Wednesday, January 09, 2019



"In view of the vote that was taken here on Saturday and which I had definitely to oppose as one that was tending to subvert the Republic which I was elected to my present position to defend and maintain ; and as it appeared to me also to be a vote which would tend to subvert the independence of the country, I could no longer continue — as I was beaten in that - I could no longer continue in my present office feeling I did not have the confidence of the House. I therefore wish to place my resignation in the hands of the Assembly ; and I think it is not necessary to say any further words in doing so, but simply to resign my office and the responsibilities of it and the members of the Cabinet all go with my resignation" - Eamon de Valera (pictured) stepped down from that position on the 9th January 1922 because of the 'Treaty of Surrender', which had been accepted by Michael Collins and others (Arthur Griffith, Riobárd Bartún [Robert Barton], Eamonn S Ó Dugáin [Eamonn Duggan] and Seoirse Ghabháin Uí Dhubhthaigh [George Gavan Duffy] had also appended their names to that vile document) on the 6th December, 1921, in London - at ten minutes past two on that Tuesday morning (6th December 1921), those men accepted 'dominion status' and an oath which gave "allegiance" to the Irish Free State and "fidelity" to the British Crown - within six months a civil war was raging in Ireland, between the British-supported Free Staters and the Irish republicans who did not accept that 'Treaty'.

De Valera had already stated, on the 18th December 1921, that he was against that 'Treaty' - "We were elected by the Irish people and did the Irish people think that we were liars when we said that we meant to uphold the Republic. I am against this Treaty because it does not reconcile Irish national aspirations with association with the British Government. I am against this Treaty not because I am a man of war, but a man of peace. I am against this Treaty because it will not end the centuries of conflict between the two nations of Great Britain and Ireland. It gives away Irish independence ; it brings us into the British Empire.." ('1169' comment - yet the same man had no problem with working on behalf of that 'empire' in the years following that 'not acceptable' speech!)

He had offered to resign on the 6th January, 1922, but the offer was not accepted at the time - but, on the 9th, it was accepted by 60 votes to 58 votes, following which Arthur Griffith (another Free-Stater-in-waiting) stated - "Before another word is spoken I want to say : I want the Deputies here to know, and all Ireland to know, that this vote is not to be taken as against President de Valera. It is a vote to help the Treaty, and I want to say now that there is scarcely a man I have ever met in my life that I have more love and respect for than President de Valera. I am thoroughly sorry to see him placed in such a position. We want him with us."

Others objected to the 'deal', and among them were Austin Stack, who stated his intention to fight on "even if this rotten document be accepted", and Erskine Childers, who complained that the 'Treaty Ports' section of the document would prevent the Free State from pursuing an independent foreign policy. The seven women members of the Dáil opposed the Treaty on the grounds that lives had been lost in pursuit of an Irish Republic, which the document subverted. Many, such as Margaret Pearse, Mary MacSwiney and Kathleen Clarke had lost close relatives in the struggle for independence and stated that such an outcome was not what they and others had fought for. And, one week later (on the 16th January), Michael Collins and his Free State comrades were given the seat of British injustice in Ireland - Dublin Castle - from which to continue the campaign against Irish republicans from.

Máire Nic Shuibhne [pictured] (Mary MacSwiney) stated her objection to the 'Treaty' - "I claim my right, before matters go any further, to register my protest, because I look upon this act worse than I look upon the Act of Castlereagh. I, for one, will have neither hand, act, nor part in helping the Irish Free State to carry this nation of ours, this glorious nation that has been betrayed here to-night, into the British Empire — either with or without your hands up. I maintain here now that this is the grossest act of betrayal that Ireland ever endured. I know some of you have done it from good motives ; soldiers have done it to get a gun, God help them! Others, because they thought it best in some other way. I do not want to say a word that would prevent them from coming back to their Mother Republic, but I register my protest, and not one bit of help that we can give will we give them.

The speech we have heard sounded very beautiful — as the late Minister of Finance can do it ; he has played up to the gallery in this thing, but I tell you it may sound very beautiful but it will not do. Ireland stands on her Republican Government and that Republican Government cannot touch the pitch of the Free State without being fouled ; and here and now I call on all true Republicans ; we all want to protect the public safety, it is our side that will do its best to protect the public safety. We want no such terrible troubles in the country as faction fights. We can never descend to the faction fights of former days. We have established a Government, and we will have to protect it.

Therefore, let there be no misunderstanding, no soft talk, no ráiméis at this last moment of the betrayal of our country, no soft talk about union. You cannot unite a spiritual Irish Republic and a betrayal worse than Castlereagh's, because it was done for the Irish nation. You may talk about the will of the Irish people, as Arthur Griffith did ; you know it is not the will of the Irish people, it is the fear of the Irish people, as the Lord Mayor of Cork says. And tomorrow or another day when they come to their senses, they will talk of those who betrayed them today as they talk of Castlereagh. Make no doubt about it. This is a betrayal, a gross betrayal, and the fact is that it is only a small majority, and that majority is not united. Half of them look for a gun and the other half are looking for the fleshpots of the Empire. I tell you here there can be no union between the representatives of the Irish Republic and the so-called Free State."

And today, on the 9th January 2019 - 97 years after the Westminster and Free State-enforced partition of Ireland - Irish republicans remain adamant that there can be no political union between "the representatives of the Irish Republic and the so-called Free State".


An edited version of this speech was published in 'The United Irishman' newspaper in October 1954. This is the speech in full ; on the 13th March, 1920, Terence MacSwiney (pictured) was unanimously elected as the 'Lord Mayor of Cork' by that city's Corporation. He donated his salary for the position to an outside organisation and received no salary for the other position he held at that time - Brigadier of the No. 1 Brigade, Cork IRA.

"I shall be as brief as possible. This is not an occasion for many words, least of all a conventional exchange of compliments and thanks. The circumstances of the vacancy in the office of Lord Mayor governed inevitably the filling of it. And I come here more as a soldier stepping into the breach, than as an administrator to fill the first post in the municipality. At a normal time it would be your duty to find for this post the councillor most practical and experienced in public affairs. But the time is not normal. We see in the manner in which our late Lord Mayor was murdered an attempt to terrify us all. Our first duty is to answer that threat in the only fitting manner by showing ourselves unterrified, cool and inflexible for the fulfillment of our chief purpose - the establishment of the independence and integrity of our country — the peace and the happiness of our country. To that end I am here.

I was more closely associated than any other here with our late murdered friend and colleague, both before and since the events of Easter Week, in prison and out of it, in a common work of love for Ireland, down to the hour of his death. For that reason I take his place. It is, I think, though I say it, the only fitting answer to those who struck him down. Following from that there is a further matter of importance only less great — it touches the efficient continuance of our civic administration. If this recent unbearable aggravation of our per­secution by our enemies should cause us to suspend voluntarily the normal discharge of our duties, it would help them very materially in their campaign to overthrow our cause. I feel the question of the future conduct of our affairs is in all our minds. And I think I am voicing the general view when I say that the normal functions of our corporate body must proceed, as far as in our power lies, uninterrupted, with that efficiency and integrity of which our late civic head gave such brilliant promise.

I don't wish to sound a personal note, but this much may be permitted under the circumstances — I made myself active in the selection of our late colleague for the office of Lord Mayor. He did not seek the honour and would not accept it as such, but when put to him as a duty he stepped to his place like a soldier. Before his election we discussed it together in the intimate way we discussed every­thing touching our common work since Easter Week. We debated together what ought to be done and what could be done, keeping in mind, as in duty bound, not only the ideal line of action but the practical line at the moment as well. That line he followed with an ability and success all his own..."


'A NEW THEORY OF RELATIVITY...', by Pat Rabbitte.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 1998.

Whoever is responsible, 'relativity' has certainly caught on in Ireland - some have done relatively well from it. Others not so well. There is no doubt it has been expensive for the Irish taxpayer (sic - he means 'State taxpayer'). Charlie McCreevy may prefer a chat with his caddy at the 'K Club', but there is no doubt that when it comes to 'relativity', the finance minister agrees with the Liberty Hall porter ; he warned in his budget-day speech that 'relativity is something up with which he will not put'. Well, the gardaí have news for Mr McCreevy - their 'relativity' claim is well advanced and coming down the tracks at a fierce pace. I support the gardaí.

It is important that members of the Garda Síochana are fairly remunerated for the impartial and effective discharge of their important duties. The manner in which they serve the citizenry to a considerable extent defines the character of our democracy. We are regularly reminded that for many gardaí their job is becoming increasingly dangerous and they are expected to risk life and limb so that the citizen can sleep safely in his or her bed.

Insofar as is reasonable - and it is not possible in absolute terms to reflect that nobility in pay terms - the gardaí in turn have a right to expect a fair day's pay for a fair day's work...


We won't be posting here on the 16th January next as we'll only be just about coming out of the aftermath (!) of the monthly 650-ticket fund-raising raffle, which will be held on Sunday, 13th January, in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, but we couldn't let the 16th pass without mentioning a remarkable Irish republican woman who, to our shame, is practically forgotten about today. The following piece will hopefully encourage some of our readers to want to find out more about this dedicated Irish republican 'dissident' -


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

The death of Gobnait Ni Bruadar (Albina Broderick), pictured occurred on the 16th January last (1955), at her residence in Ballimeoona, Castlecove, in County Kerry. This splendid woman remained constant in her loyalty to Ireland and was actively associated with the Republican Movement until she died in the 93rd year of her life.

She was educated in England and spent most of her early life there, was 'presented at the Court' and knew only the 'society life' of a 'Lady' in England. Yet this did not prevent her from seeing the ills which existed in Ireland under the system of the absentee landlord nor the injustices being perpetrated by the English conquerors of the native Ireland she loved.

And for her, love was shown by deeds, not words - she gave up the easier way of living and took up one decidedly less attractive in the Republican Movement. She became a member of Cumann na mBan and remained in that organisation while she could continue to take an active part. In her last years, when too old to be actively militant, she still continued to help in every way she could, particularly in raising funds. The dependents of the republican prisoners were always a special care of hers. Her life was an inspiration to all who knew her and the Republican Movement has great reason to regret her death.

(END OF 'DEATH OF PATRIOT IRISHWOMAN' : next post [23rd January 2019], from the same source - 'SAVINGS LAW SHOULD BE CHANGED', a letter sent to the 'Irish Times' by a Dr. Lucey).

Also, regarding the 16th January date (...this post dictated by the in-house requirement for gender balance!) we want to give a brief mention to a perhaps lesser-known figure from Irish republican history, who was born on the 16th January 1822 -
"From the time I came to what have been called the years of discretion, my entire thought has been devoted to Ireland. I believed the course I pursued was right ; others may take a different view. When the proceedings of this trial go forth to the world, the people will say that the cause of Ireland is not to be despaired of, that Ireland is not yet a lost country — that as long as there are men in any country prepared to expose themselves to every difficulty and danger in its service, prepared to brave captivity, even death itself if needs be, that country cannot be lost..." - Thomas Clarke Luby (pictured) was born in Dublin on this date (16th January) 197 years ago.

His mother was of a different religious persuasion from his father (a Tipperary-born Church of Ireland clergyman) and both parents were determined that their son, Thomas, should be 'successful' in life : he was educated at Trinity College, in Dublin, from where he graduated in 1840, then studied law at 'The Temple', in London. However, he became more interested in journalism than in practising law and, as a 'toff' with a solid social conscience, he joined the 'Repeal Association' but came to the opinion that that organisation was not prepared to go far enough in defending Irish society from the ravages inflicted on it by Westminster and joined a more radical organisation, the 'Young Irelanders' and was active in the 1848 Rising. When that rebellion was put down by the British, Luby and other 'dissidents' established a new revolutionary organisation, the 'Irish Democratic Association' ('IDA') and once again challenged British misrule in Ireland - but, once again, they failed in their endeavours.

Shortly after that failure, Luby went to France in the hope of improving his military tactics and then to Australia, where he stayed for about a year, before returning to Ireland. He made his living through journalism (mostly working for, and with, 'The Tribune' newspaper) and, in 1858, he helped establish the 'Irish Republican Brotherhood', known as the 'Fenians,' with the avowed and same purpose of that of his previous efforts - to overthrow British rule in Ireland and establish an Irish Republic. Such were the times he lived in - including the period in our history when the 'Irish National Invincibles' struck a blow for Irish freedom - and Thomas Clarke Luby supported and/or was involved in every such effort. He died in Jersey City, at 79 years of age, in 1901, from paralysis, on the 29th November, 1901, and is buried, with his wife, in Bay View Cemetery in that city, under a headstone which reads - 'Thomas Clarke Luby 1822–1901. He devoted his life to love of Ireland and quest of truth.'

His objective remains unfulfilled.

Thanks for reading ; we'll be back on Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019. Sharon.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019



"If the Germans landed in Ireland, taking it by force of arms, they would have just as much right to it as England...fight for Ireland and be buried in consecrated ground, not dying like those in France, to be thrown into a *bode.." - Tomás Ceannt, speaking at a public meeting in Ballynoe, County Cork, on the 2nd January 1916 - 103 years ago on this date (* borehole/hole in the ground).

Tomás Ceannt (Thomas Kent) was born on the 29th August, 1865, in Bawnard House, Castlelyons, in Cork, the fourth of seven sons and two daughters, for David and Mary Kent. The Kent family had a long tradition of fighting against social and political injustices : 'His family were squeezed off their land by the British Crown's incremental rate increases. Thomas Kent left for Boston in the United States, but returned to Ireland several years later, owing to illness. Himself and his three brothers became radicalised, and were often jailed for their political activities, chiefly their support for the Land League and their membership of the Irish Volunteers. When the Easter Rising kicked off in April 1916, Tomás Ceannt, then 50 years of age, and his brothers, obeyed Eoin MacNeill's countermanding order and stayed home, Kent having planned to head to Dublin to fight. In a swoop for known republican sympathisers, however, the RIC made a dawn raid on the Kent family home in Castlelyons.

The Ceannts resisted arrest and had a shoot-out with the RIC, which lasted four hours. The RIC's head constable was killed, his face blown off, before the Ceannts surrendered. When they arrested Tomás Ceannt..he was paraded through the town of Fermoy a bit like Jesus Christ. His hands were tied and he had no shoes — he wasn't allowed wear any boots. He was humiliated...his mother was 89 and she was cooling down the guns and supplying her sons with ammunition during the raid. (The RIC) humiliated her as well. She was too old to walk so they put her on a cart with her dying son, the youngest son, Richard. He suffered from his nerves, as they said in those days. He had mental issues...he was terrified when he was arrested and he ran away and was shot in the back. He was dying. He died about a day later from his wounds...' (from here).

Thomas and his brother, William, were charged by the British with 'armed rebellion' - the brother was acquitted, but Thomas was found guilty and sentenced to death. Another brother, David, was 'found guilty' of the same charge and received a death sentence, but this was commuted to five years penal servitude. On the 9th May 1916, Tomás Ceannt was put to death by firing squad and his body was placed in a hole in the ground of Cork Prison, where he lay for 99 years : in 2015, the Free State administration, still attempting to associate themselves with those who fought against British rule, shamefully re-buried that Irish republican in a televised display of pomp and ceremony and it and the 'establishment' it spawned practically crawled over themselves to be seen to be associated with such a man. After their taxpayer-funded meal and drinks, they reverted to condemning those who continue to fight for the freedom of this country. Disgusting behaviour from a disgusting political 'elite'.

'WE ASK FOR NO MERCY AND WE WILL MAKE NO COMPROMISE...' - edited highlights of a speech on the 13th March, 1920, by Terence MacSwiney. From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.

"Those whose faith is strong will endure to the end and triumph. The liberty for which we today strive is a sacred thing - inseparably entwined as body with soul with that spiritual liberty for which the Savour of man died and which is the inspiration and foundation of all just governments. We, taking up the work left incomplete, confident in God, offer sacrifice from ourselves. We ask for no mercy and we will make no compromise."

(END of the 'United Irishman'-edited version of that speech : NEXT - that speech in full).


"One branch of the family was very militant. At the time land-grabbing was rampant in Ireland. You had an agent in Milltown called Leslie, and Lord Mounteagle was the landlord. You could be doing well today and a couple days later they would raise the rent to something you couldn't meet and they would put another fellow into it and you got the road. That brought the Moonlighters and it must be said, the Moonlighters did a great job. In every generation you had [people willing to fight] . . . the Moonlighters, the United Irishmen, then onto Sinn Féin and the IRB. You could say they were the soul of Ireland at the time..

They were great, the local people at the time, they were the soul of Ireland. Without the local people, the Flying Columns couldn't exist. They'd [the police] get no response from the people. The people were opposed to them at the time, and it continued that way right up to the Truce..De Valera? I never liked him. He'd make a statement and it'd have about four different meanings.. I always thought there was something queer about him...when it came out that you were prepared to hand over a big part of your territory to the British, there was a revulsion against it. People expected a lot — when they found out they got nothing but partition, they got very annoyed..

(Michael) Collins did marvellous work in the war against the Tans — but when he went Free Stater then, actually he declared it one time that he was signing his own death warrant. He knew it was wrong, which made it worse. As it went along then he got very bitter..I went back to Kerry then and I worked in a bread van for a number of years, but I got various jobs through the years all along. I was arrested a number of times ; the finish was refusing to answer questions and I was jailed. I lost my job again — came out and was going all right again. There was a lot of turmoil, unemployment was rotten..we decided anyway to take him (O'Duffy) out of it, the IRA in Kerry. Six of us assembled in Ballyseedy. The train is over the road at Ballycarthy. I was up in the railway station and Christy Leen was in the roadside to give me the number of the car when it'd come. The reception party was Johnny O'Connor, John Duggan, my brother Tadhg and Josie Hassett — they were well armed, they had a Thompson machine-gun and two rifles, he wouldn't escape...

I had a number of men there (in England) — three or four active men. We kept ourselves small. And we laid bombs whenever we got the chance. You would have to say we were very successful for a long time. You would select places and one of the places we selected was the Grosvenor Hotel in Park Lane. The bomb was laid at the back of a flowerpot. The only thing was to try and cause as much confusion as we could. But as time went by, what we were doing was nothing. The war was on.." - Dan Keating, pictured, from here.

Dan Keating was born on the 2nd of January in 1902 - 117 years ago on this date - in the townland of Ballygamboon, Castlemaine, Co Kerry. In 1917, he went to work in Tralee at Jerry McSweeney's Grocery, Bar and Bakery. Jerry McSweeney's uncle, Richard Laide, was shot in the attack on Gortalea barracks which was the first barracks to be attacked in Ireland. Dan joined the Fianna in Tralee in 1918 and about two years later he joined the Irish Republican Army. Others to join at that time were Gerry Moyles, Donnchadh Donoghue, Tommy Vale, John Riordan (Kerry All-Ireland footballer), Jerry O'Connor (better known as "Uncy"), Matt Moroney and Paddy and Billy Griffin.

In the meantime, he met a soldier who used to frequent the bar where he worked and during conversations procured a rifle from him. This was then handed over to Johnny O'Connor of the Farmers' Bridge unit. Dan was later to join this unit which included men of the calibre of Johnny Duggan, Johnny O'Connor, Timmy Galvin, Moss Galvin, Jack Corkery, Jim Ryle, Mick Hogan and Jamesy Whiston. This unit was very active from 1920 to 1924 and many of its members took part in the Headford ambush which claimed the lives of approximately 20 British soldiers. Volunteers Danny Allman and Jimmy Baily also lost their lives at Headford. He took part in the ambush at Castlemaine in which eight RIC and Black-and-Tans were killed. Gerry Moyles was severely injured in this encounter. The last ambush in Kerry took place in Castleisland on the night before the Truce and Dan also participated in this. Four RIC members were killed in this action and Volunteers Jack Shanahan, Jack Prenderville, John McMahon and John Flynn also lost their lives.

Dan, pictured in 2002, when he was 100 years of age.

In 1922, he was transferred to a unit in Tralee which was commanded by Tommy Barton of Ballyroe when they occupied Ballymullen barracks for a period of three months. He took part in the attack on Listowel barracks, now occupied by the Free Staters, in which one Free Stater was shot dead. In Limerick, Dan, along with comrades from Kerry, fought the Free State troops over a period of ten days. Republican Volunteers Patrick Foran, Charlie O'Hanlon and Tom McLoughlin lost their lives there. Dan was then sent to Tipperary to instruct Gerry Moyles to return to Kilmallock but on the way they were surrounded by Free Staters. After a battle at Two Mile Bridge, Dan and his comrades were taken prisoner and held in Thurles barracks for two days before being conveyed to Portlaoise Jail where he was held for six months. This was to be the first of many times he was interned by the Free State. During this period in Portlaoise the jail was burned and Volunteer Paddy Hickey from Dublin was shot dead. Dan was then transferred to the Curragh Internment Camp and was held there until March 1923. A Free State soldier named Bergin from Nenagh, who became friendly with the republican prisoners and acted as a courier to republicans on the outside, was executed by the Staters.

Dan was charged with possession of a shotgun in 1930 and was issued a summons but did not attend court and was fined £1. In the true republican tradition he refused to pay and was sent to Limerick and held for one week. During a court case in Tralee involving Johnny O'Connor and Mick Kennedy, in which they refused to recognise the court, their supporters in the courthouse cheered loudly and when things died down the judge ordered Dan Keating to be brought up before him and gave him three months for contempt. He was jailed in Cork with Johnny O'Connor but after a hunger strike by Johnny both were released after three weeks.

The next time he was interned was after O'Duffy's visit to Tralee ; he was sentenced to six months in Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin. He was later captured in Carrigans in Clonmel by a policeman who had previously arrested him in Tralee and was taken first to Thurles and from there to the Curragh where he was held for three years and six months. In this period the camp was burned and Barney Casey from Longford was shot dead.

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dan Keating, pictured in January 2007.

He was also on active service in England during the early 1940's, and returned to work in Dublin and operated as a barman in the Eagle House, James Street, the Cornet and the Kilmardenny public houses. His other great interest was Gaelic games, and indeed between football and hurling he has attended more than 140 All-Ireland senior finals including replays, which must be a record in itself. When he retired he returned to Kerry in 1978 and resided at Ballygamboon, Castlemaine and, in 2004, he replaced George Harrison of Mayo and New York as the fourth Patron of Sinn Féin Poblachtach since 1986, following in the footsteps of such illustrious republicans as Comdt-General Tom Maguire and Michael Flannery of Tipperary and New York. During his long, healthy and adventurous lifetime he had seen many splits and deviations from republican principles, but he remained loyal and true to the end. He died in Tralee on the 2nd of October 2007, at 105 years of age, after a short illness, and is buried in Kiltallagh Cemetery in Castlemaine, in Kerry, and his funeral oration was delivered by his comrade Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.

I measc Laochra na nGael go raibh sé .


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

DERRY MEN FINED : Patrick Shields, Terence Doherty, John O' Doherty, Thomas Mellon and Seán Keenan, all of Derry, were charged at Derry Petty Sessions on January 31st last with collecting for the Republican Prisoners Dependents Fund without having a 'police permit'. None of the men appeared in court . They were fined £2 each.

GAA SUPPORT : Offaly County Board, GAA, adopted a resolution that each club contributes ten shillings to a fund in aid of the dependents of the men imprisoned as a result of the raid on Omagh Barracks.

MISTAKEN IDENTITY : In our January issue we commented on an article by a David Jack, which appeared in the 'Empire News' newspaper of the 26th December 1954. In the course of our comment we stated that Mr Jack was the coach to the Shelbourne Soccer Club. We are now in receipt of a letter from Mr David BN Jack, the Shelbourne manager coach, in which he states that he is not a contributor to the 'Empire News' and has therefore no connection with the article in question. We regret the error and wish to tender our apologises to Mr Jack for publishing it.

(END of 'Derry Men Fined', 'GAA Support' and 'Mistaken Identity' : NEXT - 'Death Of Patriot Irishwoman', from the same source.)


From 'Magill' magazine, February 1998.

A porter I knew at Liberty Hall was renowned for the sheer breadth of his opinions on complex national and international issues, although he may have been a bit weak on portering as such. Where Noel Browne went wrong in his battle with the Catholic Church and the medical establishment, where the country (sic) went wrong on decimalisation and where the government went wrong on emigration were only some of his areas of expertise.

"Do you know what has this country ruined?", he challenged a couple of drinking cronies in the adjacent Liffey Bar on a cold January evening. His comrades hugged their hot whiskies, knowing they were going to be told anyway : "Relativity", he pronounced, looking up from his 'Evening Press'. "There was never any relativity in this country before the British unions..." And he went on to berate one 'British union' official in particular who, happily, is still with us.

I thought it an odd line from an ITGWU partisan, given the origins of Connolly and Larkin. As if reading my mind, he threw aside the latest coverage of industrial strife and triumphantly 'belled the cat' - "I tell a lie. He (naming the 'British union' official) is not responsible for relativity. I read one time that a foreigner called Einstein started relativity, but I still say yer man brought it to Ireland..." (MORE LATER).


Thanks to all our readers for continuing to check-in with us and we hope you keep doing so in 2019 - we do appreciate it, and like to think that we're doing a little something and maybe even making some progress in our endeavours to counter the manner in which the establishment media repeatedly misrepresent and/or ignore the Irish republican position. We haven't got the same resources at our disposal as the latter has but we'll continue to avail of the outlets we have - this blog, Twitter and Facebook - to promote what we believe in and hopefully reinforce that same belief in other Irish republicans and perhaps even convert some of those 'on the fence' to see issues as we do. A tall order, we know, but we're nothing if not persistent!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Thursday, December 27, 2018



The Cabhair Swim site, 3rd Lock, Inchicore, Dublin, pictured at 9am on Christmas Day, 2018.

A swim in the foggy dew - not really, as it had cleared-up by about 10.30am, when we got there, but the Cabhair Crew, who arrived on site at about 8.30am to begin assembling all the paraphernalia that goes with an 'outdoor gig' of this size, told us that visibility was only about fifteen feet, due to the heavy fog, until about half ten, when it lifted - but they were delighted that it wasn't raining, like last year, when all of us on-lookers got as wet as the swimmers!

Anyway - enough with the weather report : by the time we got there, the Crew were putting the finishing touches to the event, passers-by, on foot and in cars etc, were stopping for a chat and a mince pie and a few sweets and/or a drink (and not only lemonade, God bless their constitution!) and the scene was starting to buzz.

A Cabhair donation tin and some of the 'goodies', which those present helped themselves to.

The Cabhair Swim heating system ; not 100% efficient but, according to the swimmers, better than nothin'!

And then the fun (!) began : the Crew had to forcibly stop all six swimmers from jumping in at the same time (yeah, right...) and straws were drawn...

..resulting in one brave man (the 'winner' of the shortest straw competition!) 'volunteering' to test the waters for his comrades!

'Short Straw' was then joined by two more swimmers.. of whom made a break for dry land..

..but took the scenic route back.. give one of the lads a hand out!

And, finally, with the help of a sharp instrument -

- the six swimmers were corralled around the fire to have their picture taken :

And then all six were escorted off the premises and the rest of us had a party. Couldn't let them stay, as they were dripping like mad yokes all over the beer, the cider and the 'goodies'. But they were allowed to keep the T-shirts, and told to behave themselves next year...!

Thanks to Cabhair for putting the event together - for the 42nd consecutive year - and a BIG 'GRMA' to the swimmers and their sponsors, and to the on-lookers ; couldn't have done it without ya!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018



On Wednesday, 19th December 1877 - 141 years ago on this date - Michael Davitt (pictured), 'the father of the Irish Land League', was released from Dartmoor Prison in Princetown, Devon, in England, having served seven years in savage conditions. He was 31 years of age at that time.

This Irish 'dissident' was born on the 25th March, 1846, in Straide, County Mayo, at the height of An Gorta Mór ('the Great Hunger/attempted genocide') and the poverty of those times affected the Davitt family - he was the second of five children and was only four years of age when his family were evicted from their home over rent owed and his father, Martin, was left with no choice but to travel to England to look for work.

Martin's wife, Sabina, and their five children, were given temporary accommodation by the local priest in Straide. The family were eventually reunited, in England, where young Michael attended school for a few years. His family were struggling, financially, so he obtained work, aged 9, as a labourer (he told his boss he was 13 years old and got the job - working from 6am to 6pm, with a ninty-minute break and a wage of 2s.6d a week) but within weeks he had secured a 'better' job, operating a spinning machine but, at only 11 years of age, his right arm got entangled in the machinery and had to be amputated. There was no compensation offered, and no more work, either, for a one-armed machine operator, but he eventually managed to get a job helping the local postmaster.

He was sixteen years young at that time, and was curious about his Irish roots and wanted to know more - he learned all he could about Irish history and, at 19 years young, joined the Fenian movement in England. Two years afterwards he became the organising secretary for northern England and Scotland for that organisation and, at 25 years of age, he was arrested in Paddington Station in London after the British had uncovered an IRB operation to import arms. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, on a 'hard labour' ticket, and served seven years in Dartmoor Prison in horrific conditions before being released in 1877, at the age of 31, on Wednesday, December 19th - 141 years ago on this date.

He returned to Ireland and was seen as a hero by his own people, and travelled extensively in his native Connaught, observing how, in his absence, nothing had improved for the working class. He realised that if the power of the tenant farmers could be organised, it would be possible to bring about the improvements that were badly needed, and he arranged a convention in August of 1879 ; the result was a body called the 'National Land League of Mayo' :

'This body shall be known as the National Land League of Mayo and shall consist of farmers and others who will agree to labour for the objects here set forth, and subscribe to the conditions of membership, principles, and rules specified below.

Objects: The objects for which this body is organised are —

1) To watch over the interests of the people it represents and protect the same, as far as may be in its power to do so, from an unjust or capricious exercise of power or privilege on the part of landlords or any other class in the community.

2) To resort to every means compatible with justice, morality, and right reason, which shall not clash defiantly with the constitution upheld by the power of the British empire in this country, for the abolition of the present land laws of Ireland and the substitution in their place of such a system as shall be in accord with the social rights and necessities of our people, the traditions and moral sentiments of our race, and which the contentment and prosperity of our country imperatively demand.

3) Pending a final and satisfactory settlement of the land question, the duty of this body will be to expose the injustice, wrong, or injury which may be inflicted upon any farmer in Mayo, either by rack-renting, eviction, or other arbitrary exercise of power which the existing laws enable the landlords to exercise over their tenantry, by giving all such arbitrary acts the widest possible publicity and meeting their perpetration with all the opposition which the laws for the preservation of the peace will permit of. In furthernance of which, the following plan will be adopted :— a. Returns to be obtained, printed, and circulated, of the number of landlords in this county ; the amount of acreage in possession of same, and the means by which such land was obtained ; farms let by each, with the conditions under which they are held by their tenants and excess of rent paid by same over the government valuation. b. To publish by placard, or otherwise, notice of contemplated evictions for non-payment of exorbitant rent or other unjust cause, and the convening of a public meeting, if deemed necessary or expedient, as near the scene of such evictions as circumstances will allow, and on the day fixed upon for the same. c. The publication of a list of evictions carried out, together with cases of rack-renting, giving full particulars of same, names of landlords, agents, etc, concerned, and number people evicted by such acts. d. The publication of the names of all persons who shall rent or occupy land or farms from which others have been dispossessed for non-payment of exorbitant rents, or who shall offer a higher rent for land or farms than that paid by the previous occupier. The publication of reductions of rent and acts of justice or kindness performed by landlords in the county.

4) This body to undertake the defence of such of its members, or those of local clubs affiliated with it, who may be required to resist by law the actions of landlords or their agents who may purpose doing them injury, wrong, or injustice in connexion with their land or farms.

5) To render assistance when possible to such farmer-members as may be evicted or otherwise wronged by landlords or their agents.

6) To undertake the organising of local clubs or defence associations in the baronies, towns, and parishes of this county, the holding of public meetings and demonstrations on the land question, and the printing of pamphlets on that and other subjects for the information of the farming classes.

7) And finally, to act as a vigilance committee in Mayo, note the conduct of its grand jury, poor law guardians, town commissioners, and members of parliament, and pronounce on the manner in which their respective functions are performed, wherever the interests, social or political, of the people represented by this club renders it expedient to do so.'

Thus began the land agitation movement. On the 21st October 1879, a meeting of concerned individuals was held in the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar, County Mayo, to discuss issues in relation to 'landlordism' and the manner in which that subject impacted on those who worked on small land holdings on which they paid 'rent', an issue which other groups, such as tenants' rights organisations and groups who, confined by a small membership, agitated on land issues in their own locality, had voiced concern about.

Those present agreed to announce themselves as the 'Irish National Land League' (which, at its peak, had 200,000 active members) and Charles Stewart Parnell who, at 33 years of age, had been an elected member of parliament for the previous four years, was elected president of the new group and Andrew Kettle, Michael Davitt, and Thomas Brennan were appointed as honorary secretaries. That leadership had 'form' in that each had made a name for themselves as campaigners on social issues of the day and were, as such, 'known' to the British authorities - Davitt was a known member of the Supreme Council of the IRB and spoke publicly about the need " bring out a reduction of facilitate the obtaining of the ownership of the soil by the occupiers..the object of the League can be best attained by promoting organisation among the tenant-farmers ; by defending those who may be threatened with eviction for refusing to pay unjust rents ; by facilitating the working of the Bright clauses of the Irish Land Act during the winter and by obtaining such reforms in the laws relating to land as will enable every tenant to become owner of his holding by paying a fair rent for a limited number of years.."

Davitt realised that the 'Land League' would be well advised to seek support from outside of Ireland and, under the slogan 'The Land for the People', he toured America, being introduced in his activities there by John Devoy and, although he did not have official support from the Fenian leadership - some of whom were neutral towards him while others were suspicious and/or hostile of and to him - he obtained constant media attention and secured good support for the objectives of the organisation.

He died before he could accomplish all he wanted to, at 60 years of age, in Elphis Hospital in Dublin, on the 30th of May 1906, from blood poisoning : he had a tooth extracted and contracted septicaemia from the operation. His body was taken to the Carmelite Friary in Clarendon Street, Dublin, then by train to Foxford in Mayo and he was buried in Straide Abbey, near where he was born. The 'Father of the Irish Land League' was gone, but will not be forgotten.

'WE ASK FOR NO MERCY AND WE WILL MAKE NO COMPROMISE' - edited highlights of a speech on the 13th March, 1920, by Terence MacSwiney. From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.

"I come here more as a soldier stepping into the breach than an administrator to fill the first post in the municipality. We see in the manner in which our late Lord Major was murdered an attempt to terrify us all. Our first duty is to answer that threat in the only fitting manner by showing ourselves unterrified, cool and inflexible for the fulfilment of our chief purpose - the establishment of the independence and integrity of our country. To that end I am here.

The menace of our enemies hangs over us and the essential immediate purpose is to show the spirit that animates us and how we face the future. I wish to point out again the secret of our strength and the assurance of our final victory.

This contest of ours is not on our side a rivalry of vengeance, but one of endurance - it is not they who can inflict most but they who can suffer most will conquer. But it is conceivable that they could interrupt our course for a time ; then it becomes a question simply of trust in God and endurance..." (MORE LATER).


Austin Stack (pictured) was born on the 7th December, 1879, in Ballymullen, Tralee, County Kerry, and died in the Mater Hospital in Dublin, from complications after a stomach operation, on the 27th April 1929, at only 49 years of age. That wasn't soon enough, as far as his former comrades were concerned - he had remained a republican, and completely rejected their politics and their Free State.

He was arrested with Con Collins on the 21st April 1916 while planning an attack on Tralee RIC Barracks in an attempt to rescue Roger Casement. He was court-martialed and sentenced to death, but this was commuted to twenty years penal servitude and he was released in the general amnesty of June 1917, and became active in the Irish Volunteers again. He was elected Secretary of Sinn Féin, a position he held until his death. His health was shattered due to the number of prison protests and hunger strikes for political status that he undertook. In the 1918 general election, while a prisoner in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast, he was elected to represent West Kerry in the First (all-Ireland) Dáil, and the British sent him off to Strangeways Prison in Manchester, from where he escaped in October 1919. During the 'Black and Tan War', as Minister for Home Affairs, Austin Stack organised the republican courts which replaced the British 'legal' system in this country.

He rejected the Treaty of Surrender in 1921 (stating, during the debate on same - "Has any man here the hardihood to stand up and say that it was for this our fathers suffered, that it was for this our comrades have died in the field and in the barrack yard.." ) and, following a short fund-raising/public relations tour of America, returned to Ireland to fight on the republican side in the Civil War.

In the general round-up of Irish republican leaders in April 1923 (during which Liam Lynch was shot dead by Free State troops) Stack, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the rebel forces, was arrested in a farmyard in the Knockmealdown Mountains in County Tipperary - this was four days after Lynch's death. Imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin, he took part in the mass hunger-strike by republican prisoners in October 1923, which was his 5th hunger-strike in 6 years. Shortly after the end of that forty-one day hunger-strike, in November 1923, he was released with hundreds of other political prisoners, and he married his girlfriend, Una Gordon, in 1925. In April 1929, at forty-nine years of age, he entered the Mater Hospital in Dublin for a stomach operation. He never recovered and died two days later, on 27th April 1929. He is buried in the Republican Plot, Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin.

'Austin Stack was born in Ballymullen, Tralee and was educated at the local Christian Brothers School. At the age of fourteen he left school and became a clerk in a solicitor's office. A gifted Gaelic footballer, he captained the Kerry team to All-Ireland glory in 1904 and also served as President of the Kerry Gaelic Athletic Association County Board. He became politically active in 1908 when he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and, in 1916, as commandant of the Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers, he made preparations for the landing of arms by Roger Casement, on Banna Strand.

Although Austin Stack was made aware that Casement was arrested and was being held in Ballymullen Barracks in Tralee, he made no attempt to rescue him : RIC District Inspector Kearney treated Casement very well and made sure Stack was aware that Casement could so easily have been rescued, yet Stack refused to move (possibly sensing that a trap had been laid for him?) but he was arrested anyway and sentenced to death for his involvement, but this was later commuted to penal servitude for life. He was released under general amnesty in June 1917 after the death of fellow prisoner and Tralee man Thomas Patrick Ashe and was elected as an abstentionist Sinn Féin Member of Parliament for Kerry West in the 1918 Westminster election, becoming a member of the 1st Dail and was automatically elected as an abstentionist member of the 'House of Commons of Southern Ireland' and a member of the 2nd Dail as a Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Kerry-Limerick West in the Irish elections of 1921.

He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and took part in the subsequent Irish Civil War. He was captured in 1923 and went on hunger strike for forty-one days before being released in July 1924...when Eamon de Valera founded Fianna Fail in 1926, Stack remained with Sinn Féin..his health never recovered after his hunger strike and he died in a Dublin hospital on April 27th 1929, aged 49.'
(from here, slightly edited.)

A commemorative pamphlet, entitled 'What Exactly is a Republican?' was issued in memory of the man - 'The name republican in Ireland, as used amongst republicans, bears no political meaning. It stands for the devout lover of his country, trying with might and main for his country's freedom. Such a man cannot be a slave. And if not a slave in heart or in act, he cannot be guilty of the slave vices. No coercion can breed these in the freeman. Fittingly, the question - 'What is a republican?' fails to be answered in our memorial number for Austin Stack, a man who bore and dared and suffered, remaining through it all and at the worst, the captain of his own soul. What then was Austin Stack, republican? A great lover of his country. A man without a crooked twist in him. One who thought straight, acted straight, walked the straight road unflinchingly and expected of others that they should walk it with him, as simply as he did himself. No man could say or write of him "He had to do it". That plea of the slave was not his. His duty, as conscience and love dictated, he did. The force of England, of the English Slave State, might try coercion, as they tried it many times : it made no difference. He went his way, suffered their will, and stood his ground doggedly, smiling now and again. His determination outstood theirs, because it had a deeper foundation and a higher aim. Compromise, submission, the slave marks, did not and could not exist for him as touching himself, or the Cause for which he worked and fought,lived and died.'

Pictured - an IRA unit in Kerry, circa 1921.

Austin Stack fought physically and verbally for the Irish Republic and, on the 19th December, 1921 - 97 years ago, on this date - he said the following in Dáil Éireann in relation to the Westminster-'offered' (and Free State accepted) 'Treaty of Surrender' : "It happens to be my privilege to rise immediately after the President to support his motion that this House do not approve of the document which has been presented to them. I shall be very brief ; I shall confine myself to what I regard as the chief defects in the document, namely, those which conflict with my idea of Irish Independence.

I regard clauses in this agreement as being the governing clauses. These are Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4. In No.I, England purports to bestow on Ireland, an ancient nation, the same constitutional status as any of the British Dominions, and also to bestow her with a Parliament having certain powers. To look at the second clause, it starts off — "Subject to provisions hereinafter set out.." — and then she tries to limit you to the powers of the Dominion of Canada. What they may mean I cannot say, beyond this, that the Canadian Dominion is set up under a very old Act which considerably limits its powers. No doubt the words "law, practice, and constitutional usage" are here. I cannot define what these may mean. Other speakers who will come before the assembly may be able to explain them. I certainly cannot. To let us assume that this clause gives to this country full Canadian powers, I for one cannot accept from England full Canadian powers, three-quarter Canadian powers, or half Canadian powers.

I stand for what is Ireland's right, full independence and nothing short of it. It is easy to understand that countries like Australia, New Zealand and the others can put up with the powers which are bestowed on them, can put up with acknowledgements to the monarch and rule of Great Britain as head of their State, for have they not all sprung from England? Are they not children of England? Have they not been built up by Great Britain? Have they not been protected by England and lived under England's flag for all time? What other feeling can they have but affection for England, which they always regarded as their motherland?

This country, on the other hand, has not been a child of England's, nor never was. England came here as an invader, and for 750 years we have been resisting that conquest. Are we now after those 750 years to bend the knee and acknowledge that we received from England as a concession full, or half, or three-quarter Dominion powers? I say no. Clause 3 of this Treaty gives us a representative of the Crown in Ireland appointed in the same manner as a Governor-General. That Governor-General will act in all respects in the name of the King of England. He will represent the King in the Capital of Ireland and he will open the Parliament which some members of this House seem to be willing to attend. I am sure none of them, indeed, is very anxious to attend it under the circumstances, but, if they accept this Treaty they will have to attend Parliament summoned in the name of the King of Great Britain and Ireland. There is no doubt about that whatever. The fourth paragraph sets out the form of oath, and this form of oath may be divided into two parts. In the first part you swear "true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established." As the President has stated, according to the Constitution which will be sanctioned under that Parliament, it will be summoned by the representative of the King of England and Ireland and will acknowledge that King.

I say even that part of the oath is nothing short of swearing allegiance to the head of that Constitution which will be the King. You express it again when you swear, "and that I will be faithful to His Majesty King George V., his heirs and successors by law." That is clear enough, and I have no hesitation whatever in reading the qualifying words. I say these qualifying words in no way alter the text, or form, or effect of this oath, because what you do in that is to explain the reason why you give faith, why you pledge fealty to King George. You say it is in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and the meaning of that is that you are British subjects. You are British subjects without a doubt, and I challenge anyone here to stand and prove otherwise than that according to this document.

If ever you want to travel abroad, to a country where a passport is necessary, your passport must be issued from the British Foreign Office and you must be described as a British subject on it. If you are mean enough to accept this Treaty, time will tell. You wind up by saying that you further acknowledge that King in virtue of Ireland's adherence to and membership of the group of nations known as the British Commonwealth of Nations, and all that, of course, is really consistent with the whole thing. You will become a member of the British Empire. Now this question of the oath has an extraordinary significance for me, for, so far as I can trace, no member of my family has ever taken an oath of allegiance to England's King. When I say that I do not pretend for a moment that men who happened to be descended from, or to be sons of men who took oaths of allegiance to England's Kings, or men who themselves took oaths of allegiance to England's Kings are any worse for it. There are men in this assembly who have been comrades of mine in various places, who have been fighting the same fight as I have been fighting, the same fight which we have all been fighting, and which I sincerely hope we will be fighting together again ere long. There are men with whom I was associated in this fight whose fathers had worn England's uniform and taken oaths of allegiance, and these men were as good men and took their places as well in the fight for Irish independence as any man I ever met.

But what I wish to say is this: I was nurtured in the traditions of Fenianism. My father wore England's uniform as a comrade of Charles Kickham and O'Donovan Rossa when as a '67 man he was sentenced to ten years for being a rebel, but he wore it minus the oath of allegiance. If I, as I hope I will, try to continue to fight for Ireland's liberty, even if this rotten document be accepted, I will fight minus the oath of allegiance and to wipe out the oath of allegiance if I can do it. Now I ask you has any man here the idea in his head, has any man here the hardihood to stand up and say that it was for this our fathers have suffered, that it was for this our comrades have died on the field and in the barrack yard. If you really believe in your hearts that it was vote for it. If you don't believe it in your hearts vote against it. It is for you now to make up your minds. To-day or to-morrow will be, I think, the most fateful days in Irish history. I will conclude by quoting two of Russell Lowell's lines : —
"Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,

In the strife 'twixt truth and falsehood for the good or evil side."

Unfortunately, the "evil side" is, at the time of writing, in the majority. But it's early yet...

(Incidentally, on this date, 97 years ago [19th December 1921], one of those who signed and accepted the 'Treaty of Surrender' attempted to explain, probably more so to himself than to those who were in his presence, why he had done so - "I do not seek to shield myself from the charge of having broken my oath of allegiance to the Republic — my signature is proof of that fact. That oath was, and still is to me, the most sacred bond on earth..." - a poor effort at absolving himself for doing the wrong thing, in our opinion : more here.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

At a special meeting of the San Francisco branch of the 'Irish Republican Prisoner's Aid Committee', held on January 20th, 1955, the following resolution was unanimously passed : 'WHEREAS the English Government, for eight centuries, has been guilty of invasion, confiscation, aggression and persecution in Ireland, and still pursues the policy, despite the world-wide maxim of peace-loving nations that all people should be allowed to govern themselves, free of outside interference and WHEREAS at the present time a number of young Irish patriots have been brutally sentenced to from four to twelve years penal servitude in English prisons and in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast for asserting their God-given rights to freedom from an alien enemy tyrant, therefore BE IT RESOLVED that we, Americans of Irish birth and extraction, meeting under the auspices of the 'Irish Republican Prisoner's Aid Committee' of San Francisco, on this twentieth day of January 1955, emphatically protest the foul policy of Britain in imposing barbarous measures of punishment on Irish patriots who are entitled, under the circumstances, to treatment of prisoners of war and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we pledge our moral support to these patriotic soldiers of Ireland and our financial support to their dependents during their long and trying years ahead."

(END of 'San Francisco' : NEXT - 'Derry Men Fined', 'GAA Support' and 'Mistaken Identity', from the same source.)


The question is no longer whether there is corruption within our political establishment but whether the political establishment is itself corrupt.

By Vincent Browne.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 1998.

At present, private investors on the Irish Stock Exchange own shares to an estimated value of £8 billion ; over the last year alone, the value of these shares would have increased by about £200 million. The tax on this realisable gain alone has been cut by £40 million! Of course, the capital gain on such stocks would be far greater that £40 million, taking the gain over the last several years.

And that capital gain represents only a fraction of the capital gain generated generally in the economy - it does not include, for instance, the capital gain from investment in property. Therefore, the benefit to the rich by this tax reduction is probably of the order of £100 million, although Charlie McCreevy stated that the cost to the exchequer in a single year was only £19 million. Either this was done to benefit the rich generally - on top of the benefit they gained by the reduction in the top rate of income tax - or perhaps for the benefit of a particular individual. Either way, it is a disgrace. And particularly a disgrace given the paucity of the increases in social welfare and the deferral (again) of the implementation of the benefit, such as it was.

In that vivid phrase of the hapless Michael Lowry, the cosy cartels are indeed very cosy. They have three parties to represent their interests (Fianna Fáil, the Progressive Democrats and Fine Gael) and they have little to fear from a tame Labour Party and a timorous Democratic Left. (END of 'ON THE TAKE' ; Next, from the same source : 'A NEW THEORY OF RELATIVITY', by Pat Rabbitte.)


We'll be busy ourselves over the Christmas period, as usual - but, again as usual, we don't mind, as it's for a good cause! The 42nd successive Cabhair Christmas Swim will be held on Christmas Day 2018 at about 12 noon, at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal in Inchicore, Dublin, and we hope to be fit enough after it to post a few words and pics here on Stephen's Day (or thereabouts - probably thereabouts!) - if you can make it, well and good, you'll be made welcome and we'll see ya there but, if you can't make it, not to worry : we know you'll be there in spirit and, if you want to contribute, donations can be sent to CABHAIR – Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund, 223 Sráid Pharnell, BÁC 1, Éire. All donations are gratefully received and a receipt will be issued.

CABHAIR is a charitable organisation, solely dependant on public subscriptions. It was established in early 1987, following the revolutionary / reformist split in the republican movement, for "the relief of cases of distress arising out of republican activity". Immediately following the Ard-Fheis of Sinn Féin in 1986 when the Provisionals departed from the republican road a number of Irish political prisoners in England, the Six Counties and the 26 Counties adhered to the revolutionary path and refused to accept support from the Provisionals.

To meet this pressing need CABHAIR was formed and has continued with this noble work. Prisoners that they have cared for have been released on completion of sentence and others have gone to prison. At no time since 1987 have no prisoners been in CABHAIR’s care. As long as British rule continues in Ireland, Irish people will resist that foreign occupation and, unfortunately, there will be political prisoners.

We hope you have a Happy Christmas, and thank you for continuing to visit our wee corner of the interweb - much appreciated!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018



On Monday, 5th of December in 1921 - 97 years ago on this date - in Downing Street in London, the then British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, announced to the Irish side in the 'Treaty' negotiations (pictured) that he had written two letters, one of which would now be sent to his people in Ireland ; one letter told of a peaceful outcome to the negotiations, the other told of a breakdown in the negotiations - Lloyd George stated that if he sent the latter one " is war, and war within three days. Which letter am I to send?"

That 'War Letter' meeting took place, as stated, on the afternoon of Monday 5th December 1921 ; at around 7pm that same evening, Michael Collins and his negotiating team left that Downing Street meeting to discuss the matter between themselves and returned to Downing Street later that night. Collins and Griffith (both pro-Treaty) had pressurised their colleague, Robert Childers Barton (the Irish Minister for Economic Affairs) to accept the Treaty of Surrender, telling him that if he did not sign then he would be responsible for "Irish homes (being) laid waste and the youth of Ireland (being) butchered.." and, at about 11pm on Monday, 5th December 1921, Barton signed the document.

Ten days later (ie on the 15th December 1921) Barton (pictured) had this to say in relation to that eventful day - "I want first of all to say we were eight and a half hours on that Monday in conference with the English representatives and the strain of an eight and a half hours conference and the struggle of it is a pretty severe one. One, when I am asked a question like that, "Was it or was it not?", I cannot give you an answer. But as regards particular aspects of that question, which I cannot take on oath, I can only give you my impression. It is in my notes that the answer is given, and it is there because it was my impression of that conference. It did appear to me that Mr. Lloyd George spoke to me and I had an impression that he actually mentioned my name ; but I could not swear on oath that he mentioned my name, or actually addressed me when he spoke. It appeared to me that he spoke to me. What he did say was that the signature and the recommendation of every member of the delegation was necessary, or war would follow immediately and that the responsibility for that war must rest directly upon those who refused to sign the Treaty.."

On the 19th December that year, Barton, speaking in Leinster House, declared - "I am going to make plain to you the circumstances under which I find myself in honour bound to recommend the acceptance of the Treaty. In making that statement I have one object only in view, and that is to enable you to become intimately acquainted with the circumstances leading up to the signing of the Treaty and the responsibility forced on me had I refused to sign. I do not seek to shield myself from the charge of having broken my oath of allegiance to the Republic — my signature is proof of that fact. That oath was, and still is to me, the most sacred bond on earth.

I broke my oath because I judged that violation to be the lesser of alternative outrages forced upon me, and between which I was compelled to choose. On Sunday, December 4th, the Conference had precipitately and definitely broken down. An intermediary effected contact next day, and on Monday at 3pm, Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, and myself met the English representatives. In the struggle that ensued Arthur Griffith sought repeatedly to have the decision between war and peace on the terms of the Treaty referred back to this assembly. This proposal Mr. Lloyd George directly negatived.

He claimed that we were plenipotentiaries and that we must either accept or reject. Speaking for himself and his colleagues, the English Prime Minister with all the solemnity and the power of conviction that he alone, of all men I met, can impart by word and gesture — the vehicles by which the mind of one man oppresses and impresses the mind of another — declared that the signature and recommendation of every member of our delegation was necessary or war would follow immediately. He gave us until 10 o'clock to make up our minds, and it was then about 8.30. We returned to our house to decide upon our answer. The issue before us was whether we should stand behind our proposals for external association, face war and maintain the Republic, or whether we should accept inclusion in the British Empire and take peace..."

At about fifteen minutes past two on the morning of Tuesday 6th December 1921, Michael Collins and his team accepted 'Dominion status' and an Oath which gave "allegiance" to the Irish Free State and "fidelity" to the British Crown - the Treaty was signed and, on the 7th January 1922,the political institution in Leinster House voted to accept it, leading to a walk-out by then-principled members who, in effect, were refusing to assist in the setting-up of a British-sponsored 'parliament' in the newly-created Irish Free State. The British so-called 'House of Commons' (401 for, 58 against) and its 'House of Lords' (166 for, 47 against) both ascribed 'legitimacy' to the new State on the 16th December 1921 - the IRA, however, at an army convention held on the 26th March 1922 (at which 52 out of the 73 IRA Brigades were present,despite said gathering having been forbidden by the Leinster House institution!) rejected the Treaty of Surrender, stating that Leinster House had betrayed the Irish republican ideal.

Within six months a Civil War was raging in Ireland, between the British-supported Free Staters and the Irish republicans who did not accept that 'Treaty'. And, today, 97 years after that infamous 'War Letter' meeting was held, the struggle continues to remove the British political and military presence from Ireland.

'BELFAST JAIL SENTENCE' AND 'SOUTH KERRY'S HEROIC DEAD'. From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.

26th August 1954.


Sir - I have read in your paper about a man in possession of a number of copies of 'The United Irishman' newspaper who has been sent to jail. Strange that I get the newspaper here constantly and I have not been sent to jail. In fact, I take this opportunity of informing you that your newspaper finds its way even to distant Japan!

Yours sincerely,

Joseph P. O'Shaughnessy,

26 Bracey Street,

Finsbury Park,

London N4.


On Saturday evening, October 23rd 1954, a Testimonial and Dance will be held at Croke Park, 240 Street and Broadway, New York City. The proceeds will go to erect a Memorial in Cahirciveen to the memory of the men* in South Kerry who died fighting for Irish freedom. We, the members of the South Kerry Memorial Committee, appeal through the 'United Irishmen' newspaper to all Clan na Gael and Irish Republican Army Clubs of greater New York to support this very worthy cause. For information phone John Clifford of the 3rd Kerry Brigade, Ket. 8-4614, or Jack Lynch, Mo. 5-9484.

(*'1169' Comment - what, no women..?)

(END of 'Belfast Jail Sentence' and 'South Kerry's Heroic Dead' : next, from the same source - 'We Ask For No Mercy And We Will Make No Compromise' - Terence MacSwiney.)


John Atherton was born in 1598 in Somerset, in England, into a 'well-to-do' Anglican family and received an education suiting his 'standing' in the society of his day ; Oxford University. At 36 years young, in 1634, and with a reputation as a 'career clergyman' - he had 'worked' his way up to secure a position for himself as the vicar of Huish Champflower, in Somerset - he was appointed as the 'Lord Bishop of Waterford and Lismore' by 'Governor' Thomas Wentworth (a lickspittle, 'King' Charles' representative on Earth) and himself and his wife, Joan Leakey, moved to Ireland.

He 'announced' his presence in Ireland that same year by seeing to it that the so-called 'Irish House of Commons' passed legislation entitled 'An Act for the Punishnment for the Vice of Buggery' and it has been suggested that, due to his 'colourful lifestyle' - he moved in circles in which financial and sexual wheelings and dealings were used as bargaining chips - he himself was not adversed to seeking favours from either side of the house! Indeed, the political and religious culture at the time was such that no less a figure than Jonathan Swift would later declare that members of English 'society class' who were sent to Ireland to further their career and enhance their status (!) were being murdered en route and replaced by criminals!

As befitting Englishmen from a certain background, the good Bishop had a 'household' to do his bidding (!) and his 'steward/title proctor', a Mr John Childe and himself were said to be 'close' to each other and - lo and behold! - but didn't they find themselves up in court charged with 'indecent behaviour' under the same Act that the Bishop himself had 'squeezed' his friends in the 'House of Commons' to pass! And so it was that on the 5th of December in the year 1640 - 378 years ago on this date, at 42 years of age - Bishop Atherton was taken to Gallows Green (now 'Stephens Green') in Dublin and hanged by the neck until dead. His 'steward/title proctor/manfriend', John Childe, was similarly rewarded a few months later.

Mr Atherton was never 'defrocked', as the 'defrocker' of the day was dead and had not been replaced, thus achieving for the good Bishop the unenviable distinction of being the only Anglican bishop hanged for buggery, and himself and Mr Childe also made the grade in that they were only the second pair of 'close friends' to be put to death for that indiscretion - they had followed in the famous footsteps of Mervyn Tuchet, the 'Earl of Castlehaven', and a member of his 'staff', who were put to death nine years previously for the same behaviour.

'Suppose a Devill from th’infernall Pit,

More Monsterlike, then ere was Devill yet,

Contrary to course, taking a male fiend

To Sodomize with him, such was the mind

Of this Lord Bishop, he did take a Childe

By name, not years, acting a sinne so vilde...'

Incidentally, the phrase de mortuis nil nisi bonum apparently had no currency then : shortly after 'polite society' has disposed of the good Bishop, t'was said he was up to all sorts with his sister-in-law and was also a sampler of zoophilia with cattle. Thank your God that you live in an enlightened era...


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

"(IRA) membership," Mr. O'Donovan writes, "consists of young men who are half in love with death. They are not intellectuals but they are serious and steeped in Irish matters little to them that their policy is more likely to strengthen the existence of partition...or that the IRA's military plan is based on a false assumption and has no chance of success.."

Facts are facts and we welcome them. You are unfair to your own people and unjust to ours when you state as established fact your own imaginings. It is a fact that our young men in the IRA are not afraid of death in a just cause. Ireland's claim to unity and freedom is surely just and righteous. To say that men who are not afraid of death in such a cause, love death for itself, is ridiculous.

Men serious enough to be steeped in history surely take a serious interest in the policy they pursue and would not pursue tactics that would defeat the objective of such policy. On what basis of fact does Mr O'Donovan assume that the IRA's military plan is based on a false assumption and has no chance of success? Is the British Army invincible? Perhaps the USA, Egypt, Palestine etc are, unknown to us, still occupied by British forces!

(END of 'Irish History For The British' ; next - 'San Francisco', from the same source.)


The question is no longer whether there is corruption within our political establishment but whether the political establishment is itself corrupt.

By Vincent Browne.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 1998.

Was the 1993 State tax amnesty done to accommodate a single mega-rich taxpayer who was in trouble with the Revenue Commissioners and whose generosity to Fianna Fáil and perhaps to individuals within the party was considerable? So troubled was the then minister for finance, Bertie Ahern, with the proposal to introduce the scheme that he considered resignation*, and he was talked out of it only by a representative of the 'Labour Party', which was then in government with Fianna Fáil. How ironic that a Fianna Fáil finance minister should be encouraged to accept a measure that was so manifestly unfair by a representative of a party that purports to represent the quintessence of fairness!

The second of these decisions was the refusal to permit the Moriarty Tribunal to investigate the source of all funds in the Ansbacher accounts (the accounts held in a Dublin bank, where the holders of the deposits were unnamed, where the monies had been routed through London, the Cayman Islands and then back to Dublin). In doing this, Fianna Fáil was supported by its partners in government, the 'Progressive Democrats', and by Fine Gael (Fine Gael is now busily trying to rewire its involvement in that piece of infamy).

The third was the announcement in the budget of a reduction in the rate of capital gains tax, from 40 per cent to 20 per cent ; the scale of that tax change is staggering - in one fell swoop, a government that made such a fuss about reducing the top and standard rates of income tax by two percentage points reduced the tax that most affexts the rich by a full 20 per centage points... (*'1169' Comment - the "single mega-rich taxpayer" was not one of Bertie's Buddies, it seems...) (MORE LATER).

ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (12TH DECEMBER 2018) YOU'LL BE MISSING US...but your aim will get better on the 19th!

We won't be posting our usual contribution on Wednesday, 12th December 2018, and probably won't be in a position to post anything at all until the following Wednesday, the 19th December ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 8th/9th December 2018) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Cabhair group in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle, and the 'autopsy' into same which will take place on Monday evening, 10th, in Dublin, meaning that we will not have the time to post here.

But we'll be back, as stated above, on Wednesday 19th December 2018, when our offering will include, I'm told, a piece about an Irish republican who was sentenced by the British to 15 years in prison and, although he went in 'with one arm tied behind his back', so to speak, he came out and proved himself more useful to the republican struggle than many a so-called 'able bodied' person...

Thanks, for reading , Sharon.