Wednesday, July 16, 2014


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

The only body of opinion in Ireland that moved on the level of the pronouncement by His Holiness was the Orange Order, which influenced a body of Orangemen to go to the aid of Captain Boycott, who was hard beset in Connaught : the Orangemen didn't bless the Pope on their travels but they were responsive to the same landlord and imperial influence as His Holiness. The Irish bishops, who knew that Leo X111's pronouncement did not contemplate the reality of the Irish political scene, sabotaged it.

From Leo X111 to his Lordship, Dr. Cohalan, Bishop of Cork - his Lordship of Cork, whether through tantrums or from political bias, declared the IRA unworthy of the sacraments in 1920 but the only response, in Cork, on the level of his pronouncement , came from the Black and Tans who promptly burned part of the city. The priests of Cork disowned their bishop in conversation and ignored him in the Confessional.

There is more excuse for their Lordship's bewilderment in 1931 than in 1922 - they were the victims of a scare in 1931 but in 1922 they went to battle in full possession of their wits, political partisans of the Irish middle class. The Republic never meant anything to them. Their pastorals should be put into the same course of study as the newspaper editorials of that day to form, with those editorials, the literature of reaction in a period in Irish history , one deriving from religion as little as the other. (MORE LATER).


By Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.

Taken on those terms, the majority verdict of the jury can only be seen as a resounding victory for Paddy McGrory, the lawyer for the next of kin whose eloquent and searching performance was one of the few uplifting things about this inquest, even if his tactics on occasion seemed a bit puzzling. Given the hugely British ethos which permeates Gibraltar and the massive emotive value of the fact that the IRA seemingly intended to place a massive 140lb car bomb adjacent to a school housing all of Gibraltar's children between the ages of four and nine, persuading eighteen per cent of a Gibraltarian jury that Mairead Farrell, Daniel McCann and Séan Savage were not lawfully killed is no mean achievement.

The other resounding thing about the inquest was the coroner himself, Felix Pizzarello who, however sticky the wicket sometimes appeared, seemed intent above all on upholding the integrity of Gibraltarian justice in the eyes of the world. From early on he showed himself to be no pushover, maintaining throughout that his inquest would be meaningless if, as was widely circulating, the SAS soldiers involved would not appear. Even if they did appear, he intimated at a pre-inquest hearing, the limitations his court would have to labour under might make it impossible for the truth to emerge.

In enpanelling the jury, Mr. Pizzarello appeared to be doing his utmost to balance the odds ; he could, according to the rules, have chosen any number of jurors between seven and eleven, but by opting for the maximum number he increased the possibility of a majority as opposed to a unanimous verdict. From time to time there appeared the semblance of what could be taken for a rapport between Pizzarello and McGrory - he seemed to have a genuine sympathy for the predicament McGrory frequently found himself in with the Crown's 'Public Interest Immunity' certificates, and more often than not liberally interpreted the spirit rather than the letter of the law. Occasionally, too, in the stickiness of the courtroom, he permitted himself a dry laugh at Paddy McGrory's wry humour. On a couple of occasions Mr. Pizzarello made what just might have been Freudian slips with regard to his personal views of the case, on one occasion causing a perturbed Michael Hucker, representing Soldiers 'A' to 'G' , to rise and complain that he was "a bit concerned by Your Honour's use of the term 'scene of the crime'....". (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House-the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12'of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender',which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' ,the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!(PART 12)

Rather than be alarmed at the 20,000-strong UVF organisation , the British were considering using it for their own advantage - the RIC was in favour of such a move by Westminster ; on the 9th November 1921 , the Divisional Commissioner of the RIC in the Six Counties , a Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham , stated , in a 'secret' circular which he sent to other RIC bosses in the Six Counties - "Owing to the number of reports which have been received as to the growth of unauthorised Loyalist defence forces , the (British) Government have under consideration the desirability of obtaining the services of the best elements of these organisations. They have decided that the scheme most likely to meet the situation would be to enrol all who volunteer and are considered suitable into Class 'C' (of the 'Special Constabulary') and to form them into regular military units. There is no necessity to produce the maximum possible number of units ; what is required is to ensure that every unit recommended for formation can be constituted from a reliable section of the population." ('1169...' Comment : for "reliable" , read 'Unionist' .)

Note how the supposed 'neutral' RIC described the UVF paramilitary organisation as a "... loyalist defence force ... a reliable section of the population .." - the British were then, and still are today, 'in charge' of said Loyalist paramilitary organisations, and use them to carry-out 'jobs' which Westminster wants done, but not 'officially'. Also , about two weeks after 'Sir' Wickham wrote and dispatched his 'secret' circular, a copy of it found its way into the hands of Michael Collins who, on 23rd November 1921, whilst attending Treaty negotiations with the British in London , produced it to the startled British and told them it may very well signal the end of the 'negotiations'.

Westminster called in its top man in the Six Counties - 'Sir' James Craig, the Stormont 'Prime Minister' - and told him that the 'secret' circular would have to be withdrawn ; Craig then instructed his 'Minister for Home Affairs' , a Mr. Richard Dawson Bates (a UVF man himself) to withdraw the circular. However, by way of a 'two-fingered salute' to his political masters in Westminster, when he returned to Belfast, Craig increased the number of 'A Specials' by 700 men and the 'B Specials' by 5,000 men! If they could'nt 'hire' "... from a reliable section of the population ..." in one way, then they'd find another way to do it! Colonel 'Sir' Charles Wickham, Divisional Commissioner of the RIC in the Six Counties, had an interesting background - a Brit through and through ....... (MORE LATER).


Pat Cannon (left),Dublin, and Peter McElchar ,Donegal.

In 1955 , the year in which Pat Cannon was born , splits were occurring in the IRA, as several small groups, impatient for action, launched their own attacks in the Occupied Six Counties. One such activist, Brendan O'Boyle, blew himself up with his own bomb in the summer of that year. Another, Liam Kelly, founded a breakaway group 'Saor Uladh' ('Free Ulster') and in November 1955, attacked a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) barracks at Roslea in County Fermanagh. One RUC man was badly injured and a Republican fighter was killed in the incident. In August of the following year, Kelly and another ex-IRA man , Joe Christle, burned down some customs posts on the border.

In the UK general election of 1955, Sinn Féin candidates were elected MPs for the Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituencies in the Occupied Six Counties, with a total of 152,310 votes. The following is the Election Manifesto that the then Sinn Féin organisation put to the people :

Sinn Féin election manifesto, Westminster Elections - 1955.

The following document was published by Sinn Féin in 1955:


In the Election of 1918 the Irish People, by an overwhelming majority repudiated the claims of England and her parliament to rule them and they established the Irish Republic which was proclaimed in arms in 1916. The Republican Government and State then established were later overthrown by England and the nation was partitioned into two statelets. The cardinal objective of the Irish People is the restoration of the Republic thus unlawfully subverted.

The resurgent confidence of Irish men and women in their own strength and ability to achieve the full freedom of their country and the right of its citizens to live in peace, prosperity and happiness has enabled Sinn Féin to contest all 12 seats in this Election and give an opportunity to our people in the Six Counties to vote for Ireland, separate and free.Sinn Féin candidates are pledged to sit only in a republican Parliament for all Ireland. Apart altogether from the futility of the procedure, sending representatives to an alien legislature is in effect attempting to give it semblance of authority to legislate for and govern the people of North-East Ulster. Sinn Féin candidates seek the votes of the electorate and the support of the Irish people as the representatives of the Republican Movement now on the onward march towards achievement of the National ideal -- the enthronement of the Sovereign Irish Republic.

The winning of seats in these elections will not be regarded by Sinn Féin as an end in itself, nor will the results, whatever they be, effect in any way the determination of Republicans to forge ahead towards their objective. Neither will the number of votes recorded for the Republican candidates be looked upon as something in the nature of a plebiscite affecting in any way the right of Ireland to full and complete freedom. That right is inalienable and non-judicable and must never be put in issue through referendum of a section of population nor of the people of the country at large. Through the medium of the election machinery, Sinn Féin aims at providing an opportunity for the electorate, in all constituencies, and for the people of the country to renew their allegiance to Ireland, and by their support of the Republican candidates demonstrate to England and to the world the right of an ancient and historic nation to its complete and absolute freedom and independence.

Sinn Féin has been charged with disruptionist tactics. The aim of Sinn Féin today as always is to secure unity of thought, purpose and deed in the achievement of separate nationhood. Bigotry, persecution and sectarianism have no place in the Sinn Féin programme. Republican policy has ever been to secure civil and religious freedom for the Irish Nation and the individual citizens.Ireland and all its resources belongs to the Irish people. Sinn Féin will, with the consent of the Irish people, organise and develop the resources of the nation for the benefit of its citizens irrespective of class or creed. The continued occupation of Ireland by England makes such development impossible, since England has succeeded in making effective in Ireland the Imperial dictum of "Divide and Conquer" thereby impoverishing not only the Irish people but the material resources of the country as well.

Sinn Féin appeals to all Irishmen to forget all past dissension's and to demonstrate by their support of the Sinn Féin candidates their opposition to English occupation and their determination to achieve National Independence.

Published by Sinn Féin Northern Election Committee, Divis Street, Belfast and printed by the Cromac Printery, Belfast.

The big news of that 1955 election was Sinn Fein’s two seats and its 23.6% of the vote. Sinn Fein’s two successful candidates in Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh & South Tyrone had been imprisoned for their part in the raid on Omagh. Philip Clarke and Thomas Mitchell were the successful Sinn Fein candidates for Fermanagh & South Tyrone and Mid Ulster respectively. However as they were serving prison sentences they were deemed ineligible to serve in the House of Commons. In that same year - 1955 - a child was born in Dublin on November 28th : he was one of a family of seven (three girls and four boys) and his name was Pat Cannon. He and his family lived in Edenmore, on the northside of Dublin city and he became a fitter/welder by trade. He joined the IRA whilst still a teenager and soon became a trusted member of that organisation.

On Saturday , 17th July 1976 , Pat Cannon , 5 months shy of his 21st birthday, and his comrade , Peter McElchar from Donegal ,set out in a car in which they were transporting an explosive device. They crossed the border from Donegal into Tyrone and were approaching the town of Castlederg at about 2.15pm when the device exploded prematurely. Peter McElchar was killed instantly. Patrick Cannon was gravely injured and was taken to Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh. He was being transferred to hospital in Belfast when he died.

The Annual Pat Cannon Commemoration will be held on Thursday 17th July (2014) - those attending are asked to assemble at 7pm at the gates of the old cemetery in Balgriffin , Dublin. All genuine Republicans welcome!


On Saturday, 26th of July, 2014, to mark the centenary of the Howth gun-running and Bachelors Walk Massacre which happened on the same day in 1914, the Sean Healy slua of na Fianna Éireann, Dublin, are holding commemoration gatherings both at Howth and Bachelors Walk. These events will begin at 12.45pm at Howth Pier where a short oration will be given by a Dublin member of Na Fianna Éireann, following which those present will parade into Dublin city centre and assemble, at 2.30pm, on Bachelors Walk, to remember the massacre that took place on that spot on the 26th of July in 1914. All genuine Irish republicans welcome!

In the early afternoon of Sunday, 26th July, 1914, a consignment of over one-thousand rifles and ammunition for same was landed at Howth harbour, in Dublin, and unloaded by the newly-formed 'Irish Volunteers', assisted by members of Na Fianna Éireann. On its way in to Dublin city, the republican convoy was halted by a force of about fifty British RIC 'policemen' and over one-hundred British soldiers from the 'Kings Own Scottish Borderers' , known as the 'Kosbies'. A large crowd of civilians gathered to watch the confrontation ; the Assistant British RIC Commissioner, William Harrell, approached the Republicans and demanded that their weapons be handed over. Two of the Rebel leaders, Thomas MacDonagh and Darrell Figgis, left the main body of armed republicans and marched over to Harrell and told him it was their understanding that he (Harrell) had no legal authority to issue such a demand!

While RIC Chief Harrell issued chapter and verse of how, and from whom, he derived his 'authority', the two Irish republicans were quoting him chapter and verse of why it was that his 'authority' was not valid in Ireland ; Harrell's RIC colleagues were lined-up on the road about ten feet behind him and the British 'KOSBIES' were, in turn, lined-up behind the RIC men- both groups were concentrating on the verbal sparring-match between Harrell, MacDonagh and Figgis. But the group of Irish republicans, standing in military formation behind MacDonagh and Figgis, had directed their concentration elsewhere : as the verbal disagreement continued, republicans at the very back of the gathering simply walked away in the opposite direction with their weapons under their coats and other men in the republican contingent handed their weapons to known members of the public who, again , walked off with the equipment under their coats!

Meanwhile, after about half-an-hour of trying to get the better of MacDonagh and Figgis, RIC Chief Harrell gave up and ordered his men, and the British military, to move-in and seize the guns - they got 19 of the 1000 rifles, the rest having been spirited away. The British were not amused, but the crowd that had gathered to watch the confrontation cheered, clapped and laughed at the RIC and the British KOSBIES, as the two British gangs formed-up for the march back into the city centre. Word of the incident had spread at this stage and a large number of the public decided to walk alongside the British, laughing and jeering at them. When the procession was about three miles from Dublin city centre, they were joined by about fifty more members of the KOSBIES who fell in behind their colleagues. Likewise, dozens of men, women and children - out for a Sunday walk - had heard about the 'disappearing rifles' and joined with their neighbours in walking beside the British, poking fun at them. It being a Sunday afternoon, families were out in force in the city and were lined-up along the Quays, having heard that the British military detachment was headed that way : people spilled-out from the old tram terminus on Bachelors Walk to view the spectacle.

The British were by now near breaking-point ; they were more accustomed to being feared or, at best , ignored, by the public, and were seething with rage now that they were being laughed at by them. An Officer in charge felt the same,and ordered one line of his men (approximately twenty soldiers) to halt and turn to face the jeering crowd ; when the soldiers had done as commanded, he instructed them to "ready weapons" and fire on the crowd, if he so ordered. It is not clear whether the order to "fire" was given or not but, regardless , the British did open fire. The people on the footpaths - men, women and children - were easy targets. Forty-one people were hit : a man in his mid-forties died on the spot, as did a woman in her early fifties, and a teenage boy. Of the other thirty-eight people, one died later. Such was the outcry from Ireland and abroad, the British Government decided to hold a so-called 'Commission of Inquiry' into the shooting and,in August that year (1914), that body announced its conclusion and, as expected, the 'Commission of Inquiry' was nothing of the sort. It amounted to a mere 'slap-on-the-wrist' for those who pulled the triggers. The 'Commission' simply stated that the actions of their gunmen on that day, Sunday, 26th July, 1914, was "....questionable and tainted with illegality.." and scolded their soldiers for "...a lack of control and discipline.." The British Army soldiers responsible for the massacre, the 'Kings Own Scottish Borderers', within hours following the shootings, found themselves even more reviled by the Irish than they had been - their very presence on the street now guaranteed trouble. They were shipped out of Ireland only days after the incident, to the Western Front. The Irish, meanwhile, had buried their dead : on 29th July, 1914, literally thousands of Irish people followed the coffins of those shot dead three days earlier and Dublin city came to a standstill as thousands upon thousands of people filled the footpaths along the funeral route, from the Pro-Cathedral to Glasnevin Cemetery. An armed Company of Irish Volunteers, with weapons reversed, led the mourners to the gravesides.

While the British political and military administrations claim jurisdiction over any part of Ireland, the incident outlined above can happen again. That British claim must be dropped and the armed thugs enforcing same must be re-called to their own country. Any other 'solution' only postpones a proper peace. See you on July 26th next!


Just as well it wasn't a game of ice hockey they were playing....!

The last fund-raising raffle I worked on for the Movement (8th June last) was busy enough - as they all are! - but I didn't mind, as myself and four friends were flying out to New York for a three-week holiday after it, so come what may I was on a 'winner'. On Sunday just gone - 13th July - we were back in the usual raffle venue for the July raffle and, despite having being 'warned' regarding the expected crowd due to it being 'World Cup Final' day (the last two teams that hadn't been knocked out of the tournament were playing against each other, apparently!) we were surprised to find a huge crowd inside the venue and a queue forming outside, even at 4pm! I could joke about our 'raffle table' being covered in towels but only Spanish holiday-makers might get it....

And now to the above-mentioned 'score' : newcomer (sub?!!) Luke, from Meath -his first time in the hotel- won our 3rd prize , worth €40 (stub 273) and the 6th prize , €20 (stub 279), and found it hard to believe that not only had he won the 3rd prize ("Swear to God, girls, if it wasn't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all...."!) but was struck silent (and that's saying something for a Meath man!) when he heard his name being called out for the second time. He apparently thought we were winding him up, so Jean from our table was dispatched to locate him , with his other prize envelope, and as it turned our she was right to head straight for the bar, where he was located, regaling anyone that would listen to him about his '40-nil' victory : no extra time needed for him to accept the correction to his 'score'!

Our 1st prize, €200, was won by Paul Dempsey on stub 241, a Wicklow man who just happened to be at the same table as another Wicklow person, Clare Tierney, who won our last prize (€20) on stub 258 , and were last seen comparing envelopes up at the bar, with Paul acting the gentleman by insisting that it was his round. It turned out that he didn't actually know Clare before they both found themselves up at the ref's table (!) but, once introduced, both seemed keen to discuss 'transfers'. The raffle crew, of course, got off-side immediately! A true reflection of just how successful this particular raffle has become was shown by the two friends that could only manage to get the one ticket between them, as our tickets proved harder to get than tickets for the final : the two lads, Paul and John, bought the last available ticket from our bus driver, Anthony, and it proved , for them, to be a raffle of two halves - their ticket, number 060, won them €100, our second prize , netting (!) each lad a handy €50!

Our 7th prize, €20, was won by Séan Madigan, from County Clare, on stub 411, Jack Morris, a Dublin man, also pocketed €20 when he won the 5th prize on stub 617 and A Mr. Vincent Duffy also won €20 on stub 468 when he won our 4th prize. Myself and the other members of the raffle team stayed on in the hotel for a meal and a few drinks, but we sent ourselves off (!) at about 7pm, as we didn't want to score an own-goal (groan!) by waiting around until the 'stadium' emptied. Besides, by then, we were the real 'winners' of the monthly match we had just played, during which we handed-out envelopes as opposed to yellow or red cards. And as well as that, some panel or other were (boringly!) discussing the match , on television, that was about to start and, following said discussion (which seemed to be not only pointless but never-ending!) , two hours (or more?) of soccer was going to be screened. All balls, balls and more balls!

Thanks for reading , Sharon.