IRELAND , JANUARY 15th , 1920 : ELECTIONS .
13 months after the landslide 1918 General Election results for the then 13-years-young Sinn Fein party , the British and pro-British elements in the country were still 'sore' about the outcome ; it was in that same year (1918) that the 'Military Services Bill' (Conscription) was 'introduced' in Ireland by Westminster (on April 16th) .
The Sinn Fein organisation was declared by the British to be " illegal " , as was the 'Irish Volunteers' and the 'Gaelic League' (all 'outlawed' on the 3rd July , 1918) . Conscription had been law in what Westminster referred to as "the United Kingdom" since 1916 , but 'The Great War' was going badly for the Brits and they needed more 'front-line fodder' ...
... so they looked to Ireland .......
WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :
war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.
By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.
" 'Roisin Dubh' ; 'the Old Woman' ; the 'Aislingi' : Visions . Of an Ireland free from outside interference . Padraig Pearse had that 'Vision' , as did Tom Clarke . So , too , did Roger Casement and Jim Daly ....... "
" Roger Casement , who returned a 'Knights Insignia' , and Jim Daly of the Connaught Rangers who removed his tunic so that the bullets of the British firing-party might not pierce his body through a British uniform had that same 'Vision' . It thrills one to think that such men belong to Ireland ; their bodies were destroyed in foreign lands but their indestructible spirit came home to live for ever in the hearts of their race .
There still live among us some of those who described Padraig Pearse and his comrades as " visionaries , " " dreamers ," " rainbow-chasers , " etc ; that type deserve no credit for their descriptive efforts , though they were literally correct . They forget that the vision precedes the reality - their own vision was one which was very remote from the Aisling ; it was that of an ever-increasing bank account , to be added to regardless of the humiliating slavery which bound their country , and their people . " Stability " was one of their favourite catchwords - to gather-up the goods of the world and live the lives of contented serfs , to fawn on their oppressors and to decry the actions of those who would break their chains , was its meaning for them . They called Padraig Pearse " ...a fool ....." , but he had anticipated them -
- " A fool that in all his day hath done never a prudent thing ,
Never had counted the cost , nor reckoned if another reaped
the fruit of his mighty sowing , content to scatter the seed . "
The Ireland which Padraig Pearse envisaged has not yet been realised ....... "
THE IRA ATTITUDE TO ELECTIONS .......
First published in 'AP/RN' , September 5th , 1981 .
Re-published here in 5 parts .
[5 of 5] .
" There is room for republicans to examine if the struggle for independence can be improved by an intervention in the electoral process in order to show clearly that people support radical republicanism and resistance to the British presence more than they support any other (sic) collaborationist tendency .
There is fundamentally a need for Irish Republicans to bring about conditions whereby the Irish people may seize political and economic control of their own destinies ; whether this can be assisted by an intervention in the electoral process should be the basis for discussion within republican circles . What should not be the basis for discussion is whether this intervention means a run-down of the armed struggle : it patently does not . ('1169...' comment - should the Provos re-commence their armed struggle , it will only be to secure a better deal in Stormont for themselves , and/or to ensure that no other armed organisation will challenge the British militarily in the occupied Six Counties . Such is the 'price' of Provo acceptance by the 'Establishment'.)
We must fight on many fronts and the armed struggle has been historically and contemporarily shown to be the most important . It must be coupled , of course , with political and economic resistance . "
[END of ' THE IRA ATTITUDE TO ELECTIONS .......'].
(Tomorrow - ' Communication from BOBBY SANDS , Long Kesh H-Blocks , early December 1978 .)