Wednesday, March 23, 2005

By Emer Woodful .
The murder of LVF leader BILLY WRIGHT has ignited the most violent spell in the North's recent history and threatened the peace process . He may well have considered it an appropriate legacy .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1998 , pages 30,31,34 and 35 .
Re-published here in 17 parts .
(3 of 17).

On New Year's Day , the Church of Ireland Primate , Robin Eames , said that 'Northern Ireland' (sic) " ... was at the beginning of a very dark and very dangerous period . "

What made Billy Wright stand out , however , was that he openly supported violence and was prepared to die for the union . He did strike a chord among loyalists who believe that the Republican Movement won concessions through violence and that loyalists should be following the same course .

Those loyalists believed that , regardless of any possible concessions , it was worth dying rather than deny the union anyway . Some commentators say he was nothing but a maverick ; yet he defied the Combined Loyalist Military Command's death threat against him in the summer of 1996 and , in doing so , he got the support of about 5,000 people .

The DUP's Willie McCrea supported Billy Wright at a rally in his hometown of Portadown : Wright struck fear into the hearts of Catholics . All the shops in Portadown , even 'Dunnes Stores' , closed obediently " ... as a mark of respect " for his funeral . His 'constituency' was not that of the Ulster Unionist middle classes but of the poorer , angry younger men .......


By the late Cork Republican , Gearoid MacCarthaigh .

" I had the honour to meet Nurse Eileen O'Farrell on a platform in Middle Abbey Street in Dublin in December 1956 ; she stated publicly that night - " ... the young men of Oglaigh na hEireann who were fighting in occupied Ireland were the true successors of the men with whom I had served in 1916 ... " . Nurse O'Farrell died the following April (1957) while I was a prisoner in Mountjoy Jail .

Following the Surrender of 1916 , the women of Ireland were actively engaged in tending to the wants of the relatives of those who had died in the fight and raising funds for the relatives of the men in prison ; on the first anniversary at Easter 1917 women flew Irish tri-colours from many inaccessible positions around the country .

When the First Dail set-up Republican Courts in 1920 there were many women Justices appointed ; one life-long member of Cumann na mBan was a District Justice for the York Street district of Dublin .

During the Black And Tan War women played a vital role doing intelligence work , providing clothing and food for the men on-the-run as well as caring for wounded men , and also acting as couriers . During the Dail debates on the Treaty in 1922 not one woman TD voted for acceptance of the Treaty . When Free State forces attacked the Republic in June of that year (1922) Countess Markievicz joined the fighting in the Hammond Hotel where she fought under Cathal Brugha right until the end ....... "


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 2.
(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].
Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.

' How does she stand , this country of ours , in 1957 ? Those of us who are realists must admit that the possibility of national extinction weights upon our minds and torments our hearts . Ireland is sick , and the vultures are in the skies above her .

Look around you ! Look at what you see , and for what you cannot see . We have a declining and ageing population ; we have decadence in culture and inepitude in the management of our economy . External forces control the money we use , and the amount of it we use , the very life-blood of that economy . Small wonder , then , that our agriculture , fisheries and industries , flourish not .

Ireland is not yet one ; Ireland is not yet free . Through the influence of the radio , cinema and television , the atmosphere has become something which is foreign to our culture , while Patriotism has been much dishonoured . But all is not lost - corpse-like , Ireland breathes yet : she need not die . She will not die unless her children abandon her - she will not die if men will but listen to the voices that come from the past -

- to the voice of Padraig Pearse : " To every generation its deed ... " he cries , and he speaks for others as well as for himself ; " ... Ireland one and Ireland free . Is not this the definition of Ireland , a Nation .... ? " '