" 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 10, 2004

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

.......Piaras Beaslai ('An tOglach' Editor) was in Strangeways Prison in Manchester with a staunch Irish Republican - Austin Stack . During the debate on the 1921 Treaty of Surrender , Stack laid his cards on the table .......

" Has any man here the hardihood to stand up and say that it was for this our fathers suffered , that it was for this our comrades have died in the field and in the barrack yard ..." ('1169...' comment - a question that Austin Stack would now no doubt put to those supporters of the 1998 Stormont Treaty ['GFA'] ; those people should consider themselves blessed that Stack , amongst others, is resting in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin : and they should also recognise and admit that men and women like Austin Stack did not sacrifice their all to gain the equivalent of what was on offer to , and rejected by , them , in their time .)

Austin Stack died on 27th April 1929 , at only 50 years of age , from a weakness brought on by an earlier stomach operation - the hunger-strikes he endured had taken their toll . A commemorative pamphlet , entitled ' What Exactly is a Republican ? ' was issued in memory of Austin Stack -

' The name Republican in Ireland , as used amongst Republicans , bears no political meaning . It stands for the devout lover of his country , trying with might and main for his country's Freedom . Such a man cannot be a slave . And if not a slave in heart or in act , he cannot be guilty of the slave vices. No coercion can breed these in the freeman .......'

(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.......

"....... the British Army Captain was walking around our house , searching it , with my father following him , with a lit candle ; the back of the Englishman's uniform was criss-crossed with dry wax designs , which the Captain knew nothing about . However , the two armed British sentries had now noticed my fathers handiwork ......."


" The two British soldiers looked at each other - simultaneously , both smiled happily ; it was not often such a blissful vision appeared to poor soldiers . Their Captain was not a favourite . In the room across the hallway was a sideboard - while the Captain searched its lower recesses , possibly for a bottle (!) , my father finished his parallels of latitude . The sideboard yielding nothing , he stood up , walked out to the hall , looked up the stairs and, grunting an order to his men , stumbled out into the night . My father returned to the kitchen with his much depleted candle , to find my sisters laughing heartily . " What's wrong ? " he asked with forced gravity : " Oh , nothing , " was the reply , " but that fellow will come back and burn the house when he sees his uniform . " " He's lucky if he does not go on fire himself ! " said my father .

The dusk of evening , in the harvest of 1920 , was a favourite time for a raid with the Auxiliaries of Macroom Castle ; two Crossley tenders invariably were their means of transport . You might think that eighteen men venturing out thus could easily be dealt with , and that was true enough - but the trouble was to catch them ! There was no such thing as regularity about their movements ; if they left Macroom in a certain direction the only clue to their return was that it would not be by the same road . Every kind of a passable bye-road as well as the main roads would have to be manned to ensure their capture , and passages thought to be impassible to motor-cars were used by them . It was not for want of attempts to intercept them that they escaped so long .

It was one such harvest evening when the Auxiliaries came calling ....... "

(MORE LATER).


DEATH OF A BUTCHER .
(No By-Line)
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983 , Number 5 , page 42.

Re-published here in six parts .
(5 of 6).


By November 1975 , Lennie Murphy had formed a UVF gang that came to be known as the 'Shankill Butchers' because of its preference for ritually torturing and mutiliating its victims with , among other implements , a number of butcher's knives . After Murphy's imprisonment in March 1976 for possession of weapons (although his involvement in several sectarian slayings was well known) , he continued to direct other gang members - including William Moore , Robert 'Basher' Bates and a serving UDR (British) soldier , Eddie McIlwaine - to continue the catalogue of death .

At least 21 victims , mostly Catholics , were to meet grisly deaths at the hands of these maniacs before they were eventually arrested in 1978 . At their trial they were given a total of 2,000 years' imprisonment , including 42 life sentences .

However , although they had implicated Lennie Murphy in statements , they refused to testify against him .......

(MORE LATER).






Thursday, September 09, 2004

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

.......the (first) Editor of the 'An tOglach' Irish Republican newspaper , Liverpool-born Piaras Beaslai , was imprisoned by the Brits for his part in the 1916 Rising ; he shared prison-space with an Irish Republican legend .......

In Strangeways Prison , in Manchester , England , Piaras Beaslai met an Irish Republican who had been condemned to death by the British for his role in the 1916 Rising - Austin Stack . The death sentence on Austin Stack was later commuted to penal servitude . Stack was an out-and-out Irish Rebel , who had practically spent as much time in prison as he had out of it , and was no stranger to that one Irish Republican prison weapon that the 'authorities' could do nothing about - the hunger-strike .

He was in command of the Irish Republican POW's in Belfast Jail in November 1918 when same was smashed-up by the prisoners and , during the Civil War , was Deputy Chief of Staff to Frank Aiken . Austin Stack was born in Tralee , in County Kerry , in 1879 , and never knew the meaning of the word ' compromise ' ;

- his position on the British occupation of Ireland was made clear to all during the debate on the 1921 Treaty of Surrender .......

(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.......

".......the drunken British Army Captain , Moss , was searching our house , and my father accompanied him from room to room , carrying a lighted candle . Moss was hunkered down searching a drawer - my father looked at him , then looked at the candle in his hand ....... "

" My father tilted the candle and deliberately ran a streak of grease from it to the back of the neck of the British Captain's tunic almost to the tail of it ; the tunic was spotless clean and new , and the candle-grease certainly appeared out of place on it , but my father regarded it as an artist would a successful stroke of the brush !

My sisters looked on in astonishment at what they first believed to be an accident , or an involuntary lapse on my father's part . They soon discovered that his employment was not merely temporary - well versed in the mechanics of geography , my father quickly added the line of the Equator to the 'Prime Meridian' , with the Englishman's portly figure helping him to a great extent ! The Captain's manner also proved useful , for while he intermittently lectured my father , a fresh supply of candle-grease was formimg ...

By the time the searching of the kitchen was completed the meridians of longitude on the Englishman's back gave him a zebra-like appearance . As he passed from the kitchen into the hallway , two British Tommies with fixed bayonets stood , one on either side of the doorway ; my father , with the candle, followed close behind . With wooden faces , the two British soldiers faced each other standing to attention while their Captain passed between them . Suddenly , both turned their heads and stared after him .

Astonishment was written largely on their faces ; turning eyes front again , they looked at each other ......."

(MORE LATER).


DEATH OF A BUTCHER .
(No By-Line)
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983 , Number 5 , page 42.

Re-published here in six parts .
(4 of 6).


Who , then, was Lennie Murphy , the 'Master Butcher' ? His first known victim was Francis Arthurs , from Fallswater Street , whose body was found in July 1972 , almost unrecognisable from stab wounds and bullet holes . A month later , Thomas Madden , from Cliftonville Avenue , was found dead - strangled , and with approximately 150 stab wounds .

In September 1972 , William Pavis , a 32-year old Protestant suspected of befriending nationalists , was shot dead at his home ; Lennie Murphy and another loyalist , Mervyn Connor , were arrested and charged with the killing . Connor agreed to testify against Murphy but in April 1973 he died in his cell of cyanide poisoning , having first been forced to leave a letter withdrawing his statements against Lennie Murphy .

Murphy was subsequently acquitted of the murder of William Pavis .......

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, September 08, 2004

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

.......the British 'Defence of The Realm Act' was used against Irish Republicans , and Irish and British workers ; it was a 'catch-all' piece of legislation used shamelessly by Westminster to secure and maintain the position in society obtained by the 'Establishment' .......

Westminster used the 'DORA' legislation to trample over ordinary workers as well as Irish Republicans - by the middle of 1942 , at least 1,563 workers had been convicted of 'offences' under the 'Defence of the Realm Act' and fined a total of £4,025 (Sterling). In 1943 , trolley-bus operators , dockers and carters found themselves facing armed British troops, in Belfast , on the picket-line as , once again , 'DORA' was enforced and the striking workers were fined .

The Westminster Parliament had now turned 'DORA' on 'An tOglach' , the Irish Republican newspaper ; it was now an " illegal publication " , according to Westminster , and anyone found in possession of a copy of same would be "....charged and imprisoned under the Defence of The Realm Act ..." . An tOglach's first Editor , Piaras Beaslai , born in Liverpool in 1881 was , at the young age of 23 , the Editor of 'The Catholic Times' newspaper in England before coming to Ireland , where he joined the 'Gaelic League' .

Piaras Beaslai fought with the Irish Rebels in 1916 , at 35 years of age , in the North King Street area of Dublin , and was subsequently jailed by the British in Strangeways Prison in Manchester where he shared prison space with an Irish Republican legend .......

(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.......

".......the drunken British Army Captain , Moss , was arguing with my father - he told us that if any more of his "pals" were shot
by the IRA , the British Army would burn our village ......."

" My father told Captain Moss that he would have to find another method to save his men - that he (my father) was powerless to keep the IRA from shooting his men . Moss walked up to my father and shouted - " I'll try every method ; I'll search your house for a start ." " Do, " said my father , " I cannot prevent you , but I'll watch you while you search ." Captain Moss glared again at my father but said nothing , while my father picked up a lighted candle in a candlestick . Muttering to himself , Moss first selected a linen press in the kitchen .

My father stood behind him while he searched the shelves carefully , starting at the top . He took plenty of time , and every now and then stopped to lecture my father , who was entirely engrossed in a study of the combustion of the candle , and ceased to pay serious attention to the Englishman's fulminations . My sisters were glad to see that his anger had given place to some other feeling which might be something like a grim humour . But they never could have forecast his change of tactics . Little did they think that the " man severe and stern to view " whom they knew so well and whom " every truant knew " could be guilty of the childlike and reprehensible conduct to come !

Captain Moss finished with the shelves and , muttering "Not much there ..." stooped to pull out a drawer underneath the shelves ; " You will find that even less profitable ," said my father , as he turned the candle into a 'weapon' of sorts ......."

(MORE LATER).


DEATH OF A BUTCHER .
(No By-Line)
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983 , Number 5 , page 42.

Re-published here in six parts .
(3 of 6).


Although the authenticity of the IRA's claim that it had killed Lennie Murphy , issued through the 'Republican Press Centre' in Belfast some sixteen hours after the execution , was accepted by the RUC , and by loyalist paramilitaries and the media , the hysterically anti-Republican 'Irish News' newspaper was so irked by the idea that the IRA had carried out an operation that was so extremely popular among virtually all shades of nationalist opinion , that it subsequently concocted a clumsy 'exclusive' story alleging that loyalists had killed Lennie Murphy with weapons supplied by the IRA (see 'Irish News' , 6th December 1982) !

This squalid attempt , reminiscent of British Army ' black propaganda' , to link the IRA with loyalist sectarian killers , was strenuously denied by the IRA and rejected by nationalists .......

(MORE LATER).





Apologises for the enforced delay with today's post : the 'BLOGGER' 'Publish ' Link has been 'down' since at least 7.30am this morning - Sharon .

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

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

.......the British used the 'Defence of The Realm Act' to suppress not only Irish Republicans , but its own people , too . Then in 1941 , they focused their attention on Ireland again .......

In 1941 , 'DORA' was used against Cahir Healy , an ex-Sinn Fein member of Fermanagh Council ; Healy was a 'mixed-bag' , politically speaking - he was dead-set against what he termed " street politics " yet was constantly frustrated by the 'workings' of the Stormont Administration ; he wanted to sit in Leinster House (in the early 1950's) as an 'Anti Partition League' ('APL') MP (!) (shades of the Provos here ...) and he denounced the policies of "physical force" and abstentionism (in 1955) despite his own (sometimes) abstention from both Stormont and Westminster .

Cahir Healy was also a known supporter of the 'Blueshirts' in the Free State (a fascist organisation) , being a friend of that group's leader , General O'Duffy , and an admirer of 'Sir' Oswald Mosley , the British Fascist leader . Cahir Healy died in 1970 , at 93 years of age . However , the British also continued to use the 'Defence of The Realm Act' against workers in Ireland and England.......

(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.......

".......at fifteen minutes before midnight , the Brits raided our house ; they were led by a Captain Moss , who asked my father if he was loyal to King George of England - my father told him he was loyal to no man ......."

" My father was no fool and , so far, had never shown his hand to the enemy . While he never bowed to them , he never enlightened them about his feelings towards them ; he liked to see a good blow struck , but did not believe in giving them the slightest indication of where it came from ! In that , of course, he was only being wise - now , whether it was the mounting British oppression or the rising tide of opposition to it that affected him , he appeared to have lost some of his usual caution .

To my sisters , his attitude caused some little alarm , as they judged that the half-drunken and truculent Captain Moss meant to pursue his tactics further , which he did : " Now ," the British Captain said to my father , " you have influence in this district around you , and I have lost some of my best pals here . It is up to you to use your influence to stop attacks on crown forces . And you , " he said , turning to my sisters , " tell your brothers and your sweethearts that if a single British soldier is shot about here again , this house and every house in the village is going up . You understand that ? " he said , as he turned and glared at my father .

" I do not , " said my father . " You do not , " shouted Captain Moss , " did I not make the matter clear ? " " Oh , I heard you ," said my father , " but if I had said I understood , it would have made no difference . It would not make you immune from attack on your way home tonight , or tomorrow or any other day . You must try some other method . "

The drunken British Army Captain walked up to my father ......."

(MORE LATER).


DEATH OF A BUTCHER .
(No By-Line)
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983 , Number 5 , page 42.

Re-published here in six parts .
(2 of 6).

Two IRA Volunteers , armed with a 9mm sub-machine gun and a .38 Special , quickly jumped from the van and opened fire , hitting Lennie Murphy at least twenty times and killing him instantly . They then drove off , abandoning and setting fire to the van in nearby Glenside Park before making a safe escape in a car commandeered earlier in West Belfast .

Initial RUC and media speculation focussed on the belief that the death of Lennie Murphy was the result of an internal loyalist power struggle . Since his release from the H-Blocks (where he had been 'Officer Commanding' of the UVF prisoners) in August 1982 , Lennie Murphy had been ruthlessly engaged in winning back control of the UVF , and, in one incident in September had ambushed and shot dead a dissident UVF paramilitary .......

(MORE LATER).






Monday, September 06, 2004

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

.......the British used the 'Defence of The Realm Act' ('DORA') to suppress the Irish Republican newspaper 'An tOglach' ('The Volunteer') ; within a few months , the 'DORA' legislation was also used by the British against their own people .......

A 'Defence of The Realm Act' directive issued by Westminster made it 'illegal' " ....to deprive (the) community of electricity ..." and British troops , fully armed and in battle gear , were deployed to keep striking workers in Glasgow and Belfast away from power stations . The striking workers were looking for a 44-hour working week instead of the 54-hour working week that was their lot then !

After a four-week strike , and with the threat of being 'named' under the 'Defence of The Realm Act' , the Trade Unions and the workers reluctantly accepted a 47-hour working week and returned to work . And , later still , (ie in 1941) the 'DORA' legislation was used on Cahir Healy , an ex-Sinn Fein member of Fermanagh Council .

Healy was a 'mixed bag' , politically speaking .......

(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.......

".......we had the RIC and the British Army to contend with before 1916 - a house was never safe from a 'visit' by them . Then , from 1919 , we had the Black and Tans as well ; they were all vicious in their treatment of us , but we kept our sense of humour ....... "

" It wanted a quarter of an hour to be midnight , in the late August of 1920 . My father was reading at the head of the kitchen table , facing an open door from the hallway , while three of my sisters sat by the fire talking . One of them had just closed a book and had carelessly thrown it on the table ; Captain Moss of the Manchester Regiment of the British Army walked a trifle unsteadily through the doorway and picked up the book .

" Married in May ," he read , and added , "... regret in June ." At his heels came a number of British soldiers - Captain Moss and his 'flying column' of two hundred and fifty men had surrounded and occupied our village , the 'Cross' , for the time being . My father continued reading while my sisters studied the fire ; Captain Moss studied my father with owlish concentration - then he spoke : " Mister Schoolmaster ," he asked , " are you loyal ? " My father looked at him over his glasses .

" You might have knocked ," my father replied . " Are you loyal ? " the question was repeated . My father removed his glasses , folded them , put them in their case and put the case in his pocket . He got to his feet , moved back his chair and , moving clear of the table , stood in front of his questioner - " Loyal to whom ? " he asked . " Loyal to His Majesty King George V of England , " came the answer . " I am loyal to no man , " said my father .

Now my father was no fool and , so far , had never shown his hand to the enemy ......."

(MORE LATER).


DEATH OF A BUTCHER .
(No By-Line)
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983 , Number 5 , page 42.

Re-published here in six parts .
(1 of 6).

Of all the operations carried out by the IRA (ie the pre-1986 IRA) the one which undoubtedly best illustrates the planning and expertise of its Volunteers - and also the one which brought the greatest sense of relief to the Belfast nationalist community - was the dramatic execution of the 'Master Butcher' Lennie Murphy , who led the notorious 'Shankill Butcher' sectarian gang responsible for at least 21 killings during the 1970's , and who just three weeks before the IRA caught up with him had ritually murdered a 48-year-old Catholic , Joseph Donegan .

Shortly before 7pm on November 16th , 1982 , three IRA Volunteers drew up alongside Lennie Murphy as he climbed out of his distinctive Rover saloon car to enter his girlfriends house in the loyalist Forthriver Park area .

The IRA's vehicle was a blue Marina van which had been bought in east Belfast some time earlier for such an operation ; two armed IRA Volunteers jumped from the van .......

(MORE LATER).