" 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, February 03, 2016

THE STRANGER REAPS OUR HARVEST, THE ALIEN OWNS OUR SOIL.

LEINSTER HOUSE ADMINISTRATION DISSOLVED, 3RD FEBRUARY 2016. A TEMPORARY REPRIEVE ONLY.

The Leinster House administration - the 29th such State body - was brought to an end today and already the political promises are coming hot and heavy. And here's another one : no matter who you vote for, we promise that a State administration will be elected and the temporary reprieve will be brought to an end. The political system here is geared towards 'term politics' ie a State general election must be held every seven years but statute law demands that same must be held within a five-year period of the last such election. Which, basically, means that each Leinster House politician and/or political party is limited, time-wise, in financially securing their own future, at the taxpayers expense, so anything goes, once the end result is financial gain.

They will fill their own pockets by emptying yours. Don't voluntarily 'play your part' in enabling them to do that to you, don't facilitate them in doing that to you and don't assist them in enriching themselves at your expense. On Friday 26th February 2016, hit back...!





PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.

First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O'Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.

BIRD MAN... by John Doran

Gitboy gave a cheeky grin over at Kevin and said "What are you going to do about it, Birdman?", and he picked all the dead birds up and put them in the bin in the prison yard as he walked around it. He was getting braver by the day. He would call Kevin names out the window at night - he knew that Kevin was due for release soon and he would have to give him a good beating before then. Gitboy's paranoia was working overtime now. A week passed and there were dead crows in the yard each day, and Kevin would gather them up and place them in the bin as Gitboy and his gang slagged him. Kevin knew he couldn't take this much longer. He got word from one of the inmates that he was going to get a good beating soon from all of the gang members.

Kevin decided to go up to Gitboy's cell early one morning and confront him on his own and, as he made his way there, a screw stopped him and told him not to do anything or he would sound the alarm. He made his way back down to his own cell, knowing that he had to come up with another plan quickly.

As he sat in his bed that night, 'Greybird' landed on his window sill. Kevin looked out his cell window and, as usual, the floodlights were on. He brought 'Greybird' into the cell, and noticed that the bird was very distressed. He talked to him - he could communicate with the bird, and he got an idea which he put to him. The bird got very excited : it was worth a try, he told him. He stayed up all night, putting his plan to the test. The next morning was a lovely summer's day , as Gitboy was togged out in his shorts, and lay out in the sun, in the centre half of the football tarmac pitch, soaking up the sunshine. He always took up the same position in the yard. The crows were like soldiers along the walls, ready for the battlefield.... (MORE LATER.)





IRISH POLITICAL PRISONERS IN ENGLAND.

There are currently 52 sentenced Irish republicans in jails in England. Although they are continually transferred from one 'maximum security' jail to another, the list below is a fairly accurate guide to where they are presently being held. Included in the list, where known, are their prison numbers. Anyone able to send a card or letter to any of these prisoners should ensure that they include the correct number and full address, since otherwise it is unlikely they will be received.

From 'IRIS' magazine, July/August 1982.

HM Prison Gartree, Leicester Road, Market Harborough, LE16 7RP : Liam Baker (464984), Eddie Byrne(873453), Patrick Guilfoyle (507956), Séan Hayes (341418), Séan Kinsella (758661), Shane O'Doherty (336143).

HM Prison Long Lartin, South Littleton, Evesham, Worcs., WR115TZ : Martin Brady (119087), Anthony Cunningham (B03106), Gerry Cunningham (132016), Robert Cunningham (131877), Paul Holmes (119034), Con McFadden (130662), William McLarnon (119082), Andy Mulryan (461576), Patrick Mulryan (461575), James Murphy (340235), Peter Toal (516099).

HM Prison Durham, Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3HU : Ann Gillespie (994769), Eileen Gillespie (994770). (MORE LATER.)





1916 - WHAT DID IT MEAN FOR IRISH WOMEN....?

By Ursula Barry.

. What is there for women in Ireland to commemorate in 1916? Did the 1916 Proclamation and the subsequent 'Democratic Programme of the First Dáil' contain radical or revolutionary statements on the position of women in Irish society that were later betrayed or sold out in the process of establishing the Free State?

From 'Iris' magazine, Easter 1991.

Whatever concessions have been achieved since the establishment of the Free State which have improved the position of women have been the result of the overwhelming demands by women for greater control over their lives. While partition generated two states resistant and antagonistic to the needs of women, republicanism, in all its aspects, has rarely built on its radical strand reflected in the 1916 Proclamation.

Perhaps looking back at the early decades of this century shows us more than anything, that equality and liberation for women in this and every society demands and requires its independent voices and organisations. Only from a position of power have women both influenced and played a central part in the radical republican tradition.

(END of '1916 - What Did It Mean For Irish Women?' : NEXT - 'GROWING UP IN LONG KESH', from 1999.)





ON THIS DATE (3RD FEBRUARY) 97 YEARS AGO : KEY TO A BETTER CAKE DISCOVERED!

At the first meeting of the 32-County Dáil Éireann, in Dublin's Mansion House (on 21st January 1919), Cathal Brugha was elected as 'Acting President' in place of Eamonn de Valera, who was at that time still in a British jail (imprisoned for his part in an alleged 'German Plot' against Westminster). de Valera had contested a seat in the 14th December 1918 general election for the Falls constituency of Belfast but lost to local 'United Irish League' leader, Joe Devlin, by 8,488 votes to 3,245. In September 1919, the British declared Dáil Éireann to be an "illegal assembly" and it was forced to go 'underground' but, 'underground' or not, it still functioned : Michael Collins and Harry Boland made plans to rescue de Valera from Lincoln Jail in England and, on the 3rd February 1919 - 97 years ago on this date - '..here is what actually happened at Lincoln Jail. As de Valera regularly served Mass in the church jail, it was an easy matter for him to pocket a few candles. He melted these down and took an impression of the Chaplain's master key. As there were double locks on every door, the master key was a must.

There were two ordinary keys made that didn't work. De Valera made the first impression and had it smuggled out of prison and sent to Gerard Boland in Dublin. Boland sent back the key in a Christmas cake but it didn't turn the lock. A second impression was made which was sent to Manchester where craftsmen cut what they thought was a true replica. It too was a fiasco. At that juncture Peter De Loughry told dev to have a blank key sent into the prison with a file, saying: "I'll cut it myself". The blank key and the file arrived this time in a birthday cake. Peter who was an expert locksmith easily cut a perfect replica.

Outside waiting at the last gate to freedom were Michael Collins and Harry Boland. As Collins spied Dev, Milroy and McGarry coming towards the door, he inserted another key, which he believed would open the last door to freedom. He attempted to turn the lock, giving the key a powerful twist. It broke in the lock. Collins was raging. "I’ve broken the key in the lock - what are we going to do now?" Dev muttered something while inserting the key Peter De Loughry had cut for him. It knocked out the broken part and with one turn the lock clicked open. The five men shook hands and disappeared into the night. Peter De Loughry did not escape with the others as he had but a few weeks left to serve out his sentence...'
(from here.)

Rumours persist to this day that Westminster allowed de Valera to escape as they were aware that he would soon turn his back on republicanism and accept Westminster-imposed Free State structures, which he did in 1926, to the degree that he executed former comrades to help safeguard the British presence in Ireland! Damn those weak locks in Lincoln Jail and damn those that followed de Valera through a 'constitutional door' and into Leinster House...





ON THIS DATE (3RD FEBRUARY) 120 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF 'SPERANZA OF THE NATION'.

"No voice that was raised in the cause of the poor and oppressed, none that denounced political wrong-doing in Ireland, was more eagerly listened to than that of the graceful and accomplished woman known in literature as 'Speranza' and in society as Lady Wilde..." - Martin MacDermott.

Lady Jane Wilde ('Speranza of The Nation' aka 'John Fanshaw Ellis') née Jane Francesca Elgee, mother of Oscar Wilde, died in London from bronchitis on the 3rd February 1896 - 120 years ago on this date. At the time, Oscar was incarcerated in Wandsworth Prison, serving a two year hard labour sentence for 'gross indecency' – homosexuality. Despite her dying wish, she was not allowed to see him. Lady Jane Wilde was famous in her own right as a writer and poet : she was an ardent nationalist in addition to being a staunch feminist. Her most famous poem is probably 'The Famine Year' -

The Famine Year (The Stricken Land).



Weary men, what reap ye?—Golden corn for the stranger.

What sow ye?— human corpses that wait for the avenger.

Fainting forms, hunger–stricken, what see you in the offing?

Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger’s scoffing.

There’s a proud array of soldiers — what do they round your door?

They guard our masters’ granaries from the thin hands of the poor.

Pale mothers, wherefore weeping — would to God that we were dead;

Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.

Little children, tears are strange upon your infant faces,

God meant you but to smile within your mother’s soft embraces.



Oh! we know not what is smiling, and we know not what is dying;

We’re hungry, very hungry, and we cannot stop our crying.

And some of us grow cold and white — we know not what it means;

But, as they lie beside us, we tremble in our dreams.

There’s a gaunt crowd on the highway — are ye come to pray to man,

With hollow eyes that cannot weep, and for words your faces wan?



No; the blood is dead within our veins — we care not now for life;

Let us die hid in the ditches, far from children and from wife;

We cannot stay and listen to their raving, famished cries —

Bread! Bread! Bread! and none to still their agonies.

We left our infants playing with their dead mother’s hand:

We left our maidens maddened by the fever’s scorching brand:

Better, maiden, thou were strangled in thy own dark–twisted tresses —

Better, infant, thou wer't smothered in thy mother’s first caresses.



We are fainting in our misery, but God will hear our groan:

Yet, if fellow–men desert us, will He hearken from His Throne?

Accursed are we in our own land, yet toil we still and toil;

But the stranger reaps our harvest— the alien owns our soil.

O Christ! how have we sinned, that on our native plains

We perish houseless, naked, starved, with branded brow, like Cain’s?

Dying, dying wearily, with a torture sure and slow —

Dying, as a dog would die, by the wayside as we go.



One by one they’re falling round us, their pale faces to the sky;

We’ve no strength left to dig them graves — there let them lie.

The wild bird, if he’s stricken, is mourned by the others,

But we — we die in a Christian land — we die amid our brothers,

In the land which God has given, like a wild beast in his cave,

Without a tear, a prayer, a shroud, a coffin or a grave.

Ha! but think ye the contortions on each livid face ye see,

Will not be read on judgement–day by eyes of Deity?



We are wretches, famished, scorned, human tools to build your pride,

But God will take vengeance for the souls for whom Christ died.

Now is your hour of pleasure — bask ye in the world’s caresses;

But our whitening bones against ye will rise as witnesses,

From the cabins and the ditches, in their charred, uncoffin’d masses,

For the Angel of the Trumpet will know them as he passes.

A ghastly, spectral army, before the great God we’ll stand,

And arraign ye as our murderers, the spoilers of our land.


Folklore has it that, as she lay dying in her home (146 Oakley Street, Chelsea), on the 3rd February 1896 - 120 years ago on this date - aware that her request to visit her son, Oscar, had been refused, her 'fetch' (apparition) appeared before Oscar in his cell. Oscar was physically unable to arrange the details for his mother's funeral and that onerous task fell to his brother, William ('Willie') Charles Kingsbury Wilde who, unfortunately, was penniless. Oscar managed to scrap together the bare amount to pay for the funeral service (which was held on the 5th February at Kensal Green Cemetery in London) but the family could not afford a headstone and so Jane Wilde was buried 'anonymously in common ground'. The 'Oscar Wilde Society' later erected a Celtic Cross monument in her memory in the cemetery in the late 1990's. As Oscar himself might have observed - "Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."





ON THIS DATE (3RD FEBRUARY) 135 YEARS AGO : 'LAND LEAGUE' LEADER ARRESTED BY BRITISH FORCES.

On the 21st October 1879 a meeting of concerned individuals was held in the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar, County Mayo, to discuss issues in relation to 'landlordism' and the manner in which that subject impacted on those who worked on small land holdings on which they paid 'rent', an issue which other groups, such as tenants' rights organisations and groups who, confined by a small membership, agitated on land issues in their own locality, had voiced concern about. Those present agreed to announce themselves as the 'Irish National Land League' (which, at its peak, had 200,000 active members) and Charles Stewart Parnell (who, at 33 years of age, had been an elected member of parliament for the previous four years) was elected president of the new group and Andrew Kettle, Michael Davitt, and Thomas Brennan were appointed as honorary secretaries.

The leadership had 'form' in that each had made a name for themselves as campaigners on social issues of the day and were, as such, 'known' to the British authorities ; Michael Davitt, who was born into poverty in Straide, Mayo, on the 25th of March, 1846 - at the time of An Gorta Mór - was the second of five children, and was only four years of age when his family were evicted from their home over rent owed, and the dwelling was destroyed by the evicting militia. His father, Martin, was left with no choice but to travel to England to look for a job. Martin's wife, Sabina, and their five children, were given temporary accommodation by the local priest in Straide. The family were eventually reunited, in England, where young Michael attended school for a few years. His family were struggling, financially, so he obtained work, aged 9, as a labourer (he told his boss he was 13 years old and got the job - working from 6am to 6pm, with a ninty-minute break and a wage of 2s.6d a week) but within weeks he had secured a 'better' job, operating a spinning machine but, at only 11 years of age, his right arm got entangled in the machinery and had to be amputated. There was no compensation offered, and no more work, either, for a one-armed machine operator, but he eventually managed to get a job helping the local postmaster.

He was sixteen years young at that time, and was curious about his Irish roots and wanted to know more - he learned all he could about Irish history and, at 19 years young, joined the Fenian movement in England. Two years afterwards he became the organising secretary for northern England and Scotland for that organisation but, on the 18th July 1870 - in his early 20's - he was arrested in Paddington Station in London after the British had uncovered an IRB operation to import arms. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, on a 'hard labour' ticket, and served seven years in Dartmoor Prison in horrific conditions before being released in 1877, at the age of 31, on December 19th. Almost immediately, he took on the position as a member of the Supreme Council of the IRB and returned to Ireland in January 1878, to a hero's welcome. At the above-mentioned meeting in the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar he spoke about the need "..to bring out a reduction of rack-rents...to facilitate the obtaining of the ownership of the soil by the occupiers...the object of the League can be best attained by promoting organisation among the tenant-farmers; by defending those who may be threatened with eviction for refusing to pay unjust rents; by facilitating the working of the Bright clauses of the Irish Land Act during the winter; and by obtaining such reforms in the laws relating to land as will enable every tenant to become owner of his holding by paying a fair rent for a limited number of years..."

In January 1881, Westminster introduced a 'Land Act' ('Coercion/The Protection of Person and Property Act') which was the first of over a hundred such 'laws' that aimed to suppress the increasing discontent in Ireland with British 'landlordism' and it was under those 'laws' that, on the 3rd February 1881 - 135 years ago on this date - Michael Davitt was arrested for being too 'outspoken' in his speeches (he had then only recently addressed a crowd in Loughgall, County Armagh : "Landlords of Ireland are all of one religion. Their god is mammon and rack-rents and evictions their only morality while the toilers of the fields – whether Orangemen, Catholics, Presbyterians or Methodists – are the victims..."). While in prison, he was elected MP for Meath but was disqualified from taking his seat as he was 'an incarcerated felon'.

Michael Davitt died at 60 years of age in Elphis Hospital in Dublin on the 30th of May 1906, from blood poisoning - he had a tooth extracted and contracted septicaemia from the operation. His body was taken to the Carmelite Friary in Clarendon Street, Dublin, then by train to Foxford in Mayo and he was buried in Straide Abbey, near where he was born.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Monday, February 01, 2016

WHITENING IRISH BONES RISE AS WITNESSES...

...FROM THE CABINS AND THE DITCHES.

HM Prison Gartree, HM Prison Long Lartin and HM Prison Durham - names and numbers of Irish republican prisoners detained there...this is the 'key' to a better cake - one which will open doors for you. But beware of where exactly it is that those doors lead to...this famous lady, a mother of an Irish 'celebrity', died while her son was in prison but he was refused compassionate parole and, to make matters worse, there was no money for a proper burial - her remains were placed, without a headstone, 'anonymously in common ground'......this Irish hero witnessed his family being evicted and their dwelling destroyed and, forced to work to sustain his now-homeless clan, he lost an arm in an industrial action - all before he reached his teenage years. But that didn't stop him campaigning against British interference in Irish affairs....

MORE on Wednesday 3rd February 2016.






Wednesday, January 27, 2016

FREE STATE MINISTER CALLS FOR MORE IRA MEMBERS TO BE EXECUTED.

BLOODY SUNDAY PICKET , SATURDAY 30TH JANUARY, 2016.


After a peaceful civil rights march on the 30th January, 1972 - from Creggan to Free Derry Corner - units of the British army Parachute Regiment opened fire with automatic rifles and shot dead 13 unarmed civilians, injuring many more. It was later revealed that some days prior to the massacre, the British soldiers involved had been briefed to "..shoot to kill.." at the march.

"This Sunday became known as 'Bloody Sunday' and bloody it was. It was quite unnecessary. It strikes me that the (British) army ran amok that day and shot without thinking of what they were doing. They were shooting innocent people. They may have been taking part in a parade which was banned, but that did not justify the troops coming in and firing live rounds indiscriminately. I would say without reservations that it was sheer unadulterated murder. It was murder, gentlemen." - the words of British Major Hubert O'Neill, Derry City Coroner, at the conclusion of the inquests on the 13 people killed by the British Army.

On Saturday 30th January 2016, a picket to mark the 44th Anniversary of that massacre will be held on the traffic isle facing the GPO in Dublin, from 12 Noon to 1pm . All genuine republicans welcome!





LEINSTER HOUSE POLITICIANS ATTEMPT TO DESECRATE REPUBLICAN MONUMENT.

'..throughout Easter Week, the women engaged in the fight also helped to look after the wounded and volunteered to do the difficult and dangerous task of carrying the numerous vital dispatches between the various garrisons and outposts, in addition to gathering intelligence on British troop movements around the city. They also transported food supplies and ammunition through the many British army checkpoints. On Saturday April 29th,1916, Nurse Elizabeth O Farrell, Julia Greenan and Winifred Carney (James Connolly's secretary) who had all moved to the new republican HQ in Moore Street following the evacuation of the GPO, carried Padraig Pearse's final order of surrender to British General Lowe at the corner of Moore Street and Parnell Street. Cumann na mBan were instructed to tour the republican garrisons with Pearse's order to surrender...the cause that these women fought for is still with us, as is the history they left us. It is not a history of appeasement...'(from a piece posted on this blog in December 2002.)

The republican HQ in Moore Street is in more danger now, in 2016, from an anti-republican element in Leinster House than it was 100 years ago from an anti-republican element in Westminster. But the fight to save that monument continues : Save Moore Street 2016 : Save Moore Street from Demolition, January 2016. A march from Liberty Hall to Moore Street will be led by 1916 Easter Rising uniformed flag bearers from local history and folklore groups. Assembling at Liberty Hall at 1pm, Saturday 30th January 2016. The route will begin at Liberty Hall making its way to Moore Street, following in the footsteps of the men and women of the 1916 Easter Rising, marking a number of significant historic events along the route, culminating in a rally at the GPO. The march will be addressed by relatives of those present at Moore Street in 1916, historians of the Irish Revolution, Moore Street campaigning groups and concluding with several musicians.... (from here.)

If you can make it to this rally, please do so : if you can't, please share the above information as far and as wide as you can. Leinster House has, since its inception, attempted to dismantle Irish republicanism and destroying the Moore Street HQ would suit their agenda more so than preserving the site. 'Feet on the Street' can stop them - 1pm, Liberty Hall, Dublin, Saturday 30th January 2016.





PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.

First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O'Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.

BIRD MAN... by John Doran

When Gitboy came back from the hospital he was transferred back to Mountjoy Prison. From that day on, Kevin continued to look after the crows. Gitboy was very upset over the beating he got from Kevin, and nobody was afraid of him anymore. This made him mad. "It was all Kevin's fault and the birds too...", he thought. He would have to do something to make them pay for what they did to him.

The months passed, he stayed clear from trouble and he put in for a transfer back to Portlaoise Prison. The governor told him that his request for the transfer was granted and that as soon as a cell was empty he would be moved. At last his plan was working, it was only a matter of time now. He started to do a lot of weight training and running, so he could get fit again. He wouldn't make a fool of himself the next time - he would make sure of that and not suffer the humiliation. They would all soon respect him again, once he sorted out the birdman.

He was taken out of his cell one day and transferred back to Portlaoise Prison. All the prisoners knew that he was up to no good and some of them told Kevin this. He was back. He just laughed at them and said he didn't want anymore trouble, that he was getting out soon. He quickly formed his own gang, and passed the word around that Kevin was afraid of him. As the inmates made their way out to the yard a few crows lay dead, everyone knew it had to be Gitboy. Kevin picked up one dead bird and, opening up his beak, he looked into his mouth and could see he had been poisoned. He told himself to keep cool as he was getting out soon. He looked over to where Gitboy was sitting on the bench with his gang... (MORE LATER.)





IRISH POLITICAL PRISONERS IN ENGLAND.

There are currently 52 sentenced Irish republicans in jails in England. Although they are continually transferred from one 'maximum security' jail to another, the list below is a fairly accurate guide to where they are presently being held. Included in the list, where known, are their prison numbers. Anyone able to send a card or letter to any of these prisoners should ensure that they include the correct number and full address, since otherwise it is unlikely they will be received.

From 'IRIS' magazine, July/August 1982.

HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs, Du Cane Road, London W12 : William Armstrong 119085 , Martin Coughlan 507955, Kevin Dunphy 134893, Paul Norney 863532.

HM Prison Albany, Newport , Isle of Wright : Jimmy Ashe 507951, James Bennett 464989, Stephen Blake 507953, Anthony Clarke 726381, Patrick Christie 514787, Joe Duffy 507952, Noel Gibson 879225, Ronnie McCartney 463799, Raymond McLaughlin 509387, Roy Walsh 119083.

HM Prison Parkhurst, Newport, Isle of Wright : Robert Campbell B32954, Hugh Doherty 338636, Vincent Donnelly 274064, Harry Duggan 338638, Bernard McCafferty (unknown), Joe O'Connell 338635, Gerry Young 507954. (MORE LATER.)





1916 - WHAT DID IT MEAN FOR IRISH WOMEN....?

By Ursula Barry.

. What is there for women in Ireland to commemorate in 1916? Did the 1916 Proclamation and the subsequent 'Democratic Programme of the First Dáil' contain radical or revolutionary statements on the position of women in Irish society that were later betrayed or sold out in the process of establishing the Free State?

From 'Iris' magazine, Easter 1991.

The significance of the period at the turn of this century was that radical republicanism was at its most powerful and both socialist and feminist thinking was influential. But the Tan War, the Civil War and the resulting partition of this island marked its defeat, and no period of radical economic and social change occurred in either state.

Unrelenting emigration and under-development have characterised the economy of this island ; the energies of those in power were devoted exclusively to holding onto that power. Both states fear an exploration of their origins to the point that history is almost subversive. Demands for social and economic change in the South and political reform in the North have been viewed as threatening the very existence of those states. (MORE LATER.)





ON THIS DATE (27TH JANUARY) 93 YEARS AGO : TWO IRA PRISONERS EXECUTED BY FREE STATE ADMINISTRATION.

The execution of Offaly IRA Volunteers Joseph Byrne and Patrick Geraghty : JOSEPH BYRNE, from Cruith, Daingean, and Rochfordbridge native PATRICK GERAGHTY were executed in Portlaoise Jail, by firing squad, on 27th January 1923 - 93 years ago on this date:

'Byrne was sentenced to death for allegedly possessing a Webley revolver while Geraghty was alleged to have had an automatic pistol at Croghan on 10th November 1922. Byrne, 25, was an Adjutant in the 3rd Battalion (Tyrrellspass), Offaly No. 1 Brigade IRA. Geraghty, 33, was O/C of the same Battalion. Republicans were adamant that both men were unarmed when captured and that they faced trumped up charges. According to the 'Midland Tribune' newspaper Geraghty fired on Free State troops and a brisk exchange of rifle fire took place. The 'Offaly Independent' reported Free State troops surrounding a farmhouse where there was a fierce exchange of shots. Byrne apparently surrendered while Geraghty escaped and took cover in a field beside the house, where he blazed away at the troops with a 'Peter-the- Painter' automatic pistol.

Whatever the case against Geraghty, it was generally believed that Byrne was innocent of the charge against him. Thomas Dunne, of Offaly County Council, stated Byrne was unjustly executed as he had "no firearms at the time of his arrest." Byrne's family were one of the early vanguards of the Irish Volunteers in their local area. It was a mark of the high esteem he was held and an indication of how popular he was that prayers were asked for the happy repose of his soul at all the Masses at Daingean on the Sunday following his execution. This was at a time of acute Catholic Church hostility towards the IRA. Betrayed by an informer, Byrne, Geraghty and another IRA Volunteer, who managed to escape, were staying in a safe house at Croghan belonging to a relation of Byrne. A local informer, a young boy, betrayed them to Free State forces in Tullamore. In his final letter Byrne forgave his enemies:
"I forgive everyone. I don't bear malice to any of the men that are going to execute me. I will pray for them. Oh! I am so happy Paddy and myself are going to heaven for anyhow the world is but empty and what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul..."

While Geraghty was 'shot out and out,' Byrne had to be shot a second time as the first volley of shots was not fatal. He stumbled and fell, got up, and was on his knees crying for his mother when at point-blank range he was shot in the back of the head...Kevin O'Higgins, Leix-Offaly (later known as 'Laois-Offaly') TD and (Free State) Minister for Home Affairs...demanded a greater geographical distribution of executions as it was thought executions confined to Dublin did not have the desired local impact. O'Higgins insisted that "..there should be executions in every county. Local executions would tend considerably to shorten the struggle...." (from here.)

It took a few years, but O'Higgins' recommendations re executions ('more of same, please...') was eventually heeded...





500,000 REASONS TO VOTE 'NOTA' IN 2016 STATE GENERAL ELECTION.

"...one of the essences of a democracy is that you can trust the electoral system...when you've got a situation where, certainly at least half a million people on the register shouldn't be on it, then can you be truthfully confident that the register can be totally trusted and the electoral system can be totally trusted...?" - political analyst Odran Flynn.

For my part - and for many thousands of people like me - the answer to the above questions is 'No'. I don't trust the State electoral register, I don't trust the electoral system and I don't trust the electoral institution that the candidates are doing battle to get into.

'Just six weeks from the General Election, the report endorsed by TDs and senators of the Oireachtas environment committee finds that at the last election the register of electors contained almost half a million people more than it should have....' - from here. Dodgy electoral register or not, and equally dodgy 'grab all' candidates or not, the fact is that this State has, since its inception, been host to a dodgy election system, institutions and politicians, all of which should not be encouraged by partaking in any process which would sustain that position. The best solution, and one which is supported by thousands of voters here on a regular basis, is to claim your ballot paper and spoil it deliberately by writing a message on it. An interesting discussion on the 'NOTA' trend in this State can be viewed here : feel free to add to it and/or share it on your own social media outlets. But above all - vote 'NOTA' when the time comes!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Monday, January 25, 2016

A CHANCE MEETING IN A QUIET DUBLIN SUBURB...

"MORE EXECUTIONS!" , HE SAID. AND THERE WAS...

This Free State Minister publicly called for more IRA men to be executed and, a few years later - in a chance meeting - he was approached by IRA men who didn't ask him to repeat himself....500,000 more reasons to vote 'NOTA' in the up-coming FS general election....HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs, Du Cane Road, London and HM Prison Albany, Newport , Isle of Wright and HM Prison Parkhurst, Newport, Isle of Wright - names and numbers from the early 1980's.....

MORE on Wednesday 27th January 2016.






Wednesday, January 20, 2016

ELEVEN IRA PRISONERS EXECUTED IN ONE DAY BY FREE STATERS.

PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.

First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O'Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.

BIRD MAN... by John Doran

The months passed, and the crow paired up with another pretty crow. After a number of years the rooftop was covered with crows, and Kevin would mix the bread and butter in a bucket and feed them every morning. He always took good care of the crows if anything happened to them and he always cleaned up after them and washed the benches after they were fed. This passed the morning for him.

A prisoner, Gitboy, was transferred from Mountjoy Prison : he was a very violent man, who was always in trouble. He was well known throughout all the prisons, and all the prisoners would never trust him, if they had a fight with him, as he had a reputation for attacking people from behind. His face was covered with scars. Gitboy was a big man with grey hair, some prisoners feared him. He moved 'next door' to Kevin, and things were quiet for a few days. But one morning Gitboy told kevin "I'm going to kill all the crows". Kevin asked him why he would do that, and Gitboy replied "I don't like crows, they wake me up too early in the mornings." Kevin told him that would be a bad thing to do, as the crows are harmless.

Gitboy tried to headbutt Kevin, but Kevin was like lightning : he got out of Gitboy's way and quickly gave him a left and a right to the jaw, and Gitboy went down. Kevin could have finished him off but he didn't. Gitboy got to his feet and Kevin done the 'Ali shuffle' and gave him a few more head punches. Gitboy fell to the floor and busted his head open. He was out for the count... (MORE LATER.)







IS PEACE SAFE WITH ANDREWS....?

Where politics once stagnated, events in Northern Ireland now chase each other helter-skelter. As 'Magill' went to press, a new joint government document turned recent perceptions head over heels. Fionnuala O'Connor charts the doubts behind the instant reactions. From 'Magill' magazine, February 1998.

But no matter how often violence blocks the path, if Northern Ireland (sic) is ever to find stability the present peace process, or something very like it*, still seems the most likely route to the necessary compromises. Which is the framework worked out two years ago by the two governments. Sinn Féin never openly welcomed that document **. It is a measure of how they have come to terms internally with compromise that they now profess such concern at the possibility that Dublin has backed away from it.

This is how a republican definition of that compromise goes in private: "The framework document turns out to be the minimum republicans*** could sell. The minimum. And only because it implies a dynamic towards an open-ended settlement, in the assurance of demographic change, sectarianism shrinking here so we can end up in a decent place—which, you know, isn't that hard to stick. With further possibilities."

An upbeat note. The downside is the grim possibility that, even if a stable compromise is ever reached by "the central ground of the Ulster Unionists, SDLP, Alliance and Sinn Féin" - a surprising recent description by John Major - violence by groups outside any new consensus, like the LVF and INLA, may still not come to an end.

(* The "something very like it" will have to include a very definite date of withdrawal from Ireland by Westminster otherwise it, too - like the 1998 effort - will fail. // ** "never openly welcomed" ? Not 'openly' so , perhaps (but internally their leadership were letting it be known that they supported it), in February 1998, when that article was published but, within weeks, the Provisional Sinn Féin organisation and its affiliates, were publicly supporting it. // *** For "republicans" read 'nationalists' - republicans had already rejected that 'treaty'.) (END of 'Is Peace Safe With Andrews?' NEXT - 'Irish Political Prisoners In England', from 'Iris' magazine, July/August 1982.)







1916 - WHAT DID IT MEAN FOR IRISH WOMEN....?

By Ursula Barry.

. What is there for women in Ireland to commemorate in 1916? Did the 1916 Proclamation and the subsequent 'Democratic Programme of the First Dáil' contain radical or revolutionary statements on the position of women in Irish society that were later betrayed or sold out in the process of establishing the Free State?

From 'Iris' magazine, Easter 1991.

A time when socialism, feminism and republicanism were on the agenda, were subject to debate, when ideas were explored and revolution was in the air, when women were organised and militant and powerful enough to ensure that those early documents which attempted to characterise the incipient republic asserted a radical image of a society in which the equality of women and the rights of workers and small farmers would be a founding principle.

Key individuals, like Constance Markievicz, James Connolly and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, were central to this process but the debate around the kind of social and economic system which was to be built in an independent Ireland was weak and thin on the ground. It is hardly surprising, in that context, that it was so marginalised and that feminist and workers' organisations were subjugated in the early decades of the Free State.

It should also be said that the conservative and essentially anti-women ideology that shaped the contours of the Free State and the Six-County State have always been part of Irish nationalism. Radical popular republicanism and right-wing reactionary thinking have existed side by side inside the Republican Movement throughout its history. (MORE LATER.)







I DON'T GET PAID TWICE FOR THE SAME JOB, AND I DON'T PAY TWICE FOR THE SAME UTILITY!

An RSF protester at one of the many protests held in this State against the forced imposition of a double-tax on the supply of household water.

It hasn't gone away, you know. Although it has eased off considerably, due to the impending State 'general election' which, apparently, is due to be held here sometime in the next six weeks and the politicians don't want the electorate being reminded that one of the ways in which they attempted to screw them more than once - the water tax - is still an on-going issue which has only been 'parked' (postponed) until after they get as many voters as possible to vote for them (myself and other sensible citizens will be voting 'NOTA' so as not to encourage those political parasites).

Anyway : a protest march against this double-tax will be held on Saturday 23rd January 2016, in Dublin and in about 30 other venues throughout the State. In a statement, the Right2Water campaign said: "As the Government parties gear up for a General Election, they need to be told loud and clear that public opposition to water charges remains unabated – and will be reflected in the ballot box come polling day. Not only are water charges being used to give tax breaks to the richest in society and corporations but this Government have now opened the door to the privatisation of our human 'Right2Water'. We are the only EU country with zero water poverty because we already pay for our water through progressive general taxation based on need, not means. We are determined it will stay that way. On January 23rd (2016), people around the country (sic) will have an opportunity to remind their local politicians that water will be the number one issue in this election campaign."

Details of these protests are as follows : Carlow/Kilkenny - Liberty Tree, Carlow Town - 2:00pm | Cavan - Argos Car Park, Cavan Town - 1:30pm | Clare* - Limerick City Hall - 2:00pm | Cork - Grand Parade - 2:00pm | Donegal - Mr. Chippie, Letterkenny - 2:00pm | Dublin - Local - St. Peter's Church, Phibsboro, D7 - 1:00pm | Dublin City Centre Event - Connolly Station and Christchurch - 2:00pm | Dun Laoghaire - People's Park - 11:00am | Galway - Eyre Square - 2:00pm | Kerry - McKenna's Corner, Listowel - 12 Noon | Kerry - Greyhound Track, Tralee - 2:00pm | Kildare - Kildare Co. Council HQ, Naas - 2:00pm | Limerick - Limerick City Hall - 2:00pm | Longford/Westmeath - Battery Road, Longford Town - 2:00pm | Louth - Fairgreen, Dundalk - 2:00pm | Mayo - Castlebar - 1:00pm | Meath - Enfield - 12:00am | Meath - Navan - 2:00pm | Meath - Oldcastle - 4:00pm | Meath East - Arkle Monument, Ashbourne - 2:00pm | Sligo/Leitrim - GPO, Sligo - 2:00pm | Tipperary - Sarsfield Street, Clonmel - 2:00pm | Waterford - The Glen, Waterford - 2:00pm | Wexford - Community School Car Park, Gorey - 2:00pm | Wicklow - Wicklow Co. Council HQ, Wicklow Town - 2:00pm.

As I mentioned above, it may be all quiet now re this issue but, after the election, those elected will once again attempt to enforce this unjust double-tax on the fools that will have voted for them and also on the rest of us that wouldn't pass them the time of day, never mind actually vote for them. It's up to all of us to not only ignore them at the polls (by voting 'NOTA') but by making sure they don't ignore us - a strong and noisy demo on Saturday 23rd January 2016 will help ensure that we don't go unnoticed, as will this :"To coincide with the local marches that will be taking place across the country (sic), 'Tallaght Says No', 'We Won’t Pay' and 'Jobstown Not Guilty' will be working with other local groups to organise the next march in Dublin South West. Now wait for it - here is the icing on the cake! We are lucky enough to have one of the parties who have hammered us over the last few years in our neck of the woods. Fine Gael are holding their Ard Fheis in Citywest Hotel (on Friday/Saturday 22nd/23rd January 2016) , sitting right at the last stop on the Red Luas line. How is that for fortunate!

So come on - let's get together and start the New Year reminding them that we will not forgive or forget – we wont take anymore of their austerity measures! We won’t be paying their water charges! Let them know that we won't take the criminalisation of Jobstown and the attack on the right to protest lying down! Let’s make this the best one yet! Assemble
(on Saturday 23rd) at 1pm at Citywest Shopping Centre and we will march up to Citywest Hotel to let them know that we have had enough!" (From here.)

A selection of the leaflets which RSF members will be distributing at one or other or both (!) protests this coming Saturday, 23rd January 2016.

I know that RSF in that area have 'split their numbers' and have organised for most of their members to attend the water tax protest in Dublin city centre but have requested some local activists to attend the Citywest protest instead, and I presume other interested organisations will have done the same. Either way - whether you attend a 'big' or 'small' protest, no matter how 'big' or 'small' that protest is, it's important that you get there to show your support. We're not the 'criminals' - they are!





ON THIS DATE (20TH JANUARY) 43 YEARS AGO : SACKVILLE PLACE IN DUBLIN BOMBED BY LOYALISTS. FOR THE SECOND TIME IN SEVEN WEEKS.

A photograph from the scene of the loyalist bombing in Dublin on Saturday 20th January 1973 - 43 years ago on this date - in which one man died (29-year-old Scottish born Thomas Douglas, a bus conductor) and 13 people were injured.

'On Saturday 20 January 1973, seven weeks after the December 1972 bombings, a further bomb exploded in Dublin city centre killing one man...unbelievably, the location was once again Sackville Place and the bombers were now beginning to thumb their noses at the security forces...by choosing to bomb the same location twice within seven weeks...the bombing was never claimed by the organisation which carried it out, but no one was in any doubt that loyalists were involved...the bomb, which contained 20 pounds of explosives, was planted in a red Vauxhall Viva car, registration number EOI 1129, which was hijacked in Agnes Street off the Shankill Road in Belfast that morning...' (from here, and details on the author can be read here.)

Regardless of how active their campaign is in Dublin (or elsewhere in Ireland) or whether they claim responsibility for their actions or not, the fact remains that as long as Westminster continues to maintain a political and military presence in Ireland the loyalists can be 'activated' anytime the British administration feels it would be advantageous to do so. The loyalists and other pro-British elements can only be neutralised when Westminster stops interfering in this country.





ON THIS DATE (20TH JANUARY) 93 YEARS AGO : 11 IRA PRISONERS PULLED FROM THEIR CELLS AND EXECUTED BY FREE STATERS.

On this date - 20th January - in 1923, Free State forces removed 11 of the IRA prisoners ('Irregulars') they were holding and executed each one of them. Sixteen months previous to executing those men, Leinster House politicians had signalled their intent to do so in order to secure their own positions in the new Free State, declaring that those IRA men were fighting against what they described as 'a legitimate Irish authority..' About one year before that awful day, those Free State executioners would have fought on the same side, in the fight against Westminster, as those they executed on that Saturday, 20th January 1923.

Five Anti-Treaty I.R.A. men were executed by firing squad, at about 8am that day, in Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath : Thomas Hughes, from Bogginfin, Athlone, who was Lieutenant Commandant, 'Officer Commanding Munitions', Western Division I.R.A. He had served as Captain with the 3rd Engineers Dublin Brigade and was also 'Officer Commanding Munitions' in Athlone. Michael Walsh, born in Derrymore, County Galway. He was Vice-Commandant, 2nd Battalion No. 1 Brigade, Western Division. Herbert Collins, a native of Kickeen, Headford, County Galway, who was captured at Currahan and charged with being in possession of arms and ammunition. Stephen Joyce, a native of Derrymore, Caherlistrane, County Galway and Martin Burke, a native of Caherlistrane, County Galway - he was Officer Commanding, Active Service Unit Number 3 Brigade, Western Division.

Four of the IRA men ('Irregulars/Anti-Treaty Army') - Michael Brosnan of Rathenny, Tralee, County Kerry, John Clifford of Mountlake Caherciveen, County Kerry, James Daly from Knock, Killarney, County Kerry and James Hanlon of Causeway, Tralee, County Kerry - were executed at Ballymullen Barracks, Tralee, Kerry : they were 'found guilty' of being in possession of arms and ammunition under the 'Emergency Powers Act' but local opinion was that the four men were put to death because of on-going attacks on the railway system in the Kerry area.

Two I.R.A. men were executed at Limerick Jail : Commandant Cornelius 'Con' McMahon, Limerick, and fellow Limerick man Volunteer Patrick Hennessy. Both men were charged with the destruction of Ardsollus railway station in County Clare on the 14th of January 1923 and were 'found guilty' of same and of being in possession of guns and ammunition. Patrick Hennessy was secretary of Clare County Gaelic Athletic Association and a member of the county team. Con McMahon had served a term in prison in Limerick Jail in 1920.

Also, for the record, between 17th November 1922 and 2nd May 1923, seventy-seven Irish republican prisoners were removed from their prison cells and shot dead by order of the Free State administration. In this post we name those 77 men and list where each man was executed and the date of same. We do so in the hope that these men will not be forgotten :

1922-

James Fisher, Dublin, November 17th.

Peter Cassidy, Dublin, November 17th.

Richard Twohig, Dublin , November 17th.

John Gaffney, Dublin, November 17th.

Erskine Childers, Dublin, November 24th.

Joseph Spooner, Dublin, November 30th.

Patrick Farrelly, Dublin, November 30th.

John Murphy, Dublin, November 30th.

Rory O Connor, Dublin, December 8th.

Liam Mellows, Dublin, December 8th.

Joseph McKelvey, Dublin, December 8th.

Richard Barrett, Dublin, December 8th.

Stephen White, Dublin, December 19th.

Joseph Johnston, Dublin, December 19th.

Patrick Mangan, Dublin, December 19th.

Patrick Nolan, Dublin, December 19th.

Brian Moore, Dublin, December 19th.

James O'Connor, Dublin, December 19th.

Patrick Bagnel, Dublin, December 19th.

John Phelan, Kilkenny, December 29th.

John Murphy, Kilkenny, December 29th.




1923-

Leo Dowling, Dublin, January 8th.

Sylvester Heaney, Dublin, January 8th.

Laurence Sheeky, Dublin, January 8th.

Anthony O'Reilly, Dublin, January 8th.

Terence Brady, Dublin, January 8th.

Thomas McKeown, Louth, January 13th.

John McNulty, Louth, January 13th.

Thomas Murray, Louth, January 13th.

Frederick Burke, Tipperary, January 15th.

Patrick Russell, Tipperary, January 15th.

Martin O'Shea, Tipperary, January 15th.

Patrick McNamara, Tipperary, January 15th.

James Lillis, Carlow, January 15th.

James Daly, Kerry, January 20th.

John Clifford, Kerry, January 20th.

Michael Brosnan, Kerry, January 20th.

James Hanlon, Kerry, January 20th.

Cornelius McMahon, Limerick, January 20th.

Patrick Hennesy, Limerick, January 20th.

Thomas Hughes, Westmeath, January 20th.

Michael Walsh, Westmeath, January 20th.

Herbert Collins, Westmeath, January 20th.

Stephen Joyce, Westmeath, January 20th.

Martin Bourke, Westmeath, January 20th.

James Melia, Louth, January 22nd.

Thomas Lennon, Louth, January 22nd.

Joseph Ferguson, Louth, January 22nd.

Michael Fitzgerald, Waterford, January 25th.

Patrick O'Reilly, Offaly, January 26th.

Patrick Cunningham, Offaly, January 26th.

Willie Conroy, Offaly, January 26th.

Colum Kelly, Offaly, January 26th.

Patrick Geraghty, Laoise, January 27th.

Joseph Byrne, Laoise, January 27th.

Thomas Gibson, Laoise, February 26th.

James O'Rourke, Dublin, March 13th.

William Healy, Cork, March 13th.

James Parle, Wexford, March 13th.

Patrick Hogan, Wexford, March 13th.

John Creane, Wexford, March 13th.

Séan Larkin, Donegal, March 14th.

Tim O'Sullivan, Donegal, March 14th.

Daniel Enright, Donegal, March 14th.

Charles Daly, Donegal, March 14th.

James O'Malley, Galway, April 11th.

Francis Cunnane, Galway, April 11th.

Michael Monaghan, Galway, April 11th.

John Newell, Galway, April 11th.

John McGuire, Galway, April 11th.

Martin Moylan, Galway, April 11th.

Richard Hatheway, Kerry, April 25th.

James McEnery, Kerry, April 25th.

Edward Greaney, Kerry, April 25th.

Patrick Mahoney, Clare, April 26th.

Christopher Quinn, Clare, May 02nd.

William Shaughnessy, Clare, May 02nd.


Those 77 men did not take up arms in the belief that they were fighting for the establishment of a morally corrupt so-called 'half-way-house' institution, nor did they do so to assist the British in the 'governance' of one of their 'part' colonies : that which those men and many other men and women fought for remains to be achieved : 'Unfinished Business', if you like. You can help present-day Irish republicans to achieve that aim...





ON THIS DATE (20TH JANUARY) 95 YEARS AGO : CLARE IRA AMBUSH BRITISH FORCES.

On the 20th January 1921 - 95 years ago on this date - over thirty men of the East Clare Brigade of the IRA ambushed an RIC patrol at Glenwood near Sixmilebridge, County Clare, killing six of their number. The well organised rebels suffered zero casualties and captured a significant amount of guns and ammunition. Numerous houses in the general area were burned by the RIC that evening in reprisal for the attack :

'In mid January 1921, orders were sent to all six battalions of the East Clare Brigade asking all available I.R.A. Volunteers to assemble at Parker’s house, Castlelake on the morning of the 20th of January. The officers of the Brigade had decided to attempt to ambush the regular R.I.C. patrol travelling from Sixmilebridge to Broadford. On the appointed day, thirty seven I.R.A Volunteers reported for duty. Half of them carried rifles while the remainder were armed with shotguns and revolvers. A number of the republicans who had arrived unarmed, volunteered as scouts. Volunteer Joseph Clancy of Kilkishen, a local and a former soldier in the British Army, suggested a suitable location for the attack at the rear entrance to Glenwood House. Michael Brennan accepted his advice and divided up the men into different sections and explained the plan of attack. At Glenwood the republican scouts were posted along the road a short distance in both directions from the I.R.A.'s new position. The thirty or so remaining I.R.A. Volunteers were divided into three sections under the command of Michael Brennan, his brother Austin Brennan of Meelick and Tom McGrath of O'Callaghan’s Mills. The men in Michael Brennan’s section were all armed with rifles and positioned along a high stone wall just north of the gate to Glenwood house. The stone wall would give them a good cover from enemy fire and a direct line of fire for about fifty or sixty yards.

Michael Brennan himself was armed with a revolver and stood a few yards behind the men in his group positioned along this wall. Joseph Clancy was hidden behind a large holly bush on top of the wall keeping watch along the road as the other Volunteers remained hidden. Austin Brennan's group of Volunteers equipped with rifles and shotguns, was placed fifty yards further north behind another stone wall. The remaining men under Tom Mc Grath's command were located along the edge of a field a hundred yards to the south of the gate armed with revolvers. The ambushers were to hold their fire, until riflemen under Michael Brennan’s command attacked the lorry...at about 4pm, a motorised patrol of ten armed Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Black and Tan members, travelling from Sixmilebridge to Broadford, approached the back gate of Glenwood house.

Waiting for them, concealed behind the walls of the Glenwood estate, was a group of approximately 37 armed IRA volunteers from the East Clare Brigade of the IRA, led by Michael Brennan of Meelick. As the British patrol passed by the gates, a fusillade of gunshot, fired by the waiting group, struck them. Six RIC and Black and Tans were killed, two were injured and two escaped unhurt. One IRA volunteer was injured. The ambush party withdrew in good order through the forest and mountains to the East of Glenwood, towards Oatfield. The surviving members of the British patrol made their way back to Sixmilebridge.

The local people, on hearing of the news of the ambush, braced themselves for the inevitable retribution which would follow. In an orgy of violence on that evening and in the following days, Black and Tans and Auxiliaries burned houses, destroyed property and terrorised and assaulted local people...' (from here.)

The destructive and vindictive nature of the British forces that remain in Ireland are felt today by republicans in the Occupied Six Counties and, even though those forces wear a different uniform to that displayed by the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries, their methods and their objective is the same. And the resolve of Irish republicans, too, is the same.







ON THIS DATE (20TH JANUARY) 114 YEARS AGO : "TURN INFORMER OR WE'LL KILL YOU...".

On this date - 20th January - in 1902, a baby boy was born in Dublin who was to capture world support and sympathy while still in his teens : the child's name was Kevin Barry (pictured, left), and he was born into a strong Irish republican family which could trace members of its clan as having been active in 1798 with Wolfe Tone. Kevin Barry, 18 years young, was executed on the 1st November 1920 in Mountjoy Jail, Dublin, and was the first Irish republican to be executed by the British since 1916. At the time of his death his eldest brother Mick was OC of the Volunteers in Tombeigh and his sister, Sheila, was in Cumann na mBan. He was captured while on active service outside the entrance of Monk's bakery in Dublin. Although, as stated, born in Dublin, he spent much of his life at the family home in Tombeigh, Hackettstown, Carlow, and both sides of his family - the Barry's and the Dowling's - came from the Carlow area, and some of his ancestors had fought in 1798. He attended national school in Rathvilly, Carlow, for a few years, before going to Belvedere College in Dublin where he was a medical student.

Kevin Barry's body was not returned to his family for burial ; he was interred within the prison confines of Mountjoy Jail and was the first of what was to become know as 'the Forgotten Ten'. Because Munster and a small part of Leinster was under martial law those executed there were shot as soldiers but, as Dublin was under civilian law, those executed in Mountjoy were hanged. In his 'Sworn Statement' ('written testimony'), Kevin Barry wrote -

"I, Kevin Barry, of 58, South Circular Road, in the County of Dublin, Medical Student, aged 18 years and upwards solemnly and sincerely declare as follows: On the 20th of September, 1920, I was arrested in Upper Church Street by a Sergeant of the 2nd Duke of Wellington's Regiment and was brought under escort to the North Dublin Union, now occupied by military. I was brought into the guard room and searched. I was then moved to the defaulter's room by an escort with a Sergeant-Major, who all belonged to 1st Lancashire Fusiliers. I was then handcuffed. About 15 minutes after I was put into the defaulter's room, two Commissioned Officers of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers came in. They were accompanied by 3 Sergeants of the same unit. A military policeman who had been in the room since I entered it remained.

One of the officers asked me my name, which I gave. He then asked me for the names of my companions in the raid. I refused to give them. He tried to persuade me to give the names and I persisted in refusing. He then sent a Sergeant for a bayonet. When it was brought in the Sergeant was ordered by this officer to point the bayonet at my stomach. The same questions as to the names and addresses of my companions were repeated with the same results. The Sergeant was then ordered to turn my face to the wall and point the bayonet to my back. The Sergeant then said he would run the bayonet into me if I did not tell. The bayonet was then removed and I was turned round again. This officer then said that if I still persisted in this attitude he would turn me out to the men in the barrack square and he supposed I knew what that meant with the men in their present temper. I said nothing. He ordered the Sergeants to put me face down on the floor and twist my arm. I was pushed down onto the floor after my handcuffs were removed. When I lay on the floor one of the Sergeants knelt on the small of my back, the other two placed one foot each on my back and left shoulder and the man who knelt on me twisted my right arm, holding it by the wrist with one hand while he held my hair with the other to pull back my head. The arm was twisted from the elbow joint. This continued to the best of my knowledge for 5 minutes. It was very painful.

The first officer was standing near my feet and the officer who accompanied him was still present. During the twisting of my arm the first officer continued to question me for the names and addresses of my companions and the names of my Company Commander or any other (IRA) officer I knew. As I still refused to answer these questions I was let up and handcuffed. A civilian came in and he repeated the same questions with the same results. He informed me that if I gave all the information I knew, I could get off. I was then left in the company of the military policeman. The two officers, three sergeants and civilian all left together. I could certainly identify the officer who directed the proceedings and put the questions. I am not sure of the others except the Sergeant with the bayonet.

My arm was medically treated by an officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to the North Dublin Union the following morning and by the prison hospital orderly afterwards for 4 or 5 days. I was visited by the Court Martial Officer last night and he read the confirmation of sentence of death by hanging to be executed on Monday next and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing same to be true and by virtue of the Statutory Declarations Act, 1835. Declared and subscribed before me at Mountjoy Prison in the County of the City of Dublin, 28th October, 1920.

(Signed) MYLES KEOGH, a justice of the peace for said County.

KEVIN GERARD BARRY."


Canon John Waters, the prison chaplain, wrote to Kevin Barry's mother with a description of his final moments : "His courage was superhuman and rested I am sure, on his simple goodness and innocence of conscience. You are the mother, my dear Mrs Barry, of one of the bravest and best boys I have ever known, he went to the scaffold with the most perfect bravery, without the slightest faltering, 'til the very last moment of his life..." Incidentally, while speaking to Mrs Barry, Canon Waters opined that young Kevin "...does not seem to realise he is going to die in the morning.." to which she asked what was meant by that comment : the priest replied that Kevin "...is so gay* and light-hearted all the time (but) if he fully realised it he would be overwhelmed.." - Mrs Barry took offence at those words and replied "Canon Waters, I know you are not a Republican. But is it impossible for you to understand that my son is actually proud to die for the Republic?" The wise Canon didn't argue back.

It was on this date - 20th January - 114 years ago, that Kevin Barry was born.

(*'Gay' - 'happy', not as it apparently would be interpreted today.)





ON THIS DATE (20TH) NEXT MONTH (FEBRUARY 2016)...

...Hanlon's Pub in Phibsboro, Dublin, is the place to be, as Sonia, Chris and Jay - 'Erin Go Bragh' - rip the roof off the gaff (vocally, only!) between 8pm and late : it's a fiver a head to get past the bouncers and you'd be advised to keep another fiver handy for raffle tickets, as I've seen some of the prizes and if you are lucky enough to win one of them you'll probably sell it for a multiple of that, if you're of a mind to do that, before you leave the place!

(...but business before pleasure : a seminar, entitled 'Who Fears To Speak Of Easter Week?', will be held on the above-mentioned date [Saturday 20th February 2016] from 12 noon to 5pm, in Wynn's Hotel, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin. No cover charge, all welcome!)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Tuesday, January 19, 2016

NOT A 'SPLIT' DECISION - AN AGREED ONE!

MISDIRECTING THOSE WHO SEEM TO FIND COMFORT IN BEING MIS-DIRECTED...

Comforting to know that this wee blog continues to be read far and wide. Since our earlier post tonight re 'a split in Dublin Mid-West RSF..' our text machine has run out of ticker tape(!), the incoming emails have burned out the hard drive and the sim card in our mobile phone has gone on strike! Friends, supporters, comrades and colleagues from all four provinces here in Ireland, from Scotland, America and Australia (so far, and it's early yet!) have contacted us, directly and indirectly, to inquire as to the nature of the 'split' but, in fairness, most of those in Dublin who contacted us, and a good few of those from the Leinster area, read between the lines and knew where we were coming from as they, too, are aware of the necessity for RSF to 'cover' the two important protests (Dublin city centre and Dublin Mid-West area) that are being held, miles apart, at the same time and on the same day - Saturday 23rd January next - in connection with the unjust double water tax issue. And any group, including RSF members in Dublin Mid-West (as good and all as they are!) would not, obviously, be able to be in two places at the one time unless...they split their numbers to ensure that both events could be covered!

And there you have it : that's the reason for the 'split', and the above-mentioned areas are where each 'faction' will be. Until after each protest, that is, when they'll be meeting back up in Dublin Mid-West for the customary few pints! Conspiracy theorists and plain old-fashioned ne'er-do-wells among you MUST check back tomorrow night for even more mystery and suspense!

See you then, Sharon.






IRISH REPUBLICAN VOLUNTEERS PULLED FROM THEIR CELLS AND EXECUTED.

A MURDEROUS DAY FOR REPUBLICAN IRELAND...

EXCLUSIVE! We have details of a split between RSF members in Dublin Mid-West that will take place over this coming weekend. We'll give a no-holds-barred account of the reason for the split and we'll detail where both 'factions' will end up...PLUS - an article on how (and when) Free State forces removed a number of IRA prisoners they were holding, from their cells, and executed each one of them. Sixteen months previous to executing those men, Leinster House politicians had signalled their intent to do so in order to secure their own positions in the new Free State, declaring that those IRA men were fighting against what they described as 'a legitimate Irish authority..' About a year before that murderous day, those Free State executioners would have fought on the same side, in the fight against Westminster, as those they executed on that day...PLUS - stone the crows in Portlaoise....PLUS - Sackville Place in Dublin bombed twice in seven weeks by anti-republican elements...PLUS - 37 local IRA Volunteers lay in ambush for a Black and Tan/RIC patrol...PLUS - this captured IRA man was being interrogated by his British Army jailers but wouldn't give them the information they wanted. They produced a bayonet...PLUS - a republican connection between two Dublin landmarks ; Hanlon's Pub and Wynn's Hotel...

(MORE LATER - ON WEDNESDAY 20TH JANUARY 2016.)






Sunday, January 17, 2016

CAPTURED BY THE BRITISH ARMY, TORTURED, AND THEN A BAYONET WAS ACQUIRED...

A STORY OF TORTURE BEFORE EXECUTION...

This IRA man was captured in Dublin by the British after an IRA operation and was brought to a British barracks and handcuffed. A British Army officer demanded information from him but the IRA prisoner refused to say anything. The British Army officer threatened to hand him over to the squaddies unless he got the information he was looking for. The IRA man didn't reply. The British soldiers in the room then pushed him on to the floor and removed his handcuffs ; one of them knelt on his back and two others placed one foot each on his back and his left shoulder. His right arm was grabbed and twisted from the wrist and his head was forced back by the hair. His arm was then twisted from the elbow joint, and all during this torture he was shouted at for the information his British captors were looking for. But still he refused to cooperate. A bayonet was pressed against his stomach...

MORE ON WEDNESDAY 20TH JANUARY 2016.