Wednesday, November 06, 2019



From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"The people of Ireland have a decision to make ; let them think well on it, because they will stand at the bar of history to answer for it and let it not be said of this generation that they failed those who once again have hurled defiance at the crumbling ramparts of that imperial and blood-stained power which for so long has kept our country under the iron heel of oppression.

England still holds part of our land by force and, in the eight hundred years of occupation, never once has she given the slightest measure of amelioration except under force or the threat of force.

The dispassionate logical conclusion to be drawn from the history of the two countries is that Ireland can only achieve unity and freedom when the whole people of Ireland tell the British Army to get out or be driven out..." (MORE LATER.)


By Seán O Donáile, from 'USI News', February 1989.

The name 'Tony Gregory' (pictured) was virtually unheard of outside Dublin before 1982 when he was elected as an independent TD (sic) in Dublin Central, a post he still holds. He made national headlines with the famous 'Gregory Deal' in the same year when, in return for his support, the Fianna Fáil Government pumped £76 million into the redevelopment of inner city housing. In a frank interview with Seán O Donáile, Tony Gregory muses on the subjects of Dress, Politics, Drugs, Aids, Education, Emigration, the National Question, an Ghaeilge and the Millennium.

Tony Gregory continues by saying that the Millennium was celebrated at the worst possible time - "...for that reason it was a mistake. But if you look at it in the context that communities have benefited from it, it shouldn't be downgraded completely."

Gaeilge - amach, amach! Le teacht 1992 deirtear nach bhfuil gá le gaeilge. Ní aontaíonn an polaiteoir leis an tuairim sin : "Ní féidir leis an Stáit neamart ghlán a dhéanamh ar an teanga de dheasca votaí. De bharr sin tugann siad 'bealgrá' don Ghaeilge ach níl said i ndáiríre faoi.

Dúirt Mairtín Ó Caidaín sna seascaidí go raibh an Gaeilge ag fail bháis agus bhí an ceart aige. Anois tá níos mo gaeilgeóirí I mBaile Átha Cliath na atá sna Gaeltachtaí agus is mór an trua e sin. Tá mionlach an-bheag anois ag cosaint an Ghaeilge agus is déisteanach é sin. Níl aon dabht gur saibhreas mór é d'aon naisiún agus is tragóid mór é d'aon tír saibhreas mar sin a chaillúint."

(END of 'Street Talk' ; NEXT - 'Manus in a Pickle(s)', from 1987.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

"To The Editor,

The United Irishman.

A Chara,

England's satellites at Stormont have at last struck officially at the republican publications and the only two official republican newspapers, viz., 'The United Irishman' and 'Resurgent Ulster', are now being prevented from circulating freely in British occupied territory in the six North-East counties of Ulster.

Britain's henchmen at Stormont, with Messrs. Hanna and Warnock being dictated to by the Annalong-Dungiven bigots, whose spokesman is the Ulster Protestant Leaguer, Mr N. Porter MP, are determined to use any measure to silence the voice of free, republican Ireland in our northern territory. Of course we have met with such coercive methods before, but we believe that such coercion should be effectively countered by those who believe in the republican ideal.

We are confident that the leadership of the IRA will deal effectively with their end of it, but the ordinary people (sic) should also be given an opportunity to join in such counter methods - and one such weapon is the weapon of boycott used so effectively against the north in the four glorious years. Sinn Féin must lead the way in this..." (MORE LATER.)


...but definitely NOT jobless!

Our first 'job', which we began work on yesterday (Tuesday, 5th November), is a 650-ticket raffle for the Dublin Executive of RSF, which will be held on Sunday, 10th November 2019, in a hotel on the Dublin-Kildare border ; the paperwork etc for how that 'gig' went will be double-checked on Monday evening (11th November) in a Dublin city centre venue, which means that we will not have enough time to get a blog post ready for Wednesday, 13th November.

Our second 'job', already started, involves helping-out with the behind-the-scenes work entailed in organising the yearly Ard Fheis , which will take place in a Dublin venue, over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of this month...

..and our third (and final!) 'gig' which, again, we have already started, is in connection with the 43rd successive Cabhair Swim (1976-2019) ; this fund-raiser will be taking place, as usual, on Christmas Day, and a fair bit of organising goes into it, by the committee involved, and we're helping them to distribute leaflets (pictured) and sponsorship cards, collecting the Christmas Day 'goodies', which are donated by the local shops, pubs and businesses, organising lifts there and back etc.


We hope to back here on Wednesday, 20th November 2019 but, that being only a few days after the Ard Fheis will have concluded - and with the Swim work still on-going - we can't be 100% sure yet, at this stage, but please do check back with us between now and then, as we could just find a couple of hours to put a little offering together!

Thanks for reading - see you later on in November, Sharon.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019



From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"It is the responsibility of the people of Ireland to see to it that those 'elected representatives' who claim to act in their name do not sabotage the efforts of the inheritors of the Fenian faith in what will, with God's help, be the last and victorious phase of a struggle that has lasted only too long.

Recent military operations carried out by the Irish Republican Army have been condemned by certain politicians as "isolated acts of violence" etc but the point, which has apparently been lost on those who condemn, is that these operations were not carried out for propaganda purposes. The successful raid in Armagh and the unsuccessful, but by no means discreditable operation, in Omagh, were made solely for the purpose of capturing arms from the enemy for use in the hands of those who are pledged to fight the British. If sufficient financial support were forthcoming it would not be necessary to resort to such hazardous means to arm the resurgent youth of Ireland. But until that support is available it will be necessary to risk the lives, limbs and liberty of our bravest sons to replace the deficiency.

In spite of the condemnations of the politicians, in spite of the doubts of the 'elected representatives', there must be some spark deep down in the soul of every Irishman worthy of the name, which burst into flame at the proof that the age-old enemy had once more misjudged the temper of the men of Ireland and that there are rising up among them young men of the same calibre as those who stood in *the Bearna Baoghaol (*'the gap') in every generation.." (MORE LATER.)


By Seán O Donáile, from 'USI News', February 1989.

The name 'Tony Gregory' (pictured) was virtually unheard of outside Dublin before 1982 when he was elected as an independent TD (sic) in Dublin Central, a post he still holds. He made national headlines with the famous 'Gregory Deal' in the same year when, in return for his support, the Fianna Fáil Government pumped £76 million into the redevelopment of inner city housing. In a frank interview with Seán O Donáile, Tony Gregory muses on the subjects of Dress, Politics, Drugs, Aids, Education, Emigration, the National Question, an Ghaeilge and the Millennium.

So does Tony Gregory think that the IRA have the right idea? "I think the Provisionals are irrelevant for the reason that they have no real grasp of the socio-economic realities in Ireland today. If they had carried out a military struggle against military targets, they would have a great deal more support. Enniskillen pales in comparison to some of their atrocities committed over the last twenty years. But when you condemn the Provisionals you ignore the root causes of their existence, which is the military occupation of the six counties, and a struggle is inevitable because of that."

From the infamous coffin ships right up to the present day, the Irish have left in droves and a 'Paddy' can be found in every corner of the globe, be it at 'The National' in Kilburn, the 'Corrib' in Boston or in the West Indies, where they were brought in Cromwellian times to pick crops and were nicknamed 'The White Niggers'.

Tony Gregory believes that emigration has, and is being used, as a 'safety valve' : "The huge emigration of the 1950's was used as such. It prevented any sort of radical political development in the country, because the people worst affected left. It has made the country more inherently conservative and now, not only are people leaving, but they are being encouraged to leave by politicians and their like.." (MORE LATER.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

There stands today in Manchester, in Moston Cemetery, a monument to their memory. This tribute was erected by a united effort from every county in Ireland, but stone is a cold tribute to our patriot dead ; these men warrant more than a lifeless edifice. Those who gave their lives for Ireland deserve the only really fitting monument to their patriotism - a united Irish republic.

This, however, can only be the result of a united effort of Irishmen everywhere ; he who does nothing is responsible for the delay in the recognition of that aim.

God save Ireland!

(END of 'The Noble-Hearted Four' ; NEXT - Letter to The Editor from the editor of 'Resurgent Ulster', from the same source.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019



John Claudius Beresford (pictured), was born in Ireland on this date - 23rd October - 253 years ago (1766), into a rich Tory-like family which, due to their favoured position in Irish society, ensured that young John received a top-class education in, among other such institutions, Trinity College, in Dublin.

Between the connections he made in Trinity and his family's 'position in society', young John did well for himself - he was a banker, and was appointed as the 'Inspector-General of Exports and Imports' for the port of Dublin, while also earning a crust as a storekeeper, a renowned 'taster of wines' and he managed to squeeze-in his duties, for a year, as the 'Lord Mayor' of Dublin and as an MP for ten years. Such was his 'skillset', he also operated as an 'Agent' for the Derry branch of the 'London Society' business grouping and as one of the trustees for the 'Linen Board'!

However, ever selfless as he was (!), when the Irish attempted to overthrow British misrule in their country, in 1798 - when our John was a then 32-years-young MP, Inspector-General, storekeeper and 'taster of (fine) wines' - he decided to fight alongside other like-minded miscreants and he took command of a gang of yeomanry/"military savages" in Dublin and used his 'Riding School' in Marlborough Street - his stables - as his base of operations : Irish 'dissidents', whether real or imagined, were dragged to the stables by Beresford and his thugs and tortured, including been flogged, for 'information'. A sign, stating 'MANGLING DONE HERE GRATIS BY BERESFORD AND CO' was fitted to the torture chamber by the British savages and it quickly became known that it was no idle threat -

"Mr Beresford...tortured two respectable Dublin tradesman, one named John Fleming, a ferryman, the other Francis Gough, a coachmaker. The Nobleman (ie Beresford) superintended the flagellation of Gough and, at every stroke, insulted him with taunts and inquiries how he liked it..." (from here.) Indeed, one of his own, a 'Lord' Howick, actually complained to other British 'establishment' figures that "John Claudius Beresford (has) a name so terribly distinguished in the history of Irish persecution (but still) receives the open countenance and support of government.." and another Tory-toff, the 'Duke' of Bedford, admitted that Beresford 'had a heavy hand'.

At 46 years of age (in 1812) - having allegedly suffered 'financial difficulties' - he sought yet another pensionable 'job' from his parliament in Westminster but was refused on the grounds that he already had "..a great pension (and) a place in addition would [not] go down with the public..", and so he announced that he was 'withdrawing from public life'. He died, aged 80, in 1846. Probably in comfort, and not in a stables.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"The enemy now is the age-old enemy - England, and England's army of occupation in Ireland. Let there be no misconception in the mind of anyone, let it be clearly understood that the British army of occupation is not in Ireland for Ireland's good or for the good of the Irish people.

Britain occupies our country because the 'Northern Bridgehead' is too valuable to her in time of war to be allowed slip easily through her fingers and the occupation and exploitation is as much to the detriment of the unionist population as the nationalist.

It is but right that this should be pointed out clearly to the unionists of every class and creed and an appeal be made to them, be they plain civilians, members of the RUC or of the B Specials, to stand aside and refuse to become embroiled in the conflict between the foreign forces of oppression and the volunteer soldiers of the Irish Republican Army. No Irishman of any creed, class or political persuasion has anything to fear from the IRA as long as he gives his first allegiance to our common Fatherland -

'We are one at heart if you be Ireland's friend,

Though miles apart our policies may trend,

There are but two great parties in the end.'

The Irish Republican Army has a carefully planned and progressive policy of opposition to the British occupation forces in the Six Counties and any type of aggressive military action in the 26-County area has been decisively ruled out of the scheme. All attempts to provoke unwise or precipitate action will be recognised as such and steadfastly ignored by those who know only one enemy, England, and who will refuse to be provoked into bringing discredit on the cause* which they serve..." (MORE LATER.)

(*'1169' comment : just why it should be considered "bringing discredit on the cause" to defend yourself against Free State aggression is beyond us because, in our opinion, the Staters - military and political - are simply another anti-republican, pro-British militia.)


By Seán O Donáile, from 'USI News', February 1989.

The name 'Tony Gregory' (pictured) was virtually unheard of outside Dublin before 1982 when he was elected as an independent TD (sic) in Dublin Central, a post he still holds. He made national headlines with the famous 'Gregory Deal' in the same year when, in return for his support, the Fianna Fáil Government pumped £76 million into the redevelopment of inner city housing. In a frank interview with Seán O Donáile, Tony Gregory muses on the subjects of Dress, Politics, Drugs, Aids, Education, Emigration, the National Question, an Ghaeilge and the Millennium.

"Most of the children in my area never even get the chance to think of what type of education they want. It's a whole different world from those who grow up in an affluent background and those two worlds never meet." How do we bridge this gap? "There is only one way to bridge that gap and that is by building a socialist state in this country." How do we go about this? Will we not all turn into 'commie bashers', or should we keep 'the Reds under the beds', as we have been so often told? Tony Gregory expands ; "We must create an equal society and get rid of the privileges and wealth, currently in the hands of a minority."

"It's a matter of consciousness to create a more equal society and everybody plays a small part. It's a very slow process and because we're such a conservative people it will be slower here than elsewhere. We've been brainwashed into believing that what was going on in the socialist states was evil and bad, whereas the opposite was the case, the USA being the greatest tyranny in recent years. We must progress pragmatically and in a realistic fashion. Step by step."

But where do we begin the ascent of this ladder? I continue to pry ; "The National Question has to be resolved before getting anywhere near to a socialist solution in Ireland. It would be a major step forward to get the British out of Ireland, that is one of the primary steps..." (MORE LATER.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

Thomas Maguire, despite the sworn testimony of seven witnesses - for what that was worth - was reprieved at the request of a petition which read : 'We conscientiously believe that the said Thomas Maguire is innocent of the crime of which he has been convicted.' Yet three Irishmen were executed on the same evidence.

Nowadays we sometimes read of the 'noble-hearted three' ; this sentiment, however, forgets that four men were ready and willing to die for Ireland. Shall we all forget Edward O'Meagher Condon? Although he was not engaged in the rescue, by his own admission, he never denied his love for Ireland and his support for the Republican Movement of his day. He was reprieved because England feared that America might object to his hanging, as he was a citizen of that country. He was not martyred but it was he that startled the courtroom with his defiant cry of "God Save Ireland!"

Allen, Larkin and O'Brien said, as did Edward O'Meagher Condon, that they were proud to die for Ireland. They stated that although they took part in the rescue, not one of them carried arms, let alone shoot a policeman. On the 23rd November, 1867, these three gallant Irishmen gave their lives for Ireland... (MORE LATER.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019



From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"The task is too great a one to be left to the young men in the Six Counties and it should be an insult to the generation which has learnt with pride of the gallant fight made by their fathers and uncles ('1169' comment - ..and mothers and sisters etc) over thirty years ago to be told now that there was no place for them in the line of battle and that while their blood brothers in the six occupied counties fight for freedom that they should stay at home and depend on the 'elected representatives' of our day to beg for some measure of freedom from the enemies of our country.

The issue is clear and the recent statements of the politicians have made it clearer ; it is now for the plain people to make their decision. They can chose to follow the advice of the 'elected representatives' of our day who, for thirty years, have done nothing and now declare with a shameful unanimity that they are prepared to do nothing, or they can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those who are showing the wisdom of Padraig Pearse's words when he spoke of that miracle which ripens in the hearts of young men* - the seeds sown by the young men* of a former generation. (*'1169' comment - and women.)

Attempts will be made to misrepresent the ideals and policy and to cast doubts on the wisdom of those who proclaim the old truths and give allegiance to the old cause. Already attempts are being made to stampede the people by starting rumours of civil war and internal disturbance in the 26 Counties. Let no one be deceived by the calculated calumnies of those whose only policy is to stay in power. Let no one fear for one moment that those who are pledged to fight for the freedom of Ireland will raise their hand against any fellow Irishman.." (MORE LATER.)


By Seán O Donáile, from 'USI News', February 1989.

The name 'Tony Gregory' (pictured) was virtually unheard of outside Dublin before 1982 when he was elected as an independent TD (sic) in Dublin Central, a post he still holds. He made national headlines with the famous 'Gregory Deal' in the same year when, in return for his support, the Fianna Fáil Government pumped £76 million into the redevelopment of inner city housing. In a frank interview with Seán O Donáile, Tony Gregory muses on the subjects of Dress, Politics, Drugs, Aids, Education, Emigration, the National Question, an Ghaeilge and the Millennium.

Seamus Costello, founder of the INLA, was a major influence on Tony Gregory - "His whole involvement in the South was based on community and trade union bodies, organisations, tenant groups, social agitation etc, and a view that a military struggle against military targets was necessary in the North." Costello was assassinated in 1975 (by the organisation now called 'The Workers Party') and his portrait occupies pride of place in Tony Gregory's office.

Even the most conservative estimates put the number of drug addicts in this country at 4,000. Between Jervis Street (Beaumont), the Rutland Centre and Coolmine, there are a total of 87 beds available for the treatment of addicts here. Heroin abuse is a major problem in Gregory's constituency - "The problem with heroin is that it affects the poorest areas of inner city flats and places like Tallaght and Ballymun. The government never responds to problems that affect areas like that, in any major way. You only have to examine the recommendations of the 'Task Force' that they set up several years ago - most of the recommendations have still not been implemented. Even by their own criteria, they are not doing enough. They never do."

On the other hand, in co-operation with communities, the Garda Drug Units have been extremely successful in dealing with a lot of the heroin suppliers ('1169' comment - more than one way to agree with that claim). Without the CPAD (Concerned Parents Against Drugs), however, there would be a far more serious heroin problem today. As regards cannabis, though not a scientist, I can say that the vast majority of heroin users in my area have never been on cannabis before that."

Tony Gregory reckons that for obvious reasons the AIDS problem will escalate "..but unfortunately we will all keep our heads in the sand until it becomes very serious." Reliable surveys have shown that 1% of all inner city youths enter third level colleges, compared with 45% in the Dublin 4 area, and Tony Gregory was surprised that the figure was "so high" for his area (!) - "One could name the people from the inner city who have gone on to third level education. This is simply one aspect of an unjust society where the privileged get all the opportunities and the people in the centre of Dublin, or Cork, or any other city, get nothing. The government attempts to whitewash over these inequalities with pious statements such as 'Education for All' but if you're a child growing up in Sheriff Street, I don't think you're going to look to the government to help you get an equal footing in life.." (MORE LATER.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

Manchester, in 1867, was the scene of one of the saddest and yet most memorable incidents in the Fenian era. Here, the escape of two Fenian leaders amazed the world and the subsequent tyrannical action of the English Government angered Irishmen everywhere. Two well-known Fenians, Colonel Kelly and Captain Deasy, were 'arrested' in Manchester and, after being remanded in custody, they were transported to Salford Prison, about two miles from the court, with a few common criminals and a heavily-armed guard.

As the van approached a railway arch - now known locally as 'Fenian Arch' - which spans the road about a mile from the court, an armed man ordered the police guard to halt. Immediately, a group of about thirty men, some of them armed, swarmed round the van to rescue their Fenian comrades. The keys of the van were held by a police sergeant inside the van and, on discovering this, one of the rescuers fired into the lock but the bullet passed through the door and struck the policeman who had been watching the scene through the keyhole.

With the sergeant dead, one of the occupants of the van passed the key out to the Irishman. Thus, the rescue being completed, the Fenians withdrew and disappeared. British 'justice' then demanded its revenge, and on the next morning sixty Irishmen had been arrested indiscriminately. Finally, after all the men had been brutally treated, five were found 'guilty' - William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin and Michael O'Brien (who were executed), Edward O'Meagher Condon and Thomas Maguire... (MORE LATER.)



And it will be, for us, over the next week or so - this Sunday coming (the 13th October 2019) will find this blog crew and the raffle team in our usual monthly venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, running a 650-ticket raffle for the Cabhair organisation ; the work for this event began yesterday, Tuesday, 8th October, when we started to track down the ticket sellers and arrange for the delivery/collection of their ticket stubs and cash and, even though the raffle itself, as stated, will be held on Sunday 13th October, the 'job' is not complete until the following night, when the usual 'raffle autopsy' is held. The time constraints imposed by same will mean that our normal Wednesday post will more than likely not be collated in time for next week (16th October) and it's looking like it will be between that date and the Wednesday following same before we get the time to put a post together. But check back here anyway - sure you never know what might catch our fancy between this and then..!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019



Dan Keating (pictured) was born in 1902 and died on the 2nd October, 2007 - 12 years ago on this date. He worked within the Republican Movement for 89 years, having first offered his services at just 16 years of age.

'Dan Keating was born on the 2nd January in 1902 in the townland of Ballygamboon, Castlemaine, Co Kerry. In 1917, Dan went to work in Tralee at Jerry McSweeney's Grocery, Bar and Bakery. Jerry McSweeney's uncle, Richard Laide, was shot in the attack on Gortalea barracks which was the first barracks to be attacked in Ireland. Dan joined the Fianna in Tralee in 1918 and about two years later he joined the Irish Republican Army. Others to join at that time were Gerry Moyles, Donnchadh Donoghue, Tommy Vale, John Riordan (Kerry All-Ireland footballer), Jerry O'Connor (better known as "Uncy"), Matt Moroney and Paddy and Billy Griffin.

He met a soldier who used to frequent the bar where he worked and during conversations procured a rifle from him. This was then handed over to Johnny O'Connor of the Farmers' Bridge unit. Dan was later to join this unit which included men of the calibre of Johnny Duggan, Johnny O'Connor, Timmy Galvin, Moss Galvin, Jack Corkery, Jim Ryle, Mick Hogan and Jamesy Whiston. This unit was very active from 1920 to 1924 and many of its members took part in the Headford ambush which claimed the lives of approximately 20 British soldiers. Volunteers Danny Allman and Jimmy Baily also lost their lives at Headford. He took part in the ambush at Castlemaine in which eight RIC and Black-and-Tans were killed. Gerry Moyles was severely injured in this encounter. The last ambush in Kerry took place in Castleisland on the night before the Truce and Dan also participated in this. Four RIC members were killed in this action and Volunteers Jack Shanahan, Jack Prenderville, John McMahon and John Flynn also lost their lives.

In 1922 Dan was transferred to a unit in Tralee which was commanded by Tommy Barton of Ballyroe when they occupied Ballymullen barracks for a period of three months. Dan took part in the attack on Listowel barracks, now occupied by the Free Staters, in which one Free Stater was shot dead. In Limerick, Dan, along with comrades from Kerry, fought the Free State troops over a period of ten days. Republican Volunteers Patrick Foran, Charlie O'Hanlon and Tom McLoughlin lost their lives there. Dan was then sent to Tipperary to instruct Gerry Moyles to return to Kilmallock but on the way they were surrounded by Free Staters. After a battle at Two Mile Bridge Dan and his comrades were taken prisoner and held in Thurles barracks for two days before being conveyed to Portlaoise jail where he was held for six months. This was to be the first of many times Dan was interned by the Free State. During this period in Portlaoise, the jail was burned and Volunteer Paddy Hickey from Dublin was shot dead. Dan was then transferred to the Curragh Internment Camp and was held there until March 1923. A Free State soldier named Bergin from Nenagh, who became friendly with the republican prisoners and acted as a courier to republicans on the outside, was executed by the Staters.

Dan was charged with possession of a shotgun in 1930 and was issued a summons but did not attend court and was fined £1. In the true republican tradition he refused to pay and was sent to Limerick and held for one week. During a court case in Tralee involving Johnny O'Connor and Mick Kennedy, in which they refused to recognise the court, their supporters in the courthouse cheered loudly and when things died down the judge ordered Dan Keating to be brought up before him and gave him three months for contempt. Dan was jailed in Cork with Johnny O'Connor but after a hunger strike by Johnny both were released after three weeks.

The next time Dan was interned was after O'Duffy's visit to Tralee ; he was sentenced to six months in Arbour Hill. Dan was later captured in Carrigans in Clonmel by a policeman who had previously arrested him in Tralee and was taken first to Thurles and from there to the Curragh where he was held for three years and six months. In this period the camp was burned and Barney Casey from Longford was shot dead.

Dan was also on active service in England during the early 1940's and returned to work in Dublin and operated as a barman in the Eagle House, James Street, the Cornet and the Kilmardenny public houses. His other great interest was Gaelic games, and indeed between football and hurling he has attended more than 140 All-Ireland senior finals including replays, which must be a record in itself. When Dan retired he returned to Kerry in 1978 and resided at Ballygamboon, Castlemaine. In 2004, Dan Keating replaced George Harrison of Mayo and New York as the fourth Patron of Sinn Féin Poblachtach since 1986, following in the footsteps of such illustrious republicans as Comdt-General Tom Maguire and Michael Flannery of Tipperary and New York. During his long, healthy and adventurous lifetime Dan has seen many splits and deviations from republican principles, but he remained loyal and true to the end.' (From here.)

Dan Keating died in Tralee on the 2nd October, 2007, after a short illness. His remains were removed on Thursday, 4th October, 2007, at 7.30pm, from Tralee Nursing Home to Kiltalla Church, four miles past Castlemaine, and his funeral was held on Friday, 5th October. The authors of this blog have met Dan on many an occasion at various republican functions over the years : we have had the honour and the pleasure to sit-in on and partake in some of the many conversations with the man. His wit and historical wisdom and knowledge will be sorely missed, but his comrades will ensure that those attributes are passed-on as best we can to future generations and that men and women of his calibre will be remembered.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"So, to, was the resurgent period of 1916 to 1922 followed by the long bitter years when the people once more placed their trust in the professional politicians who promised and promised but without performance. In the years since 1922, the apparent differences between the political parties in the 26-County State have become less and less until we have eventually reached the state of almost complete unanimity on that greatest of national evils - the continued occupation of part of our country by a British Army.

In Leinster House and at their party conventions they have stated their views. They will do nothing to end it and they can do no more than express the hope that at some unspecified time in the future the Orangemen will ask for a united Ireland. But there are men in the occupied territory who are not satisfied with the policy of laissez faire. There are men under the heel of British tyranny who are not satisfied to wait twenty or thirty or forty years for that most unlikely change of heart on which the professional politicians base their hopes for a united Ireland.

These young men and their comrades throughout Ireland who are pledged with them to wrest freedom from the enemy by force of arms raise once more the standard of revolt against oppression and they call on the people of all Ireland for support. The people of Ireland stand once more at the historical crossroads ; once more for them the hour of decision is at hand. Once more they are asked to decide whether they will give support to those whose only policy is one of mealy-mouthed appeasement and placation or to the men who are pledged to the doctrine of Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet and Padraig Pearse..." (MORE LATER.)


William O'Brien (pictured) was an Irish nationalist, journalist, agrarian agitator, social revolutionary, politician, party leader, newspaper publisher, author and Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland'. He was born on the 2nd October, 1852 - 167 years ago on this date.

'William O'Brien received the freedom of Dublin in 1888, and not only the freedom of Dublin, but of Cork, as well, at the age of 36, on the occasion of his release from prison.

While still little more than a boy he had helped in smuggling in the Fenian guns for the purchase of which Michael Davitt had gone to prison. This was rather surprising in one who had been reared an ardent admirer of O'Connell but the pitiable inadequacy of the Fenian effort caused William to base all his efforts on Conference, Conciliation, Consent, using just one weapon - violent language. He started to earn his living as a journalist in Cork but very soon his obvious talent caused him promotion to the Freemans Journal in Dublin. A series of articles, 'Christmas on the Galtees', brought the plight of Irish tenant farmers very vividly before the public and established William O'Brien as the unflinching champion of the tenants, which he remained to the end. He soon resigned his £600 a year job on the Freemans Journal to become editor of 'United Ireland' at £400 a year on the invitation of Charles S. Parnell. He quickly became 'the Chiefs' confidante and at the split, he was the only member of the Party to whom Parnell was willing to hand over the leadership, which O'Brien declined.

All through the 1880's O'Brien and John Dillon, the two "stormy petrels" of the Land League, both with weak, tubercular lungs fought the Plan of Campaign, being frequently arrested and sentenced to terms of imprisonment with hard labour. But O'Brien had a feeling for propaganda which enabled him to turn such sentences into occasions for the utmost publicity for the cause of the tenants. After the Parnellite split in 1891 O'Brien retired to live in a cottage he called "Mallow" on a twenty acre farm near Westport. He had already, while in prison in Galway, written a novel "When we were boys". In "Mallow" he wrote "A Queen of Men", a novel based on the life of Grainne Uaile, and his Russian Jewish wife wrote "Beneath Croagh Patrick".

None of the Land Acts passed up to that time had been of much benefit to the poor tenants along the western seaboard and very soon William O'Brien's sympathy went out to the tenants of Clare Island who were under threat of eviction. Then he and Dr. McEvilly, Archbishop of Tuam, guaranteed repayments of Annuities for the first seven years. This enabled the tenants of Clare Island to purchase their holdings and O'Brien went on record stating "To their eternal credit it never cost either of us a farthing". Since the fall of Parnell the Home Rule movement had been hopelessly split into a number of parties or factions, the two principals of which, John Redmond and John Dillon, were the respective leaders. Attempts by O'Brien to heal the split, as similar attempts by Irish Americans, failed utterly. But O'Brien was not one to drop a good idea without a fight. So at Westport in January l898 - the century of the "Men of the west" - he founded the United Irish League supported by Davitt alone of elected representatives. The warring factions ignored him. But in a short time U.I. League had hundreds of branches in Connacht and was spreading across the Shannon. So Redmond, Dillon and their followers had little option but to jump on the bandwagon. At Claremorris on February 1st 1899 the United Irish League became the national organisation under the chairmanship of John Redmond, and O'Brien returned to parliament as the member for Cork City.

But the land question was still very far from settled. For the great majority of small tenants things were only marginally better than in 1881. Then, suddenly and totally unexpected, something happened which led to what many regard as O'Brien's greatest success. An unknown landlord from Ardrahan, Mr. Shane Taylor, who has taken part in the Boer war, wrote to the Dublin newspapers suggesting a conference and naming a number of well known men to represent both landlords and tenants to draw up proposals for the settlement of land question. No doubt it would have followed millions of other "Letters to the Editor" if it hadn't been endorsed by the Chief Secretary for Ireland - George Wyndham, a descendant of Lord Edward Fitzgerald and by William O'Brien. After much "Jockeying" the conference met in December 1902. Lord Mayo, a landlords' representative, told O'Brien he had never seen him before. "All the bad landlords have seen too much of me", replied O'Brien, who had even gone to Canada in pursuit of Lord Landsdown, the Viceroy, an evicting Irish Landlord.

Working on a draft submitted by O'Brien, the conference submitted a set of recommendations which formed the basis of the Wyndham Land Act under which hundreds of thousands of tenants had succeeded in purchasing their buildings before 1921. This led Dr. O'Dwyer, Bishop of Limerick, but no admirer, to exclaim "who'd have thought that madman O'Brien would be the one to settle the Land Question?". But what about Davitt and Dillon ? Very briefly, Davitt wanted to get rid of the landlords and nationalise the land, while Dillion wanted to keep the land question "on the boil" until Home Rule had been achieved. In "William O'Brien and the course of Irish politics" 1881 - 1918, Joseph V. O'Brien tells us "A meeting of the All For Ireland League" at Crossmolina (in Co. Mayo) in 1910 almost had fatal results when revolver shots were fired and (William) O'Briens audience routed by toughs and priests.

How could this have happened and what was the All for Ireland League? O'Brien had become convinced that Home Rule as advocated by Dillon would lead inevitably to Partition and this he totally rejected. Encouraged by the success of the Land Conference, he felt the National Question could be settled in a similar manner and was willing to make almost any concession to the Unionists. So he was branded Concessionist, he and his supporters in Cork whose motto was All For Ireland, Ireland for All. He and Tim Healy withdrew in 1918 and were not among the list of routed members.

In 1927 he was offered nomination for a Cork constituency by the newly formed Fianna Fail party but declined on grounds of age. He died the following year.' (From here.)

('1169' comment - if his age was his only reason for declining membership of Fianna Fail then we would very much doubt his stated opposition to the 'landlord class' - Fianna Fail were founded, in 1926, by the 'landlord class', and remain in league with them to this day. William O' Brien died, at 76 years of age, on the 25th February, 1928, in London.)


By Seán O Donáile, from 'USI News', February 1989.

The name 'Tony Gregory' was virtually unheard of outside Dublin before 1982 when he was elected as an independent TD (sic) in Dublin Central, a post he still holds. He made national headlines with the famous 'Gregory Deal' in the same year when, in return for his support, the Fianna Fáil Government pumped £76 million into the redevelopment of inner city housing. In a frank interview with Seán O Donáile, Tony Gregory muses on the subjects of Dress, Politics, Drugs, Aids, Education, Emigration, the National Question, an Ghaeilge and the Millennium.

In the parochial world of politics, Tony Gregory soon became synonymous with tweed jacket and open-neck dress, and still doesn't don the customary suit and tie : "People can wear whatever they like. I think those who are offput by dress have very little on their minds and should look at more serious topics rather than wasting time on irrelevant issues."

On a more serious note, however, I queried Gregory on his background and how he managed to establish himself as a Dáil (sic) 'regular', without the backing of a party machine - "I was brought up in a working-class background and I didn't like the society that I was growing-up in. I wanted to play a part in changing it, so I joined an organisation ('1169' comment - he joined 'Official Sinn Féin', later renamed 'The Workers' Party') , which I thought was a very radical one at that time. I had the experience of spending a number of years in the Officials and the IRSP after that, who contested elections, so I was familiar with the mechanisms for contesting elections.

However, I found out that this party was radical in some ways but very reactionary in other ways, so I left and became involved in community organisation and through that to electoral politics and I was elected to City Council and subsequently to the Dáil (sic). My reason for going forward was not just to contest and expound theories, but to win.." (MORE LATER.)


"Let there be no doubt about where Ireland stands. We want nothing to do with the backward-looking ideas of sovereignty. We will remain absolutely committed to the ideals of the European Union, the most successful international organisation in world history.." - Fianna Fáil party leader, Micheál Martin (pictured), attempting to sell himself as 'a safe pair of hands' to the EU's Michel Barnier!

However, in January 2018, Mr Martin stated the following - "It is important to note that members and supporters of Fianna Fáil do find an ideological consistency in the party’s adherence to an idea of progressive republicanism. I know that republicanism doesn’t fit in the standard list of ways of assessing the ideology of political parties internationally but it is important for us. At its core it has been seen by us as being about a state being responsive to its citizens and dedicated to their interests and sovereignty..."

Depending on the audience and/or the particular situation at hand and/or what notion it is he's trying to 'sell' and/or to whom he's trying to sell it, this Free State career politician is completely flexible when it comes to 'policies'. Mr Barnier might give him a nice, soft, well-paid and pensioned 'job' in a side office in Brussels, where he can sell his political snake oil to a bigger audience.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

The raising of funds to provide for the dependents of the men and women in jail has greatly improved in recent weeks ('1169' comment - a worthy endeavour then and one which continues to this day...) - the Waterford Committee ran a very successful concert and the Dublin Committee succeeded in getting a benefit night at the Shelbourne Greyhound Track ('1169' comment - a bad fund-raising move then, and not one that we would support today) ; our sincere thanks are due to the organisers in both cases.

Also, in Cork, collections have more than quadrupled in recent weeks, and generous subscriptions have also been received from the Kerins-O'Neill IRA Club of Chicago, from Portarlington Sinn Féin Cumann, from the Dublin branch of the J.J. Reynolds Memorial Committee, and others.

The committee of the 'Siamsa Mor' have agreed to give the proceeds of the ceilidhe in the Mansion House on Sunday, 16th January next to An Cumann Cabhrach, and republicans are urged to support these events. An example of steady support is the 'Kevin Barry Republican Club', 44 Parnell Square, Dublin, where a weekly collection has been made among the members for many months past and, to date, they have contributed over £35 - a very praiseworthy effort for a small social club. With the increasing number of arrests and imprisonments, our need is great, but the people are responding generously now as always, to a worthy cause... (MORE LATER.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019



"You cannot put a rope around the neck of an cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell that your slaves could ever build.." - the words of Séan O'Casey, in relation to the murder of Thomas Ashe.

The funeral procession in Dublin, 30th September 1917 (pictured), for Thomas Ashe, an IRB leader who died on the 25th September that year - 102 years ago on this date - after being force fed by his British jailers.

He was the first Irish republican to die as a result of a hunger-strike and, between that year and 1981, twenty-one other Irish republicans died on hunger-strike. The jury at the inquest into his death found "..that the deceased, Thomas Ashe, according to the medical evidence of Professor McWeeney, Sir Arthur Chance, and Sir Thomas Myles, died from heart failure and congestion of the lungs on the 25th September, 1917 and that his death was caused by the punishment of taking away from the cell bed, bedding and boots and allowing him to be on the cold floor for 50 hours, and then subjecting him to forcible feeding in his weak condition after hunger-striking for five or six days.."

Michael Collins organised the funeral and transformed it into a national demonstration against British misrule in Ireland ; armed 'Irish Republican Brotherhood' Volunteers in full uniform flanked the coffin, followed by 9,000 other IRB Volunteers, and approximately 30,000 people lined the streets. A volley of shots was fired over Ashe's grave, following which Michael Collins stated - "Nothing more remains to be said. That volley which we have just heard is the only speech which it is proper to make over the grave of a dead Fenian."

The London-based 'Daily Express' newspaper perhaps summed it up best when it stated, re the funeral of Thomas Ashe, that what had happened had made '100,000 Sinn Féiners out of 100,000 constitutional nationalists.' The level of support shown gave a boost to Irish republicans, and this was noted by the 'establishment' in Westminster - 'The Daily Mail' newspaper claimed that, a month earlier, Sinn Féin, despite its electoral successes, had been a waning force. That newspaper said - '..It had no practical programme, for the programme of going further than anyone else cannot be so described. It was not making headway. But Sinn Féin today is pretty nearly another name for the vast bulk of youth in Ireland...'

Thomas Patrick Ashe’s activities and interests included cultural and physical force nationalism as well as trade unionism and socialism. He also commanded the 5th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade Volunteers who won the Battle of Ashbourne on the 29th of April 1916. Born in Lispole, County Kerry on the 12th of January 1885, he was the seventh of ten siblings. He qualified as a teacher in 1905 at De La Salle College, Waterford and after teaching briefly in Kinnard, County Kerry, in 1906 he became principal of Corduff National School in Lusk, County Dublin. Thomas Ashe was a fluent Irish speaker and a member of the Keating branch of the Gaelic League and was an accomplished sportsman and musician setting up the Roundtowers GAA Club as well as helping to establish the Lusk Pipe Band (pictured). He was also a talented singer and poet who was committed to Conradh na Gaeilge.

Politically, he was a member of the 'Irish Republican Brotherhood' (IRB) and established IRB circles in Dublin and Kerry and eventually became President of the IRB Supreme Council in 1917. While he was actively and intellectually nationalist he was also inspired by contemporary socialism. Ashe rejected conservative Home Rule politicians and as part of that rejection he espoused the Labour policies of James Larkin. Writing in a letter to his brother Gregory he said "We are all here on Larkin's side. He'll beat hell out of the snobbish, mean, seoinín employers yet, and more power to him". Ashe supported the unionisation of north Dublin farm labourers and his activities brought him into conflict with landowners such as Thomas Kettle in 1912. During the infamous lockout in 1913 he was a frequent visitor to Liberty Hall and become a friend of James Connolly. Long prior to its publication in 1916, Thomas Ashe was a practitioner of Connolly’s dictum that "the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour". In 1914 Ashe travelled to the United States where he raised a substantial sum of money for both the Gaelic League and the newly formed Irish Volunteers of which he was an early member.

Ashe founded the Volunteers in Lusk and established a firm foundation of practical and theoretical military training. He provided charismatic leadership first as Adjutant and then as O/C (Officer Commanding) the 5th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade. He inspired fierce loyalty and encouraged personal initiative in his junior officers and was therefore able to confidently delegate command to Charlie Weston, Joseph Lawless, Edward Rooney and others during the Rising. Most significantly, he took advantage of the arrival of Richard Mulcahy at Finglas Glen on the Tuesday of the Rising and appointed him second in command. The two men knew one another through the IRB and Gaelic League and Ashe recognized Mulcahy’s tactical abilities. As a result Ashe allowed himself to be persuaded by Mulcahy not to withdraw following the unexpected arrival of the motorised force at the Rath crossroads. At Ashbourne on the 28th of April Ashe also demonstrated great personal courage, first exposing himself to fire while calling on the RIC in the fortified barracks to surrender and then actively leading his Volunteers against the RIC during the Battle.

After the 1916 Rising he was court-martialled (on the 8th of May 1916) and was sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life ; he was incarcerated in a variety of English prisons before being released in the June 1917 general amnesty. He immediately returned to Ireland and toured the country reorganising the IRB and inciting civil opposition to British rule. In August 1917, after a speech in Ballinalee, County Longford, he was arrested by the RIC and charged with "speeches calculated to cause disaffection". He was detained in the Curragh camp and later sentenced to a year's hard labour in Mountjoy Jail. There he became O/C of the Volunteer prisoners, and demanded prisoner-of-war status. As a result he was punished by the Governor. He went on hunger strike on the 20th September 1917 and five days later died as a result of force-feeding by the prison authorities. He was just 32 years old. The death of Thomas Ashe resulted in POW status being conceded to the Volunteer prisoners two days later. Thomas Ashe's funeral was the first public funeral after the Rising and provided a focal point for public disaffection with British rule. His body lay in state in Dublin City Hall before being escorted by armed Volunteers to Glasnevin Cemetery ; 30,000 people attended the burial where three volleys were fired over the grave (pictured) and the Last Post was sounded.

While imprisoned in Lewes Jail in 1916, Thomas Ashe had written his poem 'Let Me Carry Your Cross for Ireland, Lord' which later provided the inspiration for the Battle of Ashbourne memorial unveiled by Sean T. O'Kelly on Easter Sunday, 26th April 1959 at the Rath Cross in Ashbourne :

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord

The hour of her trial draws near,

And the pangs and the pains of the sacrifice

May be borne by comrades dear.

But, Lord, take me from the offering throng,

There are many far less prepared,

Through anxious and all as they are to die

That Ireland may be spared.

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord

My cares in this world are few,

and few are the tears will for me fall

When I go on my way to You.

Spare Oh! Spare to their loved ones dear

The brother and son and sire,

That the cause we love may never die

In the land of our Heart's desire!

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!

Let me suffer the pain and shame

I bow my head to their rage and hate,

And I take on myself the blame.

Let them do with my body whate'er they will,

My spirit I offer to You,

That the faithful few who heard her call

May be spared to Roisin Dubh.

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!

For Ireland weak with tears,

For the aged man of the clouded brow,

And the child of tender years;

For the empty homes of her golden plains,

For the hopes of her future, Too!

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!

For the cause of Roisin Dubh.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"In the long years since the British first invaded our country, each generation has been faced with the problem of attaining freedom and in every age young men ('1169' comment - ..and women) have been found who were prepared to work and suffer, to fight and, if necessary, to die to achieve the ideal of a free Ireland.

Conflict has inevitably arisen between those imbued with this ideal and the old conservative politicians who had nothing to offer except vain hopes and specious promises. The men and women of the last generation will remember how the conflict arose between the 'Irish Volunteers' and the so-called 'parliamentarians' of that day who held that while England was embarrassed by war , Irishmen should not press their demands for freedom. They will remember that they had to chose between 'the elected representatives of the Irish people' in Westminster, who were prepared to stand hat-in-hand before their masters and beg for a measure of freedom, and the 'Irish Volunteers' and the 'Citizen Army' whose proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916 began what was probably the most glorious period of resurgence in the history of our country.

They will remember that the 'elected representatives of the Irish people' condemned the 1916 Rising as 'foolish and criminal' and applauded the execution of the sixteen leaders whose names will live when the doubtful fame of the politicians is lost in merciful oblivion. The history of Ireland has been made up of short periods of national resurgence followed by long years of disillusion, bitterness and political intrigue. But in the long bitter years between the periods of resurgence that voice crying in the wilderness has never been wanting - the one or two unrepentant idealists who, in the face of all the pomp and circumstances of parliamentary and political futility, have proclaimed the truth and have undergone imprisonment and death rather than accept the shame and the lie..." (MORE LATER.)


THE LONG KESH ESCAPE - SUNDAY 25th SEPTEMBER 1983. From 'IRIS' magazine, November 1983.

"We perceived the escape as a military operation from beginning to end. It could not have been achieved in any other way, and the ASU - as Volunteers in the Irish Republican Army - were under strict orders throughout from an Operations Officer whose judgement was crucial and whose every order had to be obeyed. Every Volunteer was under a tight brief.." - IRA statement.

It was this precision of planning, exclusively revealed in a detailed interview by key ASU personnel involved, that lay behind the almost incredible escape of 38 Republicans on Sunday 25th September 1983 from what is generally believed to be the most secure prison in Western Europe - the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. At 2.15pm that day, three IRA Volunteers carrying concealed pistols fitted with silencers, which had been smuggled into the prison, moved into the 'Central Administration' area (the 'Circle') of H7-Block on the pretext of cleaning out a store. Fifteen minutes later they were joined by a fourth armed Volunteer ; control of the 'Circle', with its numerous alarm bells, was vital for the escape's success and had to be carried out simultaneously with the overpowering of prison Screws in the four wings of H7-Block.

Minutes later three other Volunteers - armed with pistols, hammers or chisels - took up key positions near Screws positioned by alarm buttons, on the pretext of carrying out orderly duties, while Brendan 'Bic' McFarlane (the H-Block Officer Commanding during the hunger-strike) was allowed through two locked grilles into the hall of the Block on cleaning duties - his job was to arrest the Screw there and, on a given signal - once everyone was in position - IRA Volunteers overpowered and arrested all the prison Screws in the Block, many of the Volunteers subsequently changing into their uniforms. During the seizure of control one Screw - on duty in a locked control room - was shot twice in the head when he ignored orders to lie on the floor and instead made a lunge for the alarm. Control of the Block was completed when 'Bic' McFarlane, accompanied by two IRA Volunteers dressed as Screws, arrested the Screw on duty in the front gate enclosure. It was now about 2.45pm.

Some time later the food lorry bringing evening meals to H7 (pictured) arrived ; 37 IRA Volunteers climbed into the back while another lay on the floor of the cab holding a gun on the Screw driving the lorry. The lorry then drove through a series of 'security gates' in the Long Kesh complex manned by unsuspecting Screws and in full view of armed British sentry posts. It eventually arrived at a 'tally hut' close to a back gate of the prison camp ; the plan was to arrest the Screws in the 'tally hut' and, leaving five Volunteers in control, drive the food lorry a further quarter mile to the front gate 'tally hut' which the escapees would then take control of, leaving two Volunteers there, before driving out in the food lorry to freedom.

Meanwhile, the five Volunteers in the first 'tally hut' would obtain a Screw's car from the adjoining car park, drive to the front gate where the two Volunteers in control there would clamber into the boot, and also make their escape. That was the plan of escape ; unfortunately, it was not to be - the plan of escape began to go wrong at the first 'tally-hut' due to there being larger numbers of Screws coming on duty than anticipated. While the escapees kept arresting more and more Screws, the situation got out of control and the alarm was raised. At this point the escapees were forced to make a run for it on foot across fields, many of them successfully commandeering local cars. In the final melee several Screws were stabbed and one escapee, Harry Murray (pictured), was shot and wounded.

It was inevitable, given the eventual breakdown of the plan, that there would be some re-arrests, some within minutes and some within two days of the break-out. Nonetheless, the massive total of 19 Republican prisoners of war did successfully escape and eventually reach freedom - to the massive embarrassment of the British and the jubilation of Nationalists throughout the 32 Counties !

The 19 H-Block escapees that were then at liberty are - Kevin Barry Artt, (24) North Belfast ; Paul Brennan (30) Ballymurphy ; Seamus Campbell (26) Coalisland, County Tyrone ; James Clarke (27) Letterkenny, County Donegal ; Seamus Clarke (27) Ardoyne ; Gerard Fryer (24) Turf Lodge ; Dermot Finucane (22) Lenadoon ; Kieran Fleming (23) Derry ; Anthony Kelly (22) Derry ; Gerry Kelly (30) Belfast ; Anthony McAllister (25) Belfast ; Gerard McDonnell (32) Belfast ; Seamus McElwair (22) Scotstown, County Monaghan ; Brendan McFarane (31) Ardoyne ; Padraic McKearney (29) Moy, County Tyrone ; Dermot McNally (26) Lurgantarry, North Armagh ; Robert Russell (25) Ballymurphy ; Terence Kirby (27) Andersonstown and James Smith (38) Ardoyne.


Colm Keena reports on a new survey on low pay and talks to workers caught in the trap.

By Colm Keena.

From 'Magill' Magazine, May 1987.

Since 1982, the ICTU has had the introduction of a statutory national minimum wage as an item of policy. They propose the introduction of a minimum wage equal to the average gross pay for adult industrial workers, with a fall-back position of 80% of the same - £188 and £150 respectively, at mid-1985 rates. So far, little has been achieved in relation to this objective.

The ICTU has, for some years, been recommending to affiliated unions that they seek flat rate increases, or set floors in the case of percentage increases - "The issue of low pay in the public and private sector is high on the agenda in the current discussions between the government and the ICTU," according to one union official attending those talks. It may also be agreed " look at the issue of a statutory minimum wage at a later date but the notion of giving increases to low paid workers and skipping the rest is not on," according to the official. Low pay has had high priority for some time. But never too high.

(END of 'One In Four On Low Pay' ; Next - 'Street Talk', from USI News, February 1989.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

1848 : 'Green Street this morning was unusually astir with crowds of persons seeking admission to the Court. Double patrols of mounted police rode through the city, and strong bodies of the same force and the foot police were stationed about the Court.

At an early hour the police, in still greater numbers than on the preceding days, were drawn up in the vicinity of Green Street, forming barriers at the entrance of every street leading directly to the Courthouse, which few persons were allowed to pass without receiving some insult to remind them that the police and not the people were masters in the streets of Dublin - the military were in readiness, the Court was packed with constables...' - the 'trial' of John Mitchell, as reported in 'The Nation' newspaper.

1954 : 'Each side of the doorway stands an armed policeman, tunics closed tight to the neck, long close-fitting coat belted by the conspicuous holster and belt. From the holster protrudes the menacing revolver, a challenge in itself which encourages no smart cracks.

All around the public gallery, and interspersed through the crowd there and at all exits, in passages and at the entrances to seats, policemen are stationed, the inevitable revolver prominently in front in all cases. Security measures are at perfection point, no chink shows in the curtain, and any attempt at rescue has been made not only impossible but unthinkable. The queen's men stand firm.' - the 'trial' of the Omagh men, as reported in 'The Mayo News' newspaper.

106 years between those two 'trials' - one conducted by the British 'authorities' in Dublin Castle and the other conducted by a British proxy administration in Leinster House - against the same enemy, Irish republicanism.

(END of 'Pattern Unchanged'. Next - 'Magnificent Support For Prisoners' Families', from the same source.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019



'Anne Devlin was born in County Wicklow around the end of the 1770s into a nationalist family. In 1800, Anne met Robert Emmet and moved into his house to assist him in his plans for an uprising in Dublin. On the evening of the 23rd July, 1803, the rising went ahead in Dublin, but despite taking the British authorities by surprise, the rebellion collapsed.

Anne and her eight year old sister were arrested. She was interrogated and tortured in order to get information about the whereabouts of Emmet. She refused to speak. On the 20th September 1803 Emmet was executed on Thomas Street, Dublin.

She was kept in solitary confinement in Kilmainham Gaol in squalid conditions and was subjected to brutal treatment, but consistently refused to cooperate despite the fact that her entire family were also being held. She was finally released in 1806. Anne Devlin died in September 1851 in the Liberties area of Dublin’s city centre ('1169' comment - she died from starvation on the 18th of that month ; 168 years ago on this date). She was buried in a paupers plot in Glasnevin Cemetery, but following the efforts of a Doctor Richard Madden she was exhumed and reinterred with a headstone..' (From here.)

On the 2nd March 1914, Patrick Henry Pearse, 37 years of age, delivered the following address to a packed venue in the 'Academy of Music' in Brooklyn, New York : "Wherever Emmet is commemorated let Anne Devlin not be forgotten. Bryan Devlin had a dairy farm in Butterfield Lane ; his fields are still green there. Five sons of his fought in '98. Anne was his daughter, and she went to keep house for Emmet when he moved into Butterfield House. You know how she kept vigil there on the night of the rising. When all was lost and Emmet came out in his hurried retreat through Rathfarnham to the mountains, her greeting was — according to tradition, it was spoken in Irish, and Emmet must have replied in Irish - "Musha, bad welcome to you! Is Ireland lost by you, cowards that you are, to lead the people to destruction and then to leave them ?" "Don’t blame me, Anne, the fault is not mine", said Emmet. And she was sorry for the pain her words had inflicted, spoken in the pain of her own disappointment. She would have tended him like a mother could he have tarried there, but his path lay to Kilmashogue, and hers was to be a harder duty.

When Major Sirr (pictured) came out with his soldiery she was still keeping her vigil. "Where is Emmet?", they demanded to know. "I have nothing to tell you," she replied, and to all their questions she had but one answer : "I have nothing to say ; I have nothing to tell you." They swung her up to a cart and half-hanged her several times ; after each half-hanging she was revived and questioned : still the same answer. They pricked her breast with their bayonets until the blood spurted out in their faces. They dragged her to prison and tortured her for days. Not one word did they extract from that steadfast woman. And when Emmet was sold, he was sold, not by a woman, but by a man — by the friend that he had trusted — by the counsel that, having sold him, was to go through the ghastly mockery of defending him at the bar. The fathers and mothers of Ireland should often tell their children that story of Robert Emmet and that story of Anne Devlin. To the Irish mothers who hear me I would say that when at night you kiss your children and in your hearts call down a benediction, you could wish for your boys no higher thing than that, should the need come they may be given the strength to make Emmet's sacrifice, and for your girls no greater gift from God than such fidelity as Anne Devlin's.."

Anne Devlin was an Irish republican famous for her involvement with the United Irishmen, and enduring terrible conditions, as well as torture, when imprisoned by British forces in Ireland. She died, aged 71, on the 18th September, 1851 - 168 years ago on this date.


James Standish O'Grady (Anéislis Séamus Ó Grádaigh, pictured) was born on the 18th September, in Cork, in 1846 - 173 years ago on this date.

He was a 'mixed bag' of a person, having been born into the 'landlord class' but, at the same time, possessing enough cop-on to realise that if a political/financial/social system lacked the (minor) benefits to the less well-off of a 'trickle down' effect, then trouble was guaranteed.

He was of the opinion that he had more in common with the Irish 'aristocracy' than he had with his own 'class' in the fine halls and castles of Westminster and, witnessing the suffering in Ireland, apparently felt that England had somehow betrayed its standing and reputation (!) in the world because of the way the Irish were been treated.

'The Pictorial Times', a popular newspaper of the day, described the then attempted genocide of the Irish people in the following report, dated the 10th October, 1846 - 'Around them is plenty ; rickyards, in full contempt, stand under their snug thatch, calculating the chances of advancing prices ; or, the thrashed grain safely stored awaits only the opportunity of conveyance to be taken far away to feed strangers...but a strong arm interposes to hold the maddened infuriates away. Property laws supersede those of Nature. Grain is of more value than blood. And if they attempt to take of the fatness of the land that belongs to their lords, death by musketry is a cheap government measure to provide for the wants of a starving and incensed people..'

Mr O'Grady realised that the unrest among the Irish could at least be lessened, if not smoothed-over completely, if only his own type on what he no doubt regarded as 'the main land' would be 'fair' towards those they were thieving from and, to that end, he wrote to those that had influence over those he called 'the landlords of Ireland' - "I say that even still you are the best class in the country, and for the last two centuries have been ; but, see, the event proves that you were not good enough, had not virtue enough. Therefore you perish out of the land, while innumerable eyes are dry. Christ save us all, you read nothing, know nothing. This great modern, democratic world rolls on with its thunderings, lightnings and voices, enough to make the bones of your heroic fathers turn in their graves, and you know nothing about it, care nothing about it.

Of you, as a class, as a body of men, I can entertain not the least hope ; indeed, who can? If you are quite satisfied to lose all that you have inherited, to be stripped naked, and in the slime to wrestle with dragons and gorillas hereafter for some morsel of official income which you will not get, then travel that way. If you are satisfied to see all the worth, virtue, personal refinement, truth and honour which you know to be inherent in your own order wiped, as with a sponge, out of Ireland - maybe a bloody sponge - then travel that way.

If you wish to see anarchy and civil war, brutal despotisms alternating with bloody lawlessness, or, on the other side, a shabby, sordid Irish Republic, ruled by knavish, corrupt politicians and the ignoble rich, you will travel the way of égalité."

His plea for 'fair play' for the Irish fell on deaf ears, but he was right in regards to this State ('the republic') 'being ruled by knavish, corrupt politicians and the ignoble rich..', and that remains the case, but that would probably be little comfort to him as he lay on his deathbed in Shanklin, Isle of Wight, in England, in 1928 - he was 81 years of age when he went to his grave, leaving behind a reputation, among some, of being a 'Fenian Unionist'.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"The principle which republicans have held down through the years has been that England had no right to legislate for Ireland, that England had no right to set up these two States and, since they were founded on the 'Better Government of Ireland Act', no republican could give allegiance to either of them without a breach of principle, no matter what internal changes may have been brought about in either or both.

The constitutional changes in the 26-County State have made no change in the principle involved and the declaration of a Republic which recognised the unnatural division of our country and expressed only a pious hope for future re-integration did nothing more than make confusion more confounded and the glib use of such terms as 'freedom in this part of Ireland' has served only to lull the youth of the country into a false sense of national well-being.

The stand republicans have always taken is that Ireland is a single entity and that it is as great an insult to the people of the 26 Counties to have the Tricolour and the National Anthem banned in Belfast as if the same ban were in force all over Ireland. As long as one square foot of Irish soil is occupied by a foreign army Ireland cannot be said to be free. The ideals of our patriot dead have not being realised and as long as that army of occupation holds a part of our country by naked force it is idle to express hopes for unification somewhere in the distant future and an illusion to think that Britain, who never gave anything to anybody except under duress, will suffer a change of heart and in a burst of magnanimity will hand back that portion of our country which she has annexed by force and holds with an army of occupation..." (MORE LATER.)


"These Irish are really shocking, abominable people. Not like any other civilised nation..." - the words of Britain's 'Queen' Victoria, on hearing about the 'Manchester Outrage', as she called it. Her comments were replied to by one of the 'uncivilised Irish' people she was speaking about : "I will die proudly and triumphantly in defence of republican principles and the liberty of an oppressed and enslaved people..." - the words of 18-years-young William Allen, from Bandon, County Cork. The "outrage", as far as the British are concerned, anyway , began on the 11th September that year (1867) (...although, in reality, it began for us Irish in 1169) when, in the early hours of the morning of Wednesday, 11th September 1867, two men were arrested by police in Shudehill, Manchester, on suspicion that they were about to commit a robbery.

The two men were charged under the 'Vagrancy Act' and were detained in police custody, and it was then they were recognised, by fellow Irishmen in British police uniforms, as Colonel Thomas J.Kelly and Captain Timothy Deasy (both pictured), two known Fenians. Their comrades in Manchester, which was the 'Bandit Country' of its day, vowed to free the two men and, on the 18th of September, 1867 - 152 years ago today - as a prison van carrying the two men (and a 12-years-young boy, plus three female prisoners) was travelling on the Manchester to Salford road, on its way to 'deposit the cargo' in Belle Vue Gaol on the Hyde Road in Gorton, Manchester, accompanied by a team of 12 horse-mounted policemen, it was attacked by about 50 Fenians. Kelly and Deasy were handcuffed and locked in two separate compartments inside the van, guarded by a police sergeant, a Charles Brett, and, as such, were unable to assist their comrades outside.

The mounted police escort fled the scene on seeing the number of attackers but Brett was obviously unable to do so : the Fenian rescuers were unable to force open the van and advised Sergeant Brett that it would be for his own good to open the doors and let the prisoners go. Brett refused the offer, and was looking through the keyhole to further assess his situation when one of the rescuers decided to shoot the lock apart - the bullet went through the keyhole and hit Brett in the head, killing him instantly. One of the female prisoners had the good sense to take the keys from his pocket and hand them out through an air vent to those outside, and Kelly and Deasy were taken to safety.

Twenty-six men were later arrested and tried for playing a part in the rescue, and five of them were detained to stand trial, on 1st November 1867, for their alleged part in what the British called the "Manchester Outrage" : all five were actually sentenced to be hanged, but one was granted clemency and another was 'pardoned' as the evidence against him was found to be perjured. The other three - William Allen, Michael O'Brien and Michael Larkin - the 'Manchester Martyrs', were hanged in front of thousands of baying spectators on Saturday, 23rd November 1867 - 149 years ago on this date - in Salford, Manchester, outside the New Bailey Jail. In an address to the court, William Philip Allen (pictured), 18, stated - "No man in this court regrets the death of Sergeant Brett more than I do, and I positively say, in the presence of the Almighty and ever-living God, that I am innocent ; aye, as innocent as any man in this court. I don't say this for the sake of mercy : I want no mercy — I'll have no mercy. I'll die, as many thousands have died, for the sake of their beloved land, and in defence of it."

"I will die proudly and triumphantly in defence of republican principles and the liberty of an oppressed and enslaved people. Is it possible we are asked why sentence should not be passed upon us, on the evidence of prostitutes off the streets of Manchester, fellows out of work, convicted felons — aye, an Irishman sentenced to be hanged when an English dog would have got off. I say positively and defiantly, justice has not been done me since I was arrested. If justice had been done me, I would not have been handcuffed at the preliminary investigation in Bridge Street ; and in this court justice has not been done me in any shape or form.

I was brought up here and all the prisoners by my side were allowed to wear overcoats, and I was told to take mine off. What is the principle of that? There was something in that principle, and I say positively that justice has not been done me. As for the other prisoners, they can speak for themselves with regard to that matter. And now, with regard to the way I have been identified. I have to say that my clothes were kept for four hours by the policemen in Fairfield station and shown to parties to identify me as being one of the perpetrators of this outrage on Hyde Road. Also in Albert station there was a handkerchief kept on my head the whole night, so that I could be identified the next morning in the corridor by the witnesses."

"I was ordered to leave on the handkerchief for the purpose that the witnesses could more plainly see I was one of the parties who committed the outrage. As for myself, I feel the righteousness of my every act with regard to what I have done in defence of my country. I fear not. I am fearless — fearless of the punishment that can be inflicted on me ; and with that, my lords, I have done." However, he then added the following - "I beg to be excused. One remark more. I return Mr. Seymour and Mr. Jones my sincere and heartfelt thanks for their able eloquence and advocacy on my part in this affray. I wish also to return to Mr. Roberts the very same. My name, sir, might be wished to be known. It is not William O'Meara Allen. My name is William Philip Allen. I was born and reared in Bandon, in the County of Cork, and from that place I take my name ; and I am proud of my country, and proud of my parentage. My lords, I have done."

Michael Larkin (pictured), 32, lived in the Banagher region of County Offaly and was a tailor by trade. He was not of good health and himself and his two comrades were captured as they carried him away from the scene of the rescue. He, too, addressed the court : "I have only got a word or two to say concerning Sergeant Brett. As my friend here said, no one could regret the man's death as much as I do. With regard to the charge of pistols and revolvers, and my using them, I call my God as witness that I neither used pistols, revolvers, nor any instrument on that day that would deprive the life of a child, let alone a man. Nor did I go there on purpose to take life away. Certainly, my lords, I do not want to deny that I did go to give aid and assistance to those two noble heroes that were confined in that van, Kelly and Deasy. I did go to do as much as lay in my power to extricate them out of their bondage ; but I did not go to take life, nor, my lord, did anyone else. It is a misfortune there was life taken ; but if it was taken it was not done intentionally, and the man who has taken life we have not got him. I was at the scene of action, when there were over, I dare say, 150 people standing by there when I was. I am very sorry I have to say, my lord, but I thought I had some respectable people to come up as witnesses against me ; but I am sorry to say as my friend said — I will make no more remarks concerning that. All I have to say, my lords and gentlemen, is that so far as my trial went, and the way it was conducted, I believe I have got a fair trial. What is decreed a man in the page of life he has to fulfil, either on the gallows, drowning, a fair death in bed, or on the battle-field. So I look to the mercy of God. May God forgive all who have sworn my life away. As I am a dying man, I forgive them from the bottom of my heart. God forgive them."

Michael O'Brien (pictured), 31, from Ballymacoda in Cork, was a lieutenant in the US Army and was better known in England by the name 'William Gould'. He delivered the following speech to the court : "I shall commence by saying that every witness who has sworn anything against me has sworn falsely. I have not had a stone in my possession since I was a boy. I had no pistol in my possession on the day when it is alleged this outrage was committed. You call it an outrage, I don't. I say further my name is Michael O'Brien. I was born in the county of Cork and have the honour to be a fellow-parishioner of Peter O'Neal Crowley, who was fighting against the British troops at Mitchelstown last March, and who fell fighting against British tyranny in Ireland. I am a citizen of the United States of America, and if Charles Francis Adams had done his duty towards me, as he ought to do in this country, I should not be in this dock answering your questions now. Mr. Adams did not come, though I wrote to him. He did not come to see if I could not find evidence to disprove the charge, which I positively could, if he had taken the trouble of sending or coming to see what I could do. I hope the American people will notice this part of the business." He then read a passage from a paper he was holding - "The right of man is freedom. The great God has endowed him with affections that he may use, not smother them, and a world that may be enjoyed. Once a man is satisfied he is doing right, and attempts to do anything with that conviction, he must be willing to face all the consequences. Ireland, with its beautiful scenery, its delightful climate, its rich and productive lands, is capable of supporting more than treble its population in ease and comfort.

Yet no man, except a paid official of the British Government, can say there is a shadow of liberty, that there is a spark of glad life amongst its plundered and persecuted inhabitants. It is to be hoped that its imbecile and tyrannical rulers will be for ever driven from her soil amidst the execrations of the world. How beautifully the aristocrats of England moralise on the despotism of the rulers of Italy and Dahomey — in the case of Naples with what indignation did they speak of the ruin of families by the detention of its head or some loved member in a prison. Who has not heard their condemnations of the tyranny that would compel honourable and good men to spend their useful lives in hopeless banishment?"

"They cannot find words to express their horror of the cruelties of the King of Dahomey because he sacrificed 2,000 human beings yearly, but why don't those persons who pretend such virtuous indignation at the misgovernment of other countries look at home, and see that greater crimes than those they charge against other governments are not committed by themselves or by their sanction? Let them look at London, and see the thousands that want bread there, while those aristocrats are rioting in luxuries and crimes. Look to Ireland; see the hundreds of thousands of its people in misery and want. See the virtuous, beautiful and industrious women who only a few years ago — aye, and yet — are obliged to look at their children dying for want of food. Look at what is called the majesty of the law on one side, and the long deep misery of a noble people on the other. Which are the young men of Ireland to respect — the law that murders or banishes their people or the means to resist relentless tyranny, and ending their miseries for ever under a home government? I need not answer that question here.

I trust the Irish people will answer it to their satisfaction soon. I am not astonished at my conviction. The Government of this country have the power of convicting any person. They appoint the judge ; they choose the jury ; and by means of what they call patronage (which is the means of corruption) they have the power of making the laws to suit their purposes. I am confident that my blood will rise a hundredfold against the tyrants who think proper to commit such an outrage. In the first place, I say I was identified improperly by having chains on my hands and feet at the time of identification, and thus the witnesses who have sworn to my throwing stones and firing a pistol have sworn to what is false, for I was, as those ladies said, at the jail gates. I thank my counsel for their able defence, and also Mr. Roberts, for his attention to my case."

All three men shouted the words "God Save Ireland!" at different times during the 'trial', perhaps realising that, then, as now, the British were going to get their 'pound of flesh' one way or the other. The three men were hanged by the British on the 23rd November, 1867, but are still remembered and commemorated today by Irish republicans ; they gave their lives that their comrades may live again.


Colm Keena reports on a new survey on low pay and talks to workers caught in the trap.

By Colm Keena.

From 'Magill' Magazine, May 1987.

Rita, who works for 'International Contract Cleaners' in Ringsend, Dublin, says - "You only work for a couple of hours in the evening, after 5pm. Usually you would be out of the place by 7pm or so. It's not very hard work, really." Most of the people working with her are women, and most are around her age. They are paid £2.75 per hour and, for about ten hours work, she receives about £20 or a little more.. "..after insurance and other stoppages. It's handy money."

British studies show that if it were not for the number of wives working in such jobs, contributing to the family budget, the number of families suffering from poverty in Britain would triple. In the weeks before the recent general election, the then Taoiseach, Dr Garret FitzGerald, said that more jobs could be created if young workers, starting in their first job, would accept lower rates of pay ('1169' comment - some neck on any of our well-to-do/millionaire politicians to suggest something like that!).

In response to that statement, the assistant secretary of the ICTU, Peter Cassells, said such a policy would "further increase the level of inequality in Irish society" and he argued that Ireland will never be able to compete against low wage, newly industrialising countries, where wages are far lower than those that exist here. He advocated the development of "a highly productive, export-oriented, high-wage economy." Policies to tackle the current jobs crisis "must include policies to tackle low pay and to improve living standards", he said... (MORE LATER.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

In Dublin, on December 11th last (1954), 2,300 students marched through the principal streets pledging support for the republican prisoners in what was undoubtedly the most forceful student demonstration ever staged in this country. Chanting anti-British slogans and singing national songs, the demonstrators marched behind a coffin draped with the Union Jack and borne along on the shoulders of six six-foot, determined, young men, to a mass meeting in O'Connell Street.

Seosamh MacCriostail, UCD Law, addressed the meeting ; "I can ask for no better answer," he said, "except one - your pledge to fill the places left vacant by your fellow-student, Philip Clarke, and his comrades in the ranks of the Republican Movement. Tonight, I ask you to declare your allegiance for or against the teachings of Padraig Pearse. The republicans in Belfast and in English jails are waiting for your answer, for on it depends the extent to which each of you will influence the destinies of our Nation in the years ahead." He then dwelt on the teachings of Pearse and quoted from an essay by Phil Clarke to show how closely Clarke followed Pearse ; "To those who accept Pearse, there is only one road and that one has been pointed out to you by Clarke and his comrades. It leads you into the Republican Movement and ultimately into battle with the occupation forces."

We publish here an extract from the essay written for 'The United Irishman' twelve months ago by Philip Clarke (UCD), now a prisoner in Belfast - 'Maybe the peace which you are prepared to accept is what Pearse called a "a sinful peace" ; 'peace with the devil'. And, Pearse added, "We have known the Pax Britannica, let us bequeath to our children the 'Peace of the Gael' ". Remember that in the near future a stand must be made. If you are a genuine Irishman you will be a participant. The road to freedom is a tough, unchartered highway. It is a road strewn with setbacks, worries, cares, misfortunes and mistakes. The job ahead is tough and materially unrewarding but it is a glorious way, blazed by the deeds of the noblest-minded in each generation and paved with the sacrifices of the best that this country has produced. For God's sake, for Ireland's sake, for your own sake - make one resolution for the New Year : the resolution to be an Irishman in fact as in name."

(END of 'Students Historic Demonstration'. Next - 'Pattern Unchanged', from the same source.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.