ON THIS DATE (27TH JUNE) 98 YEARS AGO : IRISH MUTINEERS IN INDIA.
On the 30th June, 1916, following the deaths of Privates Patrick Smythe and Peter Sears in an attempt to capture the magazine at Solon, the mutiny ended. Seventy-five of the mutineers were arrested and taken to Lucknow where they were held until September when they were moved to Dayshai Prison to stand trial and, while imprisoned there ,they were subjected to such harsh treatment by the British that it resulted in the death of one of the men, Private John Miranda , a native of Liverpool. At the subsequent general court-martial, fourteen of the prisoners were sentenced to death and the remainder to terms of imprisonment varying from ten to twenty years. In mid-October 1916, 13 of the fourteen death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment - the exception was Jim Daly, a native of Tyrellspass, County Westmeath ; he was executed in India by a British Army firing squad on the 2nd November, 1920.
After six months, the mutineers were transferred to Portland Convict Prison in England, where they suffered long periods of solitary confinement and ill-treatment during their fight for political status. They were later moved to Maidstone Prison and, in 1922, the regiment was disbanded after the signing of the Treaty of Surrender that created the 26-County 'Free State' then, on January 3rd, 1923, more mutineers were released and they returned to Ireland.
Incidentally, while the mutineers did express Irish patriotism, it appears that some of them leaned, politically, towards the then newly-created bastard Free State - in 1922, 28 of them, who were in Maidstone Prison, petitioned to be released so that they could join the Free State Army ; in effect, they apparently took offence at British soldiers in Ireland who were killing Irish men, women and children but wanted to join a pro-British militia in Ireland (ie the Free State Army) which had been formed, with military support, by Westminster, to 'put manners' on Irish men, women and children!
Anyway - in October 1970 (the 50th anniversary year of the mutiny) the remains of James Daly, Patrick Smythe and Peter Sears were brought back to Ireland : Smythe, a native of Drogheda, Co. Louth and Sears, from Neale, Co. Mayo, were buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. James Daly was re-interred in his native Tyrellspass - among those in the Guard of Honour at the reinterment ceremony were five of his fellow mutineers : Joseph Hawes, James Gorman, Eugene Egan, Patrick Hynes, and William Coote.
Unfortunately, today, there are still those who 'express Irish patriotism' yet see no contradiction in joining and/or supporting the Free State Army or the army of its parent body, the British Army. 'Great Irish fools to practice on', indeed.
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.
'NOTE WELL WHAT MR. E. KELLY SAID IN 1916'.
4th May, 1916, as reported in 'The Dundalk Democrat' - MR. E. KELLY said : "I know from the districts around what the bulk of these Sinn Féiners were. To my mind - and I say it knowing that the Press is here and that it will be published - they are nothing but the cowards that flinched conscription when their leader (John Redmond), their true and tried leader, declared that Ireland would be a strong arm to assist England in this war. The majority of these fellows in the rural districts are the cowards, because instead of fighting on the side of right and justice, they fought on the wrong side... (shouts of "Hear! Hear!" from some of those present) ...(but) I suppose that the majority of these fellows really believed that they were going to beat the soldiers, beat England, once they got inside houses in Dublin.
One out of a thousand of these fellows - poor Irish countrymen - who went there to die had an idea what "a big field gun" meant, but they had no idea of "a small man-of-war". But they know all about it now. It should be a lesson to the young people of this generation and of the generations to come to know that they cannot, with out-of-date rifles and bad ammunition, face either the fleet or the army of England and it should put an end to the disturbances in this country. If only they would support John Redmond and his Party."
MR. T. WARD : "The tried and trusted leader!"
MR. E. KELLY : "As a last effort even yet our country might be saved. But it is hard lines to these men who have spent the last 30 years working for the country to see their efforts destroyed by a treacherous gang. The country should stand today behind John Redmond and his responsible leaders..." (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (27TH JUNE) 172 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF ANNA AND FANNY'S BROTHER (!)
At a meeting in Ennis, County Clare, of the ('Irish National') 'Land League', on the 19th September 1880 (a few months after he was elected 'president' of that organisation), Charles Stewart Parnell, whom the British described as "..combining in his person all the unlovable qualities of an Irish member with the absolute absence of their attractiveness...something really must be done about him...he is always at a white heat or rage and makes with savage earnestness fancifully ridiculous statements.." (but who was also looked at in a wary fashion by some of his own people as he was a Protestant 'Landlord' who 'owned' about 5,000 acres of land in County Wicklow and his parents were friends of and, indeed, in some cases, related to, Protestant 'gentry' in the Wicklow area) stated -
"Now what are you to do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which his neighbour has been evicted? Now I think I heard somebody say 'Shoot him!', but I wish to point out a very much better way, a more Christian and more charitable way...when a man takes a farm from which another had been evicted you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him, you must shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him in the shop, you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the marketplace, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him in a moral Coventry, by isolating him from the rest of his country as if he were the leper of old, you must show your detestation of the crime he has committed.."
here, if you must..!) who, through no fault of his own, overshadowed the work of his two sisters, Anna and Fanny (pictured - Fanny is on the left of the graphic) : these two ladies established a 'Ladies Land League' on the 31st January 1881, which, at its full strength, consisted of about five hundred branches and didn't always see eye-to-eye with its 'parent' organisation - in its short existence, it provided assistance to about 3,000 people who had been evicted from their rented land holdings.
The 'Ladies Land League' was formed (with the welcome support of Michael Davitt) to assist and/or take over land agitation issues, as it seemed certain that the 'parent' body was going to be outlawed by the British and, sure enough, the British Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone (a prime example of 'do-as-I say-not-as-I-do' politics), introduced and enforced a 'Crimes Act' that same year, 1881 - that particular piece of British 'statute law' in Ireland was better known as the 'Coercion/Protection of Person and Property Act', which made it illegal to assemble in relation to certain issues and an offence to conspire against the payment of rents 'owed' which, ironically, was a piece of legislation condemned by the same catholic church which condemned the 'Irish National Land League' because that Act introduced permanent legislation and did not have to be renewed on each political term.
And that same church also condemned the 'Ladies Land League' to the extent that Archbishop McCabe of Dublin instructed priests loyal to him "..not to tolerate in your societies (diocese) the woman who so far disavows her birthright of modesty as to parade herself before the public gaze in a character so unworthy of a Child of Mary.." - the best that can be said about that is that that church's 'consistency' hasn't changed much over the years!
However - in October 1881, Westminster proscribed the 'Irish National Land League' and imprisoned its leadership, but the gap was ably filled by the 'Ladies Land League' until it was acrimoniously dissolved (the brother, Charles, came to an 'arrangement' with Gladstone 'on behalf' of the Ladies Land League) on the 10th August 1882, 19 months after it was formed. And formed it was - by two fantastic Irish women (with support from a third patriotic lady, Delia Parnell), to whom the wheeler-dealer Charles Stewart Parnell was related!
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.
GAELIC AND FREE - True Gaels had to be members of every organisation with a national outlook, said Chairman Andy Scannell at the Cork GAA convention last month. They did not recognise the boundary that tried to divide Ireland and as the most widespread, powerful and effective organisation in the country, it behoved the GAA to act as standard bearers in the march towards the goal of an Ireland, Gaelic and free.
THE DEPUTY SAID - "The remaining problem to be solved was the re-unification of the country", said Deputy Brennan at a Fianna Fáil convention in Donegal. "Fianna Fáil was accused of not having a definite plan towards that end, but no party or section had a definite plan. Fianna Fáil would solve the partition problem if given the backing of the majority of the Irish people", he said. Will someone please tell the Deputy that his party actually did rule Leinster House for nineteen years!
BOOMERANG - Speaking to the 'Ulster' Unionist Council in Belfast in February 1946, Basil Brooke said - "Let us always remember the historic words of President Lincoln : 'A house divided against itself cannot stand'. " (NEXT [from the same source] - 'AN CUMANN CABHRAC'.)
You couldn't make this stuff up - an ex-RUC/PSNI man (and 'OBE' recipient) has been announced by the Free State Minister for 'Justice', Charlie Flanagan, as the new State 'Garda Commissioner'! The new man had no problem with enforcing the British writ in the British-occupied Six Counties and now, thanks to his equally 'writ-less' colleagues in Leinster House, he now finds himself in an 'official' position to enforce his pro-British political beliefs in the rest of Ireland, on a wage of €5208 a week - that, along with his nixer money, should make him less susceptible to (other) untoward carry-on. As if the 'cops' here weren't anti-republican enough before his appointment.
"The Fox is now in charge of the hen-house. What a dreadful betrayal of victims who have been consistently blocked and denied access to evidence by his current office. Shame on you. PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris named as new Garda Commissioner..." (from here) and this is one of the bridges that 'Commissioner' Harris already burnt. Now he has a new box of matches to play with, courtesy (curtsy?) of West Brits in Leinster House.
2) Memorial in Dublin - nice of them to fit that in, considering they come from and are related to those that created that 'famine' in the first place. And this is the message they'll be delivering to us by such a visit.
..AND 3)'s A CROWD -
To whom do we owe our allegiance today?
To whom do we owe our allegiance today?
To those brave men who fought and died that Róisín live again with pride?
Her sons at home to work and sing,
Her youth to dance and make her valleys ring,
Or the faceless men who for Mark and Dollar,
Betray her to the highest bidder,
To whom do we owe our allegiance today?
VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE...
The UDA leader Johnny Adair visited Drumcree as late as last July : "He's allowed to walk the Queen's highway," says one of the cafe customers, "the only thing he's been convicted of was for not having a dog licence." Adair has a conviction for directing terrorism and is alleged to have been responsible for the death of up to 22 Catholic civilians. He is also the only paramilitary to have his licence revoked under the 'Good Friday Agreement'.
Journalist Susan McKay also points out in her book 'Northern Protestants' that the parade at Drumcree has never been peaceful and that as far back as 1832 the Orange Order defied the 'Party Processions Act' by marching down the 'Walk', now known as the Garvaghy Road.
Ivor, a member of the Portadown Orange Order, also claims that as an internee he saw "Gerry Adams and Billy McKee talking about their strategy and part of that was to destroy the Orange Order." Much of what Ivor says sums up the general problems that the Orange Order experience - Protestants are no good at propaganda, says Ivor. They are wary of journalists who "...come and visit and then go away and twist what we say," and he also points out that the only ones who give them fair coverage are RTE (!). Everyone reserves particular condemnation for certain Dublin journalists regarded as friends of unionists, some of whom had come to visit : "As bad as the rest," says Ivor.... (MORE LATER).
Thanks for reading, Sharon.