Sunday, May 30, 2004

JOSEPH BRENAN ; 1828-1857 : 'Young Ireland' Leader .......

.......The Irish were living in mud hovels , 3 generations of family in one room ; the English had their fine gala-balls and sporting-days.......

'Living' in a mud-walled hovel was better than nothing , but even then the English would'nt leave us alone - if you could not pay the 'rent' to the British 'Landlord' he would rather see you and yours 'living' in a hedge and the hovel destroyed ; in that 19th Century Ireland , a British 'Landlord' by the name of Vandeleur organised the eviction of one of his 'tenants' from 'his' estate near Kilrush , in the County Clare : a newspaper of the day , the 'United Ireland' , reported on the scene -

- ' On Thursday the evictions were resumed . The eviction proceedings were carried out with the usual brutality by the sheriff , and opposed with determination and pluck by the tenants . The house of Matthais McGrath was defended with determination , the place was barricaded . The battering-ram was drawn up in front and shouts of defiance came from the tenant inside . 'Thud , Thud' , went the lever against the wall and , after a while , it yielded , but an immense barricade of stonework was inside it . Breach enough was effected to afford a view of the tenant's son bravely standing inside and determined , calling them to come on !

Inspector Dunning called on him now to come out , but young McGrath answered sternly : " I am here within , and in with you ." The battering-ram was again used and the wall came down - a violent rush was made through the breach . District-Inspector Hill led on but his charge was abruptly stopped by his coming into contact with the battering-ram and he was pitched helplessly into the kitchen , and pounced on by McGrath who pommelled him soundly , but was himself attacked by Dunning and a Constable named Atkinson from Kilrush . They assaulted McGrath together , and were soon aided by a party of 'bludgeonmen' , batoned and treated in a most savage and brutal manner .

McGrath was felled ; numbers overpowered him , and struck and kicked with savage violence .......'



war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.


".......We were temporarly lost in Cork City , but had trouble getting anyone to assist us - they thought we were armed Brits ! We had to grab a young man , whom Corney O'Sullivan spoke with ......."

" "Would you not like to do something for Ireland ?" , Corney asked the young man ; his eyes travelled over us all before he answered . We were amused at his confusion and our smiles reassured him - " I would, " he said boldly . He stood on the running-board and , having piloted us around a few corners , brought us out on the road we wanted . " God bless ye boys ," he exclaimed fervently as we parted .

In a short time we reached Miss Walsh's of Ballygarvan , where we were most hospitably entertained . We rested until the time for our appointment with Mick Murphy . We met him and Tadhg Sullivan at Kaper Daly's ; Tadhg was introduced to us by Mick as " the Republican Jewman ! " A splendid looking man , with laughing eyes - he had certainly a 'Semitic' expression . They had no good news for us - British Army man Strickland was to attend the funeral of General Cummins who had been killed at Clonbanin , and we were destined , therefore , not to meet him . Mick and Tadhg returned to the city - we were to meet Mick again , but it was our last meeting with Tadhg Sullivan ; within a few days we heard with the greatest sorrow of his death in an encounter with a British Army raiding-party .

Jim Grey , our driver , wanted tyres for the Buick . It was settled that he and I should go to the city in the morning to get the tyres , some 'three-in-one' oil , and a few other messages . We met a reliable man that night , who agreed to take us in his milk cart . We started early , seated facing forward and surrounded by milk-churns . We wore our trench coats and gaiters , a very foolish thing to do , since it invited attention . In the milk cart it looked the part well enough , but when we went shopping... "



'Britain has the economic clout to impose peace in Northern Ireland (sic), argue BOB ROWTHORN and NAOMI WAYNE . Why does'nt it use it ? '

(First published in 'New Statesman and Society' Magazine , 9th September , 1988 , pages 12 and 13).

Re-produced here in 10 parts .

[Apologises beforehand for the use of the descriptions "Northern Ireland" and "Province" , and the constant use of the terms "Catholics" and "Protestants" in the following ten-part article ; they are not our descriptions or terms , but the Authors].

(1 of 10).

The conflict in Northern Ireland (sic) won't be resolved by military means ; after nearly 20 years , the IRA has not been defeated nor , in spite of fluctuations in its level of support and occasional SAS coups , is it going to be . Hostility to British rule remains widespread in the Catholic community and will continue to provide support for the armed struggle .

Reform within the present framework is also played out . The Anglo-Irish Agreement (ie- the 1985 Hillsborough Treaty) has posed a bigger challenge to the Protestant and Catholic communities than any previous initiative , but to win the long-term commitment of the Catholic community , the Agreement must deliver substantial material benefits - most notably , the creation of more and better jobs .

But realistically that depends on an economic recovery which cannot itself be achieved as long as the present conflict continues . Moreover , questions of national identity and political control cannot have been high on the political agenda for Catholics for two decades . This is too long for them to go away ; they now have a life of their own...