Wednesday, January 27, 2016



After a peaceful civil rights march on the 30th January, 1972 - from Creggan to Free Derry Corner - units of the British army Parachute Regiment opened fire with automatic rifles and shot dead 13 unarmed civilians, injuring many more. It was later revealed that some days prior to the massacre, the British soldiers involved had been briefed to "..shoot to kill.." at the march.

"This Sunday became known as 'Bloody Sunday' and bloody it was. It was quite unnecessary. It strikes me that the (British) army ran amok that day and shot without thinking of what they were doing. They were shooting innocent people. They may have been taking part in a parade which was banned, but that did not justify the troops coming in and firing live rounds indiscriminately. I would say without reservations that it was sheer unadulterated murder. It was murder, gentlemen." - the words of British Major Hubert O'Neill, Derry City Coroner, at the conclusion of the inquests on the 13 people killed by the British Army.

On Saturday 30th January 2016, a picket to mark the 44th Anniversary of that massacre will be held on the traffic isle facing the GPO in Dublin, from 12 Noon to 1pm . All genuine republicans welcome!


'..throughout Easter Week, the women engaged in the fight also helped to look after the wounded and volunteered to do the difficult and dangerous task of carrying the numerous vital dispatches between the various garrisons and outposts, in addition to gathering intelligence on British troop movements around the city. They also transported food supplies and ammunition through the many British army checkpoints. On Saturday April 29th,1916, Nurse Elizabeth O Farrell, Julia Greenan and Winifred Carney (James Connolly's secretary) who had all moved to the new republican HQ in Moore Street following the evacuation of the GPO, carried Padraig Pearse's final order of surrender to British General Lowe at the corner of Moore Street and Parnell Street. Cumann na mBan were instructed to tour the republican garrisons with Pearse's order to surrender...the cause that these women fought for is still with us, as is the history they left us. It is not a history of appeasement...'(from a piece posted on this blog in December 2002.)

The republican HQ in Moore Street is in more danger now, in 2016, from an anti-republican element in Leinster House than it was 100 years ago from an anti-republican element in Westminster. But the fight to save that monument continues : Save Moore Street 2016 : Save Moore Street from Demolition, January 2016. A march from Liberty Hall to Moore Street will be led by 1916 Easter Rising uniformed flag bearers from local history and folklore groups. Assembling at Liberty Hall at 1pm, Saturday 30th January 2016. The route will begin at Liberty Hall making its way to Moore Street, following in the footsteps of the men and women of the 1916 Easter Rising, marking a number of significant historic events along the route, culminating in a rally at the GPO. The march will be addressed by relatives of those present at Moore Street in 1916, historians of the Irish Revolution, Moore Street campaigning groups and concluding with several musicians.... (from here.)

If you can make it to this rally, please do so : if you can't, please share the above information as far and as wide as you can. Leinster House has, since its inception, attempted to dismantle Irish republicanism and destroying the Moore Street HQ would suit their agenda more so than preserving the site. 'Feet on the Street' can stop them - 1pm, Liberty Hall, Dublin, Saturday 30th January 2016.


By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.


Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.

First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O'Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.

BIRD MAN... by John Doran

When Gitboy came back from the hospital he was transferred back to Mountjoy Prison. From that day on, Kevin continued to look after the crows. Gitboy was very upset over the beating he got from Kevin, and nobody was afraid of him anymore. This made him mad. "It was all Kevin's fault and the birds too...", he thought. He would have to do something to make them pay for what they did to him.

The months passed, he stayed clear from trouble and he put in for a transfer back to Portlaoise Prison. The governor told him that his request for the transfer was granted and that as soon as a cell was empty he would be moved. At last his plan was working, it was only a matter of time now. He started to do a lot of weight training and running, so he could get fit again. He wouldn't make a fool of himself the next time - he would make sure of that and not suffer the humiliation. They would all soon respect him again, once he sorted out the birdman.

He was taken out of his cell one day and transferred back to Portlaoise Prison. All the prisoners knew that he was up to no good and some of them told Kevin this. He was back. He just laughed at them and said he didn't want anymore trouble, that he was getting out soon. He quickly formed his own gang, and passed the word around that Kevin was afraid of him. As the inmates made their way out to the yard a few crows lay dead, everyone knew it had to be Gitboy. Kevin picked up one dead bird and, opening up his beak, he looked into his mouth and could see he had been poisoned. He told himself to keep cool as he was getting out soon. He looked over to where Gitboy was sitting on the bench with his gang... (MORE LATER.)


There are currently 52 sentenced Irish republicans in jails in England. Although they are continually transferred from one 'maximum security' jail to another, the list below is a fairly accurate guide to where they are presently being held. Included in the list, where known, are their prison numbers. Anyone able to send a card or letter to any of these prisoners should ensure that they include the correct number and full address, since otherwise it is unlikely they will be received.

From 'IRIS' magazine, July/August 1982.

HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs, Du Cane Road, London W12 : William Armstrong 119085 , Martin Coughlan 507955, Kevin Dunphy 134893, Paul Norney 863532.

HM Prison Albany, Newport , Isle of Wright : Jimmy Ashe 507951, James Bennett 464989, Stephen Blake 507953, Anthony Clarke 726381, Patrick Christie 514787, Joe Duffy 507952, Noel Gibson 879225, Ronnie McCartney 463799, Raymond McLaughlin 509387, Roy Walsh 119083.

HM Prison Parkhurst, Newport, Isle of Wright : Robert Campbell B32954, Hugh Doherty 338636, Vincent Donnelly 274064, Harry Duggan 338638, Bernard McCafferty (unknown), Joe O'Connell 338635, Gerry Young 507954. (MORE LATER.)


By Ursula Barry.

. What is there for women in Ireland to commemorate in 1916? Did the 1916 Proclamation and the subsequent 'Democratic Programme of the First Dáil' contain radical or revolutionary statements on the position of women in Irish society that were later betrayed or sold out in the process of establishing the Free State?

From 'Iris' magazine, Easter 1991.

The significance of the period at the turn of this century was that radical republicanism was at its most powerful and both socialist and feminist thinking was influential. But the Tan War, the Civil War and the resulting partition of this island marked its defeat, and no period of radical economic and social change occurred in either state.

Unrelenting emigration and under-development have characterised the economy of this island ; the energies of those in power were devoted exclusively to holding onto that power. Both states fear an exploration of their origins to the point that history is almost subversive. Demands for social and economic change in the South and political reform in the North have been viewed as threatening the very existence of those states. (MORE LATER.)


The execution of Offaly IRA Volunteers Joseph Byrne and Patrick Geraghty : JOSEPH BYRNE, from Cruith, Daingean, and Rochfordbridge native PATRICK GERAGHTY were executed in Portlaoise Jail, by firing squad, on 27th January 1923 - 93 years ago on this date:

'Byrne was sentenced to death for allegedly possessing a Webley revolver while Geraghty was alleged to have had an automatic pistol at Croghan on 10th November 1922. Byrne, 25, was an Adjutant in the 3rd Battalion (Tyrrellspass), Offaly No. 1 Brigade IRA. Geraghty, 33, was O/C of the same Battalion. Republicans were adamant that both men were unarmed when captured and that they faced trumped up charges. According to the 'Midland Tribune' newspaper Geraghty fired on Free State troops and a brisk exchange of rifle fire took place. The 'Offaly Independent' reported Free State troops surrounding a farmhouse where there was a fierce exchange of shots. Byrne apparently surrendered while Geraghty escaped and took cover in a field beside the house, where he blazed away at the troops with a 'Peter-the- Painter' automatic pistol.

Whatever the case against Geraghty, it was generally believed that Byrne was innocent of the charge against him. Thomas Dunne, of Offaly County Council, stated Byrne was unjustly executed as he had "no firearms at the time of his arrest." Byrne's family were one of the early vanguards of the Irish Volunteers in their local area. It was a mark of the high esteem he was held and an indication of how popular he was that prayers were asked for the happy repose of his soul at all the Masses at Daingean on the Sunday following his execution. This was at a time of acute Catholic Church hostility towards the IRA. Betrayed by an informer, Byrne, Geraghty and another IRA Volunteer, who managed to escape, were staying in a safe house at Croghan belonging to a relation of Byrne. A local informer, a young boy, betrayed them to Free State forces in Tullamore. In his final letter Byrne forgave his enemies:
"I forgive everyone. I don't bear malice to any of the men that are going to execute me. I will pray for them. Oh! I am so happy Paddy and myself are going to heaven for anyhow the world is but empty and what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul..."

While Geraghty was 'shot out and out,' Byrne had to be shot a second time as the first volley of shots was not fatal. He stumbled and fell, got up, and was on his knees crying for his mother when at point-blank range he was shot in the back of the head...Kevin O'Higgins, Leix-Offaly (later known as 'Laois-Offaly') TD and (Free State) Minister for Home Affairs...demanded a greater geographical distribution of executions as it was thought executions confined to Dublin did not have the desired local impact. O'Higgins insisted that "..there should be executions in every county. Local executions would tend considerably to shorten the struggle...." (from here.)

It took a few years, but O'Higgins' recommendations re executions ('more of same, please...') was eventually heeded...


" of the essences of a democracy is that you can trust the electoral system...when you've got a situation where, certainly at least half a million people on the register shouldn't be on it, then can you be truthfully confident that the register can be totally trusted and the electoral system can be totally trusted...?" - political analyst Odran Flynn.

For my part - and for many thousands of people like me - the answer to the above questions is 'No'. I don't trust the State electoral register, I don't trust the electoral system and I don't trust the electoral institution that the candidates are doing battle to get into.

'Just six weeks from the General Election, the report endorsed by TDs and senators of the Oireachtas environment committee finds that at the last election the register of electors contained almost half a million people more than it should have....' - from here. Dodgy electoral register or not, and equally dodgy 'grab all' candidates or not, the fact is that this State has, since its inception, been host to a dodgy election system, institutions and politicians, all of which should not be encouraged by partaking in any process which would sustain that position. The best solution, and one which is supported by thousands of voters here on a regular basis, is to claim your ballot paper and spoil it deliberately by writing a message on it. An interesting discussion on the 'NOTA' trend in this State can be viewed here : feel free to add to it and/or share it on your own social media outlets. But above all - vote 'NOTA' when the time comes!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.