Saturday, April 11, 2009


“RIC Head Constable Peter Burke and his brother, Sgt Michael Burke are attacked by the IRA in a public house (Mrs Smith’s three miles outside Balbriggan, Co. Dublin) . In retaliation, the Auxiliaries carry out reprisals in Balbriggan killing two suspected IRA men…”
(From here.)

An RSF-organised Easter wreath-laying ceremony was held today (Saturday 11th April 2009) on the bridge in Balbriggan , County Dublin , in memory of Séamus Lawless and Séan Gibbons : about forty republicans gathered on both sides of the bridge to take part in and watch the proceedings , which were chaired by Andy Connolly , Dublin RSF , who mentioned , amongst other things , that the men and women who decided to take on the might of the (then) ‘British empire’ did not do so in order that a British-sponsored Administration , staffed and maintained by Irish gombeens , should be established .

Ten Special Branch men were present throughout the proceedings , but their presence did not deter the Republicans from holding a dignified Commemoration , of which we publish four pictures from with this post.
A full report will be published in the May 2009 issue of ‘Saoirse’ , which will be published on April 29 next.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

THE IRA : the new IRA is younger , more radical and has seen little of life other than violence.......
By Ed Moloney.
From 'Magill' magazine, September 1980.

ED MALONEY : " British undercover surveillance has been responsible for a number of recent arrests of IRA teams in transit , this year . How badly does this activity affect the IRA ? "

IRA : " The Brits are very, very good at undercover work. This is what they are into now . Nevertheless we are totally satisfied that we know why our active service units are caught . While the British are good we always know where they operate and why they operate . Because the population is hostile to them and sympathetic to us they tell us about them . They're not that effective but they're a hindrance and they probably perceive their role as that. "


For some Northern nationalists the Anglo-Irish Agreement ('Hillsborough Treaty',1985) only makes their lives more dangerous , for others it offers hope on a road to nowhere. Fionnuala O'Connor visited a (Provisional) Sinn Fein advice centre in the Ardoyne and Seamus Mallon's office in Newry.
From 'MAGILL' magazine, December 1986.

No matter how often you hear it described , only going there explains how how closed-in Ardoyne is , how few the streets along which you can drive - or even walk - into those treeless , featureless , straight lines of houses .

Concrete bollards , corrugated iron , mobile but rarely moved barriers ; the sealed entrances have a dual purpose - they keep loyalist murder-gangs out and they make it easier to seal off republican Ardoyne for close inspection by the British Army and the RUC .

'Parc an Ghleanna Ard' , says the street sign ; 'Brompton Park' , says the map . Westminster hasn't yet got around to legalising Irish street-names as part of the 'Anglo-Irish Agreement's' (Hillsborough Treaty's) first and long-heralded package of recognition for the Irish identity . But in the parts of Belfast where the Provos are strongest , Irish street-names predate that Treaty . Sometimes they're Irish only , sometimes politely bilingual , with the Irish version on top , of course. Elsewhere , it's 'Brompton Park' at the end where Ardoyne nears the outside world and 'Parc an Ghleanna Ard' at the other end.......

Anne and Eileen Gillespie were arrested in April 1974 following an explosion in a Manchester house where IRA Volunteers were preparing incendiaries , and were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for earlier bombing attacks in which they had no part , serving the bulk of their sentence in the maximum security wing of Durham Jail. Released at the end of last August , they talked to 'IRIS' about their experience , at their home in Gweedore , County Donegal .
From 'IRIS' magazine, August 1984.

A day on 'H' Wing started with being woken at 7am . They would then unlock us at 8am , after which we had 20 minutes to do everything before we had to present ourselves for work. It was ridiculous - we had to slop-out , wash in an overcrowded washroom , have breakfast , collect any medication and make any applications to the prison authorities we might have . All in just twenty minutes.

Prisoners had access to all the drugs they wanted , both legal and illegal . A lot of drugs were smuggled into the prison , but so-called 'Control Drugs' were freely available - you could get Valium etc whenever you wanted . One of us suffered from palpitations of the heart and they dished out Largactyl!

When we heard about the terrible things that were happening in Armagh Jail we could identify with their situation . They were happening to us as well , although on a smaller scale. In Armagh the women were stronger because they had one another. We were strip-searched and had cell changes in a similar way . If you caused 'trouble' , the male Screws would be called and women were dragged out of their cells naked and screaming.......

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Agus Fáilte Abhaile!

.... and we're back. Already!

Our two-week holiday flew in ; felt more like two days. A group of us girls had been saving our pennies since May '08 for the holiday , and finally decided in early March '09 that we had enough put away in the kitty to make the arrangements - so we ended-up , again, in New York and , once again - we had a Ball!

We stayed in a guest-house near Union Square run by an Irish couple and their family , who spoiled us rotten and constantly forgave us our sins as we stumbled home in the not-so-early hours of the morning , the worst for wear and tear (!) and then, after a few hours sleep , a shower and change of clothes and a good breakfast (supper?) we headed-off to conquer another far-flung corner of our host city! As expected when a group of Ladies are holidaying like this , we literally shopped 'till we dropped - each of us brought over one large suitcase containing just one full change of clothes and one empty smaller case which we knew would pass as 'hand luggage' and , again as expected, each of us brought home the above pieces of luggage, bursting at the seams, plus a bigger suitcase each.
And even then we had to share two newly-purchased medium-sized suitcases between us!
However - enough already of our tales of woe ;-) : I can publish a few pics here of our travels , but most of our photographic memories are for our eyes only....

Just like the Irish - fighting terrorism for centuries.

One of our 3rd Avenue 'home-from-homes' !

One of the dozens of parks we stopped in for a breather - and to plan our next assault on 5th Avenue!

And a big 'Go Raibh Maith Agat' to Pat and family , to Sam , Frankie and Shay from the Bronx , and to Kevin , Mal , Heno and Larry from Queens , to the lads from Brooklyn and to our good friends in Hell's Kitchen : we'll be in touch , as promised , and we're already saving for next year..... !
Finally - we hope to see as many of ye as possible next week and at this event, the week after. We'll be back to normal service this coming Wednesday. We should be finished packing-away our new wardrobes by then....
Thanks for reading!