Wednesday, March 23, 2016



'Here's to the men who, Easter Week, in the glorious year '16,

flying out the folds of Freedom's Flag - the orange, white and green.

Here's to the men who, fighting, fell, and here's to the men who died,

at dawnlight pale, in Kilmainham Jail, with the martyrs smile of pride.'
(From here.)

You will see men (and women!) like those mentioned above, in Dublin, on Easter Monday, 28th March 2016, at the Easter commemoration at the GPO in O'Connell Street. Those attending are requested to assemble at the Garden of Remembrance at 2pm for the parade to the GPO. Also, a brief mention for the following Easter commemorations, which are being held in areas that are not too far from Dublin city centre -


KILDARE - Assemble at Republican Plot, St Corban's Cemetery, Naas, Co Kildare at 12 noon. CARLOW - Assemble at Republican Plot, Carlow Cemetery at 2pm.


CRUMLIN, DUBLIN - Laying of wreath and the reading of the Proclamation at the Eamon Ceannt Monument, Sundrive Park, Crumlin at 12 noon. DEANSGRANGE, DUBLIN - Assemble at gates of Deansgrange Cemetery, Dun Laoghaire at 1pm for parade to the Republican Plot.


"..the names of those who died on the rebel side should not share a commemorative plaque or monument of any kind with those who on behalf of British rule summarily abused and executed them..." (from here.)

Words fail me. Almost. The political establishment in this State should really do now that which they should have done in 1916 - apologise to Westminster and offer financial repatriation to those whose teat they have never left since 'birth'. They are so divested of moral reference points in relation to what was being sought here in 1916 that they feel more empathy towards the British forces than they do to the men and women of the Rising that they falsely claim lineage from. Not so much 'take it down from the mast' as don't even handle it in the first place, as you will surely infect it with the burden you carry - a strain of self-loathing which, if you had a conscience, would leave you too ashamed to get up in the morning. But you haven't, and it doesn't.


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.


Sometimes I think we're on a journey

searching for some meaning to it all

always reaching out to find that something

some kind of answer or a call

But I've seen that deep curiosity

come out and sparkle up your mind

and I've seen those eyes fill with wonder

as you were taken by surprise.

So we take this tide of life

and fight the rocks and shallows of this world

as we're swept along thru' the sands of time

the stars will always burn

for our journey.

And you were filled with compassion

for what those years have brought to you

and you did open like a butterfly

as you emerged from your cocoon

and there was a voice now inside you

which you recognised as your own

as you strolled deeper into this world

you knew you were not alone.

So we take this tide of life

and fight the rocks and shallows of this world

as we're swept along thru' the sands of time

the stars will always burn

for our journey.

Now we're oceans in this mystery

and its truth is closer too

'cause you got a glow deep inside me

and I got a glow inside of you

and in this beauty of simplicity

deep in our hearts we beat as one

and I'm touched by the wonder of each moment

to know our lives have just begun.

So we take this tide of life

and fight the rocks and shallows of this world

as we're swept along thru' the sands of time

the stars will always burn

for our journey.

Dermot Griffin.


'Magill' magazine has unearthed new information which raises a grim but important question : were explosives from within this Republic used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings? It is a question which, bizarrely, also encompasses the controversial Dónal de Róiste case. By Don Mullan, author of the book 'The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings'.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 2003.


At the time of Dónal de Róiste's undoing, Patrick Walsh held the rank of captain. Both men were questioned by a superior officer during the period and, in an interview with this journalist on 7th May 2002, Patrick Walshe said - "I have always believed that information taken from me at the interrogations was misconstrued and resulted in injustice being done to Dónal." When the Judge Advocate General, Oonah McCrann, completed her review of army files related to de Róiste's 'retirement' on 17th September 2002, Walshe's suspicions seemed to be confirmed. He says he felt physically sick when he saw the extent to which his interrogation had been interpreted in a way which helped to destroy the promising military career of his best friend.

On page 10 of the McCrann Report the Judge Advocate General refers to a document on de Róiste's files concerning his relationship with an alleged subversive whom she chose to refer to as 'Mr X', despite the fact that his name was already in the public domain - Padraig Dwyer. She writes - "The document notes that Captain Walshe was interviewed and while he could not recollect ever having met Mr X with ex-Lieutenant Roche he did remember ex-Lieutenant Roche discuss with another friend Mr X's involvement with the Gardai in Ballyfermot in October 1968. Captain Walshe also recollected ex-Lieutenant Donal Roche telling him that Mr X had been at the car auction in Clancy Barracks and that he was sure that he was seen with Mr X by 'S branch man.' "

In a sworn affidavit, dated 17th December 2002, Patrick Walshe states - "I did not make any such statement during my interrogation. My recollection of this matter is definite." (MORE LATER.)


By Jim McCann (Jean's son). For Alex Crowe, RIP - "No Probablum". Glandore Publishing, 1999.

Biographical Note : Jim McCann is a community worker from the Upper Springfield area in West Belfast. Although born in the Short Strand, he was reared in the Loney area of the Falls Road. He comes from a large family (average weight about 22 stone!). He works with Tús Nua (a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Upper Springfield), part of the Upper Springfield Development Trust. He is also a committee member of the 'Frank Cahill Resource Centre', one of the founders of 'Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh', the local Irish language primary school and Naiscoil Bharr A'Chluanaí, one of the local Irish language nursery schools.

His first publication last year by Glandore was 'And the Gates Flew Open : the Burning of Long Kesh'. He hopes to retire on the profits of his books. Fat chance!


I caught a glimpse of his hand as I sped past him and, right enough, his finger was missing. "Right, Dede," I said, "give me a minute..." This might seem a bit cruel, but I reasoned in that split second that Dede had at least nine fingers left and the 'Man of the Match' award was still very much to be decided upon and was now between Barnes and myself, as usual. But Dede's interruption was enough to put me off my run. "Christ sake, Dede, could you not have waited a minute? You could see I was on a run there..." By this time Dede had actually fainted and couldn't sense my sense of frustration with him. I put my disappointment behind me and rushed to his aid.

When we eventually revived him, we found out that his finger really was missing, so I suppose his interruption seemed important enough to him. "Where is it?" I enquired. "It fell into Cage 9", he muttered. "How did that happen", I asked. "I was getting a leg-up at the wire to put an ounce of tobacco into the cage when I lost my balance and as I fell back the ring on my finger caught on the razor wire and whipped the finger off."

I ran down down to Cage 9 and a crowd of fellows were standing around the errant finger as it lay on the ground in the cage. "Hand me that up," I said to Sess, a big guy from Ballymurphy, who looked the most sensible of the throng of rubber neckers. "Fuck off", said Sess. "I'm not touching that thing, it's all gooey." Sess was the image of Paul McCartney and had his hair done the same way as McCartney and wore the same clothes as McCartney and played the lead guitar like McCartney played the bass guitar - badly. He once had an audition to join a group called 'The Donnelly Trio', who were the resident band in the Nail Bomb Sports and Leisure Shebeen (a quaint rustic drinking den) in Lady Street in Belfast but, unfortunately, while they had all the equipment - amps, loudspeakers etc, all of it second hand - their electricity had been turned off some weeks previous to his audition, thereby ruining any chance Sess had of impressing all six members of the group assembled there. (MORE LATER.)


On the 23rd March, 1846 - 170 years ago on this date - a member of the British House of 'Lords', Henry George Grey, the 3rd Earl Grey (pictured, left) stood up in that institution and delivered his 'Ireland is our Disgrace' speech : "The evils of that unhappy country are not accidental, not temporary, but chronic and habitual. The state of Ireland is one which is notorious. We know the ordinary condition of that country to be one both of lawlessness and wretchedness. It is so described by every competent authority. There is not an intelligent foreigner coming to our shores, who turns his attention to the state of Ireland, but who bears back with him such a description.

Ireland is the one weak place in the solid fabric of British power—Ireland is the one deep (I had almost said ineffaceable) blot upon the brightness of British honour. Ireland is our disgrace. It is the reproach, the standing disgrace, of this country, that Ireland remains in the condition she is. It is so regarded throughout the whole civilized world. To ourselves we may palliate it if we will, and disguise the truth; but we cannot conceal it from others. There is not, as I have said, a foreigner — no matter whence he comes, be it from France, Russia, Germany, or America — there is no native of any foreign country different as their forms of government may be, who visits Ireland, and who on his return does not congratulate himself that he sees nothing comparable with the condition of that country at home.

If such be the state of things, how then does it arise, and what is its cause? My Lords, it is only by misgovernment that such evils could have been produced: the mere fact that Ireland is in so deplorable and wretched a condition saves whole volumes of argument, and is of itself a complete and irrefutable proof of the misgovernment to which she has been subjected."

The words of what must be, to date - and in relation to Ireland, anyway, whatever about his other dealings - the last honest politician in Westminster, and a man who wasn't just 'an ordinary backbencher' and, as such, was listened to more so than a 'seat-filler' would be : he came up through the 'ranks' as 'Viscount Howick' before obtaining his title as a 'Lord' and was under-secretary for the British 'colonies' for three years following which he was under-secretary in the British Home Office. He was the British 'secretary of war' for five years and, as a 'Lord', he became the effective leader of the Whig Party and was given the top job in the British 'Colonial Office'.

Perhaps the fact that he was one of fifteen children opened his mind to 'thinking outside the box' in relation to the (on-going) crimes committed by his fellow politicians in Ireland! An honest politician, in that regard, anyway, none of whom are now to be found in Westminster, or Stormont, or Leinster House, for that matter, as those institutions are now packed to the rafters with self-serving political misfits who consider, verbally and/or by deed, that what they call 'the Irish question' was finally solved in 1998 when the Stormont Treaty was implemented. Hopefully it won't take all concerned another 847 years before they realise that that isn't the case.


Alex Pentek's 'Kindred Spirits' structure (pictured, left) , located in Bailic Park in Midleton, County Cork, consists of nine 20-foot stainless steel eagle feathers and represents "...the Choctaw's help to Ireland.." during An Gorta Mór : "By creating an empty bowl symbolic of the Great Irish Famine (sic) formed from the seemingly fragile and rounded shaped eagle feathers used in Choctaw ceremonial dress, it is my aim to communicate the tenderness and warmth of the Choctaw Nation who provided food to the hungry when they themselves were still recovering from their own tragic recent past", stated the artist.

On the 23rd March, 1847 - 169 years ago on this date - the Choctaw Indians assembled in Scullyville, Oklahoma and, despite being politically dispossessed victims themselves, they collected about $170 (equivalent to about $70,000 today) which they forwarded to Ireland. Their donation was remarkable because they had suffered terrible hardships themselves in the years before An Gorta Mór as they were evicted from their native lands of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi just 16 years earlier and were forced to walk 500 miles to their new 'home' of Oklahoma, which the American government had chosen for them. The walk became known as the 'Trail of Tears' due to the suffering endured by the tribes during the enforced exodus. Many perished before completing the journey - indeed, of the 21,000 Choctaws who started the journey, more than half perished from exposure, malnutrition and disease before they reached their new 'home'.

Ironically, one of those in charge of the eviction was Andrew Jackson, the son of Irish immigrants who, on the 4th March 1829, in an attempt to 'sell' the idea that the native Indians would be getting a good deal in 'moving'off their land, stated - "It will be my sincere and constant desire to observe toward the Indian tribes within our limits a just and liberal policy, and to give that humane and considerate attention to their rights and their wants which is consistent with the habits of our Government and the feelings of our people..." but the same man showed his true colours two years later when he stated - "It is pleasing to reflect that results so beneficial, not only to the States immediately concerned, but to the harmony of the Union, will have been accomplished by measures equally advantageous to the Indians. What the native savages become when surrounded by a dense population and by mixing with the whites may be seen in the miserable remnants of a few Eastern tribes, deprived of political and civil rights, forbidden to make contracts, and subjected to guardians, dragging out a wretched existence, without excitement, without hope, and almost without thought..." He dismissed them as the so-called 'bed blockers' of their day, or worse.

To the Andrew Jackson's of this world we say 'shame on you', and to the brave and decent Choctaw's and those like them we say 'Yokoke' !


It was on this date - 23rd March - in 1926 that political opportunists attempted to hoodwink an Irish revolutionary movement into supporting constitutional politics and, when they failed in their attempt, they abandoned republicanism and established a 'catch-all' political party populated, then and now, by 'wide boys' who figured they were entitled to a cushy career in politics : 'In response to the signing of the Boundary Agreement (see 'Micheál Martin/Gerrymandering' piece, here) between Great Britain and Ireland in December 1925, an extraordinary meeting of Sinn Féin was held in March 1926 to discuss the future of the party. Failing to get an agreement*, Eamon de Valera resigned as leader of Sinn Féin and took rapid steps to establish a new national movement.." (*"an agreement", that is, to [as stated above] abandon republicanism and 'become politically respectable', as some would have it) (from here) and this - 'Fianna Fáil was founded on 23 March 1926 when a group of Dail deputies led by Eamonn De Valera split from Sinn Féin. This happened because De Valera's motion calling for elected members be allowed to take their seats in the Dáil, if and when the controversial Oath of Allegiance was removed, failed to pass at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis..' (from here.)

Incidentally, the same issue (re becoming a constitutional political party) was pushed to the surface once more in 1986 by, again, those who desired to be (bought and) paid politicians which, among other happenings, prompted IRA Commandant General Tom Maguire (who, incidentally, was born on what is Easter Monday this year - the 28th March - in 1892, and died in his 101st year, in 1993) to issue the following statement :

The above is in answer to that age-old question - 'What's the difference between Fianna Fáil and Provisional Sinn Féin?' Answer : 60 years!


(Picture [left] from here.) On the 23rd March 1934 - 82 years ago on this date - Richie Goss and two others, James Finnigan and Matt McCrystal, were sentenced to three months in jail because they refused to "enter into recognisances" ie 'explain their whereabouts' on the night of 'the McGrory incident...'

Ireland 1915 ; The 'Irish Volunteer' Movement had split ; approximately 170,000 men stayed with John Redmond and fought with England in the belief that to do so would guarantee a form of 'Home Rule' for Ireland - but about 10,000 men broke away as they had no faith in Redmond's plan. Months earlier, British 'Sir' George Richardson had taken command of the Ulster Volunteer Force (a pro-British militia) and had landed about 25,000 rifles and two-and-a-half million rounds of ammunition at Larne in County Antrim - when the British Government in Westminster attempted to move against the UVF (as they had no control over them them), British Army Officers mutinied in objection. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Ireland, other forces were recruiting : Irish republicans were re-grouping ; the 'Irish Citizen Army' was recruiting for Volunteers, as was Sinn Féin, the 'Irish Republican Brotherhood' and John Redmond's 'United Irish League'. There was turmoil in the country.

A child was born into the above circumstances in Dundalk, in County Louth. He was child number three in the family, and one more was to be born after him. This third child in the Goss family, Richard, went to a local school and, like others in the Goss neighborhood, tried to get work locally when he was finished his schooling - he was successful, and got a job in Rasson's Shoe Factory in Dundalk. The troubled times he lived in got his attention and, at 18 years young (in 1933), Richie Goss joined the North Louth Battalion of the IRA , and trained in the use of explosives. At that time in the then 12-years-partitioned Ireland, the anti-Catholic bigots of the then two-year-old 'Ulster Protestant League' were in full swing ; nationalists all over the Six Counties were being hammered. British political leaders were voicing support for the Unionists - indeed , 'Sir' Basil Brooke actually boasted that he "had not a Roman Catholic about my own place" and the then British Stormont Minister for Labour, a Mr. J. M. Andrews, spoke out about what he termed "a foul smear" - that of "another allegation made against the (British) government, which is untrue : that, out of 31 porters at Stormont, 28 are Roman Catholic. I have investigated the matter and I have found that there are 30 Protestants and only one Roman Catholic, there only temporarily." The British Loyalists, too, in the form of the Orange Order, were putting pressure on the Nationalists in the Six Counties - the then 'Grand Master' of the anti-Nationalist 'Orange Order', a (British Senator) 'Sir' Joseph Davison, stated - "When will the Protestant employers of Northern Ireland (sic) recognise their duty to their Protestant brothers and sisters and employ them to the exclusion of Roman Catholics? It is time Protestant employers realised that whenever a Roman Catholic is brought into their employment it means one Protestant vote less. It is our duty to pass the word along - Protestants employ Protestants."

That was the sentiment of those times - the blatant sectarianism that existed, and which Richie Goss, amongst others, hoped to bring to an end. He was 18 years young, an IRA member and learning to use explosives - in early 1934, at 19 years of age, he was picked-up by the Free State Special Branch (political police) and asked to account for his movements ; he refused, and was brought before a Free State Military Tribunal and sentenced to three months in prison. The prison sentence was related, according to the 'Court', to what became known as 'The McGrory Incident' : in Dundalk, County Louth, on 9th January 1934, a debt-collector (who was also said to be a member of the right-wing 'Blueshirt'[Fine Gael] party) was held-up by armed men and his bag of cash was taken. In making inquiries in the area about the robbery, the Free State Gardaí (police) were assisted by a local man, a Mr. Joseph McGrory, from Chapel Street, Dundalk and two IRA men were jailed as a result of the evidence given by McGrory. On the night of 11th February 1934, a bomb was thrown through the front window of the McGrory house ; the explosion killed Joseph McGrory's wife.

On the 23rd March 1934 - 82 years ago on this date - Richie Goss and two others, James Finnigan and Matt McCrystal, were sentenced to three months in jail because they refused to "enter into recognisances" ie 'explain their whereabouts' on the night of the McGrory incident. Then, in early July 1935, four IRA men were arrested and charged with the death of Mrs McGrory - Richie Goss, Eamon Coffey, Thomas Walsh and Bernard Murphy, all from Dundalk. The Free Staters had received information from an informer that five men were responsible for 'the McGrory Incident' - the four men named above, and one other - James Finnigan. However, Finnigan was already in jail again, this time serving fifteen months for possession of weapons. The informer was Matt McCrystal, an IRA man and, on his evidence, the first-ever 'murder trial' before a Free State Military Tribunal went ahead. But it was not successful : on the 20th July 1935, after a five-day hearing, all the accused were acquitted. Richie Goss was ordered to go to Dublin by Sean Russell, the then IRA Chief of Staff, in early 1938, as his expertise in explosives was needed to prepare for the up-coming bombing campaign in England and, within months, he was in England, helping to organise IRA Units, safe-houses etc for the campaign ; he was arrested in Liverpool in May 1939 for refusing to account for £20 in his possession(!) and was sentenced to seven-days in Walton Jail and, when released, he reported back to the IRA in London. About two months later he returned to Ireland but was unlucky enough to be grabbed by the Free Staters in their round-up of known and suspected IRA members and supporters.

On the 2nd September 1939, the Leinster House Administration had issued a statement saying that, because of "the armed conflict now taking place in Europe, a national (sic) emergency exists affecting the vital interests of the State" and, the following day (3rd September 1939), the 'Emergency Powers Bill' was enacted (ie to all intent and purpose - 'martial law'). Days later (on the 8th September 1939) a new Free State Minister for 'Justice' was appointed - the ferociously anti-republican Gerald Boland. All known or suspected Irish Republicans were rounded-up, but a republican-minded lawyer, Sean MacBride (whose parents had fought alongside the IRA) supported the republican prisoners and, on the 1st December 1939, due to a 'habeas corpus' application, Richie Goss and fifty-two other Republican prisoners were released from Mountjoy Jail and all reported back to their IRA Unit's and continued the fight - Richie Goss was promoted to the position of Divisional Officer Commanding of the North-Leinster/South Ulster IRA. In July 1941, Richie Goss was staying in the house of a family named Casey in Longford when it was surrounded by Free State troops and Gardai ; a shoot-out ended in the capture of the then twenty-six years young Richie Goss and the wounding of a Free State Army Lieutenant, resulting in a charge of attempted murder against Goss. A Free State Military Tribunal returned a 'guilty' verdict on Richie Goss and he was sentenced to death. That was in July 1941 ; on the 8th August 1941, Richie Goss was taken, under armed guard, from Mountjoy Jail in Dublin and was put in the back of a truck, in which he was forced to sit on his own coffin on the journey from Dublin to Portlaoise Jail. On the 9th August 1941, Richie Goss, 26 years young, was shot dead by a Free State firing squad and buried in Portlaoise Prison yard. In September 1948 - seven years after his execution - his remains were released and re-interred in Dowdallshill Cemetery in Dundalk, County Louth. A well-known Irish republican of the time (and still remembered by the Movement to this day) Brian O'Higgins, wrote in the 1950 edition of 'The Wolfe Tone Annual' -

"On September 18th 1948, the bodies of Patrick McGrath, Thomas Harte, George Plant, Richard Goss, Maurice O'Neill and Charles Kerins were disinterred in prison yards and given to their comrades and relatives for re-burial among their own. These men were condemned to death and put to death as criminals, as outlaws, as enemies of Ireland. Today, that judgement and verdict is reversed, even by those who were and are their opponents, and they are acknowledged to be what we have always claimed them to have been - true comrades of Tone, of Emmet, of Mitchel, of the Fenians, and of all the heroic dead of our own day and generation. There was no bitterness in their hearts towards any man or group of men, no meanness in their minds, no pettiness or brutality in their actions. They were, and are, worthy to rank with the greatest and noblest of our dead, and the younger men we salute and pray for and do homage to today are worthy to be their comrades. The only shame to be thought of in connection with those republicans is that Irishmen slew them and slandered them, as Irishmen had slain and slandered the men of 1922, for the 'crime' of being faithful soldiers of the Republic of Ireland. Let us remember that shame only as an incentive to action and conduct that will make recurrence of it impossible ever again. Wolfe Tone built his plan for true independence on the resistance tradition of all the centuries from the beginning of the conquest to his own day, and these men who were his faithful followers, knew no plan but his would ever end English domination in Ireland.

Those who would make all Ireland free must follow in his and their footsteps or fail. Men talk foolishly today, as they and others have talked for many futile years, of 'declaring' the Republic of Ireland. There is no need to declare it. Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet founded it and made it known to the world. Daniel O'Connell reviled and repudiated it, but John Mitchel and Fintan Lalor stood beneath its banner and gave it their allegiance. The Fenians made it articulate and preserved it through two generations until the men and women of 1916 proclaimed it in arms. The whole people of Ireland accepted it a few years later, giving it the most unanimous vote that has ever been cast in this country, and it was established and declared on January 21st, 1919. It has never been dis-established since, but it has been suppressed by falsehood and by force, and it is suppressed at this moment. Against that force and falsehood, against that unjust and unlawful suppression, the men we honour today - Patrick McGrath, Thomas Harte, George Plant, Richard Goss, Maurice O'Neill and Charles Kerins - did battle unto death. Their blood cries out for only one vengenance - the restoration of the suppressed Republic of Ireland." - Brian O'Higgins, as quoted in 'The Wolfe Tone Annual', 1950, speaking about the remains of the six Irish rebels which were handed-over to their comrades and relatives on the 18th September 1948, an event in which today's date - the 23rd March - had an unfortunate part to play.


Between now and Easter weekend, we are helping to prepare and distribute leaflet packs in relation to Easter commemorations being held in the Leinster area and, on Easter Saturday (26th March) we will be in Kildare and then Carlow helping to distribute same and then, on Sunday (27th), we'll be back in Dublin to do much the same job in the Crumlin and Deansgrange areas before, finally, repeating the exercise in Dublin city centre on Easter Monday, 28th March. Then we'll go for a meal and a few drinks!

Our workload won't allow us time to put a blog post together for Wednesday, 30th March 2016, and it will be Wednesday, 6th April 2016, before we can do so, and one of the occurences we will be mentioning then is in connection with an IRA man who lost his life to British forces partly because he wouldn't sing the British national anthem...

Check back with us then - Wednesday, 6th April 2016.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.