Monday, December 30, 2019



"Dáithí came from a strong Cork Republican family. His uncle Michael O’Sullivan (17), along with five of his comrades, was bayoneted to death by British Crown forces in March 1921. He joined Sinn Féin at the age of 17 during the local elections in 1955. By the end of the following year he was on active service as a Volunteer in the Irish Republican Army , serving as an organiser under GHQ staff in Co Fermanagh.

On January 1, 1957 he was second-in-command of the Pearse Column during the attack on Brookeborough RUC barracks which resulted in the deaths of two of his comrades, Fearghal Ó hAnluáin and Seán Sabhat. Four others were wounded including the column commander. At 18 years of age Dáithí took command and led a successful withdrawal back across the border – evading 400 RUC, B-Specials, two helicopters and the British army – where they were forced to retire. He was then imprisoned in Mountjoy and the Curragh Concentration camp from where he escaped with his friend and comrade Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in September 1958. He returned to active service and for a period was Director of Operations. He was critically wounded in an ambush by the RUC and B-Specials in Arboe, Co Tyrone on the shores of Lough Neagh in November 1959. He made his escape but was forced to seek help because of loss of blood and his weakened condition. He was captured by Crown Forces and was sentenced to eight years which he served in Belfast’s Crumlin Road Jail. Following his release in 1963 he reported back to active service.

In 1969/70 he again made his talents available to the Republican Movement. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said of him he possessed the 'ablest mind in the Republican Movement for over 20 years'. The sheer breadth of his ability and intellect was evidenced by his service to the All-Ireland Republic both militarily and politically. He had a central role in framing ÉIRE NUA and remained a tireless advocate of it right up to his death in 1991. Dáithí Ó Conaill never equivocated on what was the cause of the war in Ireland or what was required to deliver a just and lasting peace for all of the Irish people. Speaking in Belfast at Easter 1973 he said: 'Today, the central issue in the war is one of conflict between Ireland’s right to freedom and England’s determination to keep us in subjection. All other issues are subordinate to this basic point. There can be no compromise on the fundamental issue as to who should rule Ireland: the British Parliament or the Irish people. We have had 800 years of British ineptitude in ruling Ireland; we have never known rule by the Irish, of the Irish, for the Irish. Until we do, we shall never enjoy peace and stability in our land.' " (From here.)

The commemoration will be held, as stated, on New Year's Day (Wednesday, 1st January, 2020) in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. Those attending are asked to assemble at the main gates at 12.45pm. Go raibh maith agat.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Thursday, December 26, 2019



Some of those present, and some of the 'Goodies' on offer - Cabhair Swim, 25th December 2019.

2° Celsius in Dublin on Christmas Day 2019 ; a dry, 'brisk' morning with weak sunshine, and a thin sheet of ice covered the barely-flowing water which was making its way to the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal in Inchicore, Dublin - a perfect day for an outdoor swim (says she, who wasn't getting in!), but other obstacles apart from the weather had conspired against the Cabhair Christmas Swim.

The first-to-arrive members of the 'Cabhair Christmas Crew' were spreading out the banners, flag, tables, goodies etc on the bank of the canal at about 9.30am when a Garda squad car drove onto the canal bank from the Naas Road entry, about 100 feet from where they were working, drove slowly past them, occupants staring at them, and parked about 100 feet up the bank, past them ; that car and its occupants stayed put until they deemed their 'job' done, then drove away. At roughly the same time as the squad car had placed itself on the canal bank, two Special Branch men placed themselves at that same Naas Road entry point, thus 'corralling' those 'Crew' members between 'a rock and a hard place'!

Undeterred, the two lads carried-on with the job in hand and were soon joined by two of the swimmers and a handful of supporters, but the State 'blockade' had been a 'success' : dozens of people, who had made their way to the swim site from either the Inchicore, Bluebell, Naas Road, Benbulbin Road/Drimnagh direction were either stopped or deterred from going further by one or other of the State obstacles, thus drastically reducing the crowd in attendance.

The organisers were then notified that a vehicle, carrying two other swimmers and some supporters, had been stopped en route to the swim site and confiscated, leaving the passengers stranded. As it was nearing the 'kicking off' time, a decision was made to get the proceedings underway, albeit in a much reduced capacity. But the event was held, for the 43rd successive year, despite those State-inspired setbacks. Down, certainly, but definitely not 'out'!

Here's a few pics that were taken on the day - pretty poor looking, granted, compared to all 42 other years, but the circumstances which led to such a 'poor show' were outside of Cabhair's control -

The two banners and the Irish tricolour, on display at the Naas Road entry point to the Grand Canal. As usual, despite the interference!

A thin sheet of ice covered the water, just feet away from the actual swim area - but we've had worse!

Some of the Swim 'goodies', which those on site were delighted with ; especially the hot 'lemonades', which went down a treat. So I'm told...!

One of the swimmers, either making a break for dry land or in a hurry to get it over with...

One (almost!) ready, one watching ( see how NOT to do it..!)

...but he still somehow managed to bellyflop it!

Looking for his colleague..

The two swimmers, earning their keep. Unfortunately, circumstances dictated that it wasn't a crowded space. But it was a space put to good use, all the same!

And that's it, readers, in regards to the Swim report. The ills of that day were, as stated, outside of the control of the organisers. 'Half-hearted' it may have been, in terms of 'size', but most certainly not in terms of spirit!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019



The graphic shows alleged members of the 'Molly Maguires' being led to their death.

'On 21st June 1877, in the anthracite-mining county of Schuylkill, Pennsylvania, ten Irish immigrant men alleged to have been members of an oath-bound secret sect of vigilantes called the 'Molly Maguires' were hanged in what came to be known as 'The Day of the Rope'. Twenty members of the group in all would be executed, following a kangaroo court that American historian John Elliot called "one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of the bench and bar in the United States." Oppression, exploitation, racial and ethnic bigotry, strikes and union-busting are common enough themes in the American labour movement, but the story of the 'Molly Maguires' and the ruling class's attempts to destroy these Irish workers is so especially contemptible it has achieved legendary status..' (from here.)

On what became known as 'Black Thursday' (21st June, 1877), ten coal miners were hanged until dead in eastern Pennsylvania ; all ten had been born in Ireland but were forced to leave because of the attempted genocide known as 'An Gorta Mór'. It was claimed that they, and others, were involved in 'organised retributions' against corrupt and unfair employers and other members of the establishment, and operated as such under the name 'Molly Maguires' ('Molly Maguire' had become famous in Ireland [or 'infamous', as the 'landlord' class described her] for refusing to bow down or bend the knee to the monied 'gentry').

The workers had been arrested for their alleged part in several killings and, despite much doubt cast over the 'evidence' used against them, they were convicted and sentenced to death. The court case was widely seen as employers drawing 'a line in the sand' in regards to what they considered to be 'uppity' workers looking for better wages and conditions, and an excuse for the establishment to vent its anti-labour and anti-Irish prejudice - the first trials began in January 1876. They involved 10 men accused of murder and were held in 'Mauch Chunk' (an Indian name meaning 'Bear Mountain') and Pottsville.

A vast army of media descended on the small towns where they wrote dispatches that were uniformly pro-prosecution. The key witness for the prosecution was yet another Irishman, James McParlan : back in the early 1870's, when bosses had hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to spy on workers, McParlan had gone under cover to infiltrate the 'Mollies' and gather evidence. And gather he did — or at least he claimed he did during the trials. On the stand he painted a vivid picture of 'Molly Maguire' secrecy, conspiracy and murder. With Irish Catholics and miners excluded from the juries, the verdicts were a foregone conclusion.

All 10 were convicted and sentenced to hang. No doubt seeking to send the most powerful message to the region's mining communities, authorities arranged to stage the executions on the same day — June 21st, 1877 – in two locations. Alexander Campbell, Michael Doyle, Edward Kelly, and John Donahue were hanged in 'Mauch Chuck' (where the four men "all swung together"), while James Boyle, Hugh McGehan, James Carroll, James Roarity, Thomas Duffy, and Thomas Munley met a similar fate in Pottsville (where all six "swung two-by-two"). Although the hangings took place behind prison walls, they were nonetheless major spectacles that drew huge crowds and generated international news coverage. It was reported that there was "..screams and sobbing as husbands and fathers were bid goodbye.." and that "..James Boyle carried a blood-red rose and Hugh McGehan wore two roses in his lapel (as) James Carroll and James Roarity declared their innocence from the scaffold.."

Over the following two years, ten more alleged members of the 'Molly Maguires' were hanged, including Thomas P. Fisher (on the 28th March 1878) and James McDonnell and Charlie Sharp (on the 14th January 1879). In 1979 - 101 years after the cruel deed - the state of Pennsylvania pardoned one of the men, John 'Black Jack' Kehoe, after an investigation by its 'Board of Pardons' at the behest of one of his descendants. John Kehoe was led to the gallows on the 18th December, 1878 - 141 years ago on this date (incidentally, Seán Connery played the part of John Kehoe in the film 'The Molly Maguires') ; on the 5th December 2005, the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives passed a resolution recognising the lack of due process for several of the men :

'The basic facts of the case are clear. As the 'Death Warrant' indicates, Governor John F. Hartranft ordered the execution of John Kehoe. In l877, he had been tried by the 'Court of Oyer and Terminer', a 'court of criminal jurisdiction', and was found guilty of the murder of Frank W.S. Langdon, a mine foreman, fifteen years earlier. He was sentenced to death by hanging. Kehoe's attorney appealed the decision to the State Supreme Court, which supported the lower court. Governor Hartranft signed Kehoe's death warrant in February 1878. As a last resort Kehoe's attorney issued three pleas for clemency to the Pardon Board, which also denied his appeals. The Governor eventually signed a second death warrant on November 18, 1878. Kehoe was executed before a large crowd in Pottsville on December l8, l878..' (from here.)

Make way for the Molly Maguires,

They're drinkers, they're liars but they're men.

Make way for the Molly Maguires,

You'll never see the likes of them again.

Down the mines no sunlight shines,

Those pits they're black as hell,

In modest style they do their time,

It's Paddy's prison cell.

And they curse the day they've travelled far,

Then drown their tears with a jar.

Backs will break and muscles ache,

Down there there's no time to dream

of fields and farms, of woman's arms,

"Just dig that bloody seam".

Though they drain their bodies underground,

Who'll dare to push them around.

So make way for the Molly Maguires,

They're drinkers, they're liars but they're men ;

Make way for the Molly Maguires -

You'll never see the likes of them again.

The 'Molly Maguires' were an organised labour group that had allegedly been responsible for some incidences of vigilante justice in the coalfields of eastern Pennsylvania, defending their actions as attempts to protect exploited Irish-American workers. We badly need the 'likes of them' again.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

Padraig Pearse persistently advocated force as "the only means I know by which Irish freedom can be obtained and, when obtained, maintained."

No wonder some nationalists suffer conscience-juggling to equate this contradiction. What more natural than that the majority of conscience-jugglers should accept the contradiction as palatably as possible - accept Pearse's greatness and patriotism, reject (but oh so discreetly) his uncompromising adherence to the doctrine of right versus might. Discreetly reject and hide it all in the word 'impractical'.

Now it occurs to me that not only are such conscience-jugglers unfair to the truth about Padraig Pearse - their logic is also very nearly bad faith. You do not believe me? Then let me recall favourite phrases of those more enthusiastic conscience-jugglers who wield pens... (MORE LATER.)


'Manus Nunan is a small, genial, cultivated Irish gentleman whose mother was an actress. He speaks fluent French. He was born in Dublin in 1926 and was educated there, graduating from Trinity College with third-class honours in law ; he is no high-flyer, intellectually, as he admits, but circuit judges and recorders do not need to be. His Irish catholic family was one of the few to continue to serve the crown after the partition of Ireland in 1922. His family has a history of service to the crown..' - this is how the English judge, James Pickles, introduces a central character in his new book, 'Straight From The Bench'. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

Manus Nunan was permitted to bring one other person of his choice to the meeting with 'Lord' Hailsham. Judge James Pickles declined the invitation because "it might not help his case if Hailsham and I went for each other's throats! Any animosity of Hailsham against me would spill on to Nunan." Alan Rusbridger, a 'Guardian' newspaper journalist, went along as a friend and not as a journalist ; he did, however, use his professional's shorthand to take detailed notes of the encounter and, reproduced in Pickle's book, they record a dramatic confrontation, as Hailsham told Nunan that some doubts had been raised about his performance on the bench.

Nunan tried to get elaboration, Hailsham refused and then insisted that Nunan explained his previous remarks about his (Hailsham's) anti-Irish sentiment. There had been earlier warning signs for Nunan, the 'Lord' Chancellor insisted but, the notes record, "he didn't blame him for missing the signs. He (Hailsham) had been in the Army." On such self-assured English upper-class tracks the conversation proceeds, going nowhere. "Nunan must get it into his mind...", Rusbridger noted Hailsham as saying, "..that with the great responsibility of the office, he (Hailsham) had to be sure that recorders and judges were up to stuff."

Nunan, evidently, was not 'up to stuff..'



From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, November 1954.

The fable about "the consent of the people" disappeared immediately and the real nature of the occupation, sheer weight of arms and threat of "immediate and terrible war" appeared once more in full sight. But the very numbers of the occupation forces engaged shows their own realisation of the shaky position here ; they know they are not wanted here, they know they only hold on here by force of arms, they know they are invaders, aggressors, robbers, in Ireland, and that their presence is bitterly resented. They know that it is only natural and to be expected that the young men* of Ireland will resist, will strike back as hard as they can at the invading forces.

As sure as night follows day, aggression will bring resistance and that resistance will continue until the aggressors have cleared out.

The Omagh Raid, although no weapons were seized, has driven home that point to the English invaders, to their collaborators in Ireland, and to the free nations of the world. It has sent a cry echoing round the world - 'Ireland Demands Unity And Freedom!' Omagh, even more than Armagh, has been a resounding success... (*..and women!) (MORE LATER.)


...we won't be here ; we'll be swimmin' with the fishes!

Well...not really!

We'll actually be here, with a group of our colleagues, comrades and friends, observing as a good deed and brilliant fund-raiser takes place in the great outdoors, regardless of the weather. And, if the after-party doesn't go on for too long ( might finish on the same day it starts..!) then we should be able to post a few pics of the event in this space before the end of Christmas Week. We hope our readers have a quiet Christmas and enjoy the break - and a BIG 'GRMA!' to you all for checking-in with us in 2019. Much appreciated!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019



A scene from the 2010 Cabhair Christmas Swim (pictured) - the year of the 'Big Freeze'. As a Cabhair rep said at the time - "If we can continue to hold this fundraiser in that weather, and get our swimmers and supporters out, we can do it in any weather.."

And they've done it again - on the 25th December next, the 43rd successive Swim will be held, at about 12 noon, at the 3rd lock of the Grand Canal, in Inchicore, Dublin ; it's a family day out, and all are welcome!

It began - properly structured and organised - in 1976, as a 'fundraiser with a difference', combined with the need to gain extra publicity for a situation which was then - as now - making world headlines. Those that sat down together in early September 1976 to tighten-up the then 'hit-and-miss' affair were a dedicated team who fully understood that to fail in their business would not only bring derision on them and the issue they sought to highlight, but would give their enemy a publicity coup which they would exploit to the fullest extent. With that in mind, the team persevered - favours were called-in, guarantees were secured, provisions obtained and word dispatched to like-minded individuals in the near-locale. At the appointed time on the agreed day - 12 Noon, Christmas Day 1976 - a soon-to-be 43-years-young event was 'born'. The CABHAIR Christmas Day Swim is, thankfully, still going strong and will be, as mentioned, 43-years-young on December 25th next!

More details can be found here.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

Which of us has not met the Irishman, inevitably a professed nationalist, whose spontanous comment on Patrick Pearse is something like this - "A great man, a fine patriot, but impractical, of course, like all idealists.." ?

At my first encounter with this kind of opinion, my blood pressure rose sharply ; Pearse, the founder of St Enda's, "impractical"! Pearse, the pioneer of modern bi-lingual education in Ireland, "impractical"! The man who gave vital inspiration in the re-creation of the Irish national spirit and was its chief modern voice - "impractical"!

The clue to this all-too-common opinion is not difficult to discover - the Leinster House politicians and their newspaper voices have been largely responsible for this schizophrenic attitude to Pearse. Foremost in praising Pearse as a true patriot and great Irishman they have tried to discredit the means he would have had in mind to use to achieve freedom : armed force... (MORE LATER.)


'4th December 1887 - Winifred Carney, trade unionist and revolutionary, is born in Bangor, Co. Down.

Winifred Carney was a suffragist and an advocate for trade unions. She was an activist in the Irish Textile Workers Union and became James Connolly's personal secretary while he was based in Belfast in 1912. She was active in organising solidarity work for workers during the Dublin Lockout and she joined Cumann na mBan.

She became involved in the Easter Rising when Connolly asked her to come to Dublin to work for him. She was the only woman who participated in the initial occupation of the GPO where the Irish Citizen Army set up its headquarters. She was armed with a typewriter and a revolver. Winifred was well known for her reputation of being a crack shot. She was among the final group to leave the GPO (along with Elizabeth O’Farrell and Julia Grennan) as she would not leave the wounded Connolly. She was arrested and taken to Kilmainham Gaol and later Aylesbury prison and was released in December 1916. Winifred died in 1943 and is buried in Belfast...' (From here.)

"The conditions of your toil are unnecessarily hard, that your low wages do not enable you to procure sufficiently nourishing food for yourselves or your children, and that as a result of your hard work, combined with low wages, you are the easy victims of disease, and that your children never get a decent chance in life, but are handicapped in the race of life before they are born.." - part of the speech which Winifred Carney and James Connolly prepared for his speech to millworkers in Belfast in late 1911. Connolly was the Belfast Organiser for the ITGWU at the time, and Carney was just a few weeks away from becoming the full-time Secretary of the then newly-formed 'Irish Textile Workers' Union'.

On the 4th of December 1887 - 132 years ago today - Alfred and Sarah Carney welcomed the birth of their sixth child, Winifred, into their existing family - three boys (Ernest, Louie and Alfred) and two girls ( Maud and Mabel). The family were then living in Bangor, County Down but, not long after Winifred was born, the marriage broke down and Sarah moved with the children to Carlisle Circus in Belfast, where she started a small shop.

Winifred found work as a teacher and developed a love for the Irish language, joining the Gaelic League to further her interest and, at 27 years of age, she joined (membership number 56077) the then newly-formed 'Cumann na mBan' organisation and, indeed, was present in Wynn's Hotel in Dublin in April 1914 when that organisation was founded. Her duties included teaching first aid to the other members as well as training in the use of weapons, as she was known to be proficient in that particular field (a skill no doubt learned due to her activity with the 'Irish Citizens Army', which she joined on its formation in 1913). This was two years before the (1916) Easter Rising and, due to her connection with James Connolly and her membership of various republican/nationalist organisations, Winifred Carney knew that an action against British interference in Ireland was being discussed and she was determined to play her part in any such blow against the 'empire' and said as much to Connolly, who by then had stationed himself in Dublin to assist the workers there in what became known as 'the great lock out'.

Winifred Carney stayed in Belfast, collecting whatever money she could for the Dublin strikers and billeting as many families of the strikers as she could. Connolly kept her up to date on developments and, when the time came - April 1916 - he asked her to come to Dublin to help with the preparations for a rising against Westminster, which she did. At first she was 'jobbed' in Liberty Hall, writing dispatches and mobilisation orders etc but, on the day the rising began - 24th April 1916 - as an Adjutant in the Irish Citizen Army, she carried both 'tools of her trade' into the GPO : a typewriter and a revolver.

During the early stages of the week-long battle she was the only female in the building and, towards the end of that particular battle (..but not the end of the fight itself!) she refused orders at the time to leave the premises, as did her two colleagues, Julia Grenan and Elizabeth O'Farrell. Altogether, there was a total of thirty-four women in the GPO at the time, members of the 'Irish Citizens Army' and 'Cumann na mBan', thirty-one of whom followed orders and vacated the building, with the wounded. The female Volunteers were also tasked with carrying military instructions around the city during which trips they gathered intelligence on the strength and locations of the enemy and carried as much food and ammunition as they could safely deliver to their comrades.

The Rising ended when Winifred Carney, Nurse Elizabeth O'Farrell and Julia Greenan, who were by now based in the Moore Street Headquarters as there was no safety or shelter to be had in the remains of the GPO, were instructed to deliver a surrender notice to British General Lowe, stating the following - 'In order to prevent further slaughter of the civil population and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers, the members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have decided on an unconditional surrender, and commandants or officers commanding districts will order their commands to lay down arms.

P.H. Pearse, Dublin, 30th April 1916.'

Winifred Carney , Brigid Foley, Maire Perolz, Nell Ryan and Helena Moloney were the five female Volunteers that were deported to prisons and internment camps in England and Wales, following the surrender, as were 1,836 male Volunteers, and approximately 80 other female Volunteers were taken, firstly, to Richmond Barracks and then to Kilmainham Jail and, although most were released within a week, Winifred Carney, Helena Moloney and Nell Ryan were held captive in Aylesbury Prison in Buckinghamshire in England until the 24th December (1916). They had been offered early release if they signed an undertaking "...not to engage in any act of a seditious character.." but they had refused to do so.

She maintained her republican principles in the years that followed, despite being targeted repeatedly by agents of the State and, despite many personal setbacks (most of which were related to her strong political beliefs) she never compromised her republicanism. When ill health forced her off the picket lines she continued to verbally challenge the State at every opportunity until even that became too much for her : she died at fifty-five years of age on the 21st November 1943, just as opposed to Free Staters and partition as she had always been, and is buried in Milltown Cemetery in Belfast. The Republican Movement lost a woman like her recently, but there are still more like her in the ranks. Thankfully.


'Manus Nunan is a small, genial, cultivated Irish gentleman whose mother was an actress. He speaks fluent French. He was born in Dublin in 1926 and was educated there, graduating from Trinity College with third-class honours in law ; he is no high-flyer, intellectually, as he admits, but circuit judges and recorders do not need to be. His Irish catholic family was one of the few to continue to serve the crown after the partition of Ireland in 1922. His family has a history of service to the crown..' - this is how the English judge, James Pickles, introduces a central character in his new book, 'Straight From The Bench'. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

For nine years, Manus Nunan had been averaging an annual fifty days on the bench, mostly in the north-east of England. He had never had a conviction or dismissal successfully appealed against him. He assumed his meeting with an official in the British Lord Chancellor's office in September 1984 to be a routine affair prior to the renewal of his recordership.

On October 11th, the official wrote to Manus Nunan - "I will be writing to you again in due course about the renewal of your recordership." On December 7th, the official wrote again - "The Lord Chancellor has decided not to renew your recordership when your current term runs out on 31st December 1984."

There was no explanation, and all of Nunan's - and later, Judge James Pickles' - efforts were not to produce an explanation. Manus Nunan was to state that he believed he was the victim of anti-Irish prejudice. He linked his failure to be re-appointed - generally an automatic affair - to one particular event : on the day after his meeting with the British Lord Chancellor's official, the IRA had set off a bomb in Brighton aimed at British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. The 'Guardian' newspaper took up the case in 1986 when Judge Pickles drew their notice to it and, as a result, the Bar Council and the Liberal Party also made representations. And, following various ventures through the "Kafka-like" - as Judge Pickles calls it - world of judicial officialdom, a first-ever direct meeting was arranged between Manus Nunan and Lord Hailsham... (MORE LATER.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, November 1954.

Sunday morning, 17th October, at 3.30am, saw a daring raid carried out by an IRA detachment on the British Army barracks at Omagh, County Tyrone. The raiders succeeded in entering the barrack grounds, had taken prisoner the boilerman and approached one of the sentries on the main gate. This man surrendered immediately but, terrified with fright, became hysterical and started to scream.

The alarm was given before he could be silenced, and the soldiers in the guard-room turned out armed with rifles and machine guns. A pitched battle ensued, lasting 15 to 20 minutes, in which five British soldiers were wounded, one of them seriously. Two of the IRA Volunteers were also wounded in the fight. Then began the greatest panic that the British occupation forces in Ireland have undergone for years - army, navy, air force, RUC and B Specials, all armed to the teeth, swarmed into County Tyrone. Estimates range from 7,000 as high as 30,000 men, with every type of equipment from helicopters to police dogs.

Every road and lane was patrolled by armed men, road blocks set-up at each crossing, cars stopped, searched and travellers questioned. Naked and unashamed, the British invaders showed their traditional attitude in Ireland, or any other country unfortunate enough to come under their heel. Everyone not in uniform was treated as an enemy to be threatened, brow-beaten, cowed, by the armed bullies of the Empire... (MORE LATER.)


...we won't be posting our usual contribution, and probably won't be in a position to post anything at all until the following Wednesday (18th) ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 7th/8th December) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Cabhair group in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border (work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle) and the 'autopsy' into same which will take place on Monday evening, 9th, in Dublin, meaning that we will not have the time to post here. But we'll be back, as stated above, on Wednesday 18th December 2019, providing we recover in time - the gig on the 8th is the last such fund-raiser for 2019 (apart from the Christmas Swim) and there's always a bit of a do afterwards...!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019



On Friday, 29th November 2019, four by-elections for seats in Leinster House will be held in four constituencies in the Free State - Dublin Fingal, Dublin Mid-West, Wexford and Cork North Central. The vacancies exist because the previous holders of those seats - Clare Daly, Mick Wallace, Frances Fitzgerald (FG) and Billy Kelleher (FF) - have gone to greener pastures in Brussels.

There are, as expected, a myriad of candidates looking for votes, all promising to 'improve your situation' if you give them your 'Number One' (..this 'Number One', maybe..), all of whom will agree with you, on the doorstep, that the housing and health situations etc require urgent attention ; but, if/when elected to Leinster House, will vote along party lines and, unfortunately, 'party lines' in this gombeen Free State is to do away with State house-building programmes (ie Council and Corporation houses) in favour of private contractors (ie their business pals) and to place public hospitals in a situation where they become unfit for purpose, thus allowing their college-classmates and golf-course buddies in private practice to flourish, financially.

A Leinster House-implemented managed decline of public services.

The very least you can do is not to vote for that managed decline - claim your ballot paper, on Friday 29th November 2019, and register your objection to those politicians by writing 'None Of The Above' on it, and place it in the ballot box -

'Letter to The Editor,

The Irish Times.


Thu, Nov 21, 2002.

Madam, - One of the leading theorists arguing for a concept of democracy that affords a limited role for citizens in political life claims "democracy means only that the people have the opportunity of accepting or refusing the men who are to rule them"
(Schumpeter, 1943, pages 284-285). Leaving aside the deficiencies (and sexism) of this definition, the point is that even the most minimalist interpretation of democracy affords the citizen an important, basic choice of accepting or refusing electoral candidates. Crucially, this choice is not the same as "having a vote".

The Government
(sic) has decided to introduce electronic voting in all constituencies in Ireland (sic) for the next election. Under the system of electronic voting used in a limited number of constituencies in the last election, the only options available to the citizen are (1) to vote to accept one or more candidates, or (2) not to vote at all. People eligible to vote in Irish elections do not have the democratic right to reject candidates.

The options available on the electronic ballot must, therefore, be expanded to include "none of the above" so that Irish elections can be granted the most basic requirement of a democracy. It also means voters would not be forced to select "the best of a bad lot". Instead,voters could reject inadequate candidates, and, in the unlikely event that no candidates achieve the minimum level of support for election, voters could be afforded a second ballot. Ideally, better quality candidates would put themselves forward in the second ballot. At the very least, the exercise of this option could act as a catalyst for change. -Yours, etc.,

Department of Political Science,

Trinity College,

Dublin 2.'

Elections are a business opportunity - not a community service - for career politicians and/or wannabe career politicians, at the expense of those who vote for them : this blog is published from one of the constituencies where a by-election vote will be held this Friday (29th November 2019) and this Dublin Mid-West candidate is typical of the type that want you to elect or re-elect them to a place on the State gravy train, from where they will maintain their lifestyle by dipping even further into your pocket. They gain a huge, unjustified wage and outrageous 'expenses' and pensions, plus a 'retirement position' in Brussels or on the Board of some other business that they done 'favours' for during their time in office. Don't humiliate yourself by gifting them the opportunity to do that, at your expense -

'Letters to The Editor,

The Irish Times.

Voting for none of the above.

Mon, Jun 1, 2009.

Madam, – As an utterly dismayed, disgusted and disgruntled voter I wish to have the legitimate opportunity to use my vote as a form of protest against all running candidates in my local elections on June 5th by having the option to vote “none of the above”.

Currently, I have no choice to do so, as a spoilt vote is not currently counted.

“None of the above” or “against all” is a ballot choice in some jurisdictions and organisations, allowing the voter to indicate his or her disapproval with all of the candidates in any voting system.

It is based on the principle that all legitimate consent requires the ability to withhold consent, allowing voters to withhold their consent in an election, just as they can by voting 'No' on ballot questions.

Why not give the Irish voter such a voice? – Yours, etc,




Co Westmeath.'

Don't give them a stick to beat you with - write 'None Of The Above' on your ballot paper and place it in the ballot box on Friday, 29th November 2019. A plague on ALL their houses!


"HAND GRENADES WERE PUT IN THEIR MOUTHS AND THESE EXPLODED.." - part of the comments made by the doctor who examined the remains of the Loughnane brothers.

Pat and Harry Loughnane were well-known and equally well-liked and respected in their neighbourhood of South Galway. Pat (the eldest), was an IRA man and Secretary of Sinn Féin in the area ; he was also active in GAA circles. His younger brother, Harry, played in goal for the local Beagh Hurling Club, was an IRA Volunteer and was also a member of the local cumann of Sinn Féin ; both brothers worked on the family farm in Shanaglish, County Galway, and were working in the corn fields on Friday, 26th November 1920, when the Black and Tans surrounded them. The two brothers were thumped around a bit in the corn fields by the Black and Tans and then thrown into the back of the lorry belonging to the Tans - they were pushed off the lorry outside the Bridewell Barracks in Gort and put in a cell. People in near-by cells later reported hearing the brothers being battered by the Tans, who were well aware that the Loughnane brothers were active in the struggle for Irish Freedom.

After three or four hours of beating, the brothers were dragged out to the courtyard of Gort Bridewell and tied to each other ; the other end of the rope was then tied to the back of the truck, which drove off, heading for Drumharsna Castle, which was then the headquarters of the Black and Tans in that area of Galway. Both Pat and Harry Loughnane were at that stage too weak to run behind the truck, and ended up being dragged on the ground behind it and, on arrival at Drumharsna Castle, the rope was untied from the truck and the two men were dragged into another cell and beaten again. At around 10.30 or 11pm that same night (Friday 26th November 1920) the Loughnane brothers were removed from the cell and put in the back of the truck ; they were pushed out of the back of same after travelling a few miles - the brothers would have been too dazed to realise it, but they were now in Moy O'Hynes Wood, and were being taken deep into the thicket of it by the Black and Tans.

Locals later reported hearing four shots and, the following day - Saturday, 27th November 1920, 99 years ago on this date - rumour was rife in the neighbourhood that Pat and Harry Loughnane had been dragged into the Moy O'Hynes Wood and shot dead by the Black and Tans but that rumour also insisted that Harry Loughnane somehow survived the ordeal - and the Tans heard that same rumour. It was early on Sunday morning (28th November 1920) that the Black and Tans again entered the Wood - they were observed loading something into the back of their lorry and driving off at speed towards the small town of Umbriste (near Ardrahan, on the Gort to Clarinbridge road) ; it later transpired that the Black and Tans burned the bodies of the Loughnane brothers when they arrived at Umbriste but even then they were not satisfied - so they dug a hole and threw the bodies into it.

However, because of the rocky terrain, the Tans were unable to fully cover their tracks and were convinced that the charred remains would be found. They dug them up and carried them to a near-by pond, weighted them down, and threw them in... (..more here.)

It was on this date - 27th November - 99 years ago, that the truth about the fate of Pat and Harry Loughnane began to circulate in the local community.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"With charity towards all, with malice towards none, the Irish Republican Army looks forward with quiet confidence to the struggle that lies ahead. The trained, armed, disciplined and resolute soldiers of freedom pledge themselves once more to the task and, asking God's blessing on their arms, appeal to the people of Ireland to stand by them and to achieve with them the ideal which has shone so brightly and so steadily in the dreams and hopes of our people.

In the name of God and of the dead generations Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for freedom."

(END of 'Issued By The Army Council' : NEXT - 'Who Honours Pearse?', from the same source.)


A teacher by profession, from Carron, County Clare, Michael Cusack (pictured), who was born on the 20th September, 1847, had founded his own academy in Dublin and moved in the prolific literary circles of his day, being an acquaintance of both Douglas Hyde and James Joyce. He was fond of the popular practice of letter writing to the national press, using their columns as a springboard for debate on national and cultural issues .

When he was 37 years of age, he played a major part in establishing a new Irish sporting organisation (the GAA) but, less than two years after becoming the figurehead of that organisation, he found himself in open conflict with other members of the Executive and was subsequently voted from office : the issue which enveloped the GAA (and was to do so again and again and, indeed, which still reverberates to this day) was the conflict between the nationalist lobby within it who favoured constitutional agitation against the British military and political presence in Ireland, and those separatists/dissidents who favoured, and refused to rule out, physical force.

Two of the original seven founding members of the GAA - Joseph Kevin Bracken and John Wyse Power - were also members of the revolutionary Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), and it was obvious before long that the IRB had worked diligently at ground level in many parts of the country , to further their aim of using the GAA as a training ground :

'Although not formally involved in the 1916 Rising, the Gaelic Athletic Association contributed significantly by producing a generation of young men with a sense of national identity, an extreme nationalist ethos, and a hostility towards the government, state institutions, and the forces of law and many other nationalists of the time, he regarded athletics and the games of hurling, football and handball as intrinsic features of traditional Irish culture (and) believed that they should be used to promote a distinctive national identity. He was supported by two national newspapers, 'United Ireland' and 'The Irishman', which published a number of his anonymous articles on the subject of traditional games and pastimes.

On 11 October 1884, 'United Ireland' and 'The Irishman' featured an article by Cusack, entitled 'A Word About Irish Athletics'. On 1st November 1884, Cusack..convened a meeting at Hayes’s Hotel in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, at which the 'Gaelic Association for the Preservation and Cultivation of Gaelic Games' (later the 'Gaelic Athletic Association') was established with Cusack as secretary. As the GAA was an organisation with potentially a membership of some hundreds of thousands of fit young men of military age and was represented throughout the country, the Fenians recognised its value as a recruitment pool.

As a result, Fenians infiltrated the organisation and managed to gain effective control within two years, ousting Cusack from the position of secretary. Clerical opposition to Fenian influence, however, resulted in a more discreet exploitation of the organisation by the Fenians : in the early decades of the twentieth century many of the leaders were members of the 'Irish Republican Brotherhood' or in sympathy with its aims. While not overtly a revolutionary movement, the GAA was resolutely nationalistic, excluding members of the police or armed forces and people who played 'imported games'.

Members of the GAA were prominent in the 'Irish Volunteers', hurleys commonly appearing in place of guns in drill and training exercises. Many members of the GAA took part in the 1916 Rising, but only in an individual capacity. As already said, the Association may be said to have indirectly made a significant contribution to the Rising - it produced a generation of physically fit and self-confident young men, many of whom it equipped with organisational skills of a high order. It fostered an awareness of Irish identity and pride in being Irish, resulting in a more critical attitude towards Britain, its government and its agencies...' (from here.)

He was known to be a 'colourful character', in manner, dress and in his 'general deportment' ; more's the pity that his politics were 'bland'. He died on this date - 27th November - 113 years ago, in 1906, at 59 years of age.


'Manus Nunan is a small, genial, cultivated Irish gentleman whose mother was an actress. He speaks fluent French. He was born in Dublin in 1926 and was educated there, graduating from Trinity College with third-class honours in law ; he is no high-flyer, intellectually, as he admits, but circuit judges and recorders do not need to be. His Irish catholic family was one of the few to continue to serve the crown after the partition of Ireland in 1922. His family has a history of service to the crown..' - this is how the English judge, James Pickles, introduces a central character in his new book, 'Straight From The Bench'. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

Judge James Pickles, who likes to insist on the fact of his being from Yorkshire and being - in his own terms - 'a radical', has previously taken up the strange case of Manus Nunan. He does so with force in a book which is causing ripples in Britain by the mere fact of being written by a sitting judge, as well as being scathing about many of the outdated practices of the English courts. His interest in Manus Nunan relates to his concern about the method of judicial appointments. Judge Pickles has had his own run-ins with the Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, who sanctions all such appointments.

Indeed, he takes pleasure in detailing them - with a certain degree of self-importance - in his book. Manus Nunan immediately had his interest when he told him of his own problems with the 'Lord Chancellor' ; that was in February 1986, after an article by Judge Pickles appeared in 'The Guardian' newspaper - Nunan told Pickles how he had failed to secure his expected re-appointment as a recorder (that is, as a 'part-time judge')... (MORE LATER.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

"As a result of the Stormont ban, 'Resurgent Ulster' has decided to suspend publication for a period, due mainly to the refusal of printers to print such a publication under the changed circumstances.

We might mention also that thousands of our copies have been seized by the censorship office at Belfast's GPO which, of course, makes it impossible for us to use the Post Office for mailing supplies outside Belfast. Besides, all our agents' and subscribers' names and addresses are known to Belfast's CID and maybe this is something for which we may be thankful to Hanna and Co. that they have cut off this vital supply of information in the future.

We take this opportunity of thanking all who co-operated in any way with us during the past three years - those who sent us articles, news items, poems etc, those who subscribed and distributed our paper, and we would appeal to those who have outstanding amounts with us to send on same, addressed to 'RU, c/o The United Irishman, Seán Tracey House, 94 Seán Tracey Street, Dublin.' Also to anyone to whom we might owe a balance of subscription etc, they can make their claim to the same address.

S. Ua Cruadlaoich,

An t-Eagarthoir,

Ulaidh ag Aiséirghe."

(END of 'From The Editor..' ; NEXT - 'British Barracks Attacked In Omagh', from 'The United Irishman' newspaper, November, 1954.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019



What have Sinéad O'Connor and the Department of Political Science in Trinity College, Dublin, got in common?

What was it, in the early hours of a Sunday morning in 1920, that convinced the Black and Tans that they should re-enter the forest?

Which organisation was it that the Fenians infiltrated and took control of in 1886, and why did they do it?

Which self-declared "radical" sitting Judge caused ripples by publishing a book in which he queried his own profession...?

..see you back here on Wednesday, 27th November 2019!

Thanks for reading. See ya again, tomorrow! Sharon.

Friday, November 15, 2019


The '1169' crew, and other supporters/members, are already in the Ard Fheis venue, helping as best we can with the behind-the-scenes work that is necessary to ensure that all goes as planned : we are not long finished tidying-up the paperwork etc from last weekend's 650-ticket fund-raiser (note to the Organising Committee - as stated, that 'gig' was a fantastic success, for which we could have sold an extra fifty tickets, IF we had them..) and we are presently in the middle of assisting in the organising of the 43rd consecutive Cabhair Christmas Swim.. phew!

It's unlikely we'll have a post ready for next Wednesday, 20th November, but we should be back to our usual 'style' (!) on the following Wednesday, 27th November, so..thanks for your patience, and your continued support. And we'll see ya then!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019



From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"The people of Ireland have a decision to make ; let them think well on it, because they will stand at the bar of history to answer for it and let it not be said of this generation that they failed those who once again have hurled defiance at the crumbling ramparts of that imperial and blood-stained power which for so long has kept our country under the iron heel of oppression.

England still holds part of our land by force and, in the eight hundred years of occupation, never once has she given the slightest measure of amelioration except under force or the threat of force.

The dispassionate logical conclusion to be drawn from the history of the two countries is that Ireland can only achieve unity and freedom when the whole people of Ireland tell the British Army to get out or be driven out..." (MORE LATER.)


By Seán O Donáile, from 'USI News', February 1989.

The name 'Tony Gregory' (pictured) was virtually unheard of outside Dublin before 1982 when he was elected as an independent TD (sic) in Dublin Central, a post he still holds. He made national headlines with the famous 'Gregory Deal' in the same year when, in return for his support, the Fianna Fáil Government pumped £76 million into the redevelopment of inner city housing. In a frank interview with Seán O Donáile, Tony Gregory muses on the subjects of Dress, Politics, Drugs, Aids, Education, Emigration, the National Question, an Ghaeilge and the Millennium.

Tony Gregory continues by saying that the Millennium was celebrated at the worst possible time - "...for that reason it was a mistake. But if you look at it in the context that communities have benefited from it, it shouldn't be downgraded completely."

Gaeilge - amach, amach! Le teacht 1992 deirtear nach bhfuil gá le gaeilge. Ní aontaíonn an polaiteoir leis an tuairim sin : "Ní féidir leis an Stáit neamart ghlán a dhéanamh ar an teanga de dheasca votaí. De bharr sin tugann siad 'bealgrá' don Ghaeilge ach níl said i ndáiríre faoi.

Dúirt Mairtín Ó Caidaín sna seascaidí go raibh an Gaeilge ag fail bháis agus bhí an ceart aige. Anois tá níos mo gaeilgeóirí I mBaile Átha Cliath na atá sna Gaeltachtaí agus is mór an trua e sin. Tá mionlach an-bheag anois ag cosaint an Ghaeilge agus is déisteanach é sin. Níl aon dabht gur saibhreas mór é d'aon naisiún agus is tragóid mór é d'aon tír saibhreas mar sin a chaillúint."

(END of 'Street Talk' ; NEXT - 'Manus in a Pickle(s)', from 1987.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

"To The Editor,

The United Irishman.

A Chara,

England's satellites at Stormont have at last struck officially at the republican publications and the only two official republican newspapers, viz., 'The United Irishman' and 'Resurgent Ulster', are now being prevented from circulating freely in British occupied territory in the six North-East counties of Ulster.

Britain's henchmen at Stormont, with Messrs. Hanna and Warnock being dictated to by the Annalong-Dungiven bigots, whose spokesman is the Ulster Protestant Leaguer, Mr N. Porter MP, are determined to use any measure to silence the voice of free, republican Ireland in our northern territory. Of course we have met with such coercive methods before, but we believe that such coercion should be effectively countered by those who believe in the republican ideal.

We are confident that the leadership of the IRA will deal effectively with their end of it, but the ordinary people (sic) should also be given an opportunity to join in such counter methods - and one such weapon is the weapon of boycott used so effectively against the north in the four glorious years. Sinn Féin must lead the way in this..." (MORE LATER.)


...but definitely NOT jobless!

Our first 'job', which we began work on yesterday (Tuesday, 5th November), is a 650-ticket raffle for the Dublin Executive of RSF, which will be held on Sunday, 10th November 2019, in a hotel on the Dublin-Kildare border ; the paperwork etc for how that 'gig' went will be double-checked on Monday evening (11th November) in a Dublin city centre venue, which means that we will not have enough time to get a blog post ready for Wednesday, 13th November.

Our second 'job', already started, involves helping-out with the behind-the-scenes work entailed in organising the yearly Ard Fheis , which will take place in a Dublin venue, over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of this month...

..and our third (and final!) 'gig' which, again, we have already started, is in connection with the 43rd successive Cabhair Swim (1976-2019) ; this fund-raiser will be taking place, as usual, on Christmas Day, and a fair bit of organising goes into it, by the committee involved, and we're helping them to distribute leaflets (pictured) and sponsorship cards, collecting the Christmas Day 'goodies', which are donated by the local shops, pubs and businesses, organising lifts there and back etc.


We hope to back here on Wednesday, 20th November 2019 but, that being only a few days after the Ard Fheis will have concluded - and with the Swim work still on-going - we can't be 100% sure yet, at this stage, but please do check back with us between now and then, as we could just find a couple of hours to put a little offering together!

Thanks for reading - see you later on in November, Sharon.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019



From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, December 1954.

"It is the responsibility of the people of Ireland to see to it that those 'elected representatives' who claim to act in their name do not sabotage the efforts of the inheritors of the Fenian faith in what will, with God's help, be the last and victorious phase of a struggle that has lasted only too long.

Recent military operations carried out by the Irish Republican Army have been condemned by certain politicians as "isolated acts of violence" etc but the point, which has apparently been lost on those who condemn, is that these operations were not carried out for propaganda purposes. The successful raid in Armagh and the unsuccessful, but by no means discreditable operation, in Omagh, were made solely for the purpose of capturing arms from the enemy for use in the hands of those who are pledged to fight the British. If sufficient financial support were forthcoming it would not be necessary to resort to such hazardous means to arm the resurgent youth of Ireland. But until that support is available it will be necessary to risk the lives, limbs and liberty of our bravest sons to replace the deficiency.

In spite of the condemnations of the politicians, in spite of the doubts of the 'elected representatives', there must be some spark deep down in the soul of every Irishman worthy of the name, which burst into flame at the proof that the age-old enemy had once more misjudged the temper of the men of Ireland and that there are rising up among them young men of the same calibre as those who stood in *the Bearna Baoghaol (*'the gap') in every generation.." (MORE LATER.)


By Seán O Donáile, from 'USI News', February 1989.

The name 'Tony Gregory' (pictured) was virtually unheard of outside Dublin before 1982 when he was elected as an independent TD (sic) in Dublin Central, a post he still holds. He made national headlines with the famous 'Gregory Deal' in the same year when, in return for his support, the Fianna Fáil Government pumped £76 million into the redevelopment of inner city housing. In a frank interview with Seán O Donáile, Tony Gregory muses on the subjects of Dress, Politics, Drugs, Aids, Education, Emigration, the National Question, an Ghaeilge and the Millennium.

So does Tony Gregory think that the IRA have the right idea? "I think the Provisionals are irrelevant for the reason that they have no real grasp of the socio-economic realities in Ireland today. If they had carried out a military struggle against military targets, they would have a great deal more support. Enniskillen pales in comparison to some of their atrocities committed over the last twenty years. But when you condemn the Provisionals you ignore the root causes of their existence, which is the military occupation of the six counties, and a struggle is inevitable because of that."

From the infamous coffin ships right up to the present day, the Irish have left in droves and a 'Paddy' can be found in every corner of the globe, be it at 'The National' in Kilburn, the 'Corrib' in Boston or in the West Indies, where they were brought in Cromwellian times to pick crops and were nicknamed 'The White Niggers'.

Tony Gregory believes that emigration has, and is being used, as a 'safety valve' : "The huge emigration of the 1950's was used as such. It prevented any sort of radical political development in the country, because the people worst affected left. It has made the country more inherently conservative and now, not only are people leaving, but they are being encouraged to leave by politicians and their like.." (MORE LATER.)


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1955.

There stands today in Manchester, in Moston Cemetery, a monument to their memory. This tribute was erected by a united effort from every county in Ireland, but stone is a cold tribute to our patriot dead ; these men warrant more than a lifeless edifice. Those who gave their lives for Ireland deserve the only really fitting monument to their patriotism - a united Irish republic.

This, however, can only be the result of a united effort of Irishmen everywhere ; he who does nothing is responsible for the delay in the recognition of that aim.

God save Ireland!

(END of 'The Noble-Hearted Four' ; NEXT - Letter to The Editor from the editor of 'Resurgent Ulster', from the same source.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.