'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......
.......Ireland , 1922 - the Free State 'Minister for Home Affairs' , Kevin O'Higgins , had agreed with his Free State Cabinet colleagues that four IRA prisoners - Rory O'Connor , Liam Mellows , Richard Barrett and Joe McKelvey - should be executed immediately . O'Higgins had a troubled mind because of that decision .......
At that Free State Cabinet meeting , which condemned the four IRA prisoners to death , Kevin O'Higgins interrupted proceedings and asked - " Is there no other way ...? " And well he may have felt guilty ; O'Higgins was the 'best man' at Rory O'Connor's wedding ...
At 5 AM on the morning of December 8th , 1922 , one of the men soon to be shot by the Staters , Liam Mellows , sat in his cell and wrote his last letter :
Mountjoy Prison , Dublin . December 8th 1922 , 5 AM.
My Dear Mother ,
The time is short and much I would like to say must go unsaid but you will understand in such moments heart speaks to heart . At 3.30 AM this morning , we (Dick Barrett , Rory O'Connor , Joe McKelvey and I) were informed that we were to be executed as a reprisal .
Welcome be the will of God , for Irelad is in His keeping despite foreign monarchs and treaties . Though unworthy of the greatest human honour that can be paid an Irishman or woman , I go to join Tone and Emmet , the Fenians , Tom Clarke , Connolly , Pearse , Kevin Barry and Childers . My last thoughts will be on God , and Ireland , and on you .
You must not grieve , Mother Darling . Once before you thought you had given me to Ireland . The reality has now come . You will bear this as you have borne all the afflictions the cause of Ireland brought you - nobly and bravely . It is a sore trial for you , but that great courageous soul of yours will rejoice for I die for the truth ; life is only for a little while , and we shall be returned hereafter .......
WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :
war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.
By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.
" Looking back on the Truce with the British in July 1921 , one regrets that it ever came about . For it was but the prelude to the Civil War in which we lost the best of our men , on both sides . That the Truce was brought about for that very motive I have no doubt . That the Civil War happened as a sequel to the Truce no one can deny , not even the 'wise men' - the 'statesmen and politicians' . I heard a prophecy made on May eve , 1921 , by a member of the IRA Flying Column , as we sat on a big stone near Paddy Sheehan's house at Inchamore , Ballyvourney : he foretold the coming of the Truce , the return of the politician and a civil war .
We welcomed the Truce for its immediate benefits ; it eased the strain on our people , especially on parents and old people who waited nightly for the loud knock at the door , that forerunner perhaps of murder . Now they could sleep soundly , happy in the knowledge that their children were safe with them also . It was a great joy to us to return home to our people and stay with them , not for a hurried and fearful half-hour , but indefinitely . I well remember the first evening at home , the joy of my mother , father and sisters , and the neighbours who rushed in to welcome us back .
For a few days we forgot everything in the delights of home ; then a dispatch came summoning my brother , our IRA Commandant , to an IRA Brigade meeting in Cork City . To get there , we had to travel through areas held by the British ; however , the 'Truce' was active....... "
TINKER , TAILOR , HIGH RISK SPY .......
By Frank Doherty .
First published in ' New Hibernia ' magazine , May 1987 , pages 7 , 8 and 9 .
Re-produced here in 11 parts .
(5 of 11.)
Since he first came to the public eye in 1979 on his appointment by Mrs. Margaret Thatcher as 'Northern Ireland (sic) Security Co-ordinator ' , Maurice Oldfield had been surrounded by myths , almost all projected by himself ! In the British media he was represented as a dedicated bureaucrat , superbly efficient , apolitical ; the epitome of the 'noble spy' .
The reality is that 'Sir' Maurice Oldfield was a drunken old pervert , ruthless and vicious , who used his position as the man who knew where everybody's 'skeletons' were buried to manipulate people in much the way J Edgar Hoover used his job as FBI head to spy on generations of American politicians and keep himself in power . Oldfield was frequently drunk , as he was when arrested in Comber by the RUC.
He had been a heavy drinker since his days as a spy in the Middle East during the War ; he was an advocate of torture or " robust methods " as he preferred to call it , and of " terminating people with extreme prejudice " , as the British Secret Service calls assassination.......