Wednesday, August 29, 2018
IRELAND, 18TH CENTURY - ONLY 'ROYALTY' HAD A VOTE IN 'ELECTIONS'!
"All men are born with equal rights, and in associating together to protect one another and share public burdens, justice demands that such associations should rest upon a basis which maintains equality instead of destroying it. We therefore declare that, unable longer to endure the curse of monarchical government, we aim at founding a republic, based on universal suffrage, which shall secure to all the intrinsic value of their labour" - Fenian Proclamation 1867.
ON THIS DATE (29TH AUGUST) 215 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A 'UNITED IRISHMEN' FOUNDER.
the Marquess of Donegall.
The sense of injustice grew during the years that regular troops were withdrawn to serve in north America against the armies of George Washington. To fill the void, volunteer companies were raised across Ireland, and these soon engaged in political debate as the anticipated invasion by France, Britain's traditional enemy, failed to materialise...calls for a reform of the Irish parliament in Dublin struck a chord with the politically literate Presbyterians and a process of intense politicisation began...' (from here.)
On the 18th October 1791, a group of socially-minded Protestants, Anglicans and Presbyterians, including the then 30-year-old Samuel Neilson, held their first public meeting in Belfast and formed themselves as 'The Belfast Society of United Irishmen' (the organisation became a secret society three years later), electing Sam McTier as 'President' ; he was married to Martha, who was a sister of William Drennan.
The aims and objectives of the Society were revolutionary for the times that were in it, and brought the organisation to the attention of the less 'socially-minded' political (and military) members of the British ruling-class in Dublin, which was then (and, indeed, now!) England's political power-base in Ireland. The intention of those present at that meeting is best summed-up by this statement from the minutes (which would have been relayed, one way or another, to the Dublin Castle 'authorities') - "That the weight of English influence in the government of this country is so great, as to require a cordial union among all the people of Ireland, to maintain that balance which is essential to the preservation of our liberties and the extension of our commerce...the sole constitutional mode by which this influence can be opposed, is by a complete and radical reform of the representation of the people in Parliament...no reform is just which does not include every Irishman of every religious persuasion.."
'We have no national government, we are ruled by Englishmen, and the servants of Englishmen, whose object is the interest of another country, whose instrument is corruption, and whose strength is the weakness of Ireland ; and these men have the whole of the power and patronage of the country, as means to seduce and subdue the honesty of her representatives in the legislature. Such an extrinsic power, acting with uniform force, in a direction too frequently opposite to the true line of our obvious interest, can be resisted with effect solely by unanimity, decision, and spirit in the people, qualities which may be exerted most legally, constitutionally, efficaciously, by the great measure, essential to the prosperity and freedom of Ireland, an equal representation of all the people in parliament. Impressed with these sentiments...we do pledge ourselves to our country, and mutually to each other...impressed with these sentiments...we do pledge ourselves to our country, and mutually to each other..'
And, in 1791, with those words, the assembled Irishmen – Theobald Wolfe Tone, Thomas Russell, William Sinclair, Henry Joy McCracken, Samuel Neilson, Henry Haslett, Gilbert McIlveen, William and Robert Simms, Thomas McCabe, Thomas Pearce and Samuel McTier, among others, ensured the continuity of the on-going struggle against the British military and political presence in Ireland.
In 1796, when he was 35 years of age, Samuel Neilson was touted on to the Dublin 'authorities' by the informer William Bird (aka 'John Smith') and imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin. He served 18 months and, although in bad health and financially ruined on his release in February 1798, he continued his work with the United Irishmen and, in May that same year, was imprisoned again by the British. He was held in Ireland for a few months and then transported to Fort George Prison in Scotland in 1799 and, in 1802, he was shipped out again, this time to Hamburg, in Germany, where he was left to his own devices. He managed to return to Ireland, unbeknown to the 'Crown', to settle his affairs as best he could. He then made his way, eventually, to New York, in America, where he became involved in journalism. He was now a weakened man, and that city was stricken with 'Yellow Fever', so he left New York proper and travelled to the 'countryside' - Dutchess County, in southeastern New York.
'Rural Cemetery'. A 'Northern Star', and true 'Felon of our Land'.
By the groans that ascend from your forefathers' grave
For their country thus left to the brute and the slave,
Drive the demon of bigotry home to his den,
And where Britain made brutes now let Éirinn make men...
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.
AMERICA PROPPING UP THE EMPIRE.
Senator A. Wiley (Republican) Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, visited Belfast on September 10th to discuss with the Stormont Government "questions of mutual concern".
During his visit he said : "I am hoping that neither partition nor other local issues in any country becomes so oversized that the people lose sight of the greater issues for the time being - the unity and preservation of their own freedom."
This statement shows such a misunderstanding of the Irish position that we feel it necessary to enlighten him. The task facing the Irish people is to attain their freedom and to secure the unity of their country. When these have been obtained then we will make plans to preserve them, but they must first of all be obtained.
They can only be obtained when we have persuaded, by argument or otherwise, the occupation forces of America's ally, England, to withdraw. When these forces have withdrawn then perhaps we may enter into discussions on world freedom. But, while they remain, no amount of platitudes or politicians' cliches will cloak the fact that we must get rid of the aggressor already within our gates before starting to consider possible aggression from other sources... (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (29TH AUGUST) 68 YEARS AGO : THE MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 'SPRING TIDE' IS BORN.
paid 'job'!) - whether he's collecting one or the other (or both!), it must make the arduous journey around the green easier to put up with.
But the 'Birthday Boy' apparently had a harder 'journey' on the hustlings a few decades ago, according to the 'IN DUBLIN' magazine 'Election Special', 1987 :
'Nobody noticed how Ruairi Quinn hi-jacked Dick Spring's itinerary that day. The plan that had been laid out for Dick in advance included a visit to Ruairi, but when everybody arrived Ruairi had an alternative sheet prepared which he gave to journalists. Other than to have a stand-up row about it, there was really no choice but to go along with the new plan, which included a fair amount of publicity for Ruairi himself, who may not be returned in this election. There was even talk that he might have found himself 'a job' in the event of being made redundant by the electorate.
It's hardly a month since Dick Spring sat at the cabinet table, but in the minds of the Labour Party ministers they have distanced themselves from those awful days. Nowadays, posters of Dick show the man with an open shirt - a 'Good Man Of The People' - : his moustache is trimmed, to give it a tamer if sharper look. On the posters at least, the working class hero has finally come home to roost. The day is dark and cold when the bus leaves Labour Party Headquarters ; Dick Spring steps out - 'People of Ireland, I love you..'. On the bus, the RTE cameras start to roll as the vehicle makes its way down Dorset Street. Passers-by look with amazement as they see James Connolly's successor (!) answering questions, facing into a camera, in a bus moving through the early morning traffic. Dick has own reservations about touring in buses, and what effect it has on people but, since the other parties do it, Labour would not seem to have a choice. It is a travelling circus.
All of the above was very early in the day. Later, voters would tell Dick how fed-up with politics and politicians they really were. People have lost faith in Fine Gael, in Labour and the other parties that have been playing musical seats for the past seventy years. Dick is taken downstairs to see small engines that were used to transport Guinness in years gone by. He says they're "fantastic". It is then time to go on to Camden Street and tie-in with Ruairi Quinn, which is where the day got hi-jacked. Just before the Labour Party bus reached Camden Street, a road worker did a cut-throat sign towards Dick Spring, twice, but Dick never noticed. Later on in the day, a driver gave him a single digit sign, which Dick noticed, and responded to in kind. At Camden Street, Dick is told to wait until everyone is out of the bus before he steps onto the street, as this will provide really good shots of Dick getting off a bus. When Comrade Quinn and Comrade Spring meet each other there is great hugging and kissing, in the Russian fashion, as if the two had not met in years. The Labour Party Office in Camden Street is a dump and looks like a bad squat. There are large bare rooms, some of which are in the process of being painted. Ruairi and Dick head off down Camden Street, and a handler attempts to introduce Dick to the public. An old woman brushes past, saying - "No. I'm not interested in meeting him."
The message as to why the fruit should be banned did not get across. In response to a question, one women says - " We'll sell anything we can get a living out of." And that is the general mood on the street - apathy. People are tired of politicians, politics and promises, and many belong to the 'don't-vote-it-only-encourages-them' school of thought. This, despite the fact that many politicians are of the 'don't-vote-it-suits-us' school of thought. One street trader remarks that 'you won't see them until the next time', and her companion replies 'That's it'. One old man says that business is terrible and, just then, a baby is pushed past in a pram and someone asks Dick Spring if he will do the 'decent thing' and kiss the baby. "No," says Dick, "..we're not in that league. We kiss the mothers."
Phil Coulter is on the amp system singing 'The Town I Loved So Well' as the bus reaches Landsdowne Road ; there are thirty-five workers engaged in work close to the river Dodder, developing a park. Needless to say, this is another of Ruairi's ideas. Some of the lads ask Dick for tickets to see a rugby match, and Dick replies 'see your man over there' , pointing at Comrade Quinn. There's very little really that can't be 'fixed up' if there's a will, a way and an election. It's lunch time, so we all head for Kitty O'Shea's. Ruairi Quinn bought everyone lunch in Kitty O'Shea's pub. Dick Spring stated that there will be a second election within eighteen months. " Come on, we're wasting time. Let's go ," says Dick. It's back across the river and onto the Northside Shopping Centre, Charlie Haughey's political heartland . Fianna Fail are having a press conference at 3pm that same afternoon and there are very few photographers still with Dick and Ruairi. In any event, many had been under the impression that they would have to pay for their own lunch and this had the effect of diminishing the numbers somewhat.
Supermarkets! You look after the kids all day and then you go out shopping. Now it's getting on towards evening and you're tired. You're pushing the trolley along wishing you were at home. As you reach for that tin of beans, your hand is grabbed, and a Dick is there pumping it up and down, telling you who he is, introducing people to you, asking you for your vote. It rarely dawns on anybody that this man has been 'Deputy Prime Minister' for the last four years. You're so surprised you just stand there and say nothing. Stalking between the shelves of supermarkets looking for innocent voters to accost is pretty safe because of the element of surprise. Dick wonders if it is of any benefit at all. One woman says she won't be voting at all as she doesn't believe in politics. Another shopper says she wore a blueshirt and is not afraid to say so. A third woman tells Dick that she has been living in uninhabitable conditions for twelve years and, for Dick, this suddenly becomes a priority. Something will be done, he says. But not just now, alas, as it's time to move on to the hotel. Dick spots a building site across the road from the hotel.
Not to worry, Dick - you have a happy birthday, now, safe in the knowledge that all that carry-on is in the past and the 'Labour Party' couldn't possibly suffer like that again...!
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.
'AN CUMANN CABHRAC...
Collection details - Athenry and District £90 10 shillings 1penny, Galway City and District £163 1 4, North Galway £74 10 10, Tuam and District £160 0 0, East Galway £110 0 0, Roscommon £130 15 4, Kildare (balance) £46 0 0.
KERRY : Tralee £100 0 shillings 0 pence, Cahirciveen £132 10 0, Brandon £22 10 0, Ardee £24 0 0, Ballylongford £26 1 3, Ballydonoghue £9 5 0.
CORK : Cork City £165 0 shillings 0 pence, Skibbereen £120 3 6, Waterford City £140 0 0, Limerick £48 0 0, Lisnagarvey £25 13 0, Cavan £112 15 0, Drogheda £73 10 0, Carlingford £21 1 1, Dundalk (balance) £35 9 6.... (MORE LATER.)
here, so sit back and watch us get our arse kicked. Again...!
(...and if any of the 'Blog Award' judges are reading this, we'll also accept an 'Also Ran' plaque...!)
VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE...
Former RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan said that the attack was sectarian and linked to the Drumcree protest and many Orangemen deserted the protest at Drumcree following that tragedy but, in subsequent days, the Orange Order denied that their protests had led to those murders. In the cafe at Drumcree, those present volunteered their explanation - "Drug related. The Orangemen were nothing to do with it."
The 'Loyal Orange Institution' was founded on the 21st September 1795 and is more commonly known as the 'Orange Order'. It was established after the infamous 'Battle of the Diamond', a sectarian battle that took place in fields near Portadown. It pledges to uphold civil and religious liberties and its condemnation of religious ideology 'is directed against church doctrine and not against individual adherents or members'. It has lodges as far away as Canada and Togo, but it is most concentrated in Northern Ireland (sic), with a few lodges in Ulster counties in the Republic (sic) as well as some in Scotland.
Among its past members are four Prime Ministers of Northern Ireland (sic - how can six counties out of a nine-county Irish province have a 'Prime Minister'?!)) as well as the current UUP leader, David Trimble. Orangemen are forbidden from attending services in any Catholic church and Mr. Trimble was censured by his local lodge for attending the funeral service of a Catholic child killed in the Omagh bombing... (MORE LATER).
LAST COMMENT (FOR THIS YEAR!) RE OUR NYC HOLIDAY....
bodega cats. You must say goodbye. Or is it a neoliberal paradise, imperfect yet lovable, where capital and culture and rats roam free?
In recent times, the battle lines for this Cold War have been drawn by dueling essay collections, like Goodbye to All That vs. Never Can Say Goodbye. (Thankfully John Freeman’s beautifully careworn Tales of Two Cities avoids the question altogether.) Both collections have their merits and faults, and yet I can't shake the notion that they're actually the same book. You are saying goodbye ; you can never say goodbye. If New York City is truly a Dantean Inferno — and I'm inclined to think it is — what makes any of us believe that we can ever truly leave? The entire point of hell is its inescapability, and New York is no different. You can leave it in body, sure ; I've left several times. But you'll come back. Or at least your mind will remain here, and you'll still be writing essays about that time you told it to fuck off...' (from here).
Like the author, my friends and I can't say 'Goodbye' to New York. But the only time we tell that city to 'f**k off' is when we're told we have to go home from there. Hopefully, next year, we'll apologise for doing so...
Thanks for reading, Sharon.
Posted by 1169 And Counting ; Irish history, Irish politics. at 7:22 PM