Liz Walsh, from 'Magill' magazine, October 1998.
A former garda is due in court later this month, charged with assaulting a prisoner in his custody in the Bridewell Garda Station in Dublin last February. The 25-year-old garda was on probation when the alleged assault took place - he was dismissed from the force on 10th September and will appear in Dublin District Court on 28th October. According to an informed source, the garda was observed by two prison officers, allegedly beating the prisoner in a cell in the Bridewell station. The prisoner was being held there while waiting to appear in the nearby district court on charges.
The two prison officers reported the incident to the garda authorities who then began a criminal investigation. This resulted in the probationary garda being charged with assault and, according to sources close to the case, the alleged victim is considering taking a civil action for damages against the individual garda and the garda authorities.
Meanwhile, an internal garda investigation is underway into the recent death of a man in custody in Tallaght garda station : 24-year-old Francis Brooks from Fettercairn in Tallaght was arrested in a stolen car on 18th September and was placed in a cell in Tallaght Garda Station where he was found dead some hours later. The garda authorities are awaiting the results of the post-mortem and, in the interim, they appointed Detective Superintendent Cormac Gordon from Fitzgibbon Street to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death. (MORE LATER).
THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS........
Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.
Gibraltar is a very small town. Carmen Proetta's stepbrother is the Police Commissioner. Stephen Bullock, a lawyer, was one of the main eyewitnesses and the firm he is employed by was retained by Kenneth Asquez to represent him when he took the stand to retract his alleged eyewitness account. As with a lot of other small towns its people do not have much time for the niceties of law.
The official from the coroner's office may well have fingered a pulse when he distinguished between the moral and legal position outlined in the quote by Cardinal Hume. Most Gibraltarians welcomed the verdict.
The taxi driver who drove a 'Magill' reporter to the frontier was delighted with the verdict and, asked why, if there had been an intention only to make arrests, Seán Savage had been shot sixteen times, he replied - "Probably because the soldier who shot him ran out of bullets". [END of 'THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS' . NEXT - 'THE IRA' , FROM 'MAGILL' , 1980.]
ON THIS DATE (3RD DECEMBER) 93 YEARS AGO : TRUCE AND TREATY AND THE PARTING OF THE WAYS.
'Treaty of Surrender'.
'MEETING OF CABINET AND DELEGATION 3rd DECEMBER, 1921.
VIEWS OF DELEGATES.
(a) Mr.Griffith in favour of Treaty. Refused to break on question of Crown and thereby hand to Ulster the position from which she had been driven.
(b) Mr.Barton of opinion that England's last word had not been reached and that she could not declare war on question of Allegiance. The Treaty would not give Dominion Status nor any guarantee re Ulster. Would vote against acceptance.
(c) Mr.Gavan Duffy agreed with Mr.Barton that England was bluffing and that the Irish proposals, with small reservations on Defence etc, could be obtained. Would like the Treaty to be rejected by An Dail and sent back amended. Said 'No' definitely to Treaty.
(d) Mr.Duggan agreed with Mr.Griffith. Believed Treaty to be England's last word and would not take responsibility of saying 'No'.
(e) Mr.Collins was in substantial agreement with Messrs. Griffith and Duggan. The non-acceptance of a Treaty would be a gamble as England could arrange a war in Ireland within a week. Sacrifices to N.E. Ulster made for sake of essential unity and justified. With pressure further concessions could be obtained on Trade and Defence. Oath Allegiance would not come into force for 12 months - question was, therefore, would it be worth while taking that 12 months and seeing how it would work. Would recommend that Dail go to country on Treaty, but would recommend non-acceptance of Oath.
(f) Mr.Childers of opinion that Par. 6 of Treaty would give Ireland no national status. Sec. 7 (b) was important also as it meant that when England went to war she would bring Ireland with her.
(g) In reply to a question by Minister of Defence as to who was responsible for the splitting of the Delegation so that two Members (Messrs. Griffith and Collins) did most of the work and that the other members were not in possession of full information it was stated that the British Government was responsible for the arrangement but it had the approval of the whole delegation. The Minister of Defence here remarked that the British Government selected its men. On the motion of Mr. Griffith this remark was withdrawn.....' (from here.)
On the 3rd December 1921, in a heated all-day debate in the Mansion House in Dublin, the then Irish republican delegation was once again at odds regarding the treaty which Westminster sought to impose on Ireland : the Irish Minister for Defence, Cathal Brugha, just managed to stop short of describing two of his then colleagues, Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith, as traitors ("...the British government selected its men..") whilst de Valera declared he himself might have been flexible on either one of the descriptive terms 'Irish unity/unconditional independence' but did not believe that compromise should be accepted on both ("...you got neither this nor that..") and, indeed, such was the falling out that three of them (Barton, Childers and Duffy) travelled to London that night from the North Wall and the other three (Collins, Griffith and Duggan) left for London via Dun Laoghaire ['Kingstown', as it was known then].
Collins and Griffith (both pro-Treaty) pressurised their colleague, Richard Barton (the Irish Minister for Economic Affairs) to accept the Treaty of Surrender, telling him that if he did not sign then he would be responsible for "Irish homes (being) laid waste and the youth of Ireland (being) butchered" and, at about 11pm on Monday, 5th December 1921, Barton signed the document. Ten days later (ie on the 15th December) he had this to say in relation to that eventful day - "I want first of all to say we were eight and a half hours on that Monday in conference with the English representatives and the strain of an eight and a half hours conference and the struggle of it is a pretty severe one. One, when I am asked a question like that, "Was it or was it not?", I cannot give you an answer. But as regards particular aspects of that question, which I cannot take on oath, I can only give you my impression. It is in my notes that the answer is given, and it is there because it was my impression of that conference. It did appear to me that Mr. Lloyd George spoke to me and I had an impression that he actually mentioned my name; but I could not swear on oath that he mentioned my name, or actually addressed me when he spoke. It appeared to me that he spoke to me. What he did say was that the signature and the recommendation of every member of the delegation was necessary, or war would follow immediately and that the responsibility for that war must rest directly upon those who refused to sign the Treaty..."
The Treaty was signed in London at about 2.20am on Tuesday, 6th December 1921 (Lloyd George, the then British Prime Minster, had threatened "war, immediate and terrible", if they did not sign it) and, on the 7th January 1922,the political institution in Leinster House voted to accept it, leading to a walk-out by then-principled members who, in effect, were refusing to assist in the setting-up of a British-sponsored 'parliament' in the newly-created Irish Free State. The British so-called 'House of Commons' (401 for, 58 against) and its 'House of Lords' (166 for, 47 against) both ascribed 'legitimacy' to the new State on the 16th December 1921 - the IRA, however, at an army convention held on the 26th March 1922 (at which 52 out of the 73 IRA Brigades were present,despite said gathering having been forbidden by the Leinster House institution!) rejected the Treaty of Surrender, stating that Leinster House had betrayed the Irish republican ideal.
On the 11th July 1924, the Treaty was registered at the 'League of Nations' by the Free State authorities which, in my opinion, would have been the ideal occasion for a legal challenge to it, based on the fact that, when Michael Collins and his supporters were attempting to 'sell' it to their own side, they made a big deal of the Boundary Commission clause and in particular the part of it which stated that the 'border' could be adjusted '....in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants ..', which is precisely why Westminster 'took' only six of the nine Ulster counties ; a built-in 'majority'. Also, the British actually took it on themselves to amend the 1921 Treaty to allow themselves (ie Westminster) to unilaterally appoint a representative to speak on behalf of the Stormont 'Parliament'. That Boundary Commission clause ('Article 12') was not properly adhered to by the signatories of the 1921 Treaty thereby , legally , negating the Treaty itself but deep pockets would be required to take such an action. And the only grouping in this State in a position to mount a challenge like that is the same (Free State) grouping which benefited then and continues to benefit today from that Clause and that which spawned it.
Finally, although the above post is centered around the political happenings on this date (3rd December) 93 years ago, repercussions from those events are still being felt today and will continue to be felt until Westminster withdraws completely, militarily and politically, from Ireland. And there is no 'clause' required to guarantee that fact.
ON THIS DATE (3RD DECEMBER) 94 YEARS AGO : BRITISH SPIES ENTRAP REPUBLICANS.
"THE TWO PSEUDO-DESERTERS WERE (BRITISH) SPIES......"
'In November 1920 two soldiers from the Essex Regiment dressed in civilian clothes were arrested by the I.R.A. in West Cork. The pair claimed they were deserters who wanted help to get back to Britain. One of the soldiers claimed that his brother was a sergeant in the Essex Regiment stationed at Bandon Barracks who was also eager to desert and would be willing to supply intelligence information which could be useful for a raid on the barracks. When arrangements were made for three I.R.A. officers, Captain John Galvin, Lieutenant Jim Donohue and Section-Commander Joe Begley to meet this sergeant on December 3rd they were surprised by soldiers from the Essex regiment and shot dead.
According to the local I.R.A. leader Tom Barry his comrades had been killed in a trap which the two deserters had set- "Of course, the two pseudo-deserters were spies. Acting under instructions to treat them as such, their I.R.A. escort had lodged them under guard, not in friendly houses but in British loyalist homes. Despite the vigilance of the guards , one of them dropped a note giving the particulars of the Brigade Column Commander’s appointment near Bandon. This was conveyed by the loyalists to the enemy and hence the deaths of the three Bandon Volunteers. Some time after the two British spies were brought to Kilbree, Clonakilty and there they were executed...." (from here.)
In his book 'Guerrilla Days in Ireland', Tom Barry says he interviewed the two British Army 'deserters' on the 25th November 1920 as he, and his IRA column, wanted to get into the British barracks in Bandon and remove all the weapons. He set up the meeting with the Essex sergeant, said to be the brother of one of the 'deserters'. Barry later stated - "One of the oldest ruses in war is to send spies, posing as deserters into enemy lines. The classic example is, I think, the American Civil War, when hundreds of these pseudo-deserters were discovered as spies by both armies and dealt with as such....."
And "dealt with as such" they should be ; in those days spies,informers and turncoats had to be weeded out as they attempted to blend-in with their enemy and tried to appear to be on the same side as those they secretly conspired against. But not so today - they openly present themselves in public and, indeed, are lauded by the political establishments that employ them. We need more 'Guerrilla Days' in this whole country....
MAKING IRELAND LOVABLE.....
Desmond Fennell was born in Belfast in 1929, and learned Latin and Greek in Dublin, and excelled, also, in French and German. He entered UCD with a scholarship in classical languages and there, and in Trinity College, he studied history, economics and languages and, in Bonn University, he researched his MA thesis in modern history. He was awarded a D. Litt in humanities by the National University of Ireland in 1991 and, during his years living and working in Spain, Germany, Sweden, the USA and Italy, he learned three more languages!
He lived in Conamara for about ten years (from the late 1960's) and was very active in the Irish language movement, and taught history and politics in UCG from the early 1980's to the early 1990's, during which time he was involved with English writing classes at DIT. He has this to say in relation to the 'Éire Nua' republican proposal :
"Now a structure of government for all Ireland, I will remind you straight away, you probably all have seen this. That’s was the first bit, the restricting of Ulster, 9 county Ulster, a region of Ireland. Now I would like to give you the background to it, then came Connacht and then came Munster, maps like that were distributed. The whole point was to make the offer being put forward by Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin desired to have a United Ireland practical and attractive to the Ulster British as I call them, the Ulster Protestants in the North, to show them that they could have joined in the government of Ireland on dignified terms. Now I must give you some of the background of these times, the early '70s and already in Ireland, I was not a member of Sinn Féin. I was one of a number of people who were pressing within the Republic for decentralised government because since the foundation of this state in 1922 we have had the most centralised government in all of Europe.
Some of you have noticed maybe on the continent in Italy or in Spain or in Germany when you travel that you can be in a town that has its own local government. Recently we had the appalling thing of 105 town councils being abolished.
Now I was living for ten years in a town in Italy with 15000 inhabitants and it had its own local government where you dealt with many of the affairs of the state but through it. It handled the state’s business in that town.
So people who wanted this type of remodelling of Irish government in the Republic, Charles McCarthy was the first to come out "Regionalise the Republic". The father of it all was Tom Barrington, a dear friend who was director of the Institute of Public Administration in Dublin, he wrote books and he was a passionate pusher out of government from the centre to the regions and I was involved in that. I was living at that time in the Connemara Gaeltacht on an island called Muínis, joined by a bridge to the mainland at Carna and I was involved in that because added to that the Gaeltacht revolution was in full throttle and the Gaeltacht wanted self-government for the Gaeltacht, not only in Connemara which was the core of the revolution. When I say revolution I mean the popular movement that brought about Raidió na Gaeltachta. That got Udaras na Gaeilge from Dublin to Connemara, that’s to say the body that looked after industrial development in the Gaeltacht shifted from Dublin to Connemara and also got Oireachtas na Gaeilge instead of being always in Dublin it was moved to a different Gaeltacht district each year.
This was going on as well as the thing for the entire Republic. That was a movement of a few people whose names I have mentioned. So it was in that context that Ruairí Ó Brádaigh came to me in Connemara and said will you help us in this. Dáithí Ó Conaill was the source in Sinn Féin of the whole plan under the influence of him having lived in Switzerland and in Switzerland as you probably know it’s a country of Cantons. These Cantons are self-governing units within the country so that inspired Daithi to press for a similar proposal for Ireland. The first product of it was this document called 'New Ulster', which shows Ulster divided into West Ulster, East Ulster and South Ulster. Three regions and again within that district councils looking after districts and Belfast was to be reorganised like that with borough councils in different parts of the city instead of just one government. The general spirit of the thing was to give everyone a share. In this East Ulster would have been largely, I’m not going to say Unionist as that word would have lost meaning, I’m going to say what I call an Ulster British part of Ulster, largely Protestant.
Now Ruairí came many times to our house in Muinis and sometimes he was accompanied by Dáithí and became a good friend of mine and at that time we were working out a similar map and plan for Connacht. Leaflets were brought out for Connacht, the same kind as for Ulster but I haven’t one of them here. Maybe some of you still have it but I later put out this booklet 'Sketches of the New Ireland', of a series of maps which I incorporated the plan for New Connacht and New Connacht would have had North Connacht and South Connacht as its two regions and they would have been self-governing regions within the four provinces of Ireland. I and my children have very good memories of him. Indeed my wife used to go swimming in Muinis Strand, she being a great swimmer and he not a bad one. Nollaig O Gaira, probably some of you knew Nollaig O Gaira, he was involved in this Connacht end of planning Éire Nua and my wife became chairperson of Comhairle Connacht when it was set up. Now Comhairle Connacht like Comhairle Uladh was a preparatory body that went around and held public meetings in different places to prepare the ground for to convince the people that this was a good idea. The same that was going on in Ulster was now going on under my wife Mary’s chairmanship in Connacht. It was a very exciting time politically. This was all while the struggle was going on in the North. Our aim was to provide a convincing blueprint of what the Ireland would be when the goal was achieved, a British withdrawal and a united Ireland. I went once with a northern MP, Frank McManus, as
some of you probably remember and we went to meet Desmond Bull a prominent unionist lawyer who had an open mind on the Ireland question and we presented the Éire Nua thing to him and he found it very sensible and said that he would consider it but it was part of this general persuasion attempt that was going on at the different levels and at different ways into the unionist camp.
I was particularly gratified when during Ruairí's visits to us he got to know Matt Mylet who was a prominent publican in Cearna village. Now Matt Mylet was a Fine Gaeler and he was the centre of Fine Gael power in the village and he had the hotel there, Mongan’s Hotel that some of you might have heard of in the old days, which was a very prominent hotel. Prominent people from all over Ireland came there to end their summer holidays. Matt was delighted to meet Ruairí and took him into a back room to find out what was really going on and when Ruairí was gone I said "You are a Fine Gaeler, why did you find so much in common with Ruairí, because the two of you fairly cloistered yourselves for a few hours there to get to the bottom of it all", and he said "Well you must not forget in Fine Gael there are what we call 'Collins men'". Interesting discovery, 'Collins men', a term obviously used among themselves inside Fine Gael.
So that really outlines my connection with Éire Nua and how it was promoted and it’s during that time that I became a close friend of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh."
It's heartening to see someone of the calibre of Desmond Fennell take an interest in the 'Éire Nua' document as it might bring the issue to the attention of those who would not otherwise be bothered to inquire into the subject. One can only hope.
This annual republican event has been given a boost by this decision - at the time of writing, four swimmers, all sponsored, have been confirmed (subject, as usual, to a 'health check' immediately beforehand) and Mr Claus will be on site. The 'lemonade' from Donegal has already arrived and is safely tucked away in a secure storage area (!) and all seems to be shaping-up nicely. Two table loads of 'goodies' have been collected locally from the pubs and shops etc (a big 'Thank You' to Bernard and the lads and lassies for that!) and turf , logs and other firewood is being held for Cabhair in a near-by yard. We will post more updates re the swim on this blog as we receive same - if you can make it on the day you will be most welcome and if you can't get there, you might consider sponsoring one of the swimmers or simply dropping a small envelope (with a few bob in it!) into 223 Parnell Street in Dublin. Your support will be appreciated, thanks!
TOO LITTLE AND TOO LATE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.
Gerry Kelly once again showed his 'establishment' credentials in a recent interview and, even though he didn't say anything new ("...I am not against the use of informants and I’ve never said that...of course police services operate on the basis that they gain information...(I have called for)people to bring forward information so it would be a complete contradiction for me to say I am against people giving information...whether you are a covert human intelligent source or otherwise...") , for one reason or another it proved a bridge too far for one of his fellow nationalists (and party member) Frank McGirr (Colm's brother) who stated that he was.... "...so annoyed with Gerry Kelly. I am a member of Sinn Féin no longer from today. I don’t support informers. Informers are low lives. Thirty-one years ago my youngest brother Colm was murdered by the SAS on December 4 at Clonoe and that was due to police informers..." (from here.)
Where the hell has Frank been living for the last 28 years? Kelly and his Provo teammates have been singing an anti-republican tune of one type or another, albeit sometimes in a lower key, since 1986, to such an extent that anyone with a republican pulse would know to avoid them. Perhaps in another 28 years Frank will come to the conclusion that 'Kelly's Heroes' are not, in fact, attempting to achieve the same objective that his brother died for. Perhaps...
Thanks for reading, Sharon.