Friday, November 26, 2004

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

....... one of the most prominent (pro-British) Unionists opposed to the Sinn Fein organisation was 'Lord' Edward Carson of Duncairn - a Dublin man , born in 1854 , and a barrister by trade . He rose quickly through the ranks of the 'Establishment' ; at 62 years of age he was appointed ' First Lord of the Admiralty '- but a bigger 'prize' was offered to him , if he wanted it .......

Westminster offered him the 'Premiership' of the new Six County 'State' - but he refused , and retired from public life in 1921 , at 67 years of age . But I digress (again !) - as well as hopefully giving the Unionists in Ireland an 'edge' , the British were convinced that the new 'Proportional Representation' (PR) system of voting would prove too complicated for the 'uneducated Irish' , who would unintentionally spoil their votes : but that did'nt happen .

Less than two-and-a-half per cent of votes were spoiled ; the Sinn Fein organisation was expected to attempt to disrupt the January 15th 1920 elections in protest over the new PR system - but they did'nt . The 'Daily Mail' newspaper of the time stated - " That Sinn Fein , instead of opposing a change , declaredly designed to cripple its power , should willingly help in its development , is more than remarkable ... " The reason was 'education' ; Sinn Fein sent out teams of election workers who themselves had been instructed in the new PR system , to pass that information on - and it worked .

That same newspaper (the 'Daily Mail') also noted that the British refused to publicise the workings of the new PR voting system , in the expectation that 'Paddy' would not vote or , if he/she attempted to , would do so wrongly - " Incredible as it may seem , not a single penny could be obtained for the purpose of explaining the system to voters ... "

But 'Paddy' was one step ahead .......


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 .
(17 of 18).

" There were several reasons given by our comrades for going on hunger-strike ; one was because we had no choice and no other means of securing a principled solution to the four-year protest . Another , and of fundamental importance , was to advance the Irish people's right to liberty . We believe that the age-old struggle for Irish self-determination and freedom has been immeasurably advanced by this hunger-strike and therefore we claim a massive political victory .

The hunger-strikers , by their selflessness , have politicised a very substantial section of the Irish nation and exposed the shallow , unprincipled nature of the Irish partitionist bloc . Our comrades have lit with their very lives an eternal beacon which will inspire this nation and people to rise and crush oppression forever .

The Irish nation can be proud that it produced such a quality of manhood ....... "


By Derek Dunne .
First published in 'Magill' magazine , October 1985 , pages 9,10 and 11.
Re-published here in 13 parts.
(1 of 13).

In recent weeks , the American Senate have had hearings relating to a proposed extradition treaty between Britain and the U. S. Dominic McGlinchey , extradited from the Republic (ie the Free State) eighteen months ago is appealing his conviction for murder . Two months ago , John Quinn was freed by a London court following extradition from Dublin last March .

Very soon , even more controversial cases are likely to come before the courts - the recent case of John Patrick Quinn and the apparent bungling of the British police is bound to become an issue in these hearings . This is especially so in view of the harder political line Chief Justices and Attorneys General have been taking in the last few years .

Robert Russell and Brendan Burns are currently in Portlaoise Prison ; between them , they have served three years in jail - neither has been charged with any offence in this jurisdiction nor will they be : they are awaiting extradition to the six counties . Both have been extradited by the District Court and both are looking for orders under Section 50 of the Extradition Act 1965 , quashing their extraditions .

" Political offences " , or " offences connected with political offences " , were always exempt from extradition until the historic Supreme Court judgement in 1982 which saw the handing over of Dominic McGlinchey to the RUC .......