" 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. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Newstalk State-wide Radio , 106-108FM.
It began as a Dublin-only talk radio station in 2002 , and has , from today (Friday 29 Setember 2006) commenced broadcasting to the 26 Counties .
Its transmission may 'leak' into the Six Counties ,but it apparently has no licence to broadcast to that part of this island . The operators of this blog were avid listeners from day one but we hardly ever tune in now . The reason ? A few months ago ,the powers that be in Newstalk management decreed that its '086' text number was to be replaced with a '53***' number , at a charge of 30 cent to the texter - a charge payable whether your text is read out or not , although that , to us , is not the point . The listeners were not asked their opinion on an issue which was going to effect them financially - the change was simply implemented overnight .

John from this parish (who incidentally had been invited into the Newstalk studios on two occasions to discuss political developments , and accepted the invites on both occasions) sent an e-mail of complaint to the station management and its presenters within hours of its 'text charge' policy change-over, and same was read on air by Eamonn Dunphy and Sean Moncrieff : Dunphy agreed with the sentiments expressed while Moncrieff sneered at those sentiments and attempted to make light of the issue . Perhaps Mr. Moncrieff can afford 30 cent a text , but not everyone can .

Today , Newstalk Radio 'unveiled' some new slogans - " Your Opinions , Your Call " , " Radio By The People , For The People " , " Interactive Radio - Your Call" and other such like , in a similar vein . Against his better judgement , John sent in two texts (one to Orla Barry and the other to Brenda Power) asking will there be any change regarding the 30 cent text charge in order to attempt to encourage potential new listeners to "interact" with the 'new' station . Neither text was read out , nor did John receive a reply from anyone at Newstalk in connection with his query . Our little boycott continues , only now it has the chance to become a 'bigger' boycott .






LOTTERIES AND OTHER HOLD-UPS .......
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.......
(MORE LATER).



THE HEAVY HAND OF THE LAW .......
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 . "
[END of 'THE HEAVY HAND OF THE LAW']
(Next - 'PASSPORTS , PLEASE' : from 1999)


THE YOUNGER BREED : TONY GREGORY .
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.......
(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, September 27, 2006

LOTTERIES AND OTHER HOLD-UPS .......
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987.

My Aunt Molly would say about my Uncle Jack - " And there's a strange thing about that man - he never seemed to meet rich people who are good company . Maybe such folk don't exist , but if they do , you'd imagine that , surely , for once in a lifetime , your uncle might share a public house stool with somebody who owes less that himself. " But she was never really bitter about it .

Jack was Jack , and not for anything in the world would he ever be anybody else - except on Friday , after a few jars , when he was Rockefeller! Aunt Molly just thought that it might be nice if the working class didn't always have to mix with people poorer than themselves . It was alright for folk like the Good Samaritan or Antoine Ozanam who founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul : they were rich to begin with , helping the poor was only a kind of slumming . And Uncle Jack's 'outlaws' , our rich relatives , didn't help a great deal . One or other was always stirring the muck .

As one of the 'outlaw' relatives was fond of saying , " Mark you my words , Molly Carr , that fella of yours has more principles than is decent in any man . A union official who does it for nothing ! A bank robber who does it for the Cause ! What sort of an eejit have ya married at all....... " The bank robbery ! Now theres a story.......
(MORE LATER).



THE HEAVY HAND OF THE LAW .......
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.

Michael McDowell has stated - " The current system is just not acceptable . I'm going to make sure that time doesn't start running where there is an investigation in progress . "

Legislation providing for the long-awaited Garda inspectorate will be brought to Leinster House "...very shortly .. " , McDowell says , although officials have conceded that the bill , which was first promised two years ago , is unlikely to be passed before the end of the year .

Robbie Dawson (25) didn't bother complaining to the Garda Complaints Board , though he says he was "battered" by gardai on his way to Store Street Garda barracks : he readily admits he had been "out of it" on vodka and heroin when he was picked-up by the Gardai . By chance , members of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the 'CPT' for short) were in Dublin on the day , carrying out a spot-check on the treatment of persons detained by the gardai .

Robbie was brought to a room in Buswell's Hotel in Dublin to be examined by a doctor.......
(MORE LATER).



THE STRANGE STATE KILLING OF MAURICE O'NEILL .......
James Gogartys Tribunal reminiscences about the shooting dead of a Garda colleague have resurrected a long-lost story of justice miscarried .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1999 .
By ANTON McCABE .

The State Appeal Court reduced Harry White's conviction to 'manslaughter' , on the basis that the Gardai had not identified themselves as such before opening fire .

Garda Chief Superintendent Gantly was in charge of the raid on Holly Road in Donnycarney . Doubts about who shot Detective Mordaunt were strengthened in February 1948 - Superintendent Gantly was shot dead by one of his own men during a search for a burglar at the Hammond Lane Foundry . As censorship eased , an electorate tired of repression ditched Fianna Fail from office that same month , bringing in the first 'Inter-Party' Administration .

When de Valera tried to speak in Maurice O' Neill's home town of Cahirciveen in County Kerry , an angry crowd broke up the meeting . There is no reason why Maurice O' Neill's case cannot be re-opened .
[END of ' THE STRANGE STATE KILLING OF MAURICE O'NEILL ']
(Next - 'The Younger Breed : Tony Gregory' - from 1985)






Monday, September 25, 2006

Sir Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher , Free State Junior Minister of State for Transport , pictured in happier days !

This up-standing example of all that is good within the political elite in this State was born on the 10 March , 1948 , in Burtonport , County Donegal . He was educated in Roshine NS , in Dungloe , then travelled to Luinnagh NS in Gweedore , Donegal and almost finished his schooling in St. Enda's College , Galway before realising it would be unfair to deprive University College Galway of his vast knowledge , so he graced that institution with his presence for a few years !

He worked as a fish exporter before becoming the inheritor of the title 'The Cope' from his grandfather , a founder-figure of the co-op movement in County Donegal . At 15 years of age he joined with like-minded members of the local political elite by throwing his lot in with the local Fianna Fail gang , a move which brought him , today , to the county of Monaghan , to open a by-pass . His fame preceeded him so much that between eight and ten thousand well-wishers turned out to welcome him to the county , no doubt hoping to rub-up against the legend that is Pat 'The Cope' , and perhaps become members of the 'elite' themselves ! Indeed , even the very State car that this champion of the dispossessed travelled in was transformed by having the great mans bum in it into being something which the peasants desired to rub up against . However - there being such a large crowd of fans present , those at the back could not even get close enough to Sir Cope's carriage , never mind the man himself and , there being a severe shortage of laurel leaves to hand , decided to pay homage instead by throwing pebbles at the car , in a quaint display of servitude . Sir Pat then realised he was hungry and was immediately rushed to a near-by hotel for shel.... food .

And that , readers , is the gospel according to Saint Cope. Anyone who claims otherwise is a communist/dissident/malcontent/has a political axe to grind/begrudger/and/or a Blueshirt . And we know where you live......






LOTTERIES AND OTHER HOLD-UPS .
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987.

No , no regrets . Nor none belonging to me . No anniversaries . Ireland has had more than her fair share of the past . No expecting her to think of the future . Let her catch up with the present . Happenings , not dates , are important in life .

Whenever anybody asked Aunt Molly to buy a Sweepstakes ticket , she'd cluck her tongue and look reproachfully at Uncle Jack , or in his general direction . Mention some fella like the adenoidal compere , Bart Bastable , or tell a story about a winning ticket being flogged by Lucky Coady's , and me poor uncle's name was taken in vain . Lost mass , he did . Always lost mass . Uncle Jack must have lost more mass than Martin Luther!

Aunt Molly used to say - " Don't talk to me about your Uncle Jack ! He's as useful as a hole in a bucket . He'd take a sieve to a well . Like Larry McHale's dog he'd walk a step of the road with anyone . And he never meets anybody but beggars . If he went out with a gypsy he'd come back with a tinker . Never knew anybody but dossers and tramps . 'Molly' , he'd say to me , ' I was in a fella's company tonight and honest to God , how he's not on the stage ! Such gas ! You'd have paid to hear him . An honour to buy him a drink .' " And of course Uncle Jack did . Buy the drink , that is.......
(MORE LATER).



THE HEAVY HAND OF THE LAW .......
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.

Dublin North-Central competes for its place at the top of the complaints league with Dublin South Central , which includes Pearse Street , Kevin Street and Donnybrook Garda Stations . Until this year (ie 2003) the Garda Complaints Board compiled statistics to show complaints per head of population . The two Dublin central divisions 'won' hands down ! In 2000 , Dublin North Central had 27.6 complaints per 10,000 people compared to 1.5 in Waterford/Kilkenny .

Less than one per cent of all complaints to the Garda Complaints Board , according to its last report , resulted in a criminal prosecution , although the figures will show an increase this year as a result of the May Day riots: seven gardai are facing charges as a result of clashes with protesters .

In 2001 , almost 200 complaints were passed on to the (State) Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) but because of delays in processing the complaints the vast majority were never acted upon . Summary prosecutions must commence within six months of the date of the offence . Even the Garda Complaints Board itself admits that increasingly it is failing to provide completed investigation files to the DPP within the time limit . In its latest report it acknowledged that "...in these circumstances the right of the DPP to consider whether a member of the Garda Siochana should be prosecuted arising from a complaint has effectively been removed . The situation cannot be regarded as satisfactory....... "
(MORE LATER).



THE STRANGE STATE KILLING OF MAURICE O'NEILL .......
James Gogartys Tribunal reminiscences about the shooting dead of a Garda colleague have resurrected a long-lost story of justice miscarried .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1999 .
By ANTON McCABE .

Harry White dived through a window into the night and shot his way through a garda cordon : hit twice in the leg , he collapsed in a clump of whins half-a-mile from the house . For two cold October nights he lay wounded under the stars . (Free State) Soldiers scoured the area ; a sympathrtic soldier found him , fed him , got him to shelter and finally escorted him by bicycle to Dublin .

It was October 1946 before Harry White was finally captured on a lonely mountain farm on the Derry side of the Sperrins . Four days later , he was 'released' from Crumlin Road Jail , bundled into an RUC car and driven to a bridge on the Armagh-Monaghan road : a Garda car stopped on the other side , and he was bundled across the border without the slightest pretence of judicial process .

Six weeks later , at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin , he was sentenced to death . Sean McBride was defence counsel . Under cross-examination , a detective admitted he and his companions had fired on three men in the passageway . Of thirty to forty bullets fired in the lane , only two were ever produced - neither of those was the bullet that killed State Detective Mordaunt . Instead , a pathologist claimed that the hole in Mordaunt's skull was too small to have been made by a shot from any of the Gardai's .45 revolvers , despite the fact there was evidence some had weapons of smaller calibre . Evidence was produced that Garda fire had hit targets well away from the lane.......
(MORE LATER).







Sunday, September 24, 2006

US Marines at Shannon Airport .


In a continuation of the policy in which they hang their back-bones up with their coats in the morning , our 'leaders' in Leinster House profess ignorance of there being anything amiss in facilitating , on Irish soil (Shannon Airport), a foreign army on its way to use force of arms in a resource war in a country it has no business in .

In 1935 , when Shannon Airport was being built , the British government made what was then a secret offer of a £50,000 'gift' (said to be worth about £3 Million in 1994 , when this story was published in 'The Evening Press' newspaper) towards the capital cost of £600,000 , but the offer was refused on advice from senior State civil servants , who advised that the 'gift' was for political reasons. The fact that the 'offer' got that far through the system speaks volumes .

Will future generations be reading of a similar 'offer' from Washington to those worthless , non-productive leeches in Leinster House ?