" 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 - ooops! It seems that our entry application was "not completed in time to be considered.." (?) and, as such, we are not now in the running. But we wish all the best to the successful entrants and to the organisers, and we hope all goes well for them on the day!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Following the recent publication of O'Malley's third book 'Raids And Rallies', on the Tan War years 1920-1921 , Frances-Mary Blake , who edited the book and his earlier works , writes an appreciation of the man who wrote 'On Another Man's Wound' and 'The Singing Flame'.
From 'IRIS' magazine , July 1983.

Ernie O' Malley's reputation was made while in his early twenties : by 1939 , aged 41 , he was seen as a legendary figure from the past , and at his death in 1957 'The Sunday Press' newspaper praised him as the very type of the resistance , exceptional even amongst exceptional men .

Ernest Bernard O' Malley came from a respectable and middle-class Catholic family , which accepted the Union and did well by it , yet he showed an early dislike of authority . When British King Edward VII visited Dublin to the cheers of most of his Catholic 'subjects' , the very young O' Malley refused to remove his hat and would spell 'King' with a small 'k'. The second son in a large family , he was a first-year medical student at University College Dublin when the Easter Rising first moved him towards Irish nationalism and republicanism , which he was later to define as "...not only the urge of the people to possess the soil and its products , but the free development of spiritual , cultural and imaginative qualities of the race.."

It was not a sudden conversion - no 'flash of light on the road to Damascus' , no immediate enthusiasm . Involvement and understanding came slowly out of what was at first an unwilling interest : belief grew slowly and was unencouraged by those around him , but eventually , aged just nineteen , he left home and university to become a full-time member of the IRA . And , in a sense , he would be 'on the run' for the rest of his life.......

BALLYMUN INTERVIEW....... "Ballymun is just like any other working-class area in Dublin , or even in Belfast , I suppose . It's just that Ballymun isn't houses , it's flats..."
From 'IRIS' magazine , July/August 1982.

The kids from the flats have it tough , too . 'Pat' and 'Mary' said - " There's nowhere for the kids . The flats are no place for them . You know , when there was a housing shortage they just put up this place to put all the people . It was just a dumping ground . Most people just live for pay-day and then they go out and get a few drinks . During the week most of them just stay in and watch television . The drink is a sort of safety valve for people . It's an escape , isn't it ? "

Asked about how the Catholic Church helps out in Ballymun Flats , 'Mary' replied - " The only 'facility' that's being built out here is churches . The Church control everything , even the youth clubs . They have their lackeys running things for them , but they reap the profits . We're all living in boxes - thousands of families - but the local priest's living in a house , with his housekeeper and a maid . His lackeys run the bingo for him , and they'll come around and ask us to do things like bake cakes and give them groceries , and then they'll have a garden fete or a sale of work and sell the stuff back to us again ! "

The Gardai , too , have no time and little interest in those that 'live' in the flats.......

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.

Relying on their own strength , the risen people had already shown to the world and to the British government their determination to bury their republican dead with honour and with dignity . Just as mass protest had smashed internment, just as the sacrifices of the hunger-strikers and mass protests had ended the systematic torture of republican prisoners in the H-Blocks, so once again the people had proved that courage and commitment and determination can change history and conclude successfully the long struggle for Irish freedom .

On Friday , May 8th , 1987 , republican Ireland suffered another tragic blow when eight Tyrone (PIRA Volunteers were mown down in an undercover British stake-out at Loughgall . At their funerals, the RUC were again present in large numbers but , for the most part , they kept their distance . They made no attempt to intervene when IRA guards of honour carried each Tricolour-draped coffin a short distance . Without RUC interference , the atmosphere was as it should be - quiet , dignified and respectful .