" 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.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

British ambassador Christopher Ewart-Biggs : a willing pawn for his 'empire'.


ONE WELL-KNOWN ATTEMPT BY WESTMINSTER TO USE THE DEATH OF A 'FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE' AS A 'BARGAINING CHIP' . (Or - ' We have no permanent friends or permanent enemies , only permanent interests...')

British ambassador Christopher Ewart-Biggs CMG OBE was assassinated in Sandyford , Dublin , by the then IRA , on July 21 , 1976. Westminster and its agents attempted to use his death as a 'bargaining chip' in its dealings with Leinster House ....

' We should use this event to seek gestures from Dublin...'
Four days after the death of Ewart-Biggs , the then 'Acting Ambassador' , a John Hickman , wrote in a memo to the 'Northern Ireland Office' (that is , the British political 'Front Line' in Occupied Ireland) that he could not imagine "...a better time than the present for the Irish government (sic) to bring itself to make some specific gesture of good-will towards Britain . The biggest single benefit which we could expect to derive from the Irish people's sense of shame and responsibility (sic : it's Westminster that should feel "shame" and take full "responsibility" for its murderous outrages on this isle) ..." would be an official decision by Leinster House not to pursue the state case at Strasbourg concerning the inhuman and degrading treatment of suspects being interrogated by British forces in the North-East of Ireland ! Hickman also toyed-around with the idea of using the death of Ewart-Biggs as an opportunity to secure from Leinster House cross-border 'rights' for armed British forces that is , to allow those armed thugs to freely cross the imposed border whenever they wanted ! But then the good 'acting ambassador' changed his mind , stating - " The overall benefit (of 'cross-border rights') would certainly not be comparable in political terms to the removal of the prospect of Her Majesty's government being nagged and pilloried over the state case (ie the Strasbourg 'Inhuman and Degrading Treatment' case) for a long time to come..." In other words - 'We (Westminster) can get better value out of the death of our friend and colleague Ewart-Biggs by using it as a you-owe-us-one to convince Dublin to turn a blind-eye to the way we abuse suspects in the North'.


' I told Dublin that they owe us big...'
John Hickman stated that , on July 22 , 1976 , he told Garret Fitzgerald (Fine Gael party) that "...there would never be a time when the inhibiting effects of public opinion on the Irish government's (sic) freedom of action would be less than now ." Hickman then reported back to political officials in the 'Northern Ireland Office' , stating - " As time goes on , the psychological opportunity to speak in specific terms (ie 'to use the death of Biggs to get exactly what we want') to the Irish government (sic) will pass . It might not be possible to indicate to them (Leinster House) that the onus is on them to respond to the present situation (that is , the death of Biggs) by making a significant political gesture." He was of the opinion that Leinster House would issue "...an agreed statement.."
( 'agreed' , that is , between Westminster and the political misfits in Leinster House) that "...(the Irish government) do not intend to take further action.." on any Strasbourg report into the ill-treatment of suspects and/or detainees by British forces in the North !


' Any such deal for profit might be in bad taste...'
However - on hearing of Hickman's intentions , an un-named 'senior civil servant' at Westminster's 'Foreign And Colonial Office' voiced his un-ease over such a 'deal' : on July 28 , 1976 , this 'conscientious objector' wrote in an internal memo : " To canvass the idea of a 'bargain' , however tactfully and obliquely , on the lines adumbrated by Mr Hickman , would appear to be in bad taste , especially to the Irish who , if one may generalise , tend to treat death and funerals with more attention than we do." But the 'Northern Ireland Office' disagreed with their "in bad taste" colleague and , on July 29 , 1976 , a meeting was held by the 'NIO' to discuss , as they put it , 'How Her Majesty's Government might best profit from the situation .." It was actually during that same meeting that word came through that Garret Fitzgerald (Fine Gael) had contacted Roy Hattersley , the then British Minister of State at the British Foreign And Commonwealth' Office , to say that his administration might postpone the publication of the Strasbourg report , but 'NIO' officials were already having second thoughts about looking for such a postponement , fearing that the report would actually have a greater impact if it became known that they had tried to 'hush it up' .


' Use the death to tell the Irish it's time to forget the past...'
In the summer of 1976 , Hickman reported back to Westminster : " Even the assassination of a British ambassador in Ireland has not been enough to persuade Irish opinion that the time has come to forget the past (sic- it's still a live and on-going political issue in Ireland) and unite to destroy the common enemy.." What he meant by 'the common enemy' was the IRA which , at the time , was indeed an 'enemy' of Westminster's plans for and intentions in Ireland , instead of the anti-republican militia which that organisation is today . Hickman added - " The goodwill passed as quickly as it came " , meaning that Westminster had believed that the opportunity to 'spin' the death of Christopher Ewart-Biggs and make politicl capital from his death , was their's for the asking at some stage .


' Let's get money from the Irish in compensation ...'
In December 1976 , the Leinster House administration (under Cosgrave , Fine Gael) handed over a sum of £65,000 sterling to Westminster in 'compensation' in relation to the death of Ewart-Biggs , but the 'NIO' wanted more : British Officials insisted that the Dublin Administraton should also pay for the transportation costs incurred by its people in relation to travelling to Dublin in connection with the Biggs case ! Apparently , it never got that 'claim for expenses' from Leinster House - probably only due to misplaced paperwork or some such 'innocent' reason , as it's not like those servile political idiots in that institution to say 'No' to Westminster !

Footnote : Britain invaded and occupied more than 56 countries , and murdered an estimated six million native people in those countries who resisted their 'presence' . It is the opinion of this blog , and an opinion shared by true Irish Republicans wherever they might be , that the only solution to that British presence is to remove it , by whatever means necessary . So-called 'Treaties' and/or 'Agreements' only prolong that vile presence , making the native lackies rich and 'respectable' in the process . For Ireland to 'Move On' , politically , Westminster will have to 'Move Out' .

Sharon.






Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ERNIE O'MALLEY : SOLDIER OF OGLAIGH na hEIREANN .
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.

When the truce of July 1921 took effect between the Irish Republican Army and British Crown Forces , a young IRA leader wrote to a fellow Republican Officer - " What do you think of the Peace Move ? There seems to be something in it whatever it is . Perhaps Dev would accept a Republic with the exclusion of Ulster . We are very much worried as we don't know what way the game is going . The number of real Republicans , even in the IRA is small - that is , of men who will see the Republic through to the bitter end. " That young IRA leader's name was Ernie O'Malley and he had been so active in the war that , in recognition of his energy , organising ability and outstanding personal courage , he was appointed Officer Commanding of the 2nd Southern , the second-largest IRA Division in the country .

Early in 1921 , RIC reports from Dublin Castle had named O' Malley as " ...a notorious rebel..". Late in 1922 , the Free State's military command would claim that " The capture of Ernie O' Malley should mean the complete breakdown of their ('Irregular' ie Irish Republican Army) organisation in the North Eastern area ." Ernie O' Malley was acknowledged by all to be an Irish Republican par excellence.

If it is now again fashionable in some circles to denigrate 1916 and all the Easter Rising ever sought , then by contrast the Civil War that followed the 1916-1921 fighting has been tacitly ignored . And yet the year 1922 was a watershed for Ireland . During that crucial year Ernie O' Malley had a prominent part in what he called , in a letter he sent to a Dublin newspaper while hunted and on the run in August 1922 , "...a just and holy Cause : namely , the defence of the Republic to which we have sworn to be faithful.." Ernest Bernard O'Malley, Soldier of Oglaigh na hEireann , was much more than 'just' a soldier.......
(MORE LATER).



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.

Aged in their twenties , with four young children , 'Pat' and 'Mary' have been living in their three-bedroom flat for about four years , and hope to move although they expect to have to wait at least two years . Even then they will have no choice where - Tallaght or Blanchardstown : " You need too many points for the other areas." They have asked that we not use their real names .

On the heating system in the block of flats that they live in , they said - " The hot water goes off when the heating breaks down . And it's always breaking down . The shortcoming of the system was that they didn't give each flat a controller to regulate the heat . It just comes up through the floor , if it's on everyone gets it . It's even too warm here in the winter ."

The lifts that are supposed to serve each floor are another source of grief- " They've hired a private maintenance company to fix the lifts , instead of replacing them . It probably wouldn't be in their interests that the lifts keep working , you know ? It'd put them out of a job . " Speaking about jobs and work , 'Pat' says - " If you go for a job and give a Ballymun address it's hard - this area has a bad name . You can't even get car insurance , it's a 'high risk' area . If you go for a hire purchase scheme to pay for something and give a Ballymun address you won't get the deal . And then there's shopping - there's only one supermarket and they charge what they like. " The kids from the area have their own problems , too.......
(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 RUC didn't like the fact that republicans had let it be known that they , too , were capable of disrupting funerals , if need be . So when at the end of April 1987 , the (P)IRA shot dead the UVF second-in-command William 'Frenchie' Marchant, whom the (P)IRA named as "directly involved" in the killing of Larry Marley , the RUC could not afford an embarrassing repeat of the Bingham funeral , when they were seen to stand back and just observe as UVF leader John Bingham was buried with full paramilitary trappings . The RUC pressurised the UVF into giving up the customary military funeral and William Marchant was buried privately . Even so , there was no RUC 'show of strength' , no riot gear , no attempt to stop mourners forming-up behind the Ulster-flag draped coffin .

On May 6th , 1987 , as (P)IRA Volunteer Finbarr McKenna was being buried , British 'Direct Ruler' Tom King made a well-publicised call for the "whole community" to support the RUC whose aim was , he claimed , to offer "...a just and impartial service to the community.." . That same day , acting under orders from Tom King and others , the RUC were batoning and firing lethal plastic bullets at unarmed civilian mourners at Finbarr McKenna's funeral . Tom King's remarks stand as a text-book example of Britain's real contempt for the opinions of ordinary nationalists .

The 1985 Hillsborough Treaty (the 'London-Dublin Agreement') and its promises of 'better times for Northern nationalist' was propaganda aimed essentially at a narrow sector of the Nationalist middle-class , and at public opinion outside the Occupied Six Counties . Tom King was not the only cynic - as the 'Irish establishment' broke its long silence over RUC attacks on funerals , the SDLP's Joe Hendron predicted out of the blue that the Free State government would "...intercede.." on behalf of Northern nationalists - using the Hillsborough Treaty , of course ! And of course a general election was almost upon us and Joe Hendron was one of the SDLP's candidates.......
(MORE LATER).