Monday, November 15, 2004

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

....... on 21st January , 1919 (the same day that the 32-County Dail Eireann met for the first time) , two RIC men were shot dead in an 'unauthorised' IRA attack in Soloheadbeg in County Tipperary ; the IRA Active Service Unit involved was led by Dan Breen and Sean Treacy - Breen was called in front of the leadership to explain his actions .......

Dan Breen recalled that meeting , and said that he explained to the leadership that the target that day was the cartload of gelignite , not the RIC men who were guarding it . He later told his comrades -

- " If we were to have waited for orders from Headquarters or Dail Eireann , nothing would ever have happened . We had had enough of being pushed around and getting our men imprisoned while we remained inactive . It was high time that we did a bit of the pushing . We considered that this business of getting in and out of jail was leading us nowhere . "

The response to the shooting of the two RIC men was mixed - Michael Collins stated - " The sooner fighting is forced and a general state of disorder created throughout the country , the better it will be for the country . Ireland is likely to get more out of a general state of disorder than from a continuance of the situation as it now stands . "

Dan Breen himself wrote - " The clergy , the public and the press had unanimously condemned our action . At this time , scarce a word would be heard in our defence . Our former friends shunned us . Even from the Irish Volunteers , who were now known as the Irish Republican Army , we got no support . " ('1169 ...' comment - this scribbler , for one , is genuinely puzzled as to why anyone would take that attitude with a person who had 'had a go' at the enemy ; either in those days [ie 1919] or today ; same enemy , same issue , and the same way of dealing with it ...)

At that particular moment , had the Brits exploited the situation , ie 'played it smart' , they could have used those divisions within Irish Republicanism to their own advantage - but did they ? .......


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 .
(8 of 18).

" On August 20th , 1981 , Owen Carron was elected (to fill Bobby Sands' seat) with an increased majority as proxy political prisoner MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone . Even so , the British premier , Margaret Thatcher , again spurned this mandate for we political prisoners and with encouragement from Dr. Garret Fitzgerald (Free State 'Taoiseach') she went further , by refusing even to meet with Owen Carron MP to discuss the continuing spiral , and gruesome spectre , of death .

On August 20th , 1981 , Micky Devine was the tenth hunger-striker to die ; mounting pressure and cleric-inspired demoralisation led to further intervention and , at present , five hunger-strikers have been taken off their fast . We accept that it is almost a physical and pyschological impossibility to recommence hunger-strike after intervention ; also , two men ended their fast to avoid a premature , non- hunger-striking death . "


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 .
(11 of 13).

Patrick McIntyre is on the run ; we meet in a nondescript suburban room . McIntyre's physical appearance has not altered since the Donegal court hearings - maybe he is a little less fidgety , but he speaks in a soft voice which frequently quivers . The sentiments are resolute .

He was sleeping when the gardai came to the house in south Donegal , he says : " I gave the surname of the people who own the house but they did'nt believe me . They said I was Patrick McIntyre . "

Yet the evidence given by gardai in court suggested that the prisoner was not positively identified until solicitor John Murray named him in Ballyshannon garda station . It was also stated that the detectives went to Kilcar after a 'tip-off' that an armed man or men had been seen in the area . It appears the gardai were not aware they would find Patrick McIntyre in the house ...

It has not been possible to establish whether they knew him by sight ; they seem to have 'struck lucky' - and then got the procedure wrong .......