Friday, January 21, 2005

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

....... British Lieutenant-Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham was a good 'all-rounder' for the British Crown ; as the 'Divisional Commissioner for Ulster' in the RIC (from 1920 to 1922) , he helped to establish the 'Ulster Special Constabulary' . In 1922 , at 43 years of age , he was appointed as the Inspector-General of the RUC , a position he held until 1945 .......

In 1945 , British Lieutenant-Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham was 66 years of age ; but no rest for the wicked ! He was sent to Greece to serve as the 'Head of British Police and Prisons Mission' , where he 'crossed swords' with the ELAS guerilla group . He remained in that position until 1952 (when he was 73 years of age) . The man died in 1972 , at the grand age of 93 .

'Tangents , tangents ' ! : As I was saying (ages and pages ago !) - on 7th October 1924 , British 'Sir' James Craig (Stormont 'Prime Minister') practically threatened Westminster that he would be prepared to lead 40,000 armed men against said institution if same recommended changes to the Six County area (re the 'Boundary Commission' report) . Craig was referring to the 'Special Constabulary' - the Ulster (sic) Special Constabulary Association , a powerful group in its day .

It was estimated that , at the peak of its power , one in every five of the adult male Protestant population was a member ! Following the final report of the Boundary Commission it became clear that the Free Staters were no longer prepared (if , indeed , they ever were) to push for changes regarding the 'border' , and the British realised that they had no further use for the Special Constabulary , so they set-about disbanding them ; money was put on the table .......


By Vincent Browne .

From 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , pages 26 and 27 .
Re-published here in 10 parts .
(5 of 10).

Inside the prison , the initial H-Block protestors were young inexperienced members of the Movement ; they understood the basic politics of jail protest but they had little sense of leadership . Through the aegis of the authorities , however , this deficiency was rectified by the placement of Brendan Hughes in the H-Blocks , where he quickly became the chief organiser of the protest . Hughes , aged 32 , had been on the Belfast Brigade Staff of the Provisional IRA prior to his capture in 1974 in a flat off the Malone Road in Belfast .

He had previously been arrested and beaten in June 1973 but he escaped from Long Kesh in October 1973 , hidden inside a used mattress which was being dumped .

Brendan Hughes was Officer Commanding of his cage in Long Kesh and was a Special Category Prisoner - the charge on which he was convicted was committed prior to March 1976 , the 'cut-off' date for Special Category status . Hughes got involved in a row between another prisoner and a warder after the latter had insulted the prisoner's wife during a visit .

Hughes was convicted of assualt on the warder , even though another warder had given evidence in support of Hughes' defence that he had moved in to break up the row . As the assualt charge related to a time after March 1976 , Brendan Hughes suddenly lost his Special Category status and was transferred from the compound at Long Kesh to one of the H-Blocks .......



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 .
(28 of 31).

NORAID attracted many conservative Irish-Americans who could only see the Irish 'problem' as a British-versus-Irish struggle ; anything deeper than that , especially with a social and economic analysis smacking of socialism , was rejected angrily . The INAC is aware of this ; they know that if Irish Republican left-wingers had their way in America , supporting blacks and Palestinians and Salvadoran guerrilas , it would alienate many Irish-Americans .

In America , those contradictions are easily resolved by being ignored . The chief platform which the INAC has for expounding Irish Republican views is 'The Irish People' newspaper - though it is not in any sense owned or run by NORAID , it is edited by NORAID's publicity director , Martin Galvin , and its policies generally support those of both the IRA and the INAC . The bulk of 'The Irish People's ' material comes from Sinn Fein's weekly newspaper An Phoblacht but the left-wing world view of that newspaper is not evident from the selections that appear in 'The Irish Preople' .

Though South Africa-related stories have occasionally been reprinted , the Sinn Fein-IRA attitude on most other liberation struggles , which An Phoblacht expresses , is , in general , omitted .......