Wednesday, September 15, 2021



The Fenian Brotherhood was founded in Dublin on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1858 and, by 1863, had grown to such an extent that its leadership were in agreement that it was in a position to publish its own newspaper on a weekly basis.

On Saturday, 28th November 1863, the first edition of 'The Irish People' newspaper appeared on newsstands throughout Ireland, with copies of it having being dispatched to supporters overseas.

At first, the British and their despicable minions in this country were of the opinion that the newspaper wouldn't be a success and would not be a threat to their misrule ; indeed, their 'Number One' man in Dublin, Daniel Ryan (who was actually in charge of the raiding party on the 15th September 1865), who was the Superintendent of 'G Division' of the 'Dublin Metropolitan Police', reported back to his Westminster-based paymasters in December 1863 that the newspaper was doomed and would not attain good circulation in this country.

Mr. Ryan had managed to have one of his informers, Pierce Nagle, placed in the newspaper office but the tout misread the true situation.

Those involved with the newspaper were known to the British as being 'Irish dissidents' and included Charles Kickham, Thomas Clarke Luby, Denis Dowling Mulcahy, Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, James O'Connor, John Haltigan and John O'Leary (Editor), all of whom were on a British 'Watch List'.

The newspaper, operating from within the shadows of Dublin Castle - at 12 Parliament Street - prospered and, as expected, was considered to be a 'seditious publication' by the British 'authorities' so much so that, on the 15th September, 1865 - 156 years ago on this date - they raided the newspaper office and closed it down.

It was not the first Irish newspaper to be censored by the British, nor would it be the last - indeed, one of the 'Pillars of the Establishment' in London, 'The Times' newspaper, voiced opposition to that policy ; '‘A right of interference would be sustainable if the Press were used as an instrument of crime – but not otherwise. We do not regard the advocacy of any political opinion as included in this definition, and we consider that the Press has an indefensible right to report faithfully the happenings of all events whether welcome to the Executive or not...' (from here, and more of same can re found here.)

One Irish republican newspaper survives to this day, and subscriptions for same can be accessed here. If you haven't already done so, please consider subscribing now - your financial help would be appreciated. For obvious reasons, we are NOT State funded!

'A TONIC...'

From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, July, 1954.

See the immediate reaction of the imperialist press ; 'The Irish Times' and 'The Belfast Telegraph' each carried the headline 'A Challenge To Both Governments', and proceeded to insist that the Dublin and Belfast governments must unite in taking action against the "wild men" who carried out the raid, and their cry was taken up in chorus by the other pro-British newspapers.

In other words , England expects her Irish dupes to do their duty. And their duty apparently is to rally to the defence of the British occupation forces in Ireland. This is very significant, and it is essential that its significance should be brought home to the Irish people, for it must be clear that all talk about partition, about national unity, about political or economic independence for our country - every issue of any importance - hinges on one cardinal factor ; the continued presence of British troops in Ireland.

Those troops still represent the threat of "immediate and terrible war" which forced the acceptance of the Treaty in 1921 and which forced the other acts of submission since.

Their continued presence is intended to ensure that we will remain submissive. If we are to make any progress, whether in the political, social or economic sphere, we must first get the invaders out. That is the fundamental issue, the first step to be taken. If the Armagh Raid has made that point clear - and we are convinced that it has - then if there had not been a single gun captured, it would still have been a wonderful success.

(END of 'A Tonic' ; NEXT - 'Get England OUT!', from the same source.)


John Blake Dillon (pictured) was born in Dillon House on the Market Square in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, on 5th May 1814. He was educated at St. Patrick's College Maynooth and Trinity College Dublin. He trained as a barrister and was called to the Irish Bar in 1841.

Dillon became well known as one of the founders of the 'Nation' journal. During this period, the newspapers available to the Irish public had a British bias. The Nation set out to teach people about their own country and its history (and) was first published on 15th October 1842. The print run of 12,000 copies was sold out on the first day. Dillon contributed an estimated fifty-one articles to the journal between the date of its first issue and May 1843.

After witnessing the devastation the Great Famine (sic) had on the country and in particular the poor, the group tried to gather an army to mount an insurrection. The attempted insurrection took place in 1848 but was a failure. Despite this, the cultural nationalism of the 'Young Ireland' movement had a strong influence on later movements that aimed for Irish independence, most notably the Fenians.

John Blake Dillon was a member of the Young Irelanders. This was originally a group of young men in Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association. O'Connell's association advocated the repeal of the Act of Union and refused to resort to physical violence or armed rebellion. However, the Young Irelanders advocated the use of force in order to achieve their aims. Dillon had to flee the country after the failed uprising.

He was convicted of High Treason and sentenced to death (but) managed to escape to the United States, dressed as a priest. There he practiced law until he returned to Ireland under an amnesty in 1855. He was elected as an MP for Tipperary in 1865. A promising career as a politician came to an end when he died of cholera in 1866. He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin...' (from here.)

As stated above, a section of Daniel O'Connell's 'Loyal National Repeal Association' walked-out of a meeting which was being held in the Conciliation Hall in Dublin on the 28th of July in 1846 and broke with the O’Connell-led 'Repeal Association' for good ; the so-called 'Uncrowned King of Ireland' objected to 'fighting fire with fire' ; even when Irish 'violence' was to be employed in self-defence, Daniel O'Connell's 'Loyal National Repeal Association' was against it.

This led to tension within that organisation, and a 'split' developed - those that left included William Smith O'Brien (a Member of the British Parliament, Harrow-educated, with an accent to match!), Thomas Francis Meagher and John Mitchel, and a new group was established - 'The Young Irelanders'. That new group's political position was outlined in their newspaper 'The United Irishman' : a call for immediate armed revolt against the British, and a 'War Council' was appointed, of which John Blake Dillon was a member.

Try as they might, John Blake Dillon and 'The Young Irelanders' were not successful in removing the British military and political presence from this country, but they succeeded in keeping the flame alive.

Although he later renounced the views he had held earlier (ie towards his final years he condemned those who adhered to the views he had expressed earlier regarding armed revolt against the British) his good deeds deserve to be highlighted. He died from cholera, at 52 years of age, in 1866, in Killiney, County Dublin, and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin.


The following article was solicited by 'IRIS' from a political observer in the 26 Counties. The article - whose author, John Ward, is not a member of the Republican Movement - is aimed at provoking discussion within (P)Sinn Féin.

From 'IRIS' magazine, October 1987.

('1169' comment - please note that 'IRIS' magazine had, at that time, recently morphed from a republican-minded publication into a Trot-type mouthpiece for a Leinster House-registered political party.)

The hunger-strikes campaign brought in a whole new generation of activists* and they and some of the older republicans have worked hard since 1981 to involve themselves in the day-to-day struggles of the working-class.

And they have had some definite successes, like in the 'Concerned Parents Against Drugs' movement in Dublin but, in the meantime, life has got a lot harder for the poor, especially in the last two years with the emergence of the new right-wing consensus between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the PD's and the media about paying the international bankers out of the pockets of the poor.

With unemployment at at least 20%, with doctors' charges, hospital charges and 'voluntary contributions' in the schools all to be met, with dole and benefit cuts on the way, with soaring prices and every public service being cut to the bone, the struggle to exist has become so overwhelming in the South that most of the working-class cannot think about anything else. The North has become more and more remote to them and they judge Sinn Féin and anyone else on what they have to say - and what they have done -about working-class issues in the 26 Counties.

And that's where the burden of history comes in. Historically, Southern workers see Sinn Féin as a party that avoided domestic class issues by concentrating on the national question and copped out of awkward political battles by wrapping itself up in a cloak of sea-green abstentionist purity - remember the line used by a lot of republicans during the abortion referendum ; "We cannot take a position on amending the Constitution because we do not recognise the Constitution.."**

('1169' comment* - most of those new 'activists' were that in name only ; they were mostly 'political theorists' who had little interest in republicanism other than whatever they personally could get out of it in the long term. Joining the then Sinn Féin organisation was another step in their 'phd project' but, unfortunately, there was such an intake of them that they began to have a negative, constitutional effect on the organisation which, in 1983, payed dividends for them, when a sticky-minded leadership was put in place with their help.)

('1169' comment** - we did, as individuals, take part in all aspects of the abortion dispute, some in favour of that medical procedure, some against [I'm in the latter camp] but it would have been a contradictory nonsense for the then Sinn Féin organisation to seek to tweak a written State constitution which it had avowed to do away with. To do so, as an organisation, would have left us open, rightly, to charges of being 'just another hypocritical political party'. Any Irish republican would know that, but a nationalist/trot wouldn't understand that reasoning, unless, of course, a situation like that was happening in a far-away conflict zone.) (MORE LATER.)


..1922 - four seperate 'incidents' were lodged and recorded by the new Free State Army (which actually had the nerve at that time to call themselves 'the Official IRA Army'!) as having occurred on that date in Dublin (15th September 1922).

The 'Irregulars' (the IRA) laid seige to the main Dublin telephone exchange building, attempted to take over 'Kingsbridge' (now Heuston) Railway Station, attacked the Free State Wellington Army barracks (later re-named 'Griffith Barracks') and also had a go at the Staters in the Portobello Barracks. On each occasion a gunfight ensued. Dundalk, County Louth, the 'Irregulars' made several attacks on Free State troops and took over the power station, cutting off the town’s electricity supply. One State soldier was killed by a hand grenade during the fight. Athboy, County Meath, the Post Office was attacked by the IRA ; one State soldier was killed in the fighting.

The 'Lord Chief Justice' of the new Free State, the 'Right Honourable Sir Thomas Molony 1st', declared that a state of war existed and stated that Habeas Corpus (ie the right of a citizen to obtain a writ of 'habeas corpus' as a protection against illegal imprisonment) no longer applies. The man lived long enough to die on the 3rd September, 1949, and is buried in Gap Road Cemetery in Wimbledon, London, England. He was obviously unable to save himself from being thus 'imprisoned'.


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, March, 1955.

Seosamh MacCriostal, a law student, referring to recent comments on the morality of the actions of the men (sic) who attacked the occupation forces at Armagh and Omagh, said that history was unfortunately littered with examples of such condemnations ; "Politicians have said that these men acted in an immoral and un-Christian manner, but when I look back on the cold-blooded murders which the same politicians committed to suppress the IRA, I realise how ill-equipped they are to dogmatise on morals or Christianity."

William Fogarty, Veterinary College, reminded the meeting of Padraig Pearse's words that there is something worse than bloodshed and that is slavery. What was true then, he added, is still true, and if bloodshed was needed to break the chains of slavery, then let there be bloodshed...

Martin O'Connell, a dental student at UCD, told how, two years ago, he had attended lectures with Phil Clarke and "I have never known a more likeable character. He was a quiet man, a brilliant scholar, an All-Ireland cycling champion and now an exemplary patriot.." (MORE LATER.)

Thanks for the visit, and for reading,