" 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, July 30, 2014


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

There was a force of uniformed gardaí at Sallins to deal with any attempt by a small group to make a token demonstration. It became their task, instead, to offer merely token resistance to what must have appeared to them as an uprising - IRA relations with uniformed gardaí were always surprisingly good, and when the procession moved out from the assembly field at Sallins, with the Dublin Brigade IRA leading, the boom of uniformed gardaí across their path gave way at a touch. Meanwhile, hundreds of 'spectators' gathered by the graveyard wall, and moved closer and closer, in friendliness, to the puzzled Free State soldiers. The critical moment came as the head of the parade appeared, and the 'spectators' crept even closer. The Free State army officer in charge, seeing a hosting of republicans moving down on him, eased the strap on his helmet and smiled. By now, in any case, his men were mud-packed in the middle of the 'spectators'.

I deputised for Seán Russell and delivered the oration and I remember, as I talked, that I saw de Valera with his leading colleagues in a group among a great throng of people outside the graveyard wall - waiting in the wings. Bodenstown was a challenge, both to republican leaders and to the Dublin government : it was clear to IRA leaders that they had a backing which, expressed in political terms, put them so close on de Valera's heels that any kind of teamwork with him would give the republicans the majority at a general election. Had they been able to announce, at that moment, that they would use this means to chase the Cosgrave government out of office, republican Ireland would have cheered them.

Armed conflict with the IRA offered the Free State government its one chance of survival. The government had the loud speakers to enable it move into this conflict chanting high moral and democratic slogans , but Fianna Fáil would tear itself apart * in the stress of loyalties which such a conflict would set up. De Valera himself would have no choice but to stand aside, and with him would go the hierarchy of the Fianna Fáil organisation. The government chose its battleground with skill - it was no longer at war with republicans, but with "communists". (* - 1169 Comment: perhaps at that time - the 1930's - some or most of the Fianna Fáil leadership and membership would have been politically concerned enough about the Six County issue to distance themselves from acts of collaboration with Westminster re same, but not so now and, indeed, not so since the late 1960's/early 1970's. Apart from occasional verbalising now and then, as far as those in Leinster House are concerned, the Six County issue has been 'settled'.) (MORE LATER).


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

Initially, remember, when news of the shootings first came through, accompanied by misinformation about the guns and explosives the trio had brought into Gibraltar, the popular consenus was that major carnage had been averted by the prompt action of the authorities. Then the rather awkward information became available that, in fact , there were neither guns nor explosives in Gibraltar that day. Explosives were subsequently found in Marbella and the IRA obligingly confirmed that the three IRA operatives had in fact been an active service unit on a mission with a quantity of explosives. The initial satisfaction felt by the 'Great British Public' , temporarily unsettled by the news about the absence of guns and explosives, returned as it foreshortened in its mind the circumstantial gap between the incident itself and the discovery of explosives.

The task for the authorities was to present a scenario which would allow a Gibraltarian jury to make the same mental somersault, a scenario which would provide a rationalisation for what happened and similtaneously keep to the forefront of the jurors' minds - and obtain the maximum emotive value from - the fact that, even if the deceased had not yet succeeded in planting a bomb in Gibraltar, this was their intention. Hence the carefully constructed inverted pyramid, which Paddy McGrory referred to in his final address to the coroner, starting with the false assumptions made by British intelligence, incarnate at the inquest in the curtained body of 'Officer O' , and sustained through the events of the weekend and afternoon of March 6th, right up to their fossilised form in the thoughts of Soldiers 'A' , 'B' , 'C' and 'D' at the moments they pulled their triggers.

This scenario allowed the Crown to build also a substructure of self-contained logic which led to the almost inevitable justification of the killings, if not indeed their very inevitability. The 'Rules of Engagement' , that most accomodating of documents, allowed the British soldiers - once they had formed, by whatever means, the view that the IRA members were intent on setting off a bomb - power to use firearms effectively without warning, and to use them in the most lethal way possible, so long as they really believed what they told us they really believed . (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House-the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12'of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender',which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' ,the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!(PART 14)

When the 'A' and 'C' Special Constabulary realised that they were to lose their jobs , on the mouth of Christmas (10th December 1925) and with unemployment running at over 20 per cent, whereas the 'B' Specials were to be kept on, discontent in the ranks grew. The 'A' and 'C' Specials held meetings between themselves and, on 14th December 1925 , they mutinied! 'A' and 'C' members in Derry 'arrested' their own Officers (!) , as they did in Ballycastle - two days later (ie on 16th December 1925) a demand from the 'A' and 'C' 'rebels' (!) was handed over to 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates, the Stormont 'Minister for Home Affairs', a solicitor by trade, who was also Secretary of the 'Ulster Unionist Council', a position he had held since 1905. Bates 'made his name' in 1921 when, at 44 years of age, he ordered the RIC to close down the Offices of Tyrone County Council - 'Sir' Bates didn't like the way they were doing their business.

'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates 'made his name' (or reinforced it!) in 1921, when he ordered the RIC to close down the Offices of Tyrone County Council as said institution had declared its allegiance to the rebel Dail Eireann (32 County body)! On 6th December that year (ie 1921) , 'Sir' Bates seen to it that a 'Local Government (Emergency Powers) Bill' was passed into 'law' ; this new 'law' stated - "The Ministry, in the event of any of the local authorities refusing to function or refusing to carry out the duties imposed on them under the Local Government Acts, can dissolve such authority and in its place appoint a Commission to carry on the duties of such authority." However, 15 days later (ie on the 21st December 1921) Fermanagh County Council followed the lead set by its counterpart in Tyrone : the following statement was issued by Fermanagh Officials - "We , the County Council of Fermanagh , in view of the expressed desire of a large majority of people in this county, do not recognise the partition parliament in Belfast and do hereby direct our Secretary to hold no further communications with either Belfast or British Local Government Departments, and we pledge our allegiance to Dail Eireann."

Short, sharp, and to the point. And it was (rightly) seen by 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates as a direct challenge to his 'authority' ; 'Sir' Bates ordered the RIC to ready themselves immediately..... (MORE LATER).


Eamon de Valera (right) with Michael Collins (centre) and Harry Boland (left) pictured together in 1921, before the Treaty of Surrender.

Between June 1922 and May 1923, the Leinster House/Free State regime 'officially' executed 77 Irish republican prisoners of war but are estimated to have taken the lives of at least 100 other 'dissidents' by passing information on those targets to their State army and to the 'special branch'/CID, who were then based in Oriel House, in Dublin.

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.)

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. However ; 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, and more information on the life and death of Harry Boland can be found here.



...O when may it suffice?

That is Heaven's part, our part

To murmur name upon name,

As a mother names her child

When sleep at last has come

On limbs that had run wild.....

A member of the British 'royal' family, accompanied by members of the British armed forces, will be responsible (along with establishment representatives from this Free State) for causing severe restrictions at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin on Thursday 31st July 2014, as a so-called 'Cross of Sacrifice' ceremony will be taking place. This effort in attempting to 'normalise the relationship' between the British 'empire' and a country in which that same 'empire' still claims to have part-jurisdictional control over - a claim which is enforced politically and militarily - is an effort involving a body called the 'Commonwealth War Graves Commission' and is guaranteed favourable coverage in what passes for 'the media' in this bent State. The hypocrisy involved in this sickening escapade will be ignored as the politicians and business-people shoulder each other out of the frame in order to be photographed with a 'royal' as they verbally and/or mentally hip hip hooray themselves with a toast to how 'grown up and mature' we Irish have become.

But the sacrifices of our republican dead and the present sacrifices of our 'family' members , some of whom are incarcerated to this day, guarantees (and rightly so) that we have 'hearts of stone' when it comes to this 'forgive and forget' nonsense. When this injustice is finally and properly resolved then a fresh look can be taken, from that new perspective. But this, unfortunately, is not that time. What it is , however, is an opportunity for republicans to prove to the on-lookers that not all Irish people have been 'bought' nor are we all 'enthralled' to be in the presence of English 'royalty' and/or fellow Irish people who consider themselves to be on an equal footing with 'Prince' Edward and his type and, to this end, Republican Sinn Féin will be holding a picket on the day - Thursday 31st July 2014 - at 11.30am at the main gates of Glasnevin Cemetery. All genuine republicans welcome!



....better, that is, than his 166 colleagues in Leinster House! And he doesn't do house painting or 'skippering' any better, either, and probably isn't as good as his wife at perming hair!

But, to be fair to the man, he is one of many who seen an opening to feather his own nest (and that of those close to him) in a corrupt institution which purports to 'govern' over a bent State and didn't think it fair that he should have to scratch a living on €1354 a week. If he's guilty of anything, it is surely only that he licked and sleveened his way on to the wrong rung of that greasy ladder - he should have aimed for a position within the ranks of the 'permanent government' as that would have afforded him the time to 'brush up' on his decorating skills, become the captain of his own destiny and keep his hair on!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

Stalking through this period of mass unrest came the great figure of de Valera, with his tame chorus on his heels. Fianna Fáil had everything to gain from the conflict and confusion on the rural front and around the IRA , provided they could not be accused of promoting it, for the people's reaction to it all was to see in de Valera and his party the only promise for peace - "There will be no peace in the country until de Valera gets power."

The Free State Government could not but be aware of the scale of the IRA preparations for the day of pilgrimage to Wolfe Tone's grave at Bodenstown, June, 1931, for every unit throughout the country openly made its arrangements for buses, trains, cars, lorries and cycling parties. On the eve of the hosting an announcement was made, over the wireless, that the government had banned the procession to Bodenstown, stationed armed soldiers in the graveyard and cancelled all trains and buses. A swoop was made on IRA leaders during the night, but they had already gone underground. By sheer bad luck, Seán Russell, who was to deliver the oration next day, and Mick Price, whose organising genius would have been valuable in Dublin in the confusion of the Sunday morning, were arrested. But, in fact, little organising was called for.

Dublin Brigade IRA mobilised at Parnell Square and marched to Kingsbridge Station and the milling city followed. Buses were 'directed' to the station where they were packed with people and set out for Sallins in the greatest convoy of buses ever to go out from Dublin and the reaction from all over the country was equally aggressive - the Leinster House ban was seen as a challenge and accepted as such. The road transport that was to augment the train service took on a new importance and every vehicle that could move, taxed or untaxed, was put on the road. Surprisingly enough it was only here and there that buses at local depots were used. Cyclists poured out from boreens everywhere following on the radio announcement of the night before and the roads were loud with shouts and song all night. (MORE LATER).


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

The Gibraltar inquest, as with all such hearings to a greater or lesser degree, was a highly complex game played out before eleven varyingly interested spectators with the truth functioning as the ball. The authorities gained possession early on, constructing a self-contained scenario in defence of their actions which seemed well-nigh impenetrable. Much of the time thereafter was absorbed with Paddy McGrory bouncing his logic and common sense off a ring of steel fashioned from hypothesis, military rationale and a fairly basic understanding of everyday Gibraltarian psychology.

At times McGrory's tactics seemed puzzling - he seemed, for example, to be bending over backwards to exonerate the Gibraltar police from any involvement in the alleged shoot-to-kill policy when there was ample evidence that the Police Commissioner was very much part of the Crown's four-square frontline of defence. At times like this it seemed as though the whole truth was an inevitable casualty of the ever-present imperative that the jury's temper not be prodded with any insinuation that one of there own might be involved in any conspiracy. The Crown's case was obviously constructed with such considerations very much to the fore. In essence their defence began and ended with 'The Bomb That Threatened The Gibraltarian People' , only there was no such bomb, if the situation was as Paddy McGrory was alleging - that there had been a conspiracy to kill and that, regardless of whether there was a bomb or not, the SAS were going to kill the IRA active service unit anyway. It is difficult to imagine how the Crown might have put together a more watertight defence. (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House-the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12'of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender',which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' ,the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!(PART 13)

Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham, Divisional Commissioner of the RIC in the Six Counties, had an interesting background - a Brit through and through : he spent 23 years as the man in charge of the 'B' Specials , and was also Head of the RUC for a period. He was born in 1879, in England , and was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst, where he no doubt picked-up his 'stiff upper lip'. At 20 years young he joined the British Army and served in the Boer War and in the 'First World War'. Between the years 1918 and 1920 he served as a Lieutenant-Colonel with the British military 'mission' in the Russian Civil War , following which (at 41 years young) he was the 'Divisional Commissioner for Ulster' in the RIC, from 1920 to 1922. It was at that time in his 'career' - when he was recognised as a 'good all-rounder' by Westminster - that he helped to establish the Ulster Special Constabulary. At 43 years young he was appointed as the Inspector-General of the RUC, a position he held until 1945 when, at 66 years of age , his paymasters in Westminster formed the opinion that the 'johnnies' in the 'colonies' would benefit from a spot of ' Wickham-ism '. In 1945 , British Lieutenant-Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham was 66 years of age ; but no rest for the wicked! He was sent to Greece to serve as the 'Head of British Police and Prisons Mission', where he 'crossed swords' with the ELAS guerrilla group. He remained in that position until 1952 (when he was 73 years of age). The man died in 1972 , at the grand age of 93.

However - on the 7th October 1924, British 'Sir' James Craig (Stormont 'Prime Minister') practically threatened Westminster that he would be prepared to lead 40,000 armed men against said institution if same recommended changes to the Six County area (re the 'Boundary Commission' report) . Craig was referring to the 'Special Constabulary' - the Ulster (sic) Special Constabulary Association , a powerful group in its day. It was estimated that, at the peak of its power, one in every five of the adult male Protestant population was a member! Following the final report of the Boundary Commission it became clear that the Free Staters were no longer prepared (if , indeed , they ever were) to push for changes regarding the 'border', and the British realised that they had no further use for the Special Constabulary , so they set-about disbanding them ; money was put on the table.

Westminster offered the approximately 40,000-strong 'Special Constabulary' organisation a few bob to 'go away' (!) - £1,200,000 was put on the table, provided most of them agreed to disband. 'Sir' James Craig, up to then a great friend and supporter of the 'Specials', stated that they would have to go : on 10th December 1925, Craig told the 'A' and 'C' Specials that they were out of work and offered each man two months pay. End of announcement, no discussions were to be held! The 'B' Specials were to be kept - indeed, it was only in 1969 that that gang of thugs 'disbanded' (ie changed uniform into that of the 'Ulster Defence Regiment' [UDR] and carried-on with their mis-deeds) . It was actually in September 1969 that the (British) 'Cameron Commission' described the 'B' Specials as "a partisan and paramilitary force..." , while the October 1969 'Hunt Report' recommended that the 'B' Specials be disbanded. However - the 'A' and 'C' Specials were not happy with the "disband now" order from their old friend , 'Sir' James Craig....... (MORE LATER).



"I was asked to find underage boys for sex at drink and drug-fuelled Tory party conferences....." (from here) , and more of the same here , and that's without mentioning this pair of British-establishment favourites. Nothing new in any of that, apparently, as Westminster and Buckingham Palace have been safe havens for such sick people for a long time now, covered-up and glossed over by their employees in the media and the various political 'secret services' whose function it is to protect and preserve the silence and the status quo.

Indeed, it has been said that the only reason that the 'Lady Mountbatten' affair became public was to distract public attention away from the 'greater sins' of her husband, which we wrote about in an article we covered on this blog nine years ago, and re-publish now:


Encounters with youths exposed him to IRA.


First published in 'NOW' magazine, Volume 1, No.4, October 1989, page 37.

'Royal' uncle 'Lord' Louis Mountbatten was killed because of his homosexuality, according to Irish Republican sources ; 'Lord' Mountbatten died in August 1979 when his boat was blown up at Mullaghamore, County Sligo, by the Provisional IRA. A book to be published in Britain next month (ie meaning October 1989) by a former British Intelligence Officer will give details of 'Lord' Mountbatten's gay life and claim that he was a risk to British State security ; but, ironically, 'Lord' Mountbatten proved to be a bigger threat to his own security. It was his liaisons with three young Irish boys which led to his assassination - it was information obtained indirectly from one of the boys which drew the attention of the IRA to 'Lord' Mountbatten's presence in Ireland. The same source provided details about his movements.

'Lord' Mountbatten regularly slipped away from his Irish Special Branch guards for homosexual encounters. The IRA had expected his cabin cruiser to be used for such a meeting with a teenage boy on the day he died. They planted a radio-controlled bomb in the engine compartment on the boat, killing Mountbatten and three others, including a 15-year-old Enniskillen boy ; the bombing brought widespread condemnation and an immediate crack-down on the IRA on both sides of the Border. It came on the same day as 18 British Paratroopers were killed at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down, in an IRA double ambush. The new book , 'The Greatest Treason' by Richard Deacon, claims that Mountbatten passed secret information to the Russians ; Deacon, whose real name is Donal McCormick, is an ex-intelligence Officer who was a close friend of the former head of the British Secret Service, 'Sir' Maurice Oldfield. Author 'Richard Deacon'(/Donal McCormick) quotes an unnamed former CIA Officer as saying - "What we could never understand was how Mountbatten, a known homosexual and therefore a security risk, managed to achieve the kind of promotion and jobs he got...." 'Deacon' says - "It was known inside the (British) Navy long before World War Two that he was a homosexual, sometimes even risking such conduct in his cabin when at sea...." The author describes 'Lord' Mountbatten as "... devious and egotistical.."

The IRA bomb was detonated from a car parked on the shore as 'Lord' Mountbatten sailed past a couple of hundred feet away : a pulse-coded transmitter of a type not used before was brought in from South Armagh because the IRA believed that British security officers may have fitted ECM (Electronic Counter-Measure) equipment in Classiebawn Castle which would have prematurely detonated any radio-bomb they attempted to plant. The IRA spent nearly two months setting-up the assassination, relying on information from 'Lord' Mountbatten's homosexual contacts to track his movements. Mountbatten was an uncle of both (British) 'Queen' Elizabeth and her husband, 'Prince' Phillip, and was interested in what homosexuals call 'the rough trade' and liked to have 'contacts' with 'working-class' youths. He was particularly attracted to boys in their early teens and it was this characteristic which made him especially vulnerable to the IRA, because he needed to slip away from his personal bodyguards to keep dates with such boys, some of whom came in contact with IRA men. His vice habit was similar to that of the former British Secret Service Chief, 'Sir' Maurice Oldfield, who was appointed 'Ulster (sic) Security Co-Ordinator' by Margaret Thatcher in the wake of the Mountbatten assassination. 'Sir' Maurice also slipped away from his 'personal protection detail' - a team of handpicked, plain-clothes British 'Royal' Military Policemen - on various occasions while he was living in Stormont House, beside Stormont Castle in Belfast. But a plan by the IRA to kill him during one such expedition into County Down failed when he was unexpectedly moved back to London.


The British establishment have been protecting their own for hundreds of years, regardless of the sins involved, as they realise their privileges are built on a foundation of sand - even if one 'pillar' falls, they are wealthy and well-placed enough to withstand the limited exposure such a collapse entails. Foreign lands are not the only rape victim in their cursed 'empire'.


This was the scene in Dublin on Saturday 19th July last as Free State Gardaí made a move to prevent pro-justice demonstrators from assembling outside the Israeli Embassy. Their by-now familiar method of 'keeping the peace' comes as no surprise to those of us who have had unwanted (and, on their part, unnecessary) 'interaction' with them on what were otherwise peaceful pickets and demonstrations over many years, as they are paid, maintained and supported by an anti-working-class elite in Leinster House and, as such, can be relied on to do their masters bidding.

More photographs of the above-pictured assault can be viewed here and here, and the following pictures will give readers who might not be aware of how that 'police force' operates a flavour of what can be expected should you dare to challenge that which they deem 'sacred' ie whatever they, the Free State Gardaí, are instructed to oppose/disrupt by their political paymasters in Kildare Street - these images are from various demonstrations in this State which were held to highlight injustices ranging from opposition to the on-going Shell infringements to issues dealing with the fact that the national issue is not yet settled :

And not only will that 'police force' physically abuse you, whether they are being filmed or not, but they will attempt to mentally abuse and torture you, too, as can be verified here. As with the State and its institutions which give succour to such a 'police force' (a section of which carry firearms) , it is not enough to 'tweak' said bodies because the very character and history of them strongly suggests that they are irreformable. They need to be replaced with systems which operate using justice as a template.

Thanks for reading , Sharon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

The only body of opinion in Ireland that moved on the level of the pronouncement by His Holiness was the Orange Order, which influenced a body of Orangemen to go to the aid of Captain Boycott, who was hard beset in Connaught : the Orangemen didn't bless the Pope on their travels but they were responsive to the same landlord and imperial influence as His Holiness. The Irish bishops, who knew that Leo X111's pronouncement did not contemplate the reality of the Irish political scene, sabotaged it.

From Leo X111 to his Lordship, Dr. Cohalan, Bishop of Cork - his Lordship of Cork, whether through tantrums or from political bias, declared the IRA unworthy of the sacraments in 1920 but the only response, in Cork, on the level of his pronouncement , came from the Black and Tans who promptly burned part of the city. The priests of Cork disowned their bishop in conversation and ignored him in the Confessional.

There is more excuse for their Lordship's bewilderment in 1931 than in 1922 - they were the victims of a scare in 1931 but in 1922 they went to battle in full possession of their wits, political partisans of the Irish middle class. The Republic never meant anything to them. Their pastorals should be put into the same course of study as the newspaper editorials of that day to form, with those editorials, the literature of reaction in a period in Irish history , one deriving from religion as little as the other. (MORE LATER).


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

Taken on those terms, the majority verdict of the jury can only be seen as a resounding victory for Paddy McGrory, the lawyer for the next of kin whose eloquent and searching performance was one of the few uplifting things about this inquest, even if his tactics on occasion seemed a bit puzzling. Given the hugely British ethos which permeates Gibraltar and the massive emotive value of the fact that the IRA seemingly intended to place a massive 140lb car bomb adjacent to a school housing all of Gibraltar's children between the ages of four and nine, persuading eighteen per cent of a Gibraltarian jury that Mairead Farrell, Daniel McCann and Séan Savage were not lawfully killed is no mean achievement.

The other resounding thing about the inquest was the coroner himself, Felix Pizzarello who, however sticky the wicket sometimes appeared, seemed intent above all on upholding the integrity of Gibraltarian justice in the eyes of the world. From early on he showed himself to be no pushover, maintaining throughout that his inquest would be meaningless if, as was widely circulating, the SAS soldiers involved would not appear. Even if they did appear, he intimated at a pre-inquest hearing, the limitations his court would have to labour under might make it impossible for the truth to emerge.

In enpanelling the jury, Mr. Pizzarello appeared to be doing his utmost to balance the odds ; he could, according to the rules, have chosen any number of jurors between seven and eleven, but by opting for the maximum number he increased the possibility of a majority as opposed to a unanimous verdict. From time to time there appeared the semblance of what could be taken for a rapport between Pizzarello and McGrory - he seemed to have a genuine sympathy for the predicament McGrory frequently found himself in with the Crown's 'Public Interest Immunity' certificates, and more often than not liberally interpreted the spirit rather than the letter of the law. Occasionally, too, in the stickiness of the courtroom, he permitted himself a dry laugh at Paddy McGrory's wry humour. On a couple of occasions Mr. Pizzarello made what just might have been Freudian slips with regard to his personal views of the case, on one occasion causing a perturbed Michael Hucker, representing Soldiers 'A' to 'G' , to rise and complain that he was "a bit concerned by Your Honour's use of the term 'scene of the crime'....". (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House-the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12'of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender',which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' ,the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!(PART 12)

Rather than be alarmed at the 20,000-strong UVF organisation , the British were considering using it for their own advantage - the RIC was in favour of such a move by Westminster ; on the 9th November 1921 , the Divisional Commissioner of the RIC in the Six Counties , a Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham , stated , in a 'secret' circular which he sent to other RIC bosses in the Six Counties - "Owing to the number of reports which have been received as to the growth of unauthorised Loyalist defence forces , the (British) Government have under consideration the desirability of obtaining the services of the best elements of these organisations. They have decided that the scheme most likely to meet the situation would be to enrol all who volunteer and are considered suitable into Class 'C' (of the 'Special Constabulary') and to form them into regular military units. There is no necessity to produce the maximum possible number of units ; what is required is to ensure that every unit recommended for formation can be constituted from a reliable section of the population." ('1169...' Comment : for "reliable" , read 'Unionist' .)

Note how the supposed 'neutral' RIC described the UVF paramilitary organisation as a "... loyalist defence force ... a reliable section of the population .." - the British were then, and still are today, 'in charge' of said Loyalist paramilitary organisations, and use them to carry-out 'jobs' which Westminster wants done, but not 'officially'. Also , about two weeks after 'Sir' Wickham wrote and dispatched his 'secret' circular, a copy of it found its way into the hands of Michael Collins who, on 23rd November 1921, whilst attending Treaty negotiations with the British in London , produced it to the startled British and told them it may very well signal the end of the 'negotiations'.

Westminster called in its top man in the Six Counties - 'Sir' James Craig, the Stormont 'Prime Minister' - and told him that the 'secret' circular would have to be withdrawn ; Craig then instructed his 'Minister for Home Affairs' , a Mr. Richard Dawson Bates (a UVF man himself) to withdraw the circular. However, by way of a 'two-fingered salute' to his political masters in Westminster, when he returned to Belfast, Craig increased the number of 'A Specials' by 700 men and the 'B Specials' by 5,000 men! If they could'nt 'hire' "... from a reliable section of the population ..." in one way, then they'd find another way to do it! Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham, Divisional Commissioner of the RIC in the Six Counties, had an interesting background - a Brit through and through ....... (MORE LATER).


Pat Cannon (left),Dublin, and Peter McElchar ,Donegal.

In 1955 , the year in which Pat Cannon was born , splits were occurring in the IRA, as several small groups, impatient for action, launched their own attacks in the Occupied Six Counties. One such activist, Brendan O'Boyle, blew himself up with his own bomb in the summer of that year. Another, Liam Kelly, founded a breakaway group 'Saor Uladh' ('Free Ulster') and in November 1955, attacked a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) barracks at Roslea in County Fermanagh. One RUC man was badly injured and a Republican fighter was killed in the incident. In August of the following year, Kelly and another ex-IRA man , Joe Christle, burned down some customs posts on the border.

In the UK general election of 1955, Sinn Féin candidates were elected MPs for the Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituencies in the Occupied Six Counties, with a total of 152,310 votes. The following is the Election Manifesto that the then Sinn Féin organisation put to the people :

Sinn Féin election manifesto, Westminster Elections - 1955.

The following document was published by Sinn Féin in 1955:


In the Election of 1918 the Irish People, by an overwhelming majority repudiated the claims of England and her parliament to rule them and they established the Irish Republic which was proclaimed in arms in 1916. The Republican Government and State then established were later overthrown by England and the nation was partitioned into two statelets. The cardinal objective of the Irish People is the restoration of the Republic thus unlawfully subverted.

The resurgent confidence of Irish men and women in their own strength and ability to achieve the full freedom of their country and the right of its citizens to live in peace, prosperity and happiness has enabled Sinn Féin to contest all 12 seats in this Election and give an opportunity to our people in the Six Counties to vote for Ireland, separate and free.Sinn Féin candidates are pledged to sit only in a republican Parliament for all Ireland. Apart altogether from the futility of the procedure, sending representatives to an alien legislature is in effect attempting to give it semblance of authority to legislate for and govern the people of North-East Ulster. Sinn Féin candidates seek the votes of the electorate and the support of the Irish people as the representatives of the Republican Movement now on the onward march towards achievement of the National ideal -- the enthronement of the Sovereign Irish Republic.

The winning of seats in these elections will not be regarded by Sinn Féin as an end in itself, nor will the results, whatever they be, effect in any way the determination of Republicans to forge ahead towards their objective. Neither will the number of votes recorded for the Republican candidates be looked upon as something in the nature of a plebiscite affecting in any way the right of Ireland to full and complete freedom. That right is inalienable and non-judicable and must never be put in issue through referendum of a section of population nor of the people of the country at large. Through the medium of the election machinery, Sinn Féin aims at providing an opportunity for the electorate, in all constituencies, and for the people of the country to renew their allegiance to Ireland, and by their support of the Republican candidates demonstrate to England and to the world the right of an ancient and historic nation to its complete and absolute freedom and independence.

Sinn Féin has been charged with disruptionist tactics. The aim of Sinn Féin today as always is to secure unity of thought, purpose and deed in the achievement of separate nationhood. Bigotry, persecution and sectarianism have no place in the Sinn Féin programme. Republican policy has ever been to secure civil and religious freedom for the Irish Nation and the individual citizens.Ireland and all its resources belongs to the Irish people. Sinn Féin will, with the consent of the Irish people, organise and develop the resources of the nation for the benefit of its citizens irrespective of class or creed. The continued occupation of Ireland by England makes such development impossible, since England has succeeded in making effective in Ireland the Imperial dictum of "Divide and Conquer" thereby impoverishing not only the Irish people but the material resources of the country as well.

Sinn Féin appeals to all Irishmen to forget all past dissension's and to demonstrate by their support of the Sinn Féin candidates their opposition to English occupation and their determination to achieve National Independence.

Published by Sinn Féin Northern Election Committee, Divis Street, Belfast and printed by the Cromac Printery, Belfast.

The big news of that 1955 election was Sinn Fein’s two seats and its 23.6% of the vote. Sinn Fein’s two successful candidates in Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh & South Tyrone had been imprisoned for their part in the raid on Omagh. Philip Clarke and Thomas Mitchell were the successful Sinn Fein candidates for Fermanagh & South Tyrone and Mid Ulster respectively. However as they were serving prison sentences they were deemed ineligible to serve in the House of Commons. In that same year - 1955 - a child was born in Dublin on November 28th : he was one of a family of seven (three girls and four boys) and his name was Pat Cannon. He and his family lived in Edenmore, on the northside of Dublin city and he became a fitter/welder by trade. He joined the IRA whilst still a teenager and soon became a trusted member of that organisation.

On Saturday , 17th July 1976 , Pat Cannon , 5 months shy of his 21st birthday, and his comrade , Peter McElchar from Donegal ,set out in a car in which they were transporting an explosive device. They crossed the border from Donegal into Tyrone and were approaching the town of Castlederg at about 2.15pm when the device exploded prematurely. Peter McElchar was killed instantly. Patrick Cannon was gravely injured and was taken to Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh. He was being transferred to hospital in Belfast when he died.

The Annual Pat Cannon Commemoration will be held on Thursday 17th July (2014) - those attending are asked to assemble at 7pm at the gates of the old cemetery in Balgriffin , Dublin. All genuine Republicans welcome!


On Saturday, 26th of July, 2014, to mark the centenary of the Howth gun-running and Bachelors Walk Massacre which happened on the same day in 1914, the Sean Healy slua of na Fianna Éireann, Dublin, are holding commemoration gatherings both at Howth and Bachelors Walk. These events will begin at 12.45pm at Howth Pier where a short oration will be given by a Dublin member of Na Fianna Éireann, following which those present will parade into Dublin city centre and assemble, at 2.30pm, on Bachelors Walk, to remember the massacre that took place on that spot on the 26th of July in 1914. All genuine Irish republicans welcome!

In the early afternoon of Sunday, 26th July, 1914, a consignment of over one-thousand rifles and ammunition for same was landed at Howth harbour, in Dublin, and unloaded by the newly-formed 'Irish Volunteers', assisted by members of Na Fianna Éireann. On its way in to Dublin city, the republican convoy was halted by a force of about fifty British RIC 'policemen' and over one-hundred British soldiers from the 'Kings Own Scottish Borderers' , known as the 'Kosbies'. A large crowd of civilians gathered to watch the confrontation ; the Assistant British RIC Commissioner, William Harrell, approached the Republicans and demanded that their weapons be handed over. Two of the Rebel leaders, Thomas MacDonagh and Darrell Figgis, left the main body of armed republicans and marched over to Harrell and told him it was their understanding that he (Harrell) had no legal authority to issue such a demand!

While RIC Chief Harrell issued chapter and verse of how, and from whom, he derived his 'authority', the two Irish republicans were quoting him chapter and verse of why it was that his 'authority' was not valid in Ireland ; Harrell's RIC colleagues were lined-up on the road about ten feet behind him and the British 'KOSBIES' were, in turn, lined-up behind the RIC men- both groups were concentrating on the verbal sparring-match between Harrell, MacDonagh and Figgis. But the group of Irish republicans, standing in military formation behind MacDonagh and Figgis, had directed their concentration elsewhere : as the verbal disagreement continued, republicans at the very back of the gathering simply walked away in the opposite direction with their weapons under their coats and other men in the republican contingent handed their weapons to known members of the public who, again , walked off with the equipment under their coats!

Meanwhile, after about half-an-hour of trying to get the better of MacDonagh and Figgis, RIC Chief Harrell gave up and ordered his men, and the British military, to move-in and seize the guns - they got 19 of the 1000 rifles, the rest having been spirited away. The British were not amused, but the crowd that had gathered to watch the confrontation cheered, clapped and laughed at the RIC and the British KOSBIES, as the two British gangs formed-up for the march back into the city centre. Word of the incident had spread at this stage and a large number of the public decided to walk alongside the British, laughing and jeering at them. When the procession was about three miles from Dublin city centre, they were joined by about fifty more members of the KOSBIES who fell in behind their colleagues. Likewise, dozens of men, women and children - out for a Sunday walk - had heard about the 'disappearing rifles' and joined with their neighbours in walking beside the British, poking fun at them. It being a Sunday afternoon, families were out in force in the city and were lined-up along the Quays, having heard that the British military detachment was headed that way : people spilled-out from the old tram terminus on Bachelors Walk to view the spectacle.

The British were by now near breaking-point ; they were more accustomed to being feared or, at best , ignored, by the public, and were seething with rage now that they were being laughed at by them. An Officer in charge felt the same,and ordered one line of his men (approximately twenty soldiers) to halt and turn to face the jeering crowd ; when the soldiers had done as commanded, he instructed them to "ready weapons" and fire on the crowd, if he so ordered. It is not clear whether the order to "fire" was given or not but, regardless , the British did open fire. The people on the footpaths - men, women and children - were easy targets. Forty-one people were hit : a man in his mid-forties died on the spot, as did a woman in her early fifties, and a teenage boy. Of the other thirty-eight people, one died later. Such was the outcry from Ireland and abroad, the British Government decided to hold a so-called 'Commission of Inquiry' into the shooting and,in August that year (1914), that body announced its conclusion and, as expected, the 'Commission of Inquiry' was nothing of the sort. It amounted to a mere 'slap-on-the-wrist' for those who pulled the triggers. The 'Commission' simply stated that the actions of their gunmen on that day, Sunday, 26th July, 1914, was "....questionable and tainted with illegality.." and scolded their soldiers for "...a lack of control and discipline.." The British Army soldiers responsible for the massacre, the 'Kings Own Scottish Borderers', within hours following the shootings, found themselves even more reviled by the Irish than they had been - their very presence on the street now guaranteed trouble. They were shipped out of Ireland only days after the incident, to the Western Front. The Irish, meanwhile, had buried their dead : on 29th July, 1914, literally thousands of Irish people followed the coffins of those shot dead three days earlier and Dublin city came to a standstill as thousands upon thousands of people filled the footpaths along the funeral route, from the Pro-Cathedral to Glasnevin Cemetery. An armed Company of Irish Volunteers, with weapons reversed, led the mourners to the gravesides.

While the British political and military administrations claim jurisdiction over any part of Ireland, the incident outlined above can happen again. That British claim must be dropped and the armed thugs enforcing same must be re-called to their own country. Any other 'solution' only postpones a proper peace. See you on July 26th next!


Just as well it wasn't a game of ice hockey they were playing....!

The last fund-raising raffle I worked on for the Movement (8th June last) was busy enough - as they all are! - but I didn't mind, as myself and four friends were flying out to New York for a three-week holiday after it, so come what may I was on a 'winner'. On Sunday just gone - 13th July - we were back in the usual raffle venue for the July raffle and, despite having being 'warned' regarding the expected crowd due to it being 'World Cup Final' day (the last two teams that hadn't been knocked out of the tournament were playing against each other, apparently!) we were surprised to find a huge crowd inside the venue and a queue forming outside, even at 4pm! I could joke about our 'raffle table' being covered in towels but only Spanish holiday-makers might get it....

And now to the above-mentioned 'score' : newcomer (sub?!!) Luke, from Meath -his first time in the hotel- won our 3rd prize , worth €40 (stub 273) and the 6th prize , €20 (stub 279), and found it hard to believe that not only had he won the 3rd prize ("Swear to God, girls, if it wasn't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all...."!) but was struck silent (and that's saying something for a Meath man!) when he heard his name being called out for the second time. He apparently thought we were winding him up, so Jean from our table was dispatched to locate him , with his other prize envelope, and as it turned our she was right to head straight for the bar, where he was located, regaling anyone that would listen to him about his '40-nil' victory : no extra time needed for him to accept the correction to his 'score'!

Our 1st prize, €200, was won by Paul Dempsey on stub 241, a Wicklow man who just happened to be at the same table as another Wicklow person, Clare Tierney, who won our last prize (€20) on stub 258 , and were last seen comparing envelopes up at the bar, with Paul acting the gentleman by insisting that it was his round. It turned out that he didn't actually know Clare before they both found themselves up at the ref's table (!) but, once introduced, both seemed keen to discuss 'transfers'. The raffle crew, of course, got off-side immediately! A true reflection of just how successful this particular raffle has become was shown by the two friends that could only manage to get the one ticket between them, as our tickets proved harder to get than tickets for the final : the two lads, Paul and John, bought the last available ticket from our bus driver, Anthony, and it proved , for them, to be a raffle of two halves - their ticket, number 060, won them €100, our second prize , netting (!) each lad a handy €50!

Our 7th prize, €20, was won by Séan Madigan, from County Clare, on stub 411, Jack Morris, a Dublin man, also pocketed €20 when he won the 5th prize on stub 617 and A Mr. Vincent Duffy also won €20 on stub 468 when he won our 4th prize. Myself and the other members of the raffle team stayed on in the hotel for a meal and a few drinks, but we sent ourselves off (!) at about 7pm, as we didn't want to score an own-goal (groan!) by waiting around until the 'stadium' emptied. Besides, by then, we were the real 'winners' of the monthly match we had just played, during which we handed-out envelopes as opposed to yellow or red cards. And as well as that, some panel or other were (boringly!) discussing the match , on television, that was about to start and, following said discussion (which seemed to be not only pointless but never-ending!) , two hours (or more?) of soccer was going to be screened. All balls, balls and more balls!

Thanks for reading , Sharon.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014



This building - 'Yankee Stadium' , in the Bronx, an area with which we are familiar from previous visits to that borough in the magnificent city that is New York. The five of us stayed for a week in an apartment in the Bronx, an area that is trying to hold itself together in the face of a political administration which gives the impression that it simply doesn't care enough or, if it did (or does?) , then not often enough or for long enough.

The people in the Bronx are fantastic : completely down-to-earth, no false airs and graces and, for the most part (there are exceptions in every city and every walk of life) , will not only not give you grief but will intervene when they perceive you to be in trouble, whether you are looking lost or seemingly being accosted in the street. We actually were lost, occasionally, but never felt threatened or in danger whilst trying to get our bearings, and only twice in the week did a couple of lads approach us looking for money and cigarettes, in a manner which could have been interpreted as menacing had it not being five Irish girls they were trying to deal with!

Incidentally, another massive building which, in our shared opinion,looks out of place in that lovely area is the Bronx Mall , another big-spend institution which would have been better suited to a 5th Avenue-type area. The Bronx is pure working-class and long may it stay true to its roots!

Hail Mary to the city, you're a virgin

And Jesus can't save you, life starts when the church end

Came here for school, graduated to the high life

Ball players, rap stars, addicted to the limelight.....

MDMA got you feelin' like a champion

The city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien....

The five of us, as pictured by our driver and friend, Joel. God Bless the man and his patience (and his Chrysler People Carrier!) The reason three of us are wearing those full-length black gowns is because it was 85F (about 30C) during our three week holiday and, believe it or not, we only wore swim suits under them!.

Our second week was spent in Hell's Kitchen, in a beautiful apartment gifted to us by our dear friends Liz and Susie, two sassy native New Yorkers who are married to two lads we have known for years. Both girls had each taken two days off work and brought us around the neighbourhood, (re-)introducing us to old (and new!) friends whom we now wish to apologise to as we partied in two Hell's Kitchen bars as only the Irish can and when you have five 'newly liberated' (albeit only temporary!) Irish girls on the rip in New York it tends to make jaws drop and eyes pop! But great craic , and the atmosphere, the music , the company and the location all combined perfectly to prove that we were indeed in the city that never sleeps!

For our final week, Joel moved us (and two trips for our luggage!) to a beautiful apartment in Harlem (East 101st Street at Lexington Avenue) thanks to Keven and Mal (and of course poor Joel!), a fantastic location which we knew from before : our neighbours welcomed us back with a get-together in one (or more!) of the local bars and, for better or worse (!) , even the neighbourhood cops remembered us but this time, they asked us would we pose with them for photographs which, of course, we were delighted to do! Harlem, and where we stayed (East Harlem) in particular, has a reputation as a rough area and, as with certain areas in any city anywhere, it is a deserved reputation up to a point - it is a neighbourhood populated by a people that have been practically abandoned over the years by the 'powers-that-be' and left alone to deal with its problems as best it can. Without exception, morning, noon or night, no matter where we ended-up in East Harlem, we never once felt threatened or concerned for our safety, and got along famously with everyone we had the pleasure to meet, whether in a bar, club, church or a basketball court in one of the local parks. I fully recognise that we seemed to have had an 'advantage' , if you like, in that we were five Irish girls in East Harlem and word of our presence had apparently spread throughout the neighbourhood : we lost count of the times that a group of lads and girls outside/inside a bar or park etc approached us (as happened in the Bronx, too!) with a very cheery "Yo! My Irish lady friends, how y'all doin', all good? , you doin' ok, gettin' 'round alrigh'....?" , followed by a half-hour of chit-chat and an invite to join them!

I could go on. And on. All five of us had an unbelievable three week sight-seeing, shopping and 'meeting and mingling' holiday, which came to an end far too quickly. Josh left us out to JFK Airport on Sunday afternoon , 29th June last, with our other friends following in another people-carrier. They helped us with our luggage (and, considering that between the five of us we took more than one thousand pics, you can imagine just how many luggage cases we had!) and all stayed with us until we had safely passed through all stages of check-in and security. Then we roared crying, finally realising that this was indeed 'it' , the point of no return, the end of our great American escape, the beginning of our return to 'normality'. We didn't want it to end.

Anyway : here's a few pics from some of our many outings, but the majority of those keepsakes are for our eyes only, to be studied and admired by us during the many reminiscing nights we just know we are going to have. During which we'll cry again.

Sleeping rough on a New York street : unfortunately, not unique to New York, but unacceptable wherever it's encountered.

An evil looking queen, pictured in Greenwich Village. No pun intended....!

The 'Welcome Desk', Jersey Gardens Shopping Outlet, New Jersey. We knew we were in trouble when the staff greeted us by name!

Jersey Gardens discount booklets and assorted reading material. The former were overused but we never found time to open the latter!

Shopping aids - barely enough of them for one of us, never mind five....

(Shopping) Heaven.....

.....New Jersey style!

And the last pic, from one of our favourite places in New York - Union Square , in Manhattan :

The Garda making sure we stay 'Forever 21' in Union Square. If only they would make sure we could stay 'Forever' in NYC!

The only silver lining in being back in Dublin is that we are back with our partners, our kids and our Irish friends. But we sure do miss New York and our New York pals and the atmosphere and the sight-seeing and the noise and the smells and the steam from the subway venting out through the 'sidewalks' and the streets and the avenues. And the nights we shared with locals in Hell's Kitchen and the Bronx and East Harlem on the rooftop of a bar or block of apartments, sipping beer (and cider!) and chatting. A concrete jungle of all human life. We'll definitely go back - we have to, as we all left a part of ourselves over there.

Anyway : all going well, we will begin posting our usual material here, beginning next Wednesday, 16th July 2014. See you then, and thanks for checking back with us. Appreciated!

Thanks, Sharon.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014



....as mentioned already, we are temporarily closing down the blog until either Wednesday July 2nd or July 9th (most likely the latter!) as myself and four friends are off to New York for a three-week holiday, leaving Dublin on Sunday 8th June next and due back on Sunday 29th. We haven't got the same budget that we had last year or in years previous but we know from experience that, comparable to any city its size, you need the big bucks to work and live there but not to holiday there, especially when we have the free use of three modern-build apartments and a mini-van and driver at our beck and call, all gifted to us by our friends and colleagues in that city.

We will still be able to afford at least one good visit to Jersey Gardens and we will be able to do smaller shopping sprees when the mood takes us, plus we'll eat well each day and have a few drinks most nights, but such is the size of New York and the huge number of free options available, we know before we go that three weeks just won't be long enough to fit in everything we would like to! And we are all particularly looking forward to again spending a few days each week in the working-class areas of Harlem, the Bronx , Hell's Kitchen , Queens, Staten Island etc where, over the years that we have been going to New York, we have met the most wonderful, friendly and down-to-earth people that it has ever been our pleasure to spend time with - we have had a few 'dodgy moments' in those areas and on more than one occasion the cops pulled-up beside us and advised us to stay on the main routes, but Manhattan, 5th Avenue and Times Square don't, in our opinion, give a true flavour of that magnificent city.

And, as we always do, we will gladly give a few dollars and/or food to the less fortunate and homeless that we meet on our journeys around the boroughs, as there but for the grace of God go any of us. Anyway : this 8-part post will be our last one until early July. Don't forget to check back with us then, thanks!

By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

It was by the sheerest chance we discovered that Eoin O'Duffy, Chief of Police, was making out a brief for their Lordships on the degree of communist influence in Ireland in 1931, which was a task greatly to his liking. O'Duffy's position as police chief was often in jeopardy and indeed he was all but out of the job when Kevin O'Higgins was shot, and there were enough people in the know to set up the whisper that O'Duffy was in some way responsible for O'Higgins' death - in fact, he had no connection with it, in any way.

Eoin O'Duffy was a strange man, and a very ambitious one, in a small-boy sort of way. He passionately wanted greatness. and more so in this, the 'era of The Great Man'. Here now was his chance. As scare-maker-in-chief of 'the communist danger', using the Irish bishops as his aides, he could enter politics with a swagger, and so he set about the easy task of scaring their Lordships. He had something as near as no matter to genius in assembling and detailing information.

But it is not enough to dispose of the role of the bishops in Irish political life by adding a few items to the crimes that Liam Mellows listed against them - they did not set out to be enemies of their country, they were the victims of the interests to which they were partisan, and this is a field of study that calls for much patient research. A good starting point for a study of those pastorals can be found in the circumstances that moved His Holiness, Leo XIII, to condemn the Plan of Campaign in Parnell's day, and a good first text book for this study is Father Walsh's life of Archbishop Walsh : his Holiness was responsive to British influence at the Vatican and his condemnation was a direct outcome of it. (MORE LATER).


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

In Glasgow, Professor Alan Watson, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathology, received a call to come to Gibraltar where there had been a shooting. He said he would come next day. He turned on the television and heard that three "IRA terrorists" had been shot dead that afternoon in Gibraltar.


A prominent Gibraltar doctor and former opposition politician intimated to 'Magill Magazine' in the very first week of the inquest that he would eat his surgical couch if the ensuing verdict turned out to be anything other than 'lawful killing' ; he was watching the proceedings, he said - the massive security, the huge press coverage, the comings and goings of star witnesses - with a mixture of annoyance and amusement. In the course of his practice, he had reason for regular dealings with Gibraltarians of all heights and hues , from the Attorney General down to the newest blow-in migrant worker, and he knew what they all thought about the incident of the IRA and the SAS.

He himself had his reservations about the notion of death squads roaming the streets executing summary justice, he said, but he had learned to keep them to himself. As far as he was concerned he was in a majority of one. "This inquest", he said, "is just a show trial." (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House-the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12'of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender',which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' ,the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland! (PART 11)

At 34 years of age, Joe Devlin served as the 'National President' of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a position he held for 29 years (!) [until he died in 1934], during which time he forged links between the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the United Irish League. He first took a seat in Stormont in 1921 (at 50 years of age) [and stayed there until 1934] ; in 1928 (at 57 years of age) he founded , and Chaired, the 'National League of the North'.

In November 1920, in Belfast, recruitment for the 'Specials' commenced ; the 'calibre' of these 'Specials' can be accurately gauged from an incident on 23rd January 1921, when the RIC were called-out to investigate a claim that a pub in Clones, County Monaghan, was being destroyed by armed men. Thinking it was an IRA Unit 'closing down' a pub because it served and sheltered enemy forces, the RIC 'tooled-up' and hit the road. When they arrived in the area, they pulled-up outside the premises - and immediately opened fire on those inside! And what a pity that those RIC men weren't better shots or more heavily armed, or both, for those inside the pub were members of the 'Special Constabulary', doing what they did best : looting! One of them was shot dead by the RIC gunfire.

Meanwhile, while the 'Specials' were out looting and the RIC (when not doing the same!) were mistakingly shooting at them, the 'Ulster Volunteer Force' (UVF), a Loyalist paramilitary organisation (from which group the 'Specials' came) were still active ; the new man in charge was British Colonel F.H. Crawford, who had played an active part in the Larne gun-running episode in 1914.

Westminster estimated UVF membership at 20,000 armed men ; its leader, Crawford, is perhaps better known for signing his name in blood on 'Ulster's Solemn League and Covenant', and was regarded by those who worked with him as a fanatic. But rather than be alarmed at this 20,000-strong UVF organisation, the British were considering using it for their own advantage - the RIC were known to be in favour of such a move. (MORE LATER).


The inaugural Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Summer School will take place at the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon on June 6th,7th, and 8th. The event will involve discussion and debate covering a range of topics and issues which were central to the life of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh such as the history and development of Irish Republicanism, the Irish language, the international dimension of the Irish struggle in the context of global anti-imperialism and the Éire Nua programme for a New Ireland of which Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was an architect and champion. The summer school will also include a reflection on the life of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh by people who were comrades and friends over many decades. Among the speakers are Professor Robert W. White, biographer of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Desmond Fennell, Dr Kevin Bean, Dr Marisa McGlinchey, Maura Harrington and the President of Republican Sinn Féin, Des Dalton.

The weekend will culminate with a commemoration at the graveside of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in St Coman’s Cemetery on Sunday June 8th at 12 Noon where the oration will be given by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton. The weekend will be a celebration of the life of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and a forum for engagement with the issues which motivated and inspired him throughout his life. All genuine Irish republicans welcome!


Maybe Asda management know their market better than the rest of us think they do, or maybe Asda's marketing department think they, or their management team, are 'in tune' with their customer base - if there really is no such thing as bad publicity,then Asda has not scored an own goal.The item, pictured, left, is apparently a 'wearable flag' which someone along the way - from design,to production to the shop floor - must have realised bore a striking resemblance to a Ku Klux Klan uniform. And safe, in my opinion, to believe the similarities were noticed at some point and a clear decision made to proceed, either for reasons of publicity and/or because an Asda agent reckoned that such an item would appeal to the mentality of those it perceived to be the intended customer it was aiming at.

Either way, it's a 'win' for that Walmart-owned company : play the good guy and withdraw the KKK-look-a-like items before the initial outburst of free publicity evaporates or capitalise on that free publicity by stocking and selling as many of the £3 items as they can under the guise of 'champion of free expression' or some-such lame excuse.

And, who knows, but if that 'KKK range' is a best seller for them, they might just try for a repeat performance in a few months time with a 'Black Power'-type kit. You have to be pragmatic in your hunt for the mighty dollar.


The current British 'police force' in Ireland, the RUC/PSNI, follows the same path taken by its predecessor in relation to its attitude to 'Irish taigs' ie the 'taigs' reject and oppose British rule in Ireland and as such they are fair game for abuse Or worse (incidentally, that particular attitude is shared by the 'police force' in the 26-County State as well).

You would think, therefore, that when a 'taig' who considers himself to be an Irish republican is given the opportunity by Westminster to not only highlight the many injustices perpetrated by that British paramilitary outfit but to have a say in its operational status, that he would use that opportunity to at least verbally question the existence of such a force in Ireland. Not so, unfortunately - Gerry Kelly, Provisional Sinn Féin, was gifted such an opportunity recently but proved himself to be a safe pair of hands as far as Westminster was concerned - he helped appoint a new boss for the paramilitary RUC/PSNI unit rather than attempt to frustrate that force in its internal business operations!

Then again, had he made proper use of that opportunity, he would have fallen out with his colleague who also had such an opportunity but, like Gerry Kelly, decided that not only is it the duty of an Irish 'republican' to support an armed British militia in Ireland but it's equally acceptable to assist in appointing the leadership of same. And to think that the British once professed to believing that 'republicans' like that were the 'enemy', when all along they were apparently grooming them for employment. Mixed metaphor there somewhere re poachers, gamekeepers , friends/enemies, close and closer!


Following on quickly from their recent near-annihilation at polling stations, the State Labour Party have, they believe, figured out what their problem is - their leadership let them down!

At the time of writing, a battle is on-going within that party as various wannabe political careerists vie with each other to position themselves at the top table in this Fine Gael/Any Party prop, due to their belief that if placed at that table, they have a better chance at picking-up a cosy little number for themself in Brussels in later years, as per this example.

Apart, of course, from the woes of that Party not having anything to do with its leadership - who are no more incompetent and self-serving than the leadership of any other Party in Leinster House - those challenging for top table positions are all in one way or another associated with the wage and social welfare cutbacks and the property and water taxes etc that have been introduced since they took office in 2011 and which they now either voice 'concern' about, or oppose altogether! As those rats struggle to obtain a better jumping-off point from their sinking ship, those of us who call for a fairer system (instead of seeking to place 'new faces' in charge of an old, failed, system) - the real issue at the heart of the rotten politics in this corrupt State - are trampled in the rush. And, indeed, to be trampled in the rush is something that the Labour Party now know something about!

Thanks for reading - off on holidays soon, back here in early July 2014. Slán go foill anois! (Have a Nice Day!!) Sharon.