Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This article is based on a lecture delivered by Sean O Bradaigh in Dublin on January 21 , 1989 , marking the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the First (All-Ireland) Dail Eireann in the Mansion House on January 21 , 1919 , and the links between Irish and French Republicans - 'Partners in Revolution' 200 years ago .
Published in 1989 by Sean Lynch , Cleenrath , Aughnacliffe , County Longford , on behalf of the County Longford Branch of the National Graves Association .
By Sean O Bradaigh .
Liberte ! Egalite ! Fraternite ! Ou La Mort ! ( (Freedom ! Equality ! Brotherhood ! or Death!).
Unite Indivisibilite De La Republique !

When the French Revolution happened , prayers of thanksgiving were offered in Belfast , songs of the French Revolution were published and the fall of the Bastille was celebrated each year . Henry Joy McCracken Junior had this to say :

" The exultation with which they hailed the downfall of civil and spiritual despotism in France in the year 1789 , affords a decisive proof of their disinterested solicitude for the universal diffusion of liberty and peace . Their joy was expressed by affectionate congratulations to the French patriots and by annual commemorations of the destruction of the Bastille , conducted with pomp and magnificence and calculated to impress in innumerable spectators a conviction of the vast importance which they attached to this glorious occurrence , and sensations of gratitude to the divine providence 'for dispersing the political clouds which has hitherto darkened our hemisphere' . "

In a memorandum to the French Government , Wolfe Tone described the Dissenters or Presbyterians as "...the most enlightened body of the nation ...enthusiastically attached to the French Revolution . The Catholics " , he added , " the great body of the nation , are in the lowest degree of ignorance and want , ready for any change , because no change can make them worse . "

From abroad , the American War of Independence inspired the freedom movement , but it was from France that the second and brightest beacon of all shone : Wolfe Tone became , in his own words , "...a diplomat , incognito , in Paris .. " . The Revolutionary Government listened to him .......

On 30 January 1972 , 14 civilians were shot dead by the British Army . They had been taking part in a civil rights march in Derry , protesting against internment without trial .
British 'Lord' Widgery was highly selective in the 'evidence' he used in his 'official' report on the matter - and some of the accounts he chose to include were highly suspect. The victims' families have campaigned for justice ever since . Their case is too strong to ignore any longer .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1998 .
By Eamonn McCann .

The British Public Records Act (1958) provides for a decision by the British 'Lord Chancellor' to release official papers at any time ; the current 'Lord Chancellor' , Derry Irvine , could , with the approval of Tony Blair , take an Executive Decision to order the publication forthwith of all papers relevant to Bloody Sunday . This , in itself , might go a long way towards answering the questions that must be disposed of before the relatives can put the grief of Bloody Sunday behind them .

On the other hand , publishing the papers might suggest - and a new inquiry might show clearly - why British 'Lord' Widgery averted his eyes from some of the evidence and distorted some of the rest so as knowingly to reach conclusions at variance with the truth .

The truth about Bloody Sunday , which the relatives desperately need to know , may go so deep into the heart of British politics and law as to be mortally dangerous to the authority of the State .

INFORMERS : The RUC's Psychological War .......
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.
By Sean Delaney.

RUC Sergeant Thomas McCormick had recruited Anthony O' Doherty in 1971 as an RUC paid informer to report on Irish Republican activities , but gradually the two of them were alleged to have engaged in a series of bank and post office robberies to finance their lifestyles , eventually killing RUC Sergeant Joseph Campbell when he became suspicious . Shortly afterwards , McCormick and O' Doherty fell out , with O' Doherty being charged in 1980 and sentenced to 18 years .

British Justice Murray , however , refusing to accept O' Doherty's uncorroborated testimony at the 1982 trial , argued that : " O' Doherty has to be treated as an accomplice and it is dangerous to convict McCormick on all the offences on the evidence of O' Doherty alone . " He went on to criticise the regular visits made by the RUC to O' Doherty in jail to go over his evidence and to 'school' him in giving it .

Another problem for the RUC in subsequent informer cases was that several of those who initially 'broke' under interrogation and incriminated others , subsequently refused to give 'evidence' and retracted their original statements once either they were in jail , and freed of the RUC's isolation tactics , or , even when they had been spirited away to a hiding place in the North or in England , after they had had time to consider the enormity of their intended actions .......