" 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 01, 2015

"YOU ARE 1066".

YOU ARE 1066!

Bobby Sands (Roibeard Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh), 27 years young when he died on the 5th of May 1981, after sixty-six days on hunger strike.

"...they all glare at me , and then begin to shout at me : "I am a Sir, I am a Sir, you will conform, conform, conform". They all grab me and start to beat and kick me while screaming : "You will conform, you will conform in H-Block 5". I awake, shouting and rolling on a filthy mattress on the floor. "Where am I?". "Are you alright?", asks my cell-mate. "Where am I?" "You are in your cell, you must've been having a nightmare," he says. Our cell door opens and a black uniformed figure stands there, "Food", he says. "What was that, Mister?" I ask. "You call me Sir. You're in the H-Blocks now! You're in H-Block 5. Don't forget it, 1066..." - Bobby Sands, from an article entitled 'I am Sir, you are 1066', which was first published 37 years ago on this date (1st July, 1978) :

'I must have died last night, because when I awoke this morning I was in hell. I don't really know how I got here. I don't think I've done anything to deserve being here. But I am here, and I am suffering terribly. I think I am in some sort of tomb. I can not see, as everywhere is in total darkness. I have no clothes on, except some sort of rag around my waist. The floor of my tomb is covered in a wet mushy substance, the source or nature of which I don't know. There is a revolting stench lingering in the darkness and the air is warm, heavy and humid. There is something soft and damp lying in the corner, which seems to be some sort of bedding to lie upon. I can hear heavy booming noises echoing all around me like thunder. Somehow it reminds me of heavy doors closing. I check the four walls of my tomb; there appears to be some sort of a door in one of the walls. I can't understand my being here. What, I wonder. will become of me? I know I am a human being, although I'm naked and bearded. I can think and breathe. Am I in hell or some sort of limbo? I can hear heavy footsteps approaching. They stop quite near to me. There is someone or something nearby. I can hear it moving and breathing. It is watching me. More noise directly outside my tomb, a rattle of metal against metal. A square form of light begins to materialise. revealing an entrance as a door swings open. A figure stands in the grey dim light of the doorway. It is a human figure, dressed in what appears to be some sort of black uniform.

It stands scrutinising me in silence for several seconds, before letting out a terrifying yell that sends shivers through my body. "I am Sir." The words echo around my tomb. "I am Sir" it bellows again. "I am Sir, you are 1066." The door slams shut with a loud explosive boom, killing the dim light where the entrance had been. Still afraid to move, I stand in the total darkness. What is 1066, I think? Obviously it is me, but I can think, speak, smell and touch. I have all my senses, therefore I am not a number, I am not 1066. I am human, I am not a number, I am not 1066. Who, or what, is a 'Sir'? It frightened me. It was evil. I sensed its hatred of me, its eagerness to dominate me, and its potential violent nature. Oh, what will become of me? I remember I once hid a family. Where are they now? Will I ever see or hear of them again?

It's watching me. Once more the door opens. The dim light gives off an illumination, revealing the black uniformed figure at the doorway. "I am Sir", it says, "here is your food, 1066." A bowl is thrust into my hands as the door slams. Before the light dies I catch a glimpse of the floor. It is covered in filth and rubbish. There are several maggots clinging to my legs. The walls are covered with a mass of fat bloated flies. Once again I am terror-stricken. I pace the floor, aghast at my surroundings. The bowl in my hand is cold, it contains some sort of porridge or gruel. The smell from it revolts me. I set it down on the floor. Pacing the floor in total darkness, I become engulfed with depression and despair. I wish I was dead. "But I am dead." I say aloud I can't even kill myself.

A breeze, I feel a breeze coming from the wall behind me. Feeling about, I touch a piece of cloth. I tug it and it falls. A light of great intensity hits my eyes, temporarily blinding me. My tomb becomes illuminated with light, revealing a window divided with concrete bars. Stepping closer, thousands of lights of every size and colour appear in my view. These lights are perched upon mountains of barbed wire that glitter and sparkle on the black horizon. Another step forward, and stiII looking straight ahead, a small building looms up in front of me, displaying a dozen or so windows all of which are brightly lit up. Several naked figures appear at the windows. The building is thirty yards away. I can see that all the figures are bearded, they all seem to be fairly young, but all their faces are pale and haggard. They are young men, but have old men's faces. Am I gazing at death? These figures keep staring out at nothing, or pacing to and fro. Footsteps again! I turn, apprehension again gripping me, to await my door being opened. My new-found curiosity having diminished, I fall deeper into the depths of depression and despair. The thought of what lies on the other side of that door tortures me. The door swings open, and several black uniformed figures stand there, surrounding a very small, fat, evil-looking person who evidently is their leader. They all glare at me, and then begin to shout at me: "I am a Sir, I am a Sir. You will conform." They all grab me and start to beat and kick me while screaming "You will conform, you will conform in H-Block 5." I awake, shouting and rolling on a filthy mattress on the floor. Where am I? "Are you alright?" asks my cell mate. Where am I? "You are in your cell, you must've been having a nightmare," he says. Our cell door opens and a black uniformed figure stands there "Food," he says. "What was that, Mister?" I ask. "You call me Sir. You're in the H·Blocks now. You're in H·Block 5. Don't forget it, 1066..."


The sectarian realities of ghetto life materialised early in Bobby's life when at the age of ten his family were forced to move home owing to loyalist intimidation... (and that was in 1962, before 'the Troubles' started, according to the 'official' version of our history). Bobby recalled his mother speaking of the troubled times which occurred during her childhood ; "Although I never really understood what internment was or who the 'Specials' were, I grew to regard them as symbols of evil". Of this time Bobby himself later wrote: "I was only a working-class boy from a nationalist ghetto, but it is repression that creates the revolutionary spirit of freedom. I shall not settle until I achieve liberation of my country, until Ireland becomes a sovereign, independent socialist republic..." (from here.)

Bobby Sands joined the PIRA in 1972, at 18 years young, and was arrested that same year and charged with possession of four handguns which were found in the house that he was staying in. He was convicted in April 1973 and sentenced to five years but was released in April 1976, returning immediately to active service for the PIRA. In October that year, the Balmoral Furniture Company in Dunmurray was attacked (an economic target) but as the (P)IRA men left the scene there was a gun battle with the RUC. Leaving behind two wounded, Seamus Martin and Gabriel Corbett, the remaining four (Sands, Joe McDonnell, Seamus Finucane, and Sean Lavery) tried to escape in a car, but were arrested. One of the revolvers used in the attack was found in the car. In 1977 the four were sentenced to 14 years in the Maze (Long Kesh) for possession of the revolver. They were not charged with explosive offences.

REMEMBERING BOBBY SANDS.

Things are loud and getting louder

so I don't have a lot to say

if I did you wouldn't hear me

so what's the use anyway

go fight your war and hide your whore

I'm sure Jesus understands

leave me in my own head

where I'm remembering Bobby Sands



Washington fought the British

they put him on a bill

an Irishman does the same

and special forces shoot to kill

while Amerikay looks the other way

among those who know firsthand

the price of freedom is tears and blood

and remembering Bobby Sands

the price of freedom is tears and blood

and remembering Bobby Sands



When a soldier lays down his life

so his comrades can be free

is it not us who forced his hand

by ignoring tyranny?

when men sit by and let others die

the killing will expand

so I'd like to take a moment here

to remember Bobby Sands



Tonight I'll tuck my children into bed

under liberty's flame

and soldiers will go off to kill

so ordered in my name

how do I sleep with a price so steep

and a government so bland

maybe it's time to hit my knees

and remember Bobby Sands.


Bobby Sands was born in Rathcoole, North Belfast, in 1954. He 'celebrated' his 27th birthday on the ninth day of his sixty-six-day hunger strike. He died on the 5th May 1981, the thirteenth Irish republican hunger-striker to die since 1917, and will always be remembered by Irish republicans.



THE PRICE OF PEACE......

Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

In the cells of the Bridewell, Mary Phelan was being taken out of her cell as were Nina Quigley, Phillipa Robinson, Toni Ryan, Sue Russell, Scotlyn Sabean and Catriona Ni Shiacuis. "...thank you again for this great honour..", said Ronald Reagan, "...and God bless you all." Then, at 12.50pm, he went to lunch with President Hillery at the US Ambassador's residence in the Phoenix Park from where he spoke again of human liberty, to which President Hillery replied - "Ireland shares with the United States a profound respect for the rights of the individual."

"I HAVE MY ORDERS."

The woman were kept waiting for about two hours before being brought up to District Court Number Four at 2.30pm ; they were bedraggled and exhausted, and were brought up in batches and formally charged , and were remanded on £10 bail for two weeks. The mysterious 'edict' which had incarcerated them had still not been produced.

While this was happening President Reagan had been taken to Dublin airport and Pat Kenny was doing the RTE commentary on Reagan's departure. Kenny chatted to a friend from his college days who was now working in the Department of Foreign Affairs and he (Kenny) had seen the US Secret Service agents clearing journalists from the concourse in Shannon and had seen gardai standing by as the Americans directed security. But it wasn't like that at all, said Kenny's friend from 'Foreign Affairs' ; the gardai were in charge and the Americans were under garda orders! (MORE LATER).





KNOWN FOR RESIGNING FROM HIS RESIGNATIONS!

This hasn't made the same headlines that it would have made a few years ago, and not just because it's not seen as such a big deal nowadays - as it seems to happen every other Tuesday - but the politician in question this time, (ex-)Dublin North Inner City PSF councillor Jonathan Dowdall, is known for , as stated in our headline , 'resigning from his resignations'.

Jonathan now claims that "...bullying is allowed go on in certain parts of (Provisional) Sinn Fein...there were numerous attacks on myself from a certain element within [the party], and there were attacks on my team members...I reported them, team members of mine reported them, and nothing happened...I was given a mandate by the people to represent them in the area and at the end of the day I couldn’t continue to represent them because of what I was subjected to – it was getting really nasty at the end....I could no longer stand over and watch certain attacks from certain elements within the party..."

However, a PSF spokesperson has denied the claims made by Jonathan Dowdall, saying that there is no problem with bullying in the party and that "a robust mechanism" exists to prevent same from surfacing. So - whether you believe the company director is correct or Aengus knows better then just don't forget that paper doesn't refuse ink....!





"WE HAVE WORN DOWN THEIR WILL....."

Ed Moloney speaks to a leading member of the Provisionals who has been authorised to speak on behalf of the (P)IRA Army Council.

From 'Magill' magazine, September 1980.

Ed Moloney : Have the tough security policies of Charlie Haughey contributed to those, 'circumstances forced on you'?

IRA : No. The majority of our operations are carried out by personnel who live within the Six Counties. Belfast, for instance, is the spearhead of our campaign. People there don't run back across the Border. The Volunteers who set up road blocks in Carrickmore last October didn't run back across the Border. Our people are based in the North and our attacks occur there. What is happening is that Charles Haughey, without the sanction of the Irish people, is spending over £80 million of their money making sure that attacks from his side of the Border on occupation forces are inhibited.

These occupation forces infringe the sovereignty of the 26 Counties, these are the people who have fired across the border and killed people, these are the people who go over in plain clothes and are blocking off border areas, hindering the farming communities there. The 1000 troops and Garda Special Task Force are there on the Border to suppress the people and to collaborate with the Brits. But that is not the reason for the lower level of operations this year.
(MORE LATER).





ON THIS DATE (1ST JULY) 45 YEARS AGO : 'MY COUNTRY FOR A SCOTCH...'!

Reginald Maudling (pictured, left) the British 'Home Secretary for Northern Ireland' at the time, didn't enjoy his visit here on the 1st July 1970...

On Tuesday, June 30th, 1970, the British puppet-'parliament' at Stormont, in Belfast,passed into 'law' the 'Criminal Justice (Temporary Provisions) Act' which, among other injustices, decreed that a mandatory prison sentence of six months be imposed on anyone found guilty of rioting. Two days before that 'law' was signed into being (ie on Sunday June 28th) about 500 nationalist workers at the Harland and Wolff shipyard were violently rounded-up by their unionist/loyalist co-workers and told to leave the job or face the consequences. Protests, pickets and marches were held on that Sunday and also on the following day (Monday 29th) over the forced Harland and Wolff expulsions and, coincidentally, (!) a new 'anti-rioting law' was introduced within hours.

On Wednesday, 1st July 1970, Reginald Maudling, 'Secretary of State for the Colonies', flew in from England on a visit to Belfast to assure British subjects that the 'mammy parliament' in Westminster was prepared to 'protect' them from the nasty nationalists. However, Maudling obviously felt that he himself needed 'protection' (or something stronger!) because, on Wednesday 1st July 1970, as he was boarding a plane to take him back to what he considered 'the mainland', he is reported to have declared - "For God’s sake bring me a large Scotch. What a bloody awful country!"

The cheek of the man - to use one Irish city , Belfast, as a yardstick for the whole of Ireland. A mistake, to be sure, that is often made in relation to, say, politicians : just because one of them is said to be 'dodgy' doesn't necessarily mean that they all are!





ON THIS DATE (1ST JULY) 148 YEARS AGO : 'MEAGHER OF THE SWORD'* DIES ON THE MISSOURI RIVER.

Born on the 3rd August 1823, died (in mysterious circumstances) on the 1st July, 1867 :'Does the world even have heroes like Ireland's Thomas Francis Meagher anymore? After fighting for Irish independence ("I know of no country that has won its independence by accident") ,then condemned to death, pardoned and exiled, Thomas Francis Meagher escaped to America,where he became a leader of the Irish community and commanded the Irish Brigade during the Civil War. General Meagher’s men fought valiantly at some of the most famous battles of the Civil War, including Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After the war, Meagher served as Acting Governor of the Montana Territory. In 1867, Meagher disappeared on the Missouri River ; his body was never found...' (from here.)

(*"Abhor the sword - stigmatize the sword? No, for in the passes of the Tyrol it cut to pieces the banner of the Bavarian, and, through those cragged passes, struck a path to fame for the peasant insurrections of Innsbruck! Abhor the sword - stigmatize the sword? No, for at its blow a giant nation started from the waters of the Atlantic, and by its redeeming magic, and in the quiverings of its crimsoned light, the crippled colony sprang into the attitude of a proud Republic - prosperous, limitless, and invincible! Abhor the sword - stigmatize the sword? No, for it swept the Dutch marauders out of the fine old towns of Belgium - scourged them back to their own phlegmatic swamps - and knocked their flag and sceptre, their laws and bayonets, into the sluggish water of the Scheldt.")

Thomas Francis Meagher was born in Waterford City (near the Commins/Granville Hotel) on August 3rd, 1823, into a financially-comfortable family ; his father was a wealthy merchant who, having made his money, entered politics, a route which the young Thomas was to follow. At 20 years young, he decided to challenge British misrule in Ireland and, at 23 years of age (in 1846), he became one of the leaders of the 'Young Ireland' Movement. He was only 25 years of age when he sat down with the Government of the Second French Republic to seek support for an uprising in Ireland. At 29 years 'old', he wrote what is perhaps his best known work - 'Speeches on the Legislative Independence of Ireland', of which six editions were published. He unveiled an Irish flag (which he had based on the French Tricolour) in his native city, Waterford, on the 7th March 1848, outside the Wolfe Tone Confederate Club and, on the 15th April that same year, on Abbey Street, in Dublin, he presented the flag to Irish citizens on behalf of himself and the 'Young Ireland' movement, with the following words : "I trust that the old country will not refuse this symbol of a new life from one of her youngest children. I need not explain its meaning. The quick and passionate intellect of the generation now springing into arms will catch it at a glance. The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the 'orange' and the 'green' and I trust that beneath its folds, the hands of the Irish protestant and the Irish catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood..."

He was arrested by the British for his part in the 1848 Rising, accused of 'high treason' and sentenced to death ('...to be hanged, drawn and disemboweled..') but, while he was awaiting execution in Richmond Jail, this was changed by 'Royal Command' to transportation for life. Before he was deported, he spoke in Slievenamon, Tipperary, to a crowd estimated at 50,000 strong, about the country and the flag he was leaving behind - "Daniel O'Connell preached a cause that we are bound to see out. He used to say 'I may not see what I have labored for, I am an old man ,my arm is withered, no epitaph of victory may mark my grave, but I see a young generation with redder blood in their veins, and they will do the work.' Therefore it is that I ambition to decorate these hills with the flag of my country...."

In July 1849, at only 26 years of age, he was transported from Dun Laoghaire on the S.S.Swift to Tasmania, where he was considered, and rightly so, to be a political prisoner (a 'Ticket of Leave' inmate) which meant he could build his own 'cell' on a designated piece of land that he could farm provided he donated an agreed number of hours each week for State use. In early 1852, Thomas Francis Meagher escaped and made his way to New Haven, in Connecticut, in America, and travelled from there to a hero's welcome in New York. This fine orator, newspaper writer, lawyer, revolutionary, Irish POW, soldier in the American civil war and acting Governor of Montana died (in mysterious circumstances - he drowned after 'falling off' a Missouri River steamboat) on the 1st of July 1867 at 44 years of age. Asked about his 'crimes', he replied - "Judged by the law of England, I know this 'crime' entails upon me the penalty of death ; but the history of Ireland explains that 'crime' and justifies it." This brave man dedicated twenty-four of his forty-four years on this earth to challenging British misrule in Ireland and, while it can be said without doubt that Thomas Francis Meagher did his best, a 'crime' remains to be resolved.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, June 24, 2015

(P)SINN FÉIN 'TD' DECLARES THAT MCGUINNESS 'WRONG TO MEET BRITISH QUEEN'.

THE PRICE OF PEACE......

Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

Ronald Reagan talked to the politicians in Leinster House about "...your nation's historic regard for personal freedom..." and, at that precise moment - just after noon - the women prisoners in the Bridewell were being taken from their cells to a large underground room, under the courts - Ann Barr, Lucia Bergmann, Elaine Bradley, Anne Browne, Mary Chance... "...freedom.." , said Ronald Reagan, "...is the flagship and flashfire of the future. Its spark ignites the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human soul."

Monica Corish left her cell, and Anne Claffey, Agnes Deegan, Mary Duffy, Orla Ni Eirli and Miriam Fitzsimons... "...the conditions on which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.." , said Ronald Reagan, quoting John Philpot Curran, "...we must not hesitate to express our dream of freedom. We must not be reluctant to enunciate the crucial distinctions between right and wrong..." Sister Frances, a nun from 'Sisters For Justice', left her cell, as did Marese Hegarty, Marion Howe, Aileen Jones, Mary Killian, Sheila McCarthy, Aileen McQuillan, Sofia Maher, Ludy Methorsg and Jane Morgan...

"...let us not take the counsel of our fears. Let us instead offer the world a politics of hope, a forward strategy for freedom.." Petra Breatnach was brought from Cabra to join the women in the big room at the Bridewell. She had been detained for about 45 hours already. Mary Kay Mullen was brought from her cell, Caroline O' Connor and Monica O'Connor, Catherine O'Reilly and Ruth O'Rourke... "...those old verities, those truths of the heart - human freedom under God - are on the march everywhere in the world. All across the world oday - in the shipyards of Gdansk, the hills of Nicaragua, the rice paddies of Kampuchea, the mountains of Afghanistan - the cry again is 'liberty'..." (MORE LATER).





"WE HAVE WORN DOWN THEIR WILL....."

Ed Moloney speaks to a leading member of the Provisionals who has been authorised to speak on behalf of the (P)IRA Army Council.

From 'Magill' magazine, September 1980.

Ed Moloney : There has been a considerable reduction in IRA activity in 1980 compared with the two previous years. What is the reason for that lull?

IRA : First of all, we're not at all dismayed by what we have achieved this year. We have to maintain a certain level of armed activity to effect political change within the Six Counties, to make "political progress" impossible. We have effectively done that this year. For example the Atkins' proposals are getting nowhere and the SDLP, who have risen to power on the back of our armed struggle, and the Loyalists, have mutually incongruous political manifestos which we have helped to temper on both sides, although saying that the Loyalists are inherently sectarian anyway.

The other aspect of our armed struggle is to affect the morale of the British Army and to create an impact on the British people. We have not managed to match last year's performance this year. That is because circumstances have been forced upon us and there have been some material problems. But we are totally confident that we can overcome these short term problems. The British are sliding into their 1977 mistake of predicting our defeat. They're fighting a statistical war, we're not. We're fighting a political war.

The Brits are saying the Provos are beaten, operations are down, there's less poundage of explosives used, four soldiers less have died this year etc. That's a false confidence and that's OK with us because we will wreck it when we choose to.
(MORE LATER).





ON THIS DATE (24TH JUNE) 94 YEARS AGO : 'LET'S LIVE IN NEIGHBOURLY HARMONY WITH EACH OTHER. ON MY TERMS AND CONDITIONS...'

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George (left) and Eamonn De Valera, the then President of the Irish Republic, sketched in June 1921 - on the 24th of that month, Lloyd George sent the following letter to de Valera :

Sir,

The British Government are deeply anxious that, so far as they can assure it, the King’s appeal for reconciliation in Ireland shall not have been made in vain. Rather than allow yet another opportunity of settlement in Ireland to be cast aside, they felt it incumbent upon them to make a final appeal, in the spirit of the King’s words, for a conference between themselves and the representatives of Southern and Northern Ireland, I write, therefore, to convey the following invitation to you as the chosen leader of the great majority in Southern Ireland, and to Sir James Craig, the Premier of Northern Ireland:

(1) That you should attend a conference here in London, in company with Sir James Craig, to explore to the utmost the possibility of a settlement.

(2) That you should bring with you for the purpose any colleagues whom you may select. The Government will, of course, give a safe conduct to all who may be chosen to participate in the conference.

We make this invitation with a fervent desire to end the ruinous conflict which has for centuries divided Ireland and embittered the relations of the peoples of these two islands, who ought to live in neighbourly harmony with each other, and whose co-operation would mean so much not only to the Empire but to humanity.

We wish that no endeavour should be lacking on our part to realise the King’s prayer, and we ask you to meet us, as we will meet you, in the spirit of conciliation for which His Majesty appealed.

I am, Sir, Your obedient servant,

D. Lloyd George.


The 'tone' and context of that letter must have set off alarm bells as far as the Irish republicans are concerned ; "..the King’s appeal for reconciliation in Ireland...rather than allow yet another opportunity of settlement in Ireland to be cast aside...(we) make a final appeal...explore to the utmost the possibility of a settlement...a fervent desire to end the ruinous conflict which has for centuries divided Ireland...(we) ought to live in neighbourly harmony with each other...in the spirit of conciliation.." - it reads like a letter sent by a 'neutral outsider' to one of two combatants, pleading for peace, rather than that what it was, which was a letter from the aggressor to those that he is aggressing. Par for the course, as far as that man was concerned - on Monday, 22nd December 1919, his 'Bill for the Better Government of Ireland' (known here simply as 'The Partition Bill') was read to the British Parliament and was passed into British law in 1920, but did not come into force until May 1921. Not by any means the beginning of our 'troubles' with Westminster, but a definite continuance of same. Indeed, one of his own son's said of him - "Father was sick of the Irish Republicans. He was quite willing to let them have what they seemed determined to have ; an impoverished semi-peasant country with their peat fires and undrained bogs and dreams of glory seen in a fine mist of alcohol..." and, speaking of alcohol, was it possible that 'By George' was completely sober when, on Monday 5th December 1921, he announced to the Irish side (during the 'Treaty of Surrender' discussions) that he had written two letters, one of which would now be sent to his people in Ireland ; one letter told of a peaceful outcome to the negotiations, the other told of a breakdown in the negotiations - Lloyd George stated that if he sent the latter one "...it is war, and war within three days. Which letter am I to send?" British 'negotiations/negotiators' at their best!

Anyway : the reply sent to Lloyd George (from de Valera, on the 8th July 1921) was, by contrast, not 'loaded/spiked' like that which it was in reply to and, in my opinion, could have been more 'direct' in leaving Lloyd George and his staff in no doubt but that Irish republicans considered themselves the defenders in the war and rejected the implication in the British letter that Westminster was a concerned 'neutral outsider' in the conflict :

Sir,

The desire you express on the part of the British Government to end the centuries of conflict between the peoples of these two islands, and to establish relations of neighbourly harmony, is the genuine desire of the people of Ireland.

I have consulted with my colleagues and secured the views of the representatives of the minority of our Nation in regard to the invitation you have sent me.

In reply, I desire to say that I am ready to meet and discuss with you on what bases
(sic) such a Conference as that proposed can reasonably hope to achieve the object desired.

I am, Sir,

Faithfully yours,

Eamon de Valera.


However : on Monday, 11th July 1921, a truce came into effect, hostilities ceased and, on the 6th December 1921, a (shaky) 'stepping stone' (which gave those using same the means by which they could sign their own death warrants) of a treaty (the 'Treaty of Surrender') was signed in London and today, 94 years later, the issue remains unsolved. But it's early yet....





IRA SPLIT LEADS TO DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY.

Tom Maguire (pictured, left): born 28th March 1892, died 5th July 1993, 101 years old at the time of his death.

Tom Maguire is one of the many Irish Republican men and women that the Republican Movement was, is and always will be, guided by : 'When the majority of (P)IRA and (P)Sinn Féin decided to abandon abstentionism in the 1969/70 split, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill sought and secured Maguire's recognition of the Provisional IRA as the legitimate successor to the 1938 Army Council. Of the seven 1938 signatories, Maguire was the only one still alive. Likewise in the aftermath of the 1986 split in the Republican Movement, Maguire signed a statement in 1986....(which) was issued posthumously in 1996: he conferred this legitimacy on the Army Council of the Continuity IRA (who provided a firing party at Maguire's funeral in 1993).....' (from here.)

In a statement on the 8th December 1938, the surviving members of the Second Dáil announced the following : "Dáil Éireann, in consequence of armed opposition ordered and sustained by England, and the defection of elected representatives of the people over the period since the Republican Proclamation of Easter 1916 was ratified, three years later, by the newly inaugurated Government of the Irish Republic, hereby delegate the authority reposed in us to the Army Council, in the spirit of the decision taken by Dáil Éireann in the spring of 1921, and later endorsed by the Second Dáil. In thus transferring the trust of which it has been our privilege to be the custodians of for twenty years, we earnestly exhort all citizens and friends of the Irish Republic at home and abroad to dissociate themselves openly and absolutely from England's unending aggression's and we urge on them to disregard England's recurring war scares, remembering that our ancient and insular nation, bounded entirely by the seas, has infinitely less reason to become involved in the conflicts now so much threatened than have the neutral small nations lying between England and the Power she desires to overthrow.

Confident, in delegating this sacred trust to the Army of the Republic that, in their every action towards its consummation, they will be inspired by the high ideals and the chivalry of our martyred comrades, we, as Executive Council of Dáil Éireann, Government of the Republic, append our names : Sean O Ceallaigh (Ceann Comhairle), George Count Plunkett, Professor William Stockley, Mary Mac Swiney, Brian O hUiginn, Tom Maguire, Cathal O Murchadha."


In December, 1969, following a split in the Republican Movement over the issue of the recognition of and participation in the Partition and Westminster parliaments, Thomas Maguire, as the sole surviving member of the Executive of the Second Dáil Éireann, recognised the Provisional Army Council, which remained true to the Irish Republic as the lawful Army of the Thirty-two County Irish Republic. In a statement dated 31st December, 1969, Thomas Maguire said: An IRA convention, held in December 1969, by a majority of the delegates attending, passed a resolution removing all embargoes on political participation in parliament from the Constitution and Rules of the IRA....in 1986 there was another split in the Republican Movement and again it was over the issue of recognition of the 26 County State...on the 25th of July 1987 Thomas Maguire issued another statement declaring the Continuity IRA as the lawful Army of the 32-County Irish Republic...(more here.)

This republican strategist will be remembered on Sunday 5th July 2015 - those attending are asked to assemble at Cross Cemetery, Mayo, at 9pm. "The Irish Republic proclaimed in arms in Easter week 1916 and established by the democratic majority vote of the people in the General Election of 1918, has been defended by Irish Republicans for several generations. Many have laid down their lives in that defence. Many others have suffered imprisonment and torture. I am confident that the cause so nobly served will yet triumph" - IRA Comdt. General Tom Maguire.





(P)SINN FÉIN 'TD' DECLARES THAT MCGUINNESS 'WRONG TO MEET BRITISH QUEEN'.

"Sinn Féin opposes the proposed state visit of the Queen of England, Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces until there is complete withdrawal of the British military and the British administration from Ireland. And until there is justice and truth for victims of collusion, no official welcome should be accorded to any officer of the British armed forces of any rank...it is totally unacceptable that the Taoiseach is, on the one hand, welcoming and preparing for a visit to Ireland by the Queen of England, while on the other hand he refuses to pursue the British Prime Minister and the British government on the issue of collusion..."

Martin McGuinness welcomed and shook hands with the same British 'queen' referred to by Pearse Doherty, but McGuinness refused to take Doherty's advice ie he (McGuinness) didn't take that opportunity to pursue or indeed even raise "the issue of collusion" with the woman. Where is Pearse Doherty's statement re same? Or his statement condemning (P)Sinn Féin Mayor of Cashel, Councillor Michael Browne, for meeting and shaking hands with the same British 'queen' ("I just said to her 'Welcome to Cashel, Your Majesty, and I hope you enjoy your stay' ") [from here] ?

To clarify the issue - and before readers start 'googling' with search terms like 'revolt in Provo Sinn Féin over British Queen' (as if!!) - it should be noted that the above statement was issued by Pearse Doherty on the 24th June 2010 : five years ago on this date! Perhaps on the 24th June 2020 , Pearse will issue a statement (from Westminster!) condemning Martin McGuinness (who will be in the British 'House of Lords' by then, no doubt) for having met that British 'queen'...!





THIS REPUBLICANISM THING SURE HAS OPENED MY EYES, UP YA BOYO YA, FECKIN' LANGER....

"I’m finding it tough....you know you have to maybe get your hair done a bit more often, maybe put a bit more into make-up and a bit more into clothing than you would normally put. From that side of it, it can be expensive...." - the words of Provisional Sinn Féin Leinster House member for Cork East, Sandra McLellan, who is in the news again, but this time for a different type of 'blusher'.

As an elected member in Leinster House, Sandra is paid €1930 a week, of which (it is claimed) her party takes €1222, leaving her with a weekly wage of only (!) €708. On top of that, she receives €104 a week in 'expenses', giving her a combined total of only (!) €812 a week to try and not just survive on, but to buy cosmetics and matching outfits out of, too. No wonder the poor girl is "finding it tough..."!

Indeed, that is more than likely why she is apparently unsure if she has paid (or will pay?) her water tax 'bill' - she simply hasn't got the money. Sandra would break your melt, as they say in Cork....






ON THIS DATE (24TH JUNE) IN....

..1316 - at the Siege of Carrickfergus Castle by the Bruce army during a parley the castle defenders seized 30 Scots. The Laud Annals reports that 8 of these were killed and eaten....(from here.)

..1374 - a sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance causes people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion....the populace danced wildly through the streets, screaming of visions and hallucinations, and even continued to writhe and twist after they were too exhausted to stand. The dancing mania quickly spread throughout Europe...it involved groups of people, sometimes thousands at a time, who danced uncontrollably and bizarrely. Men, women, and children would dance through the streets of towns or cities, sometimes foaming at the mouth until they collapsed from fatigue...in the eyes of the church, those suffering from St. John's Dance were possessed by the devil... (from here and, no doubt, 'in the eyes' of the dancers, the church and/or most of its representatives could be said to be 'possessed by the devil'.)

..1754 - death of Robin Downes. Thomas Waite writes: "Yesterday morning Robin Downes, member for Kildare, was found in his parlour in his house in Dawson Street with a sword run through his body. There are hopes of his recovery. He himself says...that he received the wound in a fair duel...but the general opinion seems to be that he transfixed himself, though no one pretends to assign the reason. My Lord Kildare is come to town in vast agitation at this accident. The election for a burgess at Athy comes on next Monday, and Robin was one of his Lordship's most powerful advocates at the late bustle in that town. Rumour has given Downes Commissioner Bourke or Wat Weldon for an antagonist, but I believe quite without reason..." (see 'Thomas Waite to the Same', here.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, June 17, 2015

WE NAME THE LESBIAN LOVER OF BRITAIN'S 'LADY' SARAH SPENCER!

DUNNES STORES : BITTER VALUE....

"Our success has only been possible thanks to the talented people who work for us. Each individual plays an essential role in continuing the growth and development of Dunnes Stores.....we offer a broad range of challenging, rewarding careers (and are) committed to exceeding expectations (with) opportunities for advancement and competitive salaries.." (from here.)

"Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson were appointed joint Provisional Liquidators to OCS Operations Limited (the "Company") trading as Clerys, on 12 June 2015. The Company has ceased to trade with immediate effect. If you have made any payment by credit or debit card for a product that has not been delivered, or if a gift voucher was purchased with a credit or debit card, it may be possible to get a refund from your card provider via "chargeback". The chargeback can be claimed when a company has ceased trading. You should contact your card provider immediately with details of the payment. As the store has closed, unused gift vouchers will not be redeemed." (from here.)

Very encouraging to see the workers in Dunnes and Clerys stand up for themselves in their fight to get their entitlements, great to see the general public support them in their endeavours and heartening to witness the various trade unions throw their weight behind those victims. Hopefully, all concerned groups and individuals will be equally as vocal in supporting and highlighting injustices to workers that are employed in jobs that are not as high profile as Dunnes and Clerys -

"We promote an informed and critical social and political awareness and challenge those elements which are detrimental to human development and particularly to the welfare of young people...we promote the highest possible standards in our practice. We are committed to high standards in the selection and support of our volunteers and employed staff...." (from here.)

An on-going dispute at the 'Ferns Diocesan Youth Services' (FDYS) which, as with Dunnes and Clerys, has been caused by the bad practices of management/owners, who are attempting to get more for less, from their workforce : '...management has attempted to force through a change to the conditions of employment of its staff while refusing to negotiate with their union or attend the Labour Relations Commission (in) a dispute concerning a unilateral change by management to sick leave benefit and its refusal to engage with their union...' (from here.) As I said, not as high profile as the Dunnes or Clerys disputes, but just as important as same. Workers and those looking for work are under attack by a vicious system that views them, first and foremost, as simply a 'commercial product' from which that system might benefit. But those hoping to benefit don't believe that they should have to speculate (ie decent wage, fair working conditions etc) to accumulate, and those of us at the bottom of that particular ladder will suffer.





THE PRICE OF PEACE......

Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

The lawyers finally found a High Court judge willing to hear a habeas corpus appeal, Donal Barrington. They went to his home in south county Dublin and he gave them an order of habeas corpus but not, as they had been seeking, effective from Monday morning - the order was effective only from Tuesday morning but, in the event, it was useless. Ronald Reagan left the banquet and retired to the US Ambassador's residence , and was spared the trial of having to pass by a group of women sitting in the dark several hundred feet away, keeping a vigil for peace.

The lawyers returned to the Bridewell to explain the legal developments to the prisoners, and were there until 2am.

FLAGSHIP AND FLASHFIRE.

As soon as US President Reagan began speaking in the Dáil (sic) chamber the next morning, Deputies Tomas MacGiolla, Tony Gregory and Prionsias de Rossa (who had on Sunday inquired at the Bridewell about the prisoners' welfare) stood up and left the chamber. Monica Barnes had absented herself from the Dáil (sic). The vast majority of the (Free State) TD's and Senators, in a joint session of the two houses, gave Reagan a welcome of rapturous applause, and the Ceann Comhairle, Tom Fitzpatrick, noted the United States' "commitment to the rights of the individual under law."

Regan began his speech at noon and he and Nancy, he said, had been made "as welcome as the flowers in May". On TV, the presidential motorcade had been seen whizzing through the streets lined with crowd-control barriers with no one behind them. As Reagan spoke in the Dail (sic) there were 4,000 protestors outside in Molesworth Street. (MORE LATER).





"WE HAVE WORN DOWN THEIR WILL."

Ed Moloney speaks to a leading member of the Provisionals who has been authorised to speak on behalf of the (P)IRA Army Council.

From 'Magill' magazine, September 1980.

Ed Moloney : The Provisional IRA and its campaign of violence have been going on for nearly 10 years now. The British are still in the North despite that. Why go on?

IRA : First of all, the IRA is not 10 years old, it's over 60 years old. As for why we continue the campaign, nothing has changed in the occupied Six Counties but there is a lot of evidence that things can be changed. We have been wearing down successive British administrations, we have worn down their will. There are indications now of changes taking place within the British political scene - the 'Young Liberals', for example, have come out in support of a policy of disengagement from Ireland and there are at present discussions going on within the National Executive of the Labour Party.

There is also evidence that a lot of British soldiers are fed up with what's going on in the North and 'Document 37' shows that the present commander of land forces in the North, Brigadier-General James Glover, knows that we are not a spent force and that we will continue. And he also admitted the cause of the trouble was the presence of British forces.

The object of our armed struggle is two fold ; further destabilise the inherently unstable Six Counties and also to wear down the will of the British government. Either the British Government itself comes to the conclusion that it must leave, or that conclusion will be forced on them by British public opinion. We can make the occupation of the North extremely expensive (*) - present costs are running at £1000 million annually - and of course we will be hitting at their soldiers continually and causing their morale to be so low that the Brits will find that they are incapable of maintaining any sort of order in the North.(**) ( */** '1169...' comment : "Expensive" , no doubt, re the salaries and expenses that Westminster is now paying to former revolutionaries and the issue of "maintaining order" has, for the most part, being sorted by Westminster as a result of having those new employees on board.) (MORE LATER).





ON THIS DATE (17TH JUNE) 41 YEARS AGO : IRA BOMB WESTMINSTER.

On Monday, 17th June 1974, the then IRA decided to make it's presence felt, once again, in 'the Belly of the Beast' - a 20lb device exploded at the British Parliament, causing widespread damage and injuring 11 people. Six months before that attack, the IRA had exploded two bombs in London - one at Madame Tussauds and one at a boat show which was taking place at Earls Court Exhibition Centre and, one month after the 17th June attack, two bombs also exploded in London - British government buildings in Balham, South London, were damaged in the first explosion that day and the Tower of London was the target for the second bomb. This is a BBC report of the 17th June 1974 IRA attack -

'A bomb has exploded at the Houses of Parliament, causing extensive damage and injuring 11 people. The IRA said it planted the 20lb (9.1 kg) device which exploded at about 0828 BST in a corner of Westminster Hall. The explosion is suspected to have fractured a gas main and a fierce fire spread quickly through the centuries-old hall in one of Britain's most closely-guarded buildings. Scotland Yard detectives have said they fear this attack could herald the start of a new summer offensive by the dissident Irish group on government buildings. No one expected in those days the House of Commons would be a target - security was extremely casual.'

Former Labour MP Tam Dalyell ('Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet) gave this account - "A man with an Irish accent telephoned the Press Association with a warning only six minutes before the explosion. Police said a recognised IRA codeword was given. Although officers were not able to completely clear the palace before the bomb went off, most of the injured were only slightly hurt" and Edward Short, the Leader of the British 'Commons', announced that a review of security procedures would begin immediately, but he said the attack would not disrupt parliamentary business or intimidate MPs. Liberal Chief Whip David Steel was in the building when the device detonated and told the BBC the damage looked considerable - "I looked through Westminster Hall and the whole hall was filled with dust. A few minutes later it was possible to see flames shooting up through the windows..."

Today, the group that carried out that attack are only a short step away from again entering that bastion of British misrule but, this time, to assist their new objective of administering the British writ in Ireland. Shame on them.





ON THIS DATE (17TH JUNE) 170 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF A GREEN-HEARTED LOYALIST.

Emily Lawless, pictured, left (aka 'Emily Lytton'), the writer and poet, was born on the 17th of June, 1845, in Ardclough, County Kildare and was educated privately.

War battered dogs are we

Fighters in every clime;

Fillers of trench and of grave,

Mockers bemocked by time.



War dogs hungry and grey,

Gnawing a naked bone,

Fighters in every clime -

Every cause but our own.

- Emily Lawless, 1902 ; "With the Wild Geese".

She was born into a politically mixed background, the eldest daughter and one of eight children ('Sir' Horace Plunkett was her cousin) . Her father was 'Titled' by Westminster (he was a 'Baron') even though his father (Emily's grandfather) was a member of the 'United Irishmen'. Her brother, Edward, seems to have taken his direction from his father rather than his grandfather - he held and voiced strong unionist opinions, wouldn't have a Catholic about the place and was in a leadership position within the (anti-Irish) so-called 'Property Defence Association'. Perhaps this 'in-house' political confusion (mixed between stauch unionism and unionism with sympathies for Irish nationalism/republicanism, coupled with the 'whisperings of shame' that Emily was a lesbian and was having an affair with one of the 'titled' Spencer women) was the reason why her father and two of his daughters committed suicide.

She considered herself to be a Unionist although, unlike her brother, she appreciated and acknowledged Irish culture (...or, in her own words - "I am not anti-Gaelic at all, as long as it is only Gaelic enthuse and does not include politics...") and, despite being 'entitled' to call herself 'The Honourable Emily Lawless', it was a 'title' she only used occasionally. She spent a lot of her younger days in Galway, with her mother's family, but it is thought that family tragedies drove her to live in England, where she died, on the 19th of October 1913, at the age of 68, having become addicted to heroin. She was buried in Surrey.

She wrote a full range of books, from fiction to history to poetry, and is best remembered for her 'Wild Geese' works, although some of her writings were criticised by journalists for its 'grossly exaggerated violence, its embarrassing dialect and staid characters...'. 'The Nation' newspaper stated that 'she looked down on peasantry from the pinnacle of her three-generation nobility...' and none other than William Butler Yeats declared that she had "an imperfect sympathy with the Celtic nature..." and that she favoured "theory invented by political journalists and forensic historians." But she had a great talent :

After Aughrim

She said, "They gave me of their best,

They lived, they gave their lives for me ;

I tossed them to the howling waste

And flung them to the foaming sea."



She said, "I never gave them aught,

Not mine the power, if mine the will ;

I let them starve, I let them bleed,

they bled and starved, and loved me still."



She said, "Ten times they fought for me,

Ten times they strove with might and main,

Ten times I saw them beaten down,

Ten times they rose, and fought again."



She said, "I stayed alone at home,

A dreary woman, grey and cold ;

I never asked them how they fared,

Yet still they loved me as of old."



She said, "I never called them sons,

I almost ceased to breathe their name,

then caught it echoing down the wind

blown backwards, from the lips of fame."



She said, "Not mine, not mine that fame ;

Far over sea, far over land,

cast forth like rubbish from my shores

they won it yonder, sword in hand."



She said, "God knows they owe me nought,

I tossed them to the foaming sea,

I tossed them to the howling waste,

Yet still their love comes home to me."


Emily Lawless, 1845-1913.





SHAMELESS DEGENERATES.

'...the group says hundreds of older people are facing regular demands for money, are having their pensions withheld and are finding that their property is being taken....in the vast majority of cases, the perpetrators are immediate family members...financial abuse is now the second most common form of elder mistreatment...' (from here.)


We have mentioned one particular case of this despicable behaviour before as, unfortunately, it has happened on our own doorstep, so to speak, in the same small(ish) town we live in, and those responsible are known to those of us who take the time to care about such issues : 'In early May 2008, my Grandad was not living at home any more and not in any state of mind to conduct family business re paying household bills or calling to the Post Office to collect his or Nana's weekly pension. My Nana, now living on her own in the bungalow (although my Grandad was brought home on a regular basis for visits and Nana and one or more son or daughter [my Uncle/Aunt] would go to see my Grandad in his 'new home' four or five times a week) and being, at the time, 81 years of age (but not too bad, physically or mentally) agreed to a suggestion from her daughter 'M' (my Aunt) that her pension, and Grandad's pension - a combined total at that time of €423.30 a week - should now be paid into the local AIB bank rather than the Post Office and that an ATM card be obtained from AIB by Nana which would enable the card holder (once they knew the PIN number) to withdraw some of the money from the account to pay bills and buy shopping etc for Nana....(from here.)

The two thieving daughters referred to in that blog are otherwise 'normal' human beings - on the outside, anyway - and present themselves in this neighbourhood, sickeningly so, as 'concerned siblings' who are forever fussing over their mother, whom they profess to love very much. There is a lot more I could write here about them, and about their disgraceful on-going behaviour in relation to their mother and their brother ('Uncle S') but this is not the time to do so. However I will take the time, now, to advise readers to please keep a close eye on your elderly and vulnerable parents or neighbours etc who are in the same boat as the poor woman featured in that blog. I don't think you necessarily have to be born 'bad' (or with a moral defect) in order for you to be capable of doing that on your own parents or, indeed, on any person, elderly or not - perhaps life's various interventions can turn you into a shameless degenerate with no empathy or feelings in relation to your own parents?

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Monday, June 15, 2015

1169 EXCLUSIVE !! A GAY RELATIONSHIP IN BRITAIN'S 'TITLED' SPENCER HOUSEHOLD!

'1169' EXCLUSIVE!

BRITAIN'S 'TITLED' SPENCER CLAN - GAY RELATIONSHIP EXPOSÉ !

We have been working on this for the last few weeks, following a tip we received at the time, and have now collated enough material and verifiable proof and information to safely go public with the story - on Wednesday, 17th June 2015, we will name the member of Britain's 'titled' Spencer clan that had a gay relationship (with a drug addict) and will publish details and/or supply links regarding that person, mentioning their drug addiction (heroin) and including their family history and the location of the house that both of them lived in. We are not doing this out of malice or any (misguided) sense of 'righteousness', but rather because we believe these details to be of public interest, especially so as some of those to be mentioned in our piece are 'titled' by the British 'establishment' and receive a stipend from the British tax payer.

Check back here with us on Wednesday, 17th of June 2015, for the above piece, and more....

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, June 10, 2015

HEY BUDDY , CAN YOU SPARE A DIME ?

THE PRICE OF PEACE......

Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

BANQUET AT THE CASTLE.

Once the details of the various prisoners had been ascertained by the four solicitors , Heather Celmalis and Ruth-Anne FitzGerald began drawing up affidavits for a writ of habeas corpus , and then they had to find a judge - not an easy task on the Sunday evening of a bank holiday weekend, but they had a list of court registrars and they began phoning around.

In Dublin Castle the State's elite were gathering for a banquet to honour U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Some of the prisoners had wondered ruefully how many of the judges whom the lawyers were trying to contact would be at the banquet! That evening, the 'Irish Campaign Against Reagan's Foreign Policy' (ICARFP) group had organised a protest march, 'Ring Around Reagan' , in which ten thousand people marched in a circle through the streets around Dublin Castle and a poem written by one of the prisoners, Sue Russell, was read at the demonstration and at the end of the protest hundreds split off and marched down to the Bridewell, and began chanting "Let the women go!".

Inside, the women were exhausted - some were grateful for the support but wished the marchers would keep the noise down and, as the chanting grew more aggressive, some of the women grew anxious. They disliked and feared aggression, even when directed against their jailers. Some feared violence might break out. Outside, the women who had not been arrested started singing, trying to calm the crowd. The demonstration eventually fizzled out. (MORE LATER).





THE IRA.

THE NEW IRA IS YOUNGER, MORE RADICAL AND HAS SEEN LITTLE OF LIFE OTHER THAN VIOLENCE..... By Ed Moloney. From 'Magill' magazine, September 1980.

The effect of the article when it landed on breakfast tables at the Hudson's Bay and Shamrock Lodge hotels where the Provo delegates were staying was, to say the least, traumatic. According to one source, the uproar from rural delegates was such that Gerry Adams was forced to deny other reports that there were Marxists in the Provos.

According to another source 'there would have been a walkout' if he hadn't. Needless to say leading Provisionals are not keen to talk about Athlone - "We wouldn't want to air that sort of thing in the press", says Dáithí Ó Conaill, "we don't have any fundamental differences and any we do have will be settled internally". But according to another source, Athlone was something of a victory for the traditionalists - 'Marxism is now a dirty word in the Provos', he says.

Since then the Provisionals have spent their time healing wounds. Ó Conaill was elected joint Vice President with Gerry Adams at the last Ard Fheis and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, a consummate wound healer if ever there was one, symbolically spans the gap between. Between May and July this year leading Ard Comhairle members representing both wings have toured the country. In a public show of unity, Ó Brádaigh, Ó Conaill, Joe Cahill, Charlie McGlade, and Niall Fagan of the traditionalists, and Gerry Adams, Foreign Affairs spokesman Richard Behal, and An Phoblacht/Republican News editor, Danny Morrison for the radicals, took pains to assure Sinn Féiners throughout Ireland that the trouble was over and that unity and peace reigned once again in their movement.

[END of 'THE NEW IRA IS YOUNGER, MORE RADICAL AND HAS SEEN LITTLE OF LIFE OTHER THAN VIOLENCE.....' : NEXT - "WE HAVE WORN DOWN THEIR WILL" - from 1980.]





ON THIS DATE (10TH JUNE) 34 YEARS AGO : IRA MEN ESCAPE FROM CRUMLIN ROAD PRISON, BELFAST.

Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast - designed in 1841, opened 'for business' in 1845, closed as a place of detention in 1996.

Early on a Saturday morning - 21st March 1943 - as the Logue family of Harding Street, Derry, were about to sit down for their breakfast, they noticed a part of their small garden rising up and being pushed back - their garden wall formed part of the perimeter of a neighbouring premises, Derry Jail : a figure pulled himself up from the hole in the ground and began assisting others that were trying to scramble to their feet. Within minutes there were 21 men (including Patrick Donnelly, Ned Maguire, Hugh McAteer (IRA Chief of Staff), Liam Graham and the last man to be pulled from the tunnel, Brendan O'Boyle) assembled in the small garden, all of whom rushed into the Logue house and let themselves out through the front door. They ran to near-by Abercorn Place and jumped into a waiting lorry, a furniture removal van, which was driven by an on-the-run IRA man, Jimmy Steele, who had recently liberated himself from Crumlin Road Prison. The British offered a reward of £3000 for information leading to the recapture of the men, but there were no takers!

That was in 1943 : on the 9th of August 1971, the British introduced 'internment without trial' in the Six Counties. Within weeks, 1,500 'suspected terrorists' are put behind bars, not only in the new Long Kesh internment camp, but in other prisons throughout the Six County area. The Long Kesh camp, which was built on an old RAF airfield near Lisburn, in County Antrim, was 'home' to about three-hundred of the internees, while another group, consisting of about one-hundred-and-fifty men, were interned on 'The Maidstone', a prison ship moored at the coal wharf in Belfast Docks. An estimated one-thousand internee's (and remand prisoners) were held in Crumlin Road Jail, in Belfast, resulting in serious over-crowding ; so the 'prisoners' set-about giving themselves more space!

During a prison football match in September that year (1971) , five internees made their way to a section of the wall at the opposite end of where the match was being played - they carried bed-sheets knotted together, with a wooden 'hook' made from prison tables and/or chairs tied to one end of the 'rope'. With the football game in full swing, and the prison-screws relieved to have something to watch and help them pass a few hours, the five men succeeded in their efforts to have the 'hook' grip the top of the wall. As the five men climbed up the 'rope' as best they could, a nail-bomb exploded on the Antrim Road, which was the far-side of the wall ; the men continued their climb and, on reaching the top of the prison wall, they were startled to find themselves looking down on armed British soldiers - the Brits were probably just as surprised to be looking up at them! The nail-bomb explosion had drawn a British Army patrol to that same spot ; the men on top of the wall went into reverse, climbed back down the way they had come up and mingled with their fellow-prisoners, watching the match. That was September 1971 ; the failed escape bid at least indicated that the idea was sound. It was decided to continue with the football matches, but not to attempt an escape during same,for the time being, at least. Over the following few weeks, arrangements were made with the then IRA on the outside for another escape attempt , using an improved version of the September idea ; rope ladders.

It was agreed that the escape attempt would take place on the 16th November 1971, and that nine prisoners would locate themselves at a certain section of the prison wall on that date, at a specific time. The nine men - Seamus Storey, Thomas Maguire, Thomas Fox, Peter Hennessy, Bernard Ellison Thomas Kane, Terence Clarke, Chris Keenan and David Mullan - were all anxious to escape. The barbed-wire fence on the outside of the prison wall would be cut to allow the men a quick exit , and cars would be waiting for them. On that date - 16th November 1971 - a football match was organised, as usual, and the prison-screws were happy enough to have something going-on to distract them from their miserable jobs ; not to be distracted, however, were the nine men - as the football match was underway , an IRA unit had parked a couple of cars on the Antrim Road and were already inside the barbed-wire perimeter fence, having cut through same unnoticed. Rope-ladders were unfurled and thrown over the prison-wall. The nine men climbed up the ladders and down the other side, got into the waiting cars and drove off at high speed towards the border. In County Tyrone, near Omagh, two of the escaped prisoners - Chris Keenan and David Mullan - were caught by the British, but there was no sign of the other seven men. It later transpired that they had sought and received sanctuary in a Cistercian Monastery near the border.

The escape made international headlines, and the British Government were further embarrassed when the seven escapees held a press conference in Dublin. The seven men exposed the torture they received from the British and the conditions that their captors held them in. Within about only two weeks of what became known as the escape of 'The Crumlin Kangaroo's', it happened again - on 2nd December, 1971, three IRA men in the same Crumlin Road Jail - Martin Meehan, 'Dutch' Doherty and Hugh McCann - tied some bed sheets together, fashioned a 'hook' for the top sheet and successfully escaped from the prison. As is usual in these events, it wasn't long before a song commemorating the escapes was penned!

That was in 1971 : on the 10th of June, 1981 (34 years ago on this date) , the 'IRA M60 Squad' escaped from that same prison : they took hostages, wore uniforms, had three handguns between the eight of them and they exited the same way as they had entered - through the front gate! You can read an account of what happened here.





ON THIS DATE (10TH JUNE) 40 YEARS AGO : THE MINISTER'S MAN ?

Larry White (left), shot dead on this date (10th June) in 1975, apparently by a person closely connected to a Free State minister...



'On 10 June 1975, Larry White, a leading Saor Éire activist from Cork was shot several times on Mount Eden Road. He died of his injuries a short time later. The Official IRA are widely believed to have been responsible for the killing with a number of members claiming that White had aided the INLA in shooting and injuring Sean Garland in Ballymun in March of that year. In 1976 a number of members of the Official Republican Movement were convicted of the murder of Larry White, among them Bernard Lynch (the husband of Labour party TD Kathleen Lynch). The case was later quashed on the basis of evidence at the original trial was no longer admissible....' (from here.)

'The extraordinary saga began in 1975, when Larry White was a member of republican splinter group Saor Éire. He fell out with Official Sinn Féin – one of many splits between republican factions that occurred during the period.....he did not suspect, however, that his position would cost him his life. Mr White was killed in a hail of bullets as he was walking home at midnight on June 10, 1975, in Cork city. The 25-year-old didn’t stand a chance: he had been hit 12 times, mostly in the head. "You can take that," the gunman was heard to say before he made his getaway.....during the trial, three statements – admitted as evidence by the Special Criminal Court – were crucial. Between them the statements put Bernard Lynch at the heart of the murder plot, and at one point even identified him as the gunman....'

'It was the feud, the time between the Stickies and the Provos...the minister's husband was the Stickie, Bernie Lynch. The victim was Provo IRA man Larry White....he had shot Larry White dead in an IRA feud in Cork city, he and his wife the present minister (Kathleen Lynch) ,then belonging to the Official IRA. That was back in the Seventies.... (from here.)

The Irish state covering up murder: The hypocrisy of the Labour Party has resurfaced as Kathleen Lynch recently appointed her husband Bernard Lynch as a paid advisor to her Office and the Dublin Government. Bernard Lynch was found guilty of been involved in the murder of Irish Republican Larry White in 1975, and was only released on a technicality as the Gardaí took a statement from a State witness after his detention period had elapsed. At the time of the murder of Vol. Larry White, Official Sinn Féin/the Workers Party were operating as a criminal gang throughout Ireland, and were heavily involved in bank robberies, extortion, money laundering, and later in the distribution and sale of illegal drugs....when members of Official Sinn Féin/the Workers Party murdered Larry White in Cork in 1975 it was to further their own criminal activities, and had nothing to do with national or social ideology.....the progression of Official Sinn Féin/the Workers Party into Democratic Left and now the Labour Party doesn’t absolve members of his group from their criminal activities, nor does it give them immunity from prosecution, whether its in relation to any one of the murders they committed or the misappropriation of funds that were stolen from (Official) Sinn Féin throughout the late 1960’s and early 70’s.... (from here.)



Finally, it never rains but it pours : Kathleen's husband is not that family's only member with 'a bit of previous' - 'Bernard's brother Brian, 58, was suspected of being the brains behind a massive counterfeiting scam uncovered by gardaí in a raid at Repsol Ltd, which was on the ground floor of the Workers' Party Dublin headquarters in 1983....Brian Lynch was one of a number of men wanted for questioning by gardaí in relation to the operation....Gardaí have never been able to question him about his alleged role in the forgery ring despite alerting Interpol and other organisations....there has never been a garda prosecution, but sources this week said the case remains open and the warrant to arrest him for questioning remains active...' (from here.)

However, in fairness - and to their credit - none of those mentioned are paedophile rapists....





WHEN EVENTS CLASH. PART ONE....

Last Saturday, 6th June 2015, tens of thousands of supporters of Dunnes Stores workers took to the streets of Dublin to demand fair working conditions for employees of that conglomerate, which has a long history of trying to take advantage of its staff - a history which they, the owners/management, seem intent on persevering with.

I was in two minds whether to attend the Dunnes march or a local anti-double-water tax protest, which was being held at roughly the same time - some of my friends and colleagues were going to one or the other but myself and three friends finally decided to 'go local' , as we knew the Dunnes march would be supported by tens of thousands of people whereas the local water tax protest was never going to gain that level of street support (although it should). Anyway - about one hundred of us ended up outside the Community Civic Centre, in Ballyfermot, having marched on the road from near-by Clondalkin, and being cheered-on by hundreds of on-lookers along the way and 'beeped' repeatedly at by supportive motorists. Pics of that protest can be seen here.



...AND PART TWO :

Every year for as long as I can remember, Irish republicans have gathered at the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone , in Sallins, County Kildare, to pay respect to one of our founding fathers and a man who continues to inspire us, and this year the commemoration will be held this coming Sunday, the 14th of June (details here) and, by coincidence (!! - don't those organising committees ever talk to each other!) , the CABHAIR group are holding a 650-ticket raffle in a hotel which is not a million miles away from the village of Sallins. However, close and all as both events are, myself and the usual 'raffle crew' haven't yet mastered the art of bilocation (!) and, unless we do so over the next few days, we will not, unfortunately, be able to make it to the Wolfe Tone commemoration.

Honestly! Some times I feel like throwing my hat at the whole thing and just buying a bottle of water in Dunnes, calling into an hotel on the Dublin/Kildare border for a bit of lunch and then going for a leisurely stroll in a small Kildare town. But there's probably an organising committee somewhere that would screw that plan up on me !





HEY BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME.....

Free State president, Michael D. Higgins (right of pic) is paid a salary of €5208 a week and is entitled to 'expenses' on top of that. A fiver, therefore, would be neither here nor there for the man, by which I mean he wouldn't be stuck for a bob or two, no matter what circumstances he found himself in. Distressing, then, to watch as he finds himself and his media scrum within feet of a street busker, who was trying to earn a few shillings extra. Rather than just walk past the busker as if he wasn't there and conscious that cameras were recording his movements, Higgins decides to feign interest in the man and make a donation to him : he puts a fiver in the collection 'plate' but then completely ruins the gesture by taking a few coins change from the 'plate'!

Which, when you think about it, explains perfectly the mentality of Free State politicians - no matter how much they have (€5208 a week, in this case) , they can't resist the 'need' to take more from the working class!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, June 03, 2015

A SICK BREED FOR WHOM SO MUCH MEANS SO LITTLE.

IN HONOUR OF PETER ROGER CASEMENT BRADY.

On Saturday 6th June, 2015, the 2nd Annual Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Summer School will take place in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon, from 9.30am to 5.30pm. This year the Summer School will be looking ahead to the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh worked throughout his life for economic, political and social justice both in Ireland and internationally and these themes will be reflected in the Summer School programme - current issues such as the campaign against water charges and the battle for the control of our natural resources, for example the Shell-to-Sea campaign, will be debated in terms of how these issues reflect in a modern context the ethos and thinking behind the 1916 Proclamation.

The Rising and the politics of commemoration : the relevance of the 1916 Proclamation and what it has to say to the Ireland of today. The 1916 Rising and Ireland's place in the global struggle against imperialism will all feed into what promises to be a day of lively debate and discussion and a book launch ('Selected Writings and Speeches Volume 1: 1970 -1986, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh', edited by Dieter Reinisch) will be held in the hotel straight after the Summer School at 6pm on the Saturday. On Sunday, 7th June, a commemoration will be held, which will form up beside the entrance to the Abbey Hotel at 11.45am and proceed to the grave of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh at St Coman’s Cemetery where the oration will be given by John Joe McCusker, Fermanagh. All genuine republicans welcome!





"TO BREAK THE CONNECTION WITH ENGLAND..."

ANNUAL WOLFE TONE COMMEMORATION : Sunday, June 14th, 2015, Sallins, Co. Kildare.

"From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Great Britain and Ireland as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt convinced that, while it lasted, this country could never be free nor happy. My mind has been confirmed in this opinion by the experience of every succeeding year, and the conclusions which I have drawn from every fact before my eyes. In consequence, I was determined to employ all the powers which my individual efforts could move, in order to separate the two countries. That Ireland was not able of herself to throw off the yoke, I knew ; I therefore sought for aid wherever it was to be found. In honourable poverty I rejected offers which, to a man in my circumstances, might be considered highly advantageous. I remained faithful to what I thought the cause of my country, and sought in the French Republic an ally to rescue three millions of my countrymen". - Theobald Wolfe Tone.

A lecture delivered to Dublin republicans by Joe Egan in November 1989 (who was a member of the RSF Education Department at the time) still makes for interesting reading today for Irish republicans. The subject covered is the death of Wolfe Tone :

"Theobald Wolfe Tone was born on June 20, 1763 - the exact time and date of his death are unknown. Wolfe Tone was sentenced to death on November 10th, 1798 ; on November 11th he was informed by his gaolers that he would be publicly hanged on the following day, Monday, at one o'clock. It is generally accepted that Wolfe Tone died on November 19, 1798 ; in fact, he could have been murdered at any time during the previous week, and there is no doubt, and none of us should be in any doubt, of his murder by British Crown agents. It is time now, once and for all, to bury the lie that Wolfe Tone took his own life. These false stories were put out at the time not just to cover up the murder but also as black propaganda to denigrate Tone and the Cause he cherished with all his being. The proof of their successes in trying to destroy Wolfe Tone's character is still evident today nearly 200 years later.

Yes, the British establishment was expert at that time at covering up their crimes, even more successful than they are today. Many historians to this day trot out the same British lies, as if they were gospel, that Tone committed suicide ; they quote all sorts of stories to 'back-up' their claims. They use the most abominable argument that especially as Wolfe Tone was of the Protestant faith it would not be repugnant for him to take his own life : I say here and now that this was and is the most objectionable of arguments. It was against everything Tone dedicated and gave his life for, namely, to substitute the common name of Irishman for the religious denominations. To spread the lie and imply that somehow being a Protestant made it acceptable to commit suicide is to be against all Wolfe Tone stood for. The argument is still going on with new books being written about Tone and praised and published by the present establishment who are as much against what Tone stood for as were the British establishment of the time.

Why do the establishment, British and Irish, make such a case for Wolfe Tone's suicide? Because to face the truth might make people today see the light and not just follow Tone's teachings but practice them. It is often quoted also that Tone's son accepted his father's suicide ; even if this were true it is of no consequence as what he thought one way or the other has no bearing on the facts. How did Tone's son know how long his father lay dying? There was no way he could know, no more than anyone else - at no time were any visitors allowed into see Wolfe Tone. His father tried every possible move through the courts to get his son free. His lawyer applied for and was immediately granted a writ of Habeas Corpus by Chief Justice Lord Kilwarden. Major Sandy, in charge of the barracks, was recognised generally as being a man with scant regard for justice or truth. It has been stated as proof of Tone's suicide that a man of Sandy's calibre and his hirelings wouldn't do such a botched murder that would take eight days for the victim to die.

How do we know how long Wolfe Tone took to die? It could very well have been eight minutes, not eight days. The only evidence ever produced to support the suicide verdict is an account from a French royalist, a Doctor Lentaigne, of whom little is known. This same doctor was by his being a royalist first, and working for the British Army, doubly opposed to all Wolfe Tone would stand for. How anyone with the remotest feeling for justice or truth could accept the word of such a man under the circumstances at the time is an insult to ordinary intelligence. But then as the old cliche says - "where ignorance is bliss it's folly to be wise." The secrets of a state prison at that period in history are seldom penetrated and even today would be virtually impossible. Abundant proof is available even today if a thorough search was to take place but we who wish to know the truth have only to know the man : he had dedicated himself to his principles and had seen his friends and compatriots, including his brother, hanged, and he would not let them or his country down by taking his own life.

Without knowing the man, even reading his last letters is enough to disprove the abominable lie that he committed suicide. Did he not write to his wife -
"My mind is as tranquil this moment as at any period in my life." One only has to read his last speech from the dock at his trial to see and understand the character of the man. Just to quote a few lines is enough to convince any fair mind of the impossibility of Wolfe Tone committing suicide ; only the avowed enemies of truth and justice could dare say otherwise - "Mr. President and gentlemen of the Court Martial : I mean not to give you the trouble of bringing judicial proof to convict me legally to having acted in hostility to the government of his Britannic Majesty in Ireland. I admit the fact from my earliest youth, I have regarded the connection between Ireland and Great Britain as the curse of the Irish nation and felt convinced that, whilst it lasted, this country could never be free nor happy."

Regarding the French, Wolfe Tone said - "Attached to no party in the French Republic, without interest, without money, without intrigue, the openness and integrity of my views raised me to a high and confidential rank in its armies ; under the flag of the French Republic I originally engaged with a view to save and liberate my own country. For that purpose, I have encountered the chances of war, amongst strangers. For that purpose, I have repeatedly braved the terrors of the ocean, covered as I knew it to be, with the triumphant fleets of that power, which it was my glory and my duty to oppose. I have sacrificed all my views in life ; I have courted poverty, I have left a beloved wife, unprotected children I adored, fatherless. After such sacrifices, in a cause which I have always conscientiously considered as the cause of justice and freedom - it is no great effort, at this day, to add the sacrifice of my life. To the eternal disgrace of those who gave the order, I was brought hither in irons, like a felon...."

During his last speech from the dock, Wolfe Tone stated - "I mention this for the sake of others, for me I am indifferent to it. I am aware of the fate which awaits me, and scorn equally the tone of complaint and that of supplication. Whatever be the sentence of this court, I am prepared for it. Its members will surely discharge their duty ; I shall take care not to be wanting in mine." Tone's use of the word 'eternal' and 'his duty' are obvious references to God and posterity and he would have been fully aware and very careful about their use. Any study of the man and any understanding of him as a person to those who wish to see the truth can only draw the one conclusion. To quote just a line or two from his last letters to his wife : "...be assured I will die as I have lived, and that you will have no cause to blush for me. Adieu, dearest love, keep your courage as I have kept mine. My mind is as tranquil this moment as at any period of my life." Are these the words of a man contemplating suicide? No! Wolfe Tone knew that suicide would have damned his reputation irreparably and consequently the cause he dedicated his life to. There is only one conclusion to be drawn knowing the man - murder by a person or persons unknown."

This brave man will be commemorated in Bodenstown Churchyard on Sunday, 14th June 2015, in what will be a fitting tribute by his republican comrades.





THE PRICE OF PEACE......

Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

Some of the prisoners had visitors, others didn't, but the gardaí would allow only one prisoner at a time receive a visitor. Elaine Bradley's husband and two children were standing outside, as they weren't allowed in. A garda asked one of the kids - "Is your mammy in there? Poor little fella...", and he gave the child ten pence. For a while afterwards, the child associated garda uniforms with nice people who give you money.

Some of the women remember being hysterical and banging on the metal doors ; upstairs, a woman called Sophie had been calling for what seemed a couple of hours for her medication - she was taking anti-biotics and the medication had been taken away. She became distraught and eventually the gardaí took her out into the corridor. She began having a seizure. The women in the cells, looking out through peepholes the size of a 2p coin, shouted for Ludy Methorsg to be let out of her cell to help Sophie. Ludy had medical training. The women pleaded and screamed for 15 minutes, and they saw Sophie's back arch and her body drop. Some of them thought she was dead.

The gardaí first said "Ah, she's just hysterical..." , but they finally allowed Ludy out of her cell and she examined Sophie and said she needed hospital treatment. The gardaí wouldn't do anything on their own authority, so they sent for the station sergeant, who agreed to allow the prisoner be taken to hospital. Having received a valium injection at Blanchardstown Hospital, Sophie was returned to the Bridewell, 45 minutes later, around 10pm. She was pale and shivering, wrapped in a blanket, but still considered to be a danger to Ronald Reagan : she was locked up for the night. (MORE LATER).





THE IRA.

THE NEW IRA IS YOUNGER, MORE RADICAL AND HAS SEEN LITTLE OF LIFE OTHER THAN VIOLENCE..... By Ed Moloney. From 'Magill' magazine, September 1980.

In 1974, Dáithí Ó Conaill praised the UWC loyalist strikers for showing "tremendous power and acting in a responsible way". On several occasions since he has described moves by loyalist paramilitary groups towards the idea of Northern independence as "encouraging". Although Federalism remains the official policy of Sinn Fein, it has now been rejected by the radical and Northern dominated IRA Army Council. One Army Council member explained why : "We are opposed to it because of the historic abuse of power by the loyalists in the North. Federalism wouldn't unite the Irish people, but perpetuate sectarian division". Ó Conaill's thinking as represented by his public statements between 1972 and 1975 led directly to the Feakle and post-Feakle talks, but is now light years away from the Northern radicals. Northern Provisionals are undeniably more sectarian than their Southern counterparts, not least of all because of the bloody carnage in Belfast and elsewhere in the North. Their view of Northern Protestants, influenced by left wing groups like the 'Peoples' Democracy', is that the Northern State is irreformable and so are most Northern Protestants.

The unease and leftward shift in republicanism allied to the change of attitude on Federalism has led inevitably to talk of there being two identifiable wings in the movement. One led by the spokesman for the radicals, Gerry Adams, and the other led by Ó Conaill. Twice last year the tensions between the two surfaced briefly. The first was in reaction to Gerry Adams' fiercely socialist oration at Bodenstown. The other was at a special weekend conference of 200 Sinn Féin leaders at Athlone last October (1979). By co-incidence, the Dublin-based 'Sunday World' newspaper published that same weekend an essentially accurate report claiming that Federalism was about to be abandoned and the Provos were about to 'lurch to the left'. The article also spoke about 'the waning influence' of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill . (MORE LATER).





ON THIS DATE (3RD JUNE) 41 YEARS AGO.

Michael Gaughan (pictured, left), the eleventh Irish republican to die on hunger strike. He was four months away from celebrating his 25th birthday.

Immortalised in song by Seamus Robinson , Michael Gaughan was an IRA activist in England and, in December 1971, he found himself in front of a British judge in the Old Bailey, where he was sentenced to seven years in Wormwood Scrubs for taking part in a (fund-raising) bank raid in north London. Two years later, he was transferred to Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight and demanded that he be treated as a political prisoner. This was refused and he was placed in solitary confinement before being moved to Parkhurst Prison, also on the Isle of Wight. On the 31st of March, 1974, Michael Gaughan joined an on-going hunger-strike protest and, after 23 days, he was force-fed : the tube that was forced down his throat punctured his lung, killing him, in Parkhurst Prison, on the 3rd of June, 1974. His body was removed from London and on Friday and Saturday, 7th and 8th June 1974, thousands of mourners lined the streets of Kilburn and marched behind his coffin, which was flanked by an IRA guard of honour, to a requiem mass held in the 'Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus' in Kilburn.

On that Saturday, his body was transported to Dublin where, again, it was met by mourners and another IRA guard of honour who brought it to the Adam and Eve's Franciscan church on Merchant's Quay, where thousands filed past as it lay in state. The following day, his body was removed to Ballina, County Mayo. The funeral mass took place on the 9th June, at St. Muredach's Cathedral, Ballina, and the procession then led to Leigue Cemetery, Ballina. Gaughan was given a full republican burial and was laid to rest in the Republican plot. Mayo republican Jackie Clarke (Seán Ó Clérigh) presided at the last obsequies, and the oration at his graveside was given by Dáithí Ó Conaill, who stated that Gaughan "had been tortured in prison by the vampires of a discredited empire who were joined by decrepit politicians who were a disgrace to the name of Irishmen..." His coffin was draped in the same Tricolour that was used for Terence McSwiney's funeral 54 years earlier. He left a final message in which he stated - "I die proudly for my country and in the hope that my death will be sufficient to obtain the demands of my comrades. Let there be no bitterness on my behalf, but a determination to achieve the new Ireland for which I gladly die. My loyalty and confidence is to the IRA and let those of you who are left carry on the work and finish the fight."

And today, 41 years after Michael Gaughan was buried, republicans are still working towards that same objective.





ON THIS DATE (3RD JUNE) 94 YEARS AGO : 'WARRIOR DAY' SHOOTING IN DUBLIN BY IRA.

This episode in republican history is definitely not as well known, or discussed as often as, other IRA actions from this period, and with good reason - the objective itself was sound, but the manner in which it was prosecuted was reckless, to put it mildly.

No doubt as part of its 'normalisation policy' of the time (1921) the British administration wanted to present Ireland to the rest of the so-called 'Commonwealth' (and further afield) as a colony where, apart from a few 'dissident troublemakers', its writ not only still ran but was welcomed by a majority of those in the country, same as Westminster attempts to depict the situation here today. And what better way to do so than to organise a cricket match in Dublin at which the British military would have an input, which is what they did on the 3rd of June, 1921.

The British military-linked 'Warrior's Day' ('...our crest is surmounted by the Imperial Crown that was worn by His Majesty King George V when the Council was established in 1921...the centre piece of the crest is a stylized rendering of the Princes' Gates depicting our loyalty to the Royal Family......many of our members served "King and Country....' from here) , established in 1921, was to be marked ('celebrated') in Dublin on the 3rd of June, 1921 - when the fighting between the IRA and the British military was at its most vicious - by the holding of a cricket match between the 'Gentlemen of Ireland' and the British military in the grounds of Trinity College. The IRA wasn't prepared to allow proceedings take place without incident and two men, Paddy O'Connor and Jim McGuiness, were instructed to stop the match - "....our instructions were that we were to go down to the vicinity of Trinity College and fire into the grounds.... Jimmy McGuinness and myself cycled down as the match was just starting. From a position behind the boundary wall of Trinity College at Lincoln Place, the two of us opened fire in the general direction of the players...."

And this, from the same source - "At 5.30pm, just as the military band was leaving the field after the tea break, shots rang out from the railings on the Nassau Street side of the ground. The band and the Army players, who were fielding, threw themselves to the ground. Not knowing what was going on, the two batsmen looked on in stunned disbelief before they too were hauled to the ground by the soldiers. According to the Irish Times, two men had cycled up '..and carefully placed their machines against the kerbstone. They advanced towards the railings and, producing revolvers, fired them in the direction of the players. They then put their revolvers in their pockets, remounted their bicycles, and rode away....' "

Two female spectators were shot, one of whom, only 21 years of age, died as a result of her wound. It was, at best, a reckless attack on the British military which could and should have been carried out in a more organised (and therefore successful) manner although, having said that, it did expose the Westminster-attempted 'normalisation policy' as the folly it was then, and is now.





SPEAK OUT....

...AND BE DAMNED!

The man pictured above, using the loudhailer - Martin Reilly, a solid person that myself and many others have had the pleasure of protesting various issues with - has found himself being victimised due to the fact that he has made a stand, on subjects ranging from the double-water tax issue to injustices against Irish republicans. Martin is a gentleman, well educated, soft-spoken and strong in his convictions, and has now being singled out for standing up for what he believes in - his employer called him into an office and "..told me I was being suspended, when I asked why I was shocked with the answer I received....because of (my) involvement in tap tax protests....."(more here.)

This is by no means the first time that something like this has happened, and definitely won't be the last, but such sackings/suspensions are usually masked and/or cloaked with a veneer of 'legal respectability' ( ie 'outside contractors/customers folded and his/her position became untenable' etc) but, in this case, the employer seems to be of the opinion that they are within their rights to punish an employee because of the social issues that that employee protests against in his/her own time. I would hope that all readers of this piece will highlight this injustice on their own blog/site/Facebook page etc as it could be anyone of us next.





BREAK A LEG. SERIOUSLY.

If there was a 'Shameless Corner' section of this blog then the following would be assured a spot in the top three, at the very least - '...the new farcical play about the 1916 Easter Rising (in which) Padraig Pearse...the annoying little twerp..will be portrayed as a cross-dressing control freak with a fixation on his mother...Connolly is a gruff thug; Dev is a morose creep, Michael Collins is a wide-boy on the make....' (more here.)

The people behind this and, indeed, those that go to see it are, in my opinion, infected with a sense of self-loathing to the extent that they have no concern for their own dignity or that of others and are divested of all moral reference points. If they could get away with 'putting on a show' about the death of a family member, and felt that to do so would further their stage/screen 'career', I have no doubt that they would do it and would consider it sufficient reward for having done so if, as a result, they were invited on to a TV chat show to discuss how 'funny' they are. They are a sick breed for whom so much means so little.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.