Monday, January 10, 2005

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

....... with 'their man' on the Boundary Commission (Eoin MacNeill) gone from that body (and , indeed , gone from Leinster House as well !) the Free State President , William Cosgrave , and his 'Minister for Home Affairs' , Kevin O'Higgins , arrived in Downing Street in London for a meeting with British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and Stormont 'Prime Minister' 'Sir' James Craig - that was on the 25th November 1925 . Within nine days (ie by the 3rd December 1925) , the Free Staters had been 'sold' another 'pup' by the Brits ....... !

On the 3rd December 1925 , all those present at a meeting (ie all those mentioned in the intro.) agreed that the 'border' , as fixed 5 years earlier in the ' 1920 Government of Ireland Act ' and as stated in the 1921 Treaty of Surrender , would so remain , and an agreement was signed to that effect by those present . But the Brits , no doubt smelling fear and relief at the same time from the Free Staters , wanted more 'concessions' .......

.......they pushed for , and got , a separate agreement that the 'Council of Ireland' (a 'talking-shop' which the 1921 Treaty promised to set-up) be scraped (even though it had not , in fact , ever been established !) , and , as a final insult to the Free State muppets , the Brits demanded that they repay the compensation which Westminster had paid to them for damage which the Brits themselves had caused in Ireland during the Black and Tan War !

And , in for a (British) penny , in for a (British) pound - no doubt by now realising the 'calibre' of the men they were up against , the Brits also insisted , and again, got , a commitment from the Free Staters that they would continue to pay land annuities to the British Exchequer !

The British Government 'leak' of mis-information to the 'London Morning Post' newspaper (on 7th November 1925) had worked as intended ; put the fear of God into the Free Staters and paid handsome dividends to the Brits . That is , of course , unless you believe the Free State version of how that meeting went .......



For the past thirteen years , British solicitor ALISTAIR LOGAN has pursued with dogged determination an almost single-handed campaign to prove the innocence of a number of Irish people convicted of bombings in Britain in the seventies .

DEREK DUNNE talks to him about his motivation and his experiences .

First published in ' IN DUBLIN ' magazine , No. 274 , 19th March 1987 , pages 8 and 9 .

Re-published here in 5 parts .

( 1 of 5).

In 1975 , eleven people were wrongly convicted of the Guildford and Woolwich pub bombings in Britain the previous year . In the past eighteen months , there have been numerous television programmes about the case and British Home Secretary Douglas Hurd has finally sent the convictions back to the Court of Criminal Appeal for reconsideration .

One man , solicitor Alistair Logan , was mainly responsible for that gain , but his single-mindedness has cost him dearly ; it is now generally accepted that the eleven people are innocent , and should not be in jail . But Alistair Logan did'nt even want the case in the first instance - " I was on the panel of legal aid solicitors and they rang me up one morning and asked if I'd take the case of the Guildford bombers - thats exactly how they put it - and I said 'No' . I was a sole practitoner at the time and I felt that a case of that size would be too big for me to handle .

And they rang me back two hours later and said nobody else would take the case , so I said 'okay'....... "



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 .
(19 of 31).

Other NORAID activists were brought before the courts in places as far apart as Butte , Montana , and Baltimore to face weapons-smuggling charges ; on February 14th , 1974 , Federal Agents scored a 'coup' in New York - Treasury Department Agents arrested James Conlon and Michael Larkin , accusing them of conspiring to smuggle twenty thousand dollars' worth of arms , purchased at a Maryland gun shop owned by William Westerfund .

Westerfund was also arrested , as were two other Irish-American activists , Harry Hillick and Kieran MacMahon . Involved were one hundred Armalite rifles , which they were alleged to have obtained from William Westerfund .

All went to prison - James Conlon , who was in poor health , died soon after his release . From around this time , in the mid-1970's , NORAID's filings show a sharp decrease in funds . in 1975 , their returns reveal that for the first time the yearly collections dropped below $200,000 ; during 1975 , $174,000 was reported . The following year the amount fell to $119,500 , and the decline continued into 1977 , when the INAC registered collections of only $108,000 .......

(If Mr. Peter Knox from Australia is reading this : I am unable to locate any further information on that person - I tried a number of times to contact you on the e-mail address you gave me , but my letters were , as Elvis would say , 'returned to sender' ! Sorry its not better news ; Sharon ).