" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



IRISH BLOG AWARDS 2017 - we made it to the finalists page last year but never got to the stage :- ( 'cause not enough of ye feckers out there voted for us! So we're gonna give ya a second chance - the blog awards this year will be held on Thursday, October 5th (2017) in The Academy, Middle Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre, and we would appreciate if you could keep an eye here and give us a vote when ya can. Or else we'll get our 'Junior' to put up a pay wall and then ye will be sorry...!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

UP THE REPUBLIC - OUR DAY WILL COME !

NOLLAIG SHONA DAR LEITHEOIRI !

Ar eagle an dearmaid ....

Ba bhrea an rud e siochain bhuan bunaithe ar an gceart a bheith againn in Eireann . Is i an bronntanas is fearr a d'fheadfaimis a thabhairt duinn fein agus dar gclann .

Coinniodh an ceart agus an tsiochain uainn le breis agus ocht gcead bliain , de bharr ionradh , forghabhail agus miriaradh na Sasanach . Socru ar bith a dheantar in ainm mhuintir na hEireann agus a ghlacann le riail Shasana agus a dhaingnionn an chriochdheighilt , ni thig leis an ceart na an tsiochain bhuann a bhunu .

Ni dheanfaidh se ach la na siochana buaine a chur ar an mhear fhada agus an bhunfhadb a thabhairt do ghluin eile . Tharla se seo cheana nuair a siniodh Conradh 1921 agus cuireadh siar ar mhuintir na hEireann e in ainm na siochana . Is mor ag Sinn Fein Poblachtach Eire a bheith saor agus daonlathach , an cuspoir ceanna a bhi i gceist ag Wolfe Tone agus ag na Poblachtaigh uile anuas go dti 1916 agus an la ata inniu ann .

Rinne a lan fear agus ban croga iobairti mora , thug a mbeatha fiu , ar son na cuise uaisle seo .

CEART . SAOIRSE. DAONLATHAS .



A PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS TO OUR READERS !

Least we forget ....

A just and permanent peace in Ireland is most desirable . It is the greatest gift we could give to ourselves and our children . We have been denied justice and peace for more than eight centuries , because of English invasion , occupation and misrule of our country .

Any arrangement which , in the name of the Irish people , accepts English rule and copperfastens the Border , will not bring justice and lasting peace . It will only postpone the day of permanent peace , handing over the basic problem to another generation .

This happened before when the Treaty of 1921 was signed and was forced on the Irish people in the name of peace . Republican Sinn Fein cherishes the objective of a free , democratic Ireland , as envisaged by Wolfe Tone and all Republicans down to 1916 and our own day . Many brave men and women sacrificed a lot , even their lives , for this noble Cause .

JUSTICE . FREEDOM . DEMOCRACY .

(From the '1169...' Crew , December 2007. PLEASE NOTE : we are on a short break from normal posting , although we will post details of how the CABHAIR swim went and possibly a few other similar-type posts. We will return to 'normal' early in the New Year. Go raibh maith agat! Sharon.)






Friday, December 21, 2007

THE CATHOLIC HIERARCHY - PROPPING-UP THE ORANGE STATE.......

At a press briefing on May 3rd, 1983, Bishop Cathal Daly declared that a vote for Sinn Fein was 'a wasted vote' , and that people should think seriously before risking being seen as 'supporting violence' . As polling day approached , the rising crescendo of calls from Bishop Daly and other members of the Catholic hierarchy became increasingly explicit in their support for the SDLP. Against the background of this intervention into the arena of nationalist party politics , Patricia Collins sketches the role played by the leadership of the Catholic Church over the past fourteen years against nationalist resistance .
From 'IRIS' magazine , July 1983.

The role of the Catholic hierarchy in not only failing to support , but consciously undermining , the republican hunger-strikes of 1980 and 1981 against attempted criminalisation by Westminster , and finally being instrumental in their collapse , has been well documented . It was a crucial period in time in the relationship between the Catholic church and the nationalist people . The lesson of the Church's role was not lost on the republican prisoners, who described Fr Denis Faul, the Catholic chaplain in the H-Blocks, as "...a conniving , treacherous man.." and the role of the Catholic hierarchy throughout the hunger-strikes as "...misleading and immoral..".

Nor was the lesson lost on the tens of thousands who had supported the republican prisoners : when the time had come to confront the British government , the Catholic hierarchy had backed down and asked the dying prisoners to abandon their fight instead . They then turned to the heartbroken families and distilled the poison of defeat in them . To that hierarchy , anything was better than destabilising the 'State' .

Never since 1969 had the hierarchy found it so difficult to steer a course between the 'twin dangers' of supporting the so-called 'men of violence' and risking alienating its flock . The hunger-strike was the watershed : martyrdom had to belong exclusively to the Church , it could not be 'allowed' to 'fall' to the IRA , and the hierarchy was prepared to lose some of its followers for the sake of this stand , but it was confident that it would win them back later on.......
(MORE LATER).



THE POLITICS OF REPRESSION .......

Repression is not just bullets and the kick on the door at dawn. Repression is an integrated imperialist policy to deal with a risen people which encompasses all facets of social and political life.
From 'IRIS' magazine , July/August 1982.

The British were hoping that war weariness could succeed in demoralising the nationalist resistance , the spearhead of which -the IRA- was dubbed a 'criminal' element (the'godfathers') * to be dealt with through a concerted intelligence/military campaign in a renewed effort to isolate it from its nationalist base of support . ('1169...' Comment*: it is now the Provisional organisation [the then 'criminal godfathers' etc] which seeks to dismiss those they refer to today as 'dissidents' as "criminal godfathers" ! The 'worm' [snake?] has truly turned...)

To remove the colonial war stigma , British troops were to gradually withdraw leaving local troops - UDR and RUC - in the frontline . This was known as 'Ulsterisation' in an analogy with the 'Vietnamisation' practised earlier by the American government .

To ensure that life would return to 'normal' in the nationalist ghettos once the 'criminal' elements were removed , the British government made an effort to improve economic conditions - a few factories were set up in nationalist areas , but the international recession of 1975 and after meant that investment was minimal . The last 'white elephant' from this policy - the De Lorean motor company in Belfast - has recently closed down . Houses were built but with over 50 per cent unemployment in nationalist areas most people cannot afford the rent , and increasingly the 'impartial' Housing Executive has been exposed as a tool of British counter-insurgency strategy . Huge 'leisure centres' were built so that the people could while away their time playing squash and swimming - and hopefully forgetting about the war . Social services were modernised and community groups encouraged.......
(MORE LATER).





REPUBLICAN MOURNERS DEFEAT RUC.......
Between December 1983 and May 1987 , over 25 republican or nationalist funerals were systematically attacked by the RUC as a matter of deliberate British policy . The objective was to drive mourners off the streets so that later Britain could claim dwindling support for republicanism as 'evidenced' by the small numbers attending IRA funerals . As Jane Plunkett reports , the opposite happened . More and more people came out to defend the remains of republican dead , the RUC were exposed as being as brutal and sectarian as ever , and these two factors , combined with damaging international news coverage , eventually forced the British government to reverse its policy of attacking republican funerals .
From 'IRIS' magazine , October 1987.

The British government , encouraged by the silence of the Irish establishment , extended their harassment to two funerals which , at the request of relatives , were to be private , that of Tony Gough in Derry in February 1986 and of Belfastman Jim McKernan, both of whom had been shot dead on active service by British crown forces . When Jim McKernan's funeral began on September 16th , 1986 , Andersonstown was again saturated with hundreds of British forces , including scores of jeeps . The start of the funeral was delayed for 30 minutes while Jim McKernan's white-faced widow appealed to the RUC to pull back , assuring them there would be no Irish Republican Guard of Honour . But the RUC ignored her and took no notice of her repeated request .

The mourners , who numbered more than a thousand , were aggressively hemmed-in by RUC Land Rovers and , outside the wake house , RUC men on the roofs of other Land Rovers aimed their weapons at the crowd , and armed RUC thugs also walked along-side the hearse . In Milltown Cemetery, according to the 'Irish News' report - " (British) soldiers took up positions behind gravestones and the RUC refused to allow anyone other than their own armed members to walk alongside the hearse from the cemetery gates to the Republican Plot.. "

Events at these two private funerals were an unspoken admission that the British authorities' target was not simply the symbols of the struggle for national freedom - IRA Firing Parties , berets , gloves or Tricolours - their broader aim was to repress the risen nationalist people into submission and to intimidate all public displays of support for those engaged in the armed struggle. However , on that same day - September 16th , 1986 - another funeral was also being held in Belfast : that of a UVF man . The RUC behaved in a very respectable manner at that event.......
(MORE LATER).

(PLEASE NOTE : we will be taking a short break from normal posting over the Christmas period - today , Friday 21st December , will be the last day this year that we will do one of our 'usual' posts , although we will post details of how the CABHAIR swim went and possibly a few other similar-type posts. We will return to 'normal' early in the New Year. Go raibh maith agat! Sharon.)






Thursday, December 20, 2007

WHERE DOES THE TIME GO....?

On A Walk Through Rebel Dublin with the Patriot and Heroine Anne Devlin and Charles Stewart Parnell ,
Charlie Kerins , Charlotte Despard, and Che Guevara , we talked ,with A Servant of the Queen , about A Compact History of Ireland .

It was a Courious Journey, this Oral History of Ireland’s Unfinished Revolution and many of the Milestones in Irish History were discussed , as we passed through Dublin Tenement Life . We had No Faith in the System , so we agreed on a Secret Map of Ireland but promised that , despite the Partition of Ireland and all of the ensuing Raids and Rallies , we would not strive for same On Another Man’s Wound....
.....see what else is available here!
Finally - in answer to the question asked at the top of this post -
keep an account of next years time with one of these -
(Front[right] and back of the RSF 2008 Calendar)
- a 2008 Republican calendar,available from here for a fiver (Euro or Sterling) !
Calendars, books, pamphlets, CD's, tapes, T-Shirts etc - all of a Republican 'flavour' - make great 'stocking fillers' and , indeed , make great presents all year round. Visit the Dublin shop at 223 Parnell Street ('phone 01-8729747) or the Belfast shop at 229 Falls Road ('phone 90319004) to make your choice .
Thanks !
Sharon.






Wednesday, December 19, 2007

THE CATHOLIC HIERARCHY - PROPPING-UP THE ORANGE STATE........

At a press briefing on May 3rd, 1983, Bishop Cathal Daly declared that a vote for Sinn Fein was 'a wasted vote' , and that people should think seriously before risking being seen as 'supporting violence' . As polling day approached , the rising crescendo of calls from Bishop Daly and other members of the Catholic hierarchy became increasingly explicit in their support for the SDLP. Against the background of this intervention into the arena of nationalist party politics , Patricia Collins sketches the role played by the leadership of the Catholic Church over the past fourteen years against nationalist resistance .
From 'IRIS' magazine , July 1983.

The Catholic hierarchy sought to use the visit of Pope John Paul II to Ireland in 1979 : what was promoted of his Drogheda address , rumoured to have been written for the Pope by Bishop Cahal Daly, is the plea to the IRA to lay down its arms . A muted call to 'responsible leaders' to enforce civil rights was quietly ignored by those same 'responsible leaders' and played down by the media . Video recordings of the Drogheda address were played again and again to Northern Catholic schoolchildren that year , in religious education classes .

Meanwhile , in the Autumn of 1979 , the Catholic hierarchy took part in an RUC-organised seminar on 'community relations' - in essence , how to get the RUC back into nationalist areas. The 'leaked' report of this secret seminar highlighted the hierarchy's continuing preoccupation : " A clergyman called for greater support of the RUC by ordinary people , and in particular for the ostracising of terrorists - this would include the denial of opportunities to achieve propaganda aims through funerals." Significantly , a few months later , all the churches on the Falls Road refused to accept the body of IRA Volunteer Kevin 'Dee' Delaney. Two weeks previously , Catholic clergymen had officiated at the military funeral of a UDR soldier shot by the IRA .

As for the Catholic schools located in 'difficult' areas (ie 'nationalist') , 'unobtrusive steps' would be taken to extend the use of the RUC's ' Youth Liaison Scheme' . It was said , in the course of the seminar , that "...teachers and other professional people could , by expressing tactfully their support of the RUC , facilitate the return to normal 'policing' . " Any youngster will testify to the fact that this was implemented , and that numerous mentions were made during school assemblies of the deaths of UDR and RUC personnel , while plastic bullet victims rarely if ever got an explicit mention.......
(MORE LATER).



THE POLITICS OF REPRESSION .......

Repression is not just bullets and the kick on the door at dawn. Repression is an integrated imperialist policy to deal with a risen people which encompasses all facets of social and political life.
From 'IRIS' magazine , July/August 1982.

British Colonel Robin Evelegh speaks of 'terrorists' but the gist of his argument is that the IRA is the military expression of the resistance of a whole community . Pure repression is seen as counter-productive and the battle should be waged at every level of society . This turn in British strategy materialised around 1975 when the IRA was engaged in an extended truce, which was time used by the British forces to collect vital intelligence on the IRA which was to prove the basis for a subsequent 'criminalisation' drive - jailing of freedom fighters on trumped-up charges but doing so in what they presented as 'due process of law' in order to impress international opinion .

This 'due process' involved the full use of the 'conveyor belt' between the brutal interrogation centres where 'confessions' were extracted or concocted , the Diplock Courts which sat without juries and convicted on the most transparent of 'evidence' , and the H-Blocks and Armagh Prison where 'special category' (ie 'political') status had been withdrawn as the final element in the 'criminalisation' of nationalist resistance - a decision which was to lead to the prisons becoming a vital battleground in the resistance struggle .

Hand in hand with this , the British government was trying to weaken and confuse republican resistance by winding down internment and by vague promises of an eventual declaration of intent to withdraw from the Six Counties : this was the beginning of a sophisticated new policy aimed at 'normalisation' of the occupied territories * , with the British portraying themselves as 'honest brokers between two warring religious factions' ('1169...'* Comment : Westminster now has the new SDLP/Workers Party - Provisional Sinn Fein - to assist them in that portrayal . Lord Adams and Lord McGuinness , amongst others in that vile outfit , will no doubt be further rewarded by the British for helping to 'normalise' the occupation in the Six Counties . The 'flip side' , of course , is that 'The Adams Family' have prolonged the Struggle by their traitorous efforts .).......
(MORE LATER).





REPUBLICAN MOURNERS DEFEAT RUC.......
Between December 1983 and May 1987 , over 25 republican or nationalist funerals were systematically attacked by the RUC as a matter of deliberate British policy . The objective was to drive mourners off the streets so that later Britain could claim dwindling support for republicanism as 'evidenced' by the small numbers attending IRA funerals . As Jane Plunkett reports , the opposite happened . More and more people came out to defend the remains of republican dead , the RUC were exposed as being as brutal and sectarian as ever , and these two factors , combined with damaging international news coverage , eventually forced the British government to reverse its policy of attacking republican funerals .
From 'IRIS' magazine , October 1987.

At the funerals of Strabane Volunteers Charlie Breslin and brothers Michael and David Devine in February 1985 , mourners followed the coffin in an atmosphere of almost unbearable tension . RUC stormtroopers caused numerous delays , breaking assurances to the family . After the cortege was already underway , the RUC halted it and insisted that Charlie Breslin's beret and gloves be removed and , during the ensuing stressful 45-minute delay , his bereaved father , Joe Breslin , collapsed and had to be carried into a nearby house .

The RUC's show of strength in this case was organised by James Crutchley, the same RUC officer who personally ordered the firing of the plastic bullet which killed Belfast mother-of-three Nora McCabe as she went to buy cigarettes one morning during the 1981 hunger-strike. Since then , RUC officer James Crutchley has been promoted to the position of RUC Assistant Chief Constable .

The determination of mourners was again tested on August 9th 1985 at the funeral of Volunteer Charles English in Derry : more than 4,000 people linked arms and thwarted attempts by the RUC to split the cortege . Under their courageous protection , a four-person uniformed IRA Guard of Honour accompanied Charles English's coffin from his Cable Street home to the city cemetery . The Leinster House administration remained , at all times , silent in relation to the ghoulish activities of the British forces and it was this silence which encouraged Westminster to continue with the vile practice of disrupting Republican funerals.......
(MORE LATER).

(PLEASE NOTE : we will be taking a short break from normal posting over the Christmas period - Friday 21st December will be the last day this year that we will do one of our 'usual' posts , although we will post details of how the CABHAIR swim went and possibly a few other similar-type posts. We will return to 'normal' early in the New Year. Go raibh maith agat! Sharon.)






Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Almost 12 months since it was 'only' thirty years.....

(UPDATE : this swim now has its own 'Jewellery Range'! And , as with all top-class pieces of jewellery , it has a 'history' attached to it...)

It began - properly structured and organised - in 1976 ,as a 'fundraiser with a difference' combined with the need to gain extra publicity for a situation which was then - as now - making world headlines . Those that sat down together in early September 1976 to tighten-up the then 'hit-and-miss' affair were a dedicated team who fully understood that to fail in their business would not only bring derision on them and the issue they sought to highlight , but would give their enemy a publicity coup which they would exploit to the fullest extent . With that in mind , the team persevered - favours were called-in , guarantees were secured , provisions obtained and word dispatched to like-minded individuals in the near-locale . At the appointed time on the agreed day - 12 Noon , Christmas Day 1976 - a soon-to-be 31-years-young event was 'born'.......
The CABHAIR Christmas Day Swim is , thankfully , still going strong and will be , as mentioned , 31-years-young on December 25th next!
Photographs of last years event can be viewed here and , if you can't make it to the actual swim itself , you might consider posting a donation to the following address :
CABHAIR
Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund
223 Parnell Street,
Dublin 1.
Ireland.

Thank You,
Go Raibh Maith Agat,

Sharon.






Monday, December 17, 2007

THE CATHOLIC HIERARCHY - PROPPING-UP THE ORANGE STATE........

At a press briefing on May 3rd, 1983, Bishop Cathal Daly declared that a vote for Sinn Fein was 'a wasted vote' , and that people should think seriously before risking being seen as 'supporting violence' . As polling day approached , the rising crescendo of calls from Bishop Daly and other members of the Catholic hierarchy became increasingly explicit in their support for the SDLP. Against the background of this intervention into the arena of nationalist party politics , Patricia Collins sketches the role played by the leadership of the Catholic Church over the past fourteen years against nationalist resistance .
From 'IRIS' magazine , July 1983.

In 1976 , the Irish Council Of Churches issued a report , in which they stated - " (There should be)...action by the Churches to ensure that their worship is not exploited by paramilitary organisations at funerals and commemorations ." There had however already been 'action' : in December 1975 , the Tricolour-draped coffin of IRA Volunteer Paul 'Basil' Fox had been turned away from St Paul's Church on the Falls Road in Belfast . The same 'action' was not in evidence in other churches when dead UVF and UDA members and , indeed , Catholic RUC and UDR men , were being buried .

1976 saw the rise (and fall) of the 'Peace Movement', which was strongly supported , aided and financed by the British government and the Churches (....like these people, that is..) . The support the emerging 'Peace People' received from the Catholic Hierarchy manifested itself in many ways - permission to use church grounds and premises , direct involvement of nuns , priests and church activists such as those of the Legion of Mary in the organisation of rallies and meetings, and moral support through statements and articles .

When the Peace People's circus crashed , it became clear that the IRA was here to stay (...until British agents within it managed to rise to the position where they attempted to constitutionalise it in 1986 , an act which resulted in the Provisional's military arm eventually morphing into that which it is today : a semi-'official' , semi-military outfit , 'allowed' by the political establishment to run financial scams and carry-out 'internal housekeeping' activity, as long as they no longer challenge 'the system' ) . The Catholic hierarchy looked to other means of helping to 'normalise' the Six Counties (...and found new allies, too..).......
(MORE LATER).




THE POLITICS OF REPRESSION .......

Repression is not just bullets and the kick on the door at dawn. Repression is an integrated imperialist policy to deal with a risen people which encompasses all facets of social and political life.
From 'IRIS' magazine , July/August 1982.

From 1970 (after a brief initial 'honeymoon' period) to 1972 , the British government followed a policy of naked repression on the assumption that the IRA could be defeated by a swift blow which would also separate it from its social support . Thus we had the massive internment of the early years and the now publicly admitted torture of internees, the Falls Road curfew of 1970, and Bloody Sunday in 1972, the latter being a massacre which showed the failure of the policy to 'separate' the IRA 'fish' from the 'water' of the nationalist community by these methods .

Henceforth a judicious blend of repression and 'reform' would be employed , and great effort was made to groom a respectable nationalist political voice- the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) - which could be used by the British in a counter-insurgency context because , bought off from time to time with a few meaningless 'reforms' (like this, for example) it could be portrayed as the legitimate voice of the nationalist people .

The more astute British leaders recognised the need for a more 'rounded' approach to the problem . One military strategist Colonel Robin Eveleigh, in a book entitled 'Peace-Keeping In A Democratic Society : Lessons Of Northern Ireland', (sic) published in 1978 , put it like this - " A campaign against terrorist-backed insurrection is not a military campaign alone : it is possible for the military to repress an area into a sort of calm , but the trouble will burst out again as soon as their pressure is reduced . Such a campaign is not only political or only an economic one . Nor is such a campaign a question of social services , welfare or housing . In a counter-terrorist campaign , the battle runs across every level and every activity of society . Thus the conflict must be seen by Government in terms of co-ordinating the whole social system . " Yes , indeed.......
(MORE LATER).






REPUBLICAN MOURNERS DEFEAT RUC.......
Between December 1983 and May 1987 , over 25 republican or nationalist funerals were systematically attacked by the RUC as a matter of deliberate British policy . The objective was to drive mourners off the streets so that later Britain could claim dwindling support for republicanism as 'evidenced' by the small numbers attending IRA funerals . As Jane Plunkett reports , the opposite happened . More and more people came out to defend the remains of republican dead , the RUC were exposed as being as brutal and sectarian as ever , and these two factors , combined with damaging international news coverage , eventually forced the British government to reverse its policy of attacking republican funerals .
From 'IRIS' magazine , October 1987.

On the night of December 19th , 1984 , the IRA fired three volleys of shots over the coffin of Seán McIlvenna, who had been killed on Active Service in Armagh . Yet the following day's funeral was the occasion for one of the largest RUC operations ever seen in West Belfast ; an RUC force estimated at nearly 1,000 lined the funeral route and saturated Milltown Cemetery and nearby nationalist areas , and about 30 RUC Land Rovers intruded inside the cemetery , with many more outside .

In an atmosphere of high tension , mourners had to link arms to protect Seán McIlvenna's coffin , which was draped with a Tricolour and bore a single red rose , placed there by his widow , Patricia . For over thirty minutes the funeral had to be halted after RUC Land Rovers attempted to split the cortege .

The end of the grief-filled month for republicans of December in 1984 saw the funeral , on December 23rd , of young Derry IRA Volunteer Ciaran Fleming - and the most gratuitously violent RUC attack of the year on any funeral . Many of the RUC had come in full riot gear of helmet , shield and body armour , to show that they were intent on violent disruption . Several times during a tense and exhausting funeral which lasted three full hours , the RUC baton-charged the mourners , which encouraged near-by children , standing on a wall , to throw stones at them in reprisal : the RUC then fired at least four plastic bullets into the funeral cortege , seriously injuring two people . During the afternoon , numerous mourners suffered bloody head wounds and one man was knocked unconscious by the RUC . Stewards were often forced to halt the proceedings because of this harassment but , despite the RUC's terror , the people stood firm and , in a twilight Bogside, three uniformed IRA Volunteers stepped out of the crowd and paid the IRA's traditional salute to their fallen comrade , as a forest of arms were raised in clenched-fist salute . Finally , thanks to the courage of thousands of nationalists , Volunteer Ciaran Fleming was laid to rest . By now , it was pitch black.......
(MORE LATER).