Thursday, December 23, 2004

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

....... a row had broken-out between the Irish and British negotiating teams who were attempting to put together the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender' - the disagreement was over the form of words to be used in an 'Oath of Allegiance' which the Brits had demanded that the Irish should take . Both sides submitted proposals , but this led to further rows ; eventually , one of those on the Irish side , Gavan Duffy , could take no more .......

Gavan Duffy stood up at the negotiating table and stated - " Our difficulty is to come into the Empire , looking at all that has happened in the past . " With that , one of the Brits , Austen Chamberlain , is reported to have leapt to his feet and shouted " That ends it ! " ; negotiations closed down . That was around early/mid October 1921 - 'feelers' were put out by both camps , and the talking started again , and continued until Monday 5th December 1921 when the then British Prime Minister , Lloyd George , announced to the Irish side that he had written two letters , one of which would now be sent to his people in Ireland ; one letter told of a peaceful outcome to the negotiations , the other told of a breakdown in the negotiations - Lloyd George stated that if he sent the latter one " ... it is war ,
and war within three days . Which letter am I to send ? "

That 'War Letter' meeting took place on the afternoon of Monday 5th December 1921 ; at around 7pm that same evening , the Irish team left that Downing Street meeting to discuss the matter between themselves and returned to Downing Street later that night - at ten minutes past two on the morning of Tuesday 6th December 1921 , Michael Collins and his team accepted 'Dominion status' and an Oath which gave " allegiance " to the Irish Free State and " fidelity " to the British Crown - the Treaty was signed . Within six months a Civil War was raging in Ireland , between the British-supported Free Staters and the Irish Republicans who did not accept that 'Treaty' . And , today , 83 years after that signing , the struggle continues ...

However - that was the 1921 Treaty of Surrender - included in which , under Article 12 , was an 'agreement' to establish a Boundary Commission .......



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 .
(10 of 11).

August 21st , 1981 . Martin O'Neill , 9 years of age , Ardoyne , Belfast . Shot by RUC at twenty-five yards range . Martin was struck in the face ; luckily , the plastic bullet only grazed him and he 'escaped' with a large graze and acute shock .

August 21st , 1981 . Dermot Gallagher , 11 years of age , Twinbrook , Belfast . Shot by British soldier ; Dermot was nowhere near a riot but was returning home from his local shop . His skull was fractured by the bullet .

August 21st , 1981 . Moya Quinn , 15 years of age , from Dermott Hill , Belfast . Shot by RUC ; Moya was badly bruised about the neck .

August 28th , 1981 . Paul Corr , 12 years of age , Beechmount , Belfast . Shot by British Royal Marine Commandos from a passing open-back landrover . The downward-travelling plastic bullet hit Paul on the side of his nose tearing part of it off and carried on down to the roof of his mouth , shattering and ripping out his pallet and driving his teeth down into his mouth . Paul was coming home from his local sweet shop when shot . There was no riot going on in the area .

Most of these people , young and old , were shot in non-riot situations ; many more are hit and receive treatment secretly because of fear of harassment . Thousands survive with lesser but painful injuries - thousands more are lucky enough not to be hit . Many British soldiers and RUC men 'doctor' their plastic bullets by inserting razor blades , jagged bottle tops and slivers of glass .

Most people are shot with these terrible weapons in a casual manner - no British soldier or RUC man has ever been charged for misuse of these weapons .......



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 .
(7 of 31).

When NORAID registered with FARA initially it named the Northern Aid Committee , Belfast , as its principal . But as NORAID's activities in America increased throughout the early 1970's , the 'Justice and State Departments' adopted a more stringent attitude towards it , and stepped up their investigation of the Committee in order to demonstrate that it was in fact acting under the control of the IRA .

According to Michael Flannery , NORAID " spread like wildfire ... " in the first years of its existence . However , its initial effort to get money across to Ireland was marred by failure ; the first cheque , for $2,500 , was sent through a New York bank - it never arrived . NORAID claims the bank destroyed it because it was told the money was for " subversive purposes ... " .

The Committee collected clothes as well as money ; Aer Lingus transported the clothes - " They took tons of clothes for us , " according to Michael Flannery , " hundreds of blankets , baby clothing direct from the manufacturers . " But he explains that the Aer Lingus clothes shipments stopped after some of the garments were damaged because the airline had the cargo fumigated .