Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.
As is the way with all robust Irish movements, the IRA sought relations with other peoples struggling to be free, and we sent delegates to the world's anti-imperialist movements. Seán MacBride and I attended a congress at Frankfurt-on-Main, Donal O'Donoghue and Frank Ryan were our representatives at Paris and George Gilmore and Dave Fitzgerald were sent on a mission to Moscow to discuss military training for a group of IRA officers. The land annuity committee movement sent delegates to the Congress of European Small Farmers that met at Berlin in 1930.
At home, members of the Free State Army fumbled their way back to us, and Mick Price and Seán Russell kept within speaking distance of a number of Free State officers - Russell had the most fantastic friendships - but they used them more to take soundings than to make allies. Now suddenly the opportunity to make considerable inroads into the Free State forces presented itself, for the shift of opinion in the country was making itself felt through the homes of serving Free State soldiers. It was decided to organise groups, especially within the armoured and transport sections, and in many ways there was a climate of uncertain relations that reminded me of the early days of the 1922 fighting or, for that matter, the 1918 period when Hibernians were easily dragged from their moorings.
The Free State government reacted to the sharpening conflict by more active police persecution, and individual police officers with personal cause for bitterness made things difficult, and even dangerous, for themselves, for they put the discipline of local IRA units under very severe strain. Moss Twomey did trojan work in the period - he was one of the very great Fenian organisers of all time. He had around him a devoted body of fulltime officers who, as in Eoin Roe O'Neill's day, "not being mercenaries put themselves upon the country", content with shelter and food. They were a wonderful fellowship : Jim Killeen, Donal O'Donoghue, Seán Russell, Mick Price, George Gilmore, Tom Daly, Seán MacBride, Dave Fitzgerald, George Plunkett, Mick Fitzpatrick, Billy Aherne and , on the levels of brigade, battalion and company staff, countless men and women who worked through most of the hours of darkness. The units flaunted themselves at Easter commemorations. (MORE LATER).
THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS........
Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.
Officer 'J', who was also engaged in the surveillance operation, had followed Seán Savage when he split up from the others, because she thought she was the only member of the surveillance team to notice him. Seán Savage turned in towards the tunnel and just as he had got to the tree about twenty feet in, Officer 'J' heard the sound of gunfire from behind and almost at the same instant she heard a police siren. Savage spun round, looking "very stunned". Officer 'J' had never heard gunfire before and, as she turned away from Savage, there was a lot of noise in the earpiece in her right ear. When she turned back to Savage she saw him lying on the ground and one of the soldiers standing over him saying "Call the police". This was the first time she had been aware of the presence of Soldiers 'C' or 'D'. She did not see or hear any shots being fired.
Ms Diana Treacy, a Gibraltar bank clerk, was walking from the Landport Tunnel towards Corral Road when she passed a group of men and then, behind them, saw a man running towards her. He passed her and then she saw a second man, running awkwardly with his left hand held close to his body. He had a gun in his hand. There was a distance of about four to six feet between her and the first man and a similar distance between her and the man with the gun, who took aim and fired into the back of the other man between three and five times. She looked over her shoulder and saw the man fall onto his back. She heard no warning shouts nor saw the second gunman. She immediately ran off down Corral Road towards Laguna Estate.
Robin Mordue, a British tourist on holidays, had passed through Landport Tunnel on his way to the beach and was approaching Corral Road when he noticed a man walking towards him carrying a newspaper under his arm. When there was about six or seven feet between them, a woman passed Mordue on a bicycle and then somebody to the left of them pushed the woman back, on top of Mordue, and shouted "Stop, get down". The woman, the bicycle and Mordue fell to the ground, and Mordue heard shots and as he was falling saw the man with the newspaper falling as well. As he moved to get up there were more shots and he saw the man bleeding at the foot of a tree. There was still more shooting and Mordue went behind a car and was sick. When he emerged there was a man standing over the body with his gun clasped pointing downwards. By then the shooting had stopped. (MORE LATER).
22 IRISH REPUBLICAN HUNGER-STRIKERS REMEMBERED IN DUBLIN , SATURDAY 3RD MAY 2014.
About two dozen Irish republican activists maintained a presence in O'Connell Street in Dublin on Saturday 3rd May 2014, from 1.45pm until 3pm, to commemorate the twenty-two Irish republicans who died on hunger-strike between 1917 and 1981.
The event was Chaired by Josephine Hayden and, before any of the main speakers took the microphone, the Role of Honour of all twenty-two hunger-strikers was read out, and a brief detail of each man was given.
The speeches were delivered by Seán Dolan, Fergal Moore and Dermot Douglas, all of whom concentrated on various aspects of the men that died on hunger-strike during the 64-year period in question.
A full report and pics will be carried in the May 2014 issue of the 'Saoirse' republican newspaper (which goes to print today, Wednesday 7th May 2014) and those who organised the rally, and those who took part in it, are to be commended for doing so!
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 7)
....... the 1921 Treaty of Surrender was lodged as a legal document with the 'League Of Nations' organisation in Geneva ; the Brits 'broke' that Treaty on 9th October 1924 when they took it on themselves to change Article 12 ('Boundary Commission' clause) of that Treaty. The Free Staters in Leinster House (being, of course, Free Staters!) failed to take Westminster to task for that illegal move .......
The earlier 1920 'Government of Ireland Act' (ie -two 'Home Rule Parliaments' for Ireland) was not referred to , or lodged with, the 'League Of Nations' in Geneva as "...it never purported to be an agreement between two nations .." , that is , the Brits refused to recognise the island of Ireland as a separate entity and considered that 1920 Act to be an "internal arrangement ... ". However - there was, at the time (ie when the agreed version of the Boundary Commission clause was broke , by the Brits, on 9th October 1924) a legal (if not moral) obligation and/or opportunity (and reason) for the then Free State Administration to state that the then 3 year-old Treaty of Surrender had been broken by the Brits and was therefore invalid. That they did not do so spoke volumes of their future intentions - ie 'lets be grateful we got 26 Counties back and not push our luck with the Brits .....'. Anyway - the 1921 Treaty was changed by the Brits on the 9th October 1924 and , on the 24th October 1924 , J.R. Fisher was put in place , by Westminster , to do its bidding on the Boundary Commission which , as stated here previously , held its first meeting on 6th November 1924,in London .......
Also, on 7th October 1924 (which was two days before Westminster took it on itself to 're-jig' the 1921 Treaty) 'Sir' James Craig (Stormont 'Prime Minister') had stood up in that Six-County 'parliament' and made a speech directed at Westminster : Craig was well-aware that the British would not hesitate to 'cross' their 'friends' , as well as their enemies, and he knew they were only days away from appointing a Stormont representative to the Boundary Commission ; so he 'reminded' them of where he stood - he stated in his speech that an "unfavourable" decision by the Boundary Commission would see him resign as Stormont 'Prime Minister' and take charge of at least 40,000 armed men who were of similar mind with him , and that they would not rule out any steps necessary "... to defend their territory ....." (sic). The chances are that 'Sir' Craig had already been assured by Westminster that he had nothing to fear from the Commission , but what career politician can resist an opportunity for a bit of 'grandstanding'?
Then came another 'spanner' in the Free State 'works' : on 7th November 1925 , a newspaper in London ('The London Morning Post') reported that the Boundary Commission had apparently decided that the Free State should hand over some of its territory to the (pro-British) Stormont 'parliament'! The British were 'flying a kite' , or getting their retaliation in first (!) - and it worked. The nationalist population in the Free State 'border' counties were being fed with rumours that their areas were to be 'handed-over' to Stormont in return for a couple of 'border fields' in South Fermanagh and/or South Armagh. Within four days (ie by 11th November 1925) the (first) President of the Free State, William T. Cosgrave, was trying to calm things down - he stated that the Free State would not agree to transfer any of its territory to the Stormont administration.
Ten days later (ie on the 21st November 1925) , with the panic-level growing, Eoin MacNeill resigned from the Boundary Commission, a move which only fed the rumour-mill further. The British jumped in here , again, and fanned the flames by claiming that, before he had resigned, Eoin MacNeill had agreed that the Free State should cede some territory and , whats more, that MacNeill saw nothing wrong about , and had no problem with, Westminster appointing the Stormont representative to the Boundary Commission! Three days later (ie on the 24th November 1925) Eoin MacNeill, by now the centre of much 'did-he-or-did-he-not' speculation, 'resigned' from the Free State Government itself (pushed or 'resigned' ...?) but the British were not finished 'stirring' things up just yet ; they had more 'salt' and spied another Free State 'wound'....... (MORE LATER).
44 YEARS AGO (1970-2014): USC ('B SPECIALS') DISBANDED.
An incident with the 'Specials', which the British would rather forget about, took place on the night of 23rd January 1921 when a fifteen-man unit of the A-Specials from Fermanagh drove to Clones in County Monaghan, broke into a pub and thrashed it.
In June 1921, the new Six-County 'state' came into existence and,by the end of that year, the Stormont regime had taken command of the (now re-named) 'police' force', the 'Royal Ulster Constabulary'(RUC). The 'Ulster Special Constabulary' were now also controlled by the Unionists in Stormont. In 1925, with the Six Counties "firmly established as a separate entity", as the British and the Free Staters would have it, there was no need to maintain the thirty-five thousand strong 'Specials' as they were then constituted. Redundancies were being discussed. Westminster (which held the purse-strings) offered a lump sum of one-million-two-hundred-thousand pounds Sterling to be divided between the A-Specials and the C-Specials - the other gang , the B-Specials ( "the cutting edge") were to be kept as they were. The 'Specials', being the mercenaries they were, turned on themselves : the B-Specials were happy enough , although a bit fretful - they wondered when their masters in Westminster would turn on them. But for now , they had a job, a 'career', which paid them well for suppressing their nationalist neighbours.
The (by now) three-thousand-five-hundred-and-fifty-three full-time A-Specials and the approximate similar number of C-Specials were told by Loyalist leader James Craig (now a British 'Sir') on 10th December 1925 that they were to be disbanded immediately and he offered them two months pay each if they would just resign. But they wanted more.
On 14th December, 1925, in Derry and Ballycastle, the A-Specials mutinied and imprisoned their own Officer Corps! Other areas followed suit. On 16th December, 1925, the A-Specials contacted 'Sir' James Craig and told him they wanted the proposed two months pay plus a two-hundred-pounds Sterling tax-free bonus for each man! On the 18th December, 1925, one of Craig's minion's, a Richard Dawson Bates, told the A-Specials that there would be no change in the original offer, and he threatened the A-Specials further by stating that if they did not accept the offer on the table they would be dismissed, sacked on the spot, with no financial 'hand-shake' at all....... (MORE LATER).
BEWARE THE CABAL FROM THE DARK SIDE....
After a four day debriefing session by the 'Cabal from the Dark Side', Gerry Adams emerged through the back door of the Imperial Barracks dressed as the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead aka Darth Vader. He immediately denied suggestions that British Prime Minister David Cameron was his father and declared, contrary to recent media speculation, he was never a smoker - 'I never did chew bacco...', the Bearded Wonder said, before jumping into an Imperial Cruiser for the long trip to a galaxy far far away, where his mission is to convince a wronged people that to surrender to, and work, salaried, on behalf of the enemy, is really a 'peace process' in all but name.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, his minions carried on building monuments to their leader, removing, in the process, historical representations of 'the old days', in order that Ger's 'New Order/Party Election Campaign' be promoted. Some of the natives resisted, but Wonder Beard dismissed them as 'not having the farce with them'. Join us here again for the next episode, which might or might not contain a storyline in which Princess Lou attempts a coup......
ANOTHER 'TEAM' ENTERS THE CROWDED PITCH....
'Saoirse' newspaper is sold, as are republican badges, t-shirts, caps etc etc which would be grand if we didn't have to coordinate the sale and return of 650 raffle tickets as well!
But as it's for a good cause (and we have the craic at it, too!) we'll be there, as usual, to do the business : and, again as usual, we will post the list of winners etc on this blog as soon as possible after the event. But such is the workload involved (hic!) , we won't be saying when that will be...!
Thanks for reading, Sharon.