ON THIS DATE (30TH AUGUST) 176 YEARS AGO : A NEW NATIONALIST VOICE IS 'PRESSED' INTO ACTION.
'The paper was founded by John Francis Maguire under the title 'The Cork Examiner' in 1841 in support of the Catholic emancipation and tenant rights work of Daniel O'Connell...the first issue of the newspaper appeared on 30 August 1841. Maguire was a barrister and an MP who supported an independent parliament for Ireland. From its inception, 'The Cork Examiner' was an advocate of constitutional nationalism. The newspaper was originally an evening paper which appeared three times weekly...the newspaper's printing presses printed the First National Loan for the Sinn Féin Finance Minister, Michael Collins, in 1919, leading to the British authorities briefly shutting down the paper. Ironically, the I.R.A. damaged the newspaper's printing presses in 1920, which were again destroyed by the anti-Treaty I.R.A. in 1922...' (from here.)
The newspaper had also found itself in difficulty in 1919 when it was closed down by Westminster for two days, in reprisal for it having published a Sinn Féin advertisement asking for donations towards a £250,000 fund that the republican organisation was trying to raise to further its objectives, and had similar trials and tribulations the following year, 1920 : when Westminster failed to get the results it wanted in the 15th January 1920 Elections in Ireland, it went to 'Plan B' - they called in British Army General 'Sir' Nevil Macready and appointed him as the
'Commander-in-Chief' of the their forces in Ireland.
Macready was known to be in favour of martial law and the imposition of a complete military dictatorship on the island and, in December 1920, he told his political masters in Westminster that his "military governors" in Ireland had been given 'permission' "to inflict punishments" on the local population following any IRA operation in that local area -
"Punishments will only be carried out on the authority of the Infantry Brigadier who, before taking action, will satisfy himself that the people concerned were, owing to their proximity to the outrage or their known political tendencies, implicated in the outrage...the punishment will be carried out as a Military Operation and the reason why it is being done will be publicly proclaimed." ('1169' comment - this was, in effect, carte blanche to the British military to do as they liked in Ireland.) However, as a 'pr stunt', in the belief that he could portray himself as something other than the vicious bastard he was, Macready implemented a policy by which those to be 'punished' were given one hours notice to remove any valuable foodstuffs, hay or corn, but not furniture, from their homes, which
were then reduced to rubble by the use of explosives. However , generous to a fault as Westminster was (and is...) to us Irish, a slightly different variation of this punishment was applied to those who lived in terraced houses - the furniture was to be removed from the dwelling and burned in the street!
On the 3rd January 1921, in Middleton, Cork, the British reduced seven houses to rubble "in official reprisal" for an IRA ambush carried out in the area, on 29th December 1920, in which three RIC/Tan members were killed. 'The Cork Examiner' newspaper carried a report of that particular IRA operation -
'Attack on Police at Midleton.
Followed by Ambush.
Two constables dead.
Closing on to ten o'clock at night when the police patrol standing at a corner of the main street were attacked by a large number of men who fired on them from three directions. The firing was of rapid but short duration. The ten policemen were considerably outnumbered, and taken as they were, completely by surprise, they had little
time to put up a defence. One of them, Mullen, was shot by one of the first few shots discharged. He was killed instantly. A telephone call was made to Cork, and some lorries of police and ambulances set out and had nearly got to Midleton by 11.30pm. The procession of lorries and ambulances, it is stated, had their way further impeded about two miles from the town, by obstacles, such as heavy branches of trees, lying on the roadway. They were just within two miles of the town, at a point where boreens cut off the main road, when fire was opened on the last lorry.
A sharp encounter ensued. In all, three policemen died as a result of the shooting.'
It was also on that same date (ie 3rd January 1921) that 'The Cork Examiner' newspaper printed a statement from the British, in which they outlined their position and intentions regarding that IRA attack - that
statement declared that the "authorities" were going to destroy some nearby houses "as the inhabitants were bound to have known of the ambush and attack, and they neglected to give any information either to the military or police authorities." Seven houses were chosen and the families in them were given one hour to remove any money or valuables, but not furniture. The houses were then destroyed as, indeed, was Macready's reputation in this country (and that of his kind in Westminster) so much so that he had failed so miserably in encouraging locals to support* him, his troops and their ideals that he had no reason not to try and bully and intimidate the locals into supporting him and his fellow thugs. True to form for all imperialists. (*Macready asked influential trade union leader Tom Foran to assist him to "get a grip" in Ireland, to which Foran stated - "William O'Brien, kidnapped by your predecessor and deported, is the person best qualified to give the most authentic information respecting the Labour movement in Ireland...it is useless attempting to 'get a grip on the conditions in this country' until you let go your grip on the citizens of this country.." - Macready obviously ignored that good advice and attempted to do the opposite.)
Anyway - in 1996, in a move to increase readership, its title was changed from 'The Cork Examiner' to 'The Examiner' and, in 2000, it became 'The Irish Examiner', and is still 'making headlines' to this day!
JOKER IN THE PACK...?
Padraig Flynn (left) has been facing the flak since he became Minister for the Environment. But Michael O'Higgins finds that nothing phases him. He retains the same certainty he had when saying quite different things. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.
But despite Padraig Flynn's insistence that this was no more than a clarification, £30 million had to be found from the existing allocation to the Department of the Environment to cover grants for which the government had not made provision in the budget. The budget also cut the level of subvention to local authorities, with the result that councils are having to introduce service charges or, in the case of Dublin City Council, having to consider re-introducing domestic rates.
The local authorities claim that the need to take such measures results from inadequate funding from the Department of the Environment, but Padraig Flynn absolves himself of any responsibility - he takes objections, condemnations and clarifications in his long stride. Nothing appears to ruffle him and everything he utters is 'common sense'. He has a booming voice that doesn't need amplification, which he developed thirty years ago making speeches for other people outside churches "facing into the Atlantic against a Force 8 gale". The illustrations in his colourful speech all refer back to his roots.
But here he is now, "a country man in the Custom House", pacing the expansive floor of his office, talking of his plans for Dublin. He plans to landscape the gardens of the Custom House and if offices and banks and the like took steps such as those he proposes to take with "my building", Dublin would be a much more attractive city... (MORE LATER).
Peter Brooke, Secretary of State for 'Northern Ireland', last July in 'The London Evening Standard' newspaper. More august* persons such as CJ Haughey and Garret Fitzgerald have also said the same from their varying points of view. By Cliodna Cussen, from 'Iris' magazine, Easter 1991. ('1169' comment : *'August' as in ' dignified and impressive'? Haughey and Fitzgerald? How so? From what point of view? Certainly not from a republican perspective, anyway...)
The recent economic situation and the return of emigration have brought back our traditional humility, our lack of assurance, our chamelon-like ease of adopting commonwealth-type identity abroad - why else do the Irish diplomats speak with English-style accents and neither know nor use Irish?
The bourgeois consensus of 'whatever you say, say nothing' is not new ; it was lampooned by James Joyce at the beginning of this century - he called people like that "the gratefully oppressed" in 'Dubliners' and it has regrown in force here since the early 1980's. It means that awkward questions are not asked, and means that the received wisdom is that Ireland must not be seen to stand up in any way to the British government, "haranguing each other across the Irish Sea".
Instead we have the 'Anglo-Irish Agreement' ('1169' comment - which was one of four such treaties signed between Dublin and London politicians since the 1920's, none of which sought or included a date for a British political and military withdrawal from this country) that effectively neutralises any complaint by the simple expedient of bureaucratising it, thus rendering any public Irish government stance or action in defence of Irish citizens outside the state unnecessary, unfortunate and positively 'ill-mannered'.... (MORE LATER).
'HAUNTED' BY A TROUBLED CONSCIENCE , MAYBE? NO, NOT LIKELY...
*), has been reported as saying he heard strange noises on more than one occasion at his Dublin residence (Glanmire House). "Ghosts. I never believed in ghosts. Until I arrived here." said Mr Vickers...the incidents included the sound of a heavy chain falling on the ground, as well as footsteps on the stairs. "I was sitting watching TV when all of a sudden I heard a heavy chain fall on the floor in the dining room," he wrote. "I immediately went there and there was nothing on the floor," said Mr Vickers...' (from here.)
Mr Vickers is, apparently, a man of action who is seemingly considered (by some) to be 'a national hero in his own country, having shot dead a gunman who stormed the Canadian House of Commons and threatened a massacre in October 2014... (the [other] gunman) found his way into the parliament building (and) was shot and killed by Mr Vickers who was then the sergeant-at-arms in the parliament...'
This ex-Canadian Mountie answered the call of his duty again in Grangegorman, Dublin, in May 2016, while attending (as a guest, not part of the security detail) an event organised by Free Staters to commemorate the deaths of British soldiers in the 1916 Rising, which was a joint Westminster/Leinster House affair, complete with colour parties from both the FS Army and the British Army. A protester objected to the obvious hypocrisy involved in such a gig and was jumped-on by Mr Vickers who, fortunately, was unarmed at the time. He was then and is now also 'unarmed' in relation to the historical hypocrisies involved, as his own country has had its 'troubles' with the British and his own family were forced to flee Ireland due to An Gorta Mór, a British-inspired 'answer' to its 'Irish problem'!
not everyone is prepared to give this man and his 'ghost story' a hero's welcome : 'The question then becomes, if the ghost of an Irish republican hero has visited Glanmire, is he haunting the house or is he haunting ambassador Kevin Vickers? Irish realtor Keith Lowe, who sold Glanmire in 2005 after its long-time residents died, had also never heard of anything strange there. "I think we are entering the realm of fantasy!!!" Lowe said in an email on Friday. "In all my 30-plus years of real estate in Dublin I have never come across a buyer or seller complaining of a house being haunted, so excuse me when I laugh a little." Lowe said prior to 2005, the family who lived at Glanmire had been there "for generations." It was a stunning place, he said, with a greenhouse and gardens front and back. Asked again, for good measure, whether he'd heard anything odd during his tours of the house, Lowe said he hadn't. "I think you are losing the run of yourself altogether. Stay off the brandy." '
'Is the Irish republican ghost haunting the house or haunting Kevin Vickers?' The latter, I'd guess, as the former has some merit attached to it.
GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...
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!
"Where did you get that cake?" asked Stuarty. "In my parcel yesterday", answered the OC. "Don't tell me the screws have stole his cake again," asked the OC, looking at Paddy. "Well, it's Saturday and he's no cake," I replied, "what do you think?" "How many cakes is that now, Paddy?", asked the OC. "How long are you in our co-op, Paddy", I queried. "Two years", answered Paddy.
"Well, that's one hundred and four stolen cakes", I reckoned. "Are you sure it came in?" asked the OC. "Definitely ; his mother swore on St Anthony's Prayer", said Stuarty. "Is that significant?" asked the OC. "Well, it was a stack of bibles two weeks ago", said Stuarty. "That's good enough for me," exclaimed the OC, looking at Paddy - "But before I go out here and start murder, are you 100% sure the cake was there?"
"Look," said Paddy, "let me find out for definite from my ma before we do anything hasty." "Maybe we should, Paddy", said the OC, "just to be on the safe side..." (MORE LATER).
Thanks for reading, Sharon.