" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



IRISH BLOG AWARDS 2017 - we made it to the finalists page last year but never got to the stage :- ( 'cause not enough of ye feckers out there voted for us! So we're gonna give ya a second chance - the blog awards this year will be held on Thursday, October 5th (2017) in The Academy, Middle Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre, and we would appreciate if you could keep an eye here and give us a vote when ya can. Or else we'll get our 'Junior' to put up a pay wall and then ye will be sorry...!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"RAPED BY THE BRITISH BRIGANDS. GODDAMN GODDAMN..."

THE PRICE OF PEACE......

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.

The march set the tone for the protests that would follow - peaceful, with the utmost cooperation given to, and sought from, the authorities. One of the ICARFP groups, 'Fast for Life' , intended staging a seven-day fast beside the Bank of Ireland's College Green building at the end of Westmoreland Street in Dublin, and they went to Pearse Street garda station and asked an Inspector for permission to erect a shanty-shack, symbolic of the poor in the third world. They were told they could put up the shack as long as they went around to the other side of the bank, into Foster Place, a little nook behind a taxi rank, out of sight of Reagan's route. And the group agreed.

'Women for Disarmament' , also associated with ICARFP, planned to set up a 'peace camp' in the Phoenix Park , and sought advice from the Board of Works about the rules governing behaviour in the Park. They went to a solictor several weeks before Reagan's arrival and again and again they discussed the legalities of their protest and, along with the solicitor, they examined and discussed the 'Phoenix Park Act 1925' and the 'Phoenix Park Bye-Laws 1926' - they were determined that their protest would be within the law.

With the most idealistic of intentions the protestors, and in particular the 'Women for Disarmament', were walking into a maelstrom of violence, wholesale suspension of civil liberties and a questionable use of the law which would end up costing taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds. The full legal bill for the court cases which have continued for three years has yet to be added up. (MORE LATER).





THE IRA.

THE NEW IRA IS YOUNGER, MORE RADICAL AND HAS SEEN LITTLE OF LIFE OTHER THAN VIOLENCE..... By Ed Moloney. From 'Magill' magazine, September 1980.

Although British Army sources claim that the IRA structure has now been penetrated in Belfast and East Tyrone, the successes the British security forces (sic) have had this year seem to be the result more of increased undercover surveillance and disruption of IRA communication and co-ordination than from information supplied by informers. Indeed, one 'security force' source complains that they haven't received one decent bit of inside information from the Northern IRA for more than a year.

A vital element in the new structures is recruitment. The old days when virtually anyone could join the IRA are seemingly over : one IRA leader says that vetting of potential recruits is now so thorough that only two out of every thirteen applicants are accepted and sent on for training and thence into the cell system. The IRA also says that the average age of new recruits is 18 or 19, an assertion that would seem to back IRA claims that the organisation has passed through the generation gap problem that has always spelled defeat for past campaigns.

However, it's clear from a number of recent arrests such as that of an M60 ambush team in Belfast this year that the IRA is still heavily dependant on what British General Glover called "the intelligent, astute and experienced terrorist". The IRA also claims that less than half of new recruits join up for the personal motive of seeking revenge for British Army violence and that most are politically committed to a socialist republic. Not even the IRA can know that for sure but if it is true then the policy of 'Ulsterisation', involving gradual withdrawal of troops from Catholic (sic) areas, will have less of an effect on the Provos than the architects of that policy hoped. (MORE LATER).





"GREAT BRITAIN AND ALL THE PEOPLE SAY THAT ALL PEOPLE MUST BE FREE.....



...MEANWHILE BACK IN IRELAND, THERE'S A MAN WHO LOOKS LIKE ME."

On this date (25th February) 43 years ago, Paul McCartney and Wings released as their debut single in England (followed a few days later by its release in America) a track entitled 'Give Ireland back to the Irish'. The single was immediately banned by the BBC, Radio Luxembourg , the ITA and all affiliated outlets, being referenced only as "a record by the group 'Wings'...". That action prompted Paul McCartney to declare - "From our point of view it was the first time people questioned what we were doing in Ireland. It was so shocking. I wrote 'Give Ireland Back to the Irish', we recorded it and I was promptly 'phoned by the Chairman of EMI, Sir Joseph Lockwood, explaining that they wouldn't release it. He thought it was too inflammatory. I told him that I felt strongly about it and they had to release it. He said, 'Well it'll be banned', and of course it was. I knew 'Give Ireland Back to the Irish' wasn't an easy route, but it just seemed to me to be the time. All of us in Wings felt the same about it. But Henry McCullough's brother who lived in Northern Ireland was beaten up because of it. The thugs found out that Henry was in Wings...."

In Ireland, the song took the 'Number One' slot, as it did in Spain, and peaked at number sixteen in the British singles chart and number twenty-one in the 'US Billboard Hot 100' listings, but it took attention away from the two 'Irish' songs that John Lennon released that same year (1972) , 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' and 'Luck of the Irish' ('...a thousand years of torture and hunger, Drove the people away from their land, A land full of beauty and wonder,Was raped by the British brigands! Goddamn! Goddamn...').

Give Ireland Back To The Irish

Don't Make Them Have To Take It Away

Give Ireland Back To The Irish

Make Ireland Irish Today



Great Britian You Are Tremendous

And Nobody Knows Like Me

But Really What Are You Doin'

In The Land Across The Sea



Tell Me How Would You Like It

If On Your Way To Work

You Were Stopped By Irish Soliders

Would You Lie Down Do Nothing

Would You Give In, or Go Berserk



Give Ireland Back To The Irish

Don't Make Them Have To Take It Away

Give Ireland Back To The Irish

Make Ireland Irish Today



Great Britian And All The People

Say That All People Must Be Free

Meanwhile Back In Ireland

There's A Man Who Looks Like Me



And He Dreams Of God And Country

And He's Feeling Really Bad

And He's Sitting In A Prison

Should He Lie Down Do Nothing

Should He Give In Or Go Mad



Give Ireland Back To The Irish

Don't Make Them Have To Take It Away

Give Ireland Back To The Irish

Make Ireland Irish Today



Give Ireland Back To The Irish

Don't Make Them Have To Take It Away

Give Ireland Back To The Irish

Make Ireland Irish Today.


That song helped Paul McCartney to make an ever bigger name for himself back then, and maybe now is the time for him to re-release it....!





"WE'RE RACIST, WE'RE RACIST, AND THAT'S THE WAY WE LIKE IT....

...(but) I campaign for human rights (and) try to raise the awareness of human rights around the world on behalf of the World Human Rights Foundation....."
- the words of ex-RUC/PSNI man, Richard Barklie (pictured, above) , now listed as a Director of the 'World Human Rights Forum' (WHRF) organisation, which he addressed, in conference, in 2013, during which he called for racial tolerance, quoting the words of Martin Luther King and Mohandas Karamchand ('Mahatma') Gandhi, and stating - "We must all keep working with a sense of compassion for each other in our hearts, with a sense of justice and equality we should banish from our hearts and minds prejudices of creed, colour, religion and gender. When we do this we will conceive a more harmonious and peaceful society..."

Yet this same ex-British 'policeman' and human rights advocate (!) , who shares the establishment viewpoint that the Irish are to blame for the political situation in Ireland, was recently caught on camera, accompanied by other football hooligans, as he racially abused a man on the Metro in Paris, France, obviously confused as to whether he was in uniform in Ireland, 'policing taigs' or off-duty in France, 'policing' the natives there. The sooner the better, for the sake of saving democracy, that Mr Barklie forgets about that 'human rights' nonsense and gets back in an RUC/PSNI uniform as his "sense of compassion" is badly missed here in Ireland. We miss him, and regret having to 'wave' him goodbye....





ON THIS DATE (25TH FEBRUARY) 75 YEARS AGO.

IRA funeral procession, 1940.

In late 1939, the Leinster House Free State political administration introduced an 'Offences Against the State Act' , incorporating a 'Special Criminal Court', which effectively re-classified republican prisoners as 'special criminals' rather than that which they were (and are), political prisoners. IRA prisoners in Mountjoy Jail vehemently objected to same and the following story of that particular period in our history, as recorded by Michael Traynor, was given to Republican Sinn Féin by Carmel McNeela, widow of Paddy McNeela and sister-in-law of Seán Mc Neela. Tony Darcy (a Galway IRA man and Officer Commanding of the IRA Western Command at the time, who began his hunger strike on 25th February 1940 and died on 16th April, in St Bricins (Free State) military hospital in Dublin, after 52 days on hunger strike) was sentenced to three months imprisonment for refusing to either account for his movements or give his name and address when arrested by Free Staters at an IRA meeting in Dublin. The POW's went on hunger strike after Meath IRA man, Nick Doherty, was imprisoned on the criminal wing in Mountjoy Jail and a request to transfer him to join his political comrades in Arbour Hill Jail was refused by the Staters. One week into the protest, the prison authorities made a move to take the IRA OC of the prisoners , Seán McNeela, for 'trial' before the 'Special Criminal Court' but he refused to go with them. Barricades were built and D-Wing was secured as best as possible by the IRA prisoners and they were soon attacked by armed Special Branch men, backed-up by the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Amongst the casualties were McNeela and Darcy, both of whom were beaten unconscious and suffered wounds that were never allowed to heal.

This is the account of that period, by Michael Traynor : "When Seán McNeela became CS (Chief of Staff) of the IRA in 1938 he immediately appointed Jack McNeela OC (Officer Commanding) Great Britain with the particular task of putting the organisation there on a war footing and amassing explosives and preparing for the forthcoming bombing campaign. After a few months of tense activity Jack was arrested and sentenced to nine months imprisonment. He returned to Ireland in 1939 and was appointed Director of Publicity. Jack was very disappointed with this appointment. He said he knew nothing about publicity and would have preferred some task, no matter how humble which would have kept him in contact with the rank and file Volunteers. However Publicity had to be organised and Jack threw himself to the job with zeal and energy. After two months, out of nothing, Jack had his Publicity Department functioning perfectly. Writers were instructed and put to work, office staff organised, radio technicians got into harness.

Another big disappointment at this time for Jack was the instructions he received about the raid on the Magazine Fort. He nearly blew up when he was told that he could not take part in the operation, that HQ staff could not afford to lose more than the QMG and the AG if the operation failed. He was a man of action and wanted to be with his comrades in time of danger. He repeatedly requested the AG for permission to take part in the operation but without success. But Jack was there, orders or no orders, and he did about ten men’s work in the taking of the fort and the loading of the ammunition. He was a very pleased man that night, for he, like all the rest of the members of GHQ knew that this ammunition was necessary to the success of the Army’s attack on the Border, which was planned to take place in the following spring.

He was arrested about three weeks later with members of the Radio Broadcast Staff and lodged in Mountjoy jail. He was OC of the prisoners when I arrived in the middle of February 1940. Tomás Mac Curtáin was there, and Tony Darcy, who was a very great personal friend of Jack’s, so was Jack Plunkett and Tommy Grogan. I was about a week in jail, life was comparatively quiet, great speculation was going on as to what would happen to the men arrested in connection with the raid on the Magazine Fort. The crisis developed when Nicky Doherty, of Julianstown, Co Meath was sentenced to five years penal servitude. Instead of being transferred to Arbour Hill (where other Republican prisoners had political status), Nicky was lodged in the criminal section of Mountjoy Jail. Jack, being OC of Republican Prisoners, interviewed the governor of the jail and requested that Nicky be transferred to Arbour Hill on the grounds that he was a political prisoner and that it was unjust and unchristian to attempt to degrade and classify as criminal a Republican soldier. The request was ignored. Jack and his prison council met to consider the situation: it was decided that a demand was necessary and with the demand for justice went the ultimatum that if he refused a number of prisoners (who were still untried) would go on hunger strike until the demand was accepted. A short time limit was set, but the demand was also ignored.

Jack, I remember well, was very insistent that the issue should be kept clear and simple. The hunger strike was a protest against the attempted degradation of Republican soldiers. There was no other question or issue involved. A simple demand for justice and decency. Seven men volunteered to go on hunger strike and when the time limit [February 25, 1940] of the ultimatum expired they refused to eat any food, although tempting parcels of food kept arriving every day from their relatives and friends. It was felt by the men on hunger strike that the struggle would be either a speedy victory or a long, long battle, with victory or death at the end.It was victory and death for Jack McNeela and Tony Darcy.

Seven days after the commencement of the hunger strike Special Branch policemen came to take Jack to Collins Barracks for trial before the 'Special Criminal (or was it the Military) Court'. Jack refused to go with them. They told him they’d take him by force. They went away for reinforcements. A hasty meeting of the Prisoners’ Council was held. They felt it was unjust to take Jack for trial while he was on hunger strike, and that everything possible should be done to prevent the hunger strikers from being separated. Barricades were hastily erected in the D-Wing of the jail. Beds, tables and mattresses were piled on top of each other; all the food was collected and put into a common store and general preparations made to resist removal of Jack, their OC. A large contingent of the DMP arrived together with the Special Branch at full strength. The DMP men charged the barricades with batons; the Special Branch men kept to the rear and looked on while the DMP men were forced to retire by prisoners with legs of stairs.Several charges were made but without success. Some warders and a few policemen suffered minor injuries. The governor of the jail came down to the barricade and asked the prisoners to surrender. They greeted him with jeers and booing.

After some time the DMP men returned, armed with shovel shafts about six feet long, hoping with their superior weapons to subdue the prisoners. After several charges and some tough hand-to-hand fighting the policemen again retired. The most effective weapon possessed by the prisoners was a quantity of lime, liquefied by some Mayo men, and flung in the faces of the charging DMP men. It was reminiscent off the Land League days and the evictions. Finally the fire hydrants were brought into use and the force of the water from these hoses broke down everything before them. The barricade was toppled over and the prisoners, drenched to the skin, could not resist the powers of water at pressure; they were forced to take cover in the cells. I got into a cell with Tony Darcy and Jack McNeela. We closed the door. After a few minutes the door was burst open and in rushed about five huge DMP men swinging their batons in all directions. Tony, standing under the window facing the door, put up his hand but he was silenced by a blow of a baton across the face that felled him senseless. Jack was pummelled across the cell by blow after blow. Blood teemed from his face and head. These wounds on Jack and Tony never healed until they died.

It lasted only a few brief minutes, this orgy of sadistic vengeance and then we were carried and flung into solitary confinement. Jack was taken away that evening and tried and sentenced by the Special Court. The next time I say Tony and Jack was in the sick bay in Arbour Hill. Jack Plunkett was also there with them. We exchanged experiences after the row in the 'Joy'.

Day followed day, I cannot remember any particular incident, except that regularly three times a day an orderly arrived with our food, which we of course refused to take. We were by now nursing our strength realising that this was a grim struggle, a struggle to the death. We jokingly made forecasts of who would be the first to die. Jack was almost fanatic about speaking Gaelic. Most of our conversation while in the Hill was in Gaelic. Tony used to laugh at my funny accent. While he couldn’t speak Gaelic he understood perfectly well all that was said and sometimes threw in a remark to the conversation. When conversation was general English was the medium. Jack Plunkett didn’t know any Gaelic at all. We were in the best of spirits. Rumours filtered through to us, I don’t know how, because we were very strictly isolated from the rest of the Republican prisoners in the Hill. We heard that one of our comrades had broken the hunger strike at the Joy; we didn‘t hear the name for a few days. The report was confirmed, we were inclined to be annoyed, but we agreed that it was better for the break to come early than late. It had no demoralising effect.

After Jack was arrested all the books he had bought (mostly Gaelic) were sent into the Joy. He intended to make good use of his spell of imprisonment. He kept requesting the Governor of the Hill to have them sent to him. After about three weeks a few tattered and water-sodden books were brought to him, all that remained of his little library, the others had been trampled and destroyed by the police in Mountjoy. Jack was vexed. He hadn’t smoked, nor taken drink and every penny he had went to the purchase of these books that he loved. We were, during all this time, as happy as men could be. In spite of imprisonment and all that it means we were not all despondent nor feeling like martyrs. Everyday, we reviewed our position; what we had done, our present state of health, the prospect of success. The conclusion we came to was that de Valera, Boland and Co had decided to gamble with us – to wear us out in the hope that we would break and therefore demoralise all our comrades and if we didn’t break, to give political treatment to all IRA prisoners when we were in the jaws of death. The issue, as we saw it, was of vital importance to us, but of practically no consequence to the Fianna Fáil regime. We knew of course that de Valera and the Fianna Fáil party hated the IRA, because we were a reminder of their broken pledged to the people.

On the eve of St Patrick’s Day we were removed to St Bricin’s military hospital. A few days later Tomás Mac Curtáin and Tommy Grogan joined us. We were terribly disappointed with their report from the 'Joy'. The men who had been sentenced were accepting criminal status instead of refusing to work as they had been instructed to do; that is another story, although it led directly to the death of Seán McCaughey six years later in Portlaoise jail. We were in a small hospital ward. Three beds on each side, occupied by six hungry men and every day was a hungry day. Every evening each of us would give the description of the meal he would like most, or the meal he had enjoyed most. Salmon and boxty loomed large in Jack’s menu. About this time we began to count the days that we could possibly live. The doctors who examined us, sometimes three times a day, told us that we had used up all our reserves and were living on our nerves; they tried to frighten us, assuring us that if we didn’t come off the hunger strike our health would be ruined. We all agreed among ourselves that the doctors were actuated by purely humane motives, although their advice if acted on by us would have been very satisfactory to their employers. After 50 days on hunger strike we were unable to get out of bed, or rather the strain of getting up was too great an expenditure of energy, which we were determined to husband carefully.

We did not see any change on each other. The change came so imperceptibly day after day. Jack, lying in the next bed to me, seemed to be the same big robust man that I had known before we were arrested, yet, we each were failing away. The doctors and nurses were very kind. We were rubbed with spirit and olive oil to prevent bedsores; all our joints and bony places were padded with cotton wool, for by now the rubbing of one finger against another was painful. None of us could read anymore, our sight had lost focus and concentration on material objects had become difficult. We were face to face with death; but no one flinched or if he did he prayed to God for strength and courage. On the 54th night of the strike, about midnight, Tony cried out (we were all awake): ‘Jack, I’m dying.’ We all knew that it was so. Jack replied, ‘I’m coming. Tony’. I felt, and I’m sure Jack and the others felt also that getting out of bed and walking across the room to Tony would mean death to Jack also. As well as I remember Mac Curtáin, Plunkett, Grogan and myself appealed to Jack not to get out of bed. But Tony’s cry pierced Jack’s heart deeper than ours so he got up and staggered across the room to his friend and comrade. Later that night Tony was taken out to a private ward. We never saw him again. He died the following night. A great and staunch and unflinching soldier and comrade; oh that Ireland had twenty thousand as honourable and fearless as he.

The day following Tony’s removal from the ward, Jack’s uncle, Mick Kilroy, late Fianna Fáil TD, came to see Jack. Alas, he didn’t come to give a kinsman’s help, but attacked Jack for "daring to embarrass de Valera" the "heaven-sent leader" by such action and demanded that Jack give up his hunger strike at once. Jack’s temper rose and had he been capable of rising would have thrown him out. He ordered him out of the room, so did we all. It was the first time in 56 days that we felt enraged at anything. The brutal treatment of the police after seven days’ hunger strike was trivial in comparison to this outrage. The next day Jack was taken out of the ward. We never saw him again. A few hours after his removal we received a communication from the Chief of Staff IRA. The following is an extract:

'April 19, 1940. To the men on hunger strike in St Bricin’s Hospital: The Army Council and the Nation impressed with the magnitude of your self-sacrifice wish to convey to you the desire that if at all consistent with your honour as soldiers of the Republic you would be spared to resume your great work in another form. We are given to understand that the cause you went on strike has been won and that your jailers are now willing to concede treatment becoming soldiers of the Republic. In these circumstances if you are satisfied with the assurances given you – you will earn still more fully the gratitude of the people – relinquishing the weapon which has already caused so much suffering and has resulted in the death of a gallant comrade.'

Jack had requested confirmation from HQ of the assurances given to us by Fr O’Hare, a Carmelite Father from Whitefriars Street, Dublin. Fr O’Hare had interviewed Mr Boland, the Minister for Justice in the Free State government and received his assurances that all republican prisoners would get political treatment. Naturally we did not want to die, but we could not accept any verbal assurance so we felt that written confirmation by our Chief of Staff was necessary. When the confirmation arrived Jack was out in the private ward. I was acting OC. We were reluctant, the four of who remained, to come off the hunger strike, with Tony dead and Jack at death’s door. Yet we had the instruction from HQ that our demands were satisfied. The doctors assured us that if the strike ended Jack had a 50-50 chance of living so I gave the order that ended the strike. I believe the doctors worked feverishly to save Jack’s life, but in vain. Jack McNeela, our OC and comrades, died that night and joined the host of the elected who died that Ireland and all her sons and daughters would be free from the chains of British Imperialism and happy in the working out of their own destiny."

NOTES: Nicky Doherty was found in possession of a quantity of ammunition seized in the raid on the Magazine Fort. He remained an active Volunteer until his death at an early age in the mid-1950s.Criminal section of Mountjoy: This was A-Wing. The Republicans on remand were housed in D-Wing. On sentence they were usually sent to Arbour Hill. Governor of the jail, Seán Kavanagh, a former Republican prisoner himself during the Tan War. DMP: Dublin Metropolitan Police, originally a separate force from the RIC. They were kept on after the Treaty and amalgamated with the Gardaí in 1925. They made a deal with the IRA in 1919 not to engage in 'military activities' and were removed from the list of legitimate targets. "G" Division, or Special Branch were not excluded. In 1940 they supplied the Riot Squad for Mountjoy. Tony Darcy, Headford, Co Galway, died April 16th 1940. He was OC Western Command, IRA at the time of his arrest. Seán McNeela, Ballycroy, Co Mayo, died April 19th 1940.

From 1940 to 1947, sixteen Republican prisoners were sent to Portlaoise prison where they were denied political status. For all seven years they were naked, except for the prison blanket. For three years of this they were also in solitary confinement. Finally - writing about the funerals of Tony Darcy and Seán McNeela , Brian Ó hÚiginn stated : "Hundreds of uniformed and plain-clothes police were sent into the two graveyards, while soldiers in full war-kit were posted behind walls and trees in surrounding fields, and armoured cars patrolled the roads...the lowest depths of vindictive pettiness was reached when mourners on their way to Seán MacNeela’s funeral were stopped by armed police and their cars and persons searched....even when they reached the cemetery many were locked out - the gates were locked - and those attempting to enter were attacked....." That was 1940, this is only two years ago, 2013, when another solid republican was buried. The 'establishment' harasses those it fears, even in death, and wines and dines those it has purchased, even though they, too, are 'dead' : morally and spiritually, anyway.





ON THIS DATE (25TH FEBRUARY) 87 YEARS AGO : NOTED LAND REFORM AGITATOR DIES.

William O'Brien (2nd October 1852 – 25th February 1928, pictured, left) was an Irish nationalist, journalist, agrarian agitator, social revolutionary, politician, party leader, newspaper publisher, author and Member of Parliament (MP) in the 'House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland'.

While still little more than a boy he had helped in smuggling in the Fenian guns for the purchase of which Michael Davitt had gone to prison. This was rather surprising in one who had been reared an ardent admirer of O'Connell but the pitiable inadequacy of the Fenian effort caused William to base all his efforts on Conference, Conciliation, Consent using just one weapon - violent language. He started to earn his living as a journalist in Cork but very soon his obvious talent caused him promotion to 'The Freemans Journal' in Dublin. A series of articles "Christmas on the Galtees" brought the plight of Irish tenant farmers very vividly before the public and established William O'Brien as the unflinching champion of the tenants, which he remained to the end. He soon resigned his £600 a year job on 'The Freemans Journal' to become editor of the 'United Ireland' newspaper at £400 a year on the invitation of Charles S. Parnell. He quickly became 'The Chiefs' confidante and at the split, he was the only member of the Party to whom Parnell was willing to hand over the leadership which O'Brien declined....(...more here.)

He was a journalist, land agitator, and MP, but above all he was a nationalist. He was born the second son of James O’Brien and his wife Kate (née Nagle) in Mallow Co. Cork. His early education was at Cloyne Diocesan College where he developed the strong religious tolerance that would serve him well in his political life. He studied law at Queen’s College (later University College Cork), but never took a degree. Financial issues caused the family to move to Cork City in 1868. When his father died a year later, O’Brien became the breadwinner of the family. Always a prolific writer, he became a journalist with the 'Cork Daily Herald'. He would continue as a journalist for most of his life...(...more here.)

That William O'Brien was politically far-sighted and ahead of his time can be verified by his comments in regards to those that attempted to annihilate the Irish people - "When the framers of the penal laws denied us books, and drew their thick black veil over Irish history, they forgot that the ruins they had themselves made were the most eloquent schoolmasters, the most stupendous memorials of a history and a race that were destined not to die. They might give our flesh to the sword and our fields to the spoiler, but before they could blot out the traces of their crimes, or deface the title deeds of our heritage, they would have had to uproot to their last scrap of cultured filgree the majestic shrines in which the old race worshipped; they would have had to demolish to their last stone the castles which lay like wounded giants through the land to mark where the fight had raged most fiercest; they would have had to level the pillar towers, and to seem up the source of the holy wells....to look over the fence of the famine-stricken village and see the rich green solitudes, which might yield full and plenty, spread out at the very doorsteps of the ragged and hungry peasants, was to fill a stranger with a sacred rage and make it an unshirkable duty to strive towards undoing the unnatural divorce between the people and the land..."

Finally, he had this to say to those who would only support 'polite' opposition to Westminster interference in Irish affairs : "'Constitutionalism' in a country whose grievance is that it possess no constitution is an historical humbug. Parnell built up his movement, not by railing at Fenianism in the spirit of a professor of constitutional history, but by incorporating its tremendous forces in his ranks and acknowledging no criterium* of the rectitude of his political action, be it 'constitutional' or 'unconstitutional' except whether it was, in the circumstances, the best thing to be done for Ireland...." (*'competition between...')

And "the best thing to be done for Ireland" would be the removal of the British military and political presence - by whatever means necessary.





ON THIS DATE (25TH FEBRUARY) 124 YEARS AGO....

...Edward Daly (pictured, left) , one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, was born in Limerick. His father (also named Edward), a staunch Irish republican, died at only 41 years of age, five months before Edward (junior) was born, but his father's brother, John - who was imprisoned for twelve years for his republican activities during the 1867 rebellion against British rule - helped to raise the young child.

As a youth, Edward was considered somewhat lazy and easily distracted, more concerned with his appearance and a 'party lifestyle' than he was with the day-to-day poverty and related injustices that surrounded him, but he developed a social conscience to the extent that, at only 25 years of age, he was asked to take command of the First Battalion of the Irish Volunteers, leading raids on the Bridewell and Linenhall British barracks and seizing control of the Four Courts, before which he addressed the men under his command - "Men of the First Battalion, I want you to listen to me for a few minutes, and no applause must follow my statement. Today at noon, an Irish Republic will be declared, and the Flag of the Republic hoisted. I look to every man to do his duty, with courage and discipline. The Irish Volunteers are now the Irish Republican Army. Communication with our other posts in the city may be precarious, and in less than an hour we may be in action.....". On the 4th of May, 1916, 25-years-young Commandant Edward Daly was executed by firing squad by the British in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin and was buried in near-by Arbour Hill Cemetery. He was the youngest commander of the rebels and the youngest 1916 leader to be executed by the British.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.