Wednesday, December 05, 2018

TWO LETTERS - 'THEY SURRENDER' OR 'THEY'RE FIGHTING ON' ; FORMER SENT, STILL PAYING FOR IT.

ON THIS DATE (5TH DECEMBER) 97 YEARS AGO : TRUCE AND TREATY AND THE PARTING OF THE WAYS.

On Monday, 5th of December in 1921 - 97 years ago on this date - in Downing Street in London, the then British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, announced to the Irish side in the 'Treaty' negotiations (pictured) 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?"

That 'War Letter' meeting took place, as stated, on the afternoon of Monday 5th December 1921 ; at around 7pm that same evening, Michael Collins and his negotiating team left that Downing Street meeting to discuss the matter between themselves and returned to Downing Street later that night. Collins and Griffith (both pro-Treaty) had pressurised their colleague, Robert Childers Barton (the Irish Minister for Economic Affairs) to accept the Treaty of Surrender, telling him that if he did not sign then he would be responsible for "Irish homes (being) laid waste and the youth of Ireland (being) butchered.." and, at about 11pm on Monday, 5th December 1921, Barton signed the document.

Ten days later (ie on the 15th December 1921) Barton (pictured) had this to say in relation to that eventful day - "I want first of all to say we were eight and a half hours on that Monday in conference with the English representatives and the strain of an eight and a half hours conference and the struggle of it is a pretty severe one. One, when I am asked a question like that, "Was it or was it not?", I cannot give you an answer. But as regards particular aspects of that question, which I cannot take on oath, I can only give you my impression. It is in my notes that the answer is given, and it is there because it was my impression of that conference. It did appear to me that Mr. Lloyd George spoke to me and I had an impression that he actually mentioned my name ; but I could not swear on oath that he mentioned my name, or actually addressed me when he spoke. It appeared to me that he spoke to me. What he did say was that the signature and the recommendation of every member of the delegation was necessary, or war would follow immediately and that the responsibility for that war must rest directly upon those who refused to sign the Treaty.."

On the 19th December that year, Barton, speaking in Leinster House, declared - "I am going to make plain to you the circumstances under which I find myself in honour bound to recommend the acceptance of the Treaty. In making that statement I have one object only in view, and that is to enable you to become intimately acquainted with the circumstances leading up to the signing of the Treaty and the responsibility forced on me had I refused to sign. I do not seek to shield myself from the charge of having broken my oath of allegiance to the Republic — my signature is proof of that fact. That oath was, and still is to me, the most sacred bond on earth.

I broke my oath because I judged that violation to be the lesser of alternative outrages forced upon me, and between which I was compelled to choose. On Sunday, December 4th, the Conference had precipitately and definitely broken down. An intermediary effected contact next day, and on Monday at 3pm, Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, and myself met the English representatives. In the struggle that ensued Arthur Griffith sought repeatedly to have the decision between war and peace on the terms of the Treaty referred back to this assembly. This proposal Mr. Lloyd George directly negatived.

He claimed that we were plenipotentiaries and that we must either accept or reject. Speaking for himself and his colleagues, the English Prime Minister with all the solemnity and the power of conviction that he alone, of all men I met, can impart by word and gesture — the vehicles by which the mind of one man oppresses and impresses the mind of another — declared that the signature and recommendation of every member of our delegation was necessary or war would follow immediately. He gave us until 10 o'clock to make up our minds, and it was then about 8.30. We returned to our house to decide upon our answer. The issue before us was whether we should stand behind our proposals for external association, face war and maintain the Republic, or whether we should accept inclusion in the British Empire and take peace..."

At about fifteen minutes past two on the morning of Tuesday 6th December 1921, Michael Collins and his team accepted 'Dominion status' and an Oath which gave "allegiance" to the Irish Free State and "fidelity" to the British Crown - the Treaty was signed and, on the 7th January 1922,the political institution in Leinster House voted to accept it, leading to a walk-out by then-principled members who, in effect, were refusing to assist in the setting-up of a British-sponsored 'parliament' in the newly-created Irish Free State. The British so-called 'House of Commons' (401 for, 58 against) and its 'House of Lords' (166 for, 47 against) both ascribed 'legitimacy' to the new State on the 16th December 1921 - the IRA, however, at an army convention held on the 26th March 1922 (at which 52 out of the 73 IRA Brigades were present,despite said gathering having been forbidden by the Leinster House institution!) rejected the Treaty of Surrender, stating that Leinster House had betrayed the Irish republican ideal.

Within six months a Civil War was raging in Ireland, between the British-supported Free Staters and the Irish republicans who did not accept that 'Treaty'. And, today, 97 years after that infamous 'War Letter' meeting was held, the struggle continues to remove the British political and military presence from Ireland.







'BELFAST JAIL SENTENCE' AND 'SOUTH KERRY'S HEROIC DEAD'. From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.





26th August 1954.

BELFAST JAIL SENTENCE.

Sir - I have read in your paper about a man in possession of a number of copies of 'The United Irishman' newspaper who has been sent to jail. Strange that I get the newspaper here constantly and I have not been sent to jail. In fact, I take this opportunity of informing you that your newspaper finds its way even to distant Japan!

Yours sincerely,

Joseph P. O'Shaughnessy,

26 Bracey Street,

Finsbury Park,

London N4.



SOUTH KERRY'S HEROIC DEAD.

On Saturday evening, October 23rd 1954, a Testimonial and Dance will be held at Croke Park, 240 Street and Broadway, New York City. The proceeds will go to erect a Memorial in Cahirciveen to the memory of the men* in South Kerry who died fighting for Irish freedom. We, the members of the South Kerry Memorial Committee, appeal through the 'United Irishmen' newspaper to all Clan na Gael and Irish Republican Army Clubs of greater New York to support this very worthy cause. For information phone John Clifford of the 3rd Kerry Brigade, Ket. 8-4614, or Jack Lynch, Mo. 5-9484.

(*'1169' Comment - what, no women..?)

(END of 'Belfast Jail Sentence' and 'South Kerry's Heroic Dead' : next, from the same source - 'We Ask For No Mercy And We Will Make No Compromise' - Terence MacSwiney.)








ON THIS DATE (5TH DECEMBER) 378 YEARS AGO : HOISTED BY HIS OWN PETARD (OR 'STITCHED'-UP?)

John Atherton was born in 1598 in Somerset, in England, into a 'well-to-do' Anglican family and received an education suiting his 'standing' in the society of his day ; Oxford University. At 36 years young, in 1634, and with a reputation as a 'career clergyman' - he had 'worked' his way up to secure a position for himself as the vicar of Huish Champflower, in Somerset - he was appointed as the 'Lord Bishop of Waterford and Lismore' by 'Governor' Thomas Wentworth (a lickspittle, 'King' Charles' representative on Earth) and himself and his wife, Joan Leakey, moved to Ireland.

He 'announced' his presence in Ireland that same year by seeing to it that the so-called 'Irish House of Commons' passed legislation entitled 'An Act for the Punishnment for the Vice of Buggery' and it has been suggested that, due to his 'colourful lifestyle' - he moved in circles in which financial and sexual wheelings and dealings were used as bargaining chips - he himself was not adversed to seeking favours from either side of the house! Indeed, the political and religious culture at the time was such that no less a figure than Jonathan Swift would later declare that members of English 'society class' who were sent to Ireland to further their career and enhance their status (!) were being murdered en route and replaced by criminals!

As befitting Englishmen from a certain background, the good Bishop had a 'household' to do his bidding (!) and his 'steward/title proctor', a Mr John Childe and himself were said to be 'close' to each other and - lo and behold! - but didn't they find themselves up in court charged with 'indecent behaviour' under the same Act that the Bishop himself had 'squeezed' his friends in the 'House of Commons' to pass! And so it was that on the 5th of December in the year 1640 - 378 years ago on this date, at 42 years of age - Bishop Atherton was taken to Gallows Green (now 'Stephens Green') in Dublin and hanged by the neck until dead. His 'steward/title proctor/manfriend', John Childe, was similarly rewarded a few months later.

Mr Atherton was never 'defrocked', as the 'defrocker' of the day was dead and had not been replaced, thus achieving for the good Bishop the unenviable distinction of being the only Anglican bishop hanged for buggery, and himself and Mr Childe also made the grade in that they were only the second pair of 'close friends' to be put to death for that indiscretion - they had followed in the famous footsteps of Mervyn Tuchet, the 'Earl of Castlehaven', and a member of his 'staff', who were put to death nine years previously for the same behaviour.

'Suppose a Devill from th’infernall Pit,

More Monsterlike, then ere was Devill yet,

Contrary to course, taking a male fiend

To Sodomize with him, such was the mind

Of this Lord Bishop, he did take a Childe

By name, not years, acting a sinne so vilde...'


Incidentally, the phrase de mortuis nil nisi bonum apparently had no currency then : shortly after 'polite society' has disposed of the good Bishop, t'was said he was up to all sorts with his sister-in-law and was also a sampler of zoophilia with cattle. Thank your God that you live in an enlightened era...





IRISH HISTORY FOR THE BRITISH...

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

"(IRA) membership," Mr. O'Donovan writes, "consists of young men who are half in love with death. They are not intellectuals but they are serious and steeped in Irish history...it matters little to them that their policy is more likely to strengthen the existence of partition...or that the IRA's military plan is based on a false assumption and has no chance of success.."

Facts are facts and we welcome them. You are unfair to your own people and unjust to ours when you state as established fact your own imaginings. It is a fact that our young men in the IRA are not afraid of death in a just cause. Ireland's claim to unity and freedom is surely just and righteous. To say that men who are not afraid of death in such a cause, love death for itself, is ridiculous.

Men serious enough to be steeped in history surely take a serious interest in the policy they pursue and would not pursue tactics that would defeat the objective of such policy. On what basis of fact does Mr O'Donovan assume that the IRA's military plan is based on a false assumption and has no chance of success? Is the British Army invincible? Perhaps the USA, Egypt, Palestine etc are, unknown to us, still occupied by British forces!

(END of 'Irish History For The British' ; next - 'San Francisco', from the same source.)








ON THE TAKE...

The question is no longer whether there is corruption within our political establishment but whether the political establishment is itself corrupt.

By Vincent Browne.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 1998.

Was the 1993 State tax amnesty done to accommodate a single mega-rich taxpayer who was in trouble with the Revenue Commissioners and whose generosity to Fianna Fáil and perhaps to individuals within the party was considerable? So troubled was the then minister for finance, Bertie Ahern, with the proposal to introduce the scheme that he considered resignation*, and he was talked out of it only by a representative of the 'Labour Party', which was then in government with Fianna Fáil. How ironic that a Fianna Fáil finance minister should be encouraged to accept a measure that was so manifestly unfair by a representative of a party that purports to represent the quintessence of fairness!

The second of these decisions was the refusal to permit the Moriarty Tribunal to investigate the source of all funds in the Ansbacher accounts (the accounts held in a Dublin bank, where the holders of the deposits were unnamed, where the monies had been routed through London, the Cayman Islands and then back to Dublin). In doing this, Fianna Fáil was supported by its partners in government, the 'Progressive Democrats', and by Fine Gael (Fine Gael is now busily trying to rewire its involvement in that piece of infamy).

The third was the announcement in the budget of a reduction in the rate of capital gains tax, from 40 per cent to 20 per cent ; the scale of that tax change is staggering - in one fell swoop, a government that made such a fuss about reducing the top and standard rates of income tax by two percentage points reduced the tax that most affexts the rich by a full 20 per centage points... (*'1169' Comment - the "single mega-rich taxpayer" was not one of Bertie's Buddies, it seems...) (MORE LATER).






ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (12TH DECEMBER 2018) YOU'LL BE MISSING US...but your aim will get better on the 19th!

We won't be posting our usual contribution on Wednesday, 12th December 2018, and probably won't be in a position to post anything at all until the following Wednesday, the 19th December ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 8th/9th December 2018) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Cabhair group in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle, and the 'autopsy' into same which will take place on Monday evening, 10th, in Dublin, meaning that we will not have the time to post here.

But we'll be back, as stated above, on Wednesday 19th December 2018, when our offering will include, I'm told, a piece about an Irish republican who was sentenced by the British to 15 years in prison and, although he went in 'with one arm tied behind his back', so to speak, he came out and proved himself more useful to the republican struggle than many a so-called 'able bodied' person...

Thanks, for reading , Sharon.






Wednesday, November 28, 2018

'INTO THE MIRE AFTER THEM WE HAD TO GO'.

ON THIS DATE (28TH NOVEMBER) 98 YEARS AGO : BLACK AND TANS REMOVE THEIR MURDER VICTIMS' BODIES TO BURN THEM.

The 28th November in 1920 - 98 years ago on this date - was a Sunday, and it was on that day, in the morning, an open-back lorry carrying members of the Black and Tans was observed driving at speed into Moy O'Hynes Wood, near Kinvara in County Galway, and the occupants of that lorry were watched as they loaded something into the back of it and drove off at speed towards the small town of Umbriste (near Ardrahan, on the Gort to Clarinbridge road) - the story of these savage murders is perhaps best begun by quoting the words of a local medic, a Dr. Connolly, who was tasked with examining the remains of Pat and Harry Loughnane : "Hand grenades were put in their mouths and these exploded..."

Pat and Harry Loughnane were well-known and equally well-liked and respected in their neighbourhood of South Galway. Pat (the eldest), was an IRA man and Secretary of Sinn Féin in the area ; he was also active in GAA circles. His younger brother, Harry, played in goal for the local Beagh Hurling Club, was an IRA Volunteer and was also a member of the local cumann of Sinn Féin ; both brothers worked on the family farm in Shanaglish, County Galway, and were working in the corn fields on Friday, 26th November 1920, when the Black and Tans surrounded them. The two brothers were thumped around a bit in the corn fields by the Black and Tans and then thrown into the back of the lorry belonging to the Tans - they were pushed off the lorry outside the Bridewell Barracks in Gort and put in a cell. People in near-by cells later reported hearing the brothers being battered by the Tans, who were well aware that the Loughnane brothers were active in the struggle for Irish Freedom.

After three or four hours of beating, the brothers were dragged out to the courtyard of Gort Bridewell and tied to each other ; the other end of the rope was then tied to the back of the lorry, which drove off, heading for Drumharsna Castle, which was then the headquarters of the Black and Tans in that area of Galway. Both Pat and Harry Loughnane were at that stage too weak to run behind the lorry, and ended up being dragged on the ground behind it and, on arrival at Drumharsna Castle, the rope was untied from the lorry and the two men were dragged into another cell and beaten again. At around 10.30 or 11pm that same night (Friday 26th November 1920) the Loughnane brothers were removed from the cell and put in the back of the lorry ; they were pushed out of the back of same after travelling a few miles - the brothers would have been too dazed to realise it, but they were now in Moy O'Hynes Wood, and were being taken deep into the thicket of it by the Black and Tans.

Locals later reported hearing four shots and, the following day (Saturday, 27th November 1920), rumour was rife in the neighbourhood that Pat and Harry Loughnane had been dragged into the Moy O'Hynes Wood and shot dead by the Black and Tans but that rumour also insisted that Harry Loughnane somehow survived the ordeal - and the Tans heard that same rumour. It was early on Sunday morning (28th November 1920 - 98 years ago on this date) that the Black and Tans again entered the Wood - they were observed loading something into the back of their lorry and driving off at speed towards the small town of Umbriste (near Ardrahan, on the Gort to Clarinbridge road) ; it later transpired that the Black and Tans burned the bodies of the Loughnane brothers when they arrived at Umbriste but even then they were not satisfied - so they dug a hole and threw the bodies into it. However, because of the rocky terrain, the Tans were unable to fully cover their tracks and were convinced that the charred remains would be found. They dug them up and carried them to a near-by pond, weighted them down, and threw them in - they then apparently poured a couple of gallons of dirty engine oil into the pond at that same spot.

That happened on Sunday, 28th November ; the following day - Monday 29th November - they called to the Loughnane home and told the boys' mother that they were looking for her two sons - that they had escaped from custody and were "on the run". The Tans knew well enough where the two brothers were but, as well as deliberately giving false hope to the family, they were in the process of concocting an alibi for themselves. However, at this stage, the family and friends did not know any better and search-parties were organised to look for Pat and Harry, two 'fugitives on the run from British injustice', as the 'establishment' then would have it.

In the middle of December that year, the remains were found. Before the brothers were given a proper funeral, a local doctor (Dr Connolly) was asked to examine the remains and his report showed that both men had, at first, been sadistically battered ; the eldest of the brothers, Pat, had both wrists and legs broken, while Harry had had two fingers removed by a saw, while he was still alive, and his right arm was only attached to the remains of the charred body by sinews. The doctor stated that the damage to the head, neck and upper-chest area of both men was caused, in his opinion, by "hand grenades (which) were put in their mouths and that these then exploded". The remains of both men showed that the Black and Tans had attempted to 'write' on them, using knives or bayonets - sets of initials were carved into both bodies.

Memorial to brothers Patrick and Harry Loughnane at Moy O Hynes Woods, near Ardrahan, Galway.

There was a heavy presence of Black and Tans at the funerals of Pat and Harry Loughnane, but the IRA called their bluff just as the burial ceremony was coming to an end - six armed IRA Volunteers stood over the grave and a three-volley shot was given. The kidnap, torture, abuse and manner of death suffered by Pat and Harry Loughnane is the most horrific incident that this author has come across in researching articles for this blog. Even in times of war, the fate deliberately inflicted on the brothers was inhuman. At the risk of sounding like we are trying to score a cheap political point, we remind our readers that the military kin of the Black and Tans are still in this country and monuments have been erected to them and their ilk. And they receive their instructions from the same political institution which gave the Tans their orders. Think of that, next time you hear talk of "dissident republicans" in Ireland, and ask yourself how could you be but "dissident" to British rule in any part of this country? And ask yourself when have true Irish republicans ever been but "dissident"? ('1169' Comment - witness statements re the above acts of butchery can be read here.)





'ARMAGH RAID GOOD PROPAGANDA IN USA'. From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.

Mr Terence O'Conlon, Secretary, Philadelphia IRA Association, in a letter, says that the raid on Armagh Barracks caused a sensation in America, especially among the native population. The story broke on a Sunday when most Americans do a large percentage of their newspaper reading.

Mr O'Conlon wrote - "No more dramatic method of conveying to the world that England has an unwelcome army of occupation in part of Ireland could possibly be employed. Thousands of Americans naively accept the idea that 'Northern Ireland' is probably a little island or piece of ground attached to the English mainland. This is one English propaganda bubble that has been blasted for all time* by the Armagh raid."

(*'1169' Comment : Unfortunately not ; if anything it's got worse since that letter was published in 1954 - there are thousands of people in Ireland, never mind America, that consider that to be the case in relation to what the propagandists and the politically ignorant call 'Northern Ireland'. But Irish republicans are well used to being a censored minority in this country and we'll continue in our endeavours, regardless...)

(END of 'Armagh Raid Good Propaganda In USA' : next - 'Belfast Jail Sentence' and 'South Kerry's Heroic Dead', from the same source.)






ON THIS DATE (28TH NOVEMBER) 113 YEARS AGO : 'OURSELVES ALONE' DECLARE THEMSELVES.

'The organization which would become the political arm of the Irish Republican Army began (...on the 28th November, 1905 - 113 years ago on this date) as one of numerous nationalist pressure groups. The name means 'Us' or 'Ourselves Alone', a proclamation that the solution to Ireland’s predicament lay in the hands of its people and nobody else.

Sinn Féin was an amalgamation of groups founded by Arthur Griffith and Bulmer Hobson. In 1899 Griffith, a Dublin-born journalist, had founded the weekly 'United Irishman' newspaper, which lambasted the Irish MPs at Westminster. The following year he established an organization called Cumann na nGaedhael
('Tribe of the Gaels') , which was to be the principal ancestor of Sinn Féin, and merged it with the republican Dungannon Clubs, flourishing mainly in Ulster and organized by Hobson, a Belfast-born Quaker, who described them as 'semi-literary, semi-political and patriotic'.

Griffith believed Fenian-style reliance on armed rebellion had failed and the effective tactic was passive resistance. This would involve a withdrawal from Westminster and the establishment of a national assembly in Ireland, refusing to pay British taxes, creating independent Irish courts and an Irish civil service, taking control of local authorities and boycotting British products. He wanted Ireland as part of a dual monarchy under the British crown and developing into an industrialized country. His aim was 'to make England take one hand from Ireland's throat and the other out of Ireland's pocket'. Griffith saw a precedent in the tactics of Hungarian nationalists in the 1860's, though this parallel was derided in Ireland...' (from here.)

As stated above, the Sinn Féin organisation was founded on November 28th, 1905 - 113 years ago today - and consisted of an amalgamation of Cumann na nGaedheal, the National Council (which was founded in the main to organise protests at the visit of the British King, Edward VII, and included in its ranks Edward Martyn, Séamus McManus and Maud Gonne) and the Dungannon Clubs, a largely IRB-dominated republican campaign group. Contrary to the perception which has been advanced by some that Sinn Féin in its first years was not republican in character but rather sought a limited form of Home Rule on the dual monarchist model, Brian O'Higgins, a founding member of Sinn Féin, who took part in the 1916 Rising, and was a member of the First and Second Dáil, remaining a steadfast republican up to his death in 1962, had this to say in his Wolfe Tone Annual of 1949 :

"It is often sought to be shown that the organisation set up in 1905 was not republican in form or spirit, that it only became so in 1917, but this is an erroneous idea, and is not borne out by the truths of history. Anyone who goes to the trouble of reading its brief constitution will see that its object was 'the re-establishment of the independence of Ireland'. The Constitution of Sinn Féin in 1905, and certainly the spirit of it, was at least as clearly separatist as was the constitution of Sinn Féin in and after 1917, no matter what private opinion regarding the British Crown may have been held by Arthur Griffith..."

And, unfortunately, over the years since it was founded, 'private opinion regarding the British Crown (and the Free State equivalent)' led to splits - 'The story of how Gerry Adams tried to turn an eighty year old revolutionary movement into a British Constitutional party. How he broke the Sinn Féin constitution, created fake cumainn to give him fake votes and barred life long republicans from voting. How he managed to expel himself and his supporters from Sinn Féin membership. And, how a small band of republicans managed to keep the Sinn Féin constitution and traditional policy intact..' (from here.) However - despite the best (and on-going) efforts of those who are verbally in favour of Irish republican principles but are actually, behind closed doors, opposed to those principles, the Sinn Féin organisation remains active today, and long may it do so!







IRISH HISTORY FOR THE BRITISH.

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

Mr Patrick O'Donovan, writing in the English 'Sunday Observer' newspaper on January 30th, treated his readers to a potted history of the IRA since 1916. The 'history' is a nicely woven pattern of facts and Mr O'Donovan's fancy. He states - "In 1939 the IRA issued a proclamation demanding the evacuation of all British forces from Irish soil...in 1948 the Costello Government severed the last exiguous link with the Commonwealth...since the Government of Éire was now in line with the aims of the IRA, the IRA changed its tactics - its efforts would be devoted to driving 'the English Army of occupation' out of the North...its attacks are at present confined to the small military force in the North of Ireland - there are two battalions there that have not been recruited in Ireland, the rest are depots and units of Irish regiments.."

Mr O'Donovan would have his readers, who are the intellectuals and leaders of England, believe that driving the English Army of occupation out of the North is entirely different tactics to forcing the evacuation of English forces from Irish soil : that the North of Ireland is not held by the British Army but by "Irish regiments"!

Having informed his readers of the numerical strength of the IRA, its standards of training, its system of organisation etc he departs from his facts/fancy story and enters the realms of sheer fantasy... (MORE LATER).






ON THIS DATE (28TH NOVEMBER) 98 YEARS AGO : BRITISH FORCES AMBUSHED!

"On an extremely cold, wet night, the men began moving to Kilmichael to take on the dreaded Auxiliaries. All IRA positions were occupied at 9am. The hours passed slowly. Towards evening the gloom deepened over the bleak Kilmichael countryside. At 4.05 pm. an IRA scout signaled the enemy's approach.

The first lorry came round the bend into the ambush position. Tom Barry, dressed in military style uniform stepped onto the road with his hand up. The driver gradually slowed down. When it was 35 yards from the Volunteers command post a Mills’ bomb was thrown by Barry and simultaneously a whistle blew signalling the beginning of the ambush. The bomb landed in the driver’s seat of the uncovered lorry. As it exploded, rifle shots rang out. The lorry, its driver dead, moved forward until it stopped a few yards from the small stone wall in front of the command post. While some of the Auxiliaries were firing from the lorry, others were on the road and the fighting was hand-to-hand. Revolvers were used at point blank range, and at times, rifle butts replaced rifle shots. The Auxiliaries were cursing and yelling as they fought, but the IRA coldly outfought them. In less than five minutes nine Auxiliaries were dead or dying. Barry and the three men beside him at the Command Post, moved towards the second lorry..." (from here.)

"Many statements have been made by Ministers and Generals in various countries on the necessity for long periods of training before even an infantry soldier is ready for action. This is utter nonsense when applied to volunteers for guerilla warfare. After only one week of collective training, his Flying Column of intelligent and courageous fighters was fit to meet an equal number of soldiers from any regular army in the world, and hold its own in battle, if not in barrack-yard ceremonials". - Tom Barry, 'Guerilla Days in Ireland'.

"They said I was ruthless, daring, savage, blood thirsty, even heartless. The clergy called me and my comrades murderers ; but the British were met with their own weapons. They had gone in the mire to destroy us and our nation and down after them we had to go" - Tom Barry.

And, four months later, Tom Barry (pictured, in 1921) was again active in an equally successful engagement with British forces - in the early hours of Saturday, 19th March 1921, under the command of Tom Barry (the son of an RIC officer who had retired to become a shopkeeper) and Liam Deasy (who, within less than two years afterwards, signed a Free State 'pledge' in exchange for his life), the West Cork Flying Column of the IRA turned the tables on a British Army and RIC column at Crossbarry, situated about twelve miles south-west of Cork city, despite being outnumbered ten-to-one.

During the hour-long firefight, in which 104 IRA Volunteers (each carrying approximately 40 rounds of ammunition) successfully fought their way out of a 'pincer'-type movement by about 1,200 enemy troops, consisting of British soldiers from the Hampshire and Essex Regiments, Black and Tans and RIC men, three IRA men were killed in action (Peter Monahan, Jeremiah O'Leary and Con Daly) and three others were wounded. Reports varied in relation to British casualties but it seems certain that at least ten of their soldiers were killed and three wounded (more here).

In an interview he gave a number of years later, Tom Barry recalled how "..about two hours had elapsed since the opening of the fight. We were in possession of the countryside, no British were visible and our task was completed. The whole Column was drawn up in line of sections and told they had done well.." - and they had indeed 'done well', only to witness, within months, their efforts (ab)used by those who yearned for a political career, which they were given by Westminster in return for their surrender. But, thankfully, although still outnumbered, a republican force still exists to this day.





ON THE TAKE.

The question is no longer whether there is corruption within our political establishment but whether the political establishment is itself corrupt.

By Vincent Browne.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 1998.

We now know what we purported not to know before : that senior political figures were 'on the take' and that at least one of them was 'on the take' for decades. We now know that the manner in which this senior political figure, Charles Haughey, was 'on the take', involved the complicity of bankers, accountants and benefactors, that it involved a complicated financial ruse (the Ansbacher Accounts) that were availed of by many others as well. Many of those others were associates of Mr Haughey.

But whatever the further revelations of the Moriarty Tribunal into these matters and whatever more emerges about the existence of similar financial ruses in other banks, these represent only the symptom of what seems to be a much deeper malaise. That malaise is represented perhaps best by three extraordinary decisions taken by Fianna Fáil-led governments in recent years ; the first of these decisions was the tax amnesty of 1993, whereby tax defrauders were given a total amnesty on payment of just fifteen per-cent of the tax they owed to the State and a guarantee of absolute confidentiality hereafter.

The scale of this benefit to the richest in society cannot now be quantified but it may be assumed with confidence that it was massive. But of more concern is what motivated the introduction of the tax amnesty in the first place... (MORE LATER).


Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, November 21, 2018

DUBLIN 1922 : STATE 'LEANS' ON JURY TO GIVE THE 'RIGHT' VERDICT.

ON THIS DATE (21ST NOVEMBER) 98 YEARS AGO : BRITISH SPIES EXECUTED IN DUBLIN.

Members of the British 'Cairo/Special Gang', pictured, who were executed in Dublin by the IRA on the 21st November 1920, 98 years ago today.

Serving British soldiers, former British soldiers, RIC members and ex-members, carpenters, plumbers, electricans, landlords(and landladies), servants, busdrivers and taximen, businessmen and women, postmen and housewives - and the IRA ; all the above, and others, combined their knowledge and skills to great effect on the morning of Sunday, 21st November , 1920 : it was on that morning, 93 years ago today, that thirteen senior British intelligence officers were executed in Dublin. The IRA Intelligence Department at that time was an extremely efficient machine, run by Michael Collins, and the British were well aware of that fact - Sir Henry Wilson wanted it and Collins eliminated, and sanctioned the use, in Ireland, of 'The Cairo/Special Gang', a unit of British agents which specialised in political assassinations - they got their name, and their reputation, from 'hits' in the Middle East, carried out on the instruction of Wilson and others in Westminster.

'The Cairo Gang' lived quietly in boarding houses and hotels in Dublin, never drawing attention to themselves, and set about compiling a 'hit-list' of Irish republicans for assassination ; the IRA, however, were one step ahead of them - a Sergeant Mannix of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force, stationed at Donnybrook, was an IRA agent, and obtained the names and addresses of all the 'Gang' members and passed the list on to his IRA contact, Frank Thornton (pictured). A situation then developed that 'The Cairo Gang' were monitoring the movements of the IRA members that they intended to assassinate while being monitored themselves by the IRA Intelligence Department!

The Dublin Brigade of the IRA and the IRA Intelligence Department decided to work together on a plan to deal with those British spies, and a meeting was held at which Michael Collins, Dick McKee, Liam Tobin, Peadar Clancy, Tom Cullen, Frank Thornton and Oscar Traynor were present : the operation was to take place on Sunday morning, 21st November 1920, as the then Leinster champions, Dublin and Tipperary, were to play in a GAA match, and large crowds would be in Dublin for the occasion, providing 'cover' for the IRA teams to escape in.

British Army Captain Leonard Price, a Major Dowling, a Captain Keenlyside and two British Army Colonels, Woodcock and Montgomery, were staying in premises at 28 Pembroke Street in Dublin when, at 9am on Sunday 21st November 1920 - 98 years ago today - eight armed IRA Volunteers entered the building ; Price and Dowling were in a room by themselves sorting paperwork when the IRA entered the room and shot them dead - one of the Dublin Volunteers, Andrew Cooney, gathered up the sheets of paper and left the building. At the same time, British Captain Keenlyside and the two Colonel's found themselves confronted by some of the same IRA unit and a struggle ensued between Keenlyside's wife (no doubt present as part of what her husband probably considered a 'working holiday' and part of his 'cover') and IRA Volunteer Mick O'Hanlon (pictured - Mick is the grandfather of actor and comedian Ardal O'Hanlon) ; another IRA man, Mick Flanagan, pushed Mrs. Keenlyside out of the way and shot her husband dead.

Incidentally, when Charlie Dalton (pictured,after he abandoned republicanism, in Free State Army uniform) was 16 years of age he was recruited by Michael Collins and joined the Squad that Collins was then assembling : this IRA Unit was permanently housed in Abbey St, Dublin, in a 'front' premises in which a 'legitimate' business operated from - 'George Moreland, Cabinet Maker', and squad members were paid £4 10s a week to carry out assassinations on a full-time basis. Shortly after his 17th birthday, as a member of that Squad, Charlie Dalton took part in the executions of British Army Major C M Dowling and British Army Captain Leonard Price : he spoke afterwards of how 'he couldn't sleep the night of Bloody Sunday, (how) he thought he could hear the gurgling of the officers blood..(I) could no longer control the overpowering urge to run, to leave far behind me those threatening streets..' An understandable reaction, without a doubt, but we wonder if he felt the same remorse over his part in the 'Quarrie Killings' in Clondalkin, Dublin - in November 1922, an inquest was held into that incident at which the prosecution demanded that a verdict of murder be brought against Charlie Dalton but, apparently, the jury were 'reminded' by the State that they were living in 'exceptional times' and, following that and possibly other 'reminders', the jury declined to entertain the prosecution. In an effort to suggest that 'justice will be done', Dalton was then 'arrested' by his colleagues in the CID but was never charged with an offence related to the 'Quarrie Killings'.

British Lieutenant McLean, John Caldow (McLean's brother-in-law) and known informer T H Smith were staying at 119 Morehampton Road on that Sunday morning when six armed IRA Volunteers entered the building ; McLean, Caldow and Smith were caught off-guard and escorted to the top of the building, where IRA men Vincent Byrne (pictured) and Sean Doyle shot them. John Caldow survived that morning and, after receiving medical attention, fled to Scotland, where he had come to Ireland from in order to join the RIC.

British Captain Newbury and his wife were staying at 92 Lower Baggot Street and heard the front door being kicked in - he immediately blocked the door to his room and made a run for the window ; he was half-way out of the window when his door was forced open and Volunteers Bill Stapleton and Joe Leonard shot him dead. His body was left draped over the open window for hours, as the Black and Tans believed it to be booby-trapped.

At 38 Upper Mount Street in Dublin, a maid let a number of men in to the building and led them to two rooms ; British Captain George Bennett was in one of the rooms, and British Colonel Peter Aimes was in the other one. Both men were armed and resisted the Volunteers, resulting in a gun-battle which left the two 'Cairo' men dead. More documentation on IRA members, compiled by those British spies, was found at 28 Earlsfort Terrace, where British Captain Fitzgerald was staying ; he was shot dead on that Sunday morning and the paperwork removed for examination by the IRA Intelligence Department. Two British Lieutenants, McMahon and Peel, had been brought in by the British from Russia, where they had been involved in gathering intelligence information - they were to do the same job, in Dublin, this time as members of the 'Cairo Gang'.

They were staying at 22 Lower Mount Street, Dublin, and one of them, McMahon, had a score to settle with the IRA : he had previously shot dead a Sinn Féin member, John Lynch, in the mistaken belief that Lynch was the Divisional Commandant of the 1st Southern Division of the IRA, Liam Lynch. The IRA later shot McMahon in a billiard hall, wounding him, and he wanted revenge. The two 'Cairo' men were in different rooms in number 22 Lower Mount Street when the IRA unit was let in ; they entered McMahon's room just as he had picked up his revolver and shot him dead. On hearing the gunfire, Peel locked his door and then blocked it with a piece of furniture - unable to get in, the Volunteers fired more than a dozen bullets through the door, but Peel survived that day.

Na Fianna Éireann (Irish republican scout organisation) were also on Lower Mount Street that Sunday morning , as 'lookouts' ; one of their members ran into number 22 to tell the eleven-person IRA unit that the British Auxiliaries were on the street - five members of the IRA unit left calmly by the front door, the other six men went to the back of the house, out the back-door and walked away up a laneway. These six men were challenged by a number of Auxiliaries and a gun battle ensued - IRA man Frank Teeling (pictured) was wounded, and two of the British soldiers, Garnin and Morris, were killed. The wounded Volunteer, Teeling, was captured, but the rest of his unit made good their escape.

British Captain Geoffrey Thomas Baggallay, who was said to be one of those who tortured Kevin Barry, and who had further enhanced his 'reputation' by presenting 'evidence' in show-trials which led to the executions of Irish republicans, was staying in number 119 Baggot Street when, on that Sunday morning, 21st November 1920 - 98 years ago today - three IRA Volunteers (including Sean Lemass, a future Fianna Fáil Free State Taoiseach) entered his room and shot him dead. Incidentally, an IRA man who was not involved in the execution of Baggallay, Thomas Whelan, was put to death by Westminster on the 14th March 1921 for 'the murder of Baggallay' - the British trait of concocting 'evidence' the 'Baggallay Way' continued.

British Captains McCormack and Wilde were staying in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin's O'Connell Street when a number of men, claiming to be undercover British soldiers with a message to deliver to the two Captains, were shown by the hotel staff to the rooms they were looking for : as each man opened his door he was shot dead. An IRA unit entered a guesthouse in Fitzwilliam Square to deal with a 'Cairo Gang' leader, British Major Callaghan ; he was booked in at the guesthouse but was not there at that particular moment. His colleague, however, a Captain Crawford, was present and was held at gunpoint by the Volunteers but it was decided that, as he was not the intended target, his life would be spared if he left the country within twenty-four hours - Crawford threw some things in a case and left immediately. Another missed target was a Colonel Jennings, who was staying in the 'Eastwood Hotel' ; when the IRA unit broke in the door of his room, it was empty and there was no sign of him in the hotel - the Volunteers left the premises. A total of 13 British Secret Service executioners known as 'The Cairo Gang' were themselves executed in Dublin on Sunday 21st November, 1920, by the IRA. The loss of those operatives, and the intelligence material they had accumulated, shook the British establishment to its roots, and highlighted on a global scale the extent of the British 'dirty-tricks' campaign in Ireland.

(FOOTNOTE - IRA Volunteer Frank Teeling (who was later to jump ship to the Free Staters, a 'jump' that perhaps seemed to trouble him..?) , who was wounded and captured in a laneway at the back of Lower Mount Street, was sentenced to death - however, he escaped with others from Kilmainham Jail. Days after the 'Cairo Gang' were wiped-out it emerged that Major Callaghan and Colonel Jennings, who were both absent from their rooms when the IRA visited, had in fact stayed overnight in a local brothel [we can only presume that they were both with women...] and,on that Sunday (21st November, 1920) a football match took place between Dublin and Tipperary : the 'Black and Tans' came on to the pitch and opened fire on the players and the crowd - fourteen people were killed and sixty injured. The British later said they were fired on first - (more here). British Captain Baggallay would have been proud of that 'defence'.)





'THE CALL', by Seamus MacManus (the Donegal poet and shanachaí).

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.

In a recent letter to us, Seamus MacManus very kindly gave us his permission to use any of Eithne Carbery's or, to to quote himself, "..my own poor stuff.."! We have great pleasure in republishing a poem of his which was published in the early 1900's and is still as true (unfortunately) as the day it was first written -

Sons of Banba, WAKE!

'Tis broad day!

High the sun rides o'er the hill,

Gold grain's bursting, blades are rusting,

And ye steeped in slumber still.

Brave men wrought when ye were weeping

Wise ones sowed when ye were sleeping,

Now a harvest's for the reaping,

Sickles many, labourers few,

Sons of Banba, Rouse ya! Rise ye!

There is work for men to do.




Sons of Banba, Wake ye! Wake ye!

Passing, fleeting, is the morn,

Let God's harvest fall and wither,

And ye'll wake to shame and scorn.

Hear ye! Hear! The cry for workers.

You men! True men! Loungers, shirkers,

Slaves and knaves and low-born lurkers,

Them let stupor woo,

Sons of Banba, Rouse ye! Rise ye!

There is work for men to do.


(END of 'The Call' ; next, from the same source - 'Armagh Raid Good Propaganda In USA'.)






ON THIS DATE (21ST NOVEMBER) 131 YEARS AGO - BIRTH OF A 1916 RISING LEADER.

Joseph Mary Plunkett/Seosamh Máire Pluincéid (pictured) was born on the 21st November 1887 - 131 years ago today - into a wealthy family, then living at 26 Upper Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin. His father was George Noble Plunkett and his mother was Mary Josephine Cranny ; Joseph had five sisters and two brothers, but he was troubled by ill health - he suffered from tuberculosis (TB) which left him physically weak for every one of the 28 years he lived.

He was educated by the Jesuits at Belvedere College in Dublin and would later attend Stonyhurst College in Lancashire in England - he excelled at languages and joined the 'Gaelic League', at which he formed a lifelong friendship with Thomas MacDonagh ; the two young men joined the 'Irish Volunteers' where they learned military skills in the company of, among many others, Joseph's brother George (Jnr) and his father, George (Snr) and his other brother, John ; Joseph helped to formulate the Easter Week manoeuvres and was trusted by the other IRB leaders to do so - he was frail, physically, but not mentally or militarily, and he secured a property, in Kimmage, Dublin, owned by his father, to be used by the 'Irish Volunteers' as a training camp/billet for those who refused to take up arms during 'WW1' ('the war between three cousins') deciding instead to fight for Ireland.

His health took a turn for the worse in early 1916 and he had to have an operation on his neck glands, which left him practically bedridden (he left his sickbed to sign the 1916 Proclamation) but he insisted on being present in the GPO during Easter Week and, although he was there with Padráig Pearse and Thomas Clarke, he couldn't be as active as he had hoped to be, and was helped throughout the week by his 'aide de camp', Michael Collins, who worked with Joseph's father as a financial adviser in his business dealings.

Joseph Mary Plunkett married Grace Clifford on the 4th May 1916 and, hours later, he was executed by a British firing squad in Kilmainham Jail, Dublin, and buried in Arbour Hill Cemetery.

"..with all my love I place this wedding ring upon your finger, there won't be time to share our love, for we must say goodbye.." (from here.)





MY FIGHT FOR IRISH FREEDOM ; FEBRUARY 1954 - JANUARY 1955.

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

In the 'Sunday Press' newspaper of January 13th the following letter appeared :

'I WOULD NOT ATTACK UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

In your issue of last Sunday Mr. P. Pearse Danaher asks me to remain "silent" on the means to end partition. I fully know that going cap in hand to England or any imperial power will get us nowhere, yet I cannot agree with wasting young Irish lives. I admire bravery. I always shall, but I don't believe in foolhardy enterprise. I have never asked anyone to do anything I would not do myself and *I would not attack the North under present circumstances, or in fact under any circumstances.*

I believe that the spirit of **McCracken, Hope, Russell** and other patriots will re-awaken in the North some day and when that day comes Ireland will be free and undivided.

Signed - Dan Breen'.


(* '1169' comment - Dan Breen was a Fianna Fáil member of Leinster House from 1923 until he retired in 1965 and was content with that station in life, even though it was not the political outcome he fought for. Also **, McCracken, Hope and Russell physically attacked the British presence in this country and went to their graves without condemning or slighting anyone for doing the same.)

(END of 'I Would Not Attack Under Any Circumstances' ; next, from the same source - 'Irish History For The British'.)






ON THIS DATE (21ST NOVEMBER) 251 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF 'THE MAN FROM GOD KNOWS WHERE'.

Thomas Paliser Russell (pictured) was born in Betsborough ('Fern Hill'), just outside the village of Dromahane, in the parish of Kilshannig, south-west of Mallow, in the county of Cork, on this date (21st November) in 1767 - 251 years ago on this date. His family was Anglican and he was reared in a pro-British environment (his father was an officer in the British Army and had fought against the 'Irish Brigade' in the memorable battle of Fontenoy), so much so that he joined the British Army at the age of 16 and was dispatched to an 'unruly' India, where noises were being heard about the 'Townshend Duties' (imposed taxes) and other British injustices against the native population : he was stationed there for about five years and his eyes were opened to the curses of imperialism. On his return to Ireland, at the age of 21, he was appointed Captain of the British '64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot' but, by then, he was not only disillusioned with the 'Empire' but was prepared to act against it, even though it offered him the prospect of a good living - he was appointed to the position of 'Seneschal to the Manor Court of Dungannon', and was also made a justice of the peace for the County of Tyrone but resigned from both positions, stating that ".."he could not reconcile it to his conscience to sit as magistrate on a bench where the practice prevailed of inquiring what a man's religion was before going into the crime with which a prisoner was accused..."

The 'high life' he was leaving behind had brought him into contact with other like-minded individuals such as Wolfe Tone, Samuel Neilson and Henry Joy McCracken, among others and, in October 1791, he assisted his colleagues in establishing the Belfast branch of the 'United Irishmen', whose revolutionary ideals he promoted in pamphlets and in 'The Northern Star' newspaper. His association with 'dissidents' and his writings brought him, again, to the attention of Westminster and, on the 16th September 1796 he was taken into custody and held in two different prisons (Newgate in Dublin and Fort George in Scotland) until early 1802 but, on his release, age 35, he returned to 'active service' ("Had I a thousand lives, I would venture them all for the sake of this people...") - he worked with Robert Emmet in France and was asked to return to Ireland and concentrate his efforts in gaining support for an uprising in the Ulster area but, following the collapse of the 1803 rebellion (...about which, in a letter to Mary Ann McCracken he stated - "I hope your spirits are not depressed by a temporary damp, in consequence of the recent failure..of ultimate success I am still certain..") he moved to Dublin where, on the 9th September 1803, he was arrested by the infamous Major Henry Charles Sirr, 'the chief agent of the castle authorities', and taken to County Down for a 'trial' - he was, of course, found 'guilty of high treason' on the 19th October (1803) and put to death on the 21st October 1803, at 36 years of age : he was hanged and then beheaded -

'..the last request of Russell was refused, and he was executed twelve hours after the conclusion of the trial. At noon, on the 21st of October, 1803, he was borne pinioned to the place of execution. Eleven regiments of soldiers were concentrated in the town to overawe the people and defeat any attempt at rescue ; yet even with this force at their back, the authorities were far from feeling secure. The interval between the trial and execution was so short that no preparation could be made for the erection of a scaffold, except the placing of some barrels under the gateway of the main entrance to the prison, with planks placed upon them as a platform, and others sloping up from the ground, by which it was ascended. On the ground hard by, were placed a sack of sawdust, an axe, a block, and a knife. After ascending the scaffold, Russell gazed forward through the archway, towards the people, whose white faces could be seen glistening outside, and again expressed his forgiveness of his persecutors. His manner, we are told, was perfectly calm, and he died without a struggle..' (from here.)

'The Man From God Knows Where' was born on this date - 21st November - 251 years ago today -

'Into our townlan', on a night of snow,

Rode a man from God-knows-where;

None of us bade him stay or go,

Nor deemed him friend, nor damned him foe,

But we stabled his big roan mare:

For in our townlan' we're a decent folk,

And if he didn't speak, why, none of us spoke,

And we sat till the fire burned low...'






'BUYCOTTS' AND BEANS....

Ethical buying : is there any point? It would be a pity if the focus on the difficulties with boycotts led people to conclude that the answer to the wider question is 'No'.

By Oisín Coghlan. From 'Magill' magazine, July 2002.

Faced with an array of ethical considerations and a proliferation of corporate initiatives - some meaningful, some empty PR - consumers must not forget that we arecitizens too. Just as we expect our government to regulate the safety of our electrical products and our food, we can call on our government, the European Union and the international community to regulate transnational companies to safeguard the ethical considerations that would otherwise not feature in their bottom line. (END of 'Buycotts And Beans' : next - 'On The Take', from 'Magill' magazine, February 1998.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon. And, if you feel like a shorter (!) read, here ya go...!






Wednesday, November 07, 2018

"NO SWERVING FROM THE STRAIGHT RUGGED PATH.."

ON THIS DATE (7TH NOVEMBER) 95 YEARS AGO - LAST LETTER FROM AN IRA HUNGER-STRIKER.

"Dearest Br. Miceal,

Thanks ever so much. I really can't find words to explain adequately my gratitude for your prompt response to my appeal for some cash. I have been very hard up for many things especially smokes and of course I would not ask anyone - besides, I could never bring myself to beg. I am much cheered by the news that Cork is now with us in the fight. I always expected that and should it be a fight to a finish I shall die happy in the thought that my bones will moulder in its confines.

I asked you for to arrange that I should be buried by my old chief's side in Fermoy. My heart is so set on the freedom (of my people) that my spare moments are always devoted to devising ways and means to expedite that Glorious Dawn. With that object in view I have decided that if Mallow Republicans provide a Republican Plot in the new Cemetery near the railway, I shall order my interment there instead of at Fermoy, as the latter place has enough in L. Lynch's and FitzGerald's graves to keep aflame the burning torch of Freedom. Matter wants something in its midst to counter the awful shoneenism that permeates its walls and I came to the conclusion that if I can no longer alive take the same active part in the battle I may at least in my mouldering grave do still some little to help those who come after me with that object in view.

I ordered that nothing should be inscribed besides my name by way of epitaph. Over my remains but the simple motto of my late life work. When the Republic so estated functioning and duly recognised then, but not till then, let men dare to eulogise my name in cold press over my grave. Then too will Lynch's and Emmet's blazon forth. This is rather gruesome but one so often thinks of the apparent inevitable in this struggle that it becomes quite secondary, thoughts of the spiritual world.

In the latter line I am quite at peace, prepared and content. There will be no swerving from the straight rugged path to the goal. I set the motto for the strike, 'Freedom or Death'. I am Prison Adjutant now and by long ways the strongest man on the strike even though judging by the looseness of my clothes I must have dropped at least 3 stone weight. There are 124 of us on strike now. A large number were shifted to the various camps and many of the leaders were taken from here to Kilmainham. It is all alike to us, we carry on. Of course some weak ones have given in. About 60 out of the total here have gone off and taken food on a promise of release. Immediately they were strong enough in hospital they were thrown back into C wing just as they were before the strike and told they could not be released until a big batch was ready.

Fr. James McCabe came up when they heard of my being on Hunger Strike and with his friend went to G.H.L and found they have me held on suspicion only but have no evidence and would release me if I went off strike and signed the usual form. Of course Fr. James asked me to do this and I sent him out the definite reply NEVER! At the same time my profuse thanks for his trouble in my behalf. Well, I must close this long winded letter. Remember the change, Mallow instead of Fermoy, in case I do. Undying Love,

Your Aff Br., Andy."

- the last letter (above) that Cavan-born IRA hunger-striker Andrew Sullivan (pictured, above) sent to his brother, Miceal (Michael) : it was sent on the 7th November 1923, 95 years ago on this date. Andrew Sullivan (aka Andy O'Sullivan), 5th Battalion, Cork 4th Brigade, was one of three IRA men to die on hunger-strike in 1923 - he was 41 years of age at the time (the other two men were Joe Witty, 19 years young, and Dennis Barry, 40 years of age ; Joe died on the 2nd September that year, and Dennis died on the 20th November).

'Captain Andrew Sullivan was born in Denbawn, County Cavan in 1882, the oldest of eight children born to Michael Sorahan and Mary Smith...he eventually became the agricultural inspector for the Mallow area, County Cork and held that position for many years. During the War of Independence Sullivan was the Commanding Officer for Civil Administration in the North Cork area and later in the 1st Southern Cork division...a supporter of the anti-Treaty side during the Irish Civil War, he was arrested and interred on July 5, 1923. Between 1922 and 1923, hundreds of others in all parts of Ireland were arrested by the (*) British controlled Irish police force (*), without any charge, and were kept in the prisons and internment camps without trial...in the Autumn of 1923 the conditions in the prisons grew worse and the men and women were being treated as convicts rather than political prisoners. To protest their imprisonment and bring public attention to the cruelty they were receiving, the only 'tool' they felt they had at their disposal was a hunger strike...' (from here).

(*)- an accurate description, in our opinion, but the timeline would show that, 'officially', at least, the then existing 'police force' would be acting under instruction from the then 'new' Free State administration in Leinster House rather than 'officially' taking orders from Westminster. However, as republicans know (and history has since attested to) that 'police force' was a proxy force for Westminster - as, indeed, was the Leinster House 'parliament' that established that 'police force'- so the description 'British controlled Irish police force' is, as we said, accurate. Also, as regards the POW's being treated as convicts, one of the prisoners, Alfred McLoughlin, who was interned for a year without being told why, managed to get a letter published in 'The Irish Times' newspaper in which he wrote - "I slept on bare boards in the Curragh military prison for five nights..I was handcuffed night and day..I was threatened, with a gun, several times, that I would be shot..".

W.B. Yeats, Lord Granard and Sir Bryan Mahon campaigned for proper treatment for the prisoners and, in April 1923, the 'International Committee of the Red Cross' carried out an 'investigation' into the conditions in the prisons, reporting (in keeping with those who had facilitated their visit ie the Staters) that "the prisoners were treated like prisoners of war". However, it later emerged that their report was flawed as not one prisoner was interviewed during their 'investigation'!

Anyway - in that particular year (1923), there were about 12,000 Irish republicans interned by the Free Staters and, as stated, above, those men and women "were being treated as convicts rather than political prisoners", and a decision was made, by both the POW's themselves and the leadership outside, to go on hunger strike and, on the 13th October 1923, Michael Kilroy (pictured ; a respected republican, at the time) OC of the IRA POW's in Mountjoy Jail, announced that 300 republicans in that prison/internment camp (including ten men who had been elected to a 32-County Dáil Éireann) had voted to go on hunger strike (those 300 men were soon joined by 162 more of their comrades in that institution) and, within days, thousands more imprisoned republicans joined the protest - 70 in Cork Jail, 350 in Kilkenny Jail, 200 in Dundalk Jail, 711 in Gormanstown Prison Camp, 1,700 in Newbridge, 123 in 'Tintown', 3,390 in the Curragh Camp, 100 in Harepark Camp and 50 women in the North Dublin Union prison.

Finally - from 'The Scotsman' newspaper, 26th November 1923 (page 10) : 'Death of Irish Hunger-Striker : At the inquest on Saturday on Andrew Sullivan, a hunger-striker, who after removal from Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, died on Friday afternoon in a military hospital, a doctor stated that Sullivan went on hunger-strike on October 14, and about a week ago he lost his sight. The jury found that death was due to pneumonia.' We mention that because the Friday in question would have been the 23rd November, 1923 and, on researching the inconsistency, we found the following : 'Many of the newspapers of the time reported Captain Andrew O'Sullivan died on November 22, 1923. That may have been the date he was removed from Mountjoy Prison and brought to St. Bricin's Military Hospital where he was pronounced dead on November 23, 1923...he died on 23 November 1923 at St. Bricin Military Hospital, Dublin City, County Dublin, Ireland, at age 41.5...the information on the death record was provided by Louis A. Burns, coroner for the City of Dublin. Inquest held 24 November 1923...(and) at the inquest on Saturday on Andrew Sullivan, a hunger-striker, who after removal from Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, died on Friday afternoon in a military hospital, a doctor stated that Sullivan went on hunger-strike on October 14, and about a week ago he lost his sight...' (from this genealogy site). However, the majority opinion is that the man died on the 22nd November 1923, and we, ourselves, believe that to be the correct date, and he wrote his last letter to his brother on the 7th November, 1923 - 95 years ago on this date.





'THE CALL', by Seamus MacManus (the Donegal poet and shanachaí).

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.

In a recent letter to us, Seamus MacManus very kindly gave us his permission to use any of Eithne Carbery's or, to to quote himself, "..my own poor stuff.."! We have great pleasure in republishing a poem of his which was published in the early 1900's and is still as true (unfortunately) as the day it was first written -

Sons of Banba, WAKE! 'Tis day-break! All the stars are off the sky,

And the world's awake and striving,

While in torpor still ye lie!

Heard ye not reveille playing,

Voices calling, watchdogs baying,

Quick feet trampling, horses neighing,

Songsters choiring in the blue:

Sons of Banba, ROUSE YE! Rise ye!

There is work for MEN to do.




Sons of Banba, WAKE! 'Tis morning!

Long the bell for work has pealed,

All around ye droops the harvest,

Lone the steward waits in the field,

Oft his call - nor were ye hearing,

Men are needed for the shearing,

Men toil - loving, men unfearing,

Brave of heart, and hard of thew,

Sons of Banba, ROUSE YE! Rise ye!

There is work for MEN to do.
(MORE LATER).






MY FIGHT FOR IRISH FREEDOM ; FEBRUARY 1954 - JANUARY 1955.

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.

In the April issue of 'Resurgent Ulster' the following article appeared :

DAN BREEN UPHOLDS POLICY OF IRA TODAY.

In the 'Sunday Postbag' of the 'Sunday Press' newspaper of the 7th February 1954, we read with interest and, I'm afraid, amazement, a letter penned by Dan Breen, Fianna Fáil 'TD' for Tipperary. He was defending, quite rightly, both his own and his comrades actions in the Soloheadbeg Ambush on January 21st, 1919, when two members of the RIC were killed by them. It was the concluding paragraph of his letter which interested us and made us wonder if Dan Breen was contemplating returning to his old allegiance. Read these words of his :

"I still believe it is the duty of every man and woman whose country is held in subjection, like mine was and still is in part, to use every means within reason to rid their land of the invader. You can't free a country held in subjection with kid glove methods. Well, then, use the weapons best at hand, and if you need better weapons and the garrison have them, it is your duty to take them and, in doing so, if you kill as we did in Soloheadbeg, you are still only doing your duty."

Is Dan Breen prepared to preach this same Gospel in opposition to the policy of the government of which he is a member? That government is opposed to those beliefs, as expounded in the quoted extract. Not only are they totally opposed to the use of force in our struggle for freedom but they have imprisoned, shot, hanged and allowed men to die on hunger strike who spoke those same sentiments as Dan Breen, and unfortunately Dan Breen had a share in the responsibilities of those imprisonments and deaths, being a member of that government. Can we be blamed then if we question the sincerity of the statement made by Dan Breen? It was certainly the voice of Dan Breen of the 1918-1921 period that was speaking. Incidentally, that 7th February letter to the editor only appeared in the 26-county edition of the newspaper.

(END of that 'Letter to the Editor' : next, from the same source ; "I would not attack under any circumstances" - Dan Breen.)





'BUYCOTTS' AND BEANS....

Ethical buying : is there any point? It would be a pity if the focus on the difficulties with boycotts led people to conclude that the answer to the wider question is 'No'.

By Oisín Coghlan. From 'Magill' magazine, July 2002.

Gerardo de Leon is the marketing manager for a co-operative in Guatemala that sells 'Fairtrade' coffee to Bewleys : speaking on a recent visit to Ireland he said - "Fairtrade is a seed in the ground, and we hope for more in the future. Right now the small coffee farmers need to get the money in their pocket to survive." Ireland has responded well to this challenge - more and more cafes and restaurants now offer 'Fairtrade' coffee. You can enjoy your morning boost while also giving the producers a boost in places such as 'Nude', 'Busyfeet & Co' and 'Havana' in Dublin, the 'Qusay Coop' in Cork, 'Clements' coffee shops in Belfast, 'Bia' in Waterford and 'An Gabhann Org' in Galway. Indeed, many of us can make a difference without even leaving our desk.

More and more workplaces now serve 'Fairtrade' coffee and, overall, 'Fairtrade' has four per cent of the catering coffee market and it is also available in many supermarkets so we can take the experience home, too, and it offers producers practical help as well. 'Fairtrade' is most powerful as a demonstration of what is possible when the will is there. (MORE LATER).





ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 14TH NOVEMBER 2018)...

..we should be just about finished our multitasking job - this Sunday coming (the 11th November) will find myself and the raffle team in our usual monthly venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, running a 650-ticket raffle for the Dublin Comhairle of RSF : the work for this event began yesterday, Tuesday 6th November, when the five of us started to track down the ticket sellers and arrange for the delivery/collection of their ticket stubs, cash and unsold tickets (...as if!) and, even though the raffle itself is, as stated, to be held on Sunday 11th November, the 'job' is not complete until the following night, when the usual 'raffle autopsy' is held, although that 'autopsy' may well have to be held over cyberspace : RSF are holding their 114th Ard Fheis in Dublin on Saturday and Sunday, 10th and 11th November, meaning that some or other of us may just be too busy for that usual Monday night meeting.

Anyway - the time constraints imposed by the Ard Fheis and the monthly raffle will mean that our normal Wednesday post will more than likely not be collated in time for next Wednesday (14th) and it's looking like it will be between that date and the Wednesday following same (the 21st November) before we get the time to put a post together - but do check back over that time period as something or other might catch out attention between now and then...!





WE STILL THINK IT'S TOO EARLY TO MENTION THIS...

...it is only November..

..but what the heck!

In a couple of days time they'll be advertising Easter Eggs (!) so we might as well get our spoke in now (again..)!



So we'll do it. Sort of - a link rather than a graphic and a write-up :

And here it is. Sorry about that. But we always knew we were ahead of our time on this blog...!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.