ON THIS DATE (3RD JUNE) 46 YEARS AGO : FORCE-FED IRISH HUNGER-STRIKER DIES.
Immortalised in song by Seamus Robinson, Michael Gaughan was an IRA activist in England and, in December 1971, he found himself in front of a British judge in the Old Bailey, where he was sentenced to seven years in Wormwood Scrubs for taking part in a (republican fund-raising) bank raid in north London.
Two years later, he was transferred to Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight and demanded that he be treated as a political prisoner. This was refused and he was placed in solitary confinement before being moved to Parkhurst Prison, also on the Isle of Wight. On the 31st of March, 1974, Michael Gaughan joined an on-going hunger-strike protest and, after 23 days, he was force-fed : the tube that was forced down his throat punctured his lung, killing him, in Parkhurst Prison, on the 3rd of June, 1974 - 46 years ago on this date. His body was removed from London and on Friday and Saturday, 7th and 8th June 1974, thousands of mourners lined the streets of Kilburn and marched behind his coffin, which was flanked by an IRA guard of honour, to a requiem mass held in the 'Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus' in Kilburn.
Michael Gaughan was given a full republican burial and was laid to rest in the republican plot. Mayo republican Jackie Clarke (Seán Ó Clérigh, whose family later had political disagreements with the Provisional Sinn Féin party) presided at the last obsequies, and the oration at his graveside was given by Dáithí Ó Conaill, who stated that Gaughan "..had been tortured in prison by the vampires of a discredited empire who were joined by decrepit politicians who were a disgrace to the name of Irishmen...". His coffin was draped in the same Tricolour that was used for Terence McSwiney's funeral 54 years earlier. He left a final message in which he stated - "I die proudly for my country and in the hope that my death will be sufficient to obtain the demands of my comrades. Let there be no bitterness on my behalf, but a determination to achieve the new Ireland for which I gladly die. My loyalty and confidence is to the IRA and let those of you who are left carry on the work and finish the fight."
And today, 46 years after Michael Gaughan was buried, republicans are still working towards that same objective.
'AMERICAN ITEMS OF INTEREST...'
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, June, 1955.
The Labour sub-committee will consist of many AFL business agents and CIO officials and will help to get the prisoners' side of the story known at union meetings etc. Already many who are not Irish or even of Irish extraction have given a dollar or half-dollar to the Fund when informed by their fellow workers what the men in jail represented and why Ireland was still not free. Much more work along these lines is needed.
Greater circulation for 'The United Irishman' newspaper is assured in New York now that the paper has increased in size to eight pages and has improved its appearance to make for livelier and more reading matter. Comment on the March issue was highly favourable and the task now is to get it into the hands of as many Irish here as possible and, towards this end, the new Sinn Féin Committee members are dedicating themselves.
Death of Mrs. Nellie Hoyne Murray :
Mrs. Nellie Hoyne Murray ('Record 14046' here), whose funeral was held on Monday, May 2nd, from St. John the Evangelist Church in Los Angeles, was a tireless worker in the Irish Republican Movement ever since coming to Los Angeles nearly 25 years ago. As a girl in Kilkenny, her native city, she became an active participant in the struggle against the Black-and-Tans and, as a result, she was sentenced to a year in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin... (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (3RD JUNE) 54 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A POLITICAL WANDERER - FROM THE IRB TO FINE GAEL!
'Fionán Lynch (Irish: Fionán Ó Loingsigh; 17 March 1889 – 3 June 1966) was an Irish revolutionary, barrister, politician and judge...(he) was born in Cahersiveen, County Kerry in 1889 and educated in Rockwell College and Blackrock College. He qualified as a national school teacher in 1912 and joined the Gaelic League the same year (and) was a founder member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) that same year..(he) fought in the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 in the Four Courts garrison with Commandent Edward Daly in North King Street. Daly was executed and Captain Fionán Lynch was sentenced to death but commuted to 10 years Penal Servitude. He was imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol and later in Mountjoy. He was one of the last Irish men to speak with Thomas Ashe before he died. He was later interned in prison in England and Wales until the general amnesty in late 1917.
Upon his release Lynch resumed his paramilitary activities and was elected as an abstentionist Sinn Féin Member of Parliament for Kerry South at the 1918 Westminster Election, becoming a Member of the 1st Dáil. At this time one of the safe houses frequently used by Lynch and Collins was at 44 Mounjoy Square, Dublin, the house of Lynch’s aunt Miss Myna McCarthy. As Teachta Dála for Kerry South he spent much time in the county on parliamentary and paramilitary activities. Many meeting were held in Tralee, in the premises of Mr.Thomas Slattery who figured prominently in the National Movement. Here he met Miss Bridget Slattery and they were married in November 1919. They lived in Dublin and awaited the sound of the army Crossley tender which brought the threat of summary arrest under the terms of the amnesty.
He was automatically elected as an abstenionist member of the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and a Member of the 2nd Dáil as a Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Kerry–Limerick West at the 1921 elections. *He supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty like almost all IRB members and during the Dáil Debates criticised some Anti-Treaty TDs. During the Civil War he fought with the Irish Free State Army and rose to the rank of Brigadier. He left the Army in 1923 to concentrate on his political career.
He was elected to the 3rd Dáil (sic) at the 1922 general election as a Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin TD and at each subsequent general election as a Cumann na nGaedhael and later Fine Gael deputy for the constituencies of Kerry from 1923 to 1937 and Kerry South from 1937 until 1944.
Lynch served as Minister for Education from April to August 1922, as Minister for Fisheries from 1922–1930, and as Minister for Lands and Fisheries from 1930–32...in 1937 he was appointed Leas Ceann Comhairle (deputy speaker) of Dail Eireann (sic)but suffered serious ill health and relinquished the post in 1938...he qualified as a barrister after 1932 and remained a TD (sic-Leinster House member) until his appointment as a Circuit court judge in 1944 to the Irish Speaking Sligo and Donegal Circuit...' (from here.)
*In speaking in support of 'The Treaty of Surrender', Mr. Lynch stated - "I stand for this Treaty on four grounds, and the one I mention last is the one that will mean the most to me. I stand for it because it gives us an army, because it gives us evacuation, because it gives us control over the finances of the country, and lastly, and greatest of all to me, because it gives us control over our education..."
1) That (Free State) "army" allied itself, from inception, with Westminster (who helped establish it) and has never since opposed the continuing occupation of six of our counties by that institution.
2) "Evacuation" - only partially so, which was never the objective for republicans.
3) "Country finances" - what type of person would consider the 26 County State to be a "country"?
4) That "control over education" was given, by Leinster House, to the Clergy. A disastrous decision, nothing to be proud of there.
From the IRB to Fine Gael ; a confused political line, to say the least and, again - nothing to be proud of.
KICKING AGAINST THE PRICKS...
From 'Magill' magazine, July 2002.
Describing 'The Portadown News' as being written "from a pissed-off pro-Agreement perspective.." ,Portadown native 'Newt' began the website in March 2001, adding that "it seemed like a good idea at the time." Since its inception, the site has now reached the stage where it clocks up more than 1,000 hits a day.
Considering that other Irish satirical websites such as 'The Evil Gerald' and 'Waffle-Iron.Com'attract similarly high numbers of mouse merchants, it seems that those in the business of lampooning officialdom can work on the margins and still attract readers. In fact, for the people behind websites like 'The Portadown News' and 'Evil Gerald', the real problem is staying one step ahead of reality.
A clearly incredulous 'Newt' offers the following example ; "When one of our local councillors complained that green cycle paths made the roads look like tricolours, I couldn't think of any way to make the story more stupid than it already was. It's a constant battle with reality..."
'LEINSTER HOUSE DEBATE : A TERRIBLE MESSAGE FOR THE NORTH.'
Even in the face of Basil Brooke's declaration that there would be no unity at any price, the Leinster House politicians appear to be determined to continue their futile policy of wooing the Stormont junta. As if that were not enough they accompany their plamás and soft talk for the anti-Irish elements in the country by deliberately misrepresenting the attitude and policy of the Republican Movement.
Construing the two recent actions of the IRA as attacks on the people of the North instead of what they actually were - attacks on the British occupation forces - they then proceeded to condemn the use of force. Mr. (John Aloysius) Costello, Fine Gael, referred to the use of force as "immoral, unchristian and likely to endanger the vital interests of the Nation.." and, as a means of solving partition, he said, "..you are certainly not going to do it by force of arms."
Mr. de Valera followed on the same line as that primed by Mr. Costello, namely by completely omitting all reference to the British Army of occupation and substituting what he chose to term "..the minority groups in this country..." as being responsible for partition. He condemned the IRA actions on that false premise, saying "..there is no easy line of conduct to follow which could guarantee to bring about a solution. This is made an excuse by the people referred to (the IRA) to pretend that it can be done by force.." Seán McBride took the same line... (MORE LATER.)
Thanks for reading - Sharon and the '1169' team. Stay safe, and 'play' safe. Or at least don't be as reckless as the old you. Or, if you must be, don't get caught. But if you do get caught, leave our name out of it (especially if we were out partying with ya, but done a bunk out the side door before the Covid Cops arrived)...! And if you are 'persuaded' (!) to mention our name, don't do it as a bail reference, 'cause the Judge'll increase yer sentence for givin' him bogey info...