Thursday, November 04, 2004

IRELAND , JANUARY 15th , 1920 : ELECTIONS .......

....... in September 1914 , the 'Irish Volunteers' split - the majority (about 160,000 men) agreed with their leader John Redmond that they should assist the Brits in the war with Germany , while about 12,000 men dis-agreed and left with Eoin MacNeill and other figures in the leadership .......

The British had their hands full with 'World War One' and , in an unusually astute decision , decided to turn a blind eye to the marches and parades being carried out by those that had left with Eoin MacNeill , a group now known as the 'Irish Volunteers / Sinn Fein Volunteers' ; as the then British Chief Secretary for Ireland , Augustine Birrell , put it -

- " To proclaim the Irish Volunteers as an illegal body and put them down by force wherever they appear would , in my opinion , be a reckless and foolish act and would promote disloyalty to a prodigious extent . " Damned if they do (because the population would resent them even more for doing so) and damned if they did'nt (as it gave the Rebels 'breathing space') . Even when the Brits are playing it 'smart' , they are'nt !

But Westminster did attempt to use the talk , the threat and the issue of conscription to their own advantage - they claimed that was the reason why the 1918 General Election returned the results it did ie 'Conscription Act' introduced in April 1918 , General Election held in December 1918 . That 1918 Election was the first 'General Election' in the 'United Kingdom' since 1910 , and new 'elements' had been added - the electoral register , for instance , was three times larger than it had been in 1910 , and included , for the first time , women over thirty and all men over twenty-one .

The Sinn Fein victory was overwhelming ; nearly three-quarters of all the Irish seats (in Westminster) were now in Nationalist / Republican hands .......


Why We Ended The Hunger-Strike .
The full text of the H-Block Blanket Men's statement announcing the end of the 1981 Hunger-Strike .

First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2, November 1981 , pages 23 , 24 , 25 and 26 .
Re-published here in 18 parts .
(1 of 18).

" We , the protesting Republican prisoners in the H-Blocks , being faced with the reality of sustained family intervention , are forced by this circumstance , over which we have little control at the moment , to end the hunger-strike .

After four years of continual protest , and after the failure of the Cardinal O'Fiaich / Humphrey Atkins talks , and having exhausted all other means of protest to bring about a settlement , we embarked on hunger-strike on October 27th , 1980 .

That hunger-strike ended on December 18th , 1980 , when the British Government intimated to the hunger-strikers that they would implement a workable and just solution which was forwarded to the hunger-strikers on 18th December 1980 .

In the course of the immediate post - hunger-strike period it became increasingly clear that the British Government had reneged on their commitment to implement that solution and so we were back in a pre- hunger-strike predicament and thus forced to go back on hunger-strike ....... "


Donegal IRA man , Patrick McIntyre - wanted by the RUC and by Gardai - was released by the High Court last month when his lawyers convinced the Court that he was not properly arrested and held by the Gardai . Tommie Gorman details McIntyre's story of two escapes and meets him 'on the run' .
From ' Magill ' magazine , June 1987 , pages 24 , 25 , 26 , 28 and 29 .
Re-produced here in 13 parts .
(4 of 13).

Re-captured within two days after the September 1983 jail-break , Patrick McIntyre had to wait three years and three months to get a second chance ; with less than six months of his original sentence left , he was due three days ' rehabilitation parole ' as Christmas 1986 approached . The prison authorities opposed his release because the trial of the Maze escapers was pending , but McIntyre defeated their objections before the courts .

The Provisionals approved his absconding - they believed the recently introduced ' rehabilitation ' gimmick was geared to cause divisions in their structures within the prisons . By December 20th , 1986 , the RUC were looking for him but he was over the border , in Donegal , getting his hair timted !

On the twisty main road between Killybegs and Kilcar , in West Donegal , there is a white flat-roofed dwelling in the townland of Cashlings ; some Gardai consider it ' a safe house ' . Raymond 'The Rooster' McLaughlin , a well-known IRA activist , was suspected of stopping off there not long before he drowned , accidentally , in a pool , in County Clare , in 1985 . Shortly after eight o'clock on the morning of 6th January 1987 , Aiden Murray and other armed Detectives raided the house .......