As we reported yesterday, on this date the hard work of Bernard Rafferty brought about the reopening of the Port at Greenore. Mr Rafferty was a member of Fianna Fáil, and from 1960 to 1967, he was Cathaoirleach promoting the interests of the County of Louth, in which the Port of Greenore is located.
Bernard Rafferty brought together the State controlled CIÉ who had responsibility for all manner of transportation in the Republic of Ireland, and it was in liaison with its equivalent political body in Northern Ireland. The two agencies enabled cross-border transportation to take place.
Back on April 23, 1958, the Dáil Éireann had approved the re-application of government-backed loans taken out by Weatherwell Ltd., for other use, after the initial Weatherwell plans failed to materialize. Those loans made the two Weatherwell purchases of property at Greenore (railway station and hotel), possible.
In addition to the money angle, which, as we previously noted, also provided Weatherwell Ltd with operating expenses at Greenore, this money was used to build a container crane on the quay. It also enabled Weatherwell Ltd to enter into a shipping contract with Mountwood Shipping Company Ltd., of Liverpool, England. That company then began directing its motor vessel and container ship 'Friendship' to begin exporting products to England. Those initial products were made by Weatherwell Ltd.
But lest we forget another key event that we microscopically detailed, and which also took place on this date, we will re-introduce it again here, together with other related information. Readers will then begin to understand the bigger picture which we liken to a pebble thrown into a pond that causes ripples to spread out in all directions.
Now we ask you to turn back the pages of this Blog to 'Life & Times of Aodogán O'Rahilly, part 3 ....'. That edition which was dated 9/1/2020, explained:
"This biographical sketch of Aodogán O'Rahilly's life will show that he was a businessman with a very clear idea of what he wanted to achieve, and it will also reveal how his lack of money and a downturn in his business had frustrated and thwarted his endeavors. It was during one such downturn that his son showed up on his father's doorstep with Allan James Crawford in tow."
We also explained that: "....Charles Orr Stanley, (was) an Irishman with a home near Cork in the Republic of Ireland. His home was also 'next door' to a major shipyard where REM Island was constructed. Stanley was Chairman of the Pye Group of companies, and he owned several factories. One of them in Northern Ireland was in need of a better means of exporting its products to the island of Great Britain."
We also explained that the: ".... Radio Atlanta project and its spin-off of Radio Caroline were co-based in both Ireland and Texas, in parallel with the REM Island venture! But REM Island construction was based in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland, while its master planners were based in Houston, Texas. The anoraks have focused upon the end-user who was based in the Netherlands. So this idea about the novelty of Greenore in the Republic of Ireland has more to do with the secrecy of Charles Orr Stanley and his colleagues in Texas, than it has to do with a quid-pro-quo arrangement between Ronan O'Rahilly and Allan James Crawford."
Radio Caroline was a spin-off from Radio Atlanta, and it was necessitated by demands from Houston for a guinea-pig vessel to test the application of British law. That test had to take place before the mv Mi Amigo would be leased to Project Atlanta Limited. That is why another vessel named Fredericia was obtained.
The Fredericia was originally bound for the Isle of Wight under the joint control of Captain De Jong Lanau of Wijsmuller, and Harry Spencer who had mast and rigging facilities on the Isle of Wight. But after the Fredericia left Rotterdam bound for the Isle of Wight, it was diverted to Greenore at the last minute.
So here was Allan Crawford in company with Aodogán O'Rahilly's son Ronan. Crawford was seeking permission to tie-up both the Fredericia and later the Mi Amigo at the reopened Port of Greenore,. But remember, Aodogán O'Rahilly did not own the Port of Greenore.
A company named Weatherwell Ltd based just outside Dublin had bought two adjoining properties at Greenore, and those purchases were made possible by government-backed loans. After permission had been granted to divert the use of additional funds, those reapplied loans were used to build the container crane that was later used to fit the masts on both the Fredericia and Mi Amigo.
It was Bernard Rafferty who pulled together all of the players for the greater good of the County of Louth, and this included getting Irish Customs to reopen the Port and for Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), to bring together the road transportation services that made it possible.
As we will be explaining in future editions, the reopening of the Port of Greenore did not go as planned because in July 1960 the cross-channel business did not take off, and once again this left Aodogán O'Rahilly short of cash. Riding to Aodogán's financial rescue in early 1964 came his son Ronan with Allan Crawford in tow.
At that moment in time the Fredericia needed to enter a port. It was then at sea and it had just been diverted from the Isle of Wight after leaving Rotterdam. Aodogán needed cash. A deal was struck to use the Greenore facility in strict secrecy.
As we previously reported: "The last thing that Aodogán O'Rahilly could afford to do was upset and annoy the governments of either the Republic of Ireland or the United Kingdom. His future business relied upon help from both governments."
But what kind of business was Ronan O'Rahilly bringing to his father?
A pirate radio ship business, and it was a secret venture due to a failure of prior attempts to start a British offshore radio station. The last such attempt involved GBOK which had been foiled by the British General Post Office. Now the ship Fredericia and a second ship called Mi Amigo were a part of a new attempt, and they were bound to .generate fierce political debates in Parliament that would be splashed in headlines printed by the British press.
Ronan O'Rahilly had been sent to London to whip-up business for Weatherwell Ltd., and this is what he had accomplished. Unfortunately it came with stings-attached, and they raised the flag of danger for Weatherwell Ltd and Aodogán O'Rahilly.
So was this just a Crawford venture, or was there something far more substantial behind it that could have a common-link with cross-border container shipping? Crawford came to Aodogán O'Rahilly with links to wealthy people who then began to populate his company called Project Atlanta Limited. Crawford did not need money, he needed a port.
Project Atlanta Limited had been registered in August 1963, but there was another company behind that company, and it controlled Project Atlanta Limited. This company, which we will be unravelling in due course, had a line that began in 1960 with Charles Orr Stanley. In that year Charles Orr Stanley had his own cross-border export problems at Larne in Northern Ireland, and they had erupted simultaneously in the press with the reopening of the Port of Greenore in the Republic of Ireland.
Making all of this extremely complicated was the secret agenda of Charles Orr Stanley to overthrow the monopoly of the GPO-BBC who controlled both radio and television broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Stanley had succeeded in his second mission with the establishment of the Independent Television Authority (ITA) and its sponsored program contractors. But his first target, which tied back to the same people who had been involved in the pre-WWII undertakings of both Radio Normandie and Radio Luxembourg, remained elusive.
Then in 1960 came the specter of Pilkington and so to force the Tory government's hand, Stanley had created the 'packaged radio station'. The first Pye 'package station' was built at the Royal Agricultural Show in Cambridge, and it was on the air between July 5 to July 8, 1960.
Charles Orr Stanley represented money and a blueprint that also demanded secrecy because he was playing two sides against the middle. His long term goal was in getting the UK Tory government to license hundreds of local radio stations in the United Kingdom, but he could not tip his hand to show that he was also the person who was ultimately behind the creation of Radio Caroline!
The Pye Group of companies dominated by Charles Orr Stanley, had big government contracts to satisfy. They involving both military projects as well as broadcasting equipment ordered by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Charles Orr Stanley had just published the Pye 'Plan for Local Broadcasting in Britain', and his Cambridge station was part of his scheme to create a public demand for something that the British Establishment did not want to provide. With the BBC and ITA it could control political and religious speech, but if independent sponsored commercial radio came on the scene following the American pattern, then that power of control which had been exercised through its General Post Office since 1660, would be lost.
Charles Orr Stanley was counting on political demand from the British electorate to smash down the barriers to licensing and open the doors to his ready-to-go 'packaged radio stations' like Radio Cambridge. Stanley was not trying to program anything, but he was linked to Ross Radio Productions whose job it was to make sponsored radio progams. Again as previously stated: "Aodogán O'Rahilly was thus in a difficult position. He wanted investment money, and this does appear to be the real reason why his son Ronan had been sent to London in the first place."
But this web of deceit and misdirection involved much more than just British offshore radio, and the project known as REM island. The real story involves discovering how various threads link like a pebble dropped into a still lake to send out ripples in all directions. That lake is a body of law, and its study has revealed a gigantic and hitherto undiscovered core story which has only recently come to light via this research project.
Tomorrow, we will continue to unravel more about the surrounding contemporary events in the period from 1960 to 1963, although the full story will only be told in context within 'Dial 999 for Caroline', later this year.