ON THIS DATE (24TH JANUARY) 156 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A REBEL WHO FOUGHT FOR IRELAND AND GAVE SERVICE TO FRANCE.
Miles Byrne was born at Ballylusk, Monaseed, Co. Wexford in 1780 and like many of the leaders of the United Irishmen in 1798 was extremely young - Byrne himself had turned just eighteen and had already been involved in preparations for the Rising with Anthony Perry of Inch, the chief organiser in the area. Byrne participated in all of the major battles of the 1798 Rising in counties Wicklow and Wexford, including those at Oulart, Clough, Vinegar Hill, Enniscorthy, Arklow and the last battle in County Wexford, at Ballygullen in 4th July 1798...' (from here.)
Miles/Myles Byrne, United Irishman and officer in Napoleon's Irish Legion, was born in Monaseed, Co. Wexford, on the 20th March, 1780 : he was only a boy when he witnessed the attacks by the yeoman militia and other mercenaries which England let loose in Wexford in 1798. But he took his place in the United Irishmen and fought through the Wexford campaign, joined Michael Dwyer afterwards in Wicklow, later came to Dublin and was a comrade and friend of Robert Emmet in the continuation of '98 which failed so sadly in 1803. He was sent by Emmet (who was then on the run) to France to seek assistance from Thomas Addis Emmet and the other exiled United Irishmen. He went with no hesitation ,in the hope that he would return in the ranks of a conquering army - but it was not to be..
In the 1850's he wrote his memoirs of the 1798 Rising, in which he was critical of the "gentlemanly nature" of the rebel approach, believing them to have been "too willing to negotiate and to accept (British) government protections and non-existent government good faith" (sounds too familiar, twice over).
In Montmartre ("Hill of Martyrs") Cemetery in Paris lie the remains of Myles Byrne, United Irishman, Wexford man and survivor of Oulart Hill and Vinegar Hill in 1798. The inscription on his gravestone reads - "Here lies Myles Byrne, Lieutenant Colonel in the service of France. Officer of the legion of Honour. Knight of St Louis, born at Monaseed in the county Wexford in Ireland, 20 March 1780. Died at Paris,the 24th January 1862, his long life was distinguished by the constant integrity and loyalty of his character and by his high-minded principles. Sincerely attached to Ireland, his native land, he gave faithful service to France, the country of his adoption."
'At Ballinamuck defeated
The battle lost and won
In British style British justice
Must be seen, it was said, to be done.
The trials, they were just for show
For the condemned there was no hope
The cases were closed before they were opened
The defendants were for the rope.
What could the judge do in his wisdom
Without risking his own neck in the noose
What could he do for those there for who
Legal argument was no use...?
Myles Byrne, United Irishman and officer in Napoleon's Irish Legion, was born on the 20th March, 1780, and died on the 24th January 1862 - 156 years ago, on this date.
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.
In the sphere of activities covered by insurance and assurance companies, activities that can and do play an important role in the nation's economy, a factor worthy of particular note in that even within the 26 Counties, the annual premium income from business transacted within the area by foreign companies is substantially in excess of that collected by the companies operating under Irish control and management.
Take, for example, the figures for the year 1949 ; in that year, the combined premium income of the Irish companies amounted to £5,014,974 and to this figure may be added the sum of £620,299, income accuring from 'interest, dividends and rent', making a total of £5,635,275. The respective figures for the foreign companies were £6,911,915 and £256,553, giving a total of £7,168,468. These latter figures do not include figures for the business transacted through Lloyds. Assuming that dividends accruing from investments account for a major portion of income under the heading 'Interest, Dividends and Rent', the respective figures of income under this heading indicate the disparity between the amount of capital invested within the 26 Counties by the foreign companies and that invested within the area by the Irish companies.
After deducting from their income as shown above £4,508,828 charged to payment of 'Claims', £705,913 as 'Commission' and £841,749 for 'Expenses of Management within Ireland', there remained a net gain to the foreign companies for the year of £1,111,978... (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (24TH JANUARY) 44 YEARS AGO : PIRA 'MILKROUND' WITH A DIFFERENCE!
'..on January 24th, 1974, Rose Dugdale posed as a journalist and hired a helicopter along with two others to fly to Tory Island. Eddie Gallagher and Rose Dugdale had registered as man and wife in a hotel in Gortahork, County Donegal, prior to the operation. According to Eddie Gallagher, they first met in a 'doss house' in Edinburgh - they were both fascinated at how 'dossers' could sleep on ropes when they could not afford to pay for a flea-infested bed in the dormitory. They were very close and Dugdale later gave birth to Gallagher's son in prison. However - the helicopter was hijacked and forced to fly to Strabane RUC Station with three milk-churn bombs aboard. The bombs failed to explode when dropped...' (from here).
Incidentally, also on this date (24th January) 40 years ago - in 1978 - Eddie Gallagher and Rose Dugdale were married in the chapel of Limerick Prison as their three-year-old son, Ruairi, looked on. The married couple were allowed a five-hour 'honeymoon' inside one of the cells before the groom was returned to the maximum-security prison at Portlaoise, 60 miles away. We presume he was taken there by car...
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.
Now at last the Republican Movement, heirs of the Republican Government established in 1919 and never since disestablished, are endeavouring to carry out the wishes of the majority of the Irish people.
It would seem therefore that the boot is on the other foot - the Leinster House regime for years defied and flouted the will of the people while Sinn Féin and the Republican Movement has constantly striven to achieve the Nation's heart's desire.
(NEXT - "TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED", from the same source.)
GROWING UP IN LONG KESH.
By Jim McCann (Jean's son). For Alex Crowe, RIP - "No Probablum". Glandore Publishing, 1999.
PITCH BATTLES, FACE COLLECTING.
The fraternal solidarity of Irish republicans in prison up to 1975 was tested time and again by the screws - it never failed. Our greatest 'test' was one of our own making : in 1975, the governor of Long Kesh gave the thumbs up to our request for that which was euphemistically called 'inter-cage football'. A more accurate name would have been 'inter-cage warfare'.
Two leagues were drawn up, and the teams from Cages Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen went into 'training' immediately. Only the fittest were considered - and the heavy punchers (couldn't leave them out!). Each cage would have a First Team and a Second Team and the game, of course, was Gaelic Football. And may God forgive us, but any other reference to 'sport' in this story is purely incidental.
The governor refused our requests for gaelic goal posts so we had to make do with soccer posts, which meant we couldn't score or count anything but goals - trying to keep a check on the Points scored would have been impossible. Our other request for hurls, once we described to the Assistant Governor (AG) what exactly they were, nearly induced him to take a heart attack ; his response, although delivered in a posh, cultured, middle-class English accent,I fear, would be far too brutal for our sensitive ears, and I never want to hear talk like that again...
Thanks for reading, Sharon.