WHAT'S ANOTHER YEAR : 2014 AND COUNTING.....
Welcome back to the blog for the first 'official' post of 2014 , even though we did post a piece on the Dáithí Ó Conaill Commemoration which was held on New Years Day. We intend to carry on in the same format and schedule etc with no major or minor tweaks planned , although we did discuss some changes to the blog , but decided against on the basis that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'! And considering we have over half-a-million hits (see stat counter, bottom of page) , we must be doing something right! Hope you all enjoyed the break , as we did and, like us, you're probably finding it hard to get back into the swing of things. We all of us need a holiday to help us get over the Christmas and New Year break.... ;-) !
Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.
There is an element of luck in life , and Father John's luck ran out : the bailiff seized three cows from a widow for arrears of land annuity , and Father John was among a group of men working at a graveyard wall when the bailiff went by, wheeling his bicycle and driving the cattle before him. No man among those at work on the wall was a member of the local committee , but at Father John's bidding they rushed on to the road to free the cattle , at which the bailiff promptly drew his revolver and fired in the air. He soon had the road to himself, except for Father John - here was something he just could not dodge. He sent the bailiff staggering into the ditch with a thrust of his shoulder and young Cooney, one of the road workers, sprinted back to give Father John a helping hand, and he took over the cattle.
The bailiff got on his bicycle and cycled off for help and, at Father John's bidding, Cooney turned the cattle in on the land of a man named Kane, an ex-soldier of the 1914-18 war in which he lost a leg. Kane rose to it, and when the guards came swarming down on the scene the cows were safely tucked away in his byre. I arrived at Fr. John's on the following evening and there was a good gathering of us : I shed my own anxiety in the gaiety of the others , as the bailiff would make no complaint - they were certain he would make no complaint , so we joked over what lay ahead for Father John Fahy. He would be jailed, of course, maybe transported. I would come down to Loughrea and make a speech to protest against people saying Willie Cosgrave was anti-clerical, that he was making war on the Church , that he had Father John Fahy in jail. I would say people must stop talking such nonsense , as Willie Cosgrave was a holy man.
If he put Father John Fahy in jail , it was only because he didn't like Father John's politics , and who knew but maybe Joe Stalin was a bit like Willie Cosgrave as he, too, had priests in jail and who knew but it was simply that he didn't like their politics! All great fun. I went into Clare next day or the day after and I was still in Clare when I learned of Father John Fahy's arrest..... (MORE LATER).
THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS........
Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.
Soldiers 'A' and 'B' were still in the confectioner's shop near the top of Main Street with their 'Joe' , the Gibraltar policeman in plain clothes. The three suspects passed by the shop and Soldier 'A' caught a fleeting glimpse of Mairead Farrell as she passed by the window. Under instructions, Soldiers 'A' and 'B' remained in the shop for a few minutes. Information was relayed over the radio that Seán Savage had separated from the others and had gone into the tourist office in the Piazza and shortly afterwards they heard that the three had met up again and were heading northwards along the Line Wall Road.
Soldiers 'A' and 'B' were instructed to move northwards also, but along Main Street, parallel to Line Road Wall , and they were told that Soldiers 'C' and 'D' were in place behind a garage further up Line Wall Road, waiting for the suspects to pass. It was around this time that, according to his own evidence to the inquest, Commissioner Canepa was given a written report to read which provided 100 per cent confirmation that the three suspects were in fact Mairead Farrell , Daniel McCann and Seán Savage.
He also instructed Soldier 'G' , the bomb expert who had been assigned to the operation, to go and examine the Renault which the three IRA members had left behind in the assembly area. Within minutes, Soldier 'G' returned to the Operations Room out of breath, and gesturing with his hands in a downward sweeping motion, as though shushing a noisy group of people. Soldier 'G' had been to look at the car which he discovered parked with its boot to the road in the second bay of the car park. Almost immediately he noticed that, although the car was relatively new, it had an aerial on the roof which appeared much older , as it was grimy and beginning to rust. He immediately returned to the Operations Room and reported to the Commissioner that in his opinion the Renault was a suspect car bomb. (MORE LATER).
WHAT'S THIS "OUR" BUSINESS , MR. McGUINNESS ?
Christmas ,Easter and summer holiday times are three of the 'old reliables' , as far as politicians are concerned, in that bad news statements and 'position papers' etc are best released then as people in general have other issues on their mind and by the time the voters cop-on to what has happened it's a 'done deal'. And so it must have been with a British Minister in Stormont , Martin 'Babe' McGuinness who, in a previous life, was a Provisional Sinn Féin and PIRA activist.
This particular instance, in which the 'Babe' again showed how grateful he is to the British for the upturn in his financial and social circle fortunes, happened after a gun attack , two days before Christmas Day, on one of the RUC/PSNI British 'police' barracks in Fermanagh , a not unusual occurrence in any occupied area and, indeed, an action which ex-PIRA activists here in Ireland would know more about than I do. Now ensconced firmly as part of the establishment, Mr McGuinness was asked for his reaction about that dastardly deed and, as expected , condemned it and went on to describe it as an attack "on our police service" ! This man and his followers/party members and supporters, would have you believe that he is still the same 'Irish republican' that he was in his younger , more active (!) days and he and they will tell you that he still has the same political objectives now as he had then. And perhaps he has - maybe he did put himself literally in the firing line (in his very early days, that is, before he was recruited by the British and placed in a position of 'political respectability' by them) in the mistaken belief that the campaign at that time was to secure better treatment from Westminster rather than that which republicans considered it to be - a campaign to secure a British military and political withdrawal from Ireland. But the 'Babe' McGuinness wouldn't want that now if, indeed , he ever did , as he depends on the British for his own political survival. And they know that, too.
THE 'RA' ON THE EXTORTION TRAIL : THEY HAVEN'T GONE AWAY , YOU KNOW....
Yes , it's true , and it has to be said : the 'RA' make their money from wheeling-and-dealing in the business world, from extorting money from anyone it can , when in a position to do so - employed , unemployed, rich or poor - in the guise of the 'taxes' and 'levies' it imposes on State benefits , wages and savings, and is directly and indirectly responsible for driving ordinary , innocent people to despair.
They are a law on to themselves, and have the backing of their own 'justice' system and various armed militia within their groups of supporters , who will enforce the writ of the 'RA' and , indeed - if the money is right - those armed gangs will do the same for the groups that the 'RA' claims to be opposed to , even though members of the 'RA' are known to have previous history with said groups. For in the murky world of the 'RA' , there are no permanent enemies or friends , no stable alliances , no guaranteed allegiances : it is a treacherous , 'words-are-cheap' and unprincipled mini-society , which operates quite openly in this State and, indeed, it has formed contacts with other 'RA'-like groups in Europe and beyond. And they all share the same objective : to mercilessly use any means necessary to enrich themselves.
Indeed, so embolded have the 'RA' become , and so sure of themselves , that they have organised an indoor public rally in Dublin , to be held this very month - January 2014 - at which the present leadership will attempt to show a 'kinder face' to its victims, and will promise to offer a 'new beginning' to those who, in one guise or another over the years, they have terrorised - financially , morally and physically - but only if those people give their unconditional support to the 'RA'. In the best tradition of these gangsters, it is an 'offer' that best not be refused , least they take whatever it is you still possess. However , whether you attend their rally or not, or pledge your allegiance to them or not, or try and stay neutral in the storm of their onslaught , one or other of the 'RA' family members or their close connections will get you one way or the other. Of that there is little doubt.
Details of the 'RA' Dublin rally can be had here , but be warned - whether you attend or not, pledge your support or not, oppose them or stay neutral - there is no escape from the 'RA' or from their 'family' connections. They have no reason to let you off their hook, even though they have already enriched themselves at your expense. They figure you have more to give..... [Postscript: apologises if you were led to believe that something other than the above would be posted here....;-) ]
TWO IRISH REPUBLICAN EVENTS WILL BE HELD THIS COMING SUNDAY , 12TH JANUARY 2014....
This coming Sunday , 12th January 2014 , the Republican Movement will be holding two events - one in Monaghan , the other on the Dublin/Kildare border. At 2pm on that Sunday , republicans will assemble at the Cathedral in Monaghan and march from there to Latlurgan Cemetery , where a commemoration will be held for Fergal O Hanlon : incidentally , O Hanlon and the republican men and women of that era were regarded by nationalists and , indeed, former republicans at that time , as being irrelevant and unrepresentative of republicanism much the same as republicans today are regarded , by those in Leinster House and Stormont. But just as O Hanlon and the men and women of the 1950's took inspiration from those that went before them, so, too, do republicans today take inspiration from Fergal and his comrades.
A cousin-in-law of Feargal's , Maitiu O Cinneide, wrote a song about Fergal which was recorded (on 78 disc!) , by Deirdre O Cinneide (Deirdre Donnelly)- these are the lyrics :
Oh hark to the tale of young Fergal O'h-Annluan
Who died in Brookboro' to make Ireland free
For his heart he had pledged to the cause of his country
And he took to the hills like a bold rapparee
And he feared not to walk to the walls of the barracks
A volley of death poured from window to door
Alas for young Fergal, his life blood for freedom
Oh Brookboro' pavements profused to pour
When the smoke and the dim from the battle was over
And Fergal was borne by his comrades away
He asked them to fly from that place and take cover
But he died in the hands of the foe that day
God strike from your hands all your hierlings and traitors
The weopens that murdered our brave volunteer
God grant us our freedom, the dreams of O'hAnnluain
And lift from our valleys all sorrow and fear.
If you can get there , please do - 2pm , the Cathedral in Monaghan , Sunday 12th January 2014.
The second event is a 650-ticket raffle , the first of 2014, which will be held in a hotel on the Dublin/Kildare border , also at 2pm on that same Sunday, the proceeds of which will help boost the coffers of the Republican Movement in Dublin , which I will be attending. And I'm sure Fergal will forgive my absence.
Thanks for reading, Sharon.