Friday, September 03, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......the train transporting the " illegal " copies of 'The Kerryman' newspaper had been stopped and searched by the RIC and British soldiers - the RIC had been ordered by the Brits to move , by hand , a small mountain of coal , but no newspapers were found . The train was allowed to proceed .......

That same night , Tom Nolan's ('Kerryman' Editor) father , Dan , was in a pub in Tralee when he overheard a group of British soldiers laughing and joking about what they had ordered " the Paddy's " (ie the RIC) to do that day and how they were delighted that the " coalmen " had not found anything after moving the small mountain of coal ! (Actually , the British soldiers called the RIC their "ni**ers" , a reference to not ONLY the colour of the RIC after moving the coal).

Even back then , the Brits had no respect or time for their native allies ! However - the British 'Defence of The Realm Act' ('DORA') , which was a 'catch-all' 'law' used by Westminster to 'justify' and solidify its own hold on power , was used to suppress the 'An tOglach' Irish Republican newspaper .

The 'DORA' legislation was also to be used a few months later by the British politicians in Westminster against their own workers , who were to go out on strike over their demands for a shorter working week .......



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.


" By raids I mean the sudden descent of the British forces on the homes of the Irish people . It should be quite unnecessary to explain that our people had vast experience of these 'visits' , in our own time, and in every generation since the English first set foot in this country . The objective was always the same - the subjugation of our race .

The immediate objective of a localised raid generally varied with the times ; for instance , just prior to 1916 , the RIC would appear with a warrant to search a house for " seditious literature " - after 1916 , a strong force of RIC accompanied by the British military , would ransack suspected houses and lands for arms . Later on , Irish Volunteers would be arrested and imprisoned on charges of drilling and possession of arms .

Finally , for the two years before the 'Truce' of July 1921 , the object of a raid might mean anything , even torture and murder . So common did murder , brutal ill-treatment and destruction of property become , that the people would not have been surprised at any form of terrorism . In the midst of it all , the people saw the humour in any of these raids that did not have dire consequences for themselves or their neighbours .

Enough has been told of the tale of blood - let us look at the bright side ......."




First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
[6 of 6].

It is more important for a British Army Officer to use civilians to protect 'his men' than it is for him to use , or sacrifice , those men to protect civilians . Belfast has taught many lessons and this is one of the most startling of them .

As a sidelight on all this , it is becoming more and more clear that in a highly charged political situation neither police nor military catch their enemies by sleuthing or cleverness . Most of the damage they do to their enemies is through informers and agents who give information or create events which will compromise the opposing guerrilla army .

Again , it is the civilians who really do the job of the military or police for them ; but that is a story for another day ...

If living in Belfast these times does nothing else for you , at least it sets your interpretations upside down . Or right side up ...?

(Next - 'DEATH OF A BUTCHER' - from March 1983.)