" 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, May 21, 2007

'Spotlight / Derry Besieged / Death And Mystery' .

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

Democracy cannot operate in secrecy . Dictators and would-be dictators and little men with totalitarian leanings know this well : they do their utmost to control the press , stifle public opinion , develop spinelessness , buy-off opposition - all the better to work out their scheming in the dark where the people will have no chance of checking on them . We are perilously close to that situation in Ireland to-day .

It was an American statesman who said : ' You can't be crooked in the light.' It is high time the Irish people understood this : it is time they made up their minds to end the crookedness in the dark. They still have the power - for how long they will have it we would not like to guess .

We think if the truth were known about what is happening in Ireland to-day there would be an outraged cry from the Irish people . But the truth is not known . It is buried . Or else it is labelled 'propaganda' . Consider these things : our people in the North of Ireland are being persecuted and crucified , whole areas are being turned into terror-zones , prisoners are being tortured , young men are in arms against tyranny . How much of this story is known ? We would hazard a guess that Americans and others know more about what is happening in the North (albeit from biased sources) than the average citizen in the South.......


Derry , once the cockpit of the Northern Irish conflict , has become quarantined in apathy , grimness and deprivation , writes Seamus Deane , the Derry-born poet and writer . In a return look at his native city he finds that its demoralisation has disturbing implications .
From 'FORTNIGHT' magazine, 1983.

Derry , in other words , is , like the North , in 'quarantine' . It suffers from an illness which no-one can cure but with which many are willing to experiment . Until the illness is cured , the quarantine cannot be lifted . Yet , of course , it never will be lifted because the illness is the state of quarantine itself . It is not just a particular political structure , it is a deep-seated mentality . It is not surprising that the best-known structure in the North is Long Kesh, a prison in which modern technology is used to create the segregated conditions which are natural to the whole society , in a particularly pure and cruel form .

Derry , then , manages still to achieve its own peculiar symbolic importance in Northern society . Its 'two names' - 'Derry/Londonderry' : its two communities : its history of siege : its absorption of the effects of violence and economic demoralisation along with economic subsidy : the contrast between its beautiful setting and its ruined cityscape : and above all , its isolation , allow a visitor-native like myself to see it as a place , small enough to be understood and big enough to be typical of others , as the North's , maybe the whole island's , exemplary town .

Thus the charisma , if I might call it that , which it possessed in the early days of the crisis , when Free Derry, or the Bogside, or even Bloody Sunday, were names of resonant places and events , was generated by the clarity with which the society's oppositions were represented in the place , down to the smallest detail.......

John O Shea was a small farmer and republican . He died at his Kerry home in October 2001 within hours of being released from Garda custody . The inquest into his death raised more questions than it answered and now Kerry County Council has backed calls for a public inquiry . Did John O Shea die from natural causes or is there a more sinister explanation ?
By Mairead Carey.
From 'MAGILL' magazine, May 2003 .

John's father , James O' Shea , already believed his son was dead . His wife wouldn't accept it . She washed the blood off his face and went out and cleaned the step . For the next three hours she stayed with him . Her other son , Michael , says she was afraid to call him "...for fear I would give out about his drinking.." . At around 5am she eventually called for help . " When I saw him I said to myself - 'This man has been murdered' " , said his brother . The local doctor also thought his death was suspicious and told the family to call the gardai .

State pathologist John Harbison originally said that John O' Shea had a number of minor injuries suggesting falls shortly before his death , and that he did not appear to have been beaten up . He gave hypothermia as the cause of death . But neither the jury nor Michael Finucane were satisfied with his evidence , and he was dramatically called back to Kerry on the second day of the inquest to explain himself further . He withdrew his opinion that hypothermia had been a cause of death , explaining that his initial decision had been influenced by information given to him by gardai that John O' Shea had been lying outside the house half naked for a long time . The gardai denied ever saying as much to Mr Harbison .

Among the injuries listed in the pathologist's report were abrasions and bruising on his forehead , a laceration on the bridge of his nose , an abrasion on his chin and on the back of his right hand . He had an abrasion on his penis , a group of abrasions on his left thigh , a more marked group of abrasions on his right thigh and matching abrasions above both knees.......