" 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 23, 2014

WESTMINSTER OFFERED £1,200,000 IF THAT PARAMILITARY FORCE WOULD DISBAND. OFFER REFUSED, HOSTAGES TAKEN....

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).



THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS........

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).



MICHEÁL MARTIN TAKES THE (WRONG) BOUNDARY COMMISSION TO TASK.

"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).



THE BRITISH ESTABLISHMENT.....

....UP TO THEIR NECKS IN IT.

"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:

HOW THE GAY LIFE KILLED MOUNTBATTEN.

Encounters with youths exposed him to IRA.


BY FRANK DOHERTY.

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.

END.

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'.



IRISH FRIENDS OF ISRAEL (OR WHOEVER PAYS THEIR WAGE).

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

"WE SHOULD OBTAIN THE SERVICES OF THESE LOYALIST PARAMILITARY ORGANISATIONS" - WESTMINSTER.

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).



THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS........

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).



MICHEÁL MARTIN TAKES THE (WRONG) BOUNDARY COMMISSION TO TASK.

"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 COMMEMORATION , DUBLIN (38TH ANNIVERSARY): 7PM, THURSDAY 17TH JULY 2014.

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:

SINN FÉIN ELECTION MANIFESTO WESTMINSTER ELECTIONS, 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!



HOWTH GUN-RUNNING AND BACHELORS WALK MASSACRE COMMEMORATION, DUBLIN , 26TH JULY 2014.

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!



GERMANTINA! LUKE SCORES TWICE , WICKLOW FIRST AND LAST....

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

NEW YORK F***IN' CITY : MY THREE-WEEK HOLIDAY - REMINISCING ALREADY!

NEW YORK : POVERTY IN THE SHADOW OF A ONE-AND-A-HALF-BILLION-DOLLAR BUILDING.



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

LABOUR PAINS AS POLITICAL OPPORTUNISTS VIE FOR A BETTER JUMPING-OFF SPOT.

HOLIDAYS IN A CITY OF CONTRAST - BACK IN EARLY JULY 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).



THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS........

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 CONTROLLED EXPLOSION OF THE TRUTH : WHY IT HAD TO BE MURDER.

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).



MICHEÁL MARTIN TAKES THE (WRONG) BOUNDARY COMMISSION TO TASK.

"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).



INAUGURAL RUAIRÍ Ó BRÁDAIGH SUMMER SCHOOL, ROSCOMMON, 6TH , 7TH AND 8TH JUNE 2014.

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!





ASDA : WHEN IS A K-K-KOODIE NOT A FLAG?

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.



ANOINT, THEN APPOINT, YOUR 'ENEMY'.

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!



LABOUR PAINS - BUT IT'S THE REST OF US THAT ARE SUFFERING THEM!

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.






Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BATONS, BALLOTS AND BODENSTOWN.

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

It was largely hesitation to embark on concrete struggles that influenced the IRA to give itself a social policy ; it was in many ways evasive action , although it drew the full fury of reaction on itself thereby. The impulse towards policy making was sharpened by threats by the unemployed that they would seize the principal hotels in Dublin and hold them in protest. The search for a policy produced 'Saor Éire', which aroused the fury of government, press and pulpit.

At the risk of beheading the movement at a critical period the IRA Army Council decided to call a general army convention to sanction the launching of Saor Éire, and to consider some other matters. Roisin Walsh, Dublin City Librarian, a courageous, brilliant woman, gave us the use of her home at Templeogue, Dublin, for the conference, and it was an ideal choice for us, permitting of maximum security on the easiest possible terms but she was risking her job. Following on decisions taken at that convention , instructions were given to all IRA units to make the Easter Commemoration of that year demonstrations in strength, and even those demonstrations were to be but a rehearsal for a great hosting of Republican Ireland at Tone's grave, June 1931.

There was some speculation among us whether their Lordships the bishops would have another go at us, after the fashion of their 1922 effort. There didn't seem to be much room for improvement on their strictures against us then, for the Pastoral of 1922 disposed of us by declaring the armed defence of the Republic to be a system of murder and assassination, and the men involved in it unfit for admission to Confession or Holy Communion. That seemed a final sort of document, disposing of the IRA in a final sort of way.(MORE LATER).



THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS........

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

Police Constable Kassan was at the police station and at about 3.40pm he received a call to go to Winston Churchill Avenue : when he arrived at the Shell station he was told by someone there to go to Kings Lines. There, he saw a body on the ground, face up, and there were newspapers on the ground beside the body and he placed a stone on top of them to stop them blowing away. He went back to the petrol station to pick up some sheets from an ambulance he had seen there and returned to Kings Lines where he was told by Sergeant Acriss to pick up cartridges and did as he was told. He said there were a number of spent shells close to the body - one or two at least, he thought - and a number of others about fifteen or twenty feet away on the right side of the roadway.

Back in the Operations Room, Soldier 'E' received a report at 3.47pm that the "apprehension" of the terrorists had taken place and another thirteen minutes passed before he got confirmation that the three had been shot dead. He was told that Soldiers 'A' to 'D' were safely out of the area and that the police were in charge. At this point he reported bck to Soldier 'F' who signed the document handing back control to the Commissioner at 4.06pm. Soldier 'E' then left the Operations Room and went to the scenes of the shootings and later he spoke to them in the Room. No notes were taken of this conversation and afterwards they went to the police station with the army lawyer. All the SAS soldiers left Gibraltar at about 11pm that Sunday night and returned to the UK.

Commissioner Canepa instructed Deputy Commissioner Columbo to put the plan for the evacuation of the square area and the diversion of traffic into operation. Mr Columbo phoned Chief Inspector Lopez who attempted to evacuate the area with two other officers, but this proved impossible and the plan had to be delayed for some time until other police officers became available. It was after 7pm before controlled explosions on the Renault had been completed and the area declared safe. No explosives were found (it would be Tuesday before a large quantity of semtex was found in a car in Spain). Mr Canepa also put Superintendent McGuinness (!) in charge of the situation at Winston Churchill Avenue and arranged for a pathologist to be sent from the UK. (MORE LATER).



MICHEÁL MARTIN TAKES THE (WRONG) BOUNDARY COMMISSION TO TASK.

"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!(Part10)

Nationalists knew the danger of such a move for them - the UVF were not by any means 'neutral' in the conflict. The then 'Daily News' newspaper stated, re the proposed establishment of the 'Specials' - "The official proposal to arm "well-disposed" citizens to "assist the authorities" in Belfast raised serious questions of the sanity of the government. It seems the most outrageous thing which they have ever done in Ireland. A citizen of Belfast who is "well-disposed" to the British government is, almost from the nature of the case, an Orangeman, or at any rate, a vehement anti-Sinn Féiner. These are the very same people who have been looting Catholic shops and driving thousands of Catholic women and children from their homes...." But all words of opposition, or even caution , were ignored. Sixteen (16) battalions (approximately 10,000 armed men) were organised throughout the Six County area, with about three times that number (ie about 30,000 men) being placed in the areas where the battalion structure did'nt reach : approximately 40,000 fully-armed and, for the most part, militarily-trained men , in all.

It wasn't only Nationalist and Republicans that were aware of the potential for trouble that could come from arming one section of a population - voices were raised in Westminster itself, against such a move - in October of 1920, a Mr. J.R. Clynes of the British Labour Party voiced his concern, in Westminster, that the British Government were actully "arming the Orangemen" to "police their Catholic neighbours ..." in the Six County 'State', while Joe Devlin ('United Irish League' - UIL) pointed out that 300 of the 'Special Constables' from the Lisburn area had already "resigned in protest" because their "fellow Constables" would not stop looting their (Catholic) neighbours !

Mr. Devlin stated - "The Protestants are to be armed. Their pogrom is to be made less difficult. Instead of paving stones and sticks they are to be given rifles." Joe Devlin led a busy life, but died young, at 63 years of age, in 1934. A barman and journalist at the start of his working life, he was elected as a 'Home Rule MP' (British Parliament) for North Kilkenny in 1902, at 31 years young , and held his seat until 1906, when he was elected again, this time for the West Belfast area.

He was that area's representative in Westminster until 1922 ; he acted as General Secretary for the 'United Irish League' (UIL) / Home Rule Party, from 1904 to 1920, and was also involved with the 'Ancient Order of Hibernians'. (MORE LATER).



BATONS AND BALLOTS.

Our suggestion that those entitled to a vote in last Friday's elections - but who had not intended to claim same - should instead present themselves at their polling stations and purposely spoil their ballot papers seems to have been a popular call, as tens of thousands of spoiled votes have been recorded in this State. We are not claiming all the credit (that belongs to those who done that, regardless of whether they were aware of our suggestion or not) but we like to think that we did influence at least a few hundred or a few thousand voters into that course of action! In this area of Dublin, for instance, 263 spoiled votes were recorded, and in near-by Tallaght that figure was 1128. The 'Dublin City' ward (city centre and 'attached' suburbs, if you like) recorded 2377 spoiled votes whilst the Fingal area seen 978 people spoil their votes (more info here) .

Indeed, at a stretch, perhaps, it could be said that by encouraging as many possible voters as we could to spoil their ballot(s) rather than give it/them to an establishment party, we 'spoilers' have been somewhat credited with damaging the cosy consensus in that it was a shortage of such votes which prevented the State Labour Party from taking more seats thus leading to the resignation of its leader.

Another favour we may have done ourselves by deliberately voting against those political careerists and wannabe political careerists is that - shock! horror! - not all of them (!) are as clean-cut, morally, as they would present themselves as.....

"Great to turn on Sky News and see the knackers kicked up and down the dale however will the cops get the smell of nack of their batons."

......a comment made three years ago, in reference to this disgraceful episode, by a Provisional Sinn Féin candidate, which he only got pulled-up for last week! For all we 'spoilers' know, we might very well have removed a few such fascist-type political opportunists from the corrupt political scene here before they even got the chance to raise a verbal 'baton' against us. And for that we are surely to be congratulated!



MONTHLY RAFFLE ? YES...AND NO. BODENSTOWN ? NO. THE BRONX ? YES!!



I have already mentioned here in a previous post that whilst I will be helping to run the next monthly raffle (for the Cabhair organisation, to be held on Sunday 8th June next) , I won't be able to give the usual report re same and I also mentioned the up-coming Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown which, unfortunately, I won't be able to attend, or report on, the reason being that myself and four friends are flying out to New York City on Sunday night, 8th June, for a full three weeks holiday!

In early April last, our friends and colleagues in New York, with whom we keep in regular contact, asked the five of us over for a month , accommodation and transport (hello, Joel!) provided, no charge, spending money only needed. And, whilst NYC can be very expensive, it is very easy to have an unbelievable time in that great city on a budget of about $50 dollars a day, without having to cut corners. For example, the five of us have enjoyed a day in Central Park and explored surrounding streets and avenues, window-shopping and general sight-seeing, with plenty to eat and a drink or two in the evening, and calling Joel at maybe 11pm for a lift back to the apartment - relaxed and exhausted, having spent only about $30 dollars each! The same goes for a day trip to Coney Island, Staten Island, Long Island and at least a dozen other fantastic places which we have visited before and are only itchin' to get back to!

When five working-class cats like us are let loose on and in NYC, we make sure we get the cream!

Only two of us could manage, between family and work commitments etc, to get a whole month to play with, but the five of us could all manage, eventually, to get three weeks - and that's what we have done, and we should be home on Monday, 30th June (not that I want to talk, write or even think about that just now!). I'd like to think that I'd be fit enough to post a holiday report on this blog on Wednesday , July 2nd - I doubt it, somehow! - but you never know. But, hopefully, by the following Wednesday (9th), we should be back to normal. Next Wednesday, June 4th, will therefore be our last post here for at least one month. I'll miss the '1169...' team (John and 'Junior'), and work (!)...and of course you, our readers. But my aim is getting better ;-) !!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.