THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION , 1921-1925 .......
A British 'sleight-of-hand' which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland.......
....... the 'Special Constabulary' had been formed , mainly from the ranks of the 'Ulster Volunteer Force' (UVF) , a pro-British militia - but the UVF was still in existence , with a British Colonel , F.H. Crawford , in charge of it . It had 20,000 armed members , and the politicians in Westminster were looking at Crawford and his organisation , and wondering if they could use it , too .......
The RIC was in favour of such a move by Westminster ; on the 9th November 1921 , the Divisional Commissioner of the RIC in the Six Counties , a Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham , stated , in a 'secret' circular which he sent to other RIC bosses in the Six Counties -
- " Owing to the number of reports which have been received as to the growth of unauthorised Loyalist defence forces , the (British) Government have under consideration the desirability of obtaining the services of the best elements of these organisations . They have decided that the scheme most likely to meet the situation would be to enrol all who volunteer and are considered suitable into Class 'C' (of the 'Special Constabulary') and to form them into regular military units .
There is no necessity to produce the maximum possible number of units ; what is required is to ensure that every unit recommended for formation can be constituted from a reliable section of the population . "
Note how the supposed 'neutral' RIC described the UVF paramilitary organisation as a "... loyalist defence force .." and as " .. a reliable section of the population ... " - the Brits were then , and still are today , 'in charge' of said Loyalist paramilitary organisations , and use them to carry-out 'jobs' which Westminster wants done , but not 'officially' . Also , about two weeks after 'Sir' Wickham wrote and dispatched his 'secret' circular , a copy of it found its way into the hands of Michael Collins who , on 23rd November 1921 , whilst attending Treaty negotiations with the British in London , produced it to the startled Brits and told them it may very well signal the end of the 'negotiations' .
Westminster called-in its top man in the Six Counties - 'Sir' James Craig , the Stormont 'Prime Minister' - and told him that the 'secret' circular would have to be withdrawen ; Craig then instructed his 'Minister for Home Affairs' , a Mr. Richard Dawson Bates (a UVF man himself) to withdraw the circular . However , by way of a 'two-fingered salute' to his political masters in Westminster , when he returned to Belfast , Craig increased the number of 'A Specials' by 700 men , and the 'B Specials' by 5,000 men ! If they could'nt 'hire' " ... from a reliable section of the population ... " in one way , then they'd find another way to do it !
Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham had an interesting background - a Brit through and through .......
THE POLITICS OF H-BLOCK .......
By Vincent Browne .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , pages 26 and 27 .
Re-published here in 10 parts .
(3 of 10).
The Provos themselves eventually agreed on a broad front strategy and took part in a Relatives Action Conference in the Green Briar Hotel , Belfast , in September 1979 . Even then they were ambiguous about their commitment to co-operation with other groups . The Chairperson of the meeting was a committed Provo and although there was a rule that no person could speak more than once , Gerry Adams , Vice President of Provisional Sinn Fein , spoke on at least ten occasions and managed to dominate preceedings .
Resolutions from other organisations were hindered and of course any criticisms of the Provo campaign went unheard . In spite of this a broad-based National H-Block movement got off the ground , with support from the IRSP , the Peoples Democracy , Bernadette McAliskey's organisation in mid-Ulster and a number of other small groups , as well as Provisional Sinn Fein .
The progress of the campaign has been classically successful ; there was a gradual build up of activity , with demonstrations attracting greater and greater support . But of course it was'nt just the astute organisation of the campaign which led to the vast volume of support it has won across the Northern Catholic community .
Other factors were of greater significance .......
NORAID'S UNTOLD MILLIONS .......
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 .
(26 of 31).
The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) sent over one of its leading members , Sean Flynn , a Belfast city councillor , to meet INAC officials in New York ; he was asking for one-third of the money , since in the cold arithmetic of death , approximately one-third of the ten men who died on hunger-strike were INLA members . Sean Flynn also pointed out that Liz O'Hara had played an important part in the tour which raised the money .
Sean Flynn met INAC officials in New York ; he told them that the families of two of the dead INLA men still owed money for the funerals of their sons . In one case , they did'nt have enough to cover the cost of their electricity bills and travelling expenses . When Flynn went to the home of a prominent INAC member , he was told that NORAID knew nothing about giving money to the IRSP .
Their meeting deteriorated into a shouting match , and Sean Flynn was asked to leave .......