Monday, July 02, 2007


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

In western Fermanagh , children who must cross the border to go to school are searched daily , their schoolbags turned inside out . The same treatment is meted out to workmen - in one case a man's boots were taken off .

In another case , two Franciscan priests were held for some time and closely searched by the RUC- an ordination card would not be taken as proof of identity .

(Next : 'Imperial Customs Bombed' - from the same source)


From 'Gralton' magazine, August/September 1983.
By Gene Kerrigan.

Most of this 'clinic and patronage' work is routine by now , well known to the comrades with the calculators and way beyond their resources . And this bad news is only beginning.....

When people vote there are several party supporters sitting near the ballot box with copies of the electoral register - they mark off the name of everyone who votes . Nominally this is to guard against personation- and it does have some minor function in that regard . However , personation is usually just a game to keep the troops happy . They cancel each other out and it's a dying art , anyway . The real purpose of these supporters is to provide the parties with a list of everyone who has voted and the polling boxes in which they have voted .

At the count , the parties provide their supporters with pre-printed forms ; on these they fill in the number of each polling box as it is opened . There is an unwritten understanding that the party workers will be able to see each vote as it is unfolded and stacked . From this they mark in how many first preferences each candidate gets from each box , giving the parties a list of names and addresses - perhaps three or four hundred - of people who have voted in each box . They also have a list of how these votes were cast in that box , along with very detailed lists compiled by canvassers , which give indications of how individual voters lean . Their knowledge is not merely based on one election but is accumulated from several decades of elections.......


This election is not about the 'economy' . It's about the survival of sectional interests , clearly divided in a broader , simpler way than for many a long day . This election is not about the survival of the country (sic) : it's about choosing who will bear the cost of that survival.

From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine, 'Election Special' , 1987.
By David McKenna.

The price of money is high , these days , and international interest rates have gone up because the United States has been borrowing a lot of money to get its industry going again . So there's less money left to borrow , therefore the price of what's left is high , and if the price of money on the international markets is high then the price rises at home as well and we get high interest rates .

Entrepreneurs don't like high interest rates . Too much of any money they make has to be paid back to the lender . Then there's tax : the government finances its public spending - on health , education , social welfare etc - through taxation . That's the theory and up to about thirty years ago , it was in Ireland the reality : then we started borrowing for capital expenditure for day-to-day costs like social welfare payments etc whilst , at the same time , the government were collecting an ever-increasing proportion of income in tax . And entrepreneurs don't like high tax .

No worker likes high tax , but according to the business parties such as Fine Gael , The Progressive Democrats and Fianna Fail, the entrepreneur is the solution to all our problems , the 'answer' to what it takes to get the system going again . He , or she , thinks up some great idea , borrows the money to set up a factory to turn the idea into reality , creates employment , buys a house in Spain and lives happily ever after . As do the grateful workers . But.......