" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. Ah well! Thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again next year!

Friday, September 03, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......the train transporting the " illegal " copies of 'The Kerryman' newspaper had been stopped and searched by the RIC and British soldiers - the RIC had been ordered by the Brits to move , by hand , a small mountain of coal , but no newspapers were found . The train was allowed to proceed .......

That same night , Tom Nolan's ('Kerryman' Editor) father , Dan , was in a pub in Tralee when he overheard a group of British soldiers laughing and joking about what they had ordered " the Paddy's " (ie the RIC) to do that day and how they were delighted that the " coalmen " had not found anything after moving the small mountain of coal ! (Actually , the British soldiers called the RIC their "ni**ers" , a reference to not ONLY the colour of the RIC after moving the coal).

Even back then , the Brits had no respect or time for their native allies ! However - the British 'Defence of The Realm Act' ('DORA') , which was a 'catch-all' 'law' used by Westminster to 'justify' and solidify its own hold on power , was used to suppress the 'An tOglach' Irish Republican newspaper .

The 'DORA' legislation was also to be used a few months later by the British politicians in Westminster against their own workers , who were to go out on strike over their demands for a shorter working week .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

RAIDS.

" By raids I mean the sudden descent of the British forces on the homes of the Irish people . It should be quite unnecessary to explain that our people had vast experience of these 'visits' , in our own time, and in every generation since the English first set foot in this country . The objective was always the same - the subjugation of our race .

The immediate objective of a localised raid generally varied with the times ; for instance , just prior to 1916 , the RIC would appear with a warrant to search a house for " seditious literature " - after 1916 , a strong force of RIC accompanied by the British military , would ransack suspected houses and lands for arms . Later on , Irish Volunteers would be arrested and imprisoned on charges of drilling and possession of arms .

Finally , for the two years before the 'Truce' of July 1921 , the object of a raid might mean anything , even torture and murder . So common did murder , brutal ill-treatment and destruction of property become , that the people would not have been surprised at any form of terrorism . In the midst of it all , the people saw the humour in any of these raids that did not have dire consequences for themselves or their neighbours .

Enough has been told of the tale of blood - let us look at the bright side ......."

(MORE LATER).


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
[6 of 6].

It is more important for a British Army Officer to use civilians to protect 'his men' than it is for him to use , or sacrifice , those men to protect civilians . Belfast has taught many lessons and this is one of the most startling of them .

As a sidelight on all this , it is becoming more and more clear that in a highly charged political situation neither police nor military catch their enemies by sleuthing or cleverness . Most of the damage they do to their enemies is through informers and agents who give information or create events which will compromise the opposing guerrilla army .

Again , it is the civilians who really do the job of the military or police for them ; but that is a story for another day ...

If living in Belfast these times does nothing else for you , at least it sets your interpretations upside down . Or right side up ...?

[END of 'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE .......'].
(Next - 'DEATH OF A BUTCHER' - from March 1983.)






Thursday, September 02, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......the 'Gaelic Press' , which printed the 'An tOglach' Irish Republican newspaper had , in 1916 , printed 'The Kerryman' newspaper , which had been declared an " illegal publication " by the Brits . One of the train drivers who transported the " illegal" 'The Kerryman' newspaper , a Mr. 'Bolger' O'Donoghue , told the following story re one such trip .......

'Bolger' was driving the train , as usual, when what he described as a " premonition " made him stop and unload the " illegal " newspapers at a small station just outside of Tralee . Having done so , the train carried on and , minutes later , as they steamed into Tralee Station , they were boarded by search parties from the British Army and the RIC .

The train driver , 'Bolger' O'Donoghue , and his helper (who were known on the trains as 'firemen') were ordered to unload the coal (under which the 'illegal' newspapers had been hidden) which they refused to do , so the British soldiers ordered the RIC to do it - which , reluctantly , they did . It was a dirty job which , once finished , yielded no result . Both search parties left the train , with the RIC men a bit the worst for wear !

The 'dumped' copies of 'The Kerryman' newspaper had by then been recovered and distributed in the usual fashion . The episode was raised in a local pub that same night .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

SHOOTINGS.......

" ....... Dannie Casey's brother , Jeremiah , had been shot dead by the British Auxiliaries , and Dannie was himself a prisoner in Macroom Castle ; he was under interrogation , and felt he would not leave the Castle alive ......."

" The questions circled like a point on a roulette ; all were based on the assumption that Dannie was a member of the IRA and that he had that morning been on duty on the hill . Dannie Casey replied that he had been on the hill on his own business , looking after his sheep . It was evident that the Auxies sought to weary him by incessant questioning until , through mental and physical exhaustion , he should capitulate . But they failed to shake him .

It is likely that , were it not for a diversion , Dannie would not have got off so easily ; a prisoner was brought in , a young man on whose farm an old rusty gun had been discovered . On him , like mad dogs, the Auxies now turned their fury . Peeping through a chink in a door , Dannie saw and heard most of the horror . The British 'authorities' announced another 'official' execution - it was a foul and midnight murder .

Dannie Casey was released on the following day . Just in time to attend his brother's funeral . "

[END of ' SHOOTINGS.....'].
(Tomorrow - 'RAIDS' .)


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(5 of 6).

One British Army military base in Belfast which had to be abandoned was surrounded on three sides by rows of houses and on the fourth by a cemetary . Thus , if anyone was rash enough to attack by , say, rocket fire , then a miscalculation would send the missile to civilian houses or the cemetary . In either case , 'bonus points' for the British Army !

If the rocket hit its target that was just too bad , but the risks to civilian lives could be stressed nevertheless . In time the base was abandoned because , in spite of the nearness of civilians (both alive and dead!) the aim of the attackers was being tried out too often with disastrous effect .

All this means that while the role of an army as a 'peacekeeping force' has to be questioned at the highest political level - is not a 'military peace-keeping force' a contradiction in terms ? - the role of an army as that of " protecting citizens " has to be questioned at ground level as well .......

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, September 01, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......the 'An tOglach' Irish Republican newspaper , founded in August 1918 , was printed by the 'Gaelic Press' in Dublin , which had a record of pro-Republican activity ; on the strength of its first issue alone , Westminster declared 'An tOglach' an 'illegal publication.......'

The 'Gaelic Press' operated out of premises in Probys Lane in Dublin and , two years earlier (ie in 1916) had come to the rescue of 'The Kerryman' newspaper , which had its printing press 'dismantled' by British soldiers - the (first) Editor of 'The Kerryman' newspaper , Tom Nolan , refused to let the Brits put him out of business and a deal was struck with the 'Gaelic Press' in Dublin .

For about two months , the 'illegal' newspaper 'The Kerryman' was printed , in secret , in Probys Lane and was transported to Tralee by sympathetic railwaymen who worked on the locomotives ; the newspaper was then sold over the counter of the Nolan family public house ('Bar') in Tralee !

A story is told by one of those train drivers , 'Bolger' O' Donoghue , about the time he was carrying the usual 'illicit' load of 'The Kerryman' newspaper from Dublin to Tralee .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

SHOOTINGS.......

"....... IRA Volunteer Dannie Casey was being held captive by the British Auxiliaries in the yard of his house - his younger brother , Jeremiah , was in the house , dying ; he had been shot three times by the Brits . Then an Auxie Officer came on the scene - a diversion to escape ...?"

" The Auxie Officer called away all his men , save one ; he was instructed to hold Dannie Casey a close prisoner until they returned . They marched away and , scarcely had they turned the corner of the house when the Auxie spoke - " Listen " , he said , " slip in and say good-bye to your brother . Promise me that you will not stay long . "

Amongst the ruins of humanity , the kindly deed of a good man shines brightly . It is a great pleasure to record it ; Dannie willingly gave his promise and saw his brother . He found him cheerful and only concerned for Dannie's safety . He lived to see his father and mother who had been away from home and who returned an hour later . Meanwhile Dannie had been taken to Macroom , to the Castle . The ordeal he had endured since morning had been a heavy one , and it did not end with the close of day .

It continued until after midnight , and even then his hopes of leaving Macroom Castle alive were indeed small - every now and then he was taken to a room where a number of British Auxies sat around a table . Each of them , in turn , asked a question to which he expected an immediate answer......."

(MORE LATER).


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(4 of 6).

This , it seems , is the way armies behave - using the civilian population , including children , as 'cover' ; it appears that one of the things a British Army Officer must see to is that he arrives back in Britain with precisely the same number of soldiers as he arrived in Ireland with .

The anger expressed by military Officers at the loss of men is not just anger at the fact that lives have been lost - which would be a matter of grief to anyone with any wit - it is also an expression of shame that the expected duty of an Officer to save 'his men' has been unfulfilled . He will therefore do a lot to make sure that 'his men' are not unnecessarily endangered .

Protective devices are welcome and in a city like Belfast quite easy to come by ; after all , there are plenty of easily available civilians . In most cases , however , the civilians do not realise that they are providing such a necessary military service .......

(MORE LATER).






Tuesday, August 31, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......the three men 'arrested' by the British had been shot dead - either in the guardroom of Portobello Barracks on the Wednesday night (April 26th 1916) or by firing squad on the Thursday (April 27th) - either way , the deed was done .......

The fact that the British had shot dead two journalists and an author was not lost on the Irish media ; ' toe the line , or else ...'. The executions were noted , too , by the Irish Volunteers , who knew from past experience the value of a newspaper in the propaganda war . One of the then leaders of the Irish Volunteers (Oglaigh na hEireann) , Michael Collins , helped to found an Irish Republican newspaper in August 1918 - 'An tOglach' ('The Volunteer') .

The 'An tOglach' newspaper published an issue every two weeks , comprising four pages , and sold for twopence an issue ; its masthead declared it to be ' The Official Organ of The Irish Volunteers'. Piaras Beaslai , its Editor , was a 37 years young Liverpool-born Volunteer , who had fought the British in 1916 , and was to become the Director of Publicity for the IRA .

The newspaper was printed by the 'Gaelic Press' , in Dublin , which had a record of pro-Republican activity . It did not bother the Irish Volunteers nor the management /owners of the 'Gaelic Press' that , immediately upon publication of its first issue , the Brits declared 'An tOglach' to be "...an illegal publication .".......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

SHOOTINGS.......

".......Dannie Casey had managed to hide the box of ammunition and gelignite from the British Auxiliaries who were questioning him and slapping him around a bit - they had earlier shot at Dannie's brother , Jeremiah , when he was hiding from them with two of his friends ......."

" Jeremiah Casey had been borne down-hill to his home by his two companions , who had escaped the leaden blast ; he had been struck by three bullets and was mortally wounded . An escort of British Auxiliaries had accompanied the wounded youth and his bearers . By this time Dannie had been driven to desperation by repeated questionings punctuated by blows - he had made up his mind to snatch at a rifle and die fighting , but was always forestalled by the Auxie with the revolver .

It was that particular Auxie's job to kill the prisoner by shooting him through the back should he show resistance to the tormentors in front of him . Eventually , they marched him down to the yard of his house where they kept him under a strong guard . Knowing that his young brother was lying inside fatally injured , Dannie asked to be permitted to see him ; he was brutally refused and the Auxie who replied to his request thrust savagely at him with his rifle-butt . The blow struck him on the chest , throwing him backwards off some steps .

It is hard to have to record that a member of the human race should have been guilty of such conduct under such circumstances ; it would be hard to describe Dannie Casey's feelings while he waited for the order to march off as a prisoner while his brother lay dying within a few yards of him . Then a British Auxie Officer came on the scene ; this caused a diversion ......."

(MORE LATER).


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(3 of 6).

For years the British military were secure in their Belfast City Centre fortress while civilians formed a circle around them and searched and prevented , arrested and harassed anyone coming next or near them . Civilian protection of the military is , one soon learned , one of the tricks of the game ...

Eventually , however , the bombers managed to penetrate the outer defences and when this happened often enough to show that the game was up , the Brits went off from the Grand Central and found a new base somewhere else .

In one case they found a base by the simple expedient of chasing workers and managers out of four factories in the poorest neighbourhood of the city and holeing up there ; needless to say there was a secondary school within a few hundred yards of the new 'base' .......

(MORE LATER).






Monday, August 30, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......Dublin , Thursday , April 27th , 1916 - three men 'arrested' by the British the previous day were shot dead by a British Army firing squad ; the British Army Captain who organised the executions , Bowen Colthurst , was 'tried' for the offence . He was found "guilty but insane ..." - but a different account of what had happened began to emerge .......

....... it was during the court-martial of Bowen Colthurst that a different version of the events surrounding the executions of Francis Sheehy Skeffington , Patrick mcIntyre and Thomas Dickson was spoke of - a British Army Officer in Portobello Barracks stated that he heard a number of shots on Wednesday (ie April 26th , 1916) and went to investigate ; he claimed to have seen three stretchers being carried out of the porch of the guardroom on which were three dead bodies -

- one of those bodies had a blanket thrown over it and a bowler hat placed across the face and , from either side of the stretcher , an arm hung down , dripping blood ; this (un-named) British Army Officer claimed that the body with the bowler hat on the face was that of Francis Sheehy Skeffington - the 'witness' stated , apparently in a jovial manner , that the firing party had done its work so badly that a second one had had to be summoned to finish Skeffington off ...

.... Were the three men shot dead in the guardroom on the Wednesday night by a vengeful British enemy and then , in order to cover-up the deed , were their corpses 'wheeled out' the following day for an 'official' British Army 'execution' .......?

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

SHOOTINGS.......

"....... Dannie Casey , an IRA Volunteer , was in hiding from the British Auxiliaries - he had in his possession a box of ammunition and gelignite . He was heading uphill when he met his brother with two other young lads , and he told them to get away from him - as they were leaving , the Auxies shot at the three lads , who fell down . Dannie grabbed the box ....... "

"... he threw himself into a hollow , a shallow depression , and he ran crouching in its poor shelter ; luck came to him in the shape of a mossy patch of ground under his feet . Parting the long moss , he found a hole just the size of the box and quickly inserted it . He re-arranged the ground swiftly , but carefully , and it was well that he did so - for he had barely straightened up and walked a few paces forward when three Auxiliaries appeared immediately in front of him , and ordered him to raise his hands , which he did .

Approaching , they searched him but found nothing ; they questioned him , emphasising each question with a blow from a rifle butt . One of the British Auxies kept prodding his back with a revolver muzzle , several times asking him what his business was on the hillside . He replied that he was looking after his sheep . Tiring of the questioning , they started to search the hollow where the box was hidden - they diligently poked and kicked the moss that covered it but , fortunately for their prisoner , they did not find it . Disappointed , they resumed their interrogation . Dannie did not know it yet , but his brother , Jeremiah , was in trouble ......."

(MORE LATER).


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(2 of 6).

Whether the contempt for children's lives has been shown by placing the British military installations beside schools in the first place was not a 'live' question ; indeed , the situation was so weird that it would have been virtually impossible to attack a military installation without endangering a school , and if there were an old people's home nearby , then this was, from the British military point of view , a welcome bonus !

Soon after the crisis in 1969 the British military established headquarters in the centre of Belfast ; to those who believed the propaganda of the time , the British military were there in order to protect the city traders and shoppers . However , those with eyes in their heads knew better ...

The British military base (in Belfast) - previously a relatively large and rather posh hotel - was in one of the principal city centre streets . All around the area , the British erected security barriers which could only be properly passed at specific points . These points were manned - and 'wommaned' - by civilian search teams . In other words , in the circle of protection round the British Army base it was civilians who were protecting the British Army , not the other way round .......

(MORE LATER).