Friday, October 08, 2004

JULY 29th , 1848 : RIC , Firearms , Pikes - and Five Children .......

.......a 'War Council' was established by the 'Young Irelanders' in July 1848 ; then a 'Provisional Government' was set-up by the Irish Rebels .......

At a meeting in July 1848 at Ballinkeale , County Wexford , it was agreed that a 'Provisional Government of Ireland ' would be established , to operate from Kilkenny . The Young Irelanders 'War Council' sent its people out to all districts in the South of Ireland to organise any local resistance groups and to make a reconnaissance of enemy strength and movement .

But the timing was wrong - the blight that became known as 'The Great Famine' (sic) was on the land ; the potato disease first hit , that time, in 1845 and , by 1846 , every county on the island had been struck by it , with three-quarters of the potato crop destroyed . Typhus fever , diarrhoea , cholera and dysentery followed . It was in this atmosphere that the Irish Rebels were attempting to organise a military challenge against British mis-rule in Ireland .

Meanwhile , the RIC - 'the eyes and ears of Westminster' - had their informers at work against the 'Young Irelanders' .......



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

THE TRUCE.......

" .......the Republican Courts were run by the people , for the people , not like the old British 'justice' system with its 'pomp' and 'ceremony' ......."

" The British 'judge' used wear a wig and gown , which gave him a most sinister appearance ; other wigs and gowns in a pit underneath him , uniformed (British) 'policemen' who glared about , the 'prisoner' in the dock , the 'witness' box - all gave an impression of unreality and unkindness . The silence of the 'court' was the silence of fear , not respect .

We talked of the evening Mikeen , the 'hard man' of our village , had been tried by a 'special' court ; he had got drunk , assaulted a neighbour and threatened to blow up the neighbour's house with dynamite . He had assaulted the Republican police who had obtained a warrant for his arrest and , now , he was about to be tried but no judge was available . My brother Pat was asked to take the Office of judge , and agreed on condition that Mikeen would be satisfied with his appointment .

The prisoner expressed his entire willingness to be tried by a court with my brother as judge , remarking that he could now be sure of obtaining justice , so my brother Pat took his seat on the bench , for the first time . Public interest in the trial was great ; the court (Den Buckley's barn !) was crowded . Though the case appeared bad on paper , the 'world' (ie local people) knew that it had its extenuating circumstances , but the law had to take its course and the trial proceeded in the most formal manner , with the usual good order and silence being observed .

The "state" evidence had almost concluded and , in fact , the last witness - a Republican policeman - was giving evidence ; he was very precise and formal about the matter , perhaps too much so . Mikeen , old soldier that he was , took advantage of the favourable tide which seemed to be going in his direction - it was well known that himself and that particular IRA policeman did not see eye-to-eye ......."


Review of the book 'Survivors' , written by Uinseann MacEoin , and published by Argenta Publications , Dublin , 1980 .

First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 , page 117 .
Re-published here in 6 parts .
(3 of 6).

There is another group of recollections from the legendary Commanders of the Irish Republican Army during the Tan War and after ; there is Thomas O'Maoileoin (better known as Sean Forde) , Commandant General , IRA , who remained on the Army Council until 1938 . Apart from his fascinating account of military operations he notes how , in the 1930's , .....

... " ...with the right political organisation , we could sweep the land . Without a real revolution - a revolution of the mind - the wheel , I knew , would turn full circle again ..." . It did , of course . He ends with an uncompromising statement on the present -

- " I see no difference in the fight being waged against English domination of this country today , and the fight we fought in Westmeath in 1916 , and in East Limerick in 1920 and 1921 . As far as I am concerned , they are the same people at grips with the same enemy . " John Joe Sheehy , Commandant , Kerry No. 1 Brigade IRA , had much the same to say .......