Wednesday, September 15, 2004

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

.......when ' An tOglach' Editor , Piaras Beaslai was 'arrested' by the Brits in March 1919 , he was succeeded in that position by Ernest Blythe , a TD and Minister for Trade and Commerce in the First (All-Ireland) Dail (32-County Irish Parliament).......

Ernest Blythe had some experience in editing a newspaper - two years previously (ie in 1917) he assisted in re-organising ' The Southern Star' newspaper in Skibbereen , West Cork - that was in January 1917 , and Michael Collins ( still an Irish Rebel at the time) came in as a shareholder . Then , in February that year (1917) Ernest Blythe was appointed Editor of 'The Southern Star' .

In November 1916 , 'The Southern Star' newspaper had been suppressed by the British , as its "...increasingly nationalistic tone " did not meet with the approval of the 'authorities' . The real authorities , meanwhile , were left to read the other Skibbereen-based newspaper , ' The Skibbereen Eagle' , and IT did not " meet with their approval " ; so they raided the premises - again ! At the time , ' The Skibbereen Eagle' was being run by local solicitor and (British) MP for West Cork , Jasper Wolfe ; a Mr. Eldon Potter had founded the newspaper in 1907 , but it never quite 'clicked' with the nationalist population . Thus the 'visits' it received from the then real authorities , the IRA .

However - (mini-tangent , that ...!) - Ernest Blythe was to go on to have even more experience in the Editor's chair : this time from the 'opposite side of the house .....'



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.


" uncle and Jerrick Sheehan were a few feet in front of us , leaning against a fence - they were not aware that myself and 'Mick the Soldier' were there ; we were all watching for enemy trucks , hoping to avoid them . Jerrick had taken his pint of stout with him ......."

" Suddenly , I saw something gleam in Mick's hand - it was Jerrick's pint of stout being carefully withdrawn from its resting place ; he brought it back safely , turned towards me and , bowing gravely , raised it to his lips . I saw it tilt slowly and thought of its previous owners care for its safe transport . I judged that a third of it had gone when it was again lowered . Then it was raised and lowered a few times until finally it was empty , and raised for my inspection !

Gently , it was replaced on the flat stone and the 'operation' was complete ; although taking no active part in the 'operation' , I must get credit for not jeopardising it , for the struggle I had to make to smother laughter was indeed a hard one . We resumed our positions and waited , and soon we heard the noise of the departing British lorries . Then my uncle spoke - " They are going up Ard a' Bhona , Jerrick , I think we can adjourn . " " All right , Dan , wait 'till I get my pint . " A clink of glass on stone and then - " H'anam an Diol , Farmer , 'tis empty ! "

" You must have spilled it , Jerrick . " " No , no , I put it down on that stone there and there was not a drop spilled out of it . Someone must have drank it - it bate the devil . Or who could do that ? " A voice from the other side of the fence answered him : " Another ould soldier ! "

When British forces raided the homes of our people they naturally looked for some indication as to where the peoples' sympathies lay ; in many houses , prior to 1916 , a large picture of Robert Emmet hung on the wall on one side of the fireplace and was sometimes balanced , symmetrically , by a picture of Daniel O'Connell on the other side . A very poor balance it was , in my opinion . After 1916 , however , equilibrium was restored , for a picture of the executed leaders was substituted for that of the politician ....... "


By Frank Doherty .

First published in ' New Hibernia ' magazine , May 1987 , pages 7 , 8 and 9 .
Re-produced here in 11 parts .
(2 of 11.)

Maurice Oldfield was a regular visitor to 'The Highwayman Lounge Bar' in Comber , County Down , and to Balloo House , a pub/restaurant several miles away at Killinchey , where his favourite drink was vodka and tomato juice , which he refused to call a 'Bloody Mary' . Maurice was still 'flashing' when two uniformed RUC men from 'Golf' Division walked into the toilets and arrested him , bringing an end not only to the career of the Ulster Security Co-ordinator (sic) but to an era in Irish history .

For 'Sir' Maurice Oldfield was not just a retired Secret Intelligence Service Chief (MI6) turned Mrs Thatcher's 'special crusader against the IRA ' , he was without doubt the most influential Briton in Ireland since 1971 . Oldfield's association with 'John Bull's other island' began in 1969 after British troops were put onto the streets by Harold Wilson . Oldfield was then Deputy Chief of MI6 in name , but in reality was the man who ran the spy service .......