Wednesday, September 05, 2018

NOT ALL PENSIONERS IN THIS STATE ARE STRUGGLING FINANCIALLY.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MGQ!

"There was one lesson that we learned when we were in government. And that was that the British will promise you the sun, moon and stars, and then at the last moment try and put in something, or change something. And it was like that in history, everything I'd learned in school was coming true. Every time the Irish and themselves (the British) made a deal, they would do something at the end to screw it up!" - Maire Geoghegan-Quinn (pictured), Fianna Fáil, in an interview in 'The Sunday Business Post', 12th May, 1996, page 26.
Happy Birthday, Marie - 68 today, Wednesday 5th September 2018. And no mention, of course, in your above quote, of all the times since the foundation of this corrupt State that you and yours in Fianna Fáil have done "deals" with Westminster to assist in securing their continued military and political presence in this country. But then you are fond of doing 'deals' which you must hope will not be made public : '...(he) branded the commissioner (Maire Geoghegan-Quinn) "arrogant" for her initial refusal to even comment on the fact taxpayers provide her with two pensions, a ministerial one (€62,945) and a TD's one (€44,380), despite being paid €243,338 for being in the EU cabinet..' (from here). Those figures amount to €7306 a week, and that's not counting whatever 'expenses' she claims in her new 'job'.

Let me do what I wanna do, I can't decide 'em all

Just tell me where to put the money and I'll tell you who to call

Nobody can get no sleep, there's someone on everyone's toes

But when Quinn the politician gets here, everybody's gonna wanna doze..'
(from here, slightly edited.)

And Marie is in good (!) company in regards to politicians pensions, lump sums and golden handshakes : 'The taxpayer paid out close to €20m last year in pensions, lump sums, and other retirement benefits to former politicians..the €19.67m bill was inflated by large golden handshakes for TDs and senators who retired or lost their seats in the last general election..thirteen politicians received more than €200,000 last year, their payments boosted by generous retirement lump sums available from the Oireachtas...the largest individual pensions are still being paid to former taoisigh Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern - both received annual pensions of €134,500 last year, made up of their pensions from the Oireachtas and from the Department of Finance for their time as ministers and as taoiseach...' (from here). And these are the type of characters that want you to vote next month (October 2018) for either one of them or for one of their colleagues, in the Free State presidential election (€5000 a week salary). Do as we do - claim your ballot paper on the day and write 'NOTA' on it. Don't vote for them to have a lifestyle that we can't afford to pay for.





''SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES - GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE....!'

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.

AMERICA PROPPING UP THE EMPIRE....

A more sinister aspect of the Senator's 'misunderstanding' appeared on September 24th when it was announced that a U.S. naval task force, including an aircraft carrier and six destroyers, had arrived in Derry for intensified training. So this is the American idea of 'preservation of Irish freedom' ; to send forces to co-operate with and support the English invader.

We know they were there during the recent war, and they had no right then any more than now - but they could use the war as an excuse. Since then U.S. forces in the North have been gradually cleared out, but apparently this policy is to be reversed. It is time we had some blunt speaking about this.

We have heard great talk about the Communist puppet governments in East Germany, Austria, Hungary etc , propped up by the Red Army. The U.S. forces in Ireland are doing precisely the same job as the Red Army in those countries. The fact which must be faced is that you cannot preserve freedom by destroying it or helping another to destroy it... (MORE LATER.)





NEWS, COMMENTS ETC.

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

'AN CUMANN CABHRAC...

Collection details - Athlone £19 12 shillings 0 pence, Monaghan £92 19 9, Nenagh and District £242 9 0, Ardfinnan £16 3 0, Laoighis (part) £225 0 0, Donegal £94 16 10, Strabane £50 0 0, Derry £82 0 0, Sligo £64 2 0.

MAYO - Westport, Castlebar £91 5 2, Meath £49 3 11, NCA collection £198 12 0, RA Committee New York £100 0 0, Tyrone Men's Social Benefit Patriotic Society Philladelphia £63 16 7, Benevolent IRA Association £100 0 0. (END of 'An Cumann Cabhrach' - next ; 'Back To Wolfe Tone', from the same source.)






VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE...

A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From 'Magill' magazine, July 2002.

Throughout its history, the 'Orange Order' has enjoyed a powerful position within society. The problem of restrictions on parades is much wider than that at Drumcree ; parades are being re-routed throughout Northern Ireland (sic) and many such bans have led to various levels of civil disturbance. Michael Goodman of the Lower Ormeau Road Concerned Community, a residents group based in Belfast and opposed to parades on the nationalist Lower Ormeau Road, dismisses the view that Catholics ever watched Orange marches. He cites historical evidence which records civil disturbance as far back as 1920 in the Lower Ormeau Road.

He denies also that residents groups are a front for Sinn Féin, and claims that the main reason the residents in the Lower Ormeau decided to oppose the parades was after the death of five civilians shot by the UFF in a bookmaker's outlet on the Ormeau Road. Later that year, at an Orange parade, a female associate member danced outside that bookmaker shop shouting "five nil!, five nil!" , referring to the UFF murders.

Links between residents groups and Sinn Féin, however, are undeniable - Gerard Rice, spokesperson for the Lower Ormeau Road Concerned Community, served four years in prison for possession of explosives and membership of the IRA, although Michael Goodwin claimed he was unaware of that fact. When asked if he could see why some Orangemen would have a problem talking to a former IRA man, he simply replied that "the residents association is more than one person..." (MORE LATER).






ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER 2018).....



...we won't be posting our usual contribution, and probably won't be in a position to post anything at all until the following Wednesday ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 8th/9th September) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Dublin Executive of RSF 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 September 2018, providing nothing else catches our fancy between now and then - so we hope you can hold on until the 19th..!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, August 29, 2018

IRELAND, 18TH CENTURY - ONLY 'ROYALTY' HAD A VOTE IN 'ELECTIONS'!

An Anti-Internment / POW information rally will be held before the All-Ireland Football Final on Sunday 2nd September next. Assemble outside Gills Bar beside Croke Park at 1.30pm. All Welcome!

"All men are born with equal rights, and in associating together to protect one another and share public burdens, justice demands that such associations should rest upon a basis which maintains equality instead of destroying it. We therefore declare that, unable longer to endure the curse of monarchical government, we aim at founding a republic, based on universal suffrage, which shall secure to all the intrinsic value of their labour"
- Fenian Proclamation 1867.





ON THIS DATE (29TH AUGUST) 215 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A 'UNITED IRISHMEN' FOUNDER.

'Samuel Neilson was a son of a Presbyterian clergyman, the Rev Alexander Neilson, who ministered the congregation in the Ballyroney (County Down) meeting house, close to the town of Rathfriland. Existing accounts suggest he was born in 1761, but the family Bible and church records state that September 1762 was the date of his birth...the young Neilson would follow his older brother, John, to Belfast, and he was apprenticed in the textile business that would make the brothers wealthy citizens of the town. As a Presbyterian, Neilson was - like his co-religionists in the growing commercial port - unable to vote for the town's two MPs in the Irish parliament, who were elected by a handful of people appointed by the borough's owner, the Marquess of Donegall.

The sense of injustice grew during the years that regular troops were withdrawn to serve in north America against the armies of George Washington. To fill the void, volunteer companies were raised across Ireland, and these soon engaged in political debate as the anticipated invasion by France, Britain's traditional enemy, failed to materialise...calls for a reform of the Irish parliament in Dublin struck a chord with the politically literate Presbyterians and a process of intense politicisation began...' (from here.)

On the 18th October 1791, a group of socially-minded Protestants, Anglicans and Presbyterians, including the then 30-year-old Samuel Neilson, held their first public meeting in Belfast and formed themselves as 'The Belfast Society of United Irishmen' (the organisation became a secret society three years later), electing Sam McTier as 'President' ; he was married to Martha, who was a sister of William Drennan.

The aims and objectives of the Society were revolutionary for the times that were in it, and brought the organisation to the attention of the less 'socially-minded' political (and military) members of the British ruling-class in Dublin, which was then (and, indeed, now!) England's political power-base in Ireland. The intention of those present at that meeting is best summed-up by this statement from the minutes (which would have been relayed, one way or another, to the Dublin Castle 'authorities') - "That the weight of English influence in the government of this country is so great, as to require a cordial union among all the people of Ireland, to maintain that balance which is essential to the preservation of our liberties and the extension of our commerce...the sole constitutional mode by which this influence can be opposed, is by a complete and radical reform of the representation of the people in Parliament...no reform is just which does not include every Irishman of every religious persuasion.."

The Belfast Society also adopted the Charter of 'The United Irishmen' as a whole, and in so doing they drew further attention on themselves from their political enemies, at home and abroad – 'In the present era of reform, when unjust governments are falling in every quarter of Europe, when religious persecution is compelled to abjure her tyranny over conscience, when the rights of men are ascertained in theory, and theory substantiated by practice, when antiquity can no longer defend absurd and oppressive forms, against the common sense and common interests of mankind, when all governments are acknowledged to originate from the people, and to be so far only obligatory, as they protect their rights and promote their welfare, we think it our duty, as Irishmen to come forward, and state what we feel to be our heavy grievance, and what we know to be its effectual remedy.'

'We have no national government, we are ruled by Englishmen, and the servants of Englishmen, whose object is the interest of another country, whose instrument is corruption, and whose strength is the weakness of Ireland ; and these men have the whole of the power and patronage of the country, as means to seduce and subdue the honesty of her representatives in the legislature. Such an extrinsic power, acting with uniform force, in a direction too frequently opposite to the true line of our obvious interest, can be resisted with effect solely by unanimity, decision, and spirit in the people, qualities which may be exerted most legally, constitutionally, efficaciously, by the great measure, essential to the prosperity and freedom of Ireland, an equal representation of all the people in parliament. Impressed with these sentiments...we do pledge ourselves to our country, and mutually to each other...impressed with these sentiments...we do pledge ourselves to our country, and mutually to each other..'

And, in 1791, with those words, the assembled Irishmen – Theobald Wolfe Tone, Thomas Russell, William Sinclair, Henry Joy McCracken, Samuel Neilson, Henry Haslett, Gilbert McIlveen, William and Robert Simms, Thomas McCabe, Thomas Pearce and Samuel McTier, among others, ensured the continuity of the on-going struggle against the British military and political presence in Ireland.

In 1796, when he was 35 years of age, Samuel Neilson was touted on to the Dublin 'authorities' by the informer William Bird (aka 'John Smith') and imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin. He served 18 months and, although in bad health and financially ruined on his release in February 1798, he continued his work with the United Irishmen and, in May that same year, was imprisoned again by the British. He was held in Ireland for a few months and then transported to Fort George Prison in Scotland in 1799 and, in 1802, he was shipped out again, this time to Hamburg, in Germany, where he was left to his own devices. He managed to return to Ireland, unbeknown to the 'Crown', to settle his affairs as best he could. He then made his way, eventually, to New York, in America, where he became involved in journalism. He was now a weakened man, and that city was stricken with 'Yellow Fever', so he left New York proper and travelled to the 'countryside' - Dutchess County, in southeastern New York.

On the 29th August, 1803 - 215 years ago on this date - in a small town in Duchess County called Poughkeepsie, Samuel Neilson died, aged only 42, and was buried in that town's 'Rural Cemetery'. A 'Northern Star', and true 'Felon of our Land'.

By the groans that ascend from your forefathers' grave

For their country thus left to the brute and the slave,

Drive the demon of bigotry home to his den,

And where Britain made brutes now let Éirinn make men...








''SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES - GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE....!'

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.

AMERICA PROPPING UP THE EMPIRE.

Senator A. Wiley (Republican) Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, visited Belfast on September 10th to discuss with the Stormont Government "questions of mutual concern".

During his visit he said : "I am hoping that neither partition nor other local issues in any country becomes so oversized that the people lose sight of the greater issues for the time being - the unity and preservation of their own freedom."

This statement shows such a misunderstanding of the Irish position that we feel it necessary to enlighten him. The task facing the Irish people is to attain their freedom and to secure the unity of their country. When these have been obtained then we will make plans to preserve them, but they must first of all be obtained.

They can only be obtained when we have persuaded, by argument or otherwise, the occupation forces of America's ally, England, to withdraw. When these forces have withdrawn then perhaps we may enter into discussions on world freedom. But, while they remain, no amount of platitudes or politicians' cliches will cloak the fact that we must get rid of the aggressor already within our gates before starting to consider possible aggression from other sources... (MORE LATER.)





ON THIS DATE (29TH AUGUST) 68 YEARS AGO : THE MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 'SPRING TIDE' IS BORN.

And sure why wouldn't he play a game of golf on his birthday? Only a begrudger might say otherwise. And a begrudger might also say that the man could play golf everyday if he wanted to, considering he scored a 'hole-in-one' years ago with his pension(s) (and he's also still in a paid 'job'!) - whether he's collecting one or the other (or both!), it must make the arduous journey around the green easier to put up with.

But the 'Birthday Boy' apparently had a harder 'journey' on the hustlings a few decades ago, according to the 'IN DUBLIN' magazine 'Election Special', 1987 :

'Nobody noticed how Ruairi Quinn hi-jacked Dick Spring's itinerary that day. The plan that had been laid out for Dick in advance included a visit to Ruairi, but when everybody arrived Ruairi had an alternative sheet prepared which he gave to journalists. Other than to have a stand-up row about it, there was really no choice but to go along with the new plan, which included a fair amount of publicity for Ruairi himself, who may not be returned in this election. There was even talk that he might have found himself 'a job' in the event of being made redundant by the electorate.

It's hardly a month since Dick Spring sat at the cabinet table, but in the minds of the Labour Party ministers they have distanced themselves from those awful days. Nowadays, posters of Dick show the man with an open shirt - a 'Good Man Of The People' - : his moustache is trimmed, to give it a tamer if sharper look. On the posters at least, the working class hero has finally come home to roost. The day is dark and cold when the bus leaves Labour Party Headquarters ; Dick Spring steps out - 'People of Ireland, I love you..'. On the bus, the RTE cameras start to roll as the vehicle makes its way down Dorset Street. Passers-by look with amazement as they see James Connolly's successor (!) answering questions, facing into a camera, in a bus moving through the early morning traffic. Dick has own reservations about touring in buses, and what effect it has on people but, since the other parties do it, Labour would not seem to have a choice. It is a travelling circus.

Dick Spring provides as many photo opportunities as he can think of, to give him the chance to be seen to do as many different things as possible. Except he won't be doing anything at all ; he'll just be posing. His first stop of the day is at Guinness's Brewery in Dublin, where he poses with what looks like a suspended wheel in his hand : he has no idea what the function of this wheel is, but neither does anybody else. The newspaper people tell him where to walk, how to talk. The badge on his lapel says 'People Matter Most'. The really strange thing about all of this is that Dick Spring never once gets embarrassed about the carry on. Other people might want a break for a minute, but not Dick - he signs the visitors' book 'click-click-click-click-click' goes the cameras.

All of the above was very early in the day. Later, voters would tell Dick how fed-up with politics and politicians they really were. People have lost faith in Fine Gael, in Labour and the other parties that have been playing musical seats for the past seventy years. Dick is taken downstairs to see small engines that were used to transport Guinness in years gone by. He says they're "fantastic". It is then time to go on to Camden Street and tie-in with Ruairi Quinn, which is where the day got hi-jacked. Just before the Labour Party bus reached Camden Street, a road worker did a cut-throat sign towards Dick Spring, twice, but Dick never noticed. Later on in the day, a driver gave him a single digit sign, which Dick noticed, and responded to in kind. At Camden Street, Dick is told to wait until everyone is out of the bus before he steps onto the street, as this will provide really good shots of Dick getting off a bus. When Comrade Quinn and Comrade Spring meet each other there is great hugging and kissing, in the Russian fashion, as if the two had not met in years. The Labour Party Office in Camden Street is a dump and looks like a bad squat. There are large bare rooms, some of which are in the process of being painted. Ruairi and Dick head off down Camden Street, and a handler attempts to introduce Dick to the public. An old woman brushes past, saying - "No. I'm not interested in meeting him."

On Camden Street in Dublin, Dick Spring and Ruairi Quinn talk to the street traders - and are told that business is bad. This is the first real opportunity * they have had to talk to the traders since their last election four years ago and this fact is not lost on the women of Camden Street ('1169' Comment - *...rather it's the first time they have bothered, and even then only because it's election time again). It was on Ruairi Quinn's initiative that South African fruit was partially banned from Ireland, but it would appear that the level of Mr Quinn's understanding is beyond that of those who trade in the 'forbidden fruit'.

The message as to why the fruit should be banned did not get across. In response to a question, one women says - " We'll sell anything we can get a living out of." And that is the general mood on the street - apathy. People are tired of politicians, politics and promises, and many belong to the 'don't-vote-it-only-encourages-them' school of thought. This, despite the fact that many politicians are of the 'don't-vote-it-suits-us' school of thought. One street trader remarks that 'you won't see them until the next time', and her companion replies 'That's it'. One old man says that business is terrible and, just then, a baby is pushed past in a pram and someone asks Dick Spring if he will do the 'decent thing' and kiss the baby. "No," says Dick, "..we're not in that league. We kiss the mothers."

Then the issue of drug abuse is briefly raised. A young man tackles Dick Spring about the lack of funding for the Coolmine Drug Treatment Centre and the politician assures him that he will not find his Party wanting in that area . Ruairi Quinn had by now arranged for everybody to go to Grafton Street for another walkabout. There are people walking and talking on Grafton Street, minding their own business, when along comes Dick and shakes their hand and introduces himself and asks for the vote. It is clear that people recognise him but they are far too polite this early in the day to be rude. Ruairi and Dick go into a hairdressers : it's a great scam and will give rise to loads of photos . So Ruairi combs Dick's hair and Dick pats Ruairi on the head. Sometime a few years ago, Ruairi had his hair parted by Moses and it hasn't been the same since.

Phil Coulter is on the amp system singing 'The Town I Loved So Well' as the bus reaches Landsdowne Road ; there are thirty-five workers engaged in work close to the river Dodder, developing a park. Needless to say, this is another of Ruairi's ideas. Some of the lads ask Dick for tickets to see a rugby match, and Dick replies 'see your man over there' , pointing at Comrade Quinn. There's very little really that can't be 'fixed up' if there's a will, a way and an election. It's lunch time, so we all head for Kitty O'Shea's. Ruairi Quinn bought everyone lunch in Kitty O'Shea's pub. Dick Spring stated that there will be a second election within eighteen months. " Come on, we're wasting time. Let's go ," says Dick. It's back across the river and onto the Northside Shopping Centre, Charlie Haughey's political heartland . Fianna Fail are having a press conference at 3pm that same afternoon and there are very few photographers still with Dick and Ruairi. In any event, many had been under the impression that they would have to pay for their own lunch and this had the effect of diminishing the numbers somewhat.

Dick wanders in and out, into a shop here, a fast food joint there. Two customers, who appear to be engrossed in some sort of deal, are frozen with horror as they see Dick advance towards them with hand outstretched. One of them tells Dick that he should have run the full term of Office, whilst the other is "disgusted" by what the Labour Party has done but, before the argument can proceed , Dick is pulled away by a handler to sign an autograph. Whatever one may say about Dick Spring, he is not afraid to be challenged about his four years in government('1169' Comment -...providing he has a 'handler' present to pull him away to sign autographs). On water rates, Dick said he would 'change the system' : one woman said her mother was stopped a pension because she 'had a few pounds from England', while a second woman cannot get a medical card. Dick replied that he 'will see what we can do'. In reply to men out of work that he meets, he says that what is needed is a strong Labour Party but they seem unimpressed. One of them replied that he used vote Labour until Micko did the dirt on him. And so the travelling circus moves on.

The reception everywhere to Dick and Ruairi is similar : one man with a child refuses to stop and passes by. "He doesn't care, he's a Sinn Fein man", says someone else, pointing to the child. "Did you see the funny man going by?" he asks the child, "Did you see the man with the moustache...". All of those belonging to the Labour Party camp-circus ignore the man and the child.

Supermarkets! You look after the kids all day and then you go out shopping. Now it's getting on towards evening and you're tired. You're pushing the trolley along wishing you were at home. As you reach for that tin of beans, your hand is grabbed, and a Dick is there pumping it up and down, telling you who he is, introducing people to you, asking you for your vote. It rarely dawns on anybody that this man has been 'Deputy Prime Minister' for the last four years. You're so surprised you just stand there and say nothing. Stalking between the shelves of supermarkets looking for innocent voters to accost is pretty safe because of the element of surprise. Dick wonders if it is of any benefit at all. One woman says she won't be voting at all as she doesn't believe in politics. Another shopper says she wore a blueshirt and is not afraid to say so. A third woman tells Dick that she has been living in uninhabitable conditions for twelve years and, for Dick, this suddenly becomes a priority. Something will be done, he says. But not just now, alas, as it's time to move on to the hotel. Dick spots a building site across the road from the hotel.

You work on a building site. You might have had a few jars the night before and maybe you don't feel too well. You might be thinking about getting home for something to eat. But right now you are down a hole, digging it deeper. Suddenly you hear "How's it goin' lads?" You look up and there's Dick Spring looking down into the hole, smiling : he asks if the digging is going okay. That can be very un-nerving. Dick wanders off and starts to 'level' some concrete with a piece of timber, and lets it be known that he once worked on a building site. Nobody mentions that perhaps it might have been a good idea if he had stayed there. Dick gets a hard hat and a sledgehammer and poses for local photographers beside a bucket of concrete. 'Dick The Builder', photographed filling a bucket of concrete with a sledgehammer. Someone remarks that Dick was known as a very dirty player on the sportsfield and Dick doesn't deny this. Dirty play is now parading as virtue. "Still am. When I don't get my own way, I walk off the pitch", he says.

Later, on the way into a hotel, Dick notices that a poster of Dessie O'Malley has had eyeshadow and lipstick painted in. "Graffiti with taste," he remarks. The political-circus bus drives on : Malahide, then Swords. At a shopping centre, it's time to talk to the punters again. The reaction is not great for the party leader who claims to represent the working class. Indeed, one woman says she will only vote for him when he gets her husband back to work, another woman says only when he gets her husband back from his job in England, and a third woman says only when he gets her a grant for some building work that she's trying to get done. A nurse says she will vote for Barry Desmond as she admires him, even though she wouldn't agree with everything he has done. But by now the timetable is getting loused up and Dick is led away by his handlers.

When this travelling political circus reaches the town of Rush in North County Dublin, one man says that the Labour Party should have pulled out of government long ago ; he is about sixty years of age and sounds very bitter - "I voted Labour last time but never again. You let me down. You said Fianna Fail and Fine Gael were six of one and half dozen of the other and then ye go in with Fine Gael! Youse are all gangsters. Justin Keating fucked up your seat here and you'll never get it back. What about the PD's? What about the Provos..?" It goes on and on, but Dick Spring hasn't time to argue the toss. There are other places to visit. Like the nearest pub. In the pub, Dick gives a bit of a speech. It's for the benefit of the party workers in the area : "Vote one-two as often as you can between here and the next town. It's a good constituency. Let's not be beaten by fifty or sixty votes. Let's go out there and do it. Vote early and vote often!" Fightin' talk. In the town of Balbriggan, Dick tells people that he's going to build up a strong Labour Party and that this is "necessary". One woman says that she's promising nothing, but that she'll think about voting for Labour, to which Dick replies that he isn't promising anything either. Another woman has a problem with bus-fares for her kids going to school and one of the Labour Party people makes a note of it and promises that something will be done.

Dick is uneasy walking around shaking people's hands, as he's not sure where the next attack might come from. There is no urgency or vibrancy to his personal appearances in public, unlike say that of Charlie Haughey, but then Dick's demeanour may be due to the last four years in government with Fine Gael where there has been a war of attrition. The best Dick Spring can say of the last four years in government with Fine Gael is that his party curbed the worst excesses of the latter, but this fine distinction is lost on an electorate which has become cynical about the whole political process. The six workers who have travelled with Dick all day in the bus finally get introduced to their leader - they had been handing out leaflets and canvassing all day. Then it's time to go to the town of Navan, where Dick signs an autograph for a twelve-year-old boy and, while he is doing this, three other young lads see and recognise him as they are going up a stairs. They start to chant "Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin", but are ignored by Dick. Now it's nearly 8pm. Other speeches have to be delivered elsewhere. At times throughout the day, Dick ignored some people who weren't interested in what he had to say and one could not help but wonder if voters care at all whether or not they get to hear him, now or at any other time.'

Not to worry, Dick - you have a happy birthday, now, safe in the knowledge that all that carry-on is in the past and the 'Labour Party' couldn't possibly suffer like that again...!





NEWS, COMMENTS ETC.

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

'AN CUMANN CABHRAC...

Collection details - Athenry and District £90 10 shillings 1penny, Galway City and District £163 1 4, North Galway £74 10 10, Tuam and District £160 0 0, East Galway £110 0 0, Roscommon £130 15 4, Kildare (balance) £46 0 0.

KERRY : Tralee £100 0 shillings 0 pence, Cahirciveen £132 10 0, Brandon £22 10 0, Ardee £24 0 0, Ballylongford £26 1 3, Ballydonoghue £9 5 0.

CORK : Cork City £165 0 shillings 0 pence, Skibbereen £120 3 6, Waterford City £140 0 0, Limerick £48 0 0, Lisnagarvey £25 13 0, Cavan £112 15 0, Drogheda £73 10 0, Carlingford £21 1 1, Dundalk (balance) £35 9 6.... (MORE LATER.)









BLOG AWARDS 2018 : OUR CLAIM TO (or attempt at...!) FAME! We're up against some rock hard competition here, so sit back and watch us get our arse kicked. Again...!

(...and if any of the 'Blog Award' judges are reading this, we'll also accept an 'Also Ran' plaque...!)





VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE...

A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From 'Magill' magazine, July 2002.

"Protestants don't want Sinn Féin in government and that's that", says Victor, a local farmer. Nearly all present in the cafe (pictured) had been UUP voters, but all abandoned it because of David Trimble's stance on the 'Good Friday Agreement' (Stormont Treaty) and they now vote for the DUP, a party completely opposed to that Agreement. Perhaps the saddest comment of the night surrounds the murder of the Quinn children in Ballymoney in 1998. The entire six counties were paralysed with civil disturbance because permission had not been granted for the parade at Drumcree. In the early hours of the 12th of July, members of the local UVF launched a petrol-bomb attack on the house of Chrissy Quinn in the Carnany Estate - Richard, Mark and Jason Quinn all died in the ensuing inferno.

Former RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan said that the attack was sectarian and linked to the Drumcree protest and many Orangemen deserted the protest at Drumcree following that tragedy but, in subsequent days, the Orange Order denied that their protests had led to those murders. In the cafe at Drumcree, those present volunteered their explanation - "Drug related. The Orangemen were nothing to do with it."

The 'Loyal Orange Institution' was founded on the 21st September 1795 and is more commonly known as the 'Orange Order'. It was established after the infamous 'Battle of the Diamond', a sectarian battle that took place in fields near Portadown. It pledges to uphold civil and religious liberties and its condemnation of religious ideology 'is directed against church doctrine and not against individual adherents or members'. It has lodges as far away as Canada and Togo, but it is most concentrated in Northern Ireland (sic), with a few lodges in Ulster counties in the Republic (sic) as well as some in Scotland.

Among its past members are four Prime Ministers of Northern Ireland (sic - how can six counties out of a nine-county Irish province have a 'Prime Minister'?!)) as well as the current UUP leader, David Trimble. Orangemen are forbidden from attending services in any Catholic church and Mr. Trimble was censured by his local lodge for attending the funeral service of a Catholic child killed in the Omagh bombing... (MORE LATER).





LAST COMMENT (FOR THIS YEAR!) RE OUR NYC HOLIDAY....

'Hell's Kitchen. Hell Gate. Richard Hell. The signs (and wonders) are everywhere. Abandon all hope : New York City is a living hell of renegade capital, exploited labour, racial hatred, institutional misogyny, and bodega cats. You must say goodbye. Or is it a neoliberal paradise, imperfect yet lovable, where capital and culture and rats roam free?

In recent times, the battle lines for this Cold War have been drawn by dueling essay collections, like Goodbye to All That vs. Never Can Say Goodbye. (Thankfully John Freeman’s beautifully careworn Tales of Two Cities avoids the question altogether.) Both collections have their merits and faults, and yet I can't shake the notion that they're actually the same book. You are saying goodbye ; you can never say goodbye. If New York City is truly a Dantean Inferno — and I'm inclined to think it is — what makes any of us believe that we can ever truly leave? The entire point of hell is its inescapability, and New York is no different. You can leave it in body, sure ; I've left several times. But you'll come back. Or at least your mind will remain here, and you'll still be writing essays about that time you told it to fuck off...' (from here).

Like the author, my friends and I can't say 'Goodbye' to New York. But the only time we tell that city to 'f**k off' is when we're told we have to go home from there. Hopefully, next year, we'll apologise for doing so...

Thanks for reading, Sharon.







Wednesday, August 22, 2018

LIVIN' THE DREAM IN NYC (FOR ONE MONTH IN 2018).

...and we feel as if we have 'lived there', it feel's like 'our home', and, yes, we have 'learned to eat and walk at the same time'! The five of us holiday there, each year, if we can all manage it, but sometimes life intervenes and if one of us is 'injured' by that intervention then the five of us are voluntarily grounded, until such time as all of us are available. That's how much we value each other's company and how much we treasure our shared NYC time in a city that encourages us to express our dependence on each other and our near-dependence on the city itself. Yeah, we got the bug and we got it bad!

But OMG!! (as they repeatedly say over there and, unfortunately, here, too, in a 'Friends'-type accent..) - what a month we had ; landed in JFK on Saturday, 21st July last, early afternoon according to their timepieces, and were nearly mobbed in Arrivals by Joel, Kev and Malcolm, who insisted on catchin' up on the gossip by going for something light to eat and a few drinks (we didn't argue!) and we spent a very enjoyable two hours or thereabouts in 'An Tigín' in JFK : I had the fish and chips and two (small-ish!) bottles of cider and what a brilliant start it was for us : eight of us having the craic, fantastic company, lovely food, a few drinks and great conversations all round ; no better cure for the jet-lag!

And then - eventually! - out to the two JC's that were going to take us to East Harlem for our first week, and what a week that was : street (and roof-top) parties with the same neighbours and their friends that we party with on all our visits to that beautiful neighbourhood, visits to the Harlem River Park and the Art park, shopping, pubs, clubs, shopping (!!) and evening chats on the 'sidewalk' with the locals, who were as interested in hearing about life in Ireland as we were in hearing about their life in East Harlem. But all good things come to an end...except, in our case, thankfully, the good things were to continue in the Bronx, for our second week : Joel, Shay and Emma collected us (and our shopping - two cars needed again, two trips required, as we hadn't got our purchases properly packed, far too busy to be doing stuff like that at the time!) and, after very many hugs on the Street, we were whisked off to a spare 3-bed apartment they own in Allerton, in the Bronx, where the locals threw a lil' surprise (!) to welcome us back to their area and the party continued : took the five of us (and Joel, God Bless the man's patience!) and Emma a few hours to move our gear in and sort of sort it out...we had things to do, people to see and places to go and we just couldn't be bothered 'putting our house in order', and then we were let out to explore, again, that part of the Bronx - the shops, the parks, the buildings, the pubs and the restaurants and the many bodega's where we had made friends and had the craic with the owner and his/her family during previous stays in that beautiful neighbourhood and where, this time, as usual, we were loudly welcomed back with high fives, handshakes and BIG hugs! And, again, the five of us settled right in because, I believe - among other shared attributes - Bronxites (and Harlemites) and us Irish share the same outlook on life and a shared sense of humour to match : we value and treasure every second we share with them.

But, before we knew it, in what felt like hours instead of a week, we needed two people-carriers again, as our time in the Bronx was up - took us the best part of a day to leave ( loads of 'slán go fóill anois' rather than 'goodbye') and we were whisked off to Hell's Kitchen where Liz, Susie, their husbands, family and neighbours were out on the footpath ('sidewalk!) waiting to greet us and that mad crowd don't do things by half - there was about 25 of us still outside the three-bed duplex about an hour after we arrived when a cop car pulled in, having noticed the crowd, and asked was everything ok : we asked the two officers to call back at the end of the week to check with us again, but to leave whatever warrants they had for us behind at the 18th Precinct!

And then we explored - the buildings, the Streets, the Avenues, the basketball and handball courts in the local parks, the kids playgrounds...and a few pubs and restaurants and, of course, the shopping centres and street markets and, between the Annex and Lexington street markets and all the other places we shopped, we were hoping that Joel also had a mini-bus in his garage! That was our daytime activity - retail therapy (!) - then, at night (and into the wee hours!) we let rip in 'Clinton' (Ha!) with Liz and Sue and their husbands and their kids and the neighbours and their kids and Goddam! if the same two cops didn't pull in besides us on one of the night/early morning rampages we were prone to and asked were the five of us okay, enjoying ourselves etc etc and enquiring about Ireland! We were over an hour on the side of the road/street/avenue chatting to each other, having the craic, and we have the pics and video* to prove it...but they're ours to treasure!

And, again, before we knew it, it was time to say slán go fóill anois to Hell's Kitchen and the crazy mob (with whom we had partied one night in Union Square Park, pictured - about twenty of us, dancin' under the stars...!) and the operation to move us and our ever-increasing baggage to the last stop of our 2018 NYC Tour - Queens. We needed four vehicles this time (!) and, because Joel and the two hubbies and Kevin and Mel and the neighbours helped us to load up, we managed the transition in one go. Bit tight, but we done it! And Heno, Larry and their lady friends were waiting for us at a gorgeous apartment in Murray Hill - it took us the best part of a day to leave Hell's Kitchen and get ourselves settled in Queens but only took us minutes to get out onto the street and start exploring. We called into our old haunts, high-fives and hugs all round, visited the parks and the shopping centres and the bodegas and the pubs and clubs and made it our business to meet and greet the various different groups of locals that we had last shared company with in 2016...and it was as if we hadn't been absent. Old friends, some unfortunately missing, new arrivals : part of their world, and they were part of ours.

And, yes we made it to Jersey Gardens (twice!), pictured, visited Staten Island and Governors Island, and Liberty and Ellis Islands and, two days before we left for home, about fifty of us 'took over' a pub in the Bronx and partied from early afternoon until mid-morning the following day. And we enjoyed every mad minute of that 'lock in', and vowed that we'll do it again, next year. I won't detail the absolute chaos on our last day, the packing, the tearful farewells, the amount of vehicles we needed for the five of us and our baggage (!) - but things worked out ok for us, among all the madness, even if we did almost collapse, emotionally, in JFK, as we sobbed our little hearts out as we finally prepared to board the flight back to Dublin.

On a serious note, the five of us were in agreement that times and things have got tougher for the locals than they were during our last holiday there, in 2016 - poverty is more visible, people are more worried for their future and there has been a noticeable increase in the number of abandoned/boarded-up properties. We were surprised, stunned, even, by some of the people that approached us on the streets and/or in the subways and on the trains and busses that would ask for a few minutes of our time to listen to them, apologising every few minutes for delaying us as they explained, politely, why it was they were in such a bad financial situation.

'Falling Down' anywhere brings burdens other than (just) financial and requires a State 'safety net' to ease, if not 'cure', the cause and the symptoms and, in our opinion, that assistance is not suitably available in New York (or Dublin, for that matter). We gave cash, hugs and food each time, as we do here, in Dublin, and wiped a tear from our eyes. And that's one of the contrasts about New York ; turn a corner from 5th Avenue and you could end up in a completely different environment and, while that's possible in Dublin, too - or any city, actually - the contrast, the economic contradiction, is way more pronounced in New York than in Dublin or any other large city we've been in. But still - we love the place, its people, its attitude, its colour : it's rude and polite in the same breath, caring and careless at the same time. And we'll definitely be back!

Thanks for waiting for us, and for reading - we hope to be back to normal next week. And, talking about 'normal' (!) we have been entered into the 2018 'Blog Awards' competition (...and have been awarded a place on the 'Longlist' but will no doubt emerge from the other end of the competition as an 'also ran', as usual (aahhh..!) : the decision will be made by three judges, there will be no public voting, so we're off now to bribe a judge or two...!

Have a nice day, y'all...! Sharon.






(*Talking about holiday videos, here's one [a second ('Facebook') link to that video here] taken by visitors to Buckingham Palace, London : those tourists captured the true nature of the British 'royal' family and how they spend some of the taxpayers money they leech from the public purse - on what appears to be a 'rent boy'. Just try and ignore the girls laughing as the poor young man tries to escape - the two ladies probably thought it was part of the 'show'.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

FREAKIN' OUT IN NYC - BACK IN A MONTH!

"NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU, BUT YOU'RE FREAKIN' ME OUT...

There's a ton of 'The Twist' but we're fresh out of 'Stout'*

Like a death in the hall that you hear through your wall

New York, I love you, but you're freakin' me out.."
(from here, slightly edited*..!)

And we're gonna be freaked out for four weeks - flying out from Dublin airport to JFK on Saturday 21st July 2018, and flying back to Dublin on Saturday, 18th August ; myself and the usual gang, five of us, have been saving for and planning this holiday since our last visit to that city in 2016, and everything fell into place for us a few weeks ago!

Ed Norton has a point but maybe that's why we love the place - the people, the stressed pace they live at, the constant noise, the smells, the arrogance, the sights, the attitudes of the different people that surround us, everyone trying to sell you something : those that are living (or existing in) Ed's rant, and have no choice about it, compared to the five of us who are just 'passing through'. Oh but what a pleasure it is, just passing through!

Two of our many New York friends, Kevin and Mal, have insisted that we stay in an empty apartment they own in East Harlem, a beautiful residence which we have had the pleasure of staying in before and where we met (and made) new and old neighbours, with whom we shared sight-seeing trips, park visits, outings to pubs and clubs and a roof-top party (or two..!). Then, for our second week, we'll be in an apartment in the Bronx, thanks to Shay and Emma, and Pat, Frankie and Sam will again (!) no doubt take on the role of 'minders' in futile attempts to stop us from wrecking havoc in the Bronx Mall and Yankee Stadium, then, after causing all that chaos, layin' low in the Bronx Zoo 'till the heat dies down...!

For our third week we'll be staying in Hell's Kitchen, in a three-bed duplex, courtesy of Liz and Susie and their families and their neighbours and their roof-partying crazy friends and then, finally (sh*t..is it that time already...?), for our last week, we'll be in Queen's, shopping, partying and sight-seeing with Kevin, Heno, Mel, Larry and their lady friends, and most of our travelling for the four weeks will be done, we have been told (!) in the company of Joel and his trusted steed! And, as usual, in that last week, the whole lot of us, from all four areas (numbering about fifty people!) will meet up in the early afternoon and literally take over a pub (owned by one of our benefactors!) and we'll eat, drink and party there until late morning the following day! We are really looking forward to that get-together, a 'date' to be spoiled only by the fact that it takes place during our last week.

And then home. To our partners, our kids and grandkids, our jobs, our (other) friends and neighbours...and our pics, our memories and the souvenirs we will treasure from the month we spent in New York, in 2018. And then the saving begins again for our next journey to that mad city. But, anyway - for now : this will have to do as our 'holding post' until either the 22nd or the 29th August 2018, when I should be ready to put something together (but that, too, will more than likely reference New York..!)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.




Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A POLITICAL TREATY NEGATED BY ONE OF ITS OWN SIGNATORIES.

ON THIS DATE (4TH JULY) 220 YEARS AGO : IRISH REBEL BYRNE AT BALLYGULLEN, WEXFORD.

'Miles Byrne was born at Ballylusk, in the parish of Kilanerin near Monaseed in County Wexford. He became involved in the United Irishmen with Anthony Perry of Inch who was the chief organiser in the area. At the age of eighteen he participated in the 1798 Rising at Vinegar Hill Enniscorthy, Arklow and the last battle in County Wexford at Ballygullen on July 4, 1798 (220 years ago on this date).

Following the rising, he went on the run in the Wicklow Mountains and afterwards worked as clerk in a Dublin timber yard where his half-brother Edward employed him as foreman from 1799 to 1803. There he met Robert Emmet. He was in command of the Wexford men (a group which intended becoming involved in Emmet's rising but never did so) stationed at Coal Quay, Dublin, on July 23rd, 1803. Sometime between the failure of the 1803 Rising and before his arrest, Emmet sent him to Paris to support his brother Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet.

When the Irish Legion was formed by Napoleon he joined with the rank of Sous-Lieutenant ; later he was promoted to Lieutenant and later to the rank of Captain of the Grenadiers. He fought in the Napoleonic campaign (1804 - 1815) and was retired with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel when the British Government forced the dismissal of the officers of the Irish Legion on half pay and disbanded the Legion. He received the Cross of Officer of Legion of Honour from Louis Phillipe on July 21st, 1832.

He retired in 1835 after thirty-two years and seventeen campaigns in the French army. He died peacefully in his sleep on January 24th, 1862 aged 82 years and is buried at Montmarte cemetery. His memoirs were published in Paris in three volumes by his widow in 1863. They were reprinted in 1997. Among the highlights of the memoirs are detailed accounts of Emmet's home made rockets and ammunition, the well-organised plans for revolt and a great description of the Dublin working-men who formed the large part of his army. John Mitchel who visited him when he was eighty years old described him as 'one of those rare beings who never grow old'...' (from here.)

'Republished here is 'Some Notes of an Irish Exile of 1798' : Being the Chapters from the Memoirs of Miles Byrne Relating to Ireland published in Dublin by Maunsel & Co., in 1907. This publication was taken from Byrne's complete memories, which had been edited by Byrne's wife and published in Paris in three volumes the year after his death in 1863. In 301 printed pages, 'Some Notes of an Irish Exile of 1798' treat on Byrne's involvement as as a leader of the United Irishmen during some of the bloodiest fighting of the Rising in Wicklow and Wexford, through to his encounters with Robert Emmet at the end of the Rebellion.

Miles Byrne was born at Ballylusk, Monaseed, Co. Wexford in 1780 and like many of the leaders of the United Irishmen in 1798 was extremely young – Byrne himself had turned just eighteen and had already been involved in preparations for the Rising with Anthony Perry of Inch, the chief organiser in the area. Byrne participated in all of the major battles of the 1798 Rising in counties Wicklow and Wexford, including those at Oulart, Clough, Vinegar Hill, Enniscorthy, Arklow and the last battle in County Wexford, at Ballygullen in 4th July 1798..' (from here.)

Miles/Myles Byrne, United Irishman and officer in Napoleon's Irish Legion, was born in Monaseed, Co. Wexford, on the 20th March, 1780 : he was only a boy when he witnessed the attacks by the yeoman militia and other mercenaries which England let loose in Wexford in 1798. But he took his place in the United Irishmen and fought through the Wexford campaign, joined Michael Dwyer afterwards in Wicklow, later came to Dublin and was a comrade and friend of Robert Emmet in the continuation of 1798 which failed so sadly in 1803. He was sent by Emmet (who was then on the run) to France to seek assistance from Thomas Addis Emmet and the other exiled United Irishmen. He went with no hesitation ,in the hope that he would return in the ranks of a conquering army – but it was not to be. In the 1850's he wrote his memoirs of the 1798 Rising, in which he was critical of the "gentlemanly nature" of the rebel approach, believing them to have been "too willing to negotiate and to accept (British) government protections and non-existent government good faith" (sounds familiar).

In Montmartre ('Hill of Martyrs') Cemetery in Paris lie the remains of Myles Byrne, United Irishman, Wexford man and survivor of Oulart Hill and Vinegar Hill in 1798. The inscription on his gravestone reads – 'Here lies Myles Byrne, Lieutenant Colonel in the service of France. Officer of the legion of Honour. Knight of St Louis, born at Monaseed in the county Wexford in Ireland, 20 March 1780. Died at Paris,the 24th January 1862, his long life was distinguished by the constant integrity and loyalty of his character and by his high-minded principles. Sincerely attached to Ireland, his native land, he gave faithful service to France, the country of his adoption.' It was on this date (4th July) 220 years ago that Miles Byrne once again stood his ground against British forces in Ireland.





'NOTE WELL WHAT MR. E. KELLY SAID IN 1916'.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.

CHAIRMAN (Mr Patrick Callan) : "The majority of the Irish people are with John Redmond and his party and I think we should approve of what Mr Kelly said."

MR. WARD : "We should go a little further and draft a resolution condemning the action of those rebels that created the disturbance and destruction."

CHAIRMAN : "It is the ring leaders I would go for," to which a Mr. McHugh replied that it was not fair to criticise schoolteachers behind their backs.

MR. KELLY : "In my opinion on a lot of men in high positions, the blood of these innocent men will fall. I am sorry to stand here as a Roman Catholic and have it to say, but I don't care if priest or minister reads it, that the blood of these young men should be left on those responsible for it."

'1169' comment - what a self-serving bunch of politically ignorant slibhins - not one word between them in relation to the true cause of the conflict in this country, the British military and political presence. And unfortunately, that type are prevalent today, too.

(Next - 'America Propping Up The Empire', from the same source.)





NEWS, COMMENTS ETC.

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

'AN CUMANN CABHRAC.

Returns are still coming in for the National Collection to support the dependents of republican prisoners. For various reasons the collection arranged for Christmas Day was delayed in some areas with the result that returns for these areas are only now coming to hand.

We continue the list of contributions received so far but, since to list them parish by parish would take up far too much space, we are grouping them into districts and hope that this will meet the wishes of the local organisers.

One point the collection has definitely made clear - the Armagh and Omagh raids struck a very responsive chord in the hearts of our people in every part of the country so that we hear from every area - 'The collection was successful beyond our greatest hopes...the people were eager to contribute, anxious to show their support for the national demand : "The British forces in Ireland must be got out!" '... (MORE LATER.)






VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE...

A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From 'Magill' magazine, July 2002.

What appears to be a generally paranoid way of looking at things extends also to the Republic (sic - the author is referencing the Free State) - "Controlled by priests and the Vatican..." : they would never accept a united Ireland as "the Protestant population had been decimated.." Those present in the cafe are shocked to learn that the leader of a medium-sized opposition party in the Republic (sic - see above) is a Protestant but still they claim that living there has been dangerous for Protestants - "Farmers were murdered and buried in ditches and the government said that they'd gone to Australia (!?) but they were killed and their land given to Catholics.."

The visits of the Taoiseach, President McAleese and Brian Cowan also irritated the Orangemen. Victor, a farmer from the local area, cannot understand what business they had in the affairs of "a foreign nation" , and neither can he understand why anyone here would have an affinity with the 'Republic' - "We have our own foreign minister in London and our own Prime Minister and if people don't like it then they should go and live in the Republic..", says Victor. He is equally critical of the local MP, 'First Minister' David Trimble who, he claims, "will be gone this time next year."

Trimble and his wife were subjected to horrific abuse at the count for the Westminster election last year and many predict that his party will suffer at the polls to the benefit of Ian Paisley's 'Democrat Unionist Party' - "Trimble sold out the Protestant people ; and the people of Northern Ireland (sic) deserve better than that traitor," says Victor. The irony of the claim that the people of 'Northern Ireland' deserved better, despite the fact that a majority voted for the 'Good Friday Agreement', is lost on those in the cafe...

('1169' comment - and the 'irony' of bluntly claiming that "a majority voted for the 'Good Friday Agreement' " without mentioning that 19% of those entitled to vote in the Occupied Six Counties did not bother to do so is, apparently, lost on Carl Whyte, the author of the piece. Incidentally, of those entitled to vote on that 1998 Treaty in the Free State, 43.97% did not bother to do so - both sets of figures are normally 'glossed over' in relation to that vote, as is the case in that piece.)

(MORE LATER).






ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 11TH JULY 2018)...

..we should be just about finished our multitasking job - this Sunday coming (the 8th July) will find myself and the raffle team in our usual monthly venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, running a 650-ticket raffle for the Dublin Executive of RSF : the work for this event began yesterday, Tuesday 3rd July, when the five of us started to track down the ticket sellers and arrange for the delivery/collection of their ticket stubs, cash and unsold tickets (yeah, right!) and, even though the raffle itself is, as stated, to be held on Sunday 8th July, the 'job' is not complete until the following night, when the usual 'raffle autopsy' is held.

The time constraints imposed by same will mean that our normal Wednesday post will more than likely not be collated in time for next Wednesday (11th) and it's looking like it will be between that date and the Wednesday following same before we get the time to put a post together, which is unfortunate, as we wanted to mention an event which took place on the 11th July 1924 : it was on that date that the 'Treaty of Surrender' was registered at the 'League of Nations' by the Free State authorities which, in our opinion, would have been the ideal occasion for a legal challenge to it, based on the fact that, when Michael Collins and his supporters were attempting to 'sell' it to their own side, they made a big deal of the 'Boundary Commission' clause and in particular the part of it which stated that the 'border' could be adjusted "in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants", which is precisely why Westminster 'took' only six of the nine Ulster counties - a built-in 'majority'.

A legal question mark remains in regards to the fact that the British actually took it on themselves to amend the 1921 Treaty of Surrender to allow themselves (ie Westminster) to unilaterally appoint a representative to speak on behalf of the Stormont 'Parliament', an action which was not agreed to in the Treaty.

The Boundary Commission clause ('Article 12') was not properly adhered to by the signatories of the 1921 Treaty thereby, legally, negating the Treaty itself but deep pockets would be required to take such an action. And the only grouping in this State in a position to mount a challenge like that is the same (Free State) grouping which benefited then and continues to benefit today from that Clause and the political system which was spawned from it. And the chances of that happening are about the same as myself and the raffle team winning all eight prizes this Sunday! Anyway - see you on Wednesday 18th July next.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.