Wednesday, June 09, 2021

UNSUNG, UNPRAISED AND UNPUBLISHED OPTIMISTS.

ON THIS DATE (9TH JUNE) 68 YEARS AGO : CINEMATIC 'BLOCKBUSTER' BANNED!

The year 1953 started, politically, in Ireland, with Sinn Féin declaring, to great applause from republicans and other socially-conscious people, that it intended to contest all 12 constituencies in the Occupied Six Counties in the next Westminster-organised election, an announcement which encouraged republican supporters, and other workers, to just not meekly accept 'their lot', as dictated to them by the then Stormont and Leinster House 'elite'.

Within weeks of that announcement up to 10,000 State civil servants marched down O'Connell Street in Dublin demanding a just wage and proper working conditions and, weeks later - following that earlier street protest - 500 unemployed men and women marched to, and protested outside, the Leinster House institution in Kildare Street. Again, weeks after that protest march, approximately 1,000 unemployed people staged a sit-down protest on O'Connell Bridge for about 20 minutes, causing traffic mayhem in the city centre and further afield. The people had, once again, found their voice and were not afraid to use it.

Meanwhile, in England, the 'toffs' and some of the working class were delighted with themselves because their 'queen', Elizabeth, was 'Crowned' (ie 'coronated') on the 2nd June, 1953 (following her accession in February the previous year) and this 'royal' act was making news around the world, in newspaper coverage, television and on the so-called 'newsreels' showed in cinemas.

But not in Dublin ; cinema owners in that city unanimously decided not to show the film of the English 'queen's' coronation in London, having read the political and social situation correctly - most people were either in low-paying jobs or on the dole, and were angry about it. A blatant display of such 'royal' wealth, it was felt, would annoy an already angry population in the State to the extent that cinema owners and management had voiced concerns for the safety of themselves and their venues should such a screening take place. So the exuberant 'show' was not screened.

That 'no show' incident reminded us of a very much 'show' incident which had taken place almost ten years before that, also cinema-related ; in April 1943, IRA man Jimmy Steele participated in what became known as 'the Broadway Cinema operation' on the Falls Road in Belfast when armed IRA Volunteers took over the cinema and stopped the film while Jimmy Steele went on stage and read a statement from the IRA Army Council. The nights entertainment for the packed cinema was finished off by the reading the 1916 Proclamation from the stage.

And 'Credits' to all involved for both of the above-mentioned actions!







'AITHBHEOCHAINT NA GAEDHILGE...'

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



Sowing the Seeds :

These are the unsung, unpraised and unpublished optimists, confident of victory, as opposed to the much-publicised, loud-mouthed, money-grabbing pessimistic politicians and public men who have been recipients of the germs propagated by the occupation forces, and who have consequently contaminated the Irish Nation.

This disease may be contained but not remedied until righteous men (sic) have driven out the British forces and have made our land 'a nation once again'.

Tráth Cainnte Thart :

An t-Eireannach go bhfuil 'misneach ina chroidhe agus neart ina chuisleanna', an duine go bhfuil cúspóir an Phiarsaigh aige - sin an fior 'fíor-Ghaedheal'. Tá tráth na cainnte thart. Tá an obair práinneach agus caithfear é dhéanamh gan tuilleadh moille - Eire do shaorú agus Eire do Ghaolu... (MORE LATER.)







NO RIGHT OF APPEAL...



Why the media consensus on a broad range of issues is increasingly disturbing.

By John Drennan.

From 'Magill' Annual, 2002.

It was around this time of year that many of us who did not tie the comfortable liberal line wondered what kind of intellectual and moral milieu we now, as a people, inhabit but, happily, it's not all bad news. Some would see the totality of this year's mind-boggling journalistic hypocrisy, with its wilful ignorance of fact and history, its bullying demagoguery, its quasi-fascistic branding of opponents, its narrow-minded agendas cloaked so lightly in a cape of pluralism, as a depressing thing.

When it comes to the dominant role of the wonderful oligarchy of Joe/Marian, Questions and Answers, Dot Com Dunphy and the sister/Fintanhood of 'The Irish Times' - otherwise known as Twee, Tweedledumb, Tweedledumber and Tweedledumbest, and not nesessarily in that order - we are more optimistic.

You see, now that we're entering a world recession, and an abortion referendum, the need for our old pal 'responsible journalism' will be greater than ever... ('1169' comment - responsible journalism, for the most part, doesn't exist in this State, in or on any of the mainstream platforms. Those in charge of, and working in, those platforms, are paid wordsmiths/hired pens who will propagandise any issue, to any extent, if the price is right, but they'll do that, as well, the following day, for the opposing side, again if the price is right. We live (exist) in an Orwellian society, in that regard.) (MORE LATER.)







'TALK, FORCE AND POLITICIANS.'

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

"There is something to be said for the point of view that talk about partition achieved little.." said Mr J. A. Costello, Leinster House leader, at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Dublin last month.

Even to gain an admission of this fact from Mr. Costello is sufficient proof that he is not convinced that partition will fall in front of oratory.

800 Years of Evidence ;

Of course there is something to be said for the point of view that talk about partition achieved little - there's a great deal to be said, not the least important of which is 800 years of history. In that 800 years of British occupation, talk did nothing. Just plain nothing. It did nothing to remove a single British soldier from this country.

Magennis Confirms ;

Not only is there "..something to be said for the point of view that talk about partition achieved little.." , but having regard to the statement of Mr. W.B. Magennis, acting leader in Stormont, "that the Government of Northern Ireland (sic)is not prepared to discuss partition, a matter which has been finally determined.." it would appear that there is a good deal more to be said for the point of view that talk about partition "will achieve little".

Talk Necessary To Educate ;

It will be conceded that there is need for some talk on the subject of partition not, mind you, in order to persuade the British garrison to clear out, but to remind ourselves of the continuing injustice of the division conquest, so that it may not become an everlasting reality because of our apathy or ignorance.

Still, talk can do little more than educate us as to the evil of partition and it is only when such education finds expression in a positive action against the occupation forces, as it did at Armagh and Omagh, that talk will have borne fruit. Education will teach us how to be free but it will never of itself free us... (MORE LATER.)



TWO 'AWAY JOBS' ON!

We're a bit late posting today as we're located in either Wicklow or Meath.

Can't be Dublin, 'cause we left there last Saturday for a very-quickly-organised staycation (all 15 of us!) and we're using a laptop (with dodgy wi-fi!) to 'broadcast' from.

Some of us will be back in Dublin this coming weekend (12th and 13th June) for the annual Wolfe Tone/Bodenstown Commemoration, which is being held on Sunday, 13th and, immediately afterwards, will be heading back to Wicklow (or Meath?) to continue the 'fun'.

We won't be posting here next Wednesday (16th) and, providing we won't need bail money, we should be back to what passes for normal around here by the following Wednesday, 23rd.

Meanwhile, some advice - keep saving your few bob and your time for a proper holiday : these stay-at-home 'holidays' can be expensive and use up valuable time-off that could be better spent abroad (like New York, for instance!) but we owed the grandkids a break and, enjoyable as it is most times to be in their company, sometimes girls just wanna have fun!

Thanks for reading ; see you on the 23rd,

Sharon.








Wednesday, June 02, 2021

CONFINING THEMSELF TO A TWEAK RATHER THAN A CHANGE.

ON THIS DATE (2ND JUNE) 100 YEARS AGO : IRA VICTORY AT CARROWKENNEDY (CEATHRÚ CHINNÉIDE), COUNTY MAYO.

'It was late afternoon of a warm day (on Thursday, 2nd June 1921) in Carrowkennedy, County Mayo. Irish Volunteer Jimmy O'Flaherty heard the warning cry, "HERE THEY COME!" and pushed the butt of his Lee-Enfield .303 into his shoulder, flipped the safety off, and tilted his head to right to line up his sights.

He could hear the two RIC Crossley Tenders approaching from the south. A bead of sweat dripped down his back as he saw the lead truck come into view. Jimmy had served with the Connaught Rangers in WWI. He felt the familiar nervous tension of impending combat, but his training took over. He lined up his sights on driver of the first truck...' (from here.)

IRA Major General Michael Kilroy (who was later to be appointed as the Commandant of the 4th Western Battalion of the IRA) was in command of the IRA's West Mayo Flying Column, comprising about 30 Volunteers when, on the 2nd June, 1921 - 100 years ago on this date - they ambushed a convoy of RIC and Black and Tans who had just vacated Darby Hastings pub in Carrowkennedy.

A fierce firefight ensued resulting in the immediate deaths of eight Black and Tans, two more of whom were wounded and died later. The survivors from that particular British expedition, about sixteen RIC/Tans, had sought refuge in a near-by cottage and then surrendered themselves to the IRA Flying Column. They were relieved of their weapons and ammunition, which were added to the Lewis Machine Gun and the various rifles which the IRA confiscated from those enemy forces that day.

The negative aspect of that excellent job, however - as far as this blog is concerned anyway - is the fact that Michael Kilroy later joined the then newly-formed Fianna Fáil party and was elected, in 1927, as a Leinster House representative for that grouping. But he at least 'done the country some service' before he decided to 'do the (free) state [and himself] some service'.





'AITHBHEOCHAINT NA GAEDHILGE...'

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



Patriotism the Remedy ;

But patriotism is frowned upon today by those responsible for education although there are, thank God, the individual teachers who can rise above the cold, anglicised, anti-national curriculum of the State Department of Education.

The reason for this frowning on patriotism is obvious - our national schools, colleges and universities might produce the patriots who, in a few short years, would embarrass the Kildare Street servants of the British Crown by attacking the British occupation forces.

Evidently, the educationalists would have our tongues profain Gaedhilge while we remain acquiescent in the face of the occupation of part of Pearse's Republic. No! A revival of true patriotism must precede Aithbheochaint na Gaedhilge... (MORE LATER.)







ON THIS DATE (2ND JUNE)...

..in 1772 : The British Parliament passed an Act which permitted Catholics in Ireland to lease bogland from them or from their 'legal representatives' in Ireland. Bit like a thief robbing your car and offering to lease it back to you.

..in 1774 : An Act of 'the Irish Parliament' (which was the 'Legislature of the Lordship of Ireland/the Kingdom of Ireland', and was modelled on, and established in Ireland, by the Parliament of England) permitted Irish Catholics 'to testify their allegiance' to an English 'king'. Up to then, I suppose, we could just simply tell him to get stuffed!

..in 1949 : the British Parliament, Westminster, passed an Act 'declaring the special relationship of Irish citizens to the United Kingdom' and affirming the status of what they called 'Northern Ireland' - ie the Occupied Six Counties - as 'being within the United Kingdom'. Naw. Bad trade - keep your "special relationship" and give us our Six Counties back. Thanks anyway.





ON THIS DATE (2ND JUNE) 298 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A SWIFT WOMAN.

'Esther Vanhomrigh (an Irish woman of Dutch descent, pictured) died on this day in 1723. She was the lover of the famous Irish writer Jonathan Swift, after meeting him as a young woman. The two exchanged several letters as their relationship grew. Swift referred to her as ‘Vanessa’, a name derived from the Dutch prefix Van in her last name, and ‘Esse’, an affectionately shortening of her first name.

After her parents died, Vanessa went to live with Swift as they were already romantically involved. However, she was desperately unhappy in Ireland with no friends or family around her. Swift had also began a relationship with another woman. Vanessa confronted him and told him to stop seeing her. He refused so she left him and returned to England.

Vanessa had a difficult life after she left Swift, struggling financially with large debts she had inherited from her mother. She nursed her sister when she died of tuberculosis, and died herself a short time later...' (from here.)

Jonathan Swift (aka 'Isaac Bickerstaff') was a somewhat politically confused individual ; he was practically born, reared and educated as an Irish 'Whig' and was recruited to that grouping by Joseph Addison but, after working and associating with them for a number of years he came to the belief that they were too 'liberal' (!) so, when an even more right-wing outfit, the 'Tories', offered him a political home, he accepted the offer.

His writing skills had been recognised for years and he took up a position with the 'Tories' as a PR-type person, writing leaflets for the foot-soldiers to distribute, and writing political articles for publication and was further rewarded for same with his appointment as Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

Like the other financially stable 'toffs' that he was in with, his opinions on the Irish (despite the fact that he himself was Irish!) were less than forgiving ; he wrote an artice entitled 'A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to their Parents, or the Country, and for Making them Beneficial to the Publick', which was published anonymously, and in which he jokingly and satirically (?) wrote that Ireland's overpopulation and dire economic conditions could be alleviated if the babies of poor Irish parents were sold as edible delicacies to be eaten by the rich (which, no doubt, would have drawn guffaws from his Whig/Tory friends).

In the early 1740's, already suffering from Ménière's disease, he was inflicted with a paralytic stroke which left him with an inability to communicate - he found it difficult to speak, write or understand language, both verbal and written, and was declared to be unable to care for himself.

He died in 1745, just six weeks shy of his 78th birthday, and is buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. On his memorial tablet is an epitaph of his own composition, which states that he lies 'where savage indignation can no longer tear his heart.'
We wonder was it the Irish, the Whigs or the Tories that gave rise to his feelings of "savage indignation"?







NO RIGHT OF APPEAL...



Why the media consensus on a broad range of issues is increasingly disturbing.

By John Drennan.

From 'Magill' Annual, 2002.

Though the Cardinal didn't say anything in Salem, our consensus can devine what you are thinking. Somewhere along the line, poor defenceless Celia had been snubbed by the cruel Cardinal. There was one consolation for Bertie - the subsequent great outpouring of sympathy from 'hurt' commentators cemented Celia's position as official first lady. Why couldn't the Cardinal just wake up and live in the present?

This was followed by more ructions after the Cardinal made some inoffensive remarks about the intellectual caoacities of his opposite number. The fact that his opposite number agreed with the Cardinal was irrelevant. After all you can't take any chances. Best to keep your foot on the neck of the sort of serpent who is opposed to liberal individualism.

As the 'hurt' mob rolled out again (would our grandfathers have been so easily injured?) the barrage was as inspiring as all of its predecessors. Nothing was free from the begrudgery of our sour puritans. Even some harmless remarks by the Cardinal about how he was once saved by his guardian angel from a burglar inspired vinegarish sneers such as 'Where were the guardian angels of the children abused by priests...?' ('1169' comment - given the circumstances - indeed, given any circumstances - a valid question.) (MORE LATER.)







ON THIS DATE (2ND JUNE) 27 YEARS AGO : CHINOOK 'ACCIDENT/INCIDENT'.

On the 2nd June, 1994 - 27 years ago on this date - 29 people, including ten senior British 'police officers' (RUC) in Ireland, died during the 1994 Scotland RAF Chinook helicopter crash at Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. They were travelling from Belfast to a 'security conference' in Inverness.

In 1994, the PIRA were in the process of ending their campaign to remove the British military and political presence from Ireland and 'go respectable' (ie constitutional), a process which actually slowly began in 1983 and was built on in 1986, when their colleagues in PSF decided to work and operate within Free State structures, thereby confining themselves to 'tweaking' the State system, rather than changing it.

Not all of the 'players' in unionism/loyalism, in Westminster or, indeed, in this State, were agreeable that PIRA members and PSF members should be afforded the luxury (!) of such a new beginning and voices (and tempers) against "forgiving the terrorists" made themselves heard within unionism/loyalism, Westminster, and this State.

And then, practically in the middle of the political and military toing-and-froing, the British organised a 'security conference' in Scotland and tasked some of their people in the Occupied Six Counties to attend same ; ten senior 'RUC intelligence officers', nine British Army 'intelligence officers' and six M15 operatives from the occupied area were known to have perished in the helicopter incident and, to put it mildly, not all of those politically and military 'heavy' individuals would have been in favour of hugging a perceived 'black sheep' or, as academic Sydney Elliott put it -"The loss of such senior intelligence personalities probably ensured the political case for a peace process (sic) to go ahead despite the recent successes against PIRA..."

Recent discussion in relation to the Chinook incident has included talk about '...internal (British) Ministry of Defence housekeeping...a litany of deceit and subterfuge...wide ranging cover-up in relation to the crash...the conspiracy theory that the Chinook was deliberately downed by someone..' and, bearing in mind that the British, like all imperialists and colonisers, have no permanent friends, only permanent interests, who knows what really happened on this date, 27 years ago, regarding that incident...?





'FORCE : MORAL OR PHYSICAL...?'

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

Out of O'Connell's moral force was begotten the 'Irish Parliamentary Party' ; out of the 'Young Ireland' movement was begotten the Republican Brotherhood and the Rising of 1916.

Britain, by ruthlessness and intrigue, crushed the flowering of freedom and imposed by force - the threat of immediate and terrible war - the partition of our country and the disunity of our people.

We do not doubt the sincerity of Mr. Cosgrave and his colleagues when they advocate the use of "moral pressure". We do not doubt the sincerity of any Irishman who advocates policies different from ours. But we do doubt their wisdom. In the face of present-day realities, in the face of our history and our traditions, there can be only one wise national policy - to break the connection with England, and be prepared to meet British force with Irish force when necessary.

(END of 'Force : Moral or Physical?' ; NEXT - 'Talk, Force and Politicians', from the same source.)

Thanks for reading,

Sharon.








Wednesday, May 26, 2021

CONVERTING THE UNBELIEVER AND INFORMING THE IGNORANT.

AN APOLOGY TO OLIVER HOYLE, WILLIAM BURKE AND CHRISTOPHER BYRNE.

When Ireland called forth her true sons of the heather,

O'Boyle was the foremost to answer the call,

The sons of the Rosses he banded together,

To drive the oppressor from dark Donegal.


'Neil O ‘Boyle was born, on a small farm, at Leac Eineach near Burtonport, County Donegal in 1898. It was here in the Breac Ghaeltact area of the Rosses that the young Boyle's character was formed and his determination strengthened. According to his schoolmates he was tall for his age, lanky and silent. Not overly particular about his appearance, he always appeared to have something on his mind. He had a look in his eye "as if he was going to do something".

During some obscure incident he expressed admiration for Joseph Mary Plunkett and, schoolboys being schoolboys, he was nicknamed, 'Plunkett'. The name stuck. As he grew up he didn't develop any interest in sartorial matters but became more talkative. He was interested in national affairs, sang Irish ballads and advocated the revival of the Irish language. He did not, however, push his views or beliefs on other people ; "Because I believe these things I will always stick to them ; but I do not want to force any other person to believe as I do. Let everyone be honest with himself and do what he thinks right. It is my duty to tell you what I believe should be done..." ' (from here.)

This blog was represented at the RSF-organised Neil (Niall) Plunkett O'Boyle wreath-laying ceremony on Sunday, 23rd May 2021, in Knocknadruce, County Wicklow ; this brave man was murdered there by the Free Staters on the 15th of May, 1923, while discussing truce terms with them. He had left the small Norton family farmhouse he was sheltering in to discuss terms with the Staters, his hands held high above his head, when they murdered him. His remains were returned to Donegal where he is buried in Kincasslagh graveyard.

While we were waiting for the proceedings to begin, we went for a stroll around the small cottage and courtyard and, in behind an old piece of farm equipment, we came across this plaque -



- we searched our archives, our files and folders etc and found little bits of information in relation to one of the men, Oliver Hoyle. So we asked outside sources that have helped us before and, while they are very interested in our query, they more or less drew a blank. We 'Googled' for info but didn't come away with any new information.

No doubt something substantial will eventually surface about these three men and the full circumstances surrounding their deaths but, until then - until we can do them some sort of proper justice by remembering them as they deserve to be remembered - apologises to them and to their families for not honouring them in a more fitting manner. Forgive us all.

We do know that they were involved in 'The United Irishmen' organisation and that all three died on the 27th January 1801 in the small cottage where Oliver Hoyle lived, the same cottage where Neil (Niall) Plunkett O'Boyle was murdered by the Staters on the 15th May 1923.

'...Oliver Hoyle was killed by John Harman while resisting robbery...he had been robbed and murdered by a banditti of robbers (British forces) that went through the mountains..' - from Bob Reece's book 'Exiles from Erin : Convict Lives in Ireland and Australia'.

We have let ourselves down by not knowing more.

'In Memory Of Oliver Hoyle, William Burke And Christopher Byrne. All Killed At This House On 27th January 1801. Ar Dheis Dé Go Raibh A n-Anamacha.'







ON THIS DATE (26TH MAY) 66 YEARS AGO - ELECTION VICTORY FOR SINN FÉIN IN THE O6C.

'SINN FÉIN VICTORY.

Two Prisoner Candidates Elected To Thirty-Two County Parliament!

Northern republicans on road to freedom : Thursday, May 26th 1955 (66 years ago on this date), is a landmark in Irish history. A new chapter has been opened. The total vote cast for Sinn Féin candidates, great though it was, is of secondary importance to the new spirit of co-operation and voluntary service to Ireland that has spread throughout the country.

We are proud of the response made by the republicans in the North to Ireland's call for freedom and unity ; after years of betrayal and confusion - in spite of enemy tactics to disrupt and 'friendly' efforts to discourage - the republicans of the North have proved that the courage and idealism of the O'Neills and the O'Donnells lives on. The election is a phase in the Sinn Féin campaign to organise all Irishmen into one united people to end forever British occupation and influence in Ireland, to restore to the Irish people their fundamental right to govern themselves and to develop the resources of Ireland for the happiness and prosperity of the Irish people.

It is now the task and duty of all Irishmen to rally to the support of Northern republicans in their demand for a 32-County Parliament. Sinn Féin has the plans, you have the power - join Sinn Féin and unite the Nation!'

(From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, June, 1955 ; please note that the Sinn Féin organisation referenced in the above piece has no connection, except verbally [according to the PSF grouping] to the Stormont and Leinster House political party which is a political service provider for both the Free State and British administrations in this country.)





'AITHBHEOCHAINT NA GAEDHILGE...'

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



Dubhairt An Piarsach -

"Dá gcáillfidhe an Gaedhilge do cáillfidhe Eire. Is é rud atáimid do cásughadh, sé sin, go ndearnadh dearmad ar Eirinn an fhad bhitheas ag saothrughadh na Gaedhilge.

Do buaileadh isteach i n-aigne na mílte de Ghaedhealaibh óga gurthábhachtaighe cora-cainnte ná gníomhartha fearamhla agus gur mhó de pheacadh, riaghail ghramadaighe do bhriseadh na beart cladhaireamhail do dheanamh. Ní raibh an ceart ag na fearaibh óga do ghabh le n-an-ais an Gaedhealg do chosaint agus a gcúl do thabhairt ar an bpoilitidheachtt." - Mac Piarais san 'Barr Buadh'.

Easba Gaisce -

We are urged by erstwhile leaders to speak Gaedhilge in the homes. Labhrann siad as Béarla agus molann siad dos na páistí scoile Gaedhilge do labhairt. Is minic a bhíonn an Gaedhilge ar a gcómhairle ag na daoine seo ach ní bhaineann siad aon úsáid as - an amhlaidh gurab é easba gaisce an cúis?

No b'fhéidir nach b'fhuil an Gaedhilge ag cuid díobh toisc nar fhoghlium siad ar sgoil é ina n-aimsear - an amhlaidh nar dheineadar a ndícheall chun na teangan náisiúnta d'fhoghluim i rith an triochadh bhlian de 'saoirse'?

Yes! We listen in vain for a single word as Gaedhilge from the home of our politicians, Leinster House. What blatant hypocrisy! Away with this sham insincerity and let us, the people, tackle our problems... (MORE LATER.)







ON THIS DATE (26TH MAY) 153 YEARS AGO : FENIAN HANGED IN PUBLIC IN ENGLAND.

'The last man to be publicly executed in England has had a plaque erected in his memory at a mass grave in London. Michael Barrett came from a small farm in Drumnagreshial, Fermanagh, and was 27 when he was publicly hanged in front of Newgate Jail in London in May 1868...(he) was a member of the Fenians and had been found guilty of blowing up the wall of Clerkenwell House of Detention in London in 1867...(his) guilt was never clearly established and the evidence given by witnesses at the trial was questionable...' (from here.)

Michael Barrett's body was left hanging for about one hour, in full public view, outside Newgate Prison, and his body was then removed by prison staff and he was put in a grave within the prison walls : he remained there for 34 years before the British were shamed into placing his remains into a box and burying him in the City of London Cemetery in Ilford, East London.

At the time they executed him, their 'queen', Victoria, expressed her disappointment that 'only one person was caught' for the deed and suggested that, in any future such incident, the police should simply lynch, on-the-spot, any Irish suspects rather then give too much publicity to the Irish fightback. An unsurprising comment, really, from the 'Famine (sic) queen' who, to put it mildly, 'had no real compassion for the Irish people in any way'.

'It was on a bright may morning, in the year of 68,

They led young Michael Barrett to the scaffold at Newgate,

He was indeed a Fenian but they blamed him in the wrong,

They had to have a scapegoat and Michael was the one.




He came from north Fermanagh near the county Donegal,

And he had lived through the hunger, Michael seen it all,

He went away to Glasgow like so many from this land,

There he joined up with the Fenian’s to help free Ireland...'
(from here.)

Michael Barrett, Bold Fenian Man ; 1841 - 26th May 1868.







NO RIGHT OF APPEAL...



Why the media consensus on a broad range of issues is increasingly disturbing.

By John Drennan.

From 'Magill' Annual, 2002.

The real problem with Cardinal Connell is that our liberal elite don't like his views on morality ; unfortunately, you will observe, the Cardinal is not a great believer in moral equivalence. He tells it in black and white.

"Oh, right then..." sez the plain people of Ireland, "...a bit like Mary Ellen Synon, is he? Oh, he's fair game, so.." ('1169' comment - ironic that the author should seek to claim that Ms Synon is a 'black and white person', as her support for, among her many other oddities, the Ku Klux Klan, is well known.)

Note to the plain people of Ireland : this is not you talking, but rather the mythical, spectral 'plain people of Ireland' who jostle raucously in the corner of every Dublin newsroom. So be quiet and listen - the good Cardinal's first faux pas occurred after a function organised by the Taoiseach to celebrate Mr Connell's elevation to the position of Cardinal. Bertie respected his guest so much he brought his mistress...our apologises... - partner - along to the festivities. Not a problem, perhaps.

Even the Cardinal was prepared to turn a blind eye until he received his invite in which he was graciously invited by the happy couple. This was a ridiculous mistake which absolutely did not have to happen, and placed a senior churchman in an unforgivably difficult position... (MORE LATER.)







ON THIS DATE (26TH MAY) 124 YEARS AGO - BIRTH OF AN ANTI-TREATY IRA COMMANDER.

On the 26th May, 1897 - 124 years ago on this date - Ernie O' Malley, fighter and author (Earnán Ó Maille, pictured, in 1921, in Dublin Castle, during his 'arrest' - he was using the alias 'Bernard Stuart'), was born in Castlebar, in County Mayo.

On August 10th and 11th, 1924, the remaining original members of the pre-Civil War Irish Republican Army Executive (that is those of them who had opposed and fought against the Treaty of Surrender in 1921), together with the co-opted members of the Executive during the Civil War (about 26 people in all), met secretly to review the past and decide policy for the future.

Ernie O' Malley was voted on the 'Sub-Commission Committee to the Executive for Emergency Consultative Purposes', and it was he who proposed the following motion, at this first post-Civil War general meeting of the Executive : 'That Volunteers be instructed not to recognise Free State and Six County Courts when charged with any authorised acts committed during the War or for any political acts committed since, nor can they employ legal defence except charged with an act liable to the death penalty.' This motion was passed unanimously, and that refusal to recognise those courts in one way or another lasted until the 1970's.

An important theme of his books is the treatment of republican prisoners , who were even then denied prisoner-of-war status : a concern for all IRA men unaccepted as political prisoners or prisoners-of-war, and all his life he supported their lonely cause. He himself had taken part in the mass hunger-strike of October/November 1923, although medically exempted and suffering intense pain from old wounds and bed sores, for the length of its 41 days and being one of the four in Kilmainham Jail who had wanted to continue.

While in exile in America, Ernie O' Malley's diaries showed support for the republican prisoners in the Free State, of whom he wrote - " ...who are there for the very same reason that the men we read of and revere were imprisoned ." Back in Ireland, at a meeting in 1939 of the Irish Academy of Letters, he voted in favour of Peadar O' Donnell's motion that a concert be organised to support dependants of IRA prisoners - not surprisingly the motion was rejected. His was the drama and sacrifice of a really doctrinaire republican - a very brave man, at once ruthless and sensitive, whose contrasting traits of character are well revealed in his autobiographical writings. He was very nearly killed in November 1922 when Free State troops besieged his headquarters, ensuring ill health that affected him for the rest of his life and very likely resulted in his comparatively early death, aged 57.

But while not shirking the possibility of death in action, he fought for military victory, and for a time believed that it was possible. An old Ulster proverb says it is easy to sleep on another man's wound : there are many in Ireland today who rest cruelly or carelessly on the hardships and sufferings of brave men and women who fought and still fight for their country's freedom. The only books Ernie O' Malley wrote were about the Irish wars and it is in those that he should be most remembered.

Ernie O' Malley's book 'On Another Man's Wound' records the war against the British forces from 1916 until the calling of the 'Truce' in July 1921 and is told by one who volunteered for Oglaigh na hEireann in 1917 and by 1921 was Officer Commanding of the 2nd Southern Division and, later, Assistant Chief of Staff in the Civil War. It is an exciting read, always enthralling, beautifully written, and far and away the best of the Tan War books.

Ernie O' Malley was brave and energetic in his total dedication to the Republic as proclaimed in Easter Week 1916 : his personal adventures, dramatic and varied, are an integral part of the wider significances of the national struggle. Unlike some of his companions who later called themselves 'the Old IRA' or 'the Neutral IRA', he did not change his republican beliefs - indeed, he recognised that some Irish have always helped in the conquest (those people and groups are what we on this blog refer to as 'service providers' ; they can be found everywhere, in all walks of life, and cohabit with each other in the posh halls and corridors of Leinster House and Stormont, to name but two such venues).

During the 'National Emergency' years of World War Two, de Valera himself was very keen to have so famous a fighter as Ernie O' Malley join the Free State army and pressure was put on him to follow many renowned republicans into its ranks . O' Malley asked - "Would I have to inform on my former comrades and work against them? But of course! Join? Certainly not!" And that was that. Indeed, only a month or so before his last illness he was writing in his diary - "I can never see a peeler without feeling uneasy.."

Hopefully, Ernie O' Malley's books should fire the imagination of a new generation of Irish republicans. In so many ways 'On Another Man's Wound' relates to what is happening today between the British and Irish nations. It is tragic that his wartime experiences should remain so pertinent but, nevertheless, those experiences are a source of guidance and encouragement to those who continue the struggle today. That book is one to convert the unbeliever and to inform the ignorant, just as Ernie O' Malley himself turned to republicanism at Easter 1916 when as a young medical student he witnessed Padraig Pearse reading the Proclamation outside the GPO in Dublin and then followed the subsequent events of the Rising.

His well-to-do family never discussed national politics at home - his elder brother was an officer in the British Army and died in that service, but Ernie devoted the best years of his life to the fight for the Irish Republic, so that in 1923 the Sinn Féin news-sheets claimed that he had '..perhaps the greatest individual record during the Tan War and was one of the bravest soldiers who ever fought for the independence of Ireland.' He wanted to show the struggle of a mainly unarmed people against the might of an 'empire' and his book pays constant tribute to the heroism of a risen people.

He was famed for his own courage, although like the truly brave he freely admitted to feelings of fear and inadequacy. Undeterred by mass condemnations from the British and their Irish allies, by newspapers and professional politicians and by the Catholic Hierarchy, between 1919 and 1921 the Irish Republican Army waged a war that also involved shooting 'policemen', executing British Officers, burning buildings, punishing spies and informers - in short, all those actions which Westminster and Leinster House vie with each other in condemning today. And Ernie O' Malley was very active in all such actions.

Ernie O' Malley was very active in attacks on British Army barracks, ambushes, raids and always in organisation and leadership crucial for the building of a people's army. He fought the Auxiliaries, an elite group of ex-BA officers attached to the RIC - a sort of 1920 SAS. He admitted that the RIC had "the guts to stick it out" but insisted "we can't admire Irishmen who fight for foreigners against us." His books are still useful handbooks for contemporary guerrillas.

A significant section of 'On Another Man's Wound' concerns his eventual capture by British forces in Inistioge, County Kilkenny, on 9th December 1920 (a notebook found on him had the names of all the members of the 7th Battalion IRA (Callan) of the West Kilkenny brigade - many of whom were subsequently arrested) and the torture and imprisonment he underwent at the hands of the British Army, including his interrogation ordeal in Dublin Castle, the 'Castlereagh of the Tan War'. Threatened with hanging for an action he did not commit, in the midst of brutal questioning, Ernie O' Malley replied - "With us hanging is no disgrace." It is a revealing line, and one which puzzled his British torturers, who never will understand the mentality, motivation and moral strength of their opponents.

The prison chapters of his books illustrate how he and his comrades defied the prison system and bewildered their guards who, as O' Malley stated, "..had been told that we were murderers. That meant an image from a Sunday newspaper - twitching hands and furtive walk, or sullen hardness. They heard us laugh and sing, rag and annoy each other, joke and refuse to take prison regulations seriously.." But he pays tribute, too, to those who showed humanity to prisoners, which makes his verdicts on the others and on the British caste system all the more convincing.

After an historic escape from Kilmainham Jail on the 14th February 1921, Ernie O' Malley returned to the Martial Law areas and an intensified war campaign, until he was first baffled, then broken-hearted by the truce called in July 1921. One of the grimmest incidents had taken place one month previously, when Ernie O' Malley, as Officer Commanding of the IRA Division involved, had taken it upon himself to execute three captured British Army officers because "..any officers we capture in this area are to be shot until such time as you cease shooting your prisoners.."

He wanted the Irish Republican Army to have status abroad, rather than be hidden behind the image of a suffering colonial people. As he bluntly put it to his affronted superiors later in 1921 - "We (the IRA) had never consulted the feelings of the people. If so, we would never have fired a shot. If we gave them a good strong lead, they would follow." If his books were required reading in schools and universities, instead of the shoneen or revisionist or simply non-existent versions of modern Irish history, then the people of Ireland would be better prepared to achieve a true independence. As Ernie O' Malley wrote of the best of the IRA recruits, in words that typify his own unyielding spirit - "At times one came across a man who had been born free. There was no explaining it. One just accepted and thanked God in wonder!"

Ernie O' Malley's two books are best read together : it is in 'The Singing Flame' that the British faces fade and are replaced by Irish counterparts and the high noon of summer darkens to the Mulcahy/Cosgrave years. Of course 'The Singing Flame' is partisan ; one intended by its author as support for the republican tradition - with the 'cult' of 1916 transformed into the 'cult' of 1922, where the Four Courts of Dublin stands in place of the GPO. It is also an exciting story, full of incidents and answering some questions that had been posed for half a century ; relating his Civil War days as Assistant Chief of Staff in Dublin where he commanded future Fianna Fail ministers like Sean Lemass and Tom Derrig, while leading a hunted existence in a city resembling Belfast of the 1970's.

The second of the books also has clear lessons for today, containing many parallels and the same abuse and falsified arguments used against the republicans then as now. In the early days of the Civil War, Ernie O' Malley and his IRA Company heard a priest at Mass denounce them as looters and murderers : "The Hand of God was against us.." , according to the priest, he said. His officers wanted to walk out, but he motioned them to remain ; "If we were going to be insulted when we could not hit back, we might as well be dignified. It was good to get out in the fresh air again."

He could have accepted power and privilege under the Free State but he remained faithful to the Republic and rejected both the 1921 Treaty and de Valera's alternative Document No. 2. He told a Free State general, J.J. 'Ginger' O' Connell, at the time of the Treaty debates - "You'll have to fight in our area if you are false to your oath. That's where you'll meet with immediate and terrible war."The irony was pointed : Lloyd George had threatened an "immediate and terrible war" if the Treaty was not accepted.

True to his word, when the 1921 Treaty was ratified, Ernie O' Malley's Second Southern Division IRA was the first to renounce its allegiance to both IRA GHQ and Dail Eireann : in the war against the Staters, Ernie O' Malley was (Acting) Assistant Chief of Staff to Liam Lynch and was also Officer Commanding of the Ulster and Leinster Commands. Liam Lynch was in the South/Cork area while Ernie O' Malley remained based in the enemy's stronghold of Dublin. He wrote of waging a guerrilla warfare that, this time, for him, was urban based rather than rural and, when asked by a journalist why the IRA were still fighting, he replied : "I think they think they're fighting for a younger generation." Ernie O' Malley was 24 years of age at that time.

He himself knew that he was fighting imperialists, both British and Irish varieties, and believed that the Free State Cabinet and a few Catholic bishops should not be immune from the war. He also recognised and acknowledged the great support given to the republican cause by Cumann na mBan and other Irish republican women, and one feature of his books is the courage, strength and involvement of such women. As he wrote - "During the Tan War the girls had always helped but they had never sufficient status. Now they were our comrades, loyal, willing and incorruptible comrades. Indefatigable, they put the men to shame by their individual zeal and initiative."

His book 'The Singing Flame' reveals much of Free State treachery and covers inside stories of the critical months before the IRA attack on the Four Courts began, and he paints a vivid picture of the war. But perhaps the most important pages are the prison chapters, detailing the scenes of prison life in Portobello Barracks, in Mountjoy, in Kilmainham Jail and in the Curragh internment camps, highlighting the deaths of comrades and the hunger-strike. Despite his wounds (hit over 20 times by Free State gunfire), the threats of execution, and a wasting sickness worsened by forty-one days on hunger-strike, Ernie O' Malley was a leading challenge to "..the petty automatons that help to keep one captive..". Some of his most inspiring passages in 'The Singing Flame' concern that 'other war' that prisoners fought : in jail.

Then as now, Irish republican prisoners fought against criminalisation and for prisoner-of-war status : as Ernie O' Malley wrote - "Free men cannot be kept in jail, for their spirits are free. In our code, it is the duty of prisoners to prove that they cannot be influenced by their surroundings. Make the enemy feel a jailer but be free yourself." An appendix of prison letters documents that spirit of defiance. Not surprisingly, O' Malley was the last republican leader to be released from the Curragh in July 1924, although he had been confined to bed with his many wounds for most of his imprisonment : despite medical operations, he carried in his body five bullets to the grave.

When 'The Singing Flame' was published in 1978, twenty-one years after his death, the chief political book reviewer of 'The Irish Times' newspaper saw Ernie O' Malley as "..the unrepentant Fenian and perhaps even as the very first Provisional.." ('1169' comment : we disagree - O' Malley fought against the Free Staters and Westminster, he didn't administer political or military 'control' on their behalf.) Ernie O' Malley was one of the bravest, most idealistic, most dedicated and determined of socialist republican fighters, ruthless against imperialism, but chivalrous in war.

On the 30th June 1922, Ernie O' Malley, as Officer Commanding of his IRA Garrison, most unwillingly surrendered the destroyed Four Courts in Dublin : when Free State officers accused him of deliberately causing the fire and the great explosion that had wrecked the building, he denied that republicans had set off a mine - "It was the spirit of freedom lighting a torch. I'm glad she played her part." Two years before he died he wrote - "The spirit of freedom is immeasurable and its strength can suddenly increase in unexpected ways."

The time will come when through that Spirit of Freedom the Irish Republic will not just be realised in the mind, and then the epitaphs of those like Ernie O' Malley and Bobby Sands and Francis Hughes can indeed, together with that of Robert Emmet, be truly written, as part of a living tradition.

(This is an edited version of an article we first posted here in 2008.)





'FORCE : MORAL OR PHYSICAL...?'

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

Out of O'Connell's moral force was begotten the 'Irish Parliamentary Party' ; out of the 'Young Ireland' movement was begotten the Republican Brotherhood and the Rising of 1916.

Britain, by ruthlessness and intrigue, crushed the flowering of freedom and imposed by force - the threat of immediate and terrible war - the partition of our country and the disunity of our people.

We do not doubt the sincerity of Mr. Cosgrave and his colleagues when they advocate the use of "moral pressure". We do not doubt the sincerity of any Irishman who advocates policies different from ours. But we do doubt their wisdom. In the face of present-day realities, in the face of our history and our traditions, there can be only one wise national policy - to break the connection with England, and be prepared to meet British force with Irish force when necessary.

(END of 'Force : Moral or Physical?' ; NEXT - 'Talk, Force and Politicians', from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE - 26TH MAY - IN THE FOLLOWING YEARS :

On the 26th May 1798 – United Irishman Rebellion : The rebels are defeated at Tara Hill ; this marks the end of the rebellion in Co Meath. Rebellion begins in Co Wexford. Fr John Murphy and local people confront the Camolin yeomanry at The Harrow. Thomas Bookey, Lieutenant of the yeomanry, is killed.

On the 26th May 1919 – Members of (the 32-County) Dáil Éireann sent a statement concerning 'Ireland’s Case for Independence' to the Paris Peace Conference.

On the 26th May 1919 – Capture and destruction at Ticknock, Co Dublin of military field kitchen and 2 mules in the charge of 2 unarmed soldiers, by members of the 3rd Battalion Dublin Brigade IRA.

On the 26th May 1921 – Attack on Naval base and wireless station Dún Laoghaire. When the attack was in progress one hour, a (British) armoured car leading a party of troops from the naval base advanced up Marine road. Another party from the wireless station proceeded from Clarence St. Both patrols were attacked on the way and shortly after capturing Georges St. they (British patrols) clashed and opened fire on each other. They suffered some killed and 5 wounded before they realised their mistake.

On the 26th May 1954 – Birth of Mickey Devine, a volunteer of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) who died on the 1981 hunger strike.

THE ACTRESS AND THE IRA MAN.

On the 26th May 1979 – Death of actor, George Brent (pictured, with Bette Davis). Born in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, during the Irish War of Independence, Brent was part of the IRA. He fled Ireland with a bounty set on his head by the British government, although he later claimed only to have been a courier for guerrilla leader and tactician Michael Collins. He eventually moved to Hollywood, and made his first film in 1930. Highly regarded by Bette Davis, he became her most frequent male co-star, appearing with her in 13 films :

'...(she) wrote about Brent as a courier for Collins, but also about his second job as Collins' doppelganger. "In Dublin," she wrote, '..his most convincing double was a young actor George Brendan Nolan. A tall, well-built young man that fit Collins’s official description, Nolan was interested in the stage but was also a full member of the Fianna Éireann. For many months he played the dangerous but successful role of stand-in for Ireland’s most wanted man. He would conspicuously attend a public meeting or event as a 'Big Fella' in expensive suits and, since the (British) authorities were never quite sure what Collins looked like, they would follow him, thereby leaving the real leader free to go about his business.


Then, suddenly, in 1920, Brent disappeared. "Dublin Castle issued a warrant for Nolan’s arrest that charged him with treason against the state, a crime punishable by execution, Collins’s spies immediately informed the leader who thus arranged Nolan’s urgent, secret escape out of Cobh harbor in County Cork. As the Black and Tans thundered through the quiet village of Watergrasshill, just 12 miles away, bent on arresting Nolan, he was already bound for New York and a new life. They had missed their quarry by only a few hours..." (from here.)

'George Brent' was born George Patrick Nolan, in Galway, on the 15th March 1904 ; he died in Solana Beach, in California, on the 26th of May, 1979, 42 years ago on this date.

Thanks for reading,

Sharon.








Monday, May 24, 2021

THE HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS AND THE IRA MAN...

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE...!

BREAKING NEWS!!

EXCLUSIVE TO THIS BLOG!!!

A world-renowned Hollywood actress and an IRA man on the run ; on Wednesday, 26th May 2021, we'll be breaking our silence on this story.

We received information about the actress and the IRA man last week and have been, since then, verifying the details through other sources and we are 100% certain of our facts.

The actress in question will be forever associated with the elite of Hollywood and rightly so, in our opinion, as she has earned her stripes and proved her worth in the dozens of films she has starred in, with 'top billing', deservedly so, but the piece we will be posting here on Wednesday, 26th May 2021, will no doubt come as a surprise and a shock to most if not all of our readers.

The IRA man with whom she gladly associated was so effective at what he done for the cause of Irish freedom, having first been trained in Na Fianna Éireann, that the British Government charged him with 'treason'( punishable by 'execution'), put a price on his head and sent one of their paramilitary gangs to kill him. His Irish republican comrades were aware that that had happened and managed to get him safely out of the country...

Names will be named and all will be explained here on Wednesday, 26th May, 2021.

Thanks for reading, see ya on Wednesday!

Sharon.








Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A REBEL IRISH 'LORD' AND TWO INFORMERS.

ON THIS DATE (19TH MAY) 112 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF OWEN LANCELOT 'SKEFF'.

The inscription on the Sheehy Skeffington headstone reads - 'Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Rose Skeffington, born Magorrian in Ballykinlar, Co. Down. Died at Ranelagh, Dublin 16th April 1909.

And Francis Sheehy Skeffington her son / murdered in Portobello Barracks April 26th, 1916 and his wife Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, Feminist, Republican, Socialist, Born May 1878 / Died April 1946.

And their son Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington, born May 19th 1909, died June 7th, 1970 who, like them, sought truth / taught reason and knew compassion.'


Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington was born in Lower Leeson Street, in Dublin, on the 19th May 1909 - 112 years ago on this date - into a politically and socially active family (both his parents were in agreement that the child should not be baptised as they were not fully supportive of any particular structured religion) : his father, Francis, was executed by firing squad in Easter Week, 1916, on orders issued by 'guilty-but-insane' British Army Captain J.C. Bowen-Colthurst and his mother, Johanna Mary 'Hanna', was a social activist and a supporter of the 'Irregulars' (although she did briefly flirt, politically, with Fianna Fáil, when they were first spawned).

When he was three years young, his father took him to Mountjoy Jail, in Dublin, to visit his mother, who was a 'guest' in that institution for a couple of months, having upset the 'political establishment' by her actions in defence of women's rights : the favour was returned two years later when his mother took him to the same prison to visit his father, who was 'guesting' there in payment for his part in the anti-conscription campaign!

As a young man, Owen was educated in America and in Sandford Park School in Dublin and supported himself by teaching the French language in Trinity College in Dublin where he made a name for himself as '...a brilliant orator, a fearless champion of civil and human rights, and an inspiring teacher, known simply and affectionately to generations of Trinity students as 'Skeff'...'

He involved himself in Free State politics and sat in the State Senate on a number of occasions between 1954 and the year he died (from a heart attack), 1970. He would not have found much 'truth, reason and/or compassion' in that institution.







'AITHBHEOCHAINT NA GAEDHILGE.'

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



Ní gá annseo a rá go bhfuil an sprid náisiúnta lag. Tá sé chómh dona agus a bhí riamh - muna bhfuil sé níos mease. Faoi láthair tá an tír múchta i nGalldachas agus má leannann an sceal mar atá bhféidir nach fada go mbeidh ar Náis iúntacas chómh marbh le h-Art - agus cé raghaidh chun na socraide?

Sé an locht is mó na nach dtuigeann fiú amháin na daoine ar a dtugtar 'fior-Ghaedhil' an ceist i gceart.

National Apostacy - what led to this national apostacy? One thing only, a shallow and perverted interpretation of Ireland's claim to sovereignty! If they have had the audacity to tell you, as they have, that Ireland is free, or worse still, that "this part" (a cursed phrase) of Ireland is free, is it not obvious that such people have a compromisable notion of 'freedom'?

How can we expect them to approach Aithbheochaint na Gaedhilge in the true spirit...? (MORE LATER.)







ON THIS DATE (19TH MAY) 223 YEARS AGO : 'REBEL IRISH LORD' CAPTURED BY THE BRITISH.

'Lord' Edward Fitzgerald (pictured) was born on the 15th October 1763, in Carton House, County Kildare ; he was the 12th child of the first 'Duke' of Leinster and Emilia Mary, who was the daughter of the 'Duke' of Richmond.

At 16 years young he joined the 'Sussex Militia' and was posted to America on 'active service' - he was severely wounded at the battle of Eutaw Springs, when he was 18 years young (in 1781) and returned to Ireland. At 25 years young he went to Canada and re-joined the British Army, following which 'adventure' he again returned to Ireland and was elected as M.P. for Kildare.

The events at a political 'Dinner Party' which he attended one night was to have a profound effect on his 'career', as his refusal to hide his 'rebel streak' had immediate consequences ; he joined in a toast to the abolition of hereditary titles and was, shortly afterwards, 'cashiered' (ie "discharged with ignominy") from the British Army (and from the 'Establishment' ie 'those that dinner-partied'!).

He went to Paris in 1792, at 29 years young and, two days after Christmas that year, he married a 19-years-young girl, Pamela, thought to be the daughter of Mme de Genlis. It was generally accepted that Pamela's father was the 'Duke' of Orleans - a 'family connection' which was to re-bound on Edward Fitzgerald a few years later (incidentally - while in Paris, 'Lord' Edward Fitzgerald stayed with a certain Mr. Thomas Paine, pictured.)

In 1793, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald returned to Dublin and lived in Frascati House in Blackrock ; three years later (ie 1796), 'Lord' Edward Fitzgerald travelled to Basel in France with Arthur O'Connor and Wolfe Tone to seek assistance with an armed Rising against the British ; but his above-mentioned 'family connections' were raised at a meeting with the French military - he got a 'frosty' reception from the French because his wife was considered to be connected to the 'Royalists'!

However, the honesty of his political conviction became obvious to the hosts, and his statement to them (the 'French Directory') that the strength of the United Irishmen organisation stood at approximately 280,000 armed men helped convince them to send assistance - the 'Hoche Expedition'

Edward Fitzgerald was not with the rest of the leadership of the United Irishmen organisation in March 1798 at the home of Oliver Bond in Bridge Street, Dublin, when the British raided and 'arrested' those within, acting on information sold to them by the informer Thomas Reynolds. When British Major Henry Sirr (pictured) realised that Fitzgerald was not amongst those captured, he offered a 'bounty' of £1,000 for information leading to his capture.

Edward Fitzgerald ('wanted for treason') went 'on-the-run' but, two months later (ie on May 19th, 1798 - 223 years ago on this date) Major Sirr's men raided a house on Thomas Street, in Dublin (after receiving information from another informer, Francis Magan) where Fitzgerald was staying ; a struggle ensued, during which Edward Fitzgerald shot one of his attackers dead but was himself shot in the arm - he died, apparently from that wound, in Newgate Prison, on the 4th June 1798, at 35 years young.





NO RIGHT OF APPEAL...



Why the media consensus on a broad range of issues is increasingly disturbing.

By John Drennan.

From 'Magill' Annual, 2002.

However, as smiling refugee children were featured on every bulletin, there was a relative absence in coverage of any of the World Trade Centre funerals.

Sadly, the station's slip continued apace as it described Mr bin Laden as a "Saudi dissident". Apparently, over in Montrose, Mr bin Laden is no more sinister a figure than Peter Weir. The next threat came from an ogre called Desmond Connell - himself a dissident against the new clerical ethic of keeping one's gob shut - who is such a threat to society that he has been the subject of two media scandals this year.

"Bejaysus", sez the plain people of Ireland, "he must be a terrible important man indeed to be pulled up so constantly by them journalist fellas..." Er, no - he's actually the leader of an embattled religious minority now that consumerist secularism has become the state religion. As liberals, we really should be championing his right to free speech...

(MORE LATER.)







ON THIS DATE (19TH MAY) 124 YEARS AGO : OSCAR WILDE RELEASED FROM PRISON.

On the 19th May 1897 - 124 years ago on this date - Oscar Wilde was released from prison ; he had been given a sentence of two years hard labour for gross indecency - homosexuality - which was illegal in Britain at the time. His 'relationship' with 'Lord' Alfred Douglas was the 'sin' involved.

Oscar was forty years old at the time, and the 'Lord' Alfred was sixteen years his junior but knew how to manipulate circumstances and individuals. He was of slim build, said to be handsome and used his demeanour to balance his feckless attitude towards finances and other people's feelings in general. And poor Oscar was taken in by him, as were young boys and other men, when the 'Lord' strutted his stuff in Oxford.

After his release, Oscar was given a temporary roof over his head by a socially-conscienced and open-minded man of the cloth, Stewart Headlam, as interesting a character as Oscar Wilde was ; he was married to a lesbian (Beatrice Pennington) and also maintained 'close relations' with known homosexuals William Johnson and C.J. Vaughan, among others ; '...he was a member of the Fabian Society, a Christian Socialist who attacked the wide gap between rich and poor and warned the working class that they should distrust middle-class reformers (and) he presented Jesus Christ as a revolutionary. He believed that that God's Kingdom on earth would replace a "competitive, unjust society with a co-operative and egalitarian social order.." ' (from here).

In prison, Oscar's health deteriorated due to his living conditions (he was not used to roughing it, in that particular manner) and, on his release, came to rely on alcohol to get him through the day. He died in Paris, on the 30th of November, 1900, at 46 years of age, from cerebral meningitis following an ear infection.

'Yes, death. Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace. You can help me. You can open for me the portals of death's house, for love is always with you, and love is stronger than death is..' - Oscar Wilde.







'FORCE : MORAL OR PHYSICAL?'

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

Mr Cosgrave at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis made quite clear the essential difference between the so-called 'nationalists' and the Republican Movement ; he stated that "...partition could only be ended speedily by the exercise of moral pressure and persuasion.."

One hundred and twenty years ago Daniel O'Connell misled the Irish people into acceptance of his policy of 'moral force' ; moral force did not prevent the ships laden with Irish wheat and oats leaving Ireland while the population was decimated by famine (sic) and emigration. John Mitchel, with clarion call, urged his countrymen to arm. Their wealth and lives were being stolen under the protection of British guns. Only guns could talk to guns.

The brave and the true of that generation rallied to Mitchel's call but, before they were properly organised, the British Government passed a new coercion act - 'Treason Felony' - to deal with the dangerous situation of Irishmen armed to resist British aggression. The question is - which policy was best for Ireland? O'Connell's moral force or Mitchel's physical force...? (MORE LATER.)

Thanks for reading,

Sharon.