From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , March 1998.

Seán O’ Callaghan has said repeatedly that prior to the murder of John Corcoran , he (O’ Callaghan) , who was a top level garda informer at the time, told the gardaí of the imminent fate of John Corcoran and of where he was being held. We have been informed by garda sources that the gardaí at the time decided not to intervene to save the life of John Corcoran because by doing so they would “blow the cover” of their most valuable informer ever – Seán O’ Callaghan.

Given that , at the time (1985) , O’ Callaghan was supplying the gardaí with the most valuable information on what was going on within the IRA , it would have been inconceivable that he would have withheld information on the imminent execution of a low-level garda informant.

John Corcoran had been such an informant and , as such, one would have expected the gardaí to be particularly solicitous about his welfare. There is clear evidence of a concerted cover-up over what happened to John Corcoran : it is obvious that those involved in the cover-up are the gardaí , the Department of Justice and, now , John O’ Donoghue himself who , less than a year ago , was promising full disclosure of what occurred…….

THE PETER BERRY PAPERS……. The Top Secret Memoirs of Ireland’s Most Powerful Civil Servant : Dirty Tricks, Election ’69/ Spying on a Unionist Politician/ Keeping the (State) Taoiseach informed/ The Garda Fallon Murder/ Advice to Jack Lynch- ‘Fire the pair of them…’/ Vivion De Valera’s advice to O’Malley/ Rumours of a Coup D’Etat/ The Internment Plot, November 1970/ Secret Meeting with William Craig.
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , June 1980.

” One anecdote regarding Mr Haughey’s horse accident went like this – “Did you hear the real story – Charlie did not fall the horse , he fell off the groom…” . There was nothing much to it , the rumour was partly in affection for a public figure who was attractive to women. * ( * ‘1169…’ comment : lol ! That last claim should have finished “….because he was loaded ” , as that’s the only way that that man could be properly described as ‘attractive’ !)

But when a new Minister , Mr O’ Malley , was appointed in May , he questioned me as to the rumours and I told him of the Taoiseach’s view that there should be no enquiry and that I had so informed the Commissioner – the Minister said : “I ORDER you to tell me of any information which you were given and I ORDER you to tell the Commissioner that I want to know any information that has come to the notice of the local Gardaí.” I told the Minister one of the most far-fetched yarns that had come to my ears (which no man in his senses would believe) and I conveyed what he had said to the Commissioner , who replied , dryly, that if the Minister were to give him an order in writing he would consider it. That ended that.

Around 1.00PM the Commissioner phoned to say that the ‘S Branch’ were experiencing difficulty with customs officials who were stalling from answering police enquiries ; I phoned the Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners who said that he would have to wait until after lunch to consult the Revenue Commissioner on the customs side. I threatened that unless the Gardaí were given immediate co-operation I would phone the Taoiseach and that ‘heads would roll’. In reply to a question I said that the Taoiseach personally had directed me to have a full police investigation…….”


…..which was what the British political and military forces in Ireland called him. We refer , of course , to Dan Breen, an inspiration in his military days to generations of Irish Republicans.
The man was asked about the IRA ambush that will always be linked to his name , and gave this answer –
“I would like to make this point clear and state here without any equivocation that we took the action deliberately having thought over the matter and talked it over between us. Treacy had stated to me that the only way of starting a war was to kill someone and we wanted to start a war, so we intended to kill some of the police whom we looked upon as the foremost and most important branch of the enemy forces . . . the only regret we had following the ambush was that there was only two policemen in it, instead of the six we had expected, because we felt that six dead policemen would have impressed the country more than a mere two……”
(From here.)

A 1967 interview with Dan Breen can be listened to here.

We came across the following item during our research on this man and realised that, with a few slight changes , it could be re-issued today and delivered to all those in Kildare Street and some corrupt individuals outside that useless institution –

– and it is that same loyalty to a 32-County Republic that is ever-prevalent to this day in true Irish Republicans , and , like Dan Breen in his military days , those true Irish Republicans will not compromise with Westminster : this struggle , through its good and bad days , will continue until a complete British military and political withdrawal has been achieved. We owe it to the heroes from the past , and to the children of the future !


If you’re in Dublin over the next few days , you could do worse – much worse ! – than to keep this coming Friday night free for what is guaranteed to be an ‘under-the-radar/word-of-mouth’ -type night in The Tap Bar in North King Street : a man quietly making a name for himself on the Irish ballad scene , Martin Walsh , will be playing a gig in The Tap this Friday night , 9th December – doors open at 8.30pm and admission is only a fiver per person. If you don’t actually meet the spirit of Kevin Barry there , you’ll certainly leave with it in your heart….. !
Thanks for reading,

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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