Wednesday, June 04, 2014


HOLIDAYS IN A CITY OF CONTRAST - BACK IN EARLY JULY 2014.... mentioned already, we are temporarily closing down the blog until either Wednesday July 2nd or July 9th (most likely the latter!) as myself and four friends are off to New York for a three-week holiday, leaving Dublin on Sunday 8th June next and due back on Sunday 29th. We haven't got the same budget that we had last year or in years previous but we know from experience that, comparable to any city its size, you need the big bucks to work and live there but not to holiday there, especially when we have the free use of three modern-build apartments and a mini-van and driver at our beck and call, all gifted to us by our friends and colleagues in that city.

We will still be able to afford at least one good visit to Jersey Gardens and we will be able to do smaller shopping sprees when the mood takes us, plus we'll eat well each day and have a few drinks most nights, but such is the size of New York and the huge number of free options available, we know before we go that three weeks just won't be long enough to fit in everything we would like to! And we are all particularly looking forward to again spending a few days each week in the working-class areas of Harlem, the Bronx , Hell's Kitchen , Queens, Staten Island etc where, over the years that we have been going to New York, we have met the most wonderful, friendly and down-to-earth people that it has ever been our pleasure to spend time with - we have had a few 'dodgy moments' in those areas and on more than one occasion the cops pulled-up beside us and advised us to stay on the main routes, but Manhattan, 5th Avenue and Times Square don't, in our opinion, give a true flavour of that magnificent city.

And, as we always do, we will gladly give a few dollars and/or food to the less fortunate and homeless that we meet on our journeys around the boroughs, as there but for the grace of God go any of us. Anyway : this 8-part post will be our last one until early July. Don't forget to check back with us then, thanks!

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

It was by the sheerest chance we discovered that Eoin O'Duffy, Chief of Police, was making out a brief for their Lordships on the degree of communist influence in Ireland in 1931, which was a task greatly to his liking. O'Duffy's position as police chief was often in jeopardy and indeed he was all but out of the job when Kevin O'Higgins was shot, and there were enough people in the know to set up the whisper that O'Duffy was in some way responsible for O'Higgins' death - in fact, he had no connection with it, in any way.

Eoin O'Duffy was a strange man, and a very ambitious one, in a small-boy sort of way. He passionately wanted greatness. and more so in this, the 'era of The Great Man'. Here now was his chance. As scare-maker-in-chief of 'the communist danger', using the Irish bishops as his aides, he could enter politics with a swagger, and so he set about the easy task of scaring their Lordships. He had something as near as no matter to genius in assembling and detailing information.

But it is not enough to dispose of the role of the bishops in Irish political life by adding a few items to the crimes that Liam Mellows listed against them - they did not set out to be enemies of their country, they were the victims of the interests to which they were partisan, and this is a field of study that calls for much patient research. A good starting point for a study of those pastorals can be found in the circumstances that moved His Holiness, Leo XIII, to condemn the Plan of Campaign in Parnell's day, and a good first text book for this study is Father Walsh's life of Archbishop Walsh : his Holiness was responsive to British influence at the Vatican and his condemnation was a direct outcome of it. (MORE LATER).


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

In Glasgow, Professor Alan Watson, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathology, received a call to come to Gibraltar where there had been a shooting. He said he would come next day. He turned on the television and heard that three "IRA terrorists" had been shot dead that afternoon in Gibraltar.


A prominent Gibraltar doctor and former opposition politician intimated to 'Magill Magazine' in the very first week of the inquest that he would eat his surgical couch if the ensuing verdict turned out to be anything other than 'lawful killing' ; he was watching the proceedings, he said - the massive security, the huge press coverage, the comings and goings of star witnesses - with a mixture of annoyance and amusement. In the course of his practice, he had reason for regular dealings with Gibraltarians of all heights and hues , from the Attorney General down to the newest blow-in migrant worker, and he knew what they all thought about the incident of the IRA and the SAS.

He himself had his reservations about the notion of death squads roaming the streets executing summary justice, he said, but he had learned to keep them to himself. As far as he was concerned he was in a majority of one. "This inquest", he said, "is just a show trial." (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from 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 11)

At 34 years of age, Joe Devlin served as the 'National President' of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a position he held for 29 years (!) [until he died in 1934], during which time he forged links between the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the United Irish League. He first took a seat in Stormont in 1921 (at 50 years of age) [and stayed there until 1934] ; in 1928 (at 57 years of age) he founded , and Chaired, the 'National League of the North'.

In November 1920, in Belfast, recruitment for the 'Specials' commenced ; the 'calibre' of these 'Specials' can be accurately gauged from an incident on 23rd January 1921, when the RIC were called-out to investigate a claim that a pub in Clones, County Monaghan, was being destroyed by armed men. Thinking it was an IRA Unit 'closing down' a pub because it served and sheltered enemy forces, the RIC 'tooled-up' and hit the road. When they arrived in the area, they pulled-up outside the premises - and immediately opened fire on those inside! And what a pity that those RIC men weren't better shots or more heavily armed, or both, for those inside the pub were members of the 'Special Constabulary', doing what they did best : looting! One of them was shot dead by the RIC gunfire.

Meanwhile, while the 'Specials' were out looting and the RIC (when not doing the same!) were mistakingly shooting at them, the 'Ulster Volunteer Force' (UVF), a Loyalist paramilitary organisation (from which group the 'Specials' came) were still active ; the new man in charge was British Colonel F.H. Crawford, who had played an active part in the Larne gun-running episode in 1914.

Westminster estimated UVF membership at 20,000 armed men ; its leader, Crawford, is perhaps better known for signing his name in blood on 'Ulster's Solemn League and Covenant', and was regarded by those who worked with him as a fanatic. But rather than be alarmed at this 20,000-strong UVF organisation, the British were considering using it for their own advantage - the RIC were known to be in favour of such a move. (MORE LATER).


The inaugural Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Summer School will take place at the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon on June 6th,7th, and 8th. The event will involve discussion and debate covering a range of topics and issues which were central to the life of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh such as the history and development of Irish Republicanism, the Irish language, the international dimension of the Irish struggle in the context of global anti-imperialism and the Éire Nua programme for a New Ireland of which Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was an architect and champion. The summer school will also include a reflection on the life of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh by people who were comrades and friends over many decades. Among the speakers are Professor Robert W. White, biographer of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Desmond Fennell, Dr Kevin Bean, Dr Marisa McGlinchey, Maura Harrington and the President of Republican Sinn Féin, Des Dalton.

The weekend will culminate with a commemoration at the graveside of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in St Coman’s Cemetery on Sunday June 8th at 12 Noon where the oration will be given by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton. The weekend will be a celebration of the life of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and a forum for engagement with the issues which motivated and inspired him throughout his life. All genuine Irish republicans welcome!


Maybe Asda management know their market better than the rest of us think they do, or maybe Asda's marketing department think they, or their management team, are 'in tune' with their customer base - if there really is no such thing as bad publicity,then Asda has not scored an own goal.The item, pictured, left, is apparently a 'wearable flag' which someone along the way - from design,to production to the shop floor - must have realised bore a striking resemblance to a Ku Klux Klan uniform. And safe, in my opinion, to believe the similarities were noticed at some point and a clear decision made to proceed, either for reasons of publicity and/or because an Asda agent reckoned that such an item would appeal to the mentality of those it perceived to be the intended customer it was aiming at.

Either way, it's a 'win' for that Walmart-owned company : play the good guy and withdraw the KKK-look-a-like items before the initial outburst of free publicity evaporates or capitalise on that free publicity by stocking and selling as many of the £3 items as they can under the guise of 'champion of free expression' or some-such lame excuse.

And, who knows, but if that 'KKK range' is a best seller for them, they might just try for a repeat performance in a few months time with a 'Black Power'-type kit. You have to be pragmatic in your hunt for the mighty dollar.


The current British 'police force' in Ireland, the RUC/PSNI, follows the same path taken by its predecessor in relation to its attitude to 'Irish taigs' ie the 'taigs' reject and oppose British rule in Ireland and as such they are fair game for abuse Or worse (incidentally, that particular attitude is shared by the 'police force' in the 26-County State as well).

You would think, therefore, that when a 'taig' who considers himself to be an Irish republican is given the opportunity by Westminster to not only highlight the many injustices perpetrated by that British paramilitary outfit but to have a say in its operational status, that he would use that opportunity to at least verbally question the existence of such a force in Ireland. Not so, unfortunately - Gerry Kelly, Provisional Sinn Féin, was gifted such an opportunity recently but proved himself to be a safe pair of hands as far as Westminster was concerned - he helped appoint a new boss for the paramilitary RUC/PSNI unit rather than attempt to frustrate that force in its internal business operations!

Then again, had he made proper use of that opportunity, he would have fallen out with his colleague who also had such an opportunity but, like Gerry Kelly, decided that not only is it the duty of an Irish 'republican' to support an armed British militia in Ireland but it's equally acceptable to assist in appointing the leadership of same. And to think that the British once professed to believing that 'republicans' like that were the 'enemy', when all along they were apparently grooming them for employment. Mixed metaphor there somewhere re poachers, gamekeepers , friends/enemies, close and closer!


Following on quickly from their recent near-annihilation at polling stations, the State Labour Party have, they believe, figured out what their problem is - their leadership let them down!

At the time of writing, a battle is on-going within that party as various wannabe political careerists vie with each other to position themselves at the top table in this Fine Gael/Any Party prop, due to their belief that if placed at that table, they have a better chance at picking-up a cosy little number for themself in Brussels in later years, as per this example.

Apart, of course, from the woes of that Party not having anything to do with its leadership - who are no more incompetent and self-serving than the leadership of any other Party in Leinster House - those challenging for top table positions are all in one way or another associated with the wage and social welfare cutbacks and the property and water taxes etc that have been introduced since they took office in 2011 and which they now either voice 'concern' about, or oppose altogether! As those rats struggle to obtain a better jumping-off point from their sinking ship, those of us who call for a fairer system (instead of seeking to place 'new faces' in charge of an old, failed, system) - the real issue at the heart of the rotten politics in this corrupt State - are trampled in the rush. And, indeed, to be trampled in the rush is something that the Labour Party now know something about!

Thanks for reading - off on holidays soon, back here in early July 2014. Slán go foill anois! (Have a Nice Day!!) Sharon.