Wednesday, June 23, 2004


....... Ireland , 19th Century - Agriculture was in a flux - tillage (crop) farming would not bring in as much money for the British 'Landlords' as pasture (livestock) farming would . An increase in profits could be had by 'Landlords' by putting 'their' land to a different use : but the 'tenants' used the land for tillage , not for the pasture of animals .......

So the 'tenants' were evicted ; thousands of Irish 'peasant' families were moved-on , and took what little refuge they could find in the mountains - they attempted to cut into the stone and rock to make ridges where potatoes could be grown to feed themselves . These ' channel's ' became known as 'Lazy Beds' and there remains are still visible today , two centuries later , on mountain slopes .

The year 1823 also saw Daniel O'Connell and the 'Catholic Association' , with the help of the Catholic Church , moving amongst the dispossessed to get their support in pleading for better conditions to be bestowed by the British ; others , too, were organising , but had no time for gentle words of pleading - the secret societies of the Whiteboys , Oakboys , Moonlighters , the Steelboys and the Defenders , who were taking direct action in defence of their livelihood , such as it was , against the British .

The effects of the 1817 potato blight was still being felt ; there was a population increase , evictions , open battles between 'Landlords' and the secret societies : turbulent times.......



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

1921 - The Big Round-Up.......

"....... Murt Twomey , one of our lads , was a witness to the stranger in the field being shot at by the Brits - they missed him , but Sean Jer , walking with his cow nearby , fell to the ground . Murt ran to try and help him but had to seek refuge in the man's cottage as the Brits were now firing at him ......."

" A British Army Officer and some troops stormed the cottage - eventually , Murt Twomey persuaded them to help him bring Sean Jer indoors , and lay him in a comfortable position , as he was suffering terrible pain . Then , after further parley , they allowed Murt to go in search of a priest and a doctor . He returned to the village after a fruitless quest , and was challenged by some British Auxiliaries who were present in great strength : " What are you doing to and fro here for some time ? " they demanded . " I am looking for a priest and doctor for a man who was shot over there , " Murt replied . " Who shot him ? " they said . " It must have been some of your men, " came the answer . " Can you prove that ? " they said threateningly , as they gathered around him ; Murt wisely compromised by saying that he could not .

He told the Auxies that he had been sent by a British Military Officer on his mission , and he was let go . He then met another Brit Officer who again questioned him , and Murt asked him for the service of a Military doctor ; the Brit directed him to the Red Cross station where he found a doctor who agreed to attend to Sean Jer . On the following morning , Murt went to see Sean but was taken by a party of British soldiers and , with a few other local men , ordered to help at the erection of 'bell tents' on the inch near the bridge . Murt made a bad start - a mallet was handed to him and he was directed to drive some pegs into the ground . Aiming a vicious blow at one of the pegs , the head of the mallet flew off and struck a British Sergeant on the head ...

...mad with rage and pain , the Brit snatched up a rifle ......."




(First published in 'DUBLIN DIARY' magazine , Volume 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 11.)

Re-produced here in 5 parts .

(3 of 5).

As a victim of this system , and knowing himself wrongfully imprisoned , Paul Kane took part in the September 1983 Mass escape from the H-Blocks . He was recaptured shortly afterwards and returned to prison until October 1986 when he was released on bail over the escape charges .

Having little confidence in British justice , and having his life threatened a number of times , Paul Kane decided to flee South ; he was arrested in Cavan in November 1987 , following actions by the Gardai which were later the subject of Court proceedings and raised serious questions about garda behaviour .

Since then he has been held in Portlaoise Prison on British extradition warrants ; in the meantime the 'Black' convictions and Christopher Black's word have been completely discredited . The original convictions were overturned and all those imprisoned were set free ...