Monday, February 07, 2005

'THE PRESS' Newspaper , October 1797 - March 1798 .
Too Radical for the Radicals .......

....... two well-known Irish Rebels were the 'main men' behind the launch of the ' The Press ' newspaper in October 1797 : Arthur O'Connor and 'Lord' Edward Fitzgerald .......

Arthur O'Connor (born Arthur O'Conner) was a Cork man ; he was a barrister and an M.P. in Westminster - and a member of the United Irishmen . In June of 1796 he travelled to Paris , France , with Edward Fitzgerald and Wolfe Tone to seek assistance from the French Directory (Revolutionary Government) for an armed Rising in Ireland .

The French agreed , which led to the 21st December 1796 'Hoche Expedition' of thirty-five ships which failed to land in Ireland due to a storm . But Arthur O'Connor did not give up ; Edward Fitzgerald and O'Connor were amongst those in the United Irishmen organisation who pushed repeatedly for an armed Rising against the British .

As prominent members of the Leinster Directory of the United Irishmen , both men had 'pull' in Rebel circles ; but so had those who were not in favour of staging an armed campaign at that particular time , notably Thomas Addis Emmet .......


Rise and decline of the 'Officials' .
No by-line.
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , No. 2 , November 1981 , pages 76 and 77.

Re-published here in 8 parts .
(1 of 8).

In August 1969 , the Nationalist ghettos of Belfast were virtually defenceless when a fierce Orange pogrom was unleashed . This was mainly the result of a turn by the Republican Movement of the time towards social and economic agitation (quite laudable in itself) but which also meant a total run-down of the military organisation .

On top of this , the reformist and electoral direction of the Movement was taking it towards recognition of the puppet parliaments of the twenty-six counties (Leinster House) and the six counties (Stormont). ('1169...' Comment - NOTE : the above WAS penned in November 1981 - but could have been written today in relation to the Provisional movement !)

By the end of 1969 , militant Republicans in the North were beginning to reform the IRA , supported by people up and down the country . The split-off of the reformist elements was consumated in 1970 .......


'Survivors' : collected by Uinseann MacEoin .
Reviewed by Tim Pat Coogan.

First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , December 1980 , page 53.
Re-published here in 7 parts .
(2 of 7).

Tomas O Maoileoin ('Sean Forde') , Commandant General of the IRA , was tortured after being captured while attemptiung to take on a group of four armed Black and Tans with his bare hands . He was part of the 'school' of Irish Republicanism which could endure - but would also inflict , as this anecdote concerning his escape from Spike Island illustrates -

- " Half creeping , half running , I made up the slope to him . He saw me alright , but he had no bullet up the breech of his rifle , and he did not know but that this might be a game . When he attempted to pull the bolt , I was already upon him , expertly swinging the hammer at his temple .

I had to prevent a shot being fired , or the whole barracks would be alerted . He went down pole-axed . To make sure , I struck his head a second blow ....... "