Friday, April 25, 2008


Two Irish athletes protest over the political nature of the Olympics :
Peter O'Connor ,Waterford (or Wicklow or England?) , and Limerick man Con Leahy staged a highly visible political protest on the claims that they were part of the 'United Kingdom' or 'Great Britain' team - they did this by raising an Irish Flag to the top of the 200 foot mast which dominated the stadium in Athens...

Peter O' Connor...

...and Con Leahy.

Erin go Bragh: The King Of Spring....

"My name's Duncan Campbell from the shire of Argyll
I've travelled this country for many's the mile
I've travelled through Ireland, Scotland and a'
And the name I go under's bold Erin-go-bragh

One night in Auld Reekie as I walked down the street
A saucy big polis I chanced for to meet
He glowered in my face and he gi'ed me some jaw
Sayin' "When cam' ye over, bold Erin-go-bragh?"

(From here)

Contrast the above with this - 'Frank Greally, spokesman for the Athletics Association of Ireland, admitted the political atmosphere was "getting quite stormy", but said he couldn't see any athletes "...breaking ranks .There is lots of pressure, but it is more political pressure than anything involving the athletes."
Management for medal hopeful Derval O'Rourke indicated that she did not wish to comment on politics, but was "just going out there to . . . hopefully win a medal".'
(From here.)

"It is only the superficial qualities that last . Man's deeper nature is soon found out."
Oscar Wilde.
Shame on them.

Wednesday, April 23, 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.

Hopefully , Ernie O' Malley's books should fire the imagination of a new generation of Irish republicans . In so many ways ' On Another Man's Wound' relates to what is happening today between the British and Irish nations . It is tragic that his wartime experiences should remain so pertinent but , nevertheless , those experiences are a source of guidance and encouragement to those who continue the struggle today. That book is one to convert the unbeliever and to inform the ignorant , just as Ernie O' Malley himself turned to republicanism at Easter 1916 when as a young medical student he witnessed Padraig Pearse reading the Proclamation outside the GPO in Dublin and then followed the subsequent events of the Rising .

His well-to-do family never discussed national politics at home - his elder brother was an officer in the British Army and died in that service , but Ernie devoted the best years of his life to the fight for the Irish Republic , so that in 1923 the Sinn Fein news-sheets claimed that he had '...perhaps the greatest individual record during the Tan War and was one of the bravest soldiers who ever fought for the independence of Ireland.' He wanted to show the struggle of a mainly unarmed people against the might of an 'empire' and his book pays constant tribute to the heroism of a risen people .

He was famed for his own courage , although like the truly brave he freely admitted to feelings of fear and inadequacy . Undeterred by mass condemnations from the British and their Irish allies, by newspapers and professional politicians and by the Catholic Hierarchy , between 1919 and 1921 the Irish Republican Army waged a war that also involved shooting 'policemen' , executing British Officers , burning buildings , punishing spies and informers - in short , all those actions which Westminster and Leinster House vie with each other in condemning today . And Ernie O' Malley was very active in all such actions.......

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.

A departmental committee established under the Stormont administration to enquire into the organisation of a force to replace the RIC, recommended (on March 31st 1922) that a new force , the 'RUC' , be set up comprising 3,000 men . Nominally , this force was to include one-third Catholics in its number , but because of loyalist sectarianism and the force's political role in defending partition , it was from the outset an almost exclusively Protestant and loyalist force .

The first priority of the newly-formed RUC was to eliminate the republican forces who still enjoyed popular support in the nationalist areas of the Occupied Six Counties . To achieve this , the 'Constabulary Act (Northern Ireland) 1922', incorporated the already established 'Special Constabulary' fully into the RUC . This 'Special Constabulary' had been set up in 1920 by the British administration to combat the increasingly effective IRA forces in the north-east of the island . The unionist leader , 'Lord' Edward Carson, had organised it , and it was composed almost entirely of former units of the Ulster Volunteer Force from the gun-running era.

Within a year of its formation the 'Specials' - 'A' , 'B' and 'C' classes, although only the 'B' Specials lasted long , numbered more than 30,000 men , and at the end of 1921 the Stormont administration assumed control over them from the British government . By the end of 1922 when they were incorporated into the RUC , the 'Specials' numbered 50,000 well-armed men.......

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.

Many lessons emerged from this operation : the 'chain of success' began with the suspicions of an alert British Army corporal on a routine patrol and the planned surveillance of the pub in question . The Observation Post Commander sent to watch it moved in time to evade trouble and to turn the tables on his probable assailants . The rapid arrival of reinforcements and their efficient direction from an airborne command post captured three of the four men directly involved and their weapons . It was a well-planned and stage-managed operation at every level .

The main technical innovations of the Provisional IRA in 1978 were the increased use of remote-controlled bombs which enabled them to destroy targets in greater safety and with more precision , and a new method of making explosives from fertilisers . Clearly this made life more difficult for the British despite restrictions on the sale of sodium chloride-based weed-killers , and the control in the import and movement of explosives .

Clearly radio-controlled bombs have made the British task immeasurably more difficult . The jamming of radio frequencies is difficult because of not knowing which frequencies to jam . The search for a counter to this threat continues by the British but , in the meantime , the IRA have a much more effective bombing capacity . The year 1979 saw an upsurge in attacks against British forces , particularly against 'off-duty' UDR men - the PIRA appreciated their importance as the eyes and ears of Westminster , and their value in supporting the RUC. Remotely-detonated bombs caused nearly thirty per cent of enemy deaths in an IRA campaign against the British Army which concentrated on rural and border areas.......
(PLEASE NOTE : we will be taking a break for a week or so in early May.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

(For 'Brit Queen Poster' article, click here)
(UPDATE : the foreign queen has left her Dublin 'throne' ...)

Captain Mártan Ó hÓgáin's Commemorative Stone , Gracepark Road , Dublin.

" A few months after Mártan Ó hÓgáin was done to death by Free State forces , four Tyrone IRA anti-treaty Volunteers were captured by a platoon of 'B' Specials and shot dead on the spot. Their genitals were cut-off and placed in their mouths and obscenities about the Pope were written on the road with blood from their entrails . At the 'inquest' into this butchery , the platoon Commander defended the savagery of his troops by stating that they had recently seen action in Palestine . No 'Court' penalty followed...."

- a section of the short speech delivered by the Chairperson of today's wreath-laying ceremony , John Horan -

Pike and RSF banner .

" The time of Captain Ó hÓgáin's death was the period in which the Free Staters sanctioned the executions of seventy-seven anti-treaty POW's . It was the period in which Free Staters tied nine POW's to a landmine at Ballyseedy before detonating it and riddling the mangled remains with machine-gun fire..."

1916 Proclamation being read at the Ó hÓgáin wreath-laying ceremony.

" Up to 1923 - when Mártan Ó hÓgáin was done to death by the Free Staters - seven Irish republicans had died on hunger-strike : Tom Ashe from Kerry , Michael Fitzgerald , Terence McSwiney ,Joe Murphy ,Denis Barry and Andy O' Sullivan, all from Cork , and Joe Witty from Wexford . Today - 85 years after the death of Captain Ó hÓgáin - twenty-two Irish men have died on hunger-strike. All fought and died for the same Cause , part of the same on-going struggle..."

Laying the wreath .

Those in attendance marched the short distance from the corner of Collins Avenue/Gracepark Road to the Commemorative Stone , where they were welcomed by the Chairperson , John Horan . After a short speech , John called for one minutes silence and then asked the Flag Bearer to dip the National Flag . He then asked Donal to play a lament ('The Foggy Dew') on the tin whistle , following which a Wreath was laid . The attendees were thanked (with the stated exclusion of the four Special Branch men present) and the Chairperson again reiterated the link between that which Captain Ó hÓgáin fought for and that which republicans today are fighting for . He then brought proceedings to an end.

Flag Bearer at Captain Mártan Ó hÓgáin's wreath laying ceremony.
(More on this wreath-laying ceremony can be found here and here.)


The above poster - all seventy foot of it - was recently erected on the side of a building in Dublin which hires itself out for functions/gigs etc. No doubt in an effort to secure free publicity for some upcoming event or other , the owners/promoters decided to try and 'stir things up' by using a controversial image in the hope of selling more tickets for whatever gig it is they're trying to advertise. It seems that not everyone appreciated their efforts -


Could we suggest that if the owners/promoters of said venue/gig wish to use an image of a British monarch to obtain free publicity for a planned event , they use an image which more properly represents the legacy which said monarch has visited on this isle , such as the following picture represents -


- it might not help with ticket sales but , as well as being more honest , it could save a few bob on poster repairs.....
(UPDATE : Radio station news reports have stated that the torn poster has been further damaged by at least two petrol bombs which were thrown at it. More information and , hopefully , a picture or two will follow if and when we receive same.)