Monday, October 18, 2004

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

....... one of those who escaped from the battle at the Widow McCormicks house at Ballingarry , County Tipperary , on July 29th , 1848 , James Stephens , had made his way to Paris , France , but eventually returned to Ireland . In Dublin , on Saint Patricks Day (17th March) in 1858 , he helped to found the 'Irish Republican Brotherhood ' (IRB).......

James Stephens had learned of a better way in which to organise a secret society - his 'stay' in France had been spent studying the structures of anti-government organisations there , and the IRB (Ireland) and the Fenian Brotherhood (America) were established to consist of 'closed circles' , in which only one member was allowed to know only one other member of any other 'circle' , and all 'business' was to be conducted in public venues ie bars , restaurants , sporting events etc , instead of holding same , as had been done , in a room in an hotel or in a members house .

The new system worked - only months after its inception (ie towards the end of 1858) a young man named Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa , who worked for the Irish Republican Brotherhood , was caught in Cork with three or four other men , whom the RIC alleged were acting suspicious ; it was actually a 'swearing-in' ceremony which the RIC had discovered but , due to their lack of information (their informers knew nothing about it) the RIC let the men go , believing , as they were told by O'Donovan Rossa , that the group were discussing the possible establishment of a political grouping , to be called ' The Phoenix Society' !

However - the failed 'Young Ireland' Rising of 1848 , which began on July 29th that year , was dismissed by the British as " ...a farce.." - but it was that which came from the attempted Rising that was to prove the British wrong in that description .......



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

AISLINGI .......

"....... arriving in London on Active Service for the Irish Republican Brotherhood , Isle-of-Wight -born Tom Clarke , in his mid-twenties , was arrested by the British and sentenced to penal servitude for life ......."

" For 15 years and nine months , in the prisons of Chatham and Portland , Tom Clarke endured imprisonment without flinching ; 15 years and nine months of an incessant attempt , by the British , to deprive him of his life or reason . This torture did not cease with daylight and recommence on the following day ; it was maintained during the hours of darkness when even the vilest criminal was entitled to sleep and rest . But Tom Clarke and his comrades got neither sleep nor rest .

Cunning devices for producing continuous disturbing sounds were erected over their cells - these are described in his book 'Glimpses of an Irish Felon's Prison Life' . The relentless brutality at length drove two of his comrades , Whitehead and Gallagher , hopelessly insane . With John Daly , they were released in 1896 ; Daly had been arrested a year after Tom Clarke , and had hitherto shared the same prisons with him ; though kept apart , they had managed to communicate with each other now and again . The release of his friend was a sore loss to Tom Clarke who , for a further two years , had to endure alone an even more intensified form of torture .

Released in 1898 , he spent a short time in Limerick with his friend John Daly before returning to America where , in 1901 , he married Kathleen Daly , John Daly's daughter . With Devoy , he founded the 'Gaelic American' newspaper and , as its Assistant Editor , worked in New York until 1907 . Then he returned to Ireland and opened a newspaper shop at Parnell Street , Dublin .

It quickly became the meeting-place for Padraig Pearse and all that valiant company of a new generation who had also seen the Aisling ....... "


First published in 'AP/RN' , September 5th , 1981 .
Re-published here in 5 parts .
(3 of 5).

" Irish Republicans have periodically contested elections in both six and twenty-six county states ; in 1917 , 1918 and 1919 , before partition , and from then until the 1950's and in 1964 , republicans contested elections on an abstentionist ticket . There is no reason now , where practical , as it appears in West Belfast , that republicans should not oppose nationalist collaboration .

If Sinn Fein contests this election the IRA will obviously whole-heartedly support their decision . Sinn Fein spokespersons and prisoners' supporters have demanded Gerry Fitt's resignation over the hunger-strike when it was obvious that Fitt was totally out of step with those whom he purported to represent .

There is an obvious need to give the people of West Belfast the opportunity of showing whether they support the politics of Gerry Fitt , the benign unionism of the SDLP or a republican candidate ..."