Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.
As it became clear that the Free State government had in mind to subject the IRA to a mounting system of police thuggery, the possibility of another armed clash forced itself into republican discussions, and with it came talk of the need for a republican policy. We were back to Liam Mellows; at any time the IRA chose, it could have put itself at the head of the whole republican movement, pushing past Fianna Fáil, de Valere and all, to reach the 1919 position at one stride, by releasing its members into the land annuity agitation.
Such was my view and it was straight out of James Fintan Lalor - the law enforcing the payment of land annuities had no resting place in the moral code, but it was part of the very nature of government. Once the IRA cut across it, the government just could not back away. The IRA in its challenge to the Free State government , was on easy terms with itself. The 'Government of Ireland Act 1920' was rejected with scorn by the Irish people and any good in it was brushed aside because of its provision for partition. Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins made the case that the people's decision on the 1920 Act did not extend to the Treaty of 1921, because the Treaty had in it the power to enforce national unity.
Whether the Irish negotiators were incompetent or merely innocent need not be discussed, for the other side was unashamedly dishonest : when the time came to invoke the 'Boundary Clause', on which Griffith and Collins rested their case to the people, it was used to make the Treaty a worse instrument on the issue that transcended all other issues, partition, than the Act of 1920. The tragedy was not that men and women died for the Republic, but that they died to enforce this swindle*. But the people's hour was at hand. (* '1169' comment - whereas those in Ireland that seek to enforce this swindle just get fat and comfortable on the rewards from the British and the Free Staters for doing so.) (MORE LATER).
THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS........
Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.
Gibraltarian bank clerk Kenneth Asquez was in a line of traffic stopped at the lights on Corral Road that evening. In an unsigned statement to representatives of the Thames TV programme 'This Week', he had said that he turned when he heard cracking noises and saw a man with his foot on the neck of another man who was on the ground. The second man was bleeding and the man on top had a gun and was wearing a black beret. He produced identification and said - "Stop, it's okay. It's the police". He then fired two or three shots into the head of the man on the ground from point blank range.
At the inquest, Mr Asquez said that this statement had been false, that it had been made under pressure and that he had gleaned the details for it from media reports or "on the streets" : nothing that he had said in the statement was true, he claimed. Soldier 'C' said at the inquest that he had handed in only his partially empty magazine to the police station and had retained the other one which he had not used. Soldier 'D "wasn't sure" if he had handed in his own unused magazines.
At Kings Lines, immediately after the shooting of Seán Savage, Soldier 'C' had taken steps to stop people crowding around the body by preventing people passing through from the tunnel. Soldier 'D', meanwhile, was making a radio report to the Operations Room- he also gave an account to a security guard from a nearby hut. Both put on berets which Soldier 'D' had been carrying in a small rucksack. They were there for about ten minutes before a policeman came to take charge. One of the surveillance officers told Soldier 'C' that Soldiers 'A' and 'B' had shot Mairéad Farrell and Daniel McCann at the petrol station. When the policeman arrived, Soldiers 'C' and 'D' left the area and went on foot to the Operations Room. (MORE LATER).
MICHEÁL MARTIN TAKES THE (WRONG) BOUNDARY COMMISSION TO TASK.
here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".
However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House - the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12' of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender', which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' , the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland! (Part 8)
....... rumours were being spread that the Boundary Commission had decided to order the Free Staters in Leinster House to cede some of its territory to Stormont ; the Free Staters declared that that would not happen but then , days later , its one and only representative on that three-person Commission , Eoin MacNeill , resigned from that body . The rumours persisted and , three days after he resigned from the Boundary Commission , Eoin MacNeill 'resigned' (or was 'pushed' ?) from the Free State Government itself . The Brits , however , had more 'humble-pie' for their serfs in Leinster House to digest .......
A little-known clause in the ruling of the British 'Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ' came into play - this stated that the Boundary Commission was fully within its rights to continue with its brief even if it was reduced in size ie from three to two members ! The 'all new' (ie two-member) Boundary Commission then reminded the Free State President , William Cosgrave , that he had given a pledge to them , in September 1924 , that he would accept the Commission's findings , which he had because , being the 'cute hoor' Free Stater that he was , he reckoned (and was probably led to believe by the British) that the Commission would insist on no territorial change being made , which would allow the Free Staters in Leinster House to shrug their shoulders , rub their hands , fraudently claim annoyance and say - 'Ah , well , sure we tried our best ....'
But now , by all accounts , it seemed that the Free State would have to hand over some of its territory to the Six County 'State' - the 'get-out' plan was back-firing on those in Leinster House. On the 25th November 1925 , one day after Eoin MacNeill had washed his hands of the whole lot of them , Free State President William Cosgrave and Kevin O'Higgins , the Free State 'Minister for Home Affairs' , went to Downing Street , in London , where they held a meeting with the then British Prime Minister , Stanley Baldwin , and the Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig . The Free Staters were , by this stage , in a state of controlled panic - as well the Brits knew. Eight days later (ie on 3rd December 1925) , an 'arrangement' was agreed between the Free Staters and the British - and , with the Staters being 'on-the-ropes' , Westminster done them no favours.
....... with 'their man' on the Boundary Commission (Eoin MacNeill) gone from that body (and, indeed, gone from Leinster House as well) the Free State President , William Cosgrave , and his 'Minister for Home Affairs' , Kevin O'Higgins , arrived in Downing Street in London for a meeting with British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and Stormont 'Prime Minister' 'Sir' James Craig - that was on the 25th November 1925 . Within nine days (ie by the 3rd December 1925) , the Free Staters had been 'sold' another 'pup' by the Brits .......
On the 3rd December 1925, all those present at a meeting (ie all those mentioned above) agreed that the 'border' , as fixed 5 years earlier in the '1920 Government of Ireland Act' and as stated in the 1921 Treaty of Surrender , would so remain , and an agreement was signed to that effect by those present. But the British , no doubt smelling fear and relief at the same time from the Free Staters , wanted more 'concessions'. They pushed for , and got , a separate agreement that the 'Council of Ireland' (a 'talking-shop' which the 1921 Treaty promised to set-up) be scraped (even though it had not, in fact, ever been established!) , and, as a final insult to the Free State muppets ,the British demanded that they repay the compensation which Westminster had paid to them for damage which the British themselves had caused in Ireland during the Black and Tan War!
And, in for a (British) penny in for a (British) pound - no doubt by now realising the 'calibre' of the men they were up against, the British also insisted , and again, got, a commitment from the Free Staters that they would continue to pay land annuities to the British Exchequer ! The British Government 'leak' of mis-information to the 'London Morning Post' newspaper (on 7th November 1925) had worked as intended ; put the fear of God into the Free Staters and paid handsome dividends to the British . That is , of course , unless you believe the Free State version of how that meeting went...... (MORE LATER).
44 YEARS AGO (1970-2014): USC ('B SPECIALS') DISBANDED.
On 10th December, 1925 the A-Specials and the C-Specials were told by Westminster that they were no longer needed ; on 14th December 1925, both gangs mutinied and took hostages - two days later (on16th December 1925) the A-Specials and the C-Specials contacted Unionist leader 'Sir' James Craig and told him they wanted more money to leave their jobs. On 18th December 1925 , they were told to take the original offer or be sacked with no pay-off at all. The British knew that if they 'gave-in' to the demands of the A-Specials, the C-Specials would look for the same and the B-Specials would then in all probability look for a cash bonus as well - it had to be 'nipped in the bud'. And it was : instead of 'sticking to their guns' (!) the A-Specials all but apologised and, within twenty-four hours (ie by the 19th December , 1925) had accepted 'Sir' Craigs 'offer' of two months pay per member. They were now unemployed mercenaries.
By Christmas Day, 1925, the A-Specials and the C-Specials were no more. However, the other gang, the B-Specials, were 'beefed-up' : their numbers were increased and a new British 'law' , the 'Special Powers Act', gave them practically retrospective authority ( if an act they committed was a bit on the 'dodgy' side, the 'Act' would be invoked to cover their action).
The organised, uniformed and armed band of thugs known as the B-Specials had sprung from the ranks of the loyalist killer-gang, the 'Ulster Volunteer Force' (UVF) in 1920 ;the B-Specials carried-on as if they had never left the UVF terror-gang - pogroms against the nationalist population continued, although now the perpetrator's wore a British uniform, were paid to crack "fenian skulls" and were protected by their political masters for doing so. (MORE LATER).
ANNUAL CABHAIR TESTIMONIAL REUNION FUNCTION.
Since at least 1978 - when the CABHAIR organisation was known as 'An Cumann Cabhrach' (see page 14, here) - Irish Republicans have sought to officially honour those amongst them who have 'gone that extra mile' by holding an event at which such people can be presented with a small token of acknowledgement by the overall Republican Movement.
This year, six people have been chosen by the various committees involved and these will be 'wined and dined', and presented with a token of appreciation, in Dublin, on Saturday next, 17th May 2014. Frank Hanratty (Leinster),Jimmy McNulty (Munster),Tommy Cull (Connacht),Micky McGonigle (Ulster), Victor 'Vic' Sackett (USA) and Margaret Walsh (Cumann na mBan) will be treated like royalty (not!) for the evening, as they should be, and they will be left in no doubt that the contribution they make to Irish republicanism is much appreciated and valued, all year round. Congrats to one and all - ye deserve it!
ANNUAL WOLFE TONE COMMEMORATION : SUNDAY 22ND JUNE 2014, SALLINS, CO.KILDARE.
"From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Great Britain and Ireland as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt convinced that, while it lasted, this country could never be free nor happy. My mind has been confirmed in this opinion by the experience of every succeeding year, and the conclusions which I have drawn from every fact before my eyes. In consequence, I was determined to employ all the powers which my individual efforts could move, in order to separate the two countries. That Ireland was not able of herself to throw off the yoke, I knew ; I therefore sought for aid wherever it was to be found. In honourable poverty I rejected offers which, to a man in my circumstances , might be considered highly advantageous. I remained faithful to what I thought the cause of my country, and sought in the French Republic an ally to rescue three millions of my countrymen". -Theobald Wolfe Tone.
This annual RSF-organised commemoration will be held as stated, on Sunday 22nd June 2014, at 2.30pm, in Sallins, County Kildare, and I hope that either the chairperson or the main speaker will highlight some of the lesser-known facts in relation to what myself and others consider to be the propaganda theory that 'Tone committed suicide', an issue we wrote about on this blog in the past (see 'Murder Most Foul', here , from March 9th to March 18th - each post can be read by clicking on the 'Newer Post' button). I would try and steer the chairperson/speaker in that direction myself but I won't be here on that date. More about that later.....!
R.A. NOT A 'RA MAN , BUT A WINNING LOSER!
We'll explain that heading and pic at the end of this post, but for now we want to continue on the conversation we were suckered into on Sunday last, 11th May, involving why it was do-or-die that Liverpool had to win by more than it did and West Ham should have won, but didn't. Not to mention how that outcome affects Chelsea but wouldn't have, possibly/probably, had Everton done the business and what about Aston Villa? And, depending on who we listened to, Man City or Stoke or Swansea were the real winners on the day blah blah blah....!
And in between all that (nonsensical!) madness, myself and three other girls had to try to explain to dozens of soccer fans why it was that we had no more raffle tickets to sell (our quota of 70 were sold on the premises in the first hour!) and try to secure a 'pitch' (!) for ourselves in a quiet(er) part of the lounge. Phew! And a Mr.Philip O'Callaghan, from Cork City, was delighted that we managed to do just that - Jessica, one of the floor staff, pulled the first prize for us , stub 214, worth €200, and Philip then proceeded to make our quiet(er) corner NOISEY!! Philip wasn't on his own, and his mates , from that same city (all Liverpool supporters) made sure that he didn't 'walk alone' to the bar!
Philip and his fellow Corkonians were far too busy celebrating the win, so we asked Jessie to do the honours again - and a Dub from Bluebell, Naas Road, Lar Cassins, who had bought his ticket (529) from us about two hours earlier, was the winner of our second prize, €100. And, once again, our quiet(er) corner erupted but this time we managed to 'job' the winner and Lar pulled out a ticket (286) that our Kevin, from Wexford, had sold earlier in the month to Lisa Kelly, who pocketed €40. And, because Lisa was still in Wexford, there was no decibel increase! Us Dubs struck again for the fourth prize, €20, as Mattie M, from Clondalkin, won his few bob on ticket 547, and his delightful and delighted wife, Mags, 'kept it in the family' - she pulled the fifth prize for us, ticket number 151, which was won by Alex, who bought the ticket from Owen, in Dublin city centre.
Prize number six, €20, was won (451) on the premises by a lovely little girl from Roscommon, Gemma Dolan, who then gave Pat, from Ballyfermot, in Dublin, the seventh prize of €20, on ticket 210 and Pat kept the Dubs in it - our Anto sold ticket 557 , which won the last prize of €20, to a person who signed him/herself as 'Baby Bean', thereby allowing us the above-mentioned pic intro! And that was it, workwise, anyway, although we did stay in the hotel for an hour or two afterwards, as usual, for a bite to eat and something to wash it down with! Myself and the other girls will be present as always for the next raffle - in early June - but I won't be reporting on same here. More about that later....!
AND FINALLY - TWO EVENTS WHICH MAY BE OF INTEREST TO OUR READERS :
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh commemoration (left) takes place as advertised, following the 'Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Summer School' which will be held from Friday 6th June next to Sunday 8th, in the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon town. Details available by contacting (01)8729747 and/or 0879374277.
'Save Moore Street Campaign' has organised a protest for this coming Sunday, 18th May 2014, and have asked that as many people as possible turn out to show their opposition to the destruction of that historical site. If its fate is to be decided by land speculators and their employees in Leinster House, then those buildings are destined for the skip. We can at least let them know that some of us value our heritage.
Thanks for reading, Sharon.