" 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!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Almost 12 months since it was 'only' thirty years.....

It began - properly structured and organised - in 1976 ,as a 'fundraiser with a difference' combined with the need to gain extra publicity for a situation which was then - as now - making world headlines . Those that sat down together in early September 1976 to tighten-up the then 'hit-and-miss' affair were a dedicated team who fully understood that to fail in their business would not only bring derision on them and the issue they sought to highlight , but would give their enemy a publicity coup which they would exploit to the fullest extent . With that in mind , the team persevered - favours were called-in , guarantees were secured , provisions obtained and word dispatched to like-minded individuals in the near-locale . At the appointed time on the agreed day - 12 Noon , Christmas Day 1976 - a soon-to-be 31-years-young event was 'born'.......
The CABHAIR Christmas Day Swim is , thankfully , still going strong and will be , as mentioned , 31-years-young on December 25th next!
Photographs of last years event can be viewed here and , if you can't make it to the actual swim itself , you might consider posting a donation to the following address :
CABHAIR
Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund
223 Parnell Street,
Dublin 1.
Ireland.

Thank You,
Go Raibh Maith Agat,

Sharon.






Friday, November 16, 2007

THE COALISLAND STORY : British Torture In Ireland.......
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

One by one , the young men were taken out of solitary confinement and the torture and questioning began again - this went on all day . They were told the torture and ceaseless questions would continue until they signed the statements which the RUC had prepared .

Mentally and physically exhausted from the torture , constant questioning , lack of food and sleep , fearful of the continuation and what might befall their families , they eventually 'admitted' anything the RUC wanted them to admit : they signed the RUC-written statements . Any of these days now they may stand in the dock charged with the death of RUC Sergeant A.J. Ovens. The torture-mill confessions will be used to send them - and others - to the scaffold .

The most vicious forms of torture combined with brain-washing techniques are now being practised by the British Crown authorities in Occupied Ireland to obtain 'confessions' . The Coalisland story is not an isolated instance ; we have examples also from Derry , Down , Fermanagh - indeed , from all areas of Occupied Ireland.......
(MORE LATER).





KING OF THE YUPPIE HEARTLAND....... !

Dessie O'Malley would expect to draw his support almost exclusively from middle-class areas , but if he is to succeed in getting the twenty seats he hopes for that support base would also have to include working-class areas , especially in Dublin . On the evidence of one day spent with PD leader O'Malley ,that working-class support is unlikely to be forthcoming.
From 'IN DUBLIN' ELECTION SPECIAL , 1987.
By Derek Dunne.

Outside the Leo Laboratories factory in Dublin , Dessie O' Malley is interviewed by the media and something comes across quite clearly - he says " I'm not necessarily saying that I should be Taoiseach..." He then says that there are precedents for a 'backbencher Taoiseach' , so what he is really saying is that he should be Taoiseach ! He wants to rule Ireland . He smokes in the entrance to the building , dragging heavily on the cigarette . He drags so hard that the cheeks of his face come together .

On the bus , RTE have their cameras and they want an interview , but Dessie is nervous . " Where's the camera ? When are you starting it ? Are you going to use a bright light ...? " The RTE people start to put make-up on him , but he is clearly embarrassed by this - " Ah stop that , now ..." , he chides , as his hair is combed for him . One of his handlers , a female , reflects ruefully - " He always has a bit at the back that sticks out no matter what you do..." , and she's right . The RTE crew tell him to get relaxed .

Then it's " Lights ! Camera ! " Dessie 'switches' himself on , and , in an authoratative voice , begins to moralise on the state of the 'nation' . The Limerick East constituency is good , he tells RTE , and fifty per-cent of the Fianna Fail organisation went over to the PD's . The 'feedback' - in the jargon of politics - is 'very positive' . As the bus moves along Lower Kimmage Road , bemused passers-by are treated to an insight into how RTE 'set up' these type of interviews . Dessie signs a release form for RTE to allow them to screen the interview , but there are no 'fees' , this time . It then occurs to some of us that he may actually have gotten paid for past appearances.......
(MORE LATER).



THE EAMON BYRNE CASE .......
Eamon Byrne , a 19-year-old Dubliner , was shot dead by a garda detective during an attempted robbery at the B+I terminal in November 1982 . For his family , obtaining justice , or simply the truth , could be a long and expensive process.
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , July 1983 .

State Justice Minister Michael Noonan (Fine Gael) , who had been an ardent advocate of an independent garda authority and complaints tribunal before coming to Office , suffered a sudden conversion afterwards . In contrast to Willie Whitelaw, Noonan uttered no statements on the issue , either in Leinster House or out of it . The only politician who did attempt to raise the Eamon Byrne case was independent Leinster House member Tony Gregory, whose constituent Eamon Byrne was .

Tony Gregory found his questions disallowed by the Leinster House Ceann Comhairle (ie the House Chairperson) because the matter was sub judice , when in fact it wasn't , as charges were not preferred against anyone for Eamon Byrne's death . Gregory was later told that it was the preserve of the Dublin City Coroner and his Court.

Meanwhile , neither of these factors prevented the trial going ahead of Byrne's accomplices - the trial was brought forward , in fact , so that the inquest proceedings on Eamon Byrne wouldn't unduly affect its outcome . Subsequently , the survivors of the abortive raid , David and Stephen Conroy , both received seven years for armed robbery in the State Central Criminal Court, on June 17 , 1983 . The outcome of the inquest on Eamon Byrne hardly came as a surprise.......
(MORE LATER).







Thursday, November 15, 2007

Almost 12 months since it was 'only' thirty years.....

It began - properly structured and organised - in 1976 ,as a 'fundraiser with a difference' combined with the need to gain extra publicity for a situation which was then - as now - making world headlines . Those that sat down together in early September 1976 to tighten-up the then 'hit-and-miss' affair were a dedicated team who fully understood that to fail in their business would not only bring derision on them and the issue they sought to highlight , but would give their enemy a publicity coup which they would exploit to the fullest extent . With that in mind , the team persevered - favours were called-in , guarantees were secured , provisions obtained and word dispatched to like-minded individuals in the near-locale . At the appointed time on the agreed day - 12 Noon , Christmas Day 1976 - a soon-to-be 31-years-young event was 'born'.......
The CABHAIR Christmas Day Swim is , thankfully , still going strong and will be , as mentioned , 31-years-young on December 25th next!
Photographs of last years event can be viewed here and , if you can't make it to the actual swim itself , you might consider posting a donation to the following address :
CABHAIR
Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund
223 Parnell Street,
Dublin 1.
Ireland.

Thank You,
Go Raibh Maith Agat,

Sharon.






Wednesday, November 14, 2007

THE COALISLAND STORY : British Torture In Ireland.......
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

The interrogation of the four young men continued all through the night : between 5AM and 6AM the four were returned to their cells - they were in bad shape physically and mentally .

At 6AM they were pulled out of their cells - squads of three men now started the questioning in relays . Cocked revolvers were placed against the stomachs , throats and temples of the youths , and sticks were pressed into their bodies . Hankerchiefs were twisted around their necks , as a cloth soaked in a foul-smelling liquid was pushed against their faces while their noses were held . They were thrown on the floor and held there as the cloth around their neck was woven tighter and tighter , then it would be snapped open and they'd be told to 'confess' .

Then they were beaten around the head and body with rubber truncheons . These beatings continued in different forms throughout all day Wednesday and from midnight to 6AM Thursday morning . They were returned to their cells before being put in solitary confinement . A detective whom they had not seen before rushed into the cell almost immediately after them and acted like a maniac , shouting , as he clawed all over them , " I'm Ovens. I'll haunt you for the rest of your lives..." When this maniac detective left the cell , the young man inside was taken out again.......
(MORE LATER).





KING OF THE YUPPIE HEARTLAND....... !

Dessie O'Malley would expect to draw his support almost exclusively from middle-class areas , but if he is to succeed in getting the twenty seats he hopes for that support base would also have to include working-class areas , especially in Dublin . On the evidence of one day spent with PD leader O'Malley ,that working-class support is unlikely to be forthcoming.
From 'IN DUBLIN' ELECTION SPECIAL , 1987.
By Derek Dunne.

Dessie O' Malley worked very hard in government with Charlie Haughey . Charlie wasn't his choice , he said , but one thing is sure - he wouldn't serve in another government with him . And somehow , that's what the PD's are all about - not serving in a government with Charlie Haughey . There , in a nutshell , is the reason for their existance . Forgot all this 'mould-breaking' stuff .

Dessie is now most disturbed about Sellafield, and about the leaks and the lies that have been told : he is against nuclear power , you see . This is quite a turnaround. Anyway - the bus moves on up Molesworth Street , around Saint Stephen's Green and onto the South Circular Road . It stops at a company called 'Leo Laboratories' , waiting for Dessie . He finally arrives and says that he has been here before with the King of Denmark , and says that he has a photo to prove it . But the photo shows him posing with the Queen of Denmark . But no matter . He was here before in any event...

There are a large number of workers in the labs and most of them live locally . Dessie puts on a white coat to 'preswerve sterile conditions' , and gets his photo taken , which is the whole point of the exercise . He is in the building exactly three minutes when he starts looking at his watch - he looks bored . When questioned , he says that he is "...going to do even better that we had thought at the start , believe it or not.." Not . He goes into the workers canteen , where those inside are interrupted at their lunchbreak to shake his hand . " Will you say a few words there , Des.." asks one of his handlers . He does , and included in the words are "...committed to radical changes.." : it is a truth that in this election language has been turned on its head . The word 'radical' coming from Dessie O' Malley does not ring true . By the time the local PD candidate begins to speak , Des has gone out the door . Throughout the day it is the same story - Dessie will
step in to be followed by the local candidate , and then he will leave.......
(MORE LATER).



THE EAMON BYRNE CASE .......
Eamon Byrne , a 19-year-old Dubliner , was shot dead by a garda detective during an attempted robbery at the B+I terminal in November 1982 . For his family , obtaining justice , or simply the truth , could be a long and expensive process.
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , July 1983 .

Irish coroners' courts have traditionally concentrated on the immediate cause of death and nobody in authority , including (Fine Gael's) State Justice Minister Michael Noonan, saw fit to probe any further . The contrast with the British treatment of the Stephen Waldorf Case is outstanding : Mr Waldorf was shot by London police in January 1983 in a case of mistaken identity with a dangerous fugitive . The then British Home Secretary , Willie Whitelaw, took immediate action -

First , he suspended the three police officers concerned , then he made an immediate apology to Stephen Waldorf (who survived the shooting) , then a British Home Office enquiry investigated the incident and passed on a file to the (British) Director of Public Prosecutions - in three days - which is now the basis of a prosecution still pending against the suspended detectives . Also , a statement was issued in the British House Of Commons declaring that the system of issuing firearms to police officers was under review and details of the existing procedures were made public .

What happened in Ireland ? An internal garda enquiry was instituted which took a month to complete its report - it was then forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution's Office where it rested for two months before being passed back to the Commissioner as providing insufficient grounds for a prosecution . One unusual feature of the file , apparently , was that it did not contain the statements of the only two civilian witnesses to the incident.......
(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, November 13, 2007

103rd RSF ARD FHEIS , Saturday 10-Sunday 11 November 2007 .
A brief report on the Ard Fheis , some photographs and the Presidential Address can be found here and here, and the 113 motions which were discussed and voted on over the weekend can be found here.
The occasion was , as usual , a welcome chance to meet-up with old friends and comrades from throughout Ireland , England , Wales , Scotland and America . And all of us missed the company of Dan.....






Monday, November 12, 2007

THE COALISLAND STORY : British Torture In Ireland.......
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

At 12.10AM on the morning of Wednesday , November 20 , 1957 , the four young men - Kevin Mallon , James O' Donnell , Francis Talbot and John O' Neill - were taken from Dungannon RUC Barracks and informed they were being moved to Belfast . They were then handcuffed . Somewhere between Lurgan in County Armagh and Lisburn in County Antrim the cars they were in swung up a by-road and stopped . The four lads were removed from the cars and beaten on the side of the road .

In Belfast they were taken to Crumlin Road RUC Barracks ; the time was about 2AM , Wednesday , November 20 , 1957 . Relays of interrogators now pounced on them , with their questions couched in the foulest language . They were threatened that their homes would be destroyed and their families thrown on the streets ; that their brothers would be put away for 20 years ; that it made no difference to them who was 'got' but that "...someone was going to be got for the Brackaville job and it might as well be them.." The interrogation took the following form -

One of the four prisoners would be returned to a cell after about three-quarters of an hour of beatings combined with threats and questions . He would hear clearly the screams of the other lads and the shouted oaths and threats of the RUC , who were roaring the following - "...you are a dirty rotten communist....your mother is nothing but a whore......you killed Sergeant Ovens......no man ever went through our hands that we didn't break , and we're going to break you .." When one of the young men was brought back to his cell in the dark , he lay on the bunk : the pillow was wet . It was covered in blood . An RUC detective entered and told him - " That is the sheet that covered Sergeant Ovens . It will cover another body soon......."
(MORE LATER).





KING OF THE YUPPIE HEARTLAND !

Dessie O'Malley would expect to draw his support almost exclusively from middle-class areas , but if he is to succeed in getting the twenty seats he hopes for that support base would also have to include working-class areas , especially in Dublin . On the evidence of one day spent with PD leader O'Malley ,that working-class support is unlikely to be forthcoming.
From 'IN DUBLIN' ELECTION SPECIAL , 1987.
By Derek Dunne.

Sometimes it can be acutely embarrassing to be in the company of Dessie O' Malley. Like when he is posing for the photographers , for instance . In order for a particular photo opportunity to be exploited fully , it is necessary to smile when posing , whether it be with a shovel , an old woman of the King of Denmark ! But Dessie has this problem - it appears that he cannot raise the necessary smile without an accompanying laugh . His laugh begins someplace deep within the man and comes out as a sort of guffaw that one might hear in a rugby club very late at night when 'the boys' are filling up the toilet bowl with beer and someone notices that the water is flooding out the door...

The laugh and smile are embarrassing , but they are all part and parcel of electoral work in what passes for elections in this part of the world . Dessie's style often leaves a lot to be desired . He will walk past people and is never totally comfortable shaking hands or making small talk - he appears to consider the whole exercise a huge bore . On this day , a private coach has been hired and this is in keeping with the spirit of private enterprise that the Progressive Democrats would say they wish to foster . A parking ticket is placed on the bus before it even moves off . The vehicle itself is splattered in posters and slogans - 'Dessie Can Do It' . Nobody bothers to ask what it is he can 'do' . 'Put Your Foot Down' , reads another poster . The driver of the bus looks at the poster , and tells us he is a supporter of Charles J. Haughey!

When the coach starts off , Dessie is not on board . He is in RTE talking to John Bowman on the 'Day By Day' programme . Listeners can phone in with comments , and one does , asking about the time that Dessie said that Charlie Haughey was unfit for Office and how he squared this with the fact that he served as a minister under the same man.......
(MORE LATER).



THE EAMON BYRNE CASE .......
Eamon Byrne , a 19-year-old Dubliner , was shot dead by a garda detective during an attempted robbery at the B+I terminal in November 1982 . For his family , obtaining justice , or simply the truth , could be a long and expensive process.
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , July 1983 .

The gun which killed Eamon Byrne , a .38 Smith and Wesson police special revolver , had never been properly tested and a garda ballistics officer confirmed its hair trigger action rendered it unsafe and unsuitable for police work . Also , the officer who fired the gun admitted that he had only received four days instructions in the use of firearms .

The case had other unusual dimensions , only one of which emerged in court . The gardai admitted that they were keeping watch on the B+I terminal because they had been tipped off that an attempt would be made to rob the car ferry when it docked . In fact there is strong evidence to suggest that the robbery was the work of an agent provocateur . It seems that Eamon Byrne and the two Conroy brothers who were captured with him were set up .

No evidence involving the robbery was allowed in the coroner's court , nor was the fact that , prior to his death , Eamon Byrne had approached journalists and the Prisoners Rights Organisation , to say he had been threatened by garda officers , and he subsequently gave a statement to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties detailing the threats . Subsequent to Eamon Byrne's death , several of his associates gave sworn affidavits alleging they had been offered inducements to 'stitch him up' . None of this emerged at the inquest.......
(MORE LATER).

(Thank You , 'O Neill' , for your words of encouragement - hope we have been of some assistance to you !)