Friday, June 11, 2004

JOHN SADLEIR and WILLIAM KEOGH - 19th Century Irish Turncoats .......

....... Six-and-a-half million people on the island of Ireland , supported mostly by the potato crop , which allowed for a 'better' standard of 'living' for the "Irish peasant farmer" . The British 'Landlords' , too , noticed this 'improvement' .......

... 'Rents' were increased at the same period that land was scarce (due to the population increase); the 'rent' for a 'holding' quadrupled between 1760 and 1815 , so the 'holding' (ie small farm) was sub-let , usually to the farmers sons , so that the 'rent owed' for that patch of soil could be shared by the family .

Pressure from the so-called 'Landlords' , over-crowding , poverty , hunger , depression , desperately bad 'living' conditions - such was the scene which a well-known philosopher of the day , Berkeley , witnessed in Ireland in 1750 , prompting him to ask " whether there be upon the earth any Christian or civilised people so beggardly wretched and destitute as the common Irish ? "

I wonder did Berkeley 'philosophise' as to why "the common Irish" were in that position in the first place ? And while we're on the subject of what 'our betters' thought of us , the British Viceroy at the time was also fond of kicking people while they were down.......



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.


".......We all agreed that the British Auxiliaries were most likely heading for Renanirree to break-up a Sinn Fein Court , which we knew to have been postponed - we were also in agreement that the Brits would most likely return to their base by the Knocksaharing route ......."

" The seven of us were rushing out the door , through the haggard gate-way , over a fence and making a bee-line for Knocksaharing . A few days before we had heard of the capture , by the enemy , of a bag containing some documents . It was said to belong to a Judge who was on a Circuit of Sinn Fein Courts . In the bag was a reference to the Court which was to have been held at Renanirree on that very day ; needless to say , it was not now being held . But now we had a reasonable clue to the movements of the Auxies . They had gone to see if the Sinn Fein Court was being held at the appointed time . They would not delay there , and since it was not a routine visit they would be of the opinion that there would be no danger in returning by the same road .

Our time was short - to intercept them at the nearest point we would have to travel two miles over hedges and ditches . Renanirree was but three miles from that point . My uncle's house was straight across our path and we found him , with two other local IRA Volunteers , at Carraig a' Radhairc ; they had with them two service rifles from an arms dump and the three of them accompanied us . My uncle's house stood a hundred yards south of the upper Renanirree Road ; we crossed this with some little caution , and went swiftly upwards to the ridge of Knocksaharing , passing by the Mass Rock of Carraig a' tSagairt . Then we quickly descended the northern slope , through small fields of every shape with their big stone fences , which generations had made at a terrible cost of murderous toll .

Soon we reached the spot we sought , a corner of one of these little fields ; it sloped steeply towards the lower Renanirree Road , and was a bad corner to get out of , if one had to . But it commanded a long stretch of the road to Macroom , and was back from it only thirty yards . We had not a long view of the on-coming enemy , and that was one of our fears : if some of the rear lorries stopped to the west of us , the British Auxiliaries could work up an easy gradient and come down on us in the pocket we were in ......."


ETHIOPIA - A Brief History .

(First published in 'HOT PRESS' Magazine , 6th May 1988 , Volume 12 , No. 8 , page 28).

Re-produced here in 10 parts .

(1 of 10).

Ethiopia has been at war for 26 years . In the world's longest-running guerilla struggle , the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) have fought to regain the independence of the province since it was subsumed into the Ethiopian state by Haile Selassie in 1962 . The tragedy is that neither side appears capable of a conclusive military victory - or of gaining sufficient control of the territory to allow unhindered relief operations .

While the soldiers battle , famine victims come eyeball to eyeball with the grim reaper . The war grinds on , pitilessly . The EPLF shelter in impregnable highland strongholds , hiding elaborate underground tunnels to escape the strafing Ethiopian planes : the mountains offer ideal protection for guerrila fighters . Thus the rebels deny the government control of the countryside . The cities , however , remain in government hands .

The Eritreans are firm in their conviction that the war can be won , believing that government conscripts cannot match the passion and commitment of their volunteers indefinitely . But for the government , defeat cannot be contemplated - Eritrean commands Ethiopia's only coastline , making it strategically vital in terms of supply routes . And besides , the concession of independence could only encourage Sudan , Somalia and the Tigreans in the potential dismemberment of Ethiopia ...