Monday, May 31, 2004

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

....... Ireland , 19th Century - evictions were common-place : the hovel where the family of Matthais McGrath 'lived' , in County Clare , was under siege by the British Sheriff , but the McGrath's were fighting back .......

The British Sheriff and his men had used the battering-ram to get into the McGrath hovel , and a fight started between those in the hovel and those wanting to evict them ...

' The poor fellow , McGrath , had a severe wound on the crown of his head , and was kicked twice in the chest . The wrecking of the 'house' was then proceeded with and complete ; Colonel Turner stopped the work of the battering-ram , smiling pleasantly , and had the emergency ruffians to stand at ease for the accommodation of an amateur photographer to take a sketch of the ruined cottage .

Continuing operations , the 'house' was left a complete ruin before the villains ceased their work . A 'Coercion Court' was improvised formally to try Pat McGrath , with 'Removable Roche' taking the Justice Seat on a stone wall . The formality being gone through , McGrath was removed in custody . ' That report of an eviction was published in 'The United Ireland' newspaper , on 4th August , 1888 . Again - all of us have to answer to our God one day ...

Jobless , hungry , homeless- not given the chance to provide for yourself or your family ; and no means to achieve the opportunity to improve your situation , or even stop it from getting worse - hopeless times . It was in this era that Joseph Brenan was born , in Cork , in November 1828.......



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.


".......The Strickland job was off ; myself and Jim Grey got a lift in a milk-cart into Cork City for shopping supplies . We should have changed our clothes ......."

" " You might have shaved yourself at least , " I remonstrated with Jim . " Even if you had shaved a week ago , " I added . " You're wrong , " said Jim - " I will pass as a benevolent old toff . It is YOU whom they will be after . Let me quote the 'Hue and Cry' (a Brit propaganda 'newspaper') for you : 'WANTED - Clean-shaven youth, blue eyes , fair hair , tall , fanatical appearance . Dangerous young criminal . '

" Wait a bit , " I said . " Here's your description : 'WANTED - Young man , hardened appearance , blue eyes , fair hair , tall , desperate character , unshaven - forgot razor at scene of last murder . " So we joked until we parted with our milk-cart not far from Cork City Hall . We walked over Parnell Bridge and turned left along the South Mall ; as we crossed the street from the Mall to the South Gate Bridge I thought of yesterday morning , when we passed over the same ground with our four comrades in the Buick , with the Lewis-Gun , our rifles and grenades .

Now we were reduced in numbers , our good car and armaments lacking . Besides , our position was further weakened by our attire - it cried out for attention from the enemy . We had not met them yet , but had not long to wait : we crossed from the southern side of the Mall to the eastern side of the Parade - this we did to avoid Tuckey Street corner . In any case it was a short-cut . No sooner were we on the foot-path than we saw a Rolls-Royce Whippet armoured car - the Brits ! They were bearing-down on us on our side ; Jim reacted immediately ......."



'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].

(2 of 10).

Given that nothing else will work , it is surely time to re-examine the traditional solution to the Northern Ireland (sic) conflict . Should not Britain withdraw from the province (sic), re-unite Ireland and reverse the historic mistake of partition ? Nowadays (ie 1988) , this course receives no serious consideration at all from the political establishment , even though opinion polls show that it commands consistent majority support among the British electorate .

If it is raised at all , it is usually to be dismissed out of hand as utterly impractical , morally irresponsible and politically unacceptable . In fact , the outcome of withdrawal is'nt predetermined , but would depend crucially on the way the decision was carried through . The key is not military , but economic ; Northern Ireland's (sic) economy is overwhelmingly dependent on Britain - without its economic support , the 'province' could not survive on its own for more than a few weeks .

So if Britain were , in Pontius Pilate fashion , simply to wash its hands and abandon 'Northern Ireland' altogether , the result would be catastrophic . Its already bankrupt economy would finally disintegrate and civil war would be a real possibility ...