Friday, January 02, 2015



The RSF Colour Party and members of Na Fianna Éireann enter the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, on New Year's Day 2015, for the Dáithí Ó Conaill Commemoration.

Whatever entity, if any, that secured dry weather for us on Christmas Day last at the Cabhair Swim deserted us with a vengeance on New Year's Day in Glasnevin Cemetery as the strong winds blew the heavy rain at us from all angles, including horizontal and vertical. But the fifty-or-so of us that were there are the type that walk in the rain, whereas others just get wet from it. In other words, we persevered!

Chairperson Andy Connolly.

The event was Chaired by Andy Connolly , Dublin, who welcomed all to the commemoration and gave a brief outline of Dáithí's involvement in the Republican Movement.

A wreath was laid on behalf of the Movement by Matt Conway, Kildare and, as per a request from the Ó Conaill family, a decade of the Rosary was recited by Padraig Ennis, Dublin.

The oration was delivered by Josephine Hayden, in which she detailed Dáithí Ó Conaill's many contributions to republicanism and asked, as did the Chairperson, what Dáithí would have made of the many 'activists' that confine themselves to 'Facebook' and similar sites rather than actually take part in the events they post comments about, a question which those in attendance felt should be asked, as both speakers were soundly applauded for doing so.

RSF Colour Party and members of Na Fianna Éireann - both groups were commended by all present for maintaining a dignified stance despite harassment from the political police (who arrested one man for refusing to give them his details) and the discomfort and soaking they endured from the wind and rain.

Finally, after the Chairperson brought proceedings to an end by singing our National Anthem, all republicans present were invited to a near-by pub for soup and sandwiches and a place to hang their wet coats. RSF is to be congratulated for holding such a worthy event in the face of both inclement elements. A full report of this commemoration will be carried in this months issue of 'Saoirse', which goes to print on Wednesday the 14th.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014



"Dáithí came from a strong Cork Republican family. His uncle Michael O’Sullivan (17), along with five of his comrades, was bayoneted to death by British Crown forces in March 1921. He joined Sinn Féin at the age of 17 during the local elections in 1955. By the end of the following year he was on active service as a Volunteer in the Irish Republican Army , serving as an organiser under GHQ staff in Co Fermanagh.

On January 1, 1957 he was second-in-command of the Pearse Column during the attack on Brookeborough RUC barracks which resulted in the deaths of two of his comrades, Fearghal Ó hAnluáin and Seán Sabhat. Four others were wounded including the column commander. At 18 years of age Dáithí took command and led a successful withdrawal back across the border – evading 400 RUC, B-Specials, two helicopters and the British army – where they were forced to retire. He was then imprisoned in Mountjoy and the Curragh Concentration camp from where he escaped with his friend and comrade Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in September 1958. He returned to active service and for a period was Director of Operations. He was critically wounded in an ambush by the RUC and B-Specials in Arboe, Co Tyrone on the shores of Lough Neagh in November 1959. He made his escape but was forced to seek help because of loss of blood and his weakened condition. He was captured by Crown Forces and was sentenced to eight years which he served in Belfast’s Crumlin Road Jail. Following his release in 1963 he reported back to active service.

In 1969/70 he again made his talents available to the Republican Movement. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said of him he possessed the 'ablest mind in the Republican Movement for over 20 years'. The sheer breadth of his ability and intellect was evidenced by his service to the All-Ireland Republic both militarily and politically. He had a central role in framing ÉIRE NUA and remained a tireless advocate of it right up to his death in 1991. Dáithí Ó Conaill never equivocated on what was the cause of the war in Ireland or what was required to deliver a just and lasting peace for all of the Irish people. Speaking in Belfast at Easter 1973 he said: 'Today, the central issue in the war is one of conflict between Ireland’s right to freedom and England’s determination to keep us in subjection. All other issues are subordinate to this basic point. There can be no compromise on the fundamental issue as to who should rule Ireland: the British Parliament or the Irish people. We have had 800 years of British ineptitude in ruling Ireland; we have never known rule by the Irish, of the Irish, for the Irish. Until we do, we shall never enjoy peace and stability in our land.' "
(From here.)

The commemoration will be held, as stated, on New Year's Day in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. Those attending are asked to assemble at the main gates at 12.45pm. Go raibh maith agat.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Sunday, December 28, 2014



Santa and one of the Cabhair swimmers, pictured on site at the Grand Canal in Inchicore, Dublin, on Christmas Day 2014, delivering a message. Mr. Claus made his appearance dressed in 'civvies' as he didn't want to alarm any of the children present - the poor man had fractured his left arm shortly after making his last house call earlier on that morning (but some of us suspect it was a ruse in case he was asked to swim...!)

We had a lucky break with the weather on both Christmas Eve and Day - the miserable, damp, rain, darkness and all-round gloom that had been a feature of December 2014 vacated the scene for those two days, leaving a crisp, frosty blue-sky replacement atmosphere for those who insisted on frollocking in and around the Grand Canal at Inchicore, Dublin. And at least fifty-seven people done just that - five swimmers, about fifty onlookers and two from Harcourt Terrace who were there, uninvited and unwanted, to observe proceedings on behalf of the State.

Christmas 'goodies' , supplied by local shops , pubs etc, and for which fifty-five people were very grateful. Two poor souls, meanwhile, looked sick and weren't allowed to sample the wares, being advised instead that a good sup of canal water might cure them.....

...and this mysterious 'Man In Black' appeared, as if from nowhere, to ensure that the 'Unauthorised' did not have a mince pie and a bottle of beer. A shady looking character, without a doubt, and we suspect he may have pushed Santa off the roof earlier on that day. Little does he know it, but we very nearly had six swimmers for the event!

The 'Speech from The Lock' was given by John Horan, Clondalkin,Dublin, who thanked almost all for attending and reminded all present that this was the 38th successive year of the swim, and gave a brief history of the event from 1976 to date, mentioning that in two years time republicans will witness the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the 40th anniversary of the POW Swim.

The swimmers get ready to earn their keep.... a brave female mistakenly wanders in to the male 'dressing room'....

...which encourages three of them to make a run for the 'diving board', from where they watch... one of their own swims to safety... their fifth colleague looks on, wondering what all the fuss is about!

Panic ensues, as the female 'intruder' chases after them....

....causing 'each-man-for-himself' mayhem in their ranks... much so that this swimmer feels he'd be safer staying in the canal!

Order restored - and four of the five dry off at the fire....

....then get dressed, whilst thinking of some words of encouragement to entice their fifth colleague to leave the safety of the water and join them at the fire!

Anyway - this 38th-in-a-row Cabhair Swim was a resounding success, with much-needed finance secured for the republican prisoners and their families, all of whom are in our thoughts, and not just at this time of year. A full report with more pics of this and the other 25th December 2014 Cabhair Christmas swims will be carried in the January 2015 issue of 'Saoirse', which goes to print on Wednesday, 14th of that month. Finally, thanks to almost all who joined with us on the Grand Canal on Christmas Day, to the many on-lookers on the bridge, to the motorists who sounded their car horns in support and to the local businesses for their many offerings. Appreciated, one and all!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.