Three years ago on this date (8th June) the Republican Movement buried one of its founding fathers, a gentleman who, during his lifetime (born in Longford 2nd October 1932, died 5th June 2013) joined the then Sinn Féin organisation at 18 years of age and, one year later, joined the IRA. At 23 years of age he was the Officer Commanding during the Arborfield arms raid and, at 24 years young, he was second-in-command of the Teeling Column, South Fermanagh, which was lead by Noel Kavanagh.
In 1957, at 25 years of age, Ruairi was elected in Longford-Westmeath as a Sinn Féin TD (to an All-Ireland Parliament) and, the following year, he escaped from the Curragh Internment Camp in Kildare with Dáithí Ó Conaill, with whom he served in the IRA as Chief of Staff (between 1958 and 1959, and again between 1960 and 1962) and, in 1966, at 34 years of age, he contested a seat for the Movement in Fermanagh-South Tyrone. He was Sinn Féin President from 1970 to 1983 and again from 1987 to 2009 (which was a year after the organisation re-constituted itself as 'Republican Sinn Féin') and was the Patron of the Movement from 2009 until his untimely death in 2013. He worked throughout his life for economic, political and social justice both in Ireland and internationally and has now joined the other Patrons of the Republican Movement - Comdt-General Tom Maguire, Michael Flannery, George Harrison and Dan Keating.
'Forego tears for the glorious dead and gone; his tears if his, still flow for slaves and cowards living on...' RIP, Ruairi.
BOHOLA IRA MAN TO BE COMMEMORATED ON WEDNESDAY 15TH JUNE 2016.
Before he was to reach his 14th birthday, Tony was militarily active in Mayo - he took part in the burning of the RIC barracks in Bohola, the capture of the RIC barracks at Ballyvarry and the taking of all the arms and ammunition there by the East Mayo Brigade of the then IRA. Before he was 15 years of age, he volunteered for active service in England and was sent to the St. Helen's area, near Liverpool — whilst he was there, the Treaty of Surrender was signed, but was rejected out of hand by Tony, and he continued the fight. His republicanism brought him to the attention of the British forces and, in 1926, at the age of 19, Tony fled to the United States, where he immediately joined Clan na nGael.
He threw himself in at the deep end in the United States, and worked in Irish republican circles alongside Pete Kearney of the West Cork Flying Column, Mick McLoughlin of the Third Western Division Staff, North Roscommon, Mayo-man Frank Colgan, John Snee, Michael Flannery and Michael Crowley — a formidable and dedicated team. In the United States, Tony joined the National Guard to continue his military training and rose to the rank of sergeant. In 1936, aged 29, he returned to Dublin and joined the Dublin Brigade of the IRA. Five years later, in 1941, at the age of 34, he was sentenced to two years by the Special Military Courts in Collins Barracks and served that term in Arbour Hill Prison. On his release in 1943 he was taken to the Curragh Camp and interned there until 1945.
On his release, at the age of 38, in 1945, Tony concentrated on political work and helped to start-up the Liam Mellows Cumann of Sinn Féin, in Dublin Central, working with Jack Guiney and Dinny Casey and, by 1947, the cumann was well established and extremely active in the area. In 1966, at 59 years of age, Tony was elected as the National Treasurer of Sinn Féin and, in 1970, following his retirement from the South of Ireland Asphalt Company, he worked full-time for Sinn Féin, firstly in Kevin Street and later in Parnell Square. In 1980, he retired from his position as National Treasurer, at the age of 73, but he did not retire from his Sinn Féin work, and, for the following eleven years of his life, he was a regular, constant and appreciated sight at Republican Sinn Féin functions.
He rejected compromise with the British and Free Staters in 1922, at which time he was on active service in England; he rejected compromise in 1926 when the Fianna Fáil group left the Republican Movement; he rejected the compromisers again in 1946 and fought back by helping to establish the Liam Mellows Cumann; he rejected the turncoats in 1969 who beckoned with him to leave the Movement with them and replied that not only was he staying with Sinn Féin but his intention was to work full-time for the Movement; he rejected the well-dressed and politically confused renegades who sought his assistance in turning the Republican Movement into a political party in 1986 and, when those misfits left the Movement in November that year, Tony Ruane, for the fifth time in his life, stayed with the Movement.
The Republican Movement will continue to remember Tony Ruane, East Mayo Brigade IRA Veteran, Honorary Life Vice-President of Republican Sinn Féin, a soldier, a father figure and a moral guide and example to all who remain true to a 32-County federal democratic socialist republic and true republicans will remain committed to obtaining Tony Ruane's goal — a British political and military withdrawal from Ireland. Tony's name is joined to the illustrious list of Ireland’s immortals from Tone down to this very day, his unselfish service with the IRA, his great courage, his splendid character, and like all the other great men who gave their service down through the years, he can only be an inspiration to the young men of today.
Those attending this commemoration on Wednesday 15th June next are asked to assemble at 7pm at the gates of Carlow Cemetery.
PROSE AND CONS.
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.
THE BIG HOUSE.[..continued.] (By Rita Kelly.)
Yes, the gantries swing high above the white mansion
they are putting in place, piece by piece.
There is no Mississippi Delta here
just one big gleaming Graceland
for all the poor boys
determined to do themselves
out of the uplift of an early summer's evening-
we are put to bed early
where the light and its unusual strength
taunts us at the window.
Sometimes we cried ourselves into the morning
and sometimes we just lay there and longed-
Always hung on the dichotomies, the old divisions,
the just and the damned.
The old dualities, the sun and the moon.
The bright and tantalising rise of Hesperus
spans a space between the curved moon and sun
which might have dropped off a huge orange tree
in Florida or Seville
colouring this quiet unwatered hinterland.
The just and the damned produce in the one
the idea of the other,
fashion out of the one
the figure of the other.
We make our way through the evening
not knowing what idea stands at the gate
ready to imprison us for our unlawfulness.
We are Socretes, refusing to hand ourselves the hemlock.
We still believe that we can call
a different narrative out of all the possible narratives
open to us in this profound narcotic state.
We hold on by the slimmest of tendrils
to the thin hope that we might appease ourselves and the world,
and not be carried out in a stream of black cadillacs
to clog the streets of Memphis
PUBLIC MEETING, DUBLIN, SATURDAY 11TH JUNE 2016 : ÉIRE NUA.
The most revolutionary proposals for real political change in Ireland are contained in the pages of the Éire Nua policy and the organisers hope to create substantive positive discussion about this document by engaging directly with the people. Three speakers are confirmed for Saturday, 11th June - an Uachtarán Sinn Féin Poblachtach Des Dalton, National PRO Seán Ó Dubhláin and Alan Byrne of Na Fianna Éireann. The meeting will take place on Saturday, June 11th 2016 at 4pm at the St. John Bosco Youth Centre, Davitt Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12 (map here). All are very welcome to attend and contribute thoughts, ideas and opinions.
Dónal de Róiste case. By Don Mullan, author of the book 'The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings'.
From 'Magill' magazine, February 2003.
THE CLONAGH AFFAIR.
Responding to the revelations that the explosives used by British intelligence to bomb Dublin and Monaghan may have originated at the Clonagh factory, Angela O'Neill, who lost her father and had two young brothers seriously injured in the Parnell Street bombing, told 'Magill' - "This revelation is shocking and raises strong suspicions about how the Irish government responded to the attack, and why we, and all other innocent victims, were abandoned for over 25 years. An Garda Siochana have a lot of explaining to do in light of the Clonagh revelations.
This State walked away from us at the time and the question is 'Why?' This information may help us find answers. It certainly vindicates our long cry for a full independent judicial inquiry into the bombings. It is right and proper that Justice Barron investigates the British and UVF role in the bombings, but the Irish State must not be let off the hook either."
Derry solicitor Desmond Doherty represents a number of victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, including the O'Neill family, founder members of the 'Justice for the Forgotten' campaign. In 2001 Doherty came across documents marked 'Secret' which had been released by the 'Bloody Sunday Inquiry', concerning the matter of explosives being used in the North. Minutes from a meeting held at 10 Downing Street, on 4th November 1971, attended by British Prime Minister Edward Heath, the British Army's Chief of Staff General Sir Michael Carver and, amongst others, an unnamed intelligence co-ordinator, refer to a discussion about "..experiments..being made..with the view to incorporating into..explosive material some components which could be positively recognised after an explosion.." (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (8TH JUNE) 171 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A NON-SHOE-SHINING SLAVER!
here) and we are aware of his involvement with the 'slave trade' both of which issues would usually exclude a person from mention on our blog but, due to his Irish roots, the particular date involved (8th June) and this wee story featuring himself and the British, we have decided to make an exception.
Andrew Jackson was an American statesman who served as the seventh President of the United States from 1829 to 1837. He died on this date - 8th June - 171 years ago, in 1845. His parents were born in Donegal and they emigrated to the USA. As a boy, his mother, an Irish republican, told young Andrew of the horrors the British committed on the Irish people, and she told him of how the Irish fought back. During the American Revolution, Jackson, at just 13 years young, was taken prisoner by the British, who soon discovered that he had Irish roots. A British Officer ordered Jackson to shine boots and, when Jackson refused, the enraged Officer unsheathed his sword and slashed young Jackson across the face, leaving a scar he would carry to his grave.
Throughout his life, Andrew Jackson despised the British. The U. S. again fought the British, from 1812-1814, and the war was fought to a standstill. A treaty was signed in England but it took thirty days to get word across the sea to America and the war waged on. The famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, an admirer of Jackson, got word to him that the war was over, but Jackson decided to ignore this until he got an official order! His army, supported by Lafitte's pirates, were prepared to meet the British in battle, in New Orleans and, under a fog in the bayou, the British attacked ; the Americans, under Jackson, destroyed them. The British lost over two-thousand soldiers and the Americans lost eight! Later, when asked why the battle was fought after the war was over, Jackson claimed he had no official word that that was the position...
ON THIS DATE (8TH JUNE) 42 YEARS AGO : FORCE-FED IRISH HUNGER-STRIKER BURIED.
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 - 42 years ago on this date - 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 (8th June 1974), 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 went 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, 42 years after Michael Gaughan was buried, republicans are still working towards that same objective.
GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...
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!
"THANK YOU, BOYS, THANK YOU..." (PART TWO.)
The first Timmy knew that something besides twelve inches was afoot was when he was blindfolded, gagged and tied to his metal bed. His captors' first task was to scare the life out of him, and this was achieved by subjecting him to implied violence. No actual violence was used, but the threat of it never diminished - these were not 'Good guy, Bad guy'. For his own sake the next day, irrespective of how the escape went, his ignorance of before and after the fact had to be undoubtable.
If the screws and the RUC interrogators had thought for an instant that he was a willing participant to the escape he would have been in real trouble. The truth is Timmy hadn't a clue. Next morning, Timmy's captors heard the screws unlocking the huts for the day, which also included the first of the twice-daily head-count. A sinister voice whispered into Timmy's ear - "One peep outta ye, and I'll dig yer bloody head in." Timmy got the message. The screws went from cubicle to cubicle counting the lumps in the beds. "28 there, Mister," shouted the P.O. (Principal Officer) , "28 is correct, Sir," the screw answered. On completing this daily routine the screws left the cage and got back to what they love doing most. Counting their wages.
Not long afterwards, Timmy was permitted to go to the toilet (under guard) and then received some food and a cup of tea. After this he was moved to the drying room of the shower hut where he was to be bound to a chair and gagged once more. A pillow case was placed over his head and while waiting to be gagged he pleaded with his guards : "Please, boys, they'll think that I'm part of this. Don't do this to me, they'll never believe me! Can I speak to Lasher...?" (MORE LATER.)
'VOTING WOULD BE SUCH A BLESSING...
If you like what we do here in our wee corner of the internet, then please don't be shy - give us a vote! You will have to either log in or create an account before you can vote but we really would appreciate it if you did that for us. There is no charge, and it won't take up too much of your time - entries are open until the 26th June next and judging will start after that. Think about it, anyway - this could be your opportunity to see me on stage. Cleaning it, afterwards...!
BREXIT. BRITS OUT!
in or out? That's the question that will be answered on Thursday, 23rd June 2016, by those of the British electorate that bother to vote, and there are plenty of stated reasons why those entitled to vote should do so in the first place and, indeed, why they should vote 'Stay' or 'Go' - food, health and animal rights, jobs, travel, workers' rights, economic benefits, immigration, bureaucracy, foreign affairs, sovereignty, security, trade, business, jobs, consumer goods and so on and on etc.
For what it's worth, this blog is firmly in the 'Brits Out' (ie vote 'Leave!') camp, for our own selfish (!) reason : we want the return of British Army checkpoints on their imposed 'border' in Ireland. We want to see a visible presence by the British military and customs and revenue 'suits' as they operate vehicle checks, passport checks and stoppages, and queries from armed British personnel directed at those travelling from one part of our nine-county Ulster into another part of same and at those travelling from the 26-county state into any of the six occupied counties, frustrated queues forming at every access/exit point etc - in short, we want visible reminders (for those that need same) that our country is still militarily and politically occupied and divided by Westminster. So if you have a vote on Thursday 23rd June 2016 - vote 'Leave!', give us back our visible 'border' and shake the complacent among us out of their slumber. Thanks!
ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 15TH JUNE 2016).....
Thanks for reading, Sharon.