Thursday, September 09, 2004

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

.......the (first) Editor of the 'An tOglach' Irish Republican newspaper , Liverpool-born Piaras Beaslai , was imprisoned by the Brits for his part in the 1916 Rising ; he shared prison-space with an Irish Republican legend .......

In Strangeways Prison , in Manchester , England , Piaras Beaslai met an Irish Republican who had been condemned to death by the British for his role in the 1916 Rising - Austin Stack . The death sentence on Austin Stack was later commuted to penal servitude . Stack was an out-and-out Irish Rebel , who had practically spent as much time in prison as he had out of it , and was no stranger to that one Irish Republican prison weapon that the 'authorities' could do nothing about - the hunger-strike .

He was in command of the Irish Republican POW's in Belfast Jail in November 1918 when same was smashed-up by the prisoners and , during the Civil War , was Deputy Chief of Staff to Frank Aiken . Austin Stack was born in Tralee , in County Kerry , in 1879 , and never knew the meaning of the word ' compromise ' ;

- his position on the British occupation of Ireland was made clear to all during the debate on the 1921 Treaty of Surrender .......



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.


".......the drunken British Army Captain , Moss , was searching our house , and my father accompanied him from room to room , carrying a lighted candle . Moss was hunkered down searching a drawer - my father looked at him , then looked at the candle in his hand ....... "

" My father tilted the candle and deliberately ran a streak of grease from it to the back of the neck of the British Captain's tunic almost to the tail of it ; the tunic was spotless clean and new , and the candle-grease certainly appeared out of place on it , but my father regarded it as an artist would a successful stroke of the brush !

My sisters looked on in astonishment at what they first believed to be an accident , or an involuntary lapse on my father's part . They soon discovered that his employment was not merely temporary - well versed in the mechanics of geography , my father quickly added the line of the Equator to the 'Prime Meridian' , with the Englishman's portly figure helping him to a great extent ! The Captain's manner also proved useful , for while he intermittently lectured my father , a fresh supply of candle-grease was formimg ...

By the time the searching of the kitchen was completed the meridians of longitude on the Englishman's back gave him a zebra-like appearance . As he passed from the kitchen into the hallway , two British Tommies with fixed bayonets stood , one on either side of the doorway ; my father , with the candle, followed close behind . With wooden faces , the two British soldiers faced each other standing to attention while their Captain passed between them . Suddenly , both turned their heads and stared after him .

Astonishment was written largely on their faces ; turning eyes front again , they looked at each other ......."


(No By-Line)
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983 , Number 5 , page 42.

Re-published here in six parts .
(4 of 6).

Who , then, was Lennie Murphy , the 'Master Butcher' ? His first known victim was Francis Arthurs , from Fallswater Street , whose body was found in July 1972 , almost unrecognisable from stab wounds and bullet holes . A month later , Thomas Madden , from Cliftonville Avenue , was found dead - strangled , and with approximately 150 stab wounds .

In September 1972 , William Pavis , a 32-year old Protestant suspected of befriending nationalists , was shot dead at his home ; Lennie Murphy and another loyalist , Mervyn Connor , were arrested and charged with the killing . Connor agreed to testify against Murphy but in April 1973 he died in his cell of cyanide poisoning , having first been forced to leave a letter withdrawing his statements against Lennie Murphy .

Murphy was subsequently acquitted of the murder of William Pavis .......