terror ; nor have the subsequent French Republics been without blemish either - they had their colonies , and they have been less than just to the minority nations within the French State . Yet , the principles which inspired the Revolution were human and generous and the French Republic has been a model for many other countries .

On the night of August 4 ,1789 , the National Assembly suppressed all the privileges of the 'nobility' and clergy : three weeks later the Declaration of the Rights of Man - 'Forogra ar Chearta an Duine' - was promulgated and later a constitutional regime based on popular suffrage was installed .

On October 5 ,1789 , between six and seven thousand of the women of Paris marched on the Palace of Versailles to force the King to accept the Declaration of the Rights of Man : on January 21 , 1793 , King Louis XVI was publicly executed by guillotine in Paris , and later that year his Queen , Marie Antoinette met the same fate .

In Ireland , the 18th century was probably the most miserable of all times for the people ; a great mass of people lived in mud cabins , on a diet which consisted mostly of potatoes and buttermilk and were ground down by landlords and tithe proctors . They got whatever education they could in the illegal hedge schools :

' Crouching 'neath the sheltering hedge
Or stretched on mountain fern ,
The master and his pupils met
Feloniously to learn . '
(MORE LATER).



BLOODY SUNDAY.......
On 30 January 1972 , 14 civilians were shot dead by the British Army . They had been taking part in a civil rights march in Derry , protesting against internment without trial .
British 'Lord' Widgery was highly selective in the 'evidence' he used in his 'official' report on the matter - and some of the accounts he chose to include were highly suspect. The victims' families have campaigned for justice ever since . Their case is too strong to ignore any longer .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1998 .
By Eamonn McCann .

Tony Doherty , whose father , Patrick , was shot dead on Bloody Sunday , stated - " The repudiation of Widgery would logically involve establishing a new inquiry . And after Widgery , we are justified in insisting on an independent element , whether an international panel of judges or whatever . We want all the available evidence made public and examined objectively . That includes any evidence of political motivation . "

The most obvious explanation of what happened in Derry is that the British paras were deployed either to entice the IRA into battle or in the expectation that they would anyway be confronted by IRA members intent on battle , the plan being to inflict a major defeat on the Republican forces and thereby shatter the resistance of the 'Free Derry' no-go area while teaching the 'illegal' anti-internment marchers a lesson in 'law and order' they would remember for a long time - long enough for Mr. Brian Faulkner to staunch the haemorrhage of support to William Craig and Ian Paisley and to consolidate his position at Stormont .

Given the certainty of thousands of marchers in the vicinity , any such plan would have involved a reckless disregard for civilian life - the paras were not 'policemen' . Recalling the events in a BBC documentary broadcast in January 1992 , the Commander of 1 Para , Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford , put it plain - " When we moved on the streets , we moved as if we in fact were moving against a well-armed , well-trained army . "
(MORE LATER).


INFORMERS : The RUC's Psychological War .......
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.
By Sean Delaney.

The restrictions imposed on Castlereagh methods of torture by the Amnesty International and Bennett Reports have made the British administration amenable to sweeping changes in the practice and interpretation of existing 'extraordinary' legislation , involving the use of the voluntary 'Bill of Indictment' to bypass normal judicial preliminary enquiries , and generally attempting to lower the threshold of the calibre of 'evidence' needed to secure a conviction , to allow the uncorroborated 'evidence' of an alleged accomplice .

In a broader political context , it seems likely that following the end of the hunger-strikes , the British took a decision to mount a massive psychological offensive against those sections of the Nationalist community that gave tactic or active support to the Republican Movement , and which had been further polarised by the Thatcher government's intransigence towards the hunger-strikers . This 'psy-ops' strategy involved a series of large-scale indiscriminate house raids across the North of Ireland , mostly in Belfast and Derry , during which considerable damage was done to homes , and in which the Brits and RUC usually claimed they were "...acting on information received.. " .

Other aspects of this 'psy-ops' strategy by the Brits involved the use of explosives against Nationalists and blaming it on Republicans .......
(MORE LATER).