Friday, December 17, 2004

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

....... the (pro-British) Unionists in the Six Occupied North-Eastern Counties of Ireland were threatening all manner of retribution on Westminster if the Boundary Commission ( Article 12 of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender') was established as agreed in that 'Treaty' .......

On 2nd February 1922 , a meeting was held between Michael Collins and the Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig . Voices were raised over the issue / structure / terms of reference of the Boundary Commission , and the meeting ended abruptly over the matter . However , 'spin' and 'PR' (media manipulation) was immediately employed by both sides -

- at a press conference following that failed meeting , 'Sir' James Craig (Stormont 'PM') claimed that the British Prime Minister , Lloyd George , had assured him that the Boundary Commission " ... would deal only with minor rectifications of the boundary ... " ; in effect , that the Boundary Commission was a useless 'talking-shop' which had only been set-up to help the Free Staters to 'sell' the 'Six County idea' to other Free Staters .

However - Michael Collins claimed that he had left that same meeting with a promise , from the Brits , " ... of almost half of Northern Ireland (sic) including the counties of Fermanagh and Tyrone , large parts of Antrim and Down , Derry City , Enniskillen and Newry . " !

Obviously , both men could not have been right ; it is straightforward to state that the Boundary Commission was a 'sweetener' , if you like , to be used by both sides to convince their respective 'flock' that the Brits were really on their side .......



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 .
(6 of 11).

May 23rd , 1981 . Paul Fitzsimmons , 15 years of age , New Lodge , Belfast . Shot by RUC . Paul was hit on his eye and requires extensive skin grafts .

May 24th , 1981 . Thomas Torney , 17 years of age , Ballymurphy , Belfast . Shot by British soldiers . Thomas suffered a fractured left arm , bruising to his groin , and a torn muscle in the same area .

May 30th , 1981 . Sean Tumelty , 26 years of age , Divis Flats , Belfast . Shot at point-blank range by British soldiers . Sean was first shot in the stomach following which he was dragged into an alley-way and shot point-blank in the head . Sean is paralysed down his right side .

June 4th , 1981 . Desmond Linden , 50 years of age , Divis Flats , Belfast . Shot at point-blank range by British soldiers . He was struck just below his left ribs while standing outside his own flat . While on the ground he was kicked repeatedly . The ambulance which collected him was detained on two occasions by British troops leading to a complaint being lodged by the ambulance-mens trade union .



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 .
(3 of 31).

The 'Irish Action Committee' already existed and could form the basis of the kind of organisation which Daithi O Conaill had in mind . O Conaill foresaw that as the IRA grew and became more active , it would lose more of its Volunteers to jail ; since traditionally the IRA supported the families of jailed IRA men , this would put a great financial strain on the organisation .

Irish-American money would help alleviate that strain . As they discussed the nature of the proposed organisation , it was decided that the name of the 'Irish Action Committee' would have to be changed . Michael Flannery was anxious that there be no connotations of violence associated with it - that is , it should be recognised as a benevolent organisation . They considered calling it " The Dependents Fund " , but this was rejected as too vague .

Finally they chose ' The Irish Northern Aid Committee ' (INAC) - or NORAID , as it has become popularly known . The founding members were Michael Flannery and two other old IRA men of that generation : Jack McGowan and Jack McCarthy . McGowan had fought in the IRA's Clare Brigade fifty years before , while McCarthy had been a member of the Cork Brigade . Like Michael Flannery , they had come to America in the 1920's after the Irish Republican cause suffered defeat in the Civil War .

And also like Michael Flannery , both men were active in the Irish-American community , with wide contacts in its various organisations and in the labour movement .......