" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."
(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015



"We will not disband." Although on a permanent cease-fire, the RIRA say they will not be disbanding and would dump rather than surrender any weapons. By Liz Walsh. From 'Magill' magazine, October 1998.

The security forces are not certain as to what extent the RIRA is armed but, according to republican sources, the organisation had started to accumulate weapons in advance of the 1997 split in the Provsional IRA that led to the formation of the RIRA, which also has the capacity to manufacture home made explosives and mortars.

"We saw it coming way back, when the Provos had begun to move from ideological republicanism towards a strategic republicanism, and we made our own arrangements. Before Omagh, we were making serious headway into the Provisionals' ranks. Volunteers were beginning to see they were led up a cul de sac by the leadership. We were the IRA. Omagh gave the Provisionals a lifeline and it allowed them to steady their ranks," a RIRA source said.

In the weeks after Omagh, members of the Provisional IRA visited up to 60 members of the RIRA and the Sovereignty Committee ; the PIRA 'visitors' were unmasked and for the most part were known to their erstwhile comrades and they gave the RIRA members two weeks to disband their organisation. "There was an implicit threat of violence if we did not disband. While all this was going on, the Provo leadership was inside Stormont preaching peace. We will not be disbanding. We accept we will have prisoners to look after and we plan to keep the military structure for the foreseeable future," said the RIRA source. Asked if he was over optimistic, given the sweeping powers of the new legislation about to be used against them, he said - "Repression has never decreased support for republicanism. It adds to it." (MORE LATER).



The IRA of the 1980's which resulted from the re-think was no longer the victorious 'people's army' of the early 1970's which would push the British into Belfast Lough, but a small, highly organised band of politically dedicated terrorists (sic) and guerrillas prepared to fight for years. One current Irish Republican Army Council member summed up the new strategy in the following way - "The IRA has the ability to force the British out but by that I don't mean militarily. But we can make Ireland so unpopular an issue they will be forced to leave. Even at the lowest level the IRA has the capability to be a major de-stabilising force and we're prepared for the long haul- 30, 40 or even 50 years if necessary." In late 1976 the IRA's General Headquarters Staff established a 'think tank' which was to examine ways of implementing this new thinking and to report back directly to the Provisional's Army Council. The 'think tank' itself was dominated by two Northern radicals, both former IRA Brigade commanders recently released from jail.

In early 1977 it reported back to the Army Council and recommended that the IRA should be split in two - one part was to be responsible for fighting the war and was to consist in the main of a new 4 or 5 person 'cell' or active service unit and the old British Army-style organisation of companies, battalions and brigades were to be largely scrapped. The cells were to be responsible in the first instance to local IRA commands or brigades but ultimately to a new 'Northern Command' which would replace GHQ as the main IRA co-ordinating body.

The other IRA, the 'open' IRA, was to fight the political war - they were mainly IRA men and women well known to the authorities who would pass in to a new 'Civil and Military Administration' , and would be responsible for 'policing' the republican communities and for pushing Sinn Féin in a radical direction. To the acute embarrassment of the Provisionals that GHQ 'think-tank' report was captured by the Dublin Special Branch in December 1977 when the then Chief of Staff, Seamus Twomey, was re-arrested. That day was an especially good one for the Special Branch, as they also arrested Seamus McCollum, the man at the centre of an ambitious scheme to smuggle in an arm's consignment from the Middle East. Earlier that month Belgian customs officials had discovered nearly six tons of Russian and French-made automatic rifles and machine pistols as well as Bren guns , explosives , mortars , rockets , rocket launchers and ammunition hidden in electrical transformers on board the MV Towerstream which had just docked from Cyprus. The 'transformers' were addressed to a 'front company' in Dublin established months earlier by Seamus McCollum. The trace back led to McCollum's Dun Laoighaire , Dublin , flat and Special Branch surveillance netted an 'added bonus' in the form of Seamus Twomey , who had brazenly eluded capture since his dramatic helicopter escape from Mountjoy Prison in 1973.... (MORE LATER).


...an Chéad Dáil Éireann (the First Dáil) convened in Dublin's Mansion House. Cathal Brugha was elected as 'Acting President' in place of Eamonn de Valera, who was at that time still in a British jail - he had contested a seat in the 14th December 1918 election for the Falls constituency of Belfast but lost to local 'United Irish League' leader, Joe Devlin, by 8,488 votes to 3,245.

All those elected in Ireland in that 1918 election were invited to the Mansion House for that first meeting but the Unionist MP's refused, as did those elected under the banner of a so-called 'United Irish League'(UIL) - the parliamentary nationalists (ie John Redmond's men). In the Mansion House that day, 37 of the 73 Sinn Fein TD's (referred to as 'MP's' in Westminster) made a 'Declaration of Independence' (the remaining 36 Sinn Fein TD's were still in British jails) - "We, the elected representatives of the ancient Irish people in National Parliament assembled, do, in the name of the Irish nation, ratify the establishment of the Irish Republic and pledge ourselves and our people to make this declaration effective by every means at our command...we ordain that the elected representatives of the Irish people alone have power to make laws binding on the people of Ireland and that the Irish Parliament is the only parliament to which that people will give its allegiance. We solemnly declare foreign government in Ireland to be an invasion of our national right which we will never tolerate and we demand the evacuation of our country by the English garrison ..."

On that same day (21st January 1919) , two RIC men were shot dead in Soloheadbeg in County Tipperary by the IRA ; the cartload of gelignite they were guarding was the target, but they wouldn't hand it over without a fight. They lost. That IRA unit was led by Dan Breen and Seán Treacy, who had acted without approval from Michael Collins (military) or Eamonn de Valera (political); Dan Breen was called on to account for his IRA Unit's actions on that day by his own leadership, and said that he explained to them that the target that day was the cartload of gelignite, not the RIC men who were guarding it. He later told his comrades - "If we were to have waited for orders from Headquarters or Dáil Éireann, nothing would ever have happened. We had had enough of being pushed around and getting our men imprisoned while we remained inactive. It was high time that we did a bit of the pushing. We considered that this business of getting in and out of jail was leading us nowhere." The response to the shooting of the two RIC men was mixed ; Michael Collins stated - "The sooner fighting is forced and a general state of disorder created throughout the country, the better it will be for the country. Ireland is likely to get more out of a general state of disorder than from a continuance of the situation as it now stands."

Dan Breen himself wrote - "The clergy, the public and the press had unanimously condemned our action. At this time, scarce a word would be heard in our defence. Our former friends shunned us. Even from the Irish Volunteers, who were now known as the Irish Republican Army, we got no support.......we took the action deliberately, having thought over the matter and talked it over between us. Treacy had stated to me that the only way of starting a war was to kill someone, and we wanted to start a war, so we intended to kill some of the police whom we looked upon as the foremost and most important branch of the enemy forces. The only regret that we had following the ambush was that there were only two policemen in it, instead of the six we had expected..." The only query any Irish republican could have with the above comment would be a correction regarding who 'started the war' - not the men and women in the Mansion House, or Dan Breen or Seán Treacy, but those in Westminster and Whitehall in London who to this day - 96 years after the above-mentioned events - persist in interfering in Irish affairs.


'Collins? Lennon and McCartney? Anthem? Well....that's just a phrase I use..'

And here's a genuine 'phrase' from Mr. Kenny, an ex-school teacher - "It was great to see some people contacting us, saying, 'Well, I’m not sure whether it was a mistake or not, but I seem to have got extra money in this last payment'...."

That false boast from Enda Kenny, insinuating that he's so close to 'his people' that they actually ring him up to discuss what they perceive to be an over-payment of wages with him clearly gives an indication that people like him (ie over-paid professional career politicians) inhabit a 'middle Earth'-type fairytale society where they live 'amongst their people' who casually chat to them about issues like that. For starters, if the likes of Kenny were to discover that you have "extra money" to play with, they'd tax you on it, as someone has to pay for their way through this world, as they themselves are not capable of earning an honest living.


'A Sinn Fein TD (sic) revealed his brother is homeless and recovering from drug addiction during a heated debate in the Dail (sic) today..... Jonathan O'Brien said his brother could not afford to pay for his own accommodation because of rent caps and was forced to stay in hostels where people are openly taking drugs - "I have a brother who is homeless. He is a recovering heroin addict who cannot get accommodation because of the cap on rent allowance....he has been forced to go back into a hostel where drug taking happens in front of him." Labour TD (sic) Eric Byrne responded by asking Mr O’Brien: "Why does his good family not take him home?" Mr O'Brien hit back at Mr Byrne saying: "Shut your mouth"..... (from here.)

This is the relevant section of that discussion -

'Deputy Eric Byrne (Lab): Why does his good family not take him home?

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien (PSF): Shut your mouth.

Deputy Derek Keating (FG): A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, that is completely out of order.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn (PSF): Deputies should have a bit of common decency.

Deputy Derek Keating: It is completely out of order for Deputy O’Brien to tell another Deputy to shut his mouth.

Deputy Eric Byrne: What would one expect from Sinn Féin?

Deputy Derek Keating: He should withdraw the remark and apologise.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: In the circumstances, Members should have a bit of common decency and cop themselves on. The Deputy is the first one to run to the television. He should cop himself on....'

That PSF rep was first elected to Leinster House four years ago and must have been aware that you invite ridicule if you personalise issues in that institution, especially in the manner in which he did (ie 'My brother...') as your 'opponents' spend their time in there looking for a 'chink in your armour' with which they believe they can 'expose' you as incompetent and at the same time 'prove' how capable and quick-witted they are. O'Brien certainly didn't improve on his 'shut your mouth' remark by later describing that same Leinster House member as a "dickhead" , thus leaving himself open for more ridicule. He would have served himself better by pointing out that 'the dickhead that should shut his mouth' has 30 years involvement in various drugs task forces yet doesn't seem to be aware that home treatment is not a temporary or proper solution to the issue being discussed.

Result : Dickheads - 2 / Common Sense - 0.

...but, homosexual or not, he's still incompetent at his job, and has attempted to defend his record and that of the political administration he is a member of in relation to hospital overcrowding, declaring that the State health 'service' was much worse when Fianna Fáil and the Greens were in charge. When (not 'if') the hospital crisis gets worse in this State, we can expect Leo to try and divert attention away from same by declaring that he is no longer a homosexual, is not incompetent at his job, to defend his record and that of the political administration he is a member of in relation to hospital overcrowding and to declare that the State health 'service' was much worse when Fianna Fáil and the Greens were in charge. Considering that Christine Lagarde can not only get away with the utter bullshit she deposited on our shores last Monday (19th January 2015) ('...the Irish are the true heroes and good performers of Europe..') but be lauded for it in the media here, who can blame Leo and his colleagues in Leinster House for being patronising towards, and taking advantage of, the gullibility of the people in this State? Sure he'd be a bigger fool not to do it!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015



"We will not disband." Although on a permanent cease-fire, the RIRA say they will not be disbanding and would dump rather than surrender any weapons. By Liz Walsh. From 'Magill' magazine, October 1998.

The RIRA source claimed that ongoing indirect negotiations between the Irish government (sic) and the RIRA , through intermediary Fr Alec Reid, would inevitably have brought about a cease-fire. The negotiations began earlier this year and also involve Martin Mansergh, the Taoiseach's adviser on the North. There was a lull immediately after Omagh but 'Magill' was told that negotiations resumed some 10 days after the bombing and included face to face meetings between Fr Reid and senior members of the RIRA.

"Omagh brought the cease-fire forward, but it would have come eventually. We had to take into account that the majority of people voted for the Good Friday Agreement * , even though we believe that republicans were deceived by the Provisionals as to what exactly they were voting for. But the Irish people voted for peace and they didn't get it. And we bear responsibility for that **. All these things were factored into the decision to call a permanent end to the military campaign. If, by some miracle, the Stormont Agreement works , if for example unionism moves from fascism towards a democratic politics, and sectarianism decreases, then that would be a positive move forward. But if the Agreement comes crashing down around the Provisionals in the future - which we believe it will - then it's possible there will be a return to armed struggle. History tells us that is what will happen. Whether this organisation will be involved though is doubtful," the RIRA source said. The source is emphatic that the RIRA will not surrender its arms "...under any circumstances. The IRA constitution forbids it. If it comes to that, we will dump arms, we will never surrender them.."

(* '1169' comment - not so : 43.97% of those entitled to vote in this State on Friday 22nd May 1998 did not bother to do so and 19% of those in the Six Counties who were entitled to a vote on that Treaty ['Agreement'] did not bother to do so either, which is why it is not correct to claim that "the majority of people voted for it"// ** It's the British government that bear that responsibility, not Irish republicans.)




The result of the re-think was two fundamental changes in policy : the first was the concept of 'the long war' which was first outlined by Jimmy Drumm, ironically one of those intimately involved in the secret ceasefire talks with the British government. That concept was articulated by him at Bodenstown in June 1977 as was the second major change - a political change, which involved pushing the IRA and its political wing, Sinn Féin, in a radical direction and to involvement in trade union, poverty, housing and unemployment issues , that which Sinn Féin President, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh now calls "occupying ground vacated by the Sticks (Official Sinn Féin)".

That particular move has been far from as successful or complete as its architects planned and has caused the greatest tensions within the Republican Movement since the Official/Provisional split of 1970. The fact that it has been at all successful rests entirely on the fact that those responsible for the military re-birth of the IRA were also those backing the advocates of radicalism. In republican politics the sword has always been mightier than the pen and this time in the IRA's history both sword and pen were pointing in the same direction. (MORE LATER).


"...US use of Shannon Airport makes Ireland a target.....Ireland is a legitimate target for attack because of its decision to allow American planes refuel at Shannon Airport on their way to bombing Muslim countries.....in the eyes of al-Qaeda and others, it is a place which is being used to aid and abet the war... the Irish claim that it is neutral is not something which has been bought by Muslims around the world....." (from here.)

Much as I don't like admitting it, the speaker has a point - there is no doubt, unfortunately, but that the 'military allowances' gifted to the US war effort (albeit a 'resource war') by the State administration here, for short-term monetary gain for a few, is viewed by some, not in euro and cents 'value', but blood and tears 'expenditure'. The US , as a country, has not got enough resources in its own territory to sustain itself comfortably and, like many other nations, faces two options - reduce its consumption or obtain more of the resources it uses and its political leadership finds it easier to do the latter. But there is still a 'price' to be paid and, because of the abuse of the facilities at Shannon Airport, the Leinster House administration has placed a price on our heads. Indeed, one of those very political parties - the Labour Party, which currently 'governs' this State alongside the Fine Gael party - actively campaigned (when in 'opposition') against the misuse of Shannon Airport -

- but, as expected, has ignored the opportunity it now has to do something about that misuse. In the 'Charlie Hebdo'-world we live in, that party and those like it may have actually signed our death warrant.


'While the British army is one of the best equipped and most experienced in the world in combat operations, it does not have the Irish Army’s (sic) experience in peacekeeping. One of the motivating factors behind the agreement is to provide the British with access to the peacekeeping expertise of the Irish (sic) defence forces....' (from here.)

Well! That's certainly news to Irish republicans - that the British Army 'does not have experience in peacekeeping'! And it's bound to be news, too, for all the following countries ,states and regions in which Westminster claimed it was 'keeping the peace' in (listed alphabetically, for your convenience) : Aden, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Egypt, Falklands, Fiji Islands, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Palestine, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, St.Kitts and Nevis, St.Lucia, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United States, Vanuatu, Western Samoa and Zambia.

We think that's the full list, but if there are any omissions please contact the 'Peacekeeping Head Office' in Whitehall, London, and, while you're talking to them, you could take the opportunity to remind them that Britain has 'kept the peace' more than any other state since the Roman Empire, and since its defence against the Spanish Armada in the 16th century, it has had no occasion to 'keep the peace' (ie fight a war of defence) . All its 'peace keeping duties' since then have been ones of choice. The world just wouldn't be the same without them. Literally.


I should have mentioned it in our last post, but I was too busy to do so! We have a smaller-than-usual offering today because our weekend was taken up with the monthly 650-ticket raffle for the Movement on the Dublin/Kildare border on Sunday last (11th January) which took Friday evening and most of Saturday to prepare for and on Monday evening last the usual raffle 'autopsy' was held in Dublin city centre. And, although like all women , I can multitask even I have my limits!

But we did manage to keep on the good side of eight people - the prize winners : our bus driver, Anto, sold the winning ticket (080, €200) to a Mr. William Langan and even though Willie himself wasn't physically present we heard how delighted he was when Anto rang him to give him the good news! Our second winner, Dubliner Jack Morris, won €100 on ticket 497, which he purchased about ten minutes before the raffle started from the top table where we were - and sent the four of us over a drink to celebrate and a tenner for five tickets for the February raffle (...we hope you win first prize next month, Jack - dinner and drinkies on you!). Anto B , one of our regular ticket sellers, scored twice at the raffle - he sold the third prize winning ticket to Sióbhan (564, €40) and the sixth prize to Micko (555, €20) but no one bought him a drink, never mind a dinner!

The fourth prize (€20) was again a ticket (368) sold from our table on the day itself and the prize was won by a delighted Waterford woman Vicki H who, after she calmed down ("God sake, woman - it's only 20 quid...." !) picked stub number 593 (€20) from the drum for the fifth prize, which was claimed by a local man, Martin (from Kildare) . The second-last prize , €20 (stub 394), went (again) to Waterford, another lovely lady from the south-east ; Sandy, who pulled out the last prize (€20) which was won by Alfie L , from Mullingar, on stub 274.

It was, as usual, worth all the preparations and the rushing around even though it can sometimes feel that it's not worth it (like when it comes to having to refuse sales because there are no more tickets left!) but we wouldn't change the actual format of the event, nor the location, nor the people we do it for or with. And experience tells us that the next eleven raffles (up to Christmas 2015!)will be just as hectic for us and equally just as profitable for the Movement. Bring it on...!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015



"We will not disband." Although on a permanent cease-fire, the RIRA say they will not be disbanding and would dump rather than surrender any weapons. By Liz Walsh. From 'Magill' magazine, October 1998.

The Real IRA, the organisation responsible for the Omagh bombing, said it will not disband and will attempt to remain a cohesive group, senior RIRA sources have said. Despite this, they say the permanent ceasefire called on the 8th September 1998 will remain intact. The fall out from the Omagh bomb, which killed 29 people , had a catastrophic effect on the RIRA, a senior RIRA source acknowledged. Speaking two weeks after the ceasefire announcement, the source said Omagh, and the public revulsion that followed, was the main reason for declaring an end to the RIRA's seven month military campaign. The RIRA and senior gardai rejected continued speculation that the anti-terrorist laws enacted after Omagh would not be enforced against the group, in return for a complete cessation.

The ceasefire declaration followed a meeting of the RIRA's Army Council in Louth, at which the six members present voted unanimously for a permanent cessation. The six included the south Armagh man who is the chief suspect behind the bomb, the RIRA leader and activists from Cork and Dublin and, according to senior garda sources, the RIRA leader and a prominent activist from Cork had reservations about the ceasefire up to two days before the vote. This, they said, was one of the reasons for the three-week gap between the announcement of a suspension of the armed campaign on the 18th August 1998 and the permanent cessation on the 8th September 1998.

"There was a debate and there were conflicting views about the way forward, but we knew realistically that there was nothing to be gained by continuing the use of armed force after Omagh"* , the RIRA source acknowledged, but the minority within the RIRA opposed to a total ceasefire argued that it was necessary to maintain some form of physical force tradition following the Stormont Agreement - "But for a military campaign to continue, it must have an attainable goal. After Omagh, there was none" **, the RIRA source said.

(*Such a pity that the British political administration didn't feel like that after any of its many atrocities in this country and elsewhere / **"the goal" remains, and it is still "attainable", and that position 'can never be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people...') (MORE LATER).



Two factors led to the reorganisation of the IRA - the most important was the success of the RUC arresting and extracting confessions from IRA Volunteers and leaders. Between 1976 and 1977 when the interrogators of Castlereagh and elsewhere were working overtime, over 2,500 people, mostly Provisionals, were convicted of murder, attempted murder and arms and explosives offences. Such was the success of the 'criminalisation policy', as it was called, that the then British Secretary of State, Roy Mason, and his security chiefs at one time thought they had actually pulled it off and defeated the IRA - "We were almost defeated," admits one present Provo leader.

The second important factor was the effect of the post-Feakle ceasefire and peace talks of 1975/76 on the thinking of leading Provisional strategists. That ceasefire brought certain short term gains for the IRA - 'incident centres' to monitor British Army infringements of the ceasefire were set up and talks were held between Provisional leaders and British civil servants at which the carrot of British withdrawal was dangled tantalisingly over Provo noses. But the ceasefire also created major long term problems for the Provos , as it provoked a bloody loyalist backlash which tied up IRA resources and questioned long-held republican assumptions about the loyalist community.

It also gained the British Army and RUC time to recover from the trauma of 1974 and to collect vital intelligence on an increasingly open and careless IRA and it allowed the British to formulate a radical change in security policy of which the present H Blocks and Castlereagh were part. With hindsight the IRA was the net loser from the 1975/76 ceasefire and the subject itself remains a major and bitter bone of contention within the Republican Movement. "Disastrous" , is how one member of the current Provisional IRA Army Council describes it , "a running sore" , according to another IRA leader. The ceasefire forced on the Provisionals a major political, military and strategic re-think of which the 1977 military re-organisation was an integral part. It also paved the way for a change in the leadership of the IRA - the present 7-person Army Council is dominated by Northern 'hawks' and radicals who vow never to speak to the British again except from a position of absolute strength. (MORE LATER).


1932: Born in Longford.

1950: Joined Sinn Féin.

1951: Joined the Irish Republican Army.

1955: OC Arborfield arms raid.

1956: 2nd OC Teeling Column, South Fermanagh.

1957: Elected in Longford-Westmeath Sinn Féin TD to All-Ireland parliament.

1958: Escaped with Dáithí Ó Conaill from Curragh Camp.

1958-9 and 1960-62: IRA Chief of Staff.

1966: Republican candidate in Fermanagh-South Tyrone.

1970-83: President of Sinn Féin.

1987 to date: President of Republican Sinn Féin.

2009-2013: Patron of Republican Sinn Féin.

Married to Patsy, six children: Mait, Ruairí Óg, Conor, Deirdre, Ethne, Colm, grandchildren and great-grandchild. He was a secondary teacher by profession.

"Speaking at the graveside of O’Donovan Rossa, Pearse restated the principles which had fired the soul and intellect of O'Donovan Rossa and restated the determination of his generation to take up the torch of freedom from Rossa and his generation: "I propose to you then that, here by the grave of this unrepentant Fenian, we renew our baptismal vows; that, here by the grave of this unconquered and unconquerable man, we ask of God, each one for himself, such unshakable purpose, such high and gallant courage, such unbreakable strength of soul as belonged to O’Donovan Rossa. Deliberately here we avow ourselves, as he avowed himself in the dock, Irishmen of one allegiance only. We of the Irish Volunteers, and you others who are associated with us in to-day’s task and duty, are bound together and must stand together henceforth in brotherly union for the achievement of the freedom of Ireland. And we know only one definition of freedom: it is Tone’s definition, it is Mitchel’s definition, it is Rossa’s definition. Let no man blaspheme the cause that the dead generations of Ireland served by giving it any other nme and definition than their name and their definition."

"For Ruairí Ó Brádaigh there too was but one definition of Irish freedom. For him there was but one straight and true path leading to the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week. We come here to mourn the loss of Ruairí but we also come to celebrate his long and rich life. It was a life marked by unselfish devotion to the cause of Irish freedom. It was a life set apart by his sense of duty, honour and the intellectual rigour that he brought to the Republican Movement. Indeed often would Ruairí quote these lines from Louisa May Alcott, which are inscribed on the headstone of the tireless champion of Republican prisoners and the working class Charlotte Despard: "I slept, and dreamed that life was beauty; I woke, and found that life was duty." Coupled with all of this was Ruairí’s deep humanity. He was a man whose empathy and compassion for the downtrodden and oppressed knew no boundaries of race or creed......" (From here.)

On Saturday fortnight, the 17th January 2015, Volume 1 (1970-1986) of the selected writings and speeches of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh will be launched in the 'Teacher's Club', 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin city centre, at 2pm. Places are limited, and those intending to attend are advised to telephone RSF Head Office in Dublin (01-8729747) beforehand to ensure a seat.



There was no 'famine' in Ireland, but there was a potato blight which decimated one food source - the potato - but plenty of other foodstuffs (cereals, wheat, beef and pork, to name some of the alternative foods which were available but not obtainable for the 'ordinary' family) were in abundance, but there was still 1,225,000 deaths due to An Gorta Mór (the 'Great Hunger'/so-called 'famine'), 4,185,000 who were forced to emigrate and 3,668,000 who were evicted from the hovels which the 'landlord' allowed them to build on 'his' land. As George Bernard Shaw explained (in 'Man and Superman', 1903) - "The Famine? No, the starvation. When a country is full o' food, and exporting it, there can be no famine. Me father was starved dead; and I was starved out to America in me mother's arms. English rule drove me and mine out of Ireland...." .

Now, apparently, a British television station, 'Channel 4', has decided to commission a 'comedy programme' based on An Gorta Mór, saying that "..brilliant humor can come out of times of terrible hardship....it’s not unusual for sitcoms to exist against backdrops that are full of adversity and hardship....". I'll believe that when they put their money where there foul mouth is and produce a 'comedy programme' about the death of their 'Princess' Diana. And, while they're at it, maybe they could hire someone (a German, perhaps?) to maintain the memorials they, the British administration, erected in her memory. The Brits themselves, it seems, couldn't be bothered. Potato juice, I'm told, would do the job nicely for them.


Henry James "Harry" Boland (27th April 1887 – 2nd August 1922).

"I rise to speak against this Treaty because, in my opinion, it denies a recognition of the Irish nation..I object to it on the ground of principle, and my chief objection is because I am asked to surrender the title of Irishman and accept the title of West Briton....I object because this Treaty denies the sovereignty of the Irish nation, and I stand by the principles I have always held — that the Irish people are by right a free people.

I object to this Treaty because it is the very negation of all that for which we have fought. It is the first time in the history of our country that a body of representative Irishmen has ever suggested that the sovereignty of this nation should be signed away.....we secured a mandate from the Irish people because we put for the first time before the people of Ireland a definite issue ; we promised that if elected we would combat the will, and deny the right of England in this country, and after four years of hard work we have succeeded in bringing Ireland to the proud position she occupied on the fifth December last. The fight was made primarily here in Ireland ; but I want to say that the fight that was made in Ireland was also reflected throughout the world ; and we — because we had a definite object — had the sympathy of liberty-loving people everywhere....I have taken one oath to the Republic and I will keep it. If I voted for that document I would work the Treaty, and I would keep my solemn word and treat as a rebel any man who would rise out against it. If I could in conscience vote for that Treaty I would do so, and if I did I would do all in my power to enforce that Treaty ; because, so sure as the honour of this nation is committed by its signature to this Treaty, so surely is Ireland dead. We are asked to commit suicide and I cannot do it....."
(7th January, 1922,from here.)

It is generally considered that Harry Boland was the first man to be 'unofficially executed' by a Michael Collins-controlled Free State death squad on the evening of Sunday 30th July/early Monday morning 31st July 1922 and, following that shooting, in the Grand Hotel in Skerries, Dublin, the State gunmen issued this statement (on Monday 31st July 1922) - "Early this morning a small party of troops entered the Grand Hotel to place Mr. H.Boland T.D., under arrest. Mr. Boland had been actively engaged in the irregular campaign. When accosted in his bedroom he made an unsuccessful attempt to seize a gun from one of the troops and then rushed out to the door. After firing two shots at random and calling on Mr. Boland to halt, it was found necessary to fire a third shot to prevent an escape. Mr. Boland was wounded and removed to hospital. A man giving his name as John J.Murphy with residence at 3 Castlewood Avenue, Ranelagh,Dublin, who was found with Mr. Boland, was taken prisoner. Subsequently he was identified as Joseph Griffin* , an active irregular, belonging to Dublin." (*'1169' Comment - Joe Griffin was an IRA operative within the Movement's Intelligence Department.) One of the Free State troops present at the time stated afterwards - "Mr.Boland was wanted and we went to the hotel and two or three of us entered his room. He was in bed. We wakened him and he got up out of bed and partly dressed himself. He had no gun. Suddenly he turned and rushed to tackle one of our fellows for his gun. A shot was fired over his head to desist but he continued to struggle and almost had the gun when a second shot was fired and Mr.Boland was wounded." The bullet entered his right side near the ribs, passed through his body and came out through his left side causing very serious injuries.

A photograph of the actual bullet which killed Harry Boland....

...and his funeral service, Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Although unarmed at that moment, as admitted by his executioners, caught by surprise and outnumbered (a "small party" of Free State troops were in the room at the time) the Staters attempted to present the execution of Harry Boland as 'a killing in self-defence' ie 'he attempted to jump us and then tried to flee...'. They had learned well from their British colleagues. Harry Boland died from his wounds on the 2nd August 1922, in St. Vincents Hospital, Dublin and, as he lay waiting for death, he told family members that the Stater who shot him had been imprisoned with him in Lewes Prison, in England, but he refused to put a name to him. The funeral expenses were taken care of by the Cumann na Poblachta organisation.

'Boland's mix of animal charm, gregariousness, wit and a dash of ruthlessness made him an influential and formidable character. Though not an intellectual in his manner he was a clear thinker, a forceful orator and a graceful writer....' (from here.) Thankfully, there are those like him who continue to this day to work for the Movement....


Dr Tony O'Connell MBBS (Hons), FANZCA, FCICM, FCHSM (Hon) GAICD. All of which secured him a job here with the HSE (an organisation that "has failed to deliver", according to a 26-County 'government' party) , on a weekly wage of €3125. Which should buy him a business-class flight home...!)


He came here (after being headhunted), no doubt with great hopes, from a position as Director-General of the Queensland public health system in Australia where he managed 182 hospitals, a budget of €8 billion, over 80,000 staff and 35 years experience in the business (and it is , unfortunately, a 'business' , rather than that which it should be - a vocation). His first position here was as the CEO of the 'Dublin North East Hospitals' group (in March 2014) and he progressed from there to the job of 'National (sic) Director for Acute Hospitals' (an appointment re which questions were asked at the time in relation to the appointment process involved) which also secured him a seat on the 'HSE Directorate' body.

Anto's problem, I imagine, is that he expected the HSE organisation to be run on broadly similar lines to its equivalent in Australia , where value for money is required , and not just in print, where being responsible for your actions is a foregone conclusion, and not just something that is promised by the incoming State health minister at election time and where competency in and efficiency at your job is something that employees pride themselves on and are not simply words used by management to pad out the end-of-year report. But we soon put him right on those fancy notions. And - at the risk of being generous - I'll hazard a guess that the man still has his self-respect and a sense of professional honesty about him, so much so that his conscience wouldn't permit him to remain in a €3125-a-week job which, because of the nature of the beast (the HSE), he knew he couldn't 'tame'. And unlike the charlatans here (who cling on to their positions as if to dear life, slobbering, bullshitting and lying through their teeth until their pension becomes due) he done the honourable thing - resigned - having realised that the health service in this State is broke and can't be fixed. That would be because the State itself is broke and can't be fixed. This is no 'country' for old or honest people.



As expected, the 'royal toadies' have begun their campaign of 'character rehabilitation' in relation to one of their favourite icons - 'Prince Andrew is the Queen's darling who has always dodged blame : Editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine Ingrid Seward says Prince Andrew was always a mischief maker - Prince Andrew was forever making mischief as a child, but he was always a favourite with the Queen....conventional discipline didn’t work with him and he could be very naughty indeed....on one occasion the Queen sent her page running up to the nursery demanding to know where Andrew was – which was when nanny Mabel Anderson found the little Prince had hidden the memo asking her to bring him downstairs to meet Her Majesty’s luncheon guests....'

Ho! Ho! The little rascal, eh....

That 'little rascal' has, apparently, grown to be an even bigger one, if media reports are to be believed : '(Britain's) Prince Andrew took part in an orgy with underage girls on his tycoon pal's private Caribbean island, a woman has sensationally claimed....Jane Doe #3 was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor in three separate locations: in London (at Ghislaine Maxwell’s ­apartment), New York, and on Epstein's private island in the US Virgin Islands (in an orgy with numerous other underaged girls)....' . But, really, it's a 'move-along-nothing to-see-here' moment regarding that man and his family, as the 'underage sex' scenario would seem to be the lesser of all their associated evils : 'In court it was found that the so called pillars of society running the home, were guilty of the ritual sexual abuse of defenceless young boys in their care, whom they exploited and sold to their VIP clientelle....Lord Mountbatten was rumoured to have been linked to the abuse network.....in their world and exclusive social circles it is ok for rich perverts to sexuallly and physically abuse the children of the poor....'(from here).

And, whereas poor Fergie probably never considered the act of "selling access" to be interpreted in soooo many ways, it was, seemingly, so interpreted by her ex-in-laws : 'The Queen Mother's favourite servant was William Tallon, who died of Aids...(he)had an underground passage leading from his room to the Queen Mother's room....(and used it) to smuggle controversial guests in to see her.....the author Anthony Summers (co-author of Honeypot) has alleged that photographs removed from the home of Stephen Ward showed a likeness of Prince Philip alongside various naked girls....after Stephen Ward was murdered, reportedly by MI5, the portraits that he had made, of the Duke of Edinburgh and others, were removed from an art gallery and made to disappear....the man who removed the portraits is said to be Sir Anthony Blunt, who worked for both MI5 and Soviet intelligence. Blunt told his friends that he was the illegitimate child of King George V, by his mother, Hilda Blunt....'

'Orders from London and representatives of the Queen...' are also said to be involved in an incident that occurred when '...ten indigent children of the Canadian Kamloops Indian Residential School went on a picnic on 10th Oct 1964 with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and did not return....' , all of which, when compared with Andrew's apparent follies highlight him as not yet being in the same 'camp' as the clan he is associated with. But, one presumes, it's early yet.....


In the 19th century in Ireland, one of the many small farmers (who attempted to eke out a meagre 'living' for his family from a half an acre of rough land) , Nicholas Clooney, Kilkenny, was one of many who were continually harassed by their British 'landlord' and his agents into vacating their small rented holding, as the land was of more value to the foreign 'owner' if sold en bloc rather than in a piecemeal fashion. The harassment extended to physically preventing any work or maintenance being done in or to the half-acre area and destroying the tools with which same could be done.

Court records from the time show that it was not unusual for those small farmers to be prosecuted for trying to tend to their land on a Sunday and this type of harassment and other uncalled for victimisation eventually had the desired affect - the small peasant farmers left their near-worthless rented holding to die on the roads, die in the workhouses - or emigrate. Nicholas Clooney was thrown off his 'farm', at 18 years of age, in 1847, after his 'landlord' found out that he was not going to make a profit from the young man as he only had £2 and 2 shillings to his name. He managed to get to Kentucky, in America, where he was to become the great-great-grandfather of actor George Clooney! (More here.)

The 'roundabout relation' to the above Clooney piece is that resistance to 'English ways and English laws' is still on-going in Ireland, as the British parliament in Westminster claims jurisdiction over part of this country - our six north-eastern counties. RSF are not financed by the Clooneys of this world, nor do they expect to be, but they do need finance to continue the struggle and your help would be appreciated - contact details are on the above link. Even £2 and 2 shillings would help!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Sunday, January 04, 2015



Our post on Wednesday next, 7th January 2015, will be an EXCLUSIVE!! piece on an unusual subject matter - the use of potato juice!

We will highlight how the British 'establishment' intend to use that liquid to 'wipe away' years of neglect and carelessness in relation to at least one of their alleged icons, a bright idea they happened upon as they were promoting and funding a dirty poke-in-the-ribs towards a neighbour....

All will be explained on WEDNESDAY 7TH JANUARY 2015.....!


Friday, January 02, 2015



The RSF Colour Party and members of Na Fianna Éireann enter the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, on New Year's Day 2015, for the Dáithí Ó Conaill Commemoration.

Whatever entity, if any, that secured dry weather for us on Christmas Day last at the Cabhair Swim deserted us with a vengeance on New Year's Day in Glasnevin Cemetery as the strong winds blew the heavy rain at us from all angles, including horizontal and vertical. But the fifty-or-so of us that were there are the type that walk in the rain, whereas others just get wet from it. In other words, we persevered!

Chairperson Andy Connolly.

The event was Chaired by Andy Connolly , Dublin, who welcomed all to the commemoration and gave a brief outline of Dáithí's involvement in the Republican Movement.

A wreath was laid on behalf of the Movement by Matt Conway, Kildare and, as per a request from the Ó Conaill family, a decade of the Rosary was recited by Padraig Ennis, Dublin.

The oration was delivered by Josephine Hayden, in which she detailed Dáithí Ó Conaill's many contributions to republicanism and asked, as did the Chairperson, what Dáithí would have made of the many 'activists' that confine themselves to 'Facebook' and similar sites rather than actually take part in the events they post comments about, a question which those in attendance felt should be asked, as both speakers were soundly applauded for doing so.

RSF Colour Party and members of Na Fianna Éireann - both groups were commended by all present for maintaining a dignified stance despite harassment from the political police (who arrested one man for refusing to give them his details) and the discomfort and soaking they endured from the wind and rain.

Finally, after the Chairperson brought proceedings to an end by singing our National Anthem, all republicans present were invited to a near-by pub for soup and sandwiches and a place to hang their wet coats. RSF is to be congratulated for holding such a worthy event in the face of both inclement elements. A full report of this commemoration will be carried in this months issue of 'Saoirse', which goes to print on Wednesday the 14th.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014



"Dáithí came from a strong Cork Republican family. His uncle Michael O’Sullivan (17), along with five of his comrades, was bayoneted to death by British Crown forces in March 1921. He joined Sinn Féin at the age of 17 during the local elections in 1955. By the end of the following year he was on active service as a Volunteer in the Irish Republican Army , serving as an organiser under GHQ staff in Co Fermanagh.

On January 1, 1957 he was second-in-command of the Pearse Column during the attack on Brookeborough RUC barracks which resulted in the deaths of two of his comrades, Fearghal Ó hAnluáin and Seán Sabhat. Four others were wounded including the column commander. At 18 years of age Dáithí took command and led a successful withdrawal back across the border – evading 400 RUC, B-Specials, two helicopters and the British army – where they were forced to retire. He was then imprisoned in Mountjoy and the Curragh Concentration camp from where he escaped with his friend and comrade Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in September 1958. He returned to active service and for a period was Director of Operations. He was critically wounded in an ambush by the RUC and B-Specials in Arboe, Co Tyrone on the shores of Lough Neagh in November 1959. He made his escape but was forced to seek help because of loss of blood and his weakened condition. He was captured by Crown Forces and was sentenced to eight years which he served in Belfast’s Crumlin Road Jail. Following his release in 1963 he reported back to active service.

In 1969/70 he again made his talents available to the Republican Movement. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said of him he possessed the 'ablest mind in the Republican Movement for over 20 years'. The sheer breadth of his ability and intellect was evidenced by his service to the All-Ireland Republic both militarily and politically. He had a central role in framing ÉIRE NUA and remained a tireless advocate of it right up to his death in 1991. Dáithí Ó Conaill never equivocated on what was the cause of the war in Ireland or what was required to deliver a just and lasting peace for all of the Irish people. Speaking in Belfast at Easter 1973 he said: 'Today, the central issue in the war is one of conflict between Ireland’s right to freedom and England’s determination to keep us in subjection. All other issues are subordinate to this basic point. There can be no compromise on the fundamental issue as to who should rule Ireland: the British Parliament or the Irish people. We have had 800 years of British ineptitude in ruling Ireland; we have never known rule by the Irish, of the Irish, for the Irish. Until we do, we shall never enjoy peace and stability in our land.' "
(From here.)

The commemoration will be held, as stated, on New Year's Day in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. Those attending are asked to assemble at the main gates at 12.45pm. Go raibh maith agat.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Sunday, December 28, 2014



Santa and one of the Cabhair swimmers, pictured on site at the Grand Canal in Inchicore, Dublin, on Christmas Day 2014, delivering a message. Mr. Claus made his appearance dressed in 'civvies' as he didn't want to alarm any of the children present - the poor man had fractured his left arm shortly after making his last house call earlier on that morning (but some of us suspect it was a ruse in case he was asked to swim...!)

We had a lucky break with the weather on both Christmas Eve and Day - the miserable, damp, rain, darkness and all-round gloom that had been a feature of December 2014 vacated the scene for those two days, leaving a crisp, frosty blue-sky replacement atmosphere for those who insisted on frollocking in and around the Grand Canal at Inchicore, Dublin. And at least fifty-seven people done just that - five swimmers, about fifty onlookers and two from Harcourt Terrace who were there, uninvited and unwanted, to observe proceedings on behalf of the State.

Christmas 'goodies' , supplied by local shops , pubs etc, and for which fifty-five people were very grateful. Two poor souls, meanwhile, looked sick and weren't allowed to sample the wares, being advised instead that a good sup of canal water might cure them.....

...and this mysterious 'Man In Black' appeared, as if from nowhere, to ensure that the 'Unauthorised' did not have a mince pie and a bottle of beer. A shady looking character, without a doubt, and we suspect he may have pushed Santa off the roof earlier on that day. Little does he know it, but we very nearly had six swimmers for the event!

The 'Speech from The Lock' was given by John Horan, Clondalkin,Dublin, who thanked almost all for attending and reminded all present that this was the 38th successive year of the swim, and gave a brief history of the event from 1976 to date, mentioning that in two years time republicans will witness the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the 40th anniversary of the POW Swim.

The swimmers get ready to earn their keep....

...as a brave female mistakenly wanders in to the male 'dressing room'....

...which encourages three of them to make a run for the 'diving board', from where they watch...

...as one of their own swims to safety...

...as their fifth colleague looks on, wondering what all the fuss is about!

Panic ensues, as the female 'intruder' chases after them....

....causing 'each-man-for-himself' mayhem in their ranks...

...so much so that this swimmer feels he'd be safer staying in the canal!

Order restored - and four of the five dry off at the fire....

....then get dressed, whilst thinking of some words of encouragement to entice their fifth colleague to leave the safety of the water and join them at the fire!

Anyway - this 38th-in-a-row Cabhair Swim was a resounding success, with much-needed finance secured for the republican prisoners and their families, all of whom are in our thoughts, and not just at this time of year. A full report with more pics of this and the other 25th December 2014 Cabhair Christmas swims will be carried in the January 2015 issue of 'Saoirse', which goes to print on Wednesday, 14th of that month. Finally, thanks to almost all who joined with us on the Grand Canal on Christmas Day, to the many on-lookers on the bridge, to the motorists who sounded their car horns in support and to the local businesses for their many offerings. Appreciated, one and all!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.