Wednesday, June 03, 2015



On Saturday 6th June, 2015, the 2nd Annual Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Summer School will take place in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon, from 9.30am to 5.30pm. This year the Summer School will be looking ahead to the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh worked throughout his life for economic, political and social justice both in Ireland and internationally and these themes will be reflected in the Summer School programme - current issues such as the campaign against water charges and the battle for the control of our natural resources, for example the Shell-to-Sea campaign, will be debated in terms of how these issues reflect in a modern context the ethos and thinking behind the 1916 Proclamation.

The Rising and the politics of commemoration : the relevance of the 1916 Proclamation and what it has to say to the Ireland of today. The 1916 Rising and Ireland's place in the global struggle against imperialism will all feed into what promises to be a day of lively debate and discussion and a book launch ('Selected Writings and Speeches Volume 1: 1970 -1986, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh', edited by Dieter Reinisch) will be held in the hotel straight after the Summer School at 6pm on the Saturday. On Sunday, 7th June, a commemoration will be held, which will form up beside the entrance to the Abbey Hotel at 11.45am and proceed to the grave of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh at St Coman’s Cemetery where the oration will be given by John Joe McCusker, Fermanagh. All genuine republicans welcome!


ANNUAL WOLFE TONE COMMEMORATION : Sunday, June 14th, 2015, Sallins, Co. Kildare.

"From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Great Britain and Ireland as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt convinced that, while it lasted, this country could never be free nor happy. My mind has been confirmed in this opinion by the experience of every succeeding year, and the conclusions which I have drawn from every fact before my eyes. In consequence, I was determined to employ all the powers which my individual efforts could move, in order to separate the two countries. That Ireland was not able of herself to throw off the yoke, I knew ; I therefore sought for aid wherever it was to be found. In honourable poverty I rejected offers which, to a man in my circumstances, might be considered highly advantageous. I remained faithful to what I thought the cause of my country, and sought in the French Republic an ally to rescue three millions of my countrymen". - Theobald Wolfe Tone.

A lecture delivered to Dublin republicans by Joe Egan in November 1989 (who was a member of the RSF Education Department at the time) still makes for interesting reading today for Irish republicans. The subject covered is the death of Wolfe Tone :

"Theobald Wolfe Tone was born on June 20, 1763 - the exact time and date of his death are unknown. Wolfe Tone was sentenced to death on November 10th, 1798 ; on November 11th he was informed by his gaolers that he would be publicly hanged on the following day, Monday, at one o'clock. It is generally accepted that Wolfe Tone died on November 19, 1798 ; in fact, he could have been murdered at any time during the previous week, and there is no doubt, and none of us should be in any doubt, of his murder by British Crown agents. It is time now, once and for all, to bury the lie that Wolfe Tone took his own life. These false stories were put out at the time not just to cover up the murder but also as black propaganda to denigrate Tone and the Cause he cherished with all his being. The proof of their successes in trying to destroy Wolfe Tone's character is still evident today nearly 200 years later.

Yes, the British establishment was expert at that time at covering up their crimes, even more successful than they are today. Many historians to this day trot out the same British lies, as if they were gospel, that Tone committed suicide ; they quote all sorts of stories to 'back-up' their claims. They use the most abominable argument that especially as Wolfe Tone was of the Protestant faith it would not be repugnant for him to take his own life : I say here and now that this was and is the most objectionable of arguments. It was against everything Tone dedicated and gave his life for, namely, to substitute the common name of Irishman for the religious denominations. To spread the lie and imply that somehow being a Protestant made it acceptable to commit suicide is to be against all Wolfe Tone stood for. The argument is still going on with new books being written about Tone and praised and published by the present establishment who are as much against what Tone stood for as were the British establishment of the time.

Why do the establishment, British and Irish, make such a case for Wolfe Tone's suicide? Because to face the truth might make people today see the light and not just follow Tone's teachings but practice them. It is often quoted also that Tone's son accepted his father's suicide ; even if this were true it is of no consequence as what he thought one way or the other has no bearing on the facts. How did Tone's son know how long his father lay dying? There was no way he could know, no more than anyone else - at no time were any visitors allowed into see Wolfe Tone. His father tried every possible move through the courts to get his son free. His lawyer applied for and was immediately granted a writ of Habeas Corpus by Chief Justice Lord Kilwarden. Major Sandy, in charge of the barracks, was recognised generally as being a man with scant regard for justice or truth. It has been stated as proof of Tone's suicide that a man of Sandy's calibre and his hirelings wouldn't do such a botched murder that would take eight days for the victim to die.

How do we know how long Wolfe Tone took to die? It could very well have been eight minutes, not eight days. The only evidence ever produced to support the suicide verdict is an account from a French royalist, a Doctor Lentaigne, of whom little is known. This same doctor was by his being a royalist first, and working for the British Army, doubly opposed to all Wolfe Tone would stand for. How anyone with the remotest feeling for justice or truth could accept the word of such a man under the circumstances at the time is an insult to ordinary intelligence. But then as the old cliche says - "where ignorance is bliss it's folly to be wise." The secrets of a state prison at that period in history are seldom penetrated and even today would be virtually impossible. Abundant proof is available even today if a thorough search was to take place but we who wish to know the truth have only to know the man : he had dedicated himself to his principles and had seen his friends and compatriots, including his brother, hanged, and he would not let them or his country down by taking his own life.

Without knowing the man, even reading his last letters is enough to disprove the abominable lie that he committed suicide. Did he not write to his wife -
"My mind is as tranquil this moment as at any period in my life." One only has to read his last speech from the dock at his trial to see and understand the character of the man. Just to quote a few lines is enough to convince any fair mind of the impossibility of Wolfe Tone committing suicide ; only the avowed enemies of truth and justice could dare say otherwise - "Mr. President and gentlemen of the Court Martial : I mean not to give you the trouble of bringing judicial proof to convict me legally to having acted in hostility to the government of his Britannic Majesty in Ireland. I admit the fact from my earliest youth, I have regarded the connection between Ireland and Great Britain as the curse of the Irish nation and felt convinced that, whilst it lasted, this country could never be free nor happy."

Regarding the French, Wolfe Tone said - "Attached to no party in the French Republic, without interest, without money, without intrigue, the openness and integrity of my views raised me to a high and confidential rank in its armies ; under the flag of the French Republic I originally engaged with a view to save and liberate my own country. For that purpose, I have encountered the chances of war, amongst strangers. For that purpose, I have repeatedly braved the terrors of the ocean, covered as I knew it to be, with the triumphant fleets of that power, which it was my glory and my duty to oppose. I have sacrificed all my views in life ; I have courted poverty, I have left a beloved wife, unprotected children I adored, fatherless. After such sacrifices, in a cause which I have always conscientiously considered as the cause of justice and freedom - it is no great effort, at this day, to add the sacrifice of my life. To the eternal disgrace of those who gave the order, I was brought hither in irons, like a felon...."

During his last speech from the dock, Wolfe Tone stated - "I mention this for the sake of others, for me I am indifferent to it. I am aware of the fate which awaits me, and scorn equally the tone of complaint and that of supplication. Whatever be the sentence of this court, I am prepared for it. Its members will surely discharge their duty ; I shall take care not to be wanting in mine." Tone's use of the word 'eternal' and 'his duty' are obvious references to God and posterity and he would have been fully aware and very careful about their use. Any study of the man and any understanding of him as a person to those who wish to see the truth can only draw the one conclusion. To quote just a line or two from his last letters to his wife : " assured I will die as I have lived, and that you will have no cause to blush for me. Adieu, dearest love, keep your courage as I have kept mine. My mind is as tranquil this moment as at any period of my life." Are these the words of a man contemplating suicide? No! Wolfe Tone knew that suicide would have damned his reputation irreparably and consequently the cause he dedicated his life to. There is only one conclusion to be drawn knowing the man - murder by a person or persons unknown."

This brave man will be commemorated in Bodenstown Churchyard on Sunday, 14th June 2015, in what will be a fitting tribute by his republican comrades.


Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

Some of the prisoners had visitors, others didn't, but the gardaí would allow only one prisoner at a time receive a visitor. Elaine Bradley's husband and two children were standing outside, as they weren't allowed in. A garda asked one of the kids - "Is your mammy in there? Poor little fella...", and he gave the child ten pence. For a while afterwards, the child associated garda uniforms with nice people who give you money.

Some of the women remember being hysterical and banging on the metal doors ; upstairs, a woman called Sophie had been calling for what seemed a couple of hours for her medication - she was taking anti-biotics and the medication had been taken away. She became distraught and eventually the gardaí took her out into the corridor. She began having a seizure. The women in the cells, looking out through peepholes the size of a 2p coin, shouted for Ludy Methorsg to be let out of her cell to help Sophie. Ludy had medical training. The women pleaded and screamed for 15 minutes, and they saw Sophie's back arch and her body drop. Some of them thought she was dead.

The gardaí first said "Ah, she's just hysterical..." , but they finally allowed Ludy out of her cell and she examined Sophie and said she needed hospital treatment. The gardaí wouldn't do anything on their own authority, so they sent for the station sergeant, who agreed to allow the prisoner be taken to hospital. Having received a valium injection at Blanchardstown Hospital, Sophie was returned to the Bridewell, 45 minutes later, around 10pm. She was pale and shivering, wrapped in a blanket, but still considered to be a danger to Ronald Reagan : she was locked up for the night. (MORE LATER).



In 1974, Dáithí Ó Conaill praised the UWC loyalist strikers for showing "tremendous power and acting in a responsible way". On several occasions since he has described moves by loyalist paramilitary groups towards the idea of Northern independence as "encouraging". Although Federalism remains the official policy of Sinn Fein, it has now been rejected by the radical and Northern dominated IRA Army Council. One Army Council member explained why : "We are opposed to it because of the historic abuse of power by the loyalists in the North. Federalism wouldn't unite the Irish people, but perpetuate sectarian division". Ó Conaill's thinking as represented by his public statements between 1972 and 1975 led directly to the Feakle and post-Feakle talks, but is now light years away from the Northern radicals. Northern Provisionals are undeniably more sectarian than their Southern counterparts, not least of all because of the bloody carnage in Belfast and elsewhere in the North. Their view of Northern Protestants, influenced by left wing groups like the 'Peoples' Democracy', is that the Northern State is irreformable and so are most Northern Protestants.

The unease and leftward shift in republicanism allied to the change of attitude on Federalism has led inevitably to talk of there being two identifiable wings in the movement. One led by the spokesman for the radicals, Gerry Adams, and the other led by Ó Conaill. Twice last year the tensions between the two surfaced briefly. The first was in reaction to Gerry Adams' fiercely socialist oration at Bodenstown. The other was at a special weekend conference of 200 Sinn Féin leaders at Athlone last October (1979). By co-incidence, the Dublin-based 'Sunday World' newspaper published that same weekend an essentially accurate report claiming that Federalism was about to be abandoned and the Provos were about to 'lurch to the left'. The article also spoke about 'the waning influence' of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill . (MORE LATER).


Michael Gaughan (pictured, left), the eleventh Irish republican to die on hunger strike. He was four months away from celebrating his 25th birthday.

Immortalised in song by Seamus Robinson , Michael Gaughan was an IRA activist in England and, in December 1971, he found himself in front of a British judge in the Old Bailey, where he was sentenced to seven years in Wormwood Scrubs for taking part in a (fund-raising) bank raid in north London. Two years later, he was transferred to Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight and demanded that he be treated as a political prisoner. This was refused and he was placed in solitary confinement before being moved to Parkhurst Prison, also on the Isle of Wight. On the 31st of March, 1974, Michael Gaughan joined an on-going hunger-strike protest and, after 23 days, he was force-fed : the tube that was forced down his throat punctured his lung, killing him, in Parkhurst Prison, on the 3rd of June, 1974. His body was removed from London and on Friday and Saturday, 7th and 8th June 1974, thousands of mourners lined the streets of Kilburn and marched behind his coffin, which was flanked by an IRA guard of honour, to a requiem mass held in the 'Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus' in Kilburn.

On that Saturday, his body was transported to Dublin where, again, it was met by mourners and another IRA guard of honour who brought it to the Adam and Eve's Franciscan church on Merchant's Quay, where thousands filed past as it lay in state. The following day, his body was removed to Ballina, County Mayo. The funeral mass took place on the 9th June, at St. Muredach's Cathedral, Ballina, and the procession then led to Leigue Cemetery, Ballina. Gaughan was given a full republican burial and was laid to rest in the Republican plot. Mayo republican Jackie Clarke (Seán Ó Clérigh) presided at the last obsequies, and the oration at his graveside was given by Dáithí Ó Conaill, who stated that Gaughan "had been tortured in prison by the vampires of a discredited empire who were joined by decrepit politicians who were a disgrace to the name of Irishmen..." His coffin was draped in the same Tricolour that was used for Terence McSwiney's funeral 54 years earlier. He left a final message in which he stated - "I die proudly for my country and in the hope that my death will be sufficient to obtain the demands of my comrades. Let there be no bitterness on my behalf, but a determination to achieve the new Ireland for which I gladly die. My loyalty and confidence is to the IRA and let those of you who are left carry on the work and finish the fight."

And today, 41 years after Michael Gaughan was buried, republicans are still working towards that same objective.


This episode in republican history is definitely not as well known, or discussed as often as, other IRA actions from this period, and with good reason - the objective itself was sound, but the manner in which it was prosecuted was reckless, to put it mildly.

No doubt as part of its 'normalisation policy' of the time (1921) the British administration wanted to present Ireland to the rest of the so-called 'Commonwealth' (and further afield) as a colony where, apart from a few 'dissident troublemakers', its writ not only still ran but was welcomed by a majority of those in the country, same as Westminster attempts to depict the situation here today. And what better way to do so than to organise a cricket match in Dublin at which the British military would have an input, which is what they did on the 3rd of June, 1921.

The British military-linked 'Warrior's Day' ('...our crest is surmounted by the Imperial Crown that was worn by His Majesty King George V when the Council was established in 1921...the centre piece of the crest is a stylized rendering of the Princes' Gates depicting our loyalty to the Royal Family......many of our members served "King and Country....' from here) , established in 1921, was to be marked ('celebrated') in Dublin on the 3rd of June, 1921 - when the fighting between the IRA and the British military was at its most vicious - by the holding of a cricket match between the 'Gentlemen of Ireland' and the British military in the grounds of Trinity College. The IRA wasn't prepared to allow proceedings take place without incident and two men, Paddy O'Connor and Jim McGuiness, were instructed to stop the match - "....our instructions were that we were to go down to the vicinity of Trinity College and fire into the grounds.... Jimmy McGuinness and myself cycled down as the match was just starting. From a position behind the boundary wall of Trinity College at Lincoln Place, the two of us opened fire in the general direction of the players...."

And this, from the same source - "At 5.30pm, just as the military band was leaving the field after the tea break, shots rang out from the railings on the Nassau Street side of the ground. The band and the Army players, who were fielding, threw themselves to the ground. Not knowing what was going on, the two batsmen looked on in stunned disbelief before they too were hauled to the ground by the soldiers. According to the Irish Times, two men had cycled up '..and carefully placed their machines against the kerbstone. They advanced towards the railings and, producing revolvers, fired them in the direction of the players. They then put their revolvers in their pockets, remounted their bicycles, and rode away....' "

Two female spectators were shot, one of whom, only 21 years of age, died as a result of her wound. It was, at best, a reckless attack on the British military which could and should have been carried out in a more organised (and therefore successful) manner although, having said that, it did expose the Westminster-attempted 'normalisation policy' as the folly it was then, and is now.



The man pictured above, using the loudhailer - Martin Reilly, a solid person that myself and many others have had the pleasure of protesting various issues with - has found himself being victimised due to the fact that he has made a stand, on subjects ranging from the double-water tax issue to injustices against Irish republicans. Martin is a gentleman, well educated, soft-spoken and strong in his convictions, and has now being singled out for standing up for what he believes in - his employer called him into an office and "..told me I was being suspended, when I asked why I was shocked with the answer I received....because of (my) involvement in tap tax protests....."(more here.)

This is by no means the first time that something like this has happened, and definitely won't be the last, but such sackings/suspensions are usually masked and/or cloaked with a veneer of 'legal respectability' ( ie 'outside contractors/customers folded and his/her position became untenable' etc) but, in this case, the employer seems to be of the opinion that they are within their rights to punish an employee because of the social issues that that employee protests against in his/her own time. I would hope that all readers of this piece will highlight this injustice on their own blog/site/Facebook page etc as it could be anyone of us next.


If there was a 'Shameless Corner' section of this blog then the following would be assured a spot in the top three, at the very least - '...the new farcical play about the 1916 Easter Rising (in which) Padraig Pearse...the annoying little twerp..will be portrayed as a cross-dressing control freak with a fixation on his mother...Connolly is a gruff thug; Dev is a morose creep, Michael Collins is a wide-boy on the make....' (more here.)

The people behind this and, indeed, those that go to see it are, in my opinion, infected with a sense of self-loathing to the extent that they have no concern for their own dignity or that of others and are divested of all moral reference points. If they could get away with 'putting on a show' about the death of a family member, and felt that to do so would further their stage/screen 'career', I have no doubt that they would do it and would consider it sufficient reward for having done so if, as a result, they were invited on to a TV chat show to discuss how 'funny' they are. They are a sick breed for whom so much means so little.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.