Friday, May 18, 2007

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

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

' Let every man in Fianna Fail who still thinks of himself as a Republican answer these questions for himself . Rory , Liam , Dick and Joe never collaborated with Britain , never answered the English whip , never jailed a young Irish Republican .

Let us be fair to the dead at least . '

[END of 'THE MEN OF 1922']
(Next - ' TURN THE SPOTLIGHT' : from the same source)


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 people of Derry are , in effect , locked into their city and its history . Ringed by the border , they are cut off from Donegal to which the majority Nationalist population looks as its natural hinterland . Ringed by the walls and by the zones of their housing estates , they are cut off from one another .

The county of Derry beyond is looked to by the minority Unionist population as its natural hinterland . The geographical location and the historical background of the city confirm this oppressive sense of siege , one shared by both communities . Each regards itself as surrounding and being surrounded by enemies . Although Belfast presents this mentality also , Derry , being smaller , provides a more concentrated and easily apprehensible example .

A peculiar feature of the effects generated by modern conditions on this mentality - conditions such as are associated with political violence , the welfare state , unemployment , television and modern housing - is that they supply ready-made arguments for and against capitalism , for and against socialism , for and against nationalism , radical revolution , reformist gradualism and any one of half a dozen other competing ideologies . Such a society appears , at times , to be a well run laboratory or prison , from which escape is sometimes granted for good behaviour (within the educational system) , but in which most inhabitants are serving a life sentence.......

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 .

Local hackney driver Denis Brosnan was the last known person to see John O' Shea alive : he picked up a group of people at the centre of the village at 12.45am . John O' Shea was among them . In a statement to the inquest he described O' Shea as a "...reasonably regular customer . I observed him coming to the bus and he was steady enough but appeared tired . From observing his condition , I was not concerned that he needed to be separated from the others because of the two usual reasons , namely that he was in danger of getting sick and that he was in an argumentative mood . He was in a fine , placid mood that night . "

John O' Shea "...had dozed off.." and the driver woke him up when he arrived at his home . " I could see that he had no marks on his face or on his left hand as I held his left hand to support him as he was getting out . His condition to me seemed more due to tiredness than drink . He was groggy but was alert to what was going on . As I left the yard , his back was turned to me and he was facing the door . He was in quite an alert state and I had no worries for his safety . "

John O' Shea lived with his mother , Kate , who is in her early 70's , in a stone cottage overlooking the sea . " He was a baby to her . She lived for him . She always protected him, " says Chris O' Shea . The mother , Kate , heard the minibus arrive and leave , but when her son hadn't appeared ten minutes later she went to investigate . She found him outside on a low step , slumped to one side . There was a mark on his face and blood on the ground beside him . She called her husband to help her and between them they dragged him into the house . They removed his trousers and shoes , laid him on a sheet on the kitchen floor and put a blanket over him . They lit the fire to keep him warm.......