Wednesday, December 15, 2004

THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......

....... the Boundary Commission was to consist of three members - one from each Administration ; Dublin , Stormont and Westminster .......

The Westminster representative was to be the Chairperson of the Boundary Commission and , because of this and its circumscribed ' terms of reference ' it was a 'toothless' body but , even so , the Unionists were incensed - the (pro-British) Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig (a 'landowner' and shareholder in the family whiskey business , ' Dunvilles Distillery ') wrote to the British Prime Minister , Lloyd George , on 14th December 1921 , completely rejecting any notion of a Boundary Commission as said body might judge that two of the Six partitioned Counties , Fermanagh and Tyrone " ... might be lost to the North.." due to a strong 'headcount' of Republicans / Nationalists in those two counties .

Lloyd George defended the Boundary Commission , saying - " There is no doubt , certainly since the Act of 1920 [ ie the so-called 'Government of Ireland Act' - two 'Home Rule Parliaments' for Ireland] that the majority of the people of the two counties prefer being with their Southern neighbours to being in the Northern parliament . Take it either by constituency or by poor law union or , if you like , by counting heads , and you will find that the majority in these two counties prefer to be with their Southern neighbours .

If Ulster (sic) is to remain a separate community , you can only by means of coercion keep them there and , although I am against the coercion of Ulster , (sic) I do not believe in Ulster (sic) coercing other units . "

That set 'the cat among the pigeons' ; the Unionist leadership were outraged at Lloyd Georges' comments , no doubt seeing them as Westminster preparing to 'wash its hands' of the 'troublesome Irish' or at least sending a signal (to the Free Staters) that it was of a mind to do so : the brother of the Stormont 'Prime Minister' was first with a reply to that statement by Lloyd George -

- and , in his reply , he spoke of a " matter of life and death " and challenged the authority of Westminster to do as it apparently intended to do .......



First published in 'IRIS' Magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .
In April 1981, 1,955 plastic bullets were fired - a rate of one every 20 minutes over the month . This was more than in the whole of 1980 .
Plastic bullets do not arouse the indignation that normal bullets excite . Over 7,000 have been fired since the death of Bobby Sands (ie May 1981 - November 1981) .
The intent of the British is that the mass protests can be shot off the streets without international opinion responding , as it would to news of large numbers of civilians being shot-up with buck shot or live rounds in , for example , South Africa .

Cases since April 1981 ; ' * ' denotes plastic bullet death .
Re-published here in 11 parts .
(4 of 11).

May 15th , 1981 . Paul Lavelle , 15 years of age , Ardoyne , Belfast . Shot at point-blank range in the head after being dragged up a side street by British soldiers . Serious head injuries .

May 15th , 1981 . Joseph Mullan , 11 years of age , Ballymurphy , Belfast . Shot from rear of British armoured car .

May 15th , 1981 . Damien McKenna , 19 years of age , Beechmount , Belfast . Shot by British soldier , received ten stitches in right ear . No riot was going on in the area .

May 17th , 1981 . Sarah Wildy , grandmother , St. James , Belfast . Shot by British soldier from armoured car . Severe bruising to stomach .

May 19th , 1981 . Kevin McLoughlin , 13 years of age , Whiterock , Belfast . Shot from British armoured car . Suffered severe head injuries . Kevin was sitting on a fence near his home when shot .

May 19th , 1981 * . Carol-Ann Kelly , 12 years of age , Twinbrook , Belfast . Shot by British soldiers from rear of jeeps . Carol-Ann was knocked unconscious by the plastic bullet . The British Army delayed the arrival of an ambulance for fifteen minutes ; due to the resultant loss of blood Carol-Ann died three days later in hospital . She was shot while carrying messages home for her mother . A neighbour , Kathleen Robinson , said - " This young child was shot for absolutely no reason . There was no trouble in the area at the time . "



Irish-Americans have long had complex and contradictory relations with Ireland and the 'Irish Question' . On Saint Patrick's Day , all the ambiguities are apparent .
This year (ie 1987) , on Saint Patrick's Day , the latest book by Irish writer , Jack Holland was published in New York , exploring the tangled web of links between Irish-Americans and the Irish in Ireland , the IRA and the Irish government .

' The American Connection ' describes the activities of leading Irish-American politicians , of romanticising writers and of gun-runners .
In this edited extract , the author tells how Noraid was set up and how it has resisted pressures to disclose all the sources and uses of its funds .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1987 .
Re-published here in 31 parts .
(1 of 31).

The only hint of vanity about Michael Flannery is the rather incongruous slick of sandy hair that curls above his forehead . He is set very much in the mould of a Catholic stoic . He neither drinks nor smokes , and he attends mass every morning at eight in his local church in Jackson Heights , Queens , in New York .

A former life-insurance salesman , Michael Flannery goes about his business in a quiet and undemonstrative way ; when ideological troubles shook James Heaney's organisation , the 'American Congress for Irish Freedom ' in the late 1960's , Flannery left to form his own organisation , the ' Irish Action Committee ' . Like many similar Irish-American organisations preceding it , this committee set out to raise support for the increasingly embattled Irish nationalists .

In late 1969 , both factions of the IRA wanted to win support in America ; it was the leaders of the Provisional wing which made the greatest inroads , however , and utilised the potential energy beginning to emerge among Irish Americans anxious and angry at the course of events . In late 1969 and early 1970 two leading IRA men came to America - they had two aims : to meet with influential Irish Americans who were sympathetic to the Cause and who would help raise money for it , and to re-activate the arms network that had atrophied since the 1950's . Daithi O'Conaill and Joe Cahill were veterans of the IRA's struggle ; Cahill , a Belfast man , was the older , with an IRA record going back to the late 1930's .......