Tuesday, December 31, 2013



Dáithí came from a strong Cork Republican family. His uncle Michael O’Sullivan (17), along with five of his comrades, was bayoneted to death by British Crown forces in March 1921. He joined Sinn Féin at the age of 17 during the local elections in 1955. By the end of the following year he was on active service as a Volunteer in the Irish Republican Army , serving as an organiser under GHQ staff in Co Fermanagh.

On January 1, 1957 he was second-in-command of the Pearse Column during the attack on Brookeborough RUC barracks which resulted in the deaths of two of his comrades, Fearghal Ó hAnluáin and Seán Sabhat. Four others were wounded including the column commander. At 18 years of age Dáithí took command and led a successful withdrawal back across the border – evading 400 RUC, B-Specials, two helicopters and the British army – where they were forced to retire. He was then imprisoned in Mountjoy and the Curragh Concentration camp from where he escaped with his friend and comrade Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in September 1958.

He returned to active service and for a period was Director of Operations. He was critically wounded in an ambush by the RUC and B-Specials in Arboe, Co Tyrone on the shores of Lough Neagh in November 1959. He made his escape but was forced to seek help because of loss of blood and his weakened condition. He was captured by Crown Forces and was sentenced to eight years which he served in Belfast’s Crumlin Road Jail. Following his release in 1963 he reported back to active service.

In 1969/70 he again made his talents available to the Republican Movement. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said of him he possessed the 'ablest mind in the Republican Movement for over 20 years'. The sheer breadth of his ability and intellect was evidenced by his service to the All-Ireland Republic both militarily and politically. He had a central role in framing ÉIRE NUA and remained a tireless advocate of it right up to his death in 1991.

Dáithí Ó Conaill never equivocated on what was the cause of the war in Ireland or what was required to deliver a just and lasting peace for all of the Irish people. Speaking in Belfast at Easter 1973 he said: 'Today, the central issue in the war is one of conflict between Ireland’s right to freedom and England’s determination to keep us in subjection. All other issues are subordinate to this basic point. There can be no compromise on the fundamental issue as to who should rule Ireland: the British Parliament or the Irish people. We have had 800 years of British ineptitude in ruling Ireland; we have never known rule by the Irish, of the Irish, for the Irish. Until we do, we shall never enjoy peace and stability in our land....
(From here.)

We will post a brief report on the commemoration, with a few pics , on this blog , before the weekend. But if you can make it to the commemoration itself , please do - all genuine republicans welcome!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Thursday, December 26, 2013



The six CABHAIR swimmers (including one whose hand is so glad to be out of the freezing water that it's laughing!) that took part in the Swim at the 3rd lock in Inchicore, Dublin, on Christmas Day 2013.

First , the weather forecast : the swim was held on what was the only dry and 'gale-less' day that we have had in Dublin in about two weeks , and not only that , but a wee bit of weak sunshine managed to land on and around the swim site for the four hours that the whole event lasted for. The only dark cloud was the presence of four Special Branch detectives (three male, one female) who were a bit more intrusive than they usually are and, indeed, threatened to arrest at least one person whom they felt was not co-operating with them to their satisfaction : a few words were exchanged and that threat came to nothing.

The annual 'Speech from The Lock' was , as usual, delivered by John Horan, Clondalkin, Dublin, during which Martin Corey , Marian Price and Stephen Murney were mentioned , and attention was also drawn to the fact that Cabhair had held similar fund-raising swims in that same week in Armagh , Coney Island in New York , Australia and , on New Years Day, a sponsored swim will be held on Banna Strand in Kerry - plus , when we were on site, we got word from the Wexford Swim that fourteen swimmers had earned their keep there, that same morning!

A crowd of about fifty people gathered at the site (with approximately two dozen others observing proceedings from the bridge) and all watched intently as six brave souls stripped off and eased, jumped and/or dived (!) into the cold waters in which , on the far side of the lock gates - mere meters from where the actual swim was taking place - lumps of ice could be spotted floating in the water and frost was visible on the grass! One of the swim organisers let it be known that , on Christmas Eve , at around lunch time, he had received a phone call from an RTE television reporter who wanted to verify the swim details re timimg, location etc and, when same was confirmed to the reporter, the swim organiser was told that an RTE TV crew would be on site between 11.30am and 12 Noon to record a few minutes of the activity for their news broadcast. And, as has happened before, no such RTE crew arrived. Self-censorship is still in operation, without a doubt.

Anyway : aside from the political police 'show' and the RTE 'no-show' , the Swim went according to plan , a decent amount of money was raised (with more to come!) , the fifty-or-so of us on the banks of the Grand Canal in Inchicore in Dublin had great craic ( with loud rebel music from, amongst others, the Pogues!) and the POW's and their families were remembered. We have , so far , about thirty pictures from the Swim which we publish with this report and a more detailed account of these Cabhair events will be carried in the January 2014 issue of 'Saoirse' , which goes to print on Wednesday the 8th of that month. Enjoy the pics, and if we get more of same , we will post them here.

Frost on the grass , ice in the water : 3rd lock , Inchicore, Christmas Day.

An RSF banner , on display at the swim site.

The right of the people of Ireland....

Cabhair and RSF banners on display.

Cabhair Swim 'goodies' , available on a 'first up, best dressed' basis! And....

....a close-up of the offerings , with even more available....


Santa dropped in at about 10.30am for....

....a mince pie and a quick drink, after circumventing the globe , and....

...., satisfied that all was well, he settled-in to observe the swimmers, after which.....

...he hung around at the 'Goodie Table' !

A few of the many faces that stuffed themselves (!) at the 'Goodie Table' , once they noticed that Santa had no parcels with him!

The Swim fire, minutes after it was lit, and rough-and-ready 'mats' for the swimmers placed around it!

Meanwhile , on a serious note (!) , this is one of the two swimmers about whom debates are continuing as to whether they actually earned their sponsorship money or not , as 'floating above the water' , according to some, shouldn't count. And....

....this is the other contentious swim attempt : if floating is allowed, then walking on the water should be okay, as well !

And then there's this fella , who refused to get in under 'Health and Safety' legislation, claiming that there was "..something in the water waiting on me..." !

And whatever it was that was 'in there' , put this swimmer on the ropes...

This swimmer was heard to shout - "OH MY GOD! What was I thinking....." !

And this chancer said he wasn't getting in as "yer man" was doing a pee in the water....

....and this fella decided to jump in backwards so he wouldn't see any of the above-mentioned carry-on!

This fella was in shock when he was pulled out out of the water, and the swimmer behind him was seen rubbing his chin and going "Aahhh , dunno , maybe not...." !

And these two played the Gentleman - "You first" . "No, I insist...."

...and this fella spent the whole time "limbering up.." , as he called it....

....whilst this swimmer , Michael, from England, refused to jump in until he got his OWN towel!

The 'splashy thing' in the water chased a swimmer , but we shouted at him to get back in as it was safe enough 'cause we had it on camera....

Not sure if this is the 'splashy thing' or two swimmers....?

The six swimmers, posing for the cameras....

....after they dried themselves off....

....watched by the crowd in the dry 'seats' !

And they are white TOWELS , not flags - the 'splashy thing' lost , CABHAIR won!

And, finally -

Daniel, one of the CABHAIR Swimmers in Australia, doin' his stuff!

- thanks to CABHAIR for all the work and time they put in to organise all these fund-raisers and many thanks to the hundreds of people that sponsored and/or turned up on the day to show their support. Much appreciated!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013



From all accounts, the CABHAIR Swim in Craigavon Lakes , Armagh, on Sunday 22nd December 2013, went according to plan and no harm came to fish, foul , reeds or the swimmers!

We have come across a few pics from the event, which we post here, and will remind our readers that the Dublin Swim , also for Cabhair, will be held tomorrow (Christmas Day) and we will post a wee write-up with a few pics from same as soon as we thaw out and/or sober up....!

If you can make it to the Cabhair Swim in Dublin , we'll see you there but if you can't make it , you'll still be able to donate whatever you can afford - details here. Thanks for reading! Sharon.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

This catechism enjoyed a popularity few other catechisms have ever achieved - it was recited in public houses : 'Stories that live longest are told above the glass'. Shortly after we had grouped together in Galway, Father John Fahy's parish priest asked him to make an appeal to his parishioners on a Sunday for money to build a curate's house , and Father John began his address quietly - he was sorry to have to ask people for money and indeed he might not have agreed to do it only that it had been made clear to him that the people had money to spare. Some of them might think that if they had spare money they could put it to better use , and it could be , indeed, that he was not the comfort to them he should be, much as he would like to be a big help to them.

However, whatever his faults, he lived among them and he did the best he could , so if they had money to give away would it not be a better use to make of it to build a house for him than send it to Britain by way of land annuities.....the startled parish priest popped out of the sacristy door, but Father John had no eyes for him as he was too busy advising his people to make two halves of the land annuity, take one half of it with them into the village and buy the makings of a celebration and give the other half to him. The congregation, watching the parish priest in a dither, was in a mood to cheer by the time Father John finished his sermon.

The bailiff seized cattle and was foolish enough to put them in a pound in Galway city for public sale. Had he been responsive to a whisper from Father John, he could not have served the agitation better, for it took very little organising to ensure that when they were offered for sale no man bid on them. That night, members of the Galway committee released the cattle from the pound. From the very outset I was scared Father John might get himself personally involved in some clash that would bring down penalties on him to which other members of the committee would not be exposed and, at meetings with him present , I asked the others to see to it that he kept himself in the background at moments of stress. (MORE LATER).


By Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.

Commissioner Canepa arrived back in the Operations Room at about ten minutes past three and he was told that an arrest had been considered a short time before but had been abandoned when the three suspects moved southwards. He was told that this had led the occupants of the Operations Room to consider the possibility that, contrary to assessments up to that point, the Renault car did not contain a bomb, and that the three might be on a reconnaissance mission. In court six months later , Deputy Commissioner Columbo, who was in command at the time, said that when he saw the three move southwards he began to have doubts that the car contained a bomb.

Commissioner Canepa was requesting that more positive identifications of the three be made before he would agree to sign the document handing over control but then the three suspects were reported to be back in the assembly area. The occupants of the Operations Room were told that the three had "stared hard" at the car , and 'Officer H' would later tell the inquest that the three had "looked intently" at the car from the far side of the Main Street. They were looking around them, he said , talking and laughing, but he detected "the intent to look at the car". There were children about the square at the time, he said.

He said that Daniel McCann turned towards the other two and appeared to make a joke and, as they moved off , he claimed, there were smiles on their faces : "It was a chilling moment. I felt that these were evil people , people who were prepared to shed a lot of blood...." , said 'Officer H'. Around this time, according to the SAS testimony, control was again passed fleetingly to them, this time by Commissioner Canepa, but was withdrawn again when he asked for final confirmatory checks on the identities of the suspects. Mairead Farrell , Daniel McCann and Seán Savage , meanwhile, had left the assembly area and were moving north towards the border. The time at that point was 3.25pm. (MORE LATER).


The tracking device which British forces attempted to retrieve , after an RSF member found it under the wheel arch of his vehicle.....

....and the owner of the vehicle, after those same British forces paid him a visit to retrieve the device.

This is one of the sides of the continuing British violence in Ireland that, although widespread in various forms, is not highlighted by the mainstream/establishment media which, since 1998 (for some of those media outlets) and for decades before that year/Treaty (for the majority of those outlets) have propagated the lie that the British are on a 'peace keeping' mission in Ireland and, indeed, were it not for a few hundred Irish republican 'dissidents' , would not be still in Ireland at all.

That the British military can behave in that fashion today , knowing full well that they are politically protected by Stormont and Westminster, is reminiscent of , among other British transgressions, their conduct on Bloody Sunday in 1972- 41 years ago, after which all concerned were told by Westminster that that was an 'attitude changing' event and that their army 'would be kept in check' in future dealings with civilians. The manner in which they punished the man in question shows that their attitude hasn't changed , and nor has the attitude of Irish republicans : we are still demanding a complete British military and political withdrawal from this country. They haven't got enough tasers or manpower to deal with us all in the manner they dealt with Eddie Breen.


....or just another 'misunderstanding'?

It was, in my opinion, always going to be so from the word go: the 'NAMA' institution was based on a false premise from the start , by which I mean that the stated reason for it being established was faulty so therefore any proposition/solution offered by it, again in my opinion, would be incorrect because, in short, it was 'starting' from the wrong place.

As far as I'm concerned , that institution was established by (political) business people to save reckless bankers, property developers and other business people from their own greed by making it 'legal' (under State law) to offer them a means to regain their wealth using taxpayers cash and, quite apart from the fact that almost one-fifth of the 'NAMA Corporation' is now in the hands of British businessmen, the 'business plan' behind the company is outrageous.

NAMA was established this month three years ago (2009) and, within a mere eighteen months, had begun to attract the type of attention it had hoped to avoid (indeed, it was only three months 'old' when it itself decided it was practically worth its weight in gold!) but , given its 'parentage' , that type of attention was inevitable. The can of worms was beginning to open further and more indications surfaced that some of those appointed to positions of authority within the company were as willing (and as able) as their 'parents' to ensure that, come what may, they themselves should be looked after by the taxpayer. And, like those in the political class that spawned this monster, they, too, will not suffer financially, regardless of the pain they inflict on the taxpayers. Because that's the way this State, and the system it enforces, works.


The 'Ulster Defence Regiment' , a pro-British loyalist paramilitary gang, was established by Westminster on 18th December 1970 and continued to uphold the British writ , as the UDR, until 1992, when they were amalgamated with the 'Royal Irish Rangers' to form the 'Royal Irish Regiment'.

In every country it occupied (....and in every country it continues to either occupy or take an 'interest' in) Britain , like other imperialist forces, recruits a native 'workforce' which it uses to serve its interests : in the mid-to-late 19th Century in Ireland, for instance , Westminster decreed that the then Irish police force be re-named the 'Royal Irish Constabulary' , a move which the then British 'queen' , Victoria, was strongly in favour of , as a 'reward' to them in payment for the cruel manner in which they dealt with the Fenian rising : in the early 1920's , after Britain had partitioned Ireland, the paramilitary RIC groupings in the Six Counties were re-classified as the 'RUC' , 'U' for 'Ulster' ('1169...' comment : sic - Ulster has nine counties , not six) and a new pro-British death squad was also established - the 'USC' (or the 'B Specials' , as they were better known) , comprised of native loyalist/unionist supporters , sharing a common hatred of all things Irish.

British military forces show proper respect for their flag.

'The Specials' were left with more or less a free rein by Westminster to 'maintain (English) law and order' in that part of Ireland but they dirtied their own doorstep so often that Westminster , long embarrassed by having to clean up after them so often, produced a report which, basically (much to the disgust of the local 'powers-that-be') , called for their reign to be brought to an end but, by coincidence (!) , a new pro-British murder gang was formed : the UDR. This latest reincarnation of the RIC/RUC/USC/B Specials (which also 'traded' as the 'UVF') had, by 1992, ran out of doorsteps to dirty and, in that age-old British 'tradition' , was 're-launched/re-named' as the 'Royal Irish Regiment' (RIR), on 1st July 1992.

But regardless of what name or uniform Westminster dresses them up as (or in) they will remain what they have always been - mercenary boot-boys in military garb , whether in Ireland or abroad. And they will continue to meet the same response that their ilk so readily dish out to those that dare challenge the 'might of the British Empire'.


Bad weather prevented French troops from landing in Bantry Bay , Cork, Ireland in 1796.

Near the end of December in 1796, Wolfe Tone arrived in Bantry Bay , Cork, with French General Hoche and a fleet of thirty-five ships, carrying about 15,000 troops, but fog and other bad weather prevented them from landing. Some of the ships sank, and a despondent Wolfe Tone recorded the following in his journal at that time - "This damned fog continues without interruption. I asked General Cherin what we should do in case they did not rejoin us. He said that he supposed General Grouchy would take the command with the troops we had with us, which, on examination, we found to amount to about 6,500 men. The Captain has opened a packet containing instructions for his conduct in case of separation, which order him to cruise for five days off Mizen Head, and, at the end of that time, proceed to the mouth of the Shannon, where he is to remain three more, at the end of which time, if he does not see the fleet or receive further orders by a frigate, he is to make the best of his way back to Brest....".

On 21st December , this entry was recorded in his journal -
"There cannot be imagined a situation more provokingly tantalising than mine at this moment, within view, almost within reach of my native land, and uncertain whether I shall ever set foot in it. We were near enough to toss a biscuit ashore..." and this on the 26th : "We have now been six days in Bantry Bay, within 500 yards of the shore, without being able to effect a landing. All our hopes are now reduced to getting back safely to Brest...". The French armada was forced, by the weather, to return to France and an opportunity to change the history of this country and, likely enough, the on-going political conflict here, went with it.


Che Guevara being interviewed in Dublin Airport by RTE's Seán Egan : the result was first aired on RTE television on this date (18th December)in 1964. He was travelling to Algeria from New York when the plane he was on was redirected from Shannon to Dublin due to bad weather.

On the 14th June 1928, Celia de la Serna y Llosa, from Rosario in Argentina, gave birth to her fifth child,a boy, who her and her husband, Ernesto Guevara Lynch, named as Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna , better known to the world as Che Guevara. Celia's mother was from Galway and moved to South America where she married into the Guevara family.

Having Irish roots , Guevara visited this country a number of times and it was during one such visit in the early 1960's , to Kilkeel , in British-occupied County Down, that Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick encountered the man. The young artist , then a teenager and a student at Gormanstown College , was helping to pay his way through college by working part-time in the Marine Hotel pub in Kilkeel, where his mother was from. Jim happened to be on the premises on the same morning that Che Guevara and two of his colleagues walked in and ordered glasses of Irish whiskey. He recognised Guevara immediately and got chatting to him about his Irish roots, and was told by Guevara that he had an Irish grandmother and that her mother , his great-grandmother, a woman named Isabel, was from Galway and that he had other family connections with the Cork area. However , now, perhaps, more so than in the 1960's , 'money talks' and local politicians listen : to destroy a Jim Fitzpatrick work of art for such short-term gain is the very mindset that Che Guevara tried to overcome and, unfortunately, there are not enough Che Guevara types left in this world to do that.

NOLLAIG SHONA DAR LEITHEOIRI ! Ar eagle an dearmaid .... Ba bhrea an rud e siocháin bhuan bunaithe ar an gceart a bheith againn in Éireann . Is i an bronntanas is fearr a d'fheadfaimis a thabhairt duinn fein agus dar gclann . Coinniodh an ceart agus an tsiocháin uainn le breis agus ocht gcead bliain , de bharr ionradh , forghabhail agus miriaradh na Sasanach. Socrú ar bith a dheantar in ainm mhuintir na hÉireann agus a ghlacann le riail Shasana agus a dhaingnionn an chriochdheighilt , ni thig leis an ceart na an tsiocháin bhuann a bhunu.

Ni dheanfaidh se ach la na siochána buaine a chur ar an mhear fhada agus an bhunfhadb a thabhairt do ghluin eile . Tharla se seo cheana nuair a siniodh Conradh 1921 agus cuireadh siar ar mhuintir na hÉireann e in ainm na siochána . Is mór ag Sinn Féin Poblachtach Éire a bheith saor agus daonlathach , an cuspoir ceanna a bhi i gceist ag Wolfe Tone agus ag na Poblachtaigh uile anuas go dti 1916 agus an la ata inniu ann.

Rinne a lan fear agus ban croga iobairti mora , thug a mbeatha fiu , ar son na cuise uaisle seo .

A PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS TO OUR READERS ! Least we forget .... A just and permanent peace in Ireland is most desirable . It is the greatest gift we could give to ourselves and our children . We have been denied justice and peace for more than eight centuries , because of English invasion , occupation and misrule of our country . Any arrangement which , in the name of the Irish people , accepts English rule and copperfastens the Border , will not bring justice and lasting peace . It will only postpone the day of permanent peace , handing over the basic problem to another generation.

This happened before when the Treaty of 1921 was signed and was forced on the Irish people in the name of peace . Republican Sinn Féin cherishes the objective of a free , democratic Ireland , as envisaged by Wolfe Tone and all Republicans down to 1916 and our own day . Many brave men and women sacrificed a lot , even their lives , for this noble Cause .

(From the '1169...' Crew , December 2013. PLEASE NOTE : we are on a short break from normal posting , although we will post details of how the CABHAIR swim went and possibly a few other posts. We will return to 'normal' early in the New Year. Go raibh maith agat, and thanks for reading! Sharon.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

I was eager to light a fire on Paddy Hogan's doorstep and here certainly were the makings : if I had a campaign headquarters anywhere outside 'An Phoblacht' offices it was at Father John's home at Bullaun. Working with him was a happy, exciting business , and he nominally followed the Donegal pattern, but anytime he chose to push past me nobody around him would look back over their shoulder to see whether I was coming too! The Officer Commanding of the local IRA unit was a member of Father John's committee and he was a good, firm man , and I never had any anxiety that he would involve his local unit in any embarrassing way. They would act as neighbours would.

Father Fahy had a great gift for leadership , and even his occasional incoherence seemed to emphasize his leadership, as in the case of Big Jim. And he was a fine propagandist : he wrote a play of the land war of the 1880's, which was performed at Loughrea. His group wrote a catechism to which I gave my imprimatur, by publishing it in 'An Phoblacht' -

"How did England establish a claim to the land of Ireland? By robbery. What is rent? Rent is a tribute of slavery enforced by the arms of the robber-landlord. What is a landlord? A landlord is a descendant of a land robber. Who pays rents to landlords? Only slaves. What is a bailiff? A bailiff is a land robbers assistant. What should be done with a bailiff...with a landlord...?" (MORE LATER).


By Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.

Soldiers 'A' and 'B' had been in the vicinity of Main Street since about noon as well , and were both casually dressed and were armed with Browning 9mm pistols. 'A' had four magazines, each containing twelve rounds, one of which was on the weapon. The gun was on the rear of the waistband of his trousers and the magazines were in his pocket. Soldier 'B' had just two magazines with twelve rounds in each , and the men had a radio apiece; soldier 'A' s was set to the military network and soldier 'B' s was set to the surveillance network. Most of the information concerning developments was coming through on both networks and whatever wasn't they were keeping each other informed of.

Soldiers 'A' and 'B' had been in a small coffee shop close to the Governor's residence, about a hundred yards or so from the assembly area, when they had received information that two suspected members of the IRA ASU had entered the colony. They were instructed to go to the Governor's residence and meet up with a Gibraltar police officer , they did so and went with him to a confectioner's shop nearby where they received instructions to remain where they were.

They learned that the three suspected IRA members had met in the square where one of them had parked a car earlier in the day. Word came through about a possible arrest. In fact, both Soldiers 'A' and 'B' stated in court that they heard over the radio at this point that control had actually been passed by the police to the military , but was passed back again before they could be given instructions to move. In fact, Soldier 'E' , the immediate tactical commander of Soldiers 'A - F' would tell the inquest that control had actually been handed over to Soldier 'F' by Deputy Commissioner Columbo and that he, Soldier 'E' , had informed the soldiers of this on the military command radio net, though he had not given them orders about making the arrests. This was the time that Mr Columbo had hesitated about signing the document and the opportunity for the arrest had passed. (MORE LATER).


Irish republican prisoners are especially remembered at this time of year by their comrades who still have their freedom.

Throughout the year , every year, Irish republicans remain conscious of their comrades that are incarcerated here in Ireland and abroad and various pickets , protests and fund-raisers are held for them and their families , to help ease their burden. This month , December, has always been the month in which an extra push is held to increase awareness and , hopefully , raise extra money, as it is an emotive time of year for all concerned and if financial burdens can be eased a little it is at least one obstacle that need be worried about less than usual.

Those that share our sympathies in this regard can attend a picket to be held this Saturday (14th December) in support of republican prisoners, at 2pm outside the GPO in O'Connell Street , Dublin, at which placards and banners will be provided, and/or attend the annual Cabhair Swim which , this year, is 37 years on the go! Your presence will be appreciated.


A pedestal should be reserved for accepted works of art, which are themselves incapable of being adversely affected by human frailties.

As with all Irish republicans of my acquaintance , I am opposed to putting any man or woman on a pedestal , regardless of the oft-stated 'reasons' why that person deserves to be placed on same , and why they should be admired and paid homage to etc. This wouldn't just be an Irish republican 'thing' , I believe, but is perhaps more prevalent within those circles than elsewhere , and for good reason : for more than eight centuries , we as a people have witnessed more political and military 'stars' that shined bright whilst we were in their company - they dazzled us , if you like - yet, as they 'passed' , we were positioned better to see them and had more time to examine the path they trailed. And, indeed, the path they travelled and the 'baggage' they carried with them.

As I write this post, the fever pitch surrounding the death of Nelson Mandela is only now beginning to fade, as the establishment media move on , en masse, to cover the funeral of their 'icon'. That is the same media , owned either by the same people or those like them , especially so in mindset, that described Mandela (and his struggle) as 'terrorist orientated' (and worse) but changed their opinion when they realised that Mandela was 'pliable' and, as such, could be useful to them and to the business interests that owned not only the media but the country itself. They helped construct the path that he followed to his pedestal but take a look under same at the foundation : "The racial hierarchy of wealth developed since South Africa's colonisation remains mostly undisturbed, and the wealthy elite were virtually unaffected by the end of apartheid....the biggest scandal in South Africa today is the appropriation of tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer's money by President Jacob Zuma for the construction of his personal residence..." (from here) . Nelson Mandela was a distraction for those who wanted to be distracted into believing that 'if he can do it, we can, too'. The poor man ended his days with chains of gold rather than iron.


New York cops - shoot first, blame the victim afterwards...

I'm a big fan of all that New York has to offer , as regular readers will know, and any interaction I had with the police in NYC was of a cordial nature , perhaps reflecting the fact that they would have been aware that I was Irish or, at the very least , 'just another lost/confused tourist' , in a massive city with a population of about 8 million people which , on a 'population density' scale, means approximately an unbelievable 27,550 people per square mile! Which explains why the transport system is constantly under pressure , as are water and electricity supplies etc and , to a certain extent, why the cops sometimes have short fuses. But there is a huge difference between the cops being 'a bit sharp' with those they 'serve' and this, which seems to suggest that the political establishment had decided in advance to 'close ranks' immediately in favour of the cops, to the extent that they are prepared to place the full fault regarding the shooting on the man that was shot ie physical and legal blame . And that's not 'serving the community'.

"ARE YA SURE , PET.....?" says she...

".....ABSOLUTELY , MRS K..." , says I... !

The poor Dear! What a lovely woman , even if she's not a Dub! Couldn't believe it , and it held up proceedings by about fifteen minutes when Freddie , the barman, pulled the first prize for us at the Cabhair raffle last Sunday (8th December 2013) : for it was indeed 'yer wan' that won it - Mrs Kavanagh , a Wexford woman , had the stub (number 462) and she cashed it in with us for €200 , bought us a round and hugged us for the next quarter of an hour! And what a stroke of luck for us , too - there must have been about two dozen people in her clan, all present and all of whom bought tickets from us and we were able to put them in touch with a few Cabhair colleagues in Wexford who will most definitely keep in contact with them re the next raffle , which both the 'K Clan' and the 'Cabhair Clan' were most eager to do!

And then the fun (and confusion!) really started : we got Mrs K to pull the second prize for us and out popped the ticket belonging to an auld Dub , Seánnie G , a lovely man, there with his family (and extended members!) - stub number 426 won the man €100 and a round of applause and when we got a wee break in the slagging match between the 'K Clan' and the auld Dub Clan , we managed to settle one of the Dubs down long enough to pull the third prize for us and Wendy F , from Lucan , in Dublin, who had bought her ticket from one of our regular sellers , Darren, won €40 on her ticket , 170, and Wendy then dipped her hand into the drum and found the winner of the fourth prize - Seánnie G , again , who pocketed €20 this time , with stub number 678, and wasn't at all shy about letting the Wexford people know about it!

Then Waterford got in on the act : Martin K , from Dungarvan, the owner of ticket 277 , won the fifth prize (€20) and we think he thanked us but the Wexford/Dublin 'clash' was still on-going and it was then we discovered that people from Dublin and Waterford get on with each other better than those from Waterford and Wexford do, and that Dublin people could sometimes be lukewarm (!) with Wexford people. Or something along those lines....! Anyway : inter-county rivalries or not, we had a raffle to run so we declared ourselves neutral and asked Freddie to pull another ticket from the drum for us - Kevin , a Dub, won that prize (€20) , the 6th , on stub 097, which he had bought from our own Pat M , from Ballyfermot , in Dublin , and Kev then picked our second-last prize , €20, which our bus driver, Anto , had sold to Paul Langan , a James Bond look-a-like , who won the prize with ticket 008 (!) and no , we didn't ask him where he was from....but he was asked to pull the last ticket for us , which he did , and Marie D (a Dub - yay!) won that €20 on ticket 392, which she had bought from one of our local sellers , Dan.

It was our last raffle for this year and all the team , and the local crew, were thanked by the Cabhair reps present and plates of sandwiches and a few drinks were brought out , courtesy of Cabhair, and more of same followed minutes later , courtesy of the hotel management and staff! And , within the hour, business had resumed and tickets and arrangements etc were distributed and made for the first Cabhair raffle in 2014. And auld Dubs and those from Dungarvan were told that they would be more than welcome!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.