Michael Noonan (left), the Fine Gael spokesperson on Finance and former (State) Minister for Health, spoke on the export credit insurance issue. His remarks were based largely on John Bruton’s speech (in Leinster House) in September 1994. From ‘Magill’ magazine, October 1997.

“On September 8th, 1987, the Cabinet agreed to raise the ceiling on export credit insurance to Iraq to £150 million. In doing so, it left the overall limit for export credit insurance generally unchanged at £300 million worldwide. Therefore, the Cabinet had decided that Irish exporters to markets other than Iraq were to be denied cover because so much of the cover was now to be concentrated on Iraq, a market in which the risk of non-payment was exceptionally high.

This serious Cabinet decision was proposed by Deputy Albert Reynolds on the basis of a memorandum circulated by him at the Cabinet meeting on September 8th, 1987 – this memorandum set out the special conditions on which this extra cover for Iraq was to be granted : (a) a maximum of 70 per cent cover would only be allowed for any contract , (b) a maximum credit period of one year as opposed to the normal six months for low risk countries, (c) a claims waiting period of 12 months as opposed to the normal six month period for low risk countries, (d) a minimum premium rate of four per cent of full contract value as opposed to the usual 0.04 per cent for good risk countries and (e) (e) cover would be provided only to exporters for whom claims because of non-payment had not arisen in Iraq, or who had subsequently been paid.

The increased cover for Iraq was specifically agreed by the Government on those five conditions on 8th September, yet that very afternoon Deputy Reynolds, as Minister, started to break the conditions of the Cabinet decision. At 4 p.m. that day he met Mr. Oliver Murphy of Hibernia Meats and Mr. Paschal Phelan of Master Meats, a man who was not unknown to him. At that meeting he awarded £10 million cover to Hibernia Meats with a credit period of 18 months. By doing so, he had, within hours, broken two of the conditions on which the Cabinet had on that morning agreed the extra cover for Iraq….”


By Michael O’Higgins and John Waters. From ‘Magill Magazine’ , October 1988.

(Robin) Mordue had been a nervous witness and lacked self confidence and had to be recalled a second time to give his evidence from the start. The most controversial aspect of his evidence had to do with whether he was able to say if Seán Savage had been shot on the ground. He gave his account to the coroner and then was cross-examined (twice) by Michael Hucker for Soldiers A-G, John Laws for the Crown and Paddy McGrory for the relatives of the deceased. Because Robin Mordue appeared to change his account in relation to where Seán Savage was when the second fusillade of shots was fired, it was suggested that his account was unreliable.

But close inspection of the evidence he gave, and on which he was subject to stringent cross examination, shows that his account did not change from the original version he tendered. Mordue did not see Seán Savage being shot on the ground, and it was this which both the Crown and soldiers’ lawyers sought to bring out in cross-examination. However, what he did say was that shots rang out, that he was pushed to the ground, that out of the corner of his eye he saw Seán Savage fall to the ground as well.

On the ground, Mordue struggled for a few seconds. Savage, whom he had seen falling, had already been shot a number of times and it is most unlikely – and it was never suggested – that he tried to get up again. Mordue then heard a second round of shots as he struggled to get up, and the only inference that can be drawn from Mordue’s evidence was that Seán Savage was then on the ground as the second round of shots was fired. Yet, Felix Pizzarello’s charge to the jury was that Robin Mordue’s evidence had been that no shots were fired while he was on the ground. A similar misinterpretation was placed on the evidence of the other civilian eyewitness to the shooting, Diane Treacy….. (MORE LATER).


This pic shows one of the recent protests held in Clondalkin, Dublin (on Thursday 9th October 2014), against the double-tax on water supply, at which ‘Irish Water’ company ‘Application Packs’ were burned.

I burned the ‘Application Pack’ that that company sent to me by post (unrequested) at the above-mentioned protest, at which over 500 people were present and dozens of ‘packs’ were burned. Those who actually filled-out the pack/forms and sent them back to the company are now receiving ‘confirmation’ letters from a Mr Paul O’Donoghue in which he states “….we have received your Irish Water application form..” which reads to me , and others, that Mr O’Donoghue and the company he now represents (he previously held a management position in Bord Gáis Energy, the parent company of the outfit he is now employed by) are of the opinion that, because you filled in the paperwork they sent you and sent it back to them, that you have, in effect, applied for the ‘service’ they offer ie that you are now legally a ‘customer’ of theirs and, as such, they are entitled to fit a water meter on your house and charge you, a second time, that is, for your household water, as per the reading on that meter. Mr O’Donoghue can be contacted here, should you wish to correct him re you being a ‘customer’ of the company he now works for or, alternatively, you can contact one or more of the directors of the ‘Irish Water’ company via this link. I’m sure those directors wouldn’t mind hearing from their ‘customers’…..

Meanwhile, the trade union SIPTU , the leadership of which is linked to and supports the State Labour Party (which fully endorses the double tax on water) has issued what could at best (ie being generous to them) only be described as a watery/fence-sitting statement in relation to this double tax in which, amongst other sickening half-way-house utterances, they suggest that other ways be found to “implement the water charges” and practically ask people to cooperate with the scabs that are attempting to build the infrastructure (meters, pipe work etc) via which this double tax will be enforced, which is not surprising, as those scab workers are apparently represented by SIPTU in their dealings with ‘IW’ management re their terms and conditions – “In a statement, Irish Water said it was “fully engaged” with SIPTU officials on a monthly basis and that workers would be paid in line with the construction industry registered agreements….” (from here.). As Jim Larkin (in whose footsteps Siptu has the nerve to claim they are following – “The Union remains committed to Larkin’s dictum that ‘An injury to One is the Concern of All’ and pursuing its twin objectives of Fairness at Work and Justice in Society….”) put it : “The employers cannot carry on industry nor accumulate profits if they have not got the good will of the workers or their acquiescence in carrying on such industry.” The Siptu leadership and their equally well-fed and suited ‘comrades’ in the State Labour Party would do well to heed those words.

Finally, for this post, anyway (as this issue is far from over), myself and some other RSF supporters and members from Clondalkin and near-by areas will be taking part in this local anti-double-water-tax protest on Saturday 1st November 2014 and others still will be attending a bigger water tax protest in Dublin city centre that same day. RSF Head Office has , we are told, prepared 500 ‘leaflet packs’ (each containing three leaflets)

RSF ‘leaflet packs’ for distribution on Saturday 1st November 2014.

…for distribution at the Clondalkin protest, one of which in each pack will advertise the following event, which will be, as usual, taking place less than a kilometer from the Clondalkin area (and apologises to all for mentioning it now, as it’s still only October as I write this….!) …..


If , like me, you are a parent of children of any age (I have three daughters for my sins!) then you’ll know why I dread Christmas and won’t be dwelling on the issue just yet (if at all!) but this event deserves to be highlighted. And that’s enough about Christmas for now!


‘Sir’ Stafford Cripps : born 1889, resigned 1950, died 1952.

The above-mentioned racist proposal was put forward by a British politician, ‘Sir’ Stafford Cripps, at a ‘Peace and Empire’ conference in London in 1938, in relation to Africa and its citizens and, truth be told, a similar remark was most likely made by Cripps or some or other British political colleague in relation to Ireland and, indeed, this country did feature at that time in the circles that Cripps moved in – ‘The Cripps mission to secure Indian cooperation in the war effort had a more obvious Irish parallel since this had been the very purpose of Malcolm MacDonald’s secret missions to de Valera on behalf of the British government in the early summer of 1940, when he offered Irish unity in exchange for immediate entry into the war on the Allies’ side. One of de Valera’s reasons for refusing this offer was his belief that, once the wartime emergency was over, the offer of unity would be reneged upon. It was a view shared by Gandhi, who famously called the Cripps offer ‘a post-dated cheque on a failing bank’. Their scepticism about Churchill’s sincerity was borne out by his later contemptuous comment on the Cripps offer that ‘we made [it] when in a hole and can disavow it because it was not accepted at the time’….’ (from here.) His efforts in India on behalf of ‘the British war effort’ failed because his boss, Churchill, considered them to be giving too much and Gandhi considered the ‘offer’ to be too little.

‘Sir’ Cripps obtained high office within his ’empire’, being appointed to positions such as Solicitor-General, Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Lord Privy Seal, Leader of the House of Commons, Minister of Aircraft Production, President of the Board of Trade, Minister of Economic Affairs, Chancellor of the Exchequer and he also found time to head-up two ‘missions’ (ie the British were seeking cannon-fodder and/or war materials and/or other resources) to India, but remains relatively unknown to this day, in that his name would not, I believe, be in the ‘top ten’ answers in any political quiz to a question along the lines of ‘who served the empire in a number of different high-profile political positions in the 20th century’.

The man never had much luck with his health, suffering from colitis, which can be aggravated by stress and in 1950 he resigned from political life for health reasons and, incidentally, his seat in Westminster (for Bristol South East) was then won by Tony Benn. ‘Sir’ Cripps died two years later, in 1952, from cancer. More information on the man can be had here.


Neil T. Blaney, born 29th October 1922, died 8th November 1995.

On November 10th 1966, when Sean Lemass resigned as Free State Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fail, George Colley and Charles J.Haughey made known their desire for that position. Neil Blaney entered on the nomination of another Fianna Fail Minister, Kevin Boland, but Haughey and Blaney withdrew when Sean Lemass nominated Jack Lynch. George Colley stayed in the contest and was defeated by 53 votes to 19 ; the Colley-Haughey power struggle began to develop, but all concerned (George Colley, Haughey, Boland, Neil Blaney and Jack Lynch) continued to cooperate with each other within the confines of the Fianna Fail ‘TACA’ group. Neil Blaney was interested in the workings and objectives of the ‘Civil Rights Association’ in the Six Counties but let it be known that he didn’t consider them to be hardline enough and tried to steer Fianna Fail away from having too much to do with them, a position which some seen as a challenge to Free State Taoiseach Jack Lynch, and more so with each speech Blaney made in which he verbally attacked a politician favoured by Lynch, Six County (British) ‘Premier’, Captain Terence O’Neill (who was also under attack by Ian Paisley). Blaney actually advised nationalists in the Six Counties not to support ‘Premier’ O’Neill.

However, for the sake of party unity (a State-wide general election was due in June 1969), Neil Blaney softened his tone in public but tension remained high between him, George Colley and Haughey, although Jack Lynch tried to avoid taking sides. Seamus Brady, a Fianna Fail ‘spin doctor’ and a linkman between Blaney and the media of that time, was a well-respected Fianna Fail activist in the Dublin North-East area and was friendly with Blaney, who maintained his contacts in the Six Counties even though the Fianna Fail party itself, officially, did not bother to keep in touch too much with the few remaining contacts it had in the North, a position it regretted finding itself in as the Six County area was in open turmoil. Jack Lynch made a speech on television in which he stated – “The Stormont Government is evidently no longer in control of the situation…the Government of Ireland (sic) has requested the British Government to apply to the United Nations for urgent despatch of a peace-keeping force to the Six Counties ….many injured do not wish to be treated in Six County hospitals, so Irish Army (sic) authorities have been instructed to establish field hospitals in Donegal and other points on the border… “ and the State Minister for External Affairs, Patrick Hillery, flew to London (where he was told to mind his own business) before flying off to America and the UN, where he was to raise the Six County issue at the Security Council.

Leinster House decided that money would have to be provided to deal with ‘distress’ in the Six Counties and wanted any such funds spent in a way which would win friends and influence people for the Fianna Fail Government : £100,000 from State exchequer funds was agreed and a special sub-committee of the State Cabinet was appointed to deal with the whole Northern ‘problem’; elected to that sub-comittee were Padraig Faulkner, Joe Brennan, Neil Blaney – their constituencies were on the border – and Charles J.Haughey, who was (FS) Minister for Finance and had strong Northern connections, his father having come South to join the Free State Army in the 1920’s. The objectives of that ‘Northern sub-committee’ were outlined by Charles Haughey at the ‘Arms Trial’- “We were given instructions that we should develop the maximum possible contacts with persons inside the Six Counties and try to inform ourselves as much as possible on events, political and other developments – within the Six County area.” This ‘Northern Sub-Committee’ made contact with the Belfast IRA, with Saor Éire elements through the Citizens Committee located in a house in Kildare Street in Dublin (now demolished) the use of which was made available by the New Ireland Assurance Company, and contact was also made with Cathal Goulding, the IRA Chief Of Staff, with the objective of using every possible contact to influence decision making in the Northern nationalist community. Leinster House was not prepared to be ‘compromised’ by the decisions taken in either the Civil Rights Association or the IRA. Neil Blaney’s friend, Seamus Brady, was appointed (on the 15th August 1969) by Haughey to the ‘Propaganda Corps’ attached to the State sub-committee and he was sent into the Six Counties and, later on that month, gave a report to Jack Lynch which concentrated on the strength of the IRA in the area.

Brady had produced a booklet entitled ‘Terror in Northern Ireland’ for the Central Citizens Defence Committee (CCDC) in Belfast – he had been chosen to infiltrate the CCDC and this publication launched him nicely into his work. The full costs of producing the booklet were paid by the Leinster House-established ‘Information Bureau’, and a jointly-written booklet by Seamus Brady and local Civil Rights activist Aidan Corrigan was produced, entitled – ‘Eye Witness in Northern Ireland’ ; this too was financed by the ‘Information Bureau’ and was printed – 5,000 copies – at the Cityview Press in Dublin despite its imprint stating – ‘Published and printed in the Province of Ulster’. The booklet was launched at a press conference in Dublin’s Jury’s Hotel on October 5th,1969 (the same month in which Neil Blaney, speaking at celebrations for his 21st year in Leinster House, said – “…the Fianna Fail party has never taken a decision to rule out the use of force if the circumstances in the Six Counties so demand …….”) ,at an event organised by Brady who, along with Neil Blaney (the then State Minister for Agriculture) had had a meeting with an IRA staff officer, in Dublin (in Blaney’s office in ‘Government Buildings’!), the previous month (ie September 1969).

Neil Blaney’s political career also encompassed ministerial sackings, the ‘Arms Trial’ ,an inquiry by the State ‘Committee of Public Accounts’ into exactly how a sum of money* (£100,000) was spent and power struggles in the Fianna Fail party, and I hope our few paragraphs, above, can give a flavour of Neil Blaney’s involvement re the occupied six counties. (*for instance – on the 14th November 1969, a bank account was opened (by a person operating on behalf of Charles J. Haughey, State Minister for Finance at that time) in a Baggot Street, Dublin, bank, in the name of ‘Ann O’Brien’, and the money in same was used mainly for the running and promotion of a newspaper called ‘Voice of The North’, which was based in an office in Monaghan and which pushed the views of Fianna Fail on ‘the Northern Question’). The ‘Gun Runner’ died on the 8th of November, 1995, in his 74th year.


Congratulations to the Republican Sinn Féin organisation on its up-coming Ard Fheis – its 110th such gathering – which will be held in a Dublin venue on Saturday 8th November and Sunday 9th November next. A total of 107 motions will be discussed and either passed or rejected by the delegates, including such topics as political and electoral policy, prisoners, social and economic matters and international affairs. Also, a ballad session will be held on the Saturday night (8th) in the complex, starting at 8.30pm, ten Euro admittance per person. But a few of us probably won’t make it to either the Ard Fheis (definitely not the full event, anyway) or to the ballad session (well..maybe not!) as we will be helping the Dublin Executive of RSF to run a fund-raising 650-ticket raffle in Kildare that same weekend. HATE it when good gigs clash!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

About 11sixtynine

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