Wednesday, May 16, 2007

'The Men Of 1922 / Derry Besieged / Death And Mystery.'

'THE MEN OF 1922......'
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

' No one blames 'The Sunday Press' newspaper for what they wrote . It was good writing . The subjects were of the heroic mould . It was still fine writing and true writing when it ended thus - " That which called and assembled that small company by new-dug graves in Mountjoy Jail on December 8th 1922, calls to the Irish of today and will call for all time until wrong is righted and the oppressed set free . "

That is true . It calls to the Irish of today and they have answered the call , and it will call to them "for all time until wrong is righted and the oppressed set free ." But where is 'The Sunday Press' and its owners in all of this ? Are they on the side of the oppressed ? They know their own consciences so let them answer in their own time . But one thing is certain - you can't be on the side of the right while helping wrong .

You can't be in the company of Rory O' Connor , Liam Mellowes , Dick Barrett and Joe McKelvey while jailing men without charge or trial , while sneaking others off to prison following secret trials , while persecuting young freedom fighters for the 'terrible crime' of opposing English rule in Ireland . Why then did the four martyrs die....... ? '



Derry , once the cockpit of the Northern Irish conflict , has become quarantined in apathy , grimness and deprivation , writes Seamus Deane , the Derry-born poet and writer . In a return look at his native city he finds that its demoralisation has disturbing implications .
From 'FORTNIGHT' magazine, 1983.

The anarchic spirit of the young and the apathy of most others are not contrasting reactions . They are very closely tied to one another : a rebellious spirit will constantly recruit its strength from the young , but permanent rebelliousness , with the high cost that it brings , is liable to lead to a state of exhaustion in those who realise that it allows for no let-up and , in present conditions , for no foreseeable resolution . The sheer blankness of the future has , as far as I can read it , finally demoralised the whole population .

The neighbourhood spirit , once a pronounced feature of Derry life , especially in the poorer districts , has broken down . Someone told me recently of the fate of a group of pensioners' bungalows , built only fifteen years ago , which are now roofless ruins ; men came and removed the alloy roofs despite the protests of the pensioners . No one moved to defend them . No one would , of course , have thought of phoning the RUC. The men involved had no paramilitary connections , yet they were allowed to vandalise these houses . I don't believe that would have been allowed to happen ten years ago . Nor would all the various muggings , beatings , robberies and rapes which have increased at such an alarming rate .

Those responsible are , in their own witless and brutal way , providing the RUC with an argument for the necessity of 'law and order' . They also provide them with a steady flow of information on guerrilla activities , yet the RUC have so far lost acceptability that even the increase in crime is not powerful enough to redeem them . The community is caught in the squeeze between those who would impose the old system and those who flourish in the absence of any . It wants neither but has to suffer both.......

John O Shea was a small farmer and republican . He died at his Kerry home in October 2001 within hours of being released from Garda custody . The inquest into his death raised more questions than it answered and now Kerry County Council has backed calls for a public inquiry . Did John O Shea die from natural causes or is there a more sinister explanation ?
By Mairead Carey.
From 'MAGILL' magazine, May 2003 .

Gerard O' Shea (41) , from Curraheen , Tralee, said he spoke to John O' Shea as he left Houlihan's Pub : he knew O' Shea through the (P) Sinn Fein party . " He was pissed off . He said he had been roughed up by the gardai . We were only talking for a few seconds . He was on his way home and seemed sober enough to me , " Gerard O'Shea said .

Chris O' Shea says she received a call from John after he was released from the garda station : " He sounded shaky in his voice , and distressed in himself ." She offered to collect him , but he insisted he would make his own way home . A few minutes later , John O' Shea got a taxi to Castlemaine - the driver said he appeared to be swaying in the back seat and falling asleep . He was let off at The Castle Inn where he drank until closing time . Numerous customers were interviewed and all of them pointed out that they saw no marks on his face .

Willie Hanafin (45) , from Castlemaine , was never approached by gardai . He says that he spoke to John O' Shea for about ten minutes in the pub - " He asked me if I'd heard what happened to him . I said no . At that he lifted his shirt . There were marks on him . He said he'd tell me some other time , but that time never came . The next morning he was dead....... "