Friday, September 10, 2004

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

.......Piaras Beaslai ('An tOglach' Editor) was in Strangeways Prison in Manchester with a staunch Irish Republican - Austin Stack . During the debate on the 1921 Treaty of Surrender , Stack laid his cards on the table .......

" Has any man here the hardihood to stand up and say that it was for this our fathers suffered , that it was for this our comrades have died in the field and in the barrack yard ..." ('1169...' comment - a question that Austin Stack would now no doubt put to those supporters of the 1998 Stormont Treaty ['GFA'] ; those people should consider themselves blessed that Stack , amongst others, is resting in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin : and they should also recognise and admit that men and women like Austin Stack did not sacrifice their all to gain the equivalent of what was on offer to , and rejected by , them , in their time .)

Austin Stack died on 27th April 1929 , at only 50 years of age , from a weakness brought on by an earlier stomach operation - the hunger-strikes he endured had taken their toll . A commemorative pamphlet , entitled ' What Exactly is a Republican ? ' was issued in memory of Austin Stack -

' The name Republican in Ireland , as used amongst Republicans , bears no political meaning . It stands for the devout lover of his country , trying with might and main for his country's Freedom . Such a man cannot be a slave . And if not a slave in heart or in act , he cannot be guilty of the slave vices. No coercion can breed these in the freeman .......'



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.


"....... the British Army Captain was walking around our house , searching it , with my father following him , with a lit candle ; the back of the Englishman's uniform was criss-crossed with dry wax designs , which the Captain knew nothing about . However , the two armed British sentries had now noticed my fathers handiwork ......."

" The two British soldiers looked at each other - simultaneously , both smiled happily ; it was not often such a blissful vision appeared to poor soldiers . Their Captain was not a favourite . In the room across the hallway was a sideboard - while the Captain searched its lower recesses , possibly for a bottle (!) , my father finished his parallels of latitude . The sideboard yielding nothing , he stood up , walked out to the hall , looked up the stairs and, grunting an order to his men , stumbled out into the night . My father returned to the kitchen with his much depleted candle , to find my sisters laughing heartily . " What's wrong ? " he asked with forced gravity : " Oh , nothing , " was the reply , " but that fellow will come back and burn the house when he sees his uniform . " " He's lucky if he does not go on fire himself ! " said my father .

The dusk of evening , in the harvest of 1920 , was a favourite time for a raid with the Auxiliaries of Macroom Castle ; two Crossley tenders invariably were their means of transport . You might think that eighteen men venturing out thus could easily be dealt with , and that was true enough - but the trouble was to catch them ! There was no such thing as regularity about their movements ; if they left Macroom in a certain direction the only clue to their return was that it would not be by the same road . Every kind of a passable bye-road as well as the main roads would have to be manned to ensure their capture , and passages thought to be impassible to motor-cars were used by them . It was not for want of attempts to intercept them that they escaped so long .

It was one such harvest evening when the Auxiliaries came calling ....... "


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

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

By November 1975 , Lennie Murphy had formed a UVF gang that came to be known as the 'Shankill Butchers' because of its preference for ritually torturing and mutiliating its victims with , among other implements , a number of butcher's knives . After Murphy's imprisonment in March 1976 for possession of weapons (although his involvement in several sectarian slayings was well known) , he continued to direct other gang members - including William Moore , Robert 'Basher' Bates and a serving UDR (British) soldier , Eddie McIlwaine - to continue the catalogue of death .

At least 21 victims , mostly Catholics , were to meet grisly deaths at the hands of these maniacs before they were eventually arrested in 1978 . At their trial they were given a total of 2,000 years' imprisonment , including 42 life sentences .

However , although they had implicated Lennie Murphy in statements , they refused to testify against him .......