The 'Red Scare' of 1931 was nonsense, in relation to Irish life, but it was necessary to make a climate for new 'terrorist' legislation, and it was easy to make such a climate, for there was a scare abroad and even robust intelligence is not always a safeguard against a scare. The Free State government raised a great din, and press and pulpit formed a jazz band that bare throats could not cut through to reach the people. Leinster House had a considerable measure of success, mainly because the IRA having first cut itself off from de Valera and later estranged itself from Sinn Féin, did seem a bit 'new' , especially since it had not found a way to fulfil the purpose, which alone would have justified it in striking out on its own, to associate itself with people on concrete social struggles and so interpret its politics to them.
I had the unique experience of seeing the 'Red Scare' develop on two fronts at the same time - is human hysteria a virus which crosses national frontiers as easily as influenza? I sneaked in and out of Ireland to attend executive meetings of the European Small-Farmer Movement in Berlin : I even chanced to be on the spot when a Nazi mob wrecked a cinema which was showing a 'defeatist' film called 'All Quiet on the Western Front'.
Count Michael Károlyi, who was one of my associates on the European committee, lived in Berlin at that time and he was an experienced observer. I also had the enlightened guidance of two grand people, the Grabisches, who fled Germany in the end, to the very great joy of their many Irish friends - my wife and I spent the Christmas of 1931 with them. (MORE LATER).
THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS........
Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.
The success of the Crown strategy can, as much as in the jury's verdict, be measured in the number of inquest hours spent in hearing experts from both sides argue the toss about the feasibility of setting off a bomb located in the assembly area by remote control from the places the killings occurred. There was, as Paddy McGrory himself said, an air of unreality about it - it was occasionally necessary to pinch and remind oneself there was no bomb in the assembly area and none of the three had a detonating device. It could be argued that since the Crown chose to throw the balls, McGrory had to play them by fielding his own experts. But equally, by getting sucked into their game of self-contained logic, McGrory may have allowed the Crown to dictate the nature and pace of the inquest, leaving a lot of damning evidence about what actually happened on the day insufficiently underlined in the minds of the jury.
It all comes down in the end to the twenty-odd shots, fired by three men, over an aggregate if not an actual period of ten seconds, which left three people dead. When the clouds of confusion, created by the talk of plots and counter plots, traps, bombs, Rules of Engagement , warnings, threatening looks and 'things uppermost in people's minds' are cleared away, that is what you are left with. That and the forensic evidence which, for all the sloppiness of the preservation-of-scene operation, is remarkably telling.
With Seán Savage, as the coroner himself remarked, it is probably impossible to establish with any certainty what actually happened - the story told by Soldiers 'C' and 'D' about him "corkscrewing to the ground" while they were firing at him, while stretching credulity, might just possibly be true. Even so, there are a number of puzzling things about the evidence relating to Savage's shooting. The soldiers say they fired a total of fifteen shots at him - Soldier 'C' six rounds and Soldier 'D' nine. There was a total of fifteen bullet cases found in the vicinity, which seems to tie in. But another spent shell was found in Seán Savage's left-hand trouser pocket, something which seems to have been overlooked by both the coroner and Mr. McGrory. If it did not relate to the shots fired, the possibility arises that it was some kind of bizarre 'memento' planted by one of the soldiers. It is difficult to say which of the two scenarios is the most ominous. (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 15)
'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates, the Stormont 'Minister for Home Affairs', put together his RIC raiding-party and stormed the Offices of Fermanagh County Council ; the building was seized, the Council Officials were expelled and the institution itself was dissolved! In the following four months (ie up to April 1922) , 'Sir' Bates and his RIC raiding-party were kept busy ; Armagh, Keady and Newry Urban Councils, Downpatrick Town Commissioners, Cookstown, Downpatrick, Kilkeel, Lisnaskea, Strabane, Magherafelt and Newry No. 1 and No. 2 Rural Councils and a number of Boards of Poor Law Guardians had all been dissolved and (pro-Stormont) 'Commissioners' appointed to carry out their functions!
The people of those areas (ie the voters !) were not asked their opinion on whether their Council should be closed down or not, nor were they asked if they agreed with the 'appointment' of a new 'Commissioner' ; in all cases , the new 'boss' understood what his 'job' was - to do as instructed by 'Sir' Bates and his bigoted colleagues in Stormont. In actual fact, the new 'Commissioner' for Armagh and Keady Councils , for instance, was a Colonel Waring, who later 'progressed' through the ranks to become a County Commandant of the 'B' Specials!
'Sir' Bates must have considered himself an all-powerful 'God' by this stage, because he then gave himself the 'legal authority' to ".... outlaw organisations, to detain or intern people indefinitely without charge or trial, to make it an offence to refuse to answer questions put by a policeman, Special Constable or soldier, to impose curfews, make exclusion orders, to examine bank accounts and seize same if required, to block roads and bridges, and to evacuate or destroy houses and buildings...." The man was only short of issuing a decree that he should live forever and walk on water if he wanted to...! That 'law' was introduced in Ireland in the early 1920's ; some forty years later, a certain South African Minister for 'Justice' was to make reference to it.... (MORE LATER).
DANIEL O'CONNELL : BORN ON THIS DATE (6TH AUGUST) 239 YEARS AGO.
Working within British 'law' with a vow NOT to use force against the British....
Ireland 1843 - 45 years after the 'United Irishmen' Rising, 5 years before the 'Young Irelanders' were to rise up in arms against British mis-rule, and 15 years before the Irish Republican Brotherhood was founded (on Saint Patricks Day, 1858). The population of Ireland was in decline - 'famine' struck again and approximately 2 million people were to leave the island ; one million people emigrated and the same number died. A Mr. Stephen de Vere was an eye-witness on one of the emigrant ships - "Before the emigrant has been a week at sea, he is an altered man. How can it be otherwise? Hundreds of poor people, men, women and children, of all ages, from the drivelling idiot of ninty to the babe just born, huddled together, without light, without air, wallowing in filth and breathing a foetid atmosphere, sick in body, dispirited in heart. The fevered patients lying between the sound in sleeping places so narrow as almost to deny them a change of position....by their agonised ravings disturbing those around them. Living without food or medicine except as administered by the hand of casual charity, dying without spiritual consolation and buried in the deep without the rites of the Church..." Thus did one million Irish people 'live' on board the emigrant ships.
It was around this time that a Mr. Nicholas Cummins, a Cork Magistrate, found himself in the village of Skibbereen , in Cork. The account of what he witnessed was published in 'The Times' newspaper - "I shall state simply what what I saw there: on reaching the spot I was surprised to find the wretched hamlet apparently deserted. I entered some of the hovels to ascertain the cause, and the scenes which presented themselves were such as no tongue or pen can convey the slightest idea of. In the first hovel, six famished and ghastly skeletons, to all appearances dead, were huddled in a corner on some filthy straw, their sole covering which seemed a ragged horsecloth, their wretched legs hanging about, naked above the knees. I approached with horror, and found by a low moaning they were alive - they were in fever, four children, a woman and what had once been a man. It is impossible to go through the detail : suffice it to say that, in a few minutes, I was surrounded by at least 200 such phantoms, such frightful spectres as no words can describe, either from famine or from fever. Their demoniac yells are still ringing in my ears, and their horrible images are fixed upon my brain. My heart sickens at the recital, but I must go on.
The same morning the police opened a house on the adjoining lands, which was observed shut for many days, and two dead corpses were found, lying upon the mud floor, half devoured by rats. A mother, herself in a fever, was seen the same day to drag the corpse of her child , a girl about twelve, perfectly naked, and leave it half covered with stones. In another house, within five hundred yards of the cavalry station at Skibbereen, the dispensary doctor found seven wretches lying unable to move, under the same cloak. One had been dead for many hours, but the others were unable to move either themselves or the corpse....."
But even still , some tried to fight back. The 'Repeal Association', led by Daniel O'Connell in the early 1840's, was one of the largest mass movements in Europe at the time ; it had its 'roots' in the 'Catholic Association' which, between 1823 and 1829, led by O'Connell, and supported by the Catholic Hierarchy, organised the vast majority of the population into a political body seeking emancipation - for at least six years (1823-1829) the campaign was relentless, giving rise to civil unrest in Ireland and prolonged agitation in England itself concerning the issue. The British Prime Minster, 'Sir' Robert Peel, relented in 1829, and Catholic Emancipation was passed at Westminster. Daniel O 'Connell was a 'God' ; to the Irish, he could do no wrong, and he continued to press the British for more 'reforms' of the system. But, to the British, O'Connell was becoming more of a troublesome 'thorn in the side'.
On April 15th, 1840, Daniel O'Connell launched the 'Loyal National Repeal Association' (as it called itself from 1841 onwards - at its inception it was simply known as 'The Repeal Association' : O'Connell was back-tracking with the name-change, all but apologising to the British for asking them to 'tweak' the system a little more in favour of the Irish) but he made it clear that it was his desire that Ireland should remain under the British 'Monarchy' - saying, if you like - '...stay if you want , just treat us better.' The only force to be used, he stated , was "moral force" ; but even this was too much of a demand for Westminster - 'Sir' Robert Peel (the British PM) replied that to 'grant' O'Connell his way "would not merely mean the repeal of an Act of (British) Parliament, but dismemberment of a great Empire. Deprecating as I do all war but above all, civil war, yet there is no alternative which I do not think preferable to the dismemberment of Empire." A group within the 'Repeal Association' (or 'The Loyal National Repeal Association', as O'Connell insisted it be known as) supported Daniel O'Connell in his endeavours but were not convinced that "moral force" alone would win the day ; they were the 'Young Irelanders', and they viewed their leader "with a mixture of affection and impatience." In 1842, 'The Young Irelanders' established a newspaper called 'The Nation' , in which they supported the objectives of the 'Repeal' Movement. The newspaper, under the control of 26 years-young Charles Gavan Duffy, supported Daniel O'Connell in his quest to publicise the 'Repeal' Movement, and helped to organise and promote outdoor meetings (known as 'Monster Meetings') at which the objectives of the 'Repeal' Movement could be advanced. The year 1843 was promoted as 'The Year of Repeal', and Daniel O'Connell took his message to the people ; in Mullingar, County Westmeath, for instance, he addressed a crowd of approximately 150,000 people. The British 'authorities' were watching these developments with interest and, while no doubt regarding the 'Loyal' Daniel O'Connell as no more than a 'rebel pet', were presumably more worried by the fact that the huge crowds he drew would be susceptible to the less 'loyal' message coming from 'The Young Irelanders'. After the Mullingar 'Monster Meeting ' , which was viewed as a tremendous success by the organisers, 'The Nation' newspaper helped to publicise another such meeting - this time in Mallow, County Cork : 400,000 people turned up - the British were uneasy.
A third 'Monster Meeting' was held in Lismore, County Waterford - again, a crowd estimated at 400,000 people attended. At each meeting, the 'Young Irelanders' were recruiting, having made their position clear in the pages of their newspaper, 'The Nation', in leaflets, and by word of mouth - ie 'we get back whatever we can by O'Connell's methods, but will not confine ourselves to those methods alone...' The British were perplexed at what to do regarding the 'Monster Meetings' - were they a 'safety valve' at which the 'agitators/rebels' could let off steam in a more-or-less harmless fashion, or were they a possible recruiting exercise at which the more militant element could 'plot and plan'? However, after the 15th August 1843, the British decided to take action ; for it was on that date that between 800,000 and one million people gathered on the Hill of Tara in County Meath for a 'Monster Meeting'. The 'Young Irelanders' newspaper, 'The Nation', put the figure for those in attendance at the Hill of Tara 'Monster Meeting' at three-quarters of a million people "without fear of exaggeration" ; Daniel O'Connell himself claimed it was at least one-and-a-half million people, while another newspaper of the day ('The Times'?) reported - "The whole district was covered with men. The population within a days march began to arrive on foot shortly after daybreak and continued to arrive, on all sides and by every available approach, 'till noon. It was impossible from any one point to see the entire meeting. The number is supposed to have reached between 500,000 and 700,000 persons....". Other reports stated that O'Connell's marshals were on horseback, that the crowds arrived on foot and in carriages, banners were present, as were bands and groups in "historic fancy dress". Indeed, archaeologists have found human bones on the site, some of which are said to be 4000 years old, and traces of wooden platforms, bits of clay pipes and, of course (!) , whiskey bottles, dating back to the mid-19th Century. On that day in Irish history, Daniel O'Connell addressed a sea of people -
"We are at Tara of the Kings - the spot from which emanated the social power, the legal authority, the right to dominion over the furthest extremes of the land....the strength and majority of the National Movement was never exhibited so imposingly as at this great meeting. The numbers exceed any that ever before congregated in Ireland in peace or war. It is a sight not grand alone but appalling - not exciting merely pride, but fear. Step by step, we are approaching the great goal of Repeal of the Union, but it is at length with the strides of a giant..." Again, it must be stressed that Daniel O'Connell would use only "moral force" to achieve what he termed 'repeal of the Union' and, even then, favoured the island of Ireland remaining as a unit governed by the British 'Monarchy' - a 'new' coat of varnish on rotten timber. O'Connell could 'talk the talk' but the British were fearful that he was encouraging others to 'walk the walk'.The 'Monster Meetings' were a great success - despite all the "misfortunes" (as the British would have it) that the Irish people were suffering in their daily lives ; the desire, the demand, for a British withdrawal had not gone away. And, as stated here a few paragraphs back, after the Tara 'Monster Meeting' (15th August 1843) the British decided it just wasn't cricket : enough was enough. A 'Monster Meeting' planned for Clontarf, in Dublin, which was to take place on Sunday, 8th October, 1843, was banned by the British authorities on Saturday, 7th October 1843 - the day before the event was due to take place ; Daniel O'Connell and others in the leadership of 'The Loyal National Repeal Association' quickly lodged a complaint. Daniel O'Connell protested at the banning, as did his colleagues in the leadership of the 'Loyal National Repeal Association' - they were later to be arrested by the British and sentenced to a year in prison for 'conspiracy', but this judgement was then reversed in the British House of Lords. When, on that Saturday, the 7th of October 1843, O'Connell noticed that posters were being put-up in Dublin by the British 'authorities' stating that the following days meeting had been banned, he backed down ; in this scribblers opinion he should have 'stuck to his guns' and ignored the British 'writ' - he should have went ahead with the Clontarf 'Monster Meeting' therby 'putting it up' to the British but..."moral force only" won the day ; O'Connell issued his own poster that same day (ie Saturday 7th October 1843) as well as spreading the word through the 'grapevine' that the meeting was cancelled. That poster makes for interesting reading -
WHEREAS there has appeared, under the Signatures of "E.B. SUGDEN, C DONOUGHMORE, ELIOT F BLACKBURN, E. BLAKENEY, FRED SHAW, T.B.C. SMITH, a paper being, or purporting to be, a PROCLAMATION, drawn up in very loose and inaccurate terms, and manifestly misrepresenting known facts ; the objects of which appear to be, to prevent the PUBLIC MEETING, intended to be held TO-MORROW, the 8th instant, at CLONTARF, TO PETITION PARLIAMENT for the REPEAL of the baleful and destructive measure of the LEGISLATIVE UNION.
AND WHEREAS, such Proclamation has not appeared until LATE IN THE AFTERNOON OF THIS SATURDAY, THE 7th, so that it is utterly impossible that the knowledge of its existence could be communicated in the usual Official Channels, or by the Post, in time to have its contents known to the Persons intending to meet at CLONTARF, for the purpose of Petitioning , as aforesaid, whereby ill-disposed Persons may have an opportunity, under cover of said Proclamation, to provoke Breaches of the Peace, or to commit Violence on Persons intending to proceed peaceably and legally to the said Meeting . WE, therefore, the COMMITTEE of the LOYAL NATIONAL REPEAL ASSOCIATION, do most earnestly request and entreat, that all well-disposed persons will, IMMEDIATELY on receiving this intimation, repair to their own dwellings, and not place themselves in peril of any collision, or of receiving any ill-treatment whatsoever. And we do further inform all such persons, that without yielding in any thing to the unfounded allegations in said alleged Proclamation, we deem it prudent and wise, and above all things humane, to declare that said MEETING IS ABANDONED, AND IS NOT TO BE HELD.
SIGNED BY ORDER,
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE.
T. M. RAY, Secretary.
SATURDAY , 7 th OCTOBER, 1843. 3 O 'CLOCK P.M.
RESOLVED - That the above Cautionary Notice be immediately transmitted by Express to the Very Reverend and Reverend Gentlemen who signed the Requisition for the CLONTARF MEETING, and to all adjacent Districts, SO AS TO PREVENT the influx of Persons coming to the intended Meeting.
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.
Browne,Printer, 36 Nassau Street.
The British had put pressure on their 'rebel pet', O'Connell, to enforce their ban, and had ordered a number of gunboats and land-based artillery pieces to train their weapons on the Clontarf area. Daniel O'Connell was aware that thousands of people would already be on their way to the Clontarf meeting (some having left their homes on the Friday, or earlier, for the walk to Dublin) so he sent his marshals out from Dublin on horseback, urging the crowds to return home : it was that or challenge Westminster, but that wasn't an option, as far as he was concerned. O'Connell and his 'Loyal Association' had painted themselves into a corner ; they fell into a trap of their own making . He had publicly and repeatedly vowed to work within "the law" (ie British 'law') which could have at any time been used, as it eventually was, to ban his agitation and he had vehemently ruled out the use of force in any circumstances in challenging the British. One of the results of the decision by Daniel O'Connell to cancel the Clontarf 'Monster Meeting' was that the public lost faith in him and in the 'Loyal National Repeal Association' ; when he realised that he had lost that support, he expressed the view that "repeal of the Union" could not be won. The 'Young Irelanders' denounced him and began preparations for a military rising - but the people were, for the most part , dispirited, and the 'Great Hunger' (so-called 'Famine') was taking its toll.
Hundreds of thousands of potential Irish rebels died of hunger or related diseases between the years 1845 and 1849 . The then Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Murray, prayed "that God in His mercy would vouchsafe to avert the calamity which seems impending over us ....." and Westminster stated that it could not give people food because, in doing so, it would undermine market prices! The people, weak and dying from want of food, had nothing to lose - those that were strong enough to do so took matters into their own hands. 'The Freemans Journal' newspaper wrote on 15th April 1846 : "There have been attacks on flour mills in Clonmel by people whose bones protruded through the skin which covered them ; staring through hollow eyes as if they had just risen from their shrouds, crying out that they could no longer endure the extremity of their distress and that they must take that food which they could not procure. As we pass into summer, we pass into suffering. Every week develops the growing intensity of the national calamity ..." It should be noted that every sort of food except the potato was available because the harvest in every other crop but the potato was excellent ; food was leaving the country for export in vast quantities, and even more was coming in! Apart from the Indian corn, nearly four times as much wheat was being imported into Ireland as exported : but that food was not for the hungry.
As if man-made 'Famine' wasn't enough for the Irish people to contend with, the British made life even more miserable for the dying ; a report in 'The Freemans Journal' newspaper (Summer 1846) gave the following description of an eviction in County Galway - "It was the most appalling sight I ever witnessed : women, young and old, running wildly to and fro with small portions of their property to save it from the wreck. The screaming of the children, and wild wailings of the mothers driven from home and shelter....in the first instance the roofs and portions of the wall only were thrown down. But that Friday night the wretched creatures pitched a few poles slant-wise against the walls covering them with thatch in order to procure shelter for the night. When this was perceived the next day the bailiffs were dispatched with orders to pull down all the walls and root-up the foundations in order to prevent the poor people from daring to take shelter amid the ruins..." Meanwhile, as the Irish people were suffering - unnecessarily, for the most part - a different government came to power in England ; a new Prime Minister, 'Lord' John Russell , replaced 'Sir' Robert Peel at the end of June 1846. The situation was to change for the Irish - but not for the better - the new political power in London, in this case represented by Charles Trevelyan, Permanent Head of the British Treasury and a well-known 'bible-thumper', even though he was only in his mid-thirties, was anxious to 'make his mark' and turned his attention to the Irish. Trevelyan contacted the cargo-ship 'Sorciere' which was then on its way to Ireland with a hold full of Indian corn ; he ordered the Captain of the 'Sorciere' to abandon his mission - "The cargo of the Sorciere is not wanted. Her owners must dispose of it as they think proper." The Brits justified that decision, and others like it, by stating (again , it was Charles Trevelyan who spoke) - "The only way to prevent people from becoming habitually dependent on (the British) government is to bring operations to a close. The uncertainty about the new crop (of wheat in Ireland) only makes it more necessary. Whatever may be done hereafter, these things (ie relief missions) should be stopped now, or you run the risk of paralysing all private enterprise and having this country (Ireland) on you for an indefinite number of years." In short - 'The Irish might as well die now as later ...'. A callous bastard.
A report from that period (possibly in 'The Freemans Journal' newspaper, around October 1846) stated that '...several hundred men, often carrying shovels, were marching into towns and on to landlords estates pleading for work. When several thousand called on the Marquis of Sligo at his house in Westport they were careful not to tread on his grass, and even though he had no work for them they were rewarded by being told he would not harass them for their rents.' A generous landlord, to be sure...
A British 'Justice of the Peace' (no name given) wrote from County Mayo - "The heart sickens at the sight of so many creatures all but dead ; many, many, many are not able to work, they are so debilitated from want of food. I see hundreds of women and children going through the stubble fields striving to get an old stalk of potato..." It was these same "debilitated creatures" that had put their faith in Daniel O'Connell to speak up for them, but the great 'Liberator', who lived in a stand-alone mansion overlooking Kenmare Bay in County Kerry, 'Derrynane House' (where his uncle, Maurice O'Connell, used to live) failed them by his own hand. By giving a vow to work within British 'law' and to use "moral force" only, he could only 'achieve' as much freedom as the British were willing to give him. Today, 167 years after the death of Daniel O'Connell, like-minded constitutionalists in Leinster House have made that same mistake in regards to their belief in the British sense of 'fair play' - they, too, will be 'slapped down' by the British, who will allow them to go so far but no further. They will receive as little 'freedom' as Westminster decides to give them. In the words of a celebrated Irish man, born in Dublin in 1854, one Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde - "Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes." Not to admit the mistake is bad enough, but to repeat it is worse....
THE NEW 'MARK OF THE DEVIL' :
suffering from imperialism.
If you can attend street protests, pickets and/or demonstrations, well and good but, if for whatever reason you are unable to show your support in that fashion, then here's something you can do : hit those aggressors in their pockets. This list, although by no means 100% complete (ie visually check the label of each item in your shopping basket) will give you some idea of the range of products that help to keep the Israeli economy afloat. And while you're at it, you might like to be able to put a British-made product back on the shelf, too - useful list here re same!
And, by the way - with the date that's in it - let's not forget that Israel is a nuclear power and has shown that, as a State, its political and military leaders are capable of any atrocity which they believe would further their own interests. Just like their political and military backers and mentors. Ill-disposed people of that nature should not be allowed near a panic button, never mind a nuclear button.
KILKENNY TO WIN/LOSE ONCE/TWICE, CABHAIR TO BE VICTORIOUS!
Thanks for reading, Sharon.