Thursday, April 03, 2008

85th Anniversary of Poulacapple killing .

20 April, 1923 : Frank Aiken is elected IRA Chief of Staff.

22 April, 1923 : Free State troops surround Frank Aiken, Paidrag Quinn and Sean Quinn, the leaders of the Anti-Treaty forces in the Dundalk area, in a safe house in Castlebellingham. A firefight breaks out in which the two Quinns are wounded - Sean mortally - and subsequently captured. In the confusion, Aiken manages to slip away....

Between the IRA election of Frank Aiken and the Castlebellingham incident (ie on 21 April 1923) IRA Captain Martin Hogan , from Dromineer in County Tipperary , was killed in action in Poulacapple , Tipperary .

A commemoration in honour of Captain Hogan , organised by the Liam Mellows Cumann of Republican Sinn Fein
(Dublin north inner city) will be held on Sunday , 20 April 2008 , at 3pm : those attending are asked to assemble opposite Whitehall Bingo Hall (Buses 16 or 16A from Dublin City Centre).


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ernie O'Malley, pictured during his arrest in Dublin Castle in 1921 . He was using the alias 'Bernard Stewart' .
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.

On August 10th and 11th , 1924 , the remaining original members of the pre-Civil War Irish Republican Army Executive (that is those of them who had opposed and fought against the Treaty of Surrender in 1921) , together with the co-opted members of the Executive during the Civil War (about 26 people in all) met secretly to review the past and decide policy for the future .

Ernie O' Malley was voted on the 'Sub-Commission Committee to the Executive for Emergency Consultative Purposes' , and it was he who proposed the motion , at this first post-Civil War general meeting of the Executive : 'That Volunteers be instructed not to recognise Free State and Six County Courts when charged with any authorised acts committed during the War or for any political acts committed since , nor can they employ legal defence except charged with an act liable to the death penalty.' This motion was passed unanimously , and that refusal to recognise those courts in one way or another lasted until the 1970's .

An important theme of his books is the treatment of republican prisoners , who were even then denied prisoner-of-war status : a concern for all IRA men unaccepted as political prisoners or prisoners-of-war , and all his life he supported their lonely cause . He himself had taken part in the mass hunger-strike of October/November 1923, although medically exempted and suffering intense pain from old wounds and bed sores , for the length of its 41 days and being one of the four in Kilmainham Jail who had wanted to continue.......

AN OUTLINE HISTORY OF THE RUC . RUC brutality , torture , murder and lies were brushed aside as the unionist establishment congratulated itself for the continuing existence of a paramilitary force which had maintained and safe-guarded its rule in the Occupied Six Counties of Ireland.......
From 'IRIS' magazine , July/August 1982.

There were no newspaper editorials recalling the hideous murder of trade union activist Brian Maguire at the hands of his RUC interrogators in Castlereagh in 1978 . Or the 'disappearance' of Jackie McMahon on January 18th , 1978 , after his arrest by the RUC , and the finding of his drowned body in the River Lagan months later .

The columns of 'The Belfast Telegraph' newspaper were empty of condemnations of the RUC killers of young Julie Livingstone in May 1981 , and of those other nationalists murdered by the plastic bullet weapon which British rulers have equipped their RUC 'peace-keepers' with . And the local councils omitted to mention the torture centres such as Castlereagh and Gough barracks, or the Bennett Report, or the Amnesty International Report, or the European Court of Human Rights condemnation of torture techniques in 1971. The 'conveyor belt' from the nationalist ghettos to the H-Blocks and Armagh, in which the RUC play an integral role with their trade in torture , blackmail and perjury , was totally ignored.......

British Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Dewar of the Royal Green Jackets has served in Cyprus , Borneo and Malaya , as well as in the Occupied Six Irish Counties . He has written three previous books - 'Internal Security Weapons And Equipment Of The World' and 'Brushfire Wars' . The extracts reproduced here are from 'The British Army In Northern Ireland' , which was published by 'Arms and Armour Press' in 1985 . The underlined comments in this article are ours . This article reflects the operational thinking of a British military commander , more so than his political or ideological outlook.
From 'IRIS' magazine , October 1987.

As soon as the British Army Staff Sergeant's report reached his Battalion HQ , four British soldiers were 'scrambled' in a Scout helicopter , and the Company Commander of the Patrol Company was also sent , in a Gazelle helicopter - another eight British soldiers under a Platoon Commander were bundled into a large Puma helicopter . The Company Commander issued orders on the radio as the British force flew into the operational area .

On arrival in the twilight at about 10.15pm , the Company Commander remained airborne to direct the action from the Gazelle helicopter - he ordered the Scout 'copter to land behind a knoll just north of the road , about 400 metres east of the bungalow at 'C' and close to the building from the east to block off the gunmen's escape northwards and eastwards . When the Puma arrived it was told to land southwest of the house near House 'D' , to prevent escape to the south and to 'deal' with the gunmen . As the British soldiers from the Puma moved in , all the escape routes from House 'C' were covered by fire from the British Observation Post patrol on the hillside and the two helicopter forces without endangering one another's safety .

Meanwhile , the IRA Volunteers had barricaded the door of the bungalow and closed the curtains : one of them , John Quinn, got in touch with the RUC on the telephone offering to surrender to them in preference to the British Army . By that time , the British soldiers from the Puma helicopter had surrounded the bungalow and its commander was shouting for those inside to surrender . They refused . A junior British Army officer , not knowing if the IRA Volunteers were holding the inhabitants of the cottage hostage , crept up to a window , smashed the glass with the butt of his rifle , fired three or four rounds up through the roof and called for those inside to surrender . John Quinn and Raymond McCreesh came out without their weapons.......

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Some of the RSF members and supporters who took part in the 'Health Protest March' .

Despite heavy rain from early morning , many thousands of people took to the streets of Dublin yesterday in support of trade union calls for a proper health service for their members ,other workers and for all who live in the State : Republican Sinn Fein had a presence at the assembly point from 2pm onwards , with a named placard stating - 'Leinster House: A Morally Sick Institution' , a sentiment which received applause from other participants and from passers-by . Members and supporters of the organisation marched with the other protestors to Leinster House , in what was a noisy and colourful demonstration , to drive home the message to the inmates that are employed therein (and who sometimes work there) that their callous disregard for the health and welfare requirements of the citizens of the State is not acceptable to those citizens , who pay the large salaries of the well-suited Lords and Ladies who occasionally cast their spoiled shadow in said institution.
All-in-all , despite a lower than hoped for turnout , that message was delivered to those who , for now , control the purse-strings and use the contents of same to safeguard their own health and welfare at the expense of the financially poorer sections of this society . Like those that went before them, their 'legacy' will be remembered...

SIPTU members gathering for the protest march.

Protestors from County Louth and 'People Before Profit' campaigners.

'Health March' leaving Parnell Square for Leinster House.



A full house at the ballad session in the 79'r !

The wet weather didn't keep the punters away , and the 'no-show' of the advertised group didn't make them leave !
Poor Liam ! In between the showers of rain and with only hours to go before the start of the gig, he was notified that the booked ballad group couldn't make it : frantic telephone calls and much 'toing and froing' between different contacts - some of whom were on the above-mentioned 'Health March' and therefore not in a position to help , but knew others that might be in such a position : more frantic 'phone calls! - eventually secured the services of the
'Full Irish' ballad group , well known in the area and with their own well-deserved following! Phew......

The doors opened at 9pm , last drinks were at 12.30am and between those hours the crowd were welcomed to the POW fund-raiser, the new group were introduced to the packed venue and an explanation given for the no-show of the original group (anyone that wanted to leave with their admission price back was offered same - no takers! Those that stayed - everyone! - were given five free raffle tickets in appreciation), the eight items that would be going home with new owners that night were shown to the crowd - six for the raffle and two (A Celtic bodhron and a beautiful Bobby Sands memorial candle [thanks , Cathy!] that were to be auctioned) , hundreds of Euro worth of raffle tickets were sold , two of the organising committee got drunk [such was their relief that all was working out so well!] and both Liam and Kevin came to the same conclusion at the same time : that John would have to be physically removed from behind the live microphone he had somehow managed to get hold of . Liam won !
It was a fantastic night (and early morning !) which was organised by the local RSF organisation on behalf of the
CABHAIR group : a sincere 'Go Raibh Maith Agat' to , amongst others , Willie , Fintan , Joe and Frankie , for wiping Liam's brow (!) , to Cathy for the much sought-after Bobby Sands candle , to the management and staff of the pub , to all the punters that attended and to Kevin , Brendan , Joe , Benny and Dan for helping to make the event the success it was !

Some of the items that found new homes on the night!

Part of the 'Full Irish' giving it all of the full lash!