ON THIS DATE (7TH MARCH) 97 YEARS AGO : BRITISH ARMY PATROL SURRENDER TO IRA FLYING COLUMN.
Tom Maguire, surrounded a British army patrol at Kilfall between Ballinrobe and Castlebar forcing it to surrender and give up their arms. The patrol were then released unharmed. Tom Maguire’s personal account of the engagement is given in the book 'Survivors' by Uinsean MacEoin...
On May 3rd of 1921, Tom Maguire led an ambush party on an RIC patrol in Tournakeady, Co. Mayo during which four RIC men were killed. Following the engagement, Maguire’s flying column made their escape to the Partry Mountains which lie to the west of Lough Mask. They were pursued by a large force of British soldiers and policemen who used an aeroplane to monitor the progress of the column. A number of skirmishes ensued during which Maguire was wounded and his adjutant killed. There is some dispute about the number of British casualties but fokelore has it that they were substantial. The column managed to escape with no further casualties...
Tom Maguire was elected to the Dáil elections of 1921, 1822 and 1923. He took the anti-treaty side in the Civil War and was a member of the anti-treaty IRA executive which commanded the anti-treaty army. He was captured by the National Army and though he was told he was to be executed, his life was spared. However, his younger brother Seán aged 17 was executed in Tuam on 11th April 1923 along with six others. These men are known today as the 'Tuam Martyrs'..' (from here.)
"The majority of the delegates at the December 1969 IRA Convention, having passed the resolution referred to above, proceeded to elect an Executive which in turn appointed a new Army Council, committed to implement the resolution. That Convention had neither the right nor the authority to pass such a resolution. Accordingly, I, as the sole surviving member of the Executive of Dáil Éireann and the sole surviving signatory of the 1938 Proclamation, hereby declare that the resolution is illegal and that the alleged Executive and Army Council are illegal, and have no right to claim the allegiance of either soldiers or citizens of the Irish Republic.
The delegates who opposed the resolution, together with delegates from units which were not represented at the Convention, met subsequently in Convention and repudiated the resolution. They re-affirmed their allegiance to the Irish Republic and elected a Provisional Executive which, in turn, appointed a Provisional Army Council. I hereby further declare that the Provisional Executive and the Provisional Army Council are the lawful Executive and Army Council respectively of the IRA* and that the governmental authority delegated in the Proclamation of 1938 now resides in the Provisional Army Council and its lawful successors. I fully endorse their call for support from Irish people everywhere towards the realisation of the full freedom of Ireland.."
Dated the 31st day of December, 1969. Signed : THOMAS MAGUIRE, (Tomas Mac Uidhir) Comdt. General."
NOTE - *Following the 1986 division, Comdt. General Thomas Maguire nominated the Continuity IRA as the legitimate IRA. Tom Maguire is one of the many Irish republican men and women that the Republican Movement was, is and always will be guided by : When the majority of (P)IRA and (P)Sinn Féin decided to abandon abstentionism in the 1969/70 split, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill sought and secured Maguire's recognition of the Provisional IRA as the legitimate successor to the 1938 Army Council. Of the seven 1938 signatories, Maguire was the only one still alive. Likewise in the aftermath of the 1986 split in the Republican Movement, Maguire signed a statement in 1986 which was issued posthumously, in 1996 : he conferred this legitimacy on the Army Council of the Continuity IRA (who provided a firing party at Maguire's funeral in 1993 - he was 101 years of age when he died). And he remains an inspiration for Irish republicans to this day.
ON THIS DATE (7TH MARCH) 95 YEARS AGO - IRA MAN 'ARRESTED' BY THE STATERS. HIS BODY WAS FOUND LATER IN A FIELD.
After being captured he was dragged towards the Baggot Street corner of Stephen's Green, near the Shelbourne Hotel, and in the direction of both Oriel House and the new CID Headquarters which was just a few hundred yards away on Merrion Square. He was assaulted on several occasions by his escort in full public view and this was the last time he was seen alive ; his body was discovered the following day, Good Friday, by a shepherd at Clondalkin, Dublin - the previous day (Thursday, 29th of March 1923, between 6.30pm and 7pm), a young girl named Bella Brown, who lived near the Red Cow in Clondalkin, heard six shots as she was bringing milk to a neighbour's house. The following day, Friday 30th March 1923, the body of Robert Bonfield was discovered in a field close by - he had been shot several times in the head.
According to testimony given by several witnesses at the inquest there is no doubt that IRA Commandant Bonfield was arrested by members of (Free State) President Cosgrave's personal body guard and later murdered, either by them, or their associate detectives operating out of Oriel House. He was discovered lying on his side at the bottom of a ditch at Dowling's Farm, Newlands Cross - he had been shot a number of times. He was only 20 years of age. His remains were refused admission to his local Parish church in Ranelagh and he was buried in the family plot, St. Paul's section, Glasnevin Cemetery :
'Bonfield was arrested on 07th March 1923 (95 years ago on this date) by a Lieut. Bolger after his house at 103 Moyne Road, Ranelagh was raided and a veritable arsenal (including a Lewis Gun and three revolvers) were seized. He was taken to Portobello Barracks from where he subsequently escaped a couple of nights later. He went to the house of schoolmates of his, Brendan and Kevin Mangan, at Albany Terrace, Ranelagh and had a wash and some food before going on the run. A 'servant girl' who had helped give him the meal probably reported him to the authorities. The following night the Mangan's house was raided by "a group of men in plain clothes accompanied by a man in the uniform of an Army Lieutenant" who were looking for Bonfield. Brendan Mangan was taken to the back garden and interrogated. His parents attempted to intervene and when his mother asked why he was not arrested and charged in the 'proper way', the chilling reply was "We are out to execute, not make arrests".
Mangan's excuses were believed and the group left, which was rather lucky as Bonfield had hidden arms under the floor of the Mangans henhouse and Brendan was aware of this. The Mangans kept the guns hidden for many years and later when the family moved house Brendan transferred the guns to the hen house at their new address. It was only years later when there was an amnesty that his brother Kevin handed in the guns. On the 29th of March 1923, about 2 weeks later, Bonfield was lifted by Cosgraves bodyguard which included Joe McGrath, John O'Reilly (who was either a Colonel, a Commandant or a Superintendent) and an unnamed guard. Two of these men took Commandant Robert 'Bobbie' Bonfield to Clondalkin and shot him...' (from here.)
However, in her book 'Four roads to Dublin: the history of Rathmines, Ranelagh and Leeson Street', Deirdre Kelly came across sources who suggested that the then State 'authorities' believed that a different IRA man had executed Seamus Dwyer - '(IRA man) Frank Lawlor was aware that CID agents were looking for him. He was tracked down to a friends house in Ranelagh and taken from there by the CID. His body was recovered at Milltown Golf Club. Nothing was heard of Lawlor until the 1st of January 1923 when his body was found on Orwell Road...if Frank Lawlor was killed (he was killed by Staters on the 29th December 1922) in revenge for Dwyers death, it appears..that they got the wrong man, as according to IRA officer Séan Dowling it was another man, Bobby Bonfield who shot Dwyer, for which Bonfield was himself assassinated by pro-Treaty forces in March 1923..', and yet another IRA man, Thomas O'Leary, had his name linked by Staters to the Dwyer execution ; both IRA men were shot dead by Leinster House operatives, either because of the whispered 'Dwyer link' or simply due to the fact that they continued to be Irish republicans, unlike those that shot them.
Seamus Dwyer, a member of the Free State political establishment - whether or not he was a member/supporter or leader of the anti-republican CDF organisation, he was a poacher-turned-gamekeeper - was shot dead by the IRA on the 20th December 1922 : on that date, Robert 'Bobby' Bonfield went to James Dwyer's shop at 5 Rathmines Terrace, Dublin, and shot him dead. James (Seamus) Dwyer was once a Sinn Féin and IRA activist but, at the time he was shot, was a pro-Treaty politician. Three months later Bobby Bonfield, 20 years of age, Quarter Master and Acting O/C of the 4th Battalion, 1st Dublin Brigade of the IRA - a known 'anti-Treaty guerrilla'- was killed by Free State forces in revenge for the shooting of Dwyer.
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.
NEED FOR PROPAGANDA.
Now the first task for Sinn Féin is propaganda. Recent usage of this word has given people the idea that it means only the use of careful mis-statements and clever falsehoods to deceive people and lead them astray : but it has the other meaning, which is the dissemination of truth to prevent them from going astray.
Thus we see that the Catholic Church has its College of Propaganda, whose duty it is to see that Catholic teachings and ideas are broadcast and false doctrines refuted. In these days of fast communications, radio and television, and mass-produced literature, it is essential that we in Ireland see to it that our people are protected against the wholesale influx of harmful foreign ideas and influences, and that they are constantly reminded of their national duties and obligations.
If we are to resume the struggle with England we must be mindful of how thorough and widespread press censorship can be, and how ruthlessly it can be used against us. Measures must be taken now to counter such a move, and the lessons learned in the past borne in mind.
Propaganda has become one of the major weapons of war and we must use it to the full, being weak in other respects. A well organised network of Sinn Féin Cumainn throughout the 32 counties is the first step.
(Next : 'SPREAD THE PAPER' , from the same source.)
ON THIS DATE (7TH MARCH) 95 YEARS AGO : TIED TO A LANDMINE, FINISHED OFF BY GRENADES AND MACHINE GUNS.
On March 6th, 1923, five Free State soldiers, including Captains Michael Dunne and Joseph Stapleton of Dublin Brigade, were killed in Knocknagoshel, Co Kerry, by a booby trap mine. The target of the trap was a local man by the name of Paddy 'Pats' O'Connor who, according to the IRA, was a notorious torturer of prisoners. O'Connor joined the Free State army because of the treatment of his father by the local IRA, involving a dispute over farmland in the Glansaroon, Castleisland area, and a fine issued because of same by the IRA.
The IRA's local commander, Humphrey Murphy, organised for a 'tip off' letter to be sent to the Free Staters, informing them that a stash of republican weapons were hidden in a specific location at Barranarig Wood near the small town of Knocknagoshel, in North Kerry - in her novel, '1921', Morgan Llywelyn gives this account of what occurred : 'A letter in the handwriting of a known local informer had been delivered (to Free State forces) the evening before..the letter gave the location of a major IRA weapons dump at Barranarig Wood, Knocknagoshel (but) the letter was a forgery. A mine casing packed with shrapnel and an explosive charge was waiting, buried in a lonely field at the supposed dump site. At 2am on March 6th, 1923, five members of the Free State Army – three officers of the 'Dublin Guards' and two enlisted men – were blown apart.' Five men, including Paddy O'Connor, were killed immediately and a sixth man lost both legs. In a press statement after the explosion, the Kerry command of the Irish Free State Army announced that IRA prisoners would clear road obstacles in future.
Major General Paddy O'Daly (pictured, left), a 'poacher turned gamekeeper' ie an ex-IRA man. He was furious over the booby trap and it subsequently became clear that he was responsible for what took place following the Barranarig Wood incident. At around 2am on the 7th March, 1923 - 95 years ago on this date - nine IRA prisoners, many of whom had been tortured, were brought to Ballyseedy Wood where they were told that they were to remove an "irregular (ie IRA) road block" (which had been put in place by the Staters themselves). However, it was clear to the men what was in store for them when they had been shown 9 coffins in the barracks. Each were offered a cigarette and told it would be "the last you'll have".
They were then tied together to the mined 'roadblock' and blown up. Some of the men were still alive and were finished off by grenade and machine gun - Dorothy Macardle described what had happened : "The soldiers had strong ropes and electric cord. Each prisoner's hands were tied behind him, then his arms were tied above the elbow to those of the men on either side of him. Their feet were bound together above the ankles* and their legs were bound together above the knees. Then a strong rope was passed round the nine men and the soldiers moved away..." (*their shoelaces were also tied together). The 'barricade/road block' was a large log, against which was placed a mine.
But the Free State troops weren't aware that one man had been blown clear and managed to escape - his name was Stephen Fuller (who become a FF 'TD' in 1937, and died at Edenburn nursing home in February 1984.). Because the bodies were so badly mangled all nine coffins were filled with the remains of the eight who perished. This was to lead to a near riot in Tralee when the coffins were handed over to the families at the gates of Ballymullen Barracks- the families broke open the coffins to try and identify the remains and 'disturbances' erupted when the crowds realised what had happened. Later on the same day a very similar incident took place at Countess Bridge in Killarney where five IRA prisoners where asked to remove a mined road block which was also blown up. Three of the men who lay wounded were finished off by grenades. Again, amazingly, a fifth man, Tadhg Coffey, survived and escaped.
Five days later 5 more IRA prisoners were killed in a similar explosion - those murders took place at Bahaghs, near Cahirciveen on the 12th March, 1923. The victims were republican soldiers from the Kerry No. 3 Brigade of the IRA : Michael Courtney jnr, Eugene Dwyer, Daniel Shea, John Sugrue and William Riordan, all from the Waterville area. Each of them was first shot in the legs to prevent them escaping, should they survive the explosion, and were then put over a mine and blown up. When the details slowly emerged about what really happened the Free State administration was forced to call an inquiry into the 'incident' and they appointed none other than Major General Paddy O'Daly to oversee the 'court of inquiry' in April, 1923 - it was never going to be anything other than a whitewash. One Free State soldier, Lt W McCarthy, resigned his commission after the incident and called his colleagues "a murder gang". Captain Niall Harrington (Author of 'Kerry Landings') of the Free State 'Dublin Brigade' reported that "the mines used in the slaughter of the prisoners were constructed in Tralee under the supervision of two senior Dublin Guards officers". But neither he nor Lt W McCarthy was ever called to testify, thus, obviously, limiting the amount of 'whitewash' the Staters needed to cover up the truth.
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.
"Back to Wolfe Tone", says 'The Times' correspondent, who "desires a united Ireland as much as anyone." It is very heartening to read such splendid sentiments, and we wish that all who express such sentiment could see the way to that united Ireland as we do. We do not believe that James Connolly measured anything more than his conception of economic freedom "by the living standards enjoyed by the lowest economic class in society".
We do not believe that James Connolly would have been content with the most benevolent of conquerors even if they gave the lowest economic class conditions that would satisfy the most critical, nor would the people of Ireland ever accept foreign government, however well-meaning, as a substitute for self-government.
Yes. I'm afraid this "brand of green patriotism rising its head again" is the continuation of seven centuries of struggle - and Tone's, and Fintan Lalor's and O'Donovan Rossa's and Pearse's was the same brand, and the brand is pure certainly, but not sentimental. And the fact that it is raising its head again makes it fairly obvious that the Irish people of 1955 are just as determined to have complete separation as those of 1798, 1803, 1848 and 1916. (MORE LATER).
ON THIS DATE (7TH MARCH) 97 YEARS AGO - LIMERICK CITY CURFEW MURDERS.
'The Limerick City curfew murders of March 1921.
Assassination of Mayor Clancy, ex-Mayor O'Callaghan and Volunteer O'Donoghue.
Contributed by Mrs O'Callaghan, Mrs Clancy, and comrades of the murdered patriots.
On the morning of March the seventh, 1921, Seoirse ('George') Clancy, Mayor of Limerick, and Michael O'Callaghan, his predecessor in office, were foully murdered by British police in their homes, and in the presence of their wives. The Mayoress, Mrs Clancy, was wounded during the assassination of her husband. The murder of Michael O'Callaghan took place about 1.10am, and that of Seoirse Clancy about 2.30am. Some hours previously, Joseph O'Donoghue of the IRA was murdered and his bullet-ridden body was found in the street in the morning...' (from here.)
'George Clancy, the Mayor of Limerick, and his immediate predecessor, Michael O'Callaghan were shot dead in their homes. Known as 'the Curfew Murders', as their houses were raided during the hours of curfew, their deaths shocked the whole City and Country and became International News. Mrs Clancy was wounded in a vain attempt to shield her husband from assassination and Mrs O'Callaghan also witnessed the murder of her spouse. Both victims were distinguished members of the Community and had been involved in the struggle for Independence. Clancy was an ex University Professor and a friend of James Joyce. He is believed to have provided the background for a character in Joyce’s Classic 'Portrait of an artist as a young man'. O'Callaghan’s grandfather, Eugene O'Callaghan, was Mayor of Limerick in 1843.
The third leading Citizen, Joseph O'Donoghue, was taken from his house that night and found shot dead in a field some hours later... their assailants were in Mufti, wore goggles and had their coat collars turned up but it quickly became obvious that the gang in question were serving members of the Crown Forces. Mrs O'Callaghan gathered what evidence she could collect and demanded an inquest but no inquiry other than a military one was ever carried out. Even the ex British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith stated that members of the RIC (Auxiliaries) were the culprits. However the particular individuals who carried out these attacks were never formally identified with the crimes. Many years later in the 1950's a deceased British Officer was named as one of the murderers but no conclusive proof was ever established as to his involvement.
A further twist to the story of the Murdered Mayors was added when, in February 1982, the Limerick Leader published a picture of 'Black and Tans', taken at William Street Police Station (now demolished). A side note to the photograph by Willie ‘Whack’ Gleeson, alleged that two of the Tans in the photograph, Sergeant Leech and Sergeant Horan, were also involved in the killings. While Leech was implicated in the murder of Joseph O'Donoghue, we don't know what part, if any, Horan played on the night in question. In the summer of 1922 Leech was shot dead at Harcourt Street Station, Dublin...' (from here.)
The two republican politicians were democratically elected by their own people in their own city yet were coldly assassinated by representatives of a foreign occupying force. Joseph O'Donoghue was an Irishman, in his own country, who bravely decided to defend his country from that foreign occupying force. Incidentally, Herbert Asquith was obviously made aware that two members of 'G Coy ADRIC' ('Auxiliary Division Royal Irish Constabulary') played a part in the assassinations, and he was no doubt given the same names as those mentioned in this country at the time - George Nathan and Les Ibbotson. But British 'justice' covered-up for its lackeys in this country, as it had done for centuries before then and as it continues to do to this day.
GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...
By Jim McCann (Jean's son). For Alex Crowe, RIP - "No Probablum". Glandore Publishing, 1999.
At the same time as you were grabbing his face you had to shout "C'mere here, where do you think you're going?" This innovation was introduced by Honky Wilson and, on the face of it, it changed the face of 'face collecting' forever.
Strangely enough, I have never seen any reference to 'face collecting' in any GAA handbook or manual - it's not even in 'The Imbeciles Guide to WWF'. Yet. Some people would try and grab their opponents by the nose, but this was frowned upon as mundane. If you think about it, where is the skill in grabbing someone, say, with a big enormous nose or chin, for example? God knows, there was plenty of them about Long Kesh.
I well remember the inter-cage results being put up on the notice board in the study hut of Cage Eleven. This was always waited on with great expectation within the cage, as it was the only true record of the injuries we inflicted upon one another during the course of the season. Oh! And anyone who was remotely interested could find out the scores of the matches, as well... (MORE LATER).
ON THIS DATE (7TH MARCH) 170 YEARS AGO - NEW IRISH FLAG UNVEILED BY 'MEAGHER OF THE SWORD'.
Born on the 3rd August 1823, died (in mysterious circumstances) on the 1st July, 1867 :'Does the world even have heroes like Ireland's Thomas Francis Meagher anymore? After fighting for Irish independence ("I know of no country that has won its independence by accident") ,then condemned to death, pardoned and exiled, Thomas Francis Meagher escaped to America,where he became a leader of the Irish community and commanded the Irish Brigade during the Civil War. General Meagher's men fought valiantly at some of the most famous battles of the Civil War, including Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After the war, Meagher served as Acting Governor of the Montana Territory. In 1867, Meagher disappeared on the Missouri River ; his body was never found..' (from here.)
Thomas Francis Meagher was born in Waterford City (near the Commins/Granville Hotel) on August 3rd, 1823, into a financially-comfortable family ; his father was a wealthy merchant who, having made his money, entered politics, a route which the young Thomas was to follow. At 20 years young, he decided to challenge British misrule in Ireland and, at 23 years of age (in 1846), he became one of the leaders of the 'Young Ireland' Movement. He was only 25 years of age when he sat down with the Government of the Second French Republic to seek support for an uprising in Ireland. At 29 years of age, he wrote what is perhaps his best known work - 'Speeches on the Legislative Independence of Ireland', of which six editions were published.
He was arrested by the British for his part in the 1848 Rising, accused of 'high treason' and sentenced to death ("to be hanged, drawn and disemboweled..") but, while he was awaiting execution in Richmond Jail, this was changed by 'Royal Command' to transportation for life. Before he was deported, he spoke in Slievenamon, Tipperary, to a crowd estimated at 50,000 strong, about the country and the flag he was leaving behind - "Daniel O'Connell preached a cause that we are bound to see out. He used to say 'I may not see what I have laboured for, I am an old man ,my arm is withered, no epitaph of victory may mark my grave, but I see a young generation with redder blood in their veins, and they will do the work.' Therefore it is that I ambition to decorate these hills with the flag of my country.."
This brave man dedicated twenty-four of his forty-four years on this earth to challenging British misrule in Ireland and, while it can be said without doubt that Thomas Francis Meagher did his best, a 'crime' does remain to be resolved.
ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK...
Thanks for reading, Sharon.