Wednesday, January 06, 2021



On Easter Sunday morning, 1978, seven Donegal Provo recruits crossed the border to Derry City ; they had been chosen to form the Colour Party for the Easter Commemoration ceremony that afternoon, leading the Easter Parade through the Creggan and Bogside where Dáithí Ó Conaill delivered the oration.

After the event, the Colour Party members went into the Rossville Street flats, stripped off their paramilitary clothes and dark glasses and got into casual clothes. The back road from Creggan to the border had been checked and cleared, they were assured. Some of the seven men wanted to go for a few pints and then take the bus home but, under protest, they all piled into the one car and were driven off. The joint British Army/RUC patrol which intercepted them minutes later already had photographs of all seven men taken from a helicopter during the Easter Parade. IRA membership would be easy to prove.

Two of the seven men detained were from Letterkenny in County Donegal ; Patrick McIntyre of Ard O'Donnell and his colleague, Jim Clarke (pictured). Patrick McIntyre is the fifth of a family of nine, who did his 'Leaving Certificate' (school examination) in 1976 and, after taking a six months AnCo (state work-training) course, started working on a building site in Letterkenny. As a youth, Patrick was, as friends describe him, a 'withdrawn kind of a lad'. His involvement with the IRA was to surprise the entire family. But he had been impressed by the 1916 plaque in Saint Eunan's College, by the sight of Derry refugees taking shelter in Letterkenny, of the (Free State) Army on stand-by near the border, by emotive speeches by politicians and by the 'Arms Trial'. He mixed with Official Sinn Fein members in the early 1970's : they held meetings in a room over a pub in Letterkenny where local issues were discussed. But he always stayed clear of public displays and not a word was said at home.

However - the IRA Colour Party had now been detained by the British 'security forces' and, after 14 months on remand in the North, Patrick McIntyre came before a judge ; he was in deep trouble, as he had signed a statement admitting involvement in the attempted 'murder' of a UDR member ('Ulster[sic] Defence Regiment', a pro-British militia) near Castlederg in County Tyrone, in late 1977. McIntyre refused to recognise the court, was convicted and given a fifteen year jail sentence ; Jim Clarke was also jailed for the Castlederg attack - he got eighteen years. The first part of their detention was spent in Crumlin Road Prison and the two men were then transferred to the Kesh at a time when the campaign for retention of political status was intensifying ; they took part in the Blanket Protest and were still there during the 1981 Hunger-Strike. They were two of the 38 inmates who escaped from the prison in September 1983. Patrick McIntyre managed to stay loose for two days ; cameramen were alerted to film him and another escaper, Joe Corey, being recaptured near Castlewellan, County Down.

Re-captured within two days after the September 1983 jail-break, Patrick McIntyre (pictured) had to wait three years and three months to get a second chance ; with less than six months of his original sentence left, he was due three days 'rehabilitation parole' as Christmas 1986 approached. The prison authorities opposed his release because the trial of the Maze escapers was pending, but McIntyre defeated their objections before the courts. The Provisionals approved his absconding - they believed the recently introduced 'rehabilitation' gimmick was geared to cause divisions in their structures within the prisons. By December 20th, 1986, the RUC were looking for him but he was over the border, in Donegal, getting his hair tinted!

On the twisty main road between Killybegs and Kilcar, in West Donegal, there is a white flat-roofed dwelling in the townland of Cashlings ; some Gardai consider it 'a safe house'. Raymond 'The Rooster' McLaughlin, a well-known IRA activist, was suspected of stopping off there not long before he drowned, accidentally, in a pool, in County Clare, in 1985. Shortly after eight o'clock on the morning of 6th January 1987 - 34 years ago on this date - Aiden Murray and other armed Free State detectives raided the house.

They roused a young man from his sleep - he was wearing pants only and, when asked his name, he hesitated before telling them he was 'Colm McGuire'. He requested to see a doctor and solicitor and refused to answer any further questions. Detective Aiden Murray promptly arrested 'McGuire' on suspicion of being a member of the IRA. The Gardai were back at base in Ballyshannon with their prisoner soon after nine o' clock ; they still had no official identity for him and, in accordance with his wishes, a local solicitor, John Murray, was sent for ; he arrived and, after consulting with the man in the cell, he told gardai during a casual conversation that the prisoner was Patrick McIntyre of Ard O'Donnell, Letterkenny. The gardai say that minutes afterwards they received information which possibly linked McIntyre to a robbery in Ballyshannon before Christmas and that they began questioning him about this crime. By mid-morning the word was out in Donegal : Paddy McIntyre had been collared and the prospect of extradition loomed. By that afternoon, a Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, was contacting a colleague in Dublin.

The legal defence was prepared in the tiny rooms over a swop-shop along Ormond Quay, near the Four Courts, in Dublin, where solicitor Anne Rowland, a native of Ballina, County Mayo, set up her own firm. Her penchant is for the cut and thrust of criminal cases. On accepting the McIntyre brief, she immediately sought out barrister Patrick Gageby - they had worked together before ; Evelyn Glenholmes and Gerard Tuite were among those they had represented. Rowland and Gageby immediately agreed that their defence case would focus on the circumstances of McIntyre's arrest and detention. They were told that an extradition application would come before District Justice Liam McMenamin at Ballyshannon District Court on January 7th (1987). Before leaving for County Donegal, Rowland put the state on notice that she would require in court the garda who performed the Section 30 arrest and the Garda Officer who signed the order extending Patrick McIntyre's detention for a second 24 hour period.

About one hundred Sinn Féin protestors had gathered outside the court as Patrick McIntyre was escorted from a prison vehicle ; in the melee, nobody noticed three plainclothes detectives sliding another man past - RUC member Robert Herron. He was needed to identify Patrick McIntyre. As he rose to speak, Sinn Féin members immediately headed for the exits but gardai told them the doors would have to be kept closed. Then, his identity unknown to those outside, the RUC man was discreetly and safely brought past the crowds before the hearing ended. Chief Superintendent Patrick Murphy was in the witness box - a stranger to the area, he had been transferred from Limerick to Letterkenny, in Donegal, on promotion the previous October.

Murphy gave evidence of signing the Section 30 Extension Order for a second 24 hour period. State Solicitor Ciaran McLoughlin asked him nothing further. District Justice McMenamin had no questions, and Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby kept quiet. Chief Superintendent Patrick Murphy left the witness box ; defence counsel Patrick Gageby didn't even attempt to smile ; but he did believe that 'the door had been left ajar'. Early last year Patrick Gageby and Anne Rowland had unsuccessfully appealed the three convictions of County Louth men in the Drumree Post Office murder trial - Garda Frank Hand had been killed in an armed robbery. In the Court of Criminal Appeal, however, Gageby had spotted one sentence and quietly filed it away. He now suggested that Chief Superintendent Murphy had not informed the court of his state of mind when signing the extension order ; it had not been proven that the garda officer had the requisite mental element to justify the detention. State Solicitor Ciaran McLoughlin was quickly on his feet trying to answer the point ; District Justice McMenamin adjourned the hearing to consider this and other legal matters raised.

When the case came before District Justice mcMenamin again in Donegal town on January 14th (1987), he again heard Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby question the validity of the Section 30 extension ; but Judge McMenamin dismissed the arguments and granted the extradition order. An appeal was immediately lodged in the High Court.

McIntyre's case was becoming something of a cause celebre ; on March 10th (1987), when Leinster House met to elect a leader ('Taoiseach'), Independent Donegal Leinster House member, Neil Blaney (pictured), demanded that the extradition arrangements between Britain and Ireland "be repealed so that in the interim a young county man of mine, by name McIntyre, be not extradited." But when the case came before Mr Justice Gannon in the High Court in May 1987, Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby had further 'ammunition' - as well as the ruling in the McShane, McPhilips, Eccles (Drumree) case which included this phrase in relation to the person issuing extension orders -"is bona fide suspected by him of being involved in the offence for which he was arrested."

Gageby had the additional support of a Supreme Court ruling of April 3rd (1987) which confirmed that a Chief Superintendent must give evidence of his suspicions when he is issuing an extension order ; it is not sufficient to confirm that he issues the order, he must say why. Patrick McEntee SC had been added to the defence team - McIntyre's supporters were confident of victory. On the afternoon of 7th May 1987, Patrick McIntyre was freed, courtesy of a legal loophole which has since been closed ; the Provisionals had a motorbike waiting outside the courtroom and he was driven off at high speed and was within seconds in city centre traffic. Garda had eighteen further warrants in relation to Patrick McIntyre ; his extradition was still being sought by the British, but he was then on the run.

OTR Patrick McIntyre net with a journalist in a nondescript suburban room. His physical appearance has not altered since the Donegal court hearings - maybe he is a little less fidgety, but he speaks in a soft voice which frequently quivers. The sentiments are resolute. He was sleeping when the gardai came to the house in south Donegal, he says : "I gave the surname of the people who own the house but they didn't believe me. They said I was Patrick McIntyre." Yet the evidence given by gardai in court suggested that the prisoner was not positively identified until solicitor John Murray named him in Ballyshannon garda station. It was also stated that the detectives went to Kilcar after a 'tip-off' that an armed man or men had been seen in the area. It appears the gardai were not aware they would find Patrick McIntyre in the house. It has not been possible to establish whether they knew him by sight ; they seem to have 'struck lucky' - and then got the procedure wrong. As Patrick McIntyre says - "The situation I'm in now prevents me from walking around in this country. I am not wanted for anything in this jurisdiction ; I am being sought for things related to the British administration. If the Birmingham Six were in the 26 Counties now, they could and would be extradited. If the British issue warrants for any person's extradition, the request will come before the Irish courts and the person opposing it must pay his own costs."

The free legal aid scheme does not apply to extradition cases ; costs in the Patrick McIntyre case, expected to run into several thousand pounds, will be paid by Sinn Féin. Asked about his family and his future, Patrick McIntyre stares at the floor - "They let me out for three days to attend my mother's funeral in March. I was told the best I could expect was to go there escorted, in handcuffs, but I fought the case for compassionate bail in the High Court and won. Then there was a rumour that the decision might be appealed by the state and I was thinking about that all the way during the journey from Dublin to Donegal. That was a shattering experience.

I tried to spend the three days with my family. There were thousands of people at the funeral and at the house. It was the first time that we had the family together for a long time, and we had photographs taken. I met a lot of people that I grew up with. Just before I left, my sister gave me a Saint Patrick's Day card that my mother had written, to me, in Saint Luke's Hospital..."

A knock comes to the door - it is time for him to go. What does he intend to do now?, I ask - "Make it third time lucky. Or at least stay out longer than the past two times...", he replies.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, June, 1955.

'Letter to the Editor', from The Secretary, Sinn Féin, Glasgow ;

'Congratulations on your splendid fight in the Six Counties. Over 152,000 votes is a great achievement in such a short time and you fought in areas that had been shamefully neglected in the past. Mo ghoirm thú.

Go forward to the fight! Ireland surely could lose no more in battle than is pouring from her into the industrial slums of Britain, there to be lost forever to her, mentally and physically'.

Signed 'Irish Exile'.

(END of 'Splendid Fight'; NEXT - 'In Memoriam', from the same source.)


On the 6th January 1940 - 81 years ago on this date - the then Free State President, Douglas Hyde (pictured) stated that it was his intention to convene his 'Council of State' (this was the first such meeting ever of said body) to discuss a bill he was asked to sign, concerning an amendment to the heavy-handed 'Offences Against the State Act 1939', which would have allowed the Leinster House administration to intern Irish-born citizens in a move said to be necessary in the Free State's fight against the IRA.

It should be noted that those who wanted that power fully intended to use it against men and women that they had fought side-by-side with only twenty years previously.

Two days later (ie on the 8th January 1940) the 'Council' held a meeting in a Free State residence in Dublin's Phoenix Park (behind closed doors, minutes not made public) following which Hyde announced that he was going to refer the proposed amendment/legislation to the Free State 'Supreme Court', stating that he also intended to seek a judgement on the 'Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill 1940' in its entirety. The 'Supreme Court' replied that, in its opinion, it was within the power and the authority 'of the Oireachtas, consistent with the Constitution, to enact such legislation'. Hyde then signed the necessary paperwork, no doubt having convinced himself that he had done all in his power to prevent further injury to the republicans he would have associated with during his years as a member of the 'Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language', the 'Gaelic League' and the 'Gaelic Journal'.

But easing your conscience isn't the same as cleansing it.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda 'evidence' emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From 'The Magill Annual', 2002.

The Garda 'Witnesses' And The People They Accused :

Garda witnesses against the McBreartys included garda informer, William Doherty, who is well known to the gardai and has a long line of convictions for assault, larceny and other crimes. He was subsequently involved in making allegations that there was a bomb-making factory on the farm of elderly Donegal farmer, Alfie Gallagher and his family.

In 1997, 40 armed gardai and 200 (State) soldiers raided the farm and stayed there for three days and nights. Alfie Gallagher, recovering from a heart by-pass at the time, told 'Magill' - "They tore up over 200 young trees, turned the house upside down, and the helicopter frightened the ewes ; they were pregnant at the time and they ran into barbed wire and did a lot of damage to themselves. Most of them aborted. The raiders wouldn't say what they were looking for. They put a machine-gun in my ribs when I went to feed the stock."

Nothing was found at the Gallagher's farm, and the family are adamant they had never been involved in political or criminal activities. In fact, Mrs Gallagher, a retired teacher, said her father was himself a member of the Garda Siochana. The Gallaghers are currently taking a case against the State. 'Magill' understands that the warrants authorising the search of the Gallaghers' farm have gone missing... (MORE LATER.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, November 1954.

Two of the men arrested in connection with the Omagh Raid - Paddy Kearney and Eamon Boyce - are conductors on the CIE buses in Dublin and, immediately on hearing the news of their arrest, workers in the garages to which they were attached decided that they would make regular weekly collections in order to provide for the dependents of the two men. Both Mrs Boyce and Mrs Kearney, the mothers of the lads, are widows, and they greatly appreciate the kind offer of the busmen.

The Republican Aid Committee also wish to express publicly their real appreciation of the wonderful spirit of these workers and the very practical way in which they have come to the help of the dependants, thereby considerably easing the burden on An Cumann Cabrac.

(END of 'Fellow-Workers Generous Gesture' ; NEXT -'Anti-Mau Officer Led British Army Search', from the same source.)


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) was held in Dublin on Christmas Day last, albeit in a 'bare bones' format : we sadly and badly missed the usual craic and banter, the flag, banners, the music, the sing-songs, the 'soup', the Christmas crackers, the tables full of 'goodies', the silly hats etc etc, but the main attraction - the swim in the icy waters of the Grand Canal - did take place. And that was the main objective!

The lads and a much-reduced back-up team sampled sea-water for Cabhair on St Stephen's Day in Wexford, for their 10th such sponsored swim ; a very 'Well Done!' to both sets of swimmers, and we know that both groups are hoping and looking forward to getting back to their usual formats this coming December. Ye all done Cabhair proud - GRMA!

Dublin, 25th December, 2020.

Wexford, 26th December, 2020.


Beannachtaí ar Lá Nollag na mBan!

January 6th is marked by Nollaig na mBan or 'Women's Little Christmas' : in celebration of the feast of the Epiphany in Ireland, January 6th is marked by Nollaig na mBan or 'Women's Little Christmas'. On this day it is the tradition in Ireland for the women to get together and enjoy their own Christmas, while the men folk stay at home and handle all the chores. It is also common for children to buy their mothers and grandmothers presents on this day, though this custom is gradually being overtaken by 'Mothers Day'.

I sometimes think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.(Oscar Wilde) Happy Nollaig na mBan to all our readers, especially the Ladies!


...we won't be posting our usual contribution, and probably won't be in a position to post anything at all ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 9th/10th January 2021) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Dublin Executive of Sinn Féin Poblachtach, work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle, and the 'autopsy' into same which will take place on Monday evening, 11th, via conference calls, meaning that we will not have the time to post here. But we'll be back, as stated above, on Wednesday, 20th January 2021 and, in the meantime, you might read a few paragraphs from us here. See ye then!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020



IRA Volunteer Ciarán Fleming (pictured) - 'On Sunday 2nd December 1984, IRA Volunteers Antoine Mac Giolla Bhríghde, from Magherafelt, County Derry and Ciarán Fleming, who had broken out of Long Kesh prison in the Great Escape of 1983, were preparing to mount an operation against crown forces near Drumrush in County Fermanagh when Mac Giolla Bhríghde saw a car parked on the lane which he believed to contain civilians. Approaching the car to tell the occupants to leave the area, undercover SAS members opened fire, hitting him in the side. Cuffed with plastic stays, Mac Giolla Bhríghde was tortured before being summarily executed. His comrades, when later debriefed, reported hearing a single shot, then screaming, and a short time later a further burst of machine gun fire, after which the screaming stopped....' (from here.)

Ciarán Fleming '...drowned in Bannagh River, near Kesh, County Fermanagh (while) escaping from a gun battle between undercover British Army (BA) unit and Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit. His body (was) found in the river on 21st December 1984..' (from here) Ciarán was buried on the 23rd December 1984 - 36 years ago on this date - and his funeral was at the time described as '...the most gratuitously violent RUC attack of the year on any funeral. Many of the RUC had come in full riot gear of helmet, shield and body armour, to show that they were intent on violent disruption. Several times during a tense and exhausting funeral which lasted three full hours, the RUC baton-charged the mourners, which encouraged near-by children, standing on a wall, to throw stones at them in reprisal : the RUC then fired at least four plastic bullets into the funeral cortege, seriously injuring two people. During the afternoon, numerous mourners suffered bloody head wounds and one man was knocked unconscious by the RUC.

Stewards were often forced to halt the proceedings because of this harassment but, despite the RUC's terror, the people stood firm and, in a twilight Bogside, three uniformed IRA Volunteers stepped out of the crowd and paid the IRA's traditional salute to their fallen comrade, as a forest of arms were raised in clenched-fist salute. Finally , thanks to the courage of thousands of nationalists, Volunteer Ciaran Fleming was laid to rest..' (from 'IRIS' magazine, October 1987.)

IRA sources that were contacted at the time by journalist Ed Moloney stated that Ciarán Fleming '...was noted for his hard line militarist republicanism. He is reputed to have backed a plan to form full-time guerrilla units or 'flying columns' based in the Republic, which would carry out four or five large scale attacks in the north a year. This approach was espoused by the militant Provisional IRA East Tyrone Brigade led by Padraig McKearney and Jim Lynagh, who wanted an escalation of the conflict to what they termed "total war". They were opposed by Kevin McKenna, the IRA Chief of Staff and by the republican leadership headed by Gerry Adams, on the grounds that actions on that scale were too big a risk and unsustainable. The IRA leadership wanted a smaller scale campaign of attrition, supplemented by political campaigning by (Provisional) Sinn Féin....' (from here.)

That "political campaigning by Provisional Sinn Féin" has seen that grouping morph into a slightly more-nationalist political party than either of the latter-day Fianna Fáil or SDLP organisations but, true to form, like Fianna Fáil and the SDLP, the Provisional Sinn Féin party has distanced itself (except verbally) from Irish republicanism. It's an easier life, with a salary and a pension, neither of which were available when Adams and company professed to be advocates of change rather than that which they are now (and have been for the last 37 years, at least) ie advocates of British accommodation in Ireland.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, June, 1955.

Michael Traynor, Ard Runaidhe, Sinn Féin, said that the Ireland of today with its emigration and unemployment was not the nation visualised by James Connolly, nor did it enjoy the freedom for which he gave his life.

Seán O Riain, on behalf of the Comhairle Ceanntar Sinn Féin Ath Cliath, thanked all those who had helped to provide funds and cars for the election, in particular the Dublin Civil Servants and the employees of CIE, the Irish Bricklayers Society and the residents of Fairview who formed a committee to collect in their area for Tom Mitchell's election fund. Other speakers were Eamon Thomas and Seosamh MacCriostail, Ath Cliath.

(END of 'Sinn Féin Victory Rally'. NEXT - 'Splendid Fight', from the same source.)


British PM Ted Heath, right, with his friend Jimmy Savile.

On the 23rd December 1971 - 49 years ago on this date - British PM Edward Heath paid a visit to the Occupied Six Counties of north-east Ireland and declared his 'determination to end the violence', making it clear in the process that he was referring to the then IRA campaign to remove the British military and political presence. Five weeks after that visit, his troops let loose with live rounds in the Bogside area of Derry, killing fourteen Irish people and, as a PR exercise, Heath (and his sidekick, Reginald Maudling) set up the 'Widgery Inquiry' into the massacre.

'Lord' Widgery proceeded to exclude the political background to the shootings, a politically motivated decision, as was suggested by the minutes of an extraordinary discussion between Widgery, Edward Heath and the British 'Lord Chancellor', 'Lord' Hailsham, at Downing Street, two days after the massacre, on the evening before the British 'Commons' announcement of Widgery's appointment to conduct the 'inquiry'. Among "..a number of points which I [Edward Heath] thought it right to draw to the Lord Chief Justice's [Widgery] attention (was that) it had to be remembered that we were in Northern Ireland (sic) fighting not just a military war but a propaganda war..." and, indeed, Heath is on record as saying that the Derry Guildhall building would be unsuitable as a venue for tribunal hearings as it "...was on the wrong side of the River Foyle.." (ie - the 'Catholic/Nationalist' side) !

It should be noted that the day before the Bogside massacre (ie on Saturday 29th January 1972) , the RUC and the British Army issued the following joint statement : "Experience this year has already shown that attempted marches often end in violence and (this) must have been foreseen by the organisers. Clearly, the responsibility for this violence and the consequences of it must rest fairly and squarely on the shoulders of those who encourage people to break the law. The (British) security forces have a duty to take action against those who set out to break the law..."

Mutinous talk there, from that joint statement because, if they were to do their 'duty', then they would have had to "take action" against themselves and their own political leaders, including Edward Heath. But considering that Heath and his political establishment were pals with the Jimmy Savile's of their world, then it should have been obvious to all that they would have no 'duty' of care or responsibility to 14 dead Irish people.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda 'evidence' emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From 'The Magill Annual', 2002.

Garda Tina Fowley stated that she thought no more about it "until recently, when concerns about the veracity of the statement of admission had been expressed in the media". Later that evening, a named officer claimed to have a signed confession from Frank McBrearty Junior admitting the killing of Richie Barron. Other gardai in the station were "stunned" - they claim they clearly heard McBrearty Junior protesting his innocence throughout the period. He continues to deny ever having made any such statement.

Garda Tina Fowley also made statements regarding "two distinct sets of notes" relating to the detention of Roisin McConnell on the 4th December, which she says an officer asked her for. She refused, phoned a superior officer at home, and was told to get the original notes out of the office and into the custody of another named officer. Tina Fowley's honesty and courage resulted in her being subjected to harassment from some of her colleagues. She claims her computer was interfered with, she was given little or no work to do, a dead rat was left on her doorstep, and she received threatening letters and phone calls. A colleague said that "what Tina did was not popular with certain people".

Eventually she was forced to leave Letterkenny - on sick leave from the force. She had paid a heavy price for her commitment to honesty and justice, the very qualities we expect from our police officers. Through her solicitor, Damien Tansy, in Sligo, she has issued proceedings against the Garda Commissioner and Attorney General for breach of contract, failing to secure a safe place of work and loss of legitmate expectations... (MORE LATER.)


"Now's here's a proof of Irish sense

Here Irish wit is seen

When nothing's left that's worth defence,

We build a Magazine."
(Jonathan Swift)

The Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park, Dublin (pictured) - built in 1735, raided by republicans twice ; in 1916, when thirty members of the Irish Volunteers and Na Fianna Éireann captured the building and took guns and withdrew from the area and again in 1939 - on the 23rd December, 81 years ago on this date - when, at about ten pm on that Saturday night, an IRA man walked up to the Free State sentry who was guarding the locked gate and told him that he had a parcel for his commanding officer. The sentry unlocked the gate only to be faced with a revolver pointed at his head : he was held there as other IRA men entered the Fort and then the hapless State soldier was forced to lead the IRA men to the guardroom where they ordered the Free Staters to surrender, which they promptly did.

13 lorries were then driven into the complex and crates containing Thompson machine guns and ammunition (estimated at 1,084,000 rounds!) were removed from the premises and neither side suffered any casualties. However, State soldiers who were based in the nearby Islandbridge Barracks were perplexed as to the reason why such a heavy volume of truck traffic was entering and leaving the Phoenix Park and they went to investigate : two of the IRA raiders were captured but their comrades made good their escape, complete with that which they came for. However, within a week most of the liberated munitions (including about 850,000 bullets) had been recovered by the Staters : two-and-a-half-tons were seized in Dundalk, County Louth, eight tons recovered in Swords, County Dublin, sixty-six cases of Thompson machine guns and ammunition were seized from an arms dump in South Armagh and 100 crates containing 120,000 bullets recovered in Straffan, County Kildare.

Also, on March 1st, 1940, Jack McNeela and Jack Plunkett - two of the many republicans who were 'lifted' by the Staters following the 'Fort Raid'- were sentenced to two years and eighteen months respectively on a charge of "conspiring to usurp the function of government" by, of all things, operating a 'pirate' radio transmitter. On March 5th, 1940, Tony D'Arcy and Michael Traynor, both arrested during a raid on the Meath Hotel, Parnell Square, Dublin, the previous month, where an IRA meeting was being held to plan an attack in the Six Counties, were sentenced to three months imprisonment for refusing to answer questions. After being sentenced, the four prisoners were transferred to Arbour Hill Prison, Dublin and, on March 27th 1940, they were moved to St Brican's Military Hospital next to the prison. On April 1st that year they were joined there by Tomas MacCurtain and Thomas Grogan, both of whom were still awaiting trial. MacCurtain was charged with shooting dead a Special Branch detective in Cork and Thomas Grogan with taking part in the Magazine Fort raid.

On April 16th, 1940, Tony D'Arcy, a native of Headford, County Galway, died after 52 days on hunger strike ; Jack McNeela, a native of Ballycroy, Westport, County Mayo, died three days later, after 55 days on hunger strike. The fast ended that night when the prisoners were informed that their demands had been met. The hunger strike began on February 25th, 1940, in Mountjoy Jail, Dublin, and resulted in the deaths of two IRA Volunteers.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, November 1954.

He had only one message ; it was that any young Irishman worth his salt should know how to use arms in defence of his freedom. This was stated by Mr Tomas MacCurtain, of Cork, when he unveiled a memorial in Cavan to eight soldiers of the IRA who gave their lives during the War of Independence.

The limestone memorial - the work of Mr Leo Broe, Harold's Cross Road, Dublin - represents a Volunteer, and the names inscribed on the granite base are : Captain Thomas Sheridan, Drumcrow ; Staff Captain Joseph McMahon, Kilmaley, County Clare ; Volunteer Seán McEntyre, Laggan ; Staff Captain Michael E. Baxter, Kildoagh ; Volunteer Seán MacCartney, Belfast ; Staff Captain Edward B. Boylan, Corratober ; Captain Andy O' Sullivan, Denbawn, Cavan and Commandant Thomas Fitzpatrick, Cavan Brigade.

A wreath was placed on the monument on behalf of the Memorial Committee by Miss Mary Brady, Chairman, Cavan UDC, and another wreath was laid, inscribed from the 'Thomas McMahon Sinn Féin Club, Kilmaley, County Clare.' Before the ceremony, 200 Cavan IRA veterans, members of Cumann na mBan and a body of young men paraded through the town to the music of the three local bands. The ceremony ended with the playing of the National Anthem.

(This report was published in 'The Irish Press' newspaper on the 25th October 1954, and reprinted in 'The United Irishman' newspaper in November 1954.)

(END of 'Cavan Ceremony' ; NEXT - 'Fellow-Workers Generous Gesture', from the same source.)


Liam Mellows (pictured) wrote, in his last letter to his mother - "The time is short and much I would like to say must go unsaid. But you will understand in such moments heart speaks to heart. At 3.30 this morning we [Dick Barrett, Rory O’Connor, Joe McKelvey and I] were informed that we were to be "executed as a reprisal"...I go to join Tone and Emmett, the Fenians, Tom Clarke, Connolly, Pearse, Kevin Barry and Childers. My last thoughts will be on God, and Ireland, and you. I had hopes that some day I might rest in some quiet place – beside Grandfather and Grandmother in Castletown (Co. Wexford), not amidst the wordly pomps [sic] of Glasnevin but if it is to be the prison clay, it is all the sweeter for many of our best lie here..." . That was on December 8th, 1922 - he was then executed by a Free State Army firing squad. However, forty-six years after that execution (ie in 1968) more information regarding that deed was made public ; in a letter to the media forty-six years after the execution of Liam Mellows (ie on April 24th, 1968) a Free State Army Captain, Ignatius O'Rourke, who was present at the execution of Liam Mellows and the other three men - Dick Barrett, Rory O'Connor and Joe McKelvey - wrote that, a few minutes before Mellows was shot dead he [Mellows] sent for the prison chaplain, a Father McMahon. Captain O'Rourke wrote that "... a few minutes later...I saw Father McMahon leaving the room [cell]..accompanied by Liam Mellows, with his right arm around Liam's shoulders, and they walked along together leading the group as we all walked to the sandbags. Liam and Father McMahon appeared to be in deep, friendly conversation, with no sign of discord, disagreement or argument, just like two men discussing some point in a friendly fashion. They continued to talk until Father McMahon left Liam in the number one position at the sandbags ..."

Fifteen days after his execution (ie on the 23rd December 1922 - 98 years ago on this date) an article he had written, entitled 'Labour and the Irish Republic' was published in the trade union 'Voice of Labour' newspaper : "Industries will receive encouragement ; employment will increase ; the natural resources of the country tapped ; emigration stopped ; education put on a proper basis, and direct contact with the outside world established. Yet all this, resulting as it would in the country being richer and more prosperous, would not mean that the freedom of Ireland has been attained if the economic system remained unchanged. A political revolution in Ireland, without a co-incident economic revolution, simply means a change of masters - instead of British capitalists waxing rich on the political and economic enslavement of Ireland, as at present, we would have Irish capitalists waxing rich on the political freedom, but continued enslavement, of Ireland. We do not want a change of masters* : it would be foolish, surely, to free Ireland from foreign tyranny today, and less than twenty years hence to have to free it from domestic tyranny*. Therefore, the Irish Republic must have for its foundation the people. It is they who are freeing Ireland, and it is for the people - all the people - that it is being done, not for any section or group.

The Dail Éireann had this clearly in mind when, at its first session, in January 1919,it issued its 'Programme of Democratic Policy' that the soil of Ireland and all that grew upon it and lay under it, as well as all the wealth and wealth-producing processes in the country, should belong to the people. In the last analysis, the fight between the Irish people and the British government is not alone one between two nations : it is more than that - it is a struggle between two systems of civilisation, between the feudal system of England under its present guise of industrialism and the democratic system upon which the old civilisation of Ireland was built. A vestige of that civilisation remains in Ireland today - it is growing, expanding, and the end of foreign rule in Ireland will usher in not alone a new political era in Ireland, but a new economic one as well."

*Unfortunately, as Mellows opined, above, the citizens in this part of Ireland - the so-called 'Free State' - have had 'a change of masters/domestic tyranny' imposed on them, not only by an outside force (Westminster, which established the Leinster House 'parliament') but by a force that they themselves are responsible for - the ballot box. "The foundation, the people", as referenced above by Liam Mellows, are for the most part made of clay and it is a relief that Mellows and his comrades did not live to witness the hypocritical shambles that the political institution on Kildare Street in Dublin, and those voters that time and again 'legitimise' that Free State cess pit, converted his efforts into. Small mercy that the man went to his grave believing that his contribution to the struggle for freedom would help to achieve a proper Irish democracy rather than the 'whats-in-it-for-me' political culture that has hijacked his efforts.


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) will be held - in two days time - on Christmas Day, at 12 Noon, at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal, in Dublin (opposite the Kelly's/Blackhorse Inn building in Inchicore, Dublin 8), but a 'Plan B' has been put in place by the organisers to take account of the circumstances brought about by the Covid 19 issue.

The Swim will not be going ahead in full 'party'-type mode ie music, dancing, 'soup' for the adults (!), crowds etc ; it will take place in a restrained manner to take account of Covid-enforced social distancing ('Level 3', at the time of writing) and other common-sense guidelines ie just the 'bare bones' - a reduced number of swimmers, one family member with each swimmer, a much-reduced Cabhair Crew on the ground and the public being asked to observe from a safe distance (ie the bridge, or further up the canal), with no foodstuffs, no 'lemonade or soup' (!) , no music etc on site, which should help to prevent a crowd from gathering at the actual Swim spot.

Definitely not the ideal, or usual, manner, for this event, but Covid circumstances have dictated that this is how it must be for 2020. This blog will be represented by one person (usually all three of us are there) and we'll miss the party atmosphere for sure, but we'll wring whatever craic we can out of it, and gladly contribute whatever we can to it. It's for a good Cause - hope to see as many of ye as possible there, on the day. Safely and socially distanced, of course!

We won't be here next Wednesday, 30th December 2020 ; taking a little break over the Christmas, getting our house in order for 2021 and will probably still be cleaning up after the holiday madness! But we'll be back on Wednesday, 6th January 2021 or, if yer that desperate for our company (!), you can catch us on New Years Day at the Dáithí Ó Conaill wreath-laying ceremony in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, at 1pm.


Ar eagle an dearmaid ....

Ba bhrea an rud e siochain bhuan bunaithe ar an gceart a bheith againn in Eireann. Is i an bronntanas is fearr a d'fheadfaimis a thabhairt duinn fein agus dar gclann.

Coinniodh an ceart agus an tsiochain uainn le breis agus ocht gcead bliain, de bharr ionradh, forghabhail agus miriaradh na Sasanach. Socru ar bith a dheantar in ainm mhuintir na hEireann agus a ghlacann le riail Shasana agus a dhaingnionn an chriochdheighilt, ni thig leis an ceart na an tsiochain bhuann a bhunu.

Ni dheanfaidh se ach la na siochana buaine a chur ar an mhear fhada agus an bhunfhadb a thabhairt do ghluin eile. Tharla se seo cheana nuair a siniodh Conradh 1921 agus cuireadh siar ar mhuintir na hEireann e in ainm na siochana. Is mor ag Sinn Fein Poblachtach Eire a bheith saor agus daonlathach, an cuspoir ceanna a bhi i gceist ag Wolfe Tone agus ag na Poblachtaigh uile anuas go dti 1916 agus an la ata inniu ann.

Rinne a lan fear agus ban croga iobairti mora , thug a mbeatha fiu , ar son na cuise uaisle seo.



Least we forget...

A just and permanent peace in Ireland is most desirable. It is the greatest gift we could give to ourselves and our children. We have been denied justice and peace for more than eight centuries, because of English invasion, occuption and misrule of our country.

Any arrangement which, in the name of the Irish people, accepts English rule and copperfastens Britain's border in this country will not bring justice and lasting peace. It will only postpone the day of permanent peace, handing over the basic problem to another generation.

This happened before when the Treaty of 1921 was signed and was forced on the Irish people in the name of peace. Republican Sinn Féin cherishes the objective of a free, democratic Ireland, as envisaged by Wolfe Tone and all republicans down to 1916 and our own day. Many brave men and women sacrificed a lot, even their lives, for this noble Cause.


Beannachtai na Nollag agus slan go foill anois!

Thanks for reading, Sharon and the 1169 team ; hope to see ye all back here on Wednesday, 6th January, 2021 but, in the meantime, you might read a few paragraphs from us here, if you're that way inclined!

Wednesday, December 09, 2020



The 'Sunningdale Agreement' was an attempt in 1973 by Westminster at a 'power-sharing' arrangement between the British political establishment and Irish 'civil-right' nationalists regarding the British-occupied six north-eastern counties of Ireland. The document was signed by British PM Edward Heath and Free State 'Taoiseach' Liam Cosgrave on the 9th December 1973 (47 years ago on this date) at Sunningdale Park Hotel in Berkshire, England, and spawned a 'power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive' and a cross-border 'Council of Ireland', both of which were rejected by the then republican movement (but which were accepted by the UUP, the SDLP, Free State Labour Party and the Alliance Party) and, indeed, the whole set-up collapsed within a year and 'direct rule' from Westminster was imposed.

When, 25 years after Sunningdale (ie in 1998) a similar half-way-house treaty was being promoted by the political establishments in this country and England and by the Provisional organisation, the republican leadership here again spoke out about yet another bad treaty - "...the great unanswered question before history is why did Paisley on the one hand and the present Provo leadership on the other not accept and work the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973 which offered more and for which less was to be paid than the 1998 Belfast Agreement? Did we, as a people, have to endure 25 years more of sacrifice and suffering until both elements were poised to divide the major share of the spoils of office between them...when the Framework Documents were issued in 1995 (what) Irish people were facing was a repeat of Sunningdale with the Provos on board this time. Indeed, the British Prime Minister Edward Heath is reported as saying that "..the Good Friday Agreement was modelled on Sunningdale. But the present prime minister has never acknowledged that. He may even be ignorant of it for all I know. But obviously we know the people who were working out the new agreement went back over the whole of Sunningdale and more or less copied it."

But the Stormont Deal was actually less than Sunningdale. The l973 Agreement provided for an evolving Council of Ireland while the 1998 accord contains the possibility of merely cross-border bodies which would be responsible to the New Stormont and cannot grow and develop without the permission of that Unionist-dominated assembly. Further, the 26-County State has paid more for the Stormont Agreement than it did for Sunningdale. Articles 2 and 3 of the 1937 Constitution were not given away in 1973; in 1998 they were and the nationalist people of the Six Occupied Counties were reduced – in the eyes of the 26-County State – to the level in rights of people with one Irish grandparent living as far away as Australia or New Zealand..."

The republican position, then as now, can be summed-up in the words of Seán MacDiarmada - "We bleed that the nation may live. I die that the nation may live. Damn your concessions, England; we want our country."


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, June, 1955.

A Sinn Féin Northern election victory rally was held in Dublin on Saturday, 5th June last, at which Seoirse Dearle, who presided, said that the cynics and the "hurlers on the ditch" who had criticised Sinn Féin's intention to contest the 12 Northern seats in the British imperial elections were confounded when, on nomination day, all the 12 nominatioons were filled.

Cries of vote splitting were also levelled at the Movement from all sides, completely ignoring the fact that Sinn Féin in contesting all seats were providing all the republicans of the Six Counties with an opportunity to express as a whole their desire to be free. Many of them had not had that constitutional means of expression for over 30 years.

Liam Fogarty, a fellow-student of Philip Clarke TD, called on the youth of Ireland to take inspiration from the courageous unselfish deeds of men like Eamon Boyce and Tom Mitchell. Michael Traynor, Ard Runaidhe Sinn Féin, and one of the candidates in the elections, stressed the weakness in our national economy through our connection with Sterling... (MORE LATER.)


The following article was published in 'The United Irishman' newspaper in January 1958 - 'An article in 'The London Times' newspaper of December 9th, 1957 (63 years ago on this date), entitled 'Actors In The Political Scene', stated : 'The country families of the North of Ireland, after surrendering control to the captains of industry for a long period, are well established in the present government.' There, perhaps, is the key to the whole situation : the 'lords of land' and the 'barons of industry' who together make up the Tory-Unionist Ascendancy, the 'master-minds' with Britain's Tories, of the anti-freedom struggle in Ireland. These are the 'gentry' who imposed their views on the Orange rank-and-file under the guise of religion - the ones who stand to lose most by separation from Britain. It is those gentlemen who act as Britain's puppets in Ireland : even those who consider themselves as 'left-wingers' can be enticed to forget where they came from.

In a fit of pitiful pleading, David Bleakley stated : "It is an anachronism that an economically insecure Northern Ireland should exist in the midst of an industrially thriving British community. Ulster's labour force is ready, anxious and able to work its way through to prosperity. All it asks is to be given the tools and the jobs." He should have said that the whole concept of Occupied Ireland is an anachronism - that the only way we can all 'work our way through to prosperity' is by first winning vocational independence and driving British imperialism from our land. That would be wisdom but one does not expect wisdom for Ireland in the columns of 'The London Times' newspaper...'

The word 'anachronism' ('something [such as a word, an object, or an event] that is mistakenly placed in a time where it does not belong in a story, movie, etc/ a person or a thing that seems to belong to the past and not to fit in the present..') is apt when describing the continuing military and political occupation of part of Ireland by Westminster, but unfortunately it's not only in the columns of English newspapers that such wisdom is absent. We have, and always have had, our 'Times' readers here, too.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda 'evidence' emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From 'The Magill Annual', 2002.

Brendan Howlin told 'Magill' - "Before they arrived I spoke to Jim Higgins. They had also been in contact with him. They appeared anxious to establish the source of our information. This wasn't to be taken lightly. They came to me as if I was under some sort of suspicion myself. They said we need to get information, we need to get the name of the source." The Carthy Inquiry, set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the case, found itself conducting a widespread inquiry into allegations of garda corruption and incompetence in the Donegal Division.

At the time of Richie Barron's death, three on-duty gardai, together with one off-duty member, attended the scene, but failed to preserve the 'scene of crime'. Evidence, including bloodstains, was washed away by locals in the belief that it had been a car accident ; gardai continued to investigate the accident and, by early December, officers were drafted in from outlying districts to carry out multiple arrests of the extended McBrearty family. Four detectives arrived from Dublin and attended a pre-arrest conference in Letterkenny Garda Station ; some gardai expressed doubts about the legality of the powers of arrest in relation to some of the suspects, in particular that of Roisin McConnell, wife of Mark McConnell, who was also arrested as a suspect.

A young garda, Tina Fowley, was one of those casting doubts on the legality of the arrests - she was later to make a statement claiming a superior officer, who was at the pre-arrest conference, showed her a 'half-sheet', which is used to take statements from suspects, and she stated that "..there was writing on this sheet of paper, covering approximately a third of the page.There also was the name 'Frank McBrearty' written in long hand at the end of this writing. Also on the table in front of (named officer) was a black-and-white photocopy of a manuscript signature of the name 'Frank McBrearty'...(named officer) showed me the half-sheet and asked me 'was that a good likeness?' I took this to mean were both signatures alike. I thought it was a practical joke. I started laughing and so did he.." (MORE LATER.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, November 1954.

'Oh how I wish that Ireland had a voice

To speak the praise of her whose heart is stilled

To beat no more in triumph to rejoice

Or grieve for those by foe or traitor killed.

What lips could frame an elegy for you

Whose heart encompassed all whose blood was shed

To cool the fevered brow of Roisin Dhú

That now you rest with our immortal dead.

Be this the epitaph they'll carve for you ;

Her life was spent to lift the Saxons' curse

She strove for Ireland, and 'till death was true -

Her sword still smites in all her searing verse.
By M. Ó Cinnéide.

(END of 'Alice French RIP' ; NEXT - 'Cavan Ceremony', from the same source.)


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) will, as usual, be held - later on this month - on Christmas Day at 12 Noon at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal, in Dublin (opposite the Kelly's/Blackhorse Inn building in Inchicore, Dublin 8), but a 'Plan B' has been put in place by the organisers to take account of the circumstances brought about by the Covid 19 issue.

There are, as stated already on this blog, two possible scenarios regarding this event : it either goes ahead in full 'party'-type mode ie music, dancing, 'soup' for the adults (!), crowds etc etc, presuming that, by the 25th December 2020, Covid will have been dealth with, or the Swim will take place in a restrained manner to take account of Covid-enforced social distancing ('Level 3', at the time of writing) and other common-sense guidelines ie just the 'bare bones' - a reduced number of swimmers, one family member with each swimmer, a much-reduced Cabhair Crew on the ground and the public being asked to observe from a safe distance (ie the bridge, or further up the canal), with no foodstuffs, no 'lemonade or soup' (!) , no music etc on site, which should help to prevent a crowd from gathering at the actual Swim spot.

At the time of writing, it's looking like it's 'Plan B' that will be put into operation on Christmas Day at the Swim site, but we'll hold our whist for now and hope for the usual, party-type affair on the day. What is certain, however, is that, for the 44th successive year, the Swim will be going ahead, in one format or the other!


...we won't be posting our usual contribution, and probably won't be in a position to post anything at all ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 12th/13th December 2020) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Cabhair organisation (work on which began yesterday, Tuesday 8th) and the 'autopsy' into same which will take place on Monday evening 14th via 'Zoom'.

Then it's straight back to the preparations for the Cabhair Christmas Swim, which is the 44th successive such event. Our next 'normal' (!) post will be on Wednesday 23rd December 2020, although if anything grabs our attention between this and then we might do a 'ghoster' - but it would wannabe good!

At the time of writing, this State is still governed by the Leinster House-enforced 'Level 3' restrictions in relation to Covid which, compared with 'Level 5', offers some small comfort in regards to visiting loved ones in nursing home and some relaxing of travelling and shopping etc. But the ports in this State remain open for business, and this despite the fact that, for instance, in America, internal travel has been severly curtailed but business people and tourists from that curtailed country (and other countries) can freely enter this State and travel around!

That is as good an example as any of what is described here as 'an Irish solution to an Irish problem' ie put that 'law' on paper, refer any questions or queries about it to that written text and assure himself/herself that's asking about it that 'all is in hand (sure it'll be grand on the day...)'! And that, for the most part, is acceptable to most of the citizens here, as its being like that since this corrupt entity of a Free State was spawned in 1922 and most people will shrug their shoulders and declare 'ah sure, it's about the best we can do..'.

Its attitudes like that that Irish republicans want to change - we shouldn't just accept 'second best' and/or 'half-baked' so-called 'solutions' : we, as a Nation, are worth more than that. We deserve more than that, and we have earned more than that. And we will have more than that. We will have that which we are entitled to!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020



Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast (pictured) - known for its good quality bed sheets...

In November 1971, there were more than 700 IRA prisoners being held in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast, with at least the same number again 'housed' in Long Kesh and other prisons. All had access to an exercise yard and, in Crumlin Road Jail, the escape committee decided to use that yard as part of their plan to free three of their number - Martin Meehan, Anthony 'Dutch' Doherty and Hugh McCann. The plan was for the three men to hide themselves under a sewer manhole in about two feet of 'water', which they did - on the 2nd December 1971, 49 years ago on this date - for about five hours.

As luck would have it, when they eventually let themselves out, a thick fog had settled in the area, giving good cover. They ran for the prison wall and, using bed sheets which they had roughly fashioned into a rope ladder, with a home-made 'hook' tied to the top of the 'ladder', they managed to scale the wall. Within hours, Martin Meehan and Hugh McCann were in a safe house in the Free State and their comrade, Anthony Doherty - who stayed in Belfast following the escape - joined them two weeks later.

Incidentally, on the 17th November 1971 - about two weeks before the above-mentioned 'rope ladder' escape - nine other IRA prisoners had also escaped from that same prison with the use of rope-ladders! The nine were Thomas Kane, Seamus Storey, Bernard Elliman, Danny Mullan, Thomas Fox, Tom Maguire, Peter Rogers, Christy Keenan and Terrence 'Cleaky' Clarke and all of them escaped in two cars which were waiting for them on the near-by Antrim Road. To add further to the distress caused to the then British 'Home Affairs Minister', Brian Faulkner, and his side-kick, 'Sir' Edmund Compton ("...torture would never happen in a British jail..") by those jail breaks, they were referenced in a popular song of the time -


In Crumlin Road Jail all the prisoners one day

took out a football and started to play,

and while all the warders were watching the ball

nine of the prisoners jumped over the wall!

Over the wall, over the wall,

who would believe they jumped over the wall?

over the wall, over the wall,

It's hard to believe they jumped over the wall!

Now the warders looked on with the greatest surprise

and the sight that they saw brought tears to their eyes,

for one of the teams was not there at all

they all got transferred and jumped over the wall!

Now the governor came down with his face in a twist

and said "Line up those lads while I check out me list,"

but nine of the lads didn't answer at all

and the warder said "Please Sir, they're over the wall."

The 'security forces' were shook to the core

so they barred every window and bolted each door,

but all their precautions were no use at all

for another three prisoners jumped over the wall!

Then the news reached old Stormont, Brian Faulkner turned pale

when he heard that more men had escaped from his jail,

said he - "Now we'll have an enquiry to call, and we'll get Edmund Compton to whitewash the wall."

Ah, whitewash : the second-favourite liquid used in Westminster, after Earl Grey, of course...!


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, June, 1955.

A camp under the auspices of the Dublin Brigade was held over the Whit weekend in the Glencree Valley, County Wicklow - it was graced with very fine weather and was attended by 30 scouts. Officers from GHQ supervised a vigorous programme of scout training, embracing semaphore, knots, campcraft etc. An enjoyable campfire was held on Sunday with the surrounding hills echoing to the sound of marches and ballads after which tired and happy scouts turned in to sleep like the logs in the nearby woods!

Note - new Headquarters address : all correspondence should be addressed to Fianna Eireann, Sean Tracey House, 94 Sean Tracey Street, Dublin.

(END of 'Fianna Éireann Ard Fheis'. NEXT - 'Sinn Féin Victory Rally', from the same source.)


Ireland, 1920 : a flavour of the chaos inflicted here by the British political and military presence : in January that year, the 1st Cork Brigade of the IRA captured Carrigtwohill 'Royal Irish Constabulary' (RIC) barracks, in February the 'Home Rule Bill' was published, in which Westminster voiced its intention to establish a 128-member 'parliament' in Dublin and a 52-member 'parliament' in Belfast despite knowing, from previous partition experiments, that two 'parliaments' in one country was a receipe for political disaster, Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtain, was murdered in his house by British forces in March, in April a hunger-strike began in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin by IRA prisoners who were demanding POW status, in May that year forty IRA prisoners who were on hunger-strike in Wormwood Scrubs in London, England, were released and in June an armed British militia in Ireland, the RIC, got the go-ahead from Westminster to'officially' shoot republicans dead.

In July 1920, those deemed not fit for the regular British forces in Ireland were given a new home in the 'ADRIC' ('Auxiliary Division Royal Irish Constabulary') and in August Terence MacSwiney went on hunger-strike in Brixton Prison in England. In September the 'Black and Tans' destroyed more than fifty properties in Balbriggan town in Dublin, a British militia, the 'USC', was established in October, in November fourteen British spies were executed in Dublin by the IRA and in December 1920 Westminster declared 'Martial Law' in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.

Questions re 'the Irish situation' surfaced occasionally in the grand halls of Westminster and, on the 2nd December 1920 - 100 years ago on this date - the following exchange took place in that venue but was dismissed by the chairperson as 'the wrong question having been asked' :

Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland how many prisoners in Ireland have been shot dead while trying to escape, according to police reports, up to the end of November of this year and during the present year; how many have been wounded; and how many of these were handcuffed at the time of their death or wounding?

Mr. GALBRAITH asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what is the total number of persons who have been shot at in Ireland when attempting to escape from custody; and how many of such persons have been wounded and killed, respectively?

Mr. HENRY : According to the police reports the number of prisoners fired at while attempting to escape from custody within the period from 1st January to 30th November, 1920, is 11. Of these nine were killed and two wounded. One of the prisoners killed and one of those wounded are stated to have been handcuffed while attempting to escape.

Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY : Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that when the bodies have been given to the relatives that in many cases those men have been found to be riddled with bullets through the head: how does he think that men can try to escape from police lorries; and can he inform me if all these cases have been investigated by a court of inquiry?

Mr. HENRY : I must have notice of that question.

Mr. MacVEAGH : Can the Attorney-General say whether the figure he has quoted includes those shot dead on the allegation that they were attempting to resist arrest?

Mr. HENRY : The question put to me was as to the number of men shot whilst attempting to escape from custody.

Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY : Surely the right hon. and learned Gentleman can say whether there has been an inquiry into these cases, in view of the very serious allegations made and reported in the newspapers throughout the country?

Major O'NEILL : Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that when General Lucas was captured, the officer who was captured with him attempted to escape, and was shot by the Sinn Feiners?

Mr. MacVEAGH : Also does the right hon. and learned Gentleman know that when General Lucas was released he stated that he had been treated with the greatest consideration by his captors?

Mr. SPEAKER : We are getting a long way from the question on the Paper...

(HANSARD 1803–2005 ? 1920s ? 1920 ? December 1920 ? 2 December 1920 ? Commons Sitting ? IRELAND. ESCAPING PRISONERS [SHOOTING]. HC Deb 02 December 1920 vol 135 cc1410-1 1410.) (From here.)

That was 100 years ago and shows that those political defenders of British imperialism were as quick then as they are now to use obfuscation in an attempt to 'neutralise' an embarrassing situation. But Irish republicans had been fighting the British writ in Ireland centuries before the Westminster parliament was established and - no obfuscation here - will continue to do so, in one form and/or another, until they remove themselves, politically and militarily, from our country!


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda 'evidence' emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From 'The Magill Annual', 2002.

At the time of the transfers, Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne said that they were " both the public interest and the interests of the Garda Siochana and should not be seen as an indication of any wrongdoing by those directed on transfer." Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter said the Commissioner's statement and actions in transferring the officers did not adequately address public concern over events in Donegal.

In the course of proceedings at Letterkenny District Court, no less than five gardai had, on oath, denied the existence of such a document. Following the circulation of these orders, the summonses became "a cascade", according to Martin Giblin SC, and it became apparent that certain members of the force were intent on accusing the McBreartys of involvement in the death of Richie Barron, despite the lack of evidence.

Frank McBrearty cites unlawful arrest, slander and false imprisonment in a detailed affidavit setting out the extent of the harassment campaign against his family. He says his life and that of his family has been a "living hell", and that they "will never get over it - it's destroyed our lives for the past five years".

To date, despite several garda inquiries, including the long running Carty Inquiry, the report of which has been with both the Commissioner and Justice Minister John O'Donoghue for some considerable time, the outcome of these inquiries has not been made public. During the Carty investigation, senior politicians such as Labour TD Brendan Howlin and Fine Gael's Jim Higgins, who raised the issue of garda corruption allegations in the Dail (sic), spoke of their concern at the manner in which the inquiry was being conducted. Brendan Howlin told 'Magill' that, following his contact with the Minister for Justice on foot of new information he had received about the internal garda investigation, detectives from the 'National (sic) Bureau of Criminal Investigation' called to his home in Wexford, and questioned him. Howlin was concerned about the course of the inquiry... (MORE LATER.)


In March 1973, IRA leader Joe Cahill was arrested by the Free State Navy in Waterford, aboard the Claudia, a ship from Libya loaded with five tons of weapons, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment, and another IRA leader, Seamus Twomey (pictured), was appointed IRA Chief of Staff.
In early October that year, Twomey was caught and arrested by the Free Staters and imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail, which meant that three top IRA operatives (Twomey, J.B. O'Hagan and Kevin Mallon) were now housed in the one location - and the IRA wanted them back!

An 'American businessman', a 'Mr. Leonard', approached the manager of the 'Irish Helicopters' company at Dublin Airport and discussed hiring a helicopter for an aerial photographic shoot in County Laois and, after being shown the company's fleet of helicopters, this 'businessman' booked a five-seater Alouette II helicopter for October 31st.

'Mr Leonard' arrived at Irish Helicopters on the day and was introduced to the pilot of the helicopter, a Captain Thompson Boyes, who was instructed to fly to a field in Stradbally, County Laois, to pick up photographic equipment.

After landing, the pilot saw two armed and masked men approaching the helicopter from nearby trees and he was held at gunpoint and told he would not be harmed if he followed instructions. 'Mr Leonard' left the area with one gunman, while the other gunman climbed aboard the helicopter armed with a pistol and an Armalite rifle. Captain Boyes was told to fly towards Dublin following the path of railway lines and the Royal Canal, and was ordered not to register his flight path with Air Traffic Control. As the helicopter approached Dublin, Boyes was informed of the escape plan and instructed to land in the exercise yard at Mountjoy Prison.

On Wednesday, 31st October 1973, at 3.40pm in the afternoon, the Alouette II helicopter landed in the 'D Wing Exercise Yard' of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, when a football match was taking place between the prisoners, and Twomey, O'Hagan and Mallon jumped aboard, but were quickly spotted (!) by an alert (!) prison screw who used his training and power of intuition to take immediate action - he *called on the screws at the gate to close them over as he feared the helicopter was trying to escape (*according to the RTE 'Scannal - Prison Break' programme!).

Another IRA prisoner who was in the yard at the time recalled how an embarrassed screw told him that he had apologised to the prison governor in relation to the incident, saying that he thought the helicopter contained a visiting (Free State) Minister for Defence (and well-known publican) Paddy Donegan : the IRA prisoner replied that , in fact, " was our Minister of Defence leaving...!"

All three men reported back to the IRA and continued their work for the Movement but, after a few weeks of freedom, Kevin Mallon was recaptured at a GAA Dance in the Montague Hotel in Co. Laois on 10th December 1973, J.B.O'Hagan was recaptured in Dublin in early 1975 and Seamus Twomey managed to remain uncaptured until December 2nd, 1977 - 43 years ago on this date - after the Special Branch came across him in a 'suspicious car' parked in Sandycove, in Dublin. He had managed to evade the forces of 'law and order', North and South, for fifty months, despite been hunted by the best that Leinster House and Westminster could throw at him!


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, November 1954.

Mr Sean Ryan, Tralee, in his oration, said "We are assembled here today to unveil this little limestone memorial to a republican soldier who gave his life so that Ireland might be free. Ireland still remains in the hands of that tyrant England, and while this is the position the young men of Ireland must be prepared to carry on the fight for freedom and die if necessary in its defence, like the man they were honouring today.

There will always be men found in Ireland to challenge the might of England. In the last decade we had Charlie Kearns, Sean McCaughy, Maurice O'Neill and several others and we had, the other day, a unit of the IRA carrying out such a daring raid in the strongest military barracks in occupied Ireland and stripping it completely of all its equipment."

The meeting then closed, and Jeremiah Donoghue thanked all those who attended. Mr E. Looney, Sculptor, Killorglin, appealed for financial support for the East Kerry Memorial Committee.

(END of 'Kerry Honours Her Patriot Dead' ; NEXT - 'Alice French RIP', from the same source.)


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) will, as usual, be held - later on this month - on Christmas Day at 12 Noon at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal, in Dublin (opposite the Kelly's/Blackhorse Inn building in Inchicore, Dublin 8), but a 'Plan B' has been put in place by the organisers to take account of the circumstances brought about by the Covid 19 issue.

There are, as stated already on this blog, two possible scenarios regarding this event : it either goes ahead in full 'party'-type mode ie music, dancing, 'soup' for the adults (!), crowds etc etc, presuming that, by the 25th December 2020, Covid will have been dealth with, or the Swim will take place in a restrained manner to take account of Covid-enforced social distancing ('Level 3', at the time of writing) and other common-sense guidelines ie just the 'bare bones' - a reduced number of swimmers, one family member with each swimmer, a much-reduced Cabhair Crew on the ground and the public being asked to observe from a safe distance (ie the bridge, or further up the canal), with no foodstuffs, no 'lemonade or soup' (!) , no music etc on site, which should help to prevent a crowd from gathering at the actual Swim spot.

What is certain, however, is that, for the 44th successive year, the Swim will be going ahead, in one format or the other!

Thanks for reading - Sharon and the '1169' team.

On Monday last, 30th November 2020, at 12 Midnight, the regime in Leinster House introduced a change for the State in relation to Covid restrictions ; we went from 'Level 5' to 'Level 3'. It is an IBEC/business-requested/instructed change, purely for economic reasons rather than health reasons and will no doubt lead to more draconian measures in late January/early February 2021. Indeed, the quango established by the Leinster House institute to advise on those issues has itself voiced concern over going from '5' to '3' but, due to the fact that our society is geared towards capitalism, the concern expressed was ignored
(not for the first time, either).

Capitalism, the attitude it spawns and those who gladly and greedily operate within and agree with its structures will cause more harm and destruction to every society than any other virus could. We need a new political system, before it's too late.