“Dearest Br. Miceal,

Thanks ever so much. I really can’t find words to explain adequately my gratitude for your prompt response to my appeal for some cash. I have been very hard up for many things especially smokes and of course I would not ask anyone – besides, I could never bring myself to beg. I am much cheered by the news that Cork is now with us in the fight. I always expected that and should it be a fight to a finish I shall die happy in the thought that my bones will moulder in its confines.

I asked you for to arrange that I should be buried by my old chief’s side in Fermoy. My heart is so set on the freedom (of my people) that my spare moments are always devoted to devising ways and means to expedite that Glorious Dawn. With that object in view I have decided that if Mallow Republicans provide a Republican Plot in the new Cemetery near the railway, I shall order my interment there instead of at Fermoy, as the latter place has enough in L. Lynch’s and FitzGerald’s graves to keep aflame the burning torch of Freedom. Matter wants something in its midst to counter the awful shoneenism that permeates its walls and I came to the conclusion that if I can no longer alive take the same active part in the battle I may at least in my mouldering grave do still some little to help those who come after me with that object in view.

I ordered that nothing should be inscribed besides my name by way of epitaph. Over my remains but the simple motto of my late life work. When the Republic so estated functioning and duly recognised then, but not till then, let men dare to eulogise my name in cold press over my grave. Then too will Lynch’s and Emmet’s blazon forth. This is rather gruesome but one so often thinks of the apparent inevitable in this struggle that it becomes quite secondary, thoughts of the spiritual world.

In the latter line I am quite at peace, prepared and content. There will be no swerving from the straight rugged path to the goal. I set the motto for the strike, ‘Freedom or Death’. I am Prison Adjutant now and by long ways the strongest man on the strike even though judging by the looseness of my clothes I must have dropped at least 3 stone weight. There are 124 of us on strike now. A large number were shifted to the various camps and many of the leaders were taken from here to Kilmainham. It is all alike to us, we carry on. Of course some weak ones have given in. About 60 out of the total here have gone off and taken food on a promise of release. Immediately they were strong enough in hospital they were thrown back into C wing just as they were before the strike and told they could not be released until a big batch was ready.

Fr. James McCabe came up when they heard of my being on Hunger Strike and with his friend went to G.H.L and found they have me held on suspicion only but have no evidence and would release me if I went off strike and signed the usual form. Of course Fr. James asked me to do this and I sent him out the definite reply NEVER! At the same time my profuse thanks for his trouble in my behalf. Well, I must close this long winded letter. Remember the change, Mallow instead of Fermoy, in case I do. Undying Love,

Your Aff Br., Andy.”

– the last letter (above) that Cavan-born IRA hunger-striker Andrew Sullivan (pictured, above) sent to his brother, Miceal (Michael) : it was sent on the 7th November 1923, 95 years ago on this date. Andrew Sullivan (aka Andy O’Sullivan), 5th Battalion, Cork 4th Brigade, was one of three IRA men to die on hunger-strike in 1923 – he was 41 years of age at the time (the other two men were Joe Witty, 19 years young, and Dennis Barry, 40 years of age ; Joe died on the 2nd September that year, and Dennis died on the 20th November).

‘Captain Andrew Sullivan was born in Denbawn, County Cavan in 1882, the oldest of eight children born to Michael Sorahan and Mary Smith…he eventually became the agricultural inspector for the Mallow area, County Cork and held that position for many years. During the War of Independence Sullivan was the Commanding Officer for Civil Administration in the North Cork area and later in the 1st Southern Cork division…a supporter of the anti-Treaty side during the Irish Civil War, he was arrested and interred on July 5, 1923. Between 1922 and 1923, hundreds of others in all parts of Ireland were arrested by the (*) British controlled Irish police force (*), without any charge, and were kept in the prisons and internment camps without trial…in the Autumn of 1923 the conditions in the prisons grew worse and the men and women were being treated as convicts rather than political prisoners. To protest their imprisonment and bring public attention to the cruelty they were receiving, the only ‘tool’ they felt they had at their disposal was a hunger strike…’ (from here).

(*)– an accurate description, in our opinion, but the timeline would show that, ‘officially’, at least, the then existing ‘police force’ would be acting under instruction from the then ‘new’ Free State administration in Leinster House rather than ‘officially’ taking orders from Westminster. However, as republicans know (and history has since attested to) that ‘police force’ was a proxy force for Westminster – as, indeed, was the Leinster House ‘parliament’ that established that ‘police force’- so the description ‘British controlled Irish police force’ is, as we said, accurate. Also, as regards the POW’s being treated as convicts, one of the prisoners, Alfred McLoughlin, who was interned for a year without being told why, managed to get a letter published in ‘The Irish Times’ newspaper in which he wrote – “I slept on bare boards in the Curragh military prison for five nights..I was handcuffed night and day..I was threatened, with a gun, several times, that I would be shot..”.

W.B. Yeats, Lord Granard and Sir Bryan Mahon campaigned for proper treatment for the prisoners and, in April 1923, the ‘International Committee of the Red Cross’ carried out an ‘investigation’ into the conditions in the prisons, reporting (in keeping with those who had facilitated their visit ie the Staters) that “the prisoners were treated like prisoners of war”. However, it later emerged that their report was flawed as not one prisoner was interviewed during their ‘investigation’!

Anyway – in that particular year (1923), there were about 12,000 Irish republicans interned by the Free Staters and, as stated, above, those men and women “were being treated as convicts rather than political prisoners”, and a decision was made, by both the POW’s themselves and the leadership outside, to go on hunger strike and, on the 13th October 1923, Michael Kilroy (pictured ; a respected republican, at the time) OC of the IRA POW’s in Mountjoy Jail, announced that 300 republicans in that prison/internment camp (including ten men who had been elected to a 32-County Dáil Éireann) had voted to go on hunger strike (those 300 men were soon joined by 162 more of their comrades in that institution) and, within days, thousands more imprisoned republicans joined the protest – 70 in Cork Jail, 350 in Kilkenny Jail, 200 in Dundalk Jail, 711 in Gormanstown Prison Camp, 1,700 in Newbridge, 123 in ‘Tintown’, 3,390 in the Curragh Camp, 100 in Harepark Camp and 50 women in the North Dublin Union prison.

Finally – from ‘The Scotsman’ newspaper, 26th November 1923 (page 10) : ‘Death of Irish Hunger-Striker : At the inquest on Saturday on Andrew Sullivan, a hunger-striker, who after removal from Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, died on Friday afternoon in a military hospital, a doctor stated that Sullivan went on hunger-strike on October 14, and about a week ago he lost his sight. The jury found that death was due to pneumonia.’ We mention that because the Friday in question would have been the 23rd November, 1923 and, on researching the inconsistency, we found the following : ‘Many of the newspapers of the time reported Captain Andrew O’Sullivan died on November 22, 1923. That may have been the date he was removed from Mountjoy Prison and brought to St. Bricin’s Military Hospital where he was pronounced dead on November 23, 1923…he died on 23 November 1923 at St. Bricin Military Hospital, Dublin City, County Dublin, Ireland, at age 41.5…the information on the death record was provided by Louis A. Burns, coroner for the City of Dublin. Inquest held 24 November 1923…(and) at the inquest on Saturday on Andrew Sullivan, a hunger-striker, who after removal from Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, died on Friday afternoon in a military hospital, a doctor stated that Sullivan went on hunger-strike on October 14, and about a week ago he lost his sight…’ (from this genealogy site). However, the majority opinion is that the man died on the 22nd November 1923, and we, ourselves, believe that to be the correct date, and he wrote his last letter to his brother on the 7th November, 1923 – 95 years ago on this date.

‘THE CALL’, by Seamus MacManus (the Donegal poet and shanachaí).

From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.

In a recent letter to us, Seamus MacManus very kindly gave us his permission to use any of Eithne Carbery’s or, to to quote himself, “..my own poor stuff..”! We have great pleasure in republishing a poem of his which was published in the early 1900’s and is still as true (unfortunately) as the day it was first written –

Sons of Banba, WAKE! ‘Tis day-break! All the stars are off the sky,

And the world’s awake and striving,

While in torpor still ye lie!

Heard ye not reveille playing,

Voices calling, watchdogs baying,

Quick feet trampling, horses neighing,

Songsters choiring in the blue:

Sons of Banba, ROUSE YE! Rise ye!

There is work for MEN to do.

Sons of Banba, WAKE! ‘Tis morning!

Long the bell for work has pealed,

All around ye droops the harvest,

Lone the steward waits in the field,

Oft his call – nor were ye hearing,

Men are needed for the shearing,

Men toil – loving, men unfearing,

Brave of heart, and hard of thew,

Sons of Banba, ROUSE YE! Rise ye!

There is work for MEN to do.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

In the April issue of ‘Resurgent Ulster’ the following article appeared :


In the ‘Sunday Postbag’ of the ‘Sunday Press’ newspaper of the 7th February 1954, we read with interest and, I’m afraid, amazement, a letter penned by Dan Breen, Fianna Fáil ‘TD’ for Tipperary. He was defending, quite rightly, both his own and his comrades actions in the Soloheadbeg Ambush on January 21st, 1919, when two members of the RIC were killed by them. It was the concluding paragraph of his letter which interested us and made us wonder if Dan Breen was contemplating returning to his old allegiance. Read these words of his :

“I still believe it is the duty of every man and woman whose country is held in subjection, like mine was and still is in part, to use every means within reason to rid their land of the invader. You can’t free a country held in subjection with kid glove methods. Well, then, use the weapons best at hand, and if you need better weapons and the garrison have them, it is your duty to take them and, in doing so, if you kill as we did in Soloheadbeg, you are still only doing your duty.”

Is Dan Breen prepared to preach this same Gospel in opposition to the policy of the government of which he is a member? That government is opposed to those beliefs, as expounded in the quoted extract. Not only are they totally opposed to the use of force in our struggle for freedom but they have imprisoned, shot, hanged and allowed men to die on hunger strike who spoke those same sentiments as Dan Breen, and unfortunately Dan Breen had a share in the responsibilities of those imprisonments and deaths, being a member of that government. Can we be blamed then if we question the sincerity of the statement made by Dan Breen? It was certainly the voice of Dan Breen of the 1918-1921 period that was speaking. Incidentally, that 7th February letter to the editor only appeared in the 26-county edition of the newspaper.

(END of that ‘Letter to the Editor’ : next, from the same source ; “I would not attack under any circumstances” – Dan Breen.)


Ethical buying : is there any point? It would be a pity if the focus on the difficulties with boycotts led people to conclude that the answer to the wider question is ‘No’.

By Oisín Coghlan. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

Gerardo de Leon is the marketing manager for a co-operative in Guatemala that sells ‘Fairtrade’ coffee to Bewleys : speaking on a recent visit to Ireland he said – “Fairtrade is a seed in the ground, and we hope for more in the future. Right now the small coffee farmers need to get the money in their pocket to survive.” Ireland has responded well to this challenge – more and more cafes and restaurants now offer ‘Fairtrade’ coffee. You can enjoy your morning boost while also giving the producers a boost in places such as ‘Nude’, ‘Busyfeet & Co’ and ‘Havana’ in Dublin, the ‘Qusay Coop’ in Cork, ‘Clements’ coffee shops in Belfast, ‘Bia’ in Waterford and ‘An Gabhann Org’ in Galway. Indeed, many of us can make a difference without even leaving our desk.

More and more workplaces now serve ‘Fairtrade’ coffee and, overall, ‘Fairtrade’ has four per cent of the catering coffee market and it is also available in many supermarkets so we can take the experience home, too, and it offers producers practical help as well. ‘Fairtrade’ is most powerful as a demonstration of what is possible when the will is there. (MORE LATER).


..we should be just about finished our multitasking job – this Sunday coming (the 11th November) will find myself and the raffle team in our usual monthly venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, running a 650-ticket raffle for the Dublin Comhairle of RSF : the work for this event began yesterday, Tuesday 6th November, when the five of us started to track down the ticket sellers and arrange for the delivery/collection of their ticket stubs, cash and unsold tickets (…as if!) and, even though the raffle itself is, as stated, to be held on Sunday 11th November, the ‘job’ is not complete until the following night, when the usual ‘raffle autopsy’ is held, although that ‘autopsy’ may well have to be held over cyberspace : RSF are holding their 114th Ard Fheis in Dublin on Saturday and Sunday, 10th and 11th November, meaning that some or other of us may just be too busy for that usual Monday night meeting.

Anyway – the time constraints imposed by the Ard Fheis and the monthly raffle will mean that our normal Wednesday post will more than likely not be collated in time for next Wednesday (14th) and it’s looking like it will be between that date and the Wednesday following same (the 21st November) before we get the time to put a post together – but do check back over that time period as something or other might catch out attention between now and then…!


…it is only November..

..but what the heck!

In a couple of days time they’ll be advertising Easter Eggs (!) so we might as well get our spoke in now (again..)!

So we’ll do it. Sort of – a link rather than a graphic and a write-up :

And here it is. Sorry about that. But we always knew we were ahead of our time on this blog…!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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The ‘Alouette II’ helicopter (pictured) which the IRA used on the 31st October 1973 – 45 years ago on this date – to rescue three Irish republicans from Free State custody.

In March 1973, IRA leader Joe Cahill was arrested by the Free State Navy in Waterford, aboard the Claudia, a ship from Libya loaded with five tons of weapons, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment, and another IRA leader, Seamus Twomey, was appointed IRA Chief of Staff. In early October that year, Twomey was caught and arrested by the Free Staters and imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail, which meant that three top IRA operatives (Twomey, J.B. O’Hagan and Kevin Mallon) were now housed in the one location – and the IRA wanted them back!

An ‘American businessman’, a ‘Mr. Leonard’, approached the manager of the ‘Irish Helicopters’ company at Dublin Airport and discussed hiring a helicopter for an aerial photographic shoot in County Laois and, after being shown the company’s fleet of helicopters, this ‘businessman’ booked a five-seater Alouette II helicopter for October 31st. ‘Mr Leonard’ arrived at Irish Helicopters on the day and was introduced to the pilot of the helicopter, a Captain Thompson Boyes, who was instructed to fly to a field in Stradbally, County Laois, to pick up photographic equipment.

After landing, the pilot saw two armed and masked men approaching the helicopter from nearby trees and he was held at gunpoint and told he would not be harmed if he followed instructions. ‘Mr Leonard’ left the area with one gunman, while the other gunman climbed aboard the helicopter armed with a pistol and an Armalite rifle. Captain Boyes was told to fly towards Dublin following the path of railway lines and the Royal Canal, and was ordered not to register his flight path with Air Traffic Control. As the helicopter approached Dublin, Boyes was informed of the escape plan and instructed to land in the exercise yard at Mountjoy Prison.

On Wednesday, 31st October 1973 – 45 years ago on this date – at 3.40pm in the afternoon, the Alouette II helicopter landed in the ‘D Wing Exercise Yard’ of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, when a football match was taking place between the prisoners, and Twomey, O’Hagan and Mallon jumped aboard, but were quickly spotted (!) by an alert (!) prison screw who used his training and power of intuition to take immediate action – he *called on the screws at the gate to close them over as he feared the helicopter was trying to escape (*according to the RTE ‘Scannal – Prison Break’ programme!). Another IRA prisoner who was in the yard at the time recalled how an embarrassed screw told him that he had apologised to the prison governor in relation to the incident, saying that he thought the helicopter contained a visiting (Free State) Minister for Defence (and well-known publican) Paddy Donegan : the IRA prisoner replied that, in fact, “..it was our Minister of Defence leaving…!”

All three men reported back to the IRA and continued their work for the Movement but, after a few weeks of freedom, Kevin Mallon was recaptured at a GAA Dance in the Montague Hotel in Co. Laois on 10th December 1973, J.B.O’Hagan was recaptured in Dublin in early 1975 and Seamus Twomey managed to remain uncaptured until December 2nd, 1977, after the Special Branch came across him in a ‘suspicious car’ parked in Sandycove, in Dublin. He had managed to evade the forces of ‘law and order’, North and South, for fifty months, despite been hunted by the best that Leinster House and Westminster could throw at him!


The CABHAIR Swim (pictured) : the 42nd successive Cabhair Swim (1976-2018) will be held, as usual, on Christmas Day next at 12 noon at the 3rd lock of the Grand Canal in Inchicore, Dublin.

We weren’t going to mention this event until mid-November (…it’s only Halloween and we’re already talking about Christmas!) but the initiative was taken from us on social media, not least by this eager beaver
– that brave man will be one of four confirmed swimmers on the day with, we’re told, at least another two swimmers to be confirmed between this and then. The local Cabhair Crew will be doing the annual collection of ‘goodies’ from the surrounding shops, pubs, clubs etc in the next few weeks and, as usual, the Swim tables will be overflowing
(!) with the proceeds, which will be distributed to those present on the day. All funds raised will go here, as always and, again as always, there are no expenses requested or taken in relation to the event. We’ll definitely give this another plug before the day, and we’d ask our readers to copy and paste/share this fundraising gig on their own blogs/pages etc and, if you can attend, please do so – it’s for a great cause and the craic does be Ninty!

LETTER TO THE EDITOR – ‘JAILED NATIONALISTS’. (By Thomas Neanon, Bayview Avenue, Dublin, and originally published in ‘The Evening Mail’ newspaper, 19th August 1954.)

From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


Much has been said by the political parties in the Republic (sic) on the imprisonment of Mr. Liam Kelly in Crumlin Jail, Belfast. The sympathy of the Irish people always went to the men in jail, and to Liam Kelly. But before our (sic) politicians condemn the imprisonment in the Six Counties, they might pay a visit to the cemeteries and churchyards of the Republic, (sic) and the jails, and they can also see many memorials to Irish nationalists over the past 32 years.

If we survey the position we will find that from 1922 to 1932 the Free State government, as it then was*, gave us coercion acts, military courts, internment camps and 77 executions. Many nationalists had to flee the Free State, the chief industries being unemployment and emigration. We will find that from 1932 to 1948, Fianna Fáil (the ‘Republican Party’) gave us a similar system and between shooting, hanging and deaths in prison became a good second with a total of 33 executions. Trial by jury in these cases was abolished and in many cases inquests prohibited and, together with this, hundreds were imprisoned without trial.

It is not my purpose to condone coercion in the Six Counties or the system that exists there, but why should we condemn tyranny in one place and condone it in another place? As I am one of the unfortunates not overburdened with intelligence, I would like to know what difference does it make to a nationalist whether he is jailed or executed by the unionist government of Stormont or the ‘republican’ government of Dublin? I think it is time we started to put our own house in order.

Thomas Neanon,

Bayview Avenue,


(*’1169′ comment – ..and, indeed, as it still is.)

(END of ‘Jailed Nationalists’ : next, from the same source – ‘The Call’, by Seamus MacManus, the Donegal poet and shanachaí.)


“The all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument suddenly silenced…(we) would continue to turn, serenely ignoring subdivisions, presenting a unified facade that would cry out for unified understanding..I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated…we are thrown left and right against our straps in spasmodic little jerks. It is steering like crazy, like a nervous lady driving a wide car down a narrow alley, and I just hope it knows where it’s going…we have brought back rocks, and I think it is a fair trade..” **

Then, at about 7pm on the evening of Monday, the 5th of December in 1921, Michael Collins and others left a meeting in Downing Street in London to discuss issues among themselves and, having done so, returned to that same venue later that night where, at ten minutes past two on the morning of Tuesday 6th December 1921, Michael Collins and those others accepted ‘dominion status’ and an Oath which gave “allegiance” to the Irish Free State and “fidelity” to the British Crown – the Treaty was signed and, within six months, a Civil War was raging in Ireland, between the British-supported Free Staters and the Irish republicans who did not accept that ‘Treaty’.

Confusing, all right! Two Michael Collins’ featured above – one in a wrongly-captioned graphic complete with a quote from the other Michael Collins, followed by quotes ** from that same, unpictured, Collins! The best way to differentiate between them is to remember that only one of them went on a successful mission and did not wreck havoc afterwards on those who once stood side-by-side with him. And in relation to the above quotes – from here and here. And please note that we didn’t photoshop the above graphic – we found it here ; *…and this definition * might be useful for our overseas readers..!


Mary Lou making a ‘silent’ attire-facilitated statement in support of another female Provisional Sinn Féin (PSF) poppy supporter, both of whom were backed, verbally (so far, only..) by one of their Leinster House colleagues –

– Seán Crowe, from Tallaght, in Dublin, who is (…and has been, for decades) ‘on board’ with the political direction of PSF in requesting improved ‘civil rights’ from Westminster for the citizens of the occupied Six Counties rather than demanding a British military and political withdrawal.

Seán was recently at a meeting of the ‘British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly’ grouping (which he co-Chairs) and, in what was described as an “agreed choreography”, he declined an invitation to propose a toast to the English ‘queen’ – then, as arranged, the Free State ambassador to Britain, Adrian O’Neill, stepped-in and proposed the toast and our Seán raised his glass in salute to his majesty, after which he and his British chums laid Poppy wreaths at a war memorial in Westminster Palace, claiming that he done so as he “..didn’t want to be putting anybody in an uncomfortable position” by not doing so! And, indeed, no doubt, it would make Seán and his type “uncomfortable” to use such occasions and meetings as an opportunity to highlight the continuing and unwanted British military and political presence in Ireland.

He then further proved his credentials by stating that the current British ‘queen’ “..has done more for peace and reconciliation for these islands than many prime ministers”. That same member of the British ‘royal family’ is the commander-in-chief of the British military and is, as such, responsible for the carnage inflicted in this country by that same military force. But you could make people ‘uncomfortble’ by saying that…


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

Waterford, traditionally a stronghold of reactionary ‘loyalty’ (“Treason anywhere but in Éire”) has in the last few months shown an encouraging rise of interest in the Republican Movement.

The Northern raids have brought home to many genuine but misled nationalists the basic fact of British military occupation of part of Ireland and the futility of trying to oust force by appeasement. The result has been a spontaneous influx of recruits for the Army Unit and the establishment of a cumann of the civil organisation, Sinn Féin. The cumann, named in honour of Waterford’s pride, Cathal Brugha, has been fortunate in acquiring the clubrooms in Colbeck Street in Waterford which were occupied by Sinn Féin and the Volunteers right through the stormy years 1917 to 1922.

A public meeting was held by the new cumann in Broad Street on the 22nd January and was addressed by Tomas MacCurtain, D MacCionnaith, Liam Earley and M MacCarthaigh of Cork. The ‘Cork Volunteers Pipers Band’, which travelled to Waterford for the occasion, was given an enthusiastic reception. The Christmas Collection for the prisoners and their dependents was successful beyond expectation – City £146, Dungarvon and surrounding areas £190, and great credit for this must go to the GAA and the NACA Clubs and to IRA veterans of the calibre of Pax Whelan and Vincent O Donoghue, President of the GAA, Lismore.
Go gcuitighidh Dia a saothair. A Cuirm Ceoil* in aid of the same fund, organised by the NCA Clubs, was held in the Municipal Theatre in Waterford on Sunday 16th January last. (* – a food, drink and Irish music party.)

(END of ‘Waterford News’ : next, from the same source – ‘My Fight For Irish Freedom ; Dan Breen Upholds Policy Of IRA Today’.)


Ethical buying : is there any point? It would be a pity if the focus on the difficulties with boycotts led people to conclude that the answer to the wider question is ‘No’.

By Oisín Coghlan. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

There are dilemmas facing consumers who consider the use of boycotting certain goods – the shifting web of corporate interests and continually evolving ethical considerations means it can be a daunting task for an individual consumer to know how best to use their purchasing power for good. But two points are worth making in response ; boycotts can still play an important role in driving change and there is much more to ethical consumerism than simply the refusal to buy. Boycotts work best when they are part of a wider co-ordinated campaign rather than simply an isolated action – the most famous example is the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Equally, boycotts are appropriate when called for by the legitimate representatives of the people you are trying to help.

On her release from house arrest recently, Aung San Suu Kyi, the elected leader of Burma, reiterated her call for a tourism and investment boycott until the military government negotiates a return to democracy. While individuals always have the right to express their ethical principles by refusing to buy a product which offends them, consumers can often make more of a difference by choosing to buy particular products – this sort of positive purchasing power is often called a ‘buycott’, not a ‘boycott’, and ‘Fairtrade’ products are one example of this : the ‘Fairtrade’ label is an independent guarantee that the producers in the Third World get a fair price, with a little extra to invest in the community and the environment.

In the case of coffee this can be the difference between survival and ruin. The price of coffee on the world market is at its lowest point for 30 years, selling at $50 for a 100lb sack having touched $280 five years ago. The same amount of coffee costs $70 just to produce in Guatemala and will sell through coffee shops here for between $15,000 and $20,000. Faced with this crisis, ‘Fairtrade’ offers real hope to coffee farmers and their families, offering a minimum price of $126 for 100lb… (MORE LATER).

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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“I assume that at some point in the future, I might do it again (in Quebec, they call it the “Parti nul” option). But it also affirms something I’ve believed for a long time : that all ballot papers for political office should include a ‘None Of The Above’ option, and that in an age such as ours, as many abstainers as possible should use social media and the web to explain why they haven’t cast a vote. As negative and often nihilistic as that may seem, it needs doing : to provide an index of how bust and broken politics is, why we feel so disconnected from our parties and institutions – and, perhaps, what we might start to do to restore them to health…” (from here).

For the above reasons (and more), that’s why I’ll be voting ‘NOTA’ on Friday 26th October 2018 in the State presidential election – one of the other reasons is to do with the actual Office, the position, itself : I don’t believe it should exist, full stop : it serves no useful purpose to the man/woman in the street, except as a sweetener for the ‘establishment’ to place one of their own in, in safe-keeping as a reward for ‘services rendered’ or as a propaganda stunt for, again, one of their own, that they are seeking to promote for their own benefit in later years.

‘In a sense, ‘none of the above’ is a formal vote of protest. It’s a rejection of the current parties and ideologies that dominate the political system. While many who are displeased with all of the candidate options choose not to vote altogether, a lot of time their lack of participation is written off as apathy. By selecting ‘none of the above’, voters can indicate that they both care and pay attention, but they are not happy with business as usual…’none of the above’ could become a valuable tool to more accurately gauge the wishes of voters..’ (from here).

There are six candidates who desire to obtain a life of idle pleasure from seven years of ‘work’ – four of those candidates are either millionaires already or are at least financially very comfortable, and will be for the rest of their lives, and bravo to them for that! Their good fortune can become even better with this opportunity but they will be powerless to improve the on-the-ground situation/position of those that voted for (or against) them but that fact won’t be acknowledged by those that vote for them until after they have got your vote. Fool me once (although I can in good conscience state that I never once voted for any of them in the past and nor will I in the future), shame on you, fool me twice – shame on me.

“The ‘none of the above’ reform is potentially the most speculated upon while being very lightly researched or trialled so its practical impacts are little known (acknowledging the Australian Greens use this in their pre-selection process). It is suggested that the presence of an option which lets a voter disengage entirely would serve as a limiter to highly adversarial behaviour as neither party would seek to shrink the pool of available votes with its attendant funding impact..” (from here).

There is huge disquiet here (temporary, unfortunately), and rightly so, in relation to the taxpayer-supplied riches available to the incumbent, some of which need not be receipted/vouched for, yet most of those who are outraged at how that incumbent is living the highlife at their expense want to vote him out of office and insist on voting in someone else who will have access to that same taxpayer-funded lifestyle! That can’t be just an ‘Irish thing’, can it?

“I figure voting for (any of them) is just as silly as them running for office. That’s as silly as me running for office. What is not silly is the power of the people’s vote. I think the people should use it to vote for none of the above! What I’m saying is I think only an idiot would vote for me. I’m here to talk to you about ‘none of the above’. You know how, at election time, you decide not to vote because the candidates are so repulsive? Repulsive’s not the word. We’re all full of shit. Write in ‘none of the above’ on your ballot. Don’t vote for any of us. We’re assholes.
We’ll only make things worse…”
(from here).

“Under democracy, a candidate always devotes their chief energies to trying to prove that the other candidates are unfit for office — and they commonly succeed, and are right.” (…apologises to H.L. Mencken [he was right, too, about the White House…] for the editing!) Don’t hesitate – vote NOTA on the 26th October 2018. A plague on all their selfish desires and their (big) houses.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.

Mr. J. Power of the Waterford Corporation said that many people were getting a fine living in this country out of selling foreign Sunday newspapers, but has Mr. Power ever considered how many more people would get ‘a fine living’ if we produced our own newspapers here? We now produce about five percent of our reading matter, but other countries produce about ninty-five percent and import the other five percent. Why shouldn’t we? Why should we leave thousands to emigrate when they could be given employment here in a flourishing publishing industry? Surely the prospect of providing a few thousand Irish people with the employment for which they are crying out for should be an adequate reason for ending the present import of foreign publications.

With regard to Mr. Griffin’s statement that “..when we see anything very seriously wrong we will have the Christian humility to ask for the guidance of our priests..” I need only quote the words of Father Benedict OCD in a sermon at Knock – “We must not continue to allow the minds and souls of our youth to be poisoned and perverted by bad so-called ‘comic’ papers imported from America and by objectionable cross-channel Sunday newspapers. The sooner we get alarmed into action against those two great evils, the better. To spend even one threepence on such newspapers is something we should consider a very serious matter.”

Many of the Bishops drew attention to the dangers of the foreign Press in their Lenten Pastoral Letters and Most Rev. Dr. Walsh, Archbishop of Tuam, spoke at length on this subject in his sermon at Westport on the day of the pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick in July. We call on our readers to take action now by supporting worthy Irish publications and by boycotting objectionable foreign comics, magazines and newspapers.

Fe coimirce Muire thus,

Cait Chambers, Leas Rúnaí, An tEagarthoir, An tÉireannach Aontuighthe.

(END of that ‘Letter to the Editor’ : next, from the same source – letter re ‘Jailed Nationalists’, from a Dublin reader.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

Republican Ireland and especially republican Kerry mourned the passing of Mrs Ellen Daly of Knocknane, Firies, County Kerry, who died on December 31st last. She was the mother of Charlie Daly (pictured) executed by Free State forces at Drumboe, County Donegal, in March 1933, and of the late Tom Daly,
formerly Adjutant General of the IRA, who died in 1939.

Mrs Daly and her family had been staunch supporters of the Republican Movement in the ‘Black and Tan’ days and continued to give every possible help after the Treaty of Surrender. Her home was burned down by British forces in May 1921 but was re-built and became an open house for members of the Republican Movement and was constantly raided and ransacked by Free State troops. Right up to the time of her death the soldiers of the Irish Republican Army found a ready welcome in her home and many, including some of those now serving sentence in Crumlin Road Jail were as honoured to accept her hospitality and help as she was proud to give it.

Her funeral was of huge proportions : friends from all over Kerry and many of the adjoining counties attended, as did former comrades of Charlie and Tom, and a Guard of Honour was formed. The oration was given by John Joe Sheehy, Tralee, County Kerry. Ar dheis laimh De go raibh a anam.

(‘1169’ comments : a different IRA man, also named Charlie Daly, a Cork man, was shot dead in cold blood in early March 1921 by undercover RIC men in a case of mistaken identity – more here. Also, detailed piece here re Charlie Daly, Kerry – ‘It was the summer of 1920. Republican forces in Munster, particularly in Cork and Kerry, were being hard pressed by the British, and were carrying more than their share of the struggle. The Western Brigades were doing their best to ease the situation, as were Limerick, Waterford, Dublin and other parts of Leinster. But pressure on the extreme South was very great. Cork had been declared a Martial Law area. So had Kerry. Thousands of British troops were concentrated in these two counties, and if the war against was to be carried out at all, there had to be an easing of the pressure, temporarily at any rate. IRA General Headquarters in Dublin reviewed the situation. Then they took a decision. Ulster was too quiet. The Ulstermen must be organised and brought into the fight on a more widespread scale, so Headquarters appointed a Kerryman to carry out the job. His name was Charlie Daly…’)

(END of ‘MOTHER OF CHARLES DALY DIES’ : next, from the same source – ‘Waterford News’.)


The arrest of the ‘Colombia Three’ on charges of training left-wing FARC guerrillas had implications for more than the North’s peace process. Colombian paramilitaries suddenly had an excuse to target other Irish people in that country.

By Paul O’Brien. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

Gearoid O Loingsigh (34), a Dubliner, is a member of the Irish-based ‘Latin America Solidarity Centre’, and is now back in Bogota, where Sembrar continue to review his security and that of other foreigners with the organisation. This is his second stint working with Sembrar, having worked there in 1995 as well, and he is scheduled to continue working in Colombia until October.

Despite his scare, he says he has no intention of leaving sooner – “I have no plans to cut short my stay, despite the security risks, though if things get very hot and heavy, I will leave. I am willing to be in a dangerous situation but I am not willing to do stupid things and neither is Sembrar.”

(END of ‘COLUMBIA : NO IRISH NEED APPLY’ : next, from the same source – ‘Buycotts and Beans’, by Oisín Coghlan.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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British ‘Baron’ Brigadier Henry Cecil John Hunt CBE DSO ETC (!)(pictured – full title/name -‘Henry Cecil John Hunt, Baron Hunt of Llanfair Waterdine’) was born in Simla in ‘British India’ on the 22nd June, 1910. His father was Captain Cecil Edwin Hunt, of the Indian Army, and his mother was Ethel Helen Crookshank ; the family were steeped in the British ‘stiff-upper-lip’ tradition of the ruling class and, whether in India or Ireland, were deemed by their fellow ‘establishment’ members to be ‘safe pairs of hands’ when it came to defending ‘the empire’.

And that ’empire’ needed defending, then and now : in the six north-eastern counties of Ireland, the ‘Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)’ were devoid of the few token catholics/’nationalists’ that were present in its paramilitary ranks in the other 26 Irish counties and that fact was highlighted by the actions of those Six-County uniformed thugs : a British ‘royal commission’ report on the 1857 pogroms against Belfast catholics/’nationalists’ found that the RIC ‘police’ force had behaved in a sectarian fashion and had actually led attacks on catholic/’nationalist’ homes and businesses, recommending that ‘a total change should be made in the mode of appointment and the management of the local police..’. That same pro-British paramilitary outfit, this time operating as the ‘Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)’, exposed themselves again at Burntollet in January 1969, and in the lower Falls in August that same year, when out-of-uniform and uniformed RUC men and ‘B’ Specials co-ordinated the attacks on catholics/’nationalists’.

In a false flag operation to appear ‘neutral/even-handed’, Westminster announced (on the 26th August 1969) that ‘Lord’ Hunt was to prepare a report (the remit was ‘to examine the recruitment, organisation, structure and composition of the Royal Ulster [sic] Constabulary and the Ulster [sic] Special Constabulary and their respective functions and to recommend as necessary what changes are required to provide for the efficient enforcement of law and order in Northern Ireland… [sic]’) on the RUC (known as the ‘Report of the Advisory Committee on Police in Northern Ireland [sic]’ but better known as ‘the Hunt Report’, pictured) and that whitewash was eventually signed-off on on the 3rd of October that year and was published on Friday 10th October 1969 (49 years ago on this date) and presented to the pro-British ‘parliament’ in Stormont on that same date.

The British objective was to salvage the ‘credibility’ of ‘policing’ in that part of Ireland by introducing so-called ‘reforms’ to the then ‘policing’ format – however, as expected by Irish republicans, the ‘reforms’ were not real but were a sleight-of-hand operation – the ‘B’ Specials were disbanded but were replaced by the ‘Ulster (sic) Defence Regiment’ (UDR), which were attached to the British Army rather than to the RUC. But 90 per cent of all ‘B’ Specials in 1969 joined the UDR at its formation in 1970, meaning that to all intents and purposes the UDR was composed of former ‘B’ Specials and those same men and women, in a different uniform, were then lauded by Westminster as a breath of fresh air!

‘Fool me once, shame on you : fool me twice, shame on me’ : on the 4th of November 2001, the RUC ‘became’ the PSNI and the first of those ‘new police officers’ took up duty, in Ireland, on behalf of the British Crown, in April 2002, supported by the political ‘establishment’ here in the Free State.

As James Connolly said – “Ruling by fooling is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on.” How right he was!


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.

‘A Chara,

When at a recent meeting the Waterford Corporation considered a resolution from the Roscommon County Council calling for a ban on the importation of evil literature, comics and newspapers, particularly Sunday newspapers extolling crime and divorce, they decided to ask the Roscommon Council for more detailed reasons behind the resolution. The reasons are so many and so obvious that it seems extraordinary that any public representative should have to ask for them.

Most of the imported papers are morally unsound – they glorify crime, as when an English Sunday newspaper printed in serial form the story of the gaol-life of a released convict. They glamourise divorce, make the most of every scandal and are generally vulgar.

There can be no freedom for the Irish mind while Irish men and women depend on a foreign Press. Our thought is moulded, our ideas coloured by those whose interests are alien to ours and our own thinkers and writers are denied the means of expression which a native publishing industry* would provide. Will we continue to be true to our Irish heritage when day after day in papers and periodicals we are urged to accept the modern paganism which is the essence of the bulk of the foreign press…? ‘ (*’1169′ comment – we have “native publishing industries” in this State yet, apart from the odd ‘letter to the editor’ which surfaces from time to time, Irish republicanism is either vilified or censored and, indeed, when a republican-minded letter is published, the opportunity to reply to those who later disparage same is denied.) (MORE LATER.)


This is the graphic used this morning (Wednesday 10th October 2018) by ‘Met Éireann’ to accompany notification about an in-coming spell of bad weather for Ireland, under the heading ‘Status Yellow weather alert issued for whole country’ (from here).

Not only are we gonna tell ya that, in the main, there’s no such thing as ‘bad weather’, only unsuitable clothes for the climate at hand, we also want to assure you that that weather system mentioned is obviously a well-behaved one (albeit partitionist in nature) as it apparently does not intend to affect six of our counties.

Ever ready as we always are to make a fortune when the opportunity arises, we have been in contact with ‘Fáilte Ireland’ (please just ignore their map of Ireland) to finance our attempt to entice storm chasers to visit our shores (..well, most of our shores, anyway..) as we believe there is a living to be made from Irish storm tourism – weather fronts which respect ‘borders’ when they land in a country must be a rare phenomenon and there surely must be hundreds of thousands of storm chasers willing to pay top dollar to witness such events. If you, too, want to make a few bob from our endeavours in this field (!) then send us a cheque, with the top right-hand corner blanked out : the first one-hundred applicants get a free geography book as a bonus…


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

In fact, James Connolly was attacking the Costelloe’s, de Valera’s, Cahir Healy’s and Aknefton’s of his day. But fantasy, not fact, seems to be Aknefton’s strong point since he later on refers to “the purely sentimental brand of green patriotism which is rearing its head again”. Walt Disney could possibly visualise ‘green patriotism rearing its head’ but I doubt if even he could distinguish between the ‘different brands’.

But Aknefton has a couple of more surprises for us – right in the middle of his diatribe he says “Aknefton desires a united Ireland as much as anybody – back to Wolfe Tone!”

Now who twisted his arm to wring that cry from him? Let us thunder back in chorus ‘Hurrah! Back to Wolfe Tone. Break the connection with England!’ Let it be the catch-cry of Sinn Féin, for never was a return to Wolfe Tone more necessary. He is the cornerstone and very basis of the whole Republican Movement and his cry of ‘Break the Connection’ covered everything. It meant not only the military connection but to break the political, social and economic connection with England.

Since the first positive step to ending the terrible unemployment and emigration figures must be to break England’s stranglehold on our nation let us, in ainm De, join with Aknefton in urging “Back to Wolfe Tone”.

(END of ‘Back To Wolfe Tone’ : next – ‘Mother of Charles Daly Dies’, from the same source.)


The arrest of the ‘Colombia Three’ on charges of training left-wing FARC guerrillas had implications for more than the North’s peace process. Colombian paramilitaries suddenly had an excuse to target other Irish people in that country.

By Paul O’Brien. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

After three hours at the airstrip, and an hour after Sembrar, a Colombian human rights organisation, had got the military to communicate to the captain that they should be allowed to proceed, the three received clearance but, according to O Loingsigh, the captain told them they had missed the last truck going to La Punta, their first destination, and that they would have to stay in the town overnight anyway. The drive to La Punta requires a four-wheel-drive jeep or lorry, as a car wouldn’t get very far, particularly in the event of rain. The captain offered to take the three people to a cheap hotel called ‘Las Villas de Santa Rosa’, which has a reputation – principally because it has played host to the commanders of the local paramilitary death squads and as a permanent base for many of the paramilitaries themselves.

Gearoid O Loingsigh and his colleagues refused the offer and told the captain they would instead be staying at the Hotel Continental : “That evening the death squads came looking for us and the first place they went to was the Hotel Continental looking ‘for the foreigner’ – the captain being the only person who thought we would be there”, said O Loingsigh. “However, we had actually managed to hire a private truck for $100 to take us into the mountains. When I rang Sembrar, they told me to pay whatever was the asking price but not to stay in the town under any circumstances. That’s how I came to be on the run.”
He stresses that the arrest of the ‘Colombia Three‘ presented the military, and the paramilitaries who have the tacit complicity of the security forces, with an excuse rather than a legitimate reason to make life more difficult for Irish people in that country. “Obviously, the fact of their detention doesn’t help as a guilt by association can be inferred by some people. However, it is more as an excuse than anything else.

A number of years ago a German called Mauss was arrested because of certain contacts he had with the ELN, and thereafter they hounded German human rights workers. The same applies to Spanish nationals because of ETA. So the ‘Colombia Three’ thing has given them the excuse they need, but it is only an excuse and not one that they always use. It should also be borne in mind that the ‘Colombia Three’ have yet to be tried, although this doesn’t matter much here, as the accusations made beforehand are used for trial by media…” (MORE LATER.)


..we should be just about finished our multitasking job – this Sunday coming (the 14th October) will find myself and the raffle team in our usual monthly venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, running a 650-ticket raffle for the Cabhair organisation : the work for this event began yesterday, Tuesday 9th October, when the five of us started to track down the ticket sellers and arrange for the delivery/collection of their ticket stubs, cash and unsold tickets (yeah, right!) and, even though the raffle itself is, as stated, to be held on Sunday 14th October, the ‘job’ is not complete until the following night, when the usual ‘raffle autopsy’ is held.

The time constraints imposed by same will mean that our normal Wednesday post will more than likely not be collated in time for next Wednesday (17th) and it’s looking like it will be between that date and the Wednesday following same before we get the time to put a post together unless, that is, ye lot need to be reminded – again – to vote NOTA in the Free State presidential election which will be held here on Friday 26th October next. But, one way or the other, no doubt, between now and the 26th, we’ll be suggesting that you cast your ballot properly…!

However – if we could post the blog next Wednesday (17th) we would have included the following piece on one of our own, William Smith O’ Brien…


‘GUILTY’ OF HIGH TREASON BUT PARDONED AND TRANSPORTED : William Smith O’Brien, (pictured) : died at 61 years of age in Wales, having been exiled from Ireland by the British.

On the 17th October 1803, ‘Sir’ Edward O’Brien (the ‘4th Baronet’ of Dromoland Castle, County Clare) and his wife, Charlotte (nee Smith) – well established political conservatives and supporters of the Orange order – celebrated the birth of their second son, whom they named William (in later years, after inheriting land from his mother, William added the surname ‘Smith’ to his name). He was educated at Harrow, in London, and Trinity College in Cambridge, and was later to describe his education thus : “I learnt…much that was evil and little that was good…” At 25 years of age (in 1828) he was elected to Westminster for the Conservative Party, for the Ennis constituency, a position he held for four years and, at 29 years young, he married Lucy Caroline Gabbett, and they had seven children together. At 32 years of age he won a seat to represent Limerick. He was a strong supporter of Catholic emancipation and, at 40 years of age, he joined Daniel O’Connell’s anti-union ‘Loyal National Repeal Association’, which he left three years later. Within a few years, he had joined the ‘Young Irelanders’ organisation and helped to establish within it a group called ‘The Irish Confederation’ which organised as best it could for an armed uprising in Ireland against British rule , but the timing was wrong: Ireland was suffering through a London-encouraged ‘Gorta Mór’, and its remaining people were too exhausted for anything other than trying to stay alive.

One of the leaders of ‘The Young Irelanders’ , John Mitchel, was ‘arrested’ for writing “wild and menacing words” then, in April 1848, the ‘Treason Felony Act‘ was introduced, followed by the suspension of ‘Habeas Corpus’ on July 25th, 1848 ; William Smith O’Brien recognised that the British were ‘battening down the hatches’ and, with John Mitchel in a British prison, he was in command. He called for an immediate Rising against the British and an attempt at a rebellion did take place on the 29th July 1848 in Tipperary but it failed, leading to the arrest of the leaders of the ‘Confereration’, Thomas Francis Meagher, Terence McManus, Patrick O’Donohoe and William Smith O’Brien (who was arrested on the 6th August 1848 and tried at a special sitting of the district court at Clonmel, Co. Tipperary : he was sentenced to death on 10th October 1848), all of whom were deemed by the British to be guilty of High Treason and were sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered.

Following the court case, meetings were held in Ireland and England with the aim of raising a petition against the severity of the sentences and to highlight the fact that the jury involved had recommended clemency but were ignored by the judge ; over 80,000 people willingly listed their names, addresses, occupations etc (in what is considered to be the first mass political petition movement) resulting in the sentences being commuted to transportation for life. The four ‘dissidents’ left Ireland on the 29th July 1849 for exile in Van Diemen’s Land. On the 26th February 1854, O’Brien won a conditional pardon which banned him from entering Ireland and he and his family moved to Brussels where, amongst other duties, he wrote a political book : he won his final pardon two years later, in May 1856, and returned to Ireland to a hero’s welcome. Asked how he now felt about his actions, he replied – “I had firmly resolved not to say or write or do anything which could be interpreted as a confession on my part that I consider myself a ‘criminal’ in regard to the transactions of 1848..”.

O’Brien Mausoleum, Rathronan Churchyard,Limerick.

His wife, Lucy Caroline, died in Ireland on the 13th June 1861, and he himself passed away three years later, in his 61st year, in Bangor, Wales, and is buried in Rathronan Churchyard in Limerick. The inscription on the family headstone reads – ‘Here lies Edward William, eldest son of William Smith O’Brien, a just man, a lover of his people.

Born 24 January 1837 Died 21 January 1909.

William Smith O’Brien, Born 17 October 1803 Died June 1864.

Lucy Caroline O’Brien, Born 23 September 1811 Died 13 June 1861′.

Like his son, Edward, William Smith O’Brien was ‘a just man, a lover of his people..’ and, least we forget, a ‘dissident’ of his day.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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Speaking to Channel 4 TV News, Stephen Pound (pictured), the British Labour Party ‘Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland’ (sic) stated at the recent British Labour party conference that the border issue was “life and death to the people of Ireland…if you look at the border, 302 miles long, if you think that a camera up a pole can actually provide a border security alert – that will become a target. If you have a target, you have to defend the target. If you have a defender, you have to have someone to actually protect the defender. Before you know where you are, you’ve got uniformed UK [Border Agency] or customs officers on the border. If you do that – and I’m not being hysterical about this – then the peace process is finished, the minute you have uniformed troops on that border. If the peace process is finished, then peace on the island of Ireland is under huge threat…”

Some Irish commentators, including a few who would consider themselves ‘republican’, welcomed the above comments as ‘a breath of fresh air’ etc and lauded Mr. Pound MP for saying something that others dare not utter. Balderdash (!) on both fronts : Mr. Pound skirted around the actual cause of the effect ie the British military and political presence on this island, and those praising him for his ‘brave words’ failed to challenge him to take it to the obvious next level – a call for the withdrawal of said military and political presence.

The fact is that “the border issue” has always been “life and death to the people of Ireland” since before Pound (and Penny and company) were born – it was physically imposed in Ireland, by Westminster, in 1922, and remains a source of conflict on this island. Mr. Pound and, indeed, those commentators that welcomed his words of caution in connection with having “uniformed border agents/custom officers…uniformed (British Army) troops..” in Ireland have missed the point : whether those border checkpoints/custom posts etc are staffed by uniformed officers acting under orders from Westminster or men and women in suits with clipboards is irrelevant as far as Irish republicans are concerned ; the real issue is that they are here at all, enforcing an illegal and immoral claim of military and political jurisdictional control in Ireland for a foreign entity. And therein lies the obvious answer to the British ‘Brexit’ problem – a British military and political withdrawal from Ireland.

Mr. Pound and his political colleagues will deserve praise when they champion that cause, rather than looking for new ‘peaceful’ ways to shore-up the existing abomination they cursed this country with.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.

New York, Thursday : ‘A Negro’s body recovered from the East River today was identified by a teenage ‘murder-for-fun’ gang as one of their torture victims, police reported.

Four youths were taken to a Brooklyn pier-head shortly after police recovered the body and were marched in front of the body one-by-one. The 18-year-old reputed ‘brain’ of the gang was first to look at the corpse and police said he burst into tears and exclaimed – “Yes, that’s the man…take me away from here before I faint..” The police said the others also agreed it was the man they said they had beaten, burned with cigarettes and thrown into the river “..solely for a thrill.”

Authorities had not known about the river death, they said, until the four youngsters voluntarily told of it while giving a list of beating and burnings they had performed.’

That report was from ‘The Irish Press’ newspaper, 20/8/1954. Oh! But DO let us be ‘broad-minded’ : We in Ireland mustn’t ‘interfere’ with the free-flow of this ‘culture’ into the country.

(END of ‘Murder-For-Fun Gang See The Evidence’ – NEXT, from the same source : ‘Letter to the Editor’.)


“My father had a wonderful store of music. I remember him telling me that he would walk seven miles, and do a day’s work, to learn a tune…” – Seán Ó Riada (pictured) who ‘..was born in Cork City in 1931, where he graduated as A bachelor of music from UCC in 1951. Appointed Assistant Director of Music on Radio Eireann in 1952, he stayed there until 1955. He moved to Italy and France where he adopted a wild bohemian lifestyle and composed several Avant Garde compositions for orchestra called ‘Nomos’. Just as he was on the verge of becoming Ireland’s first Avant Garde composer, he decided to return to Ireland, gradually rejected modern “Classical” music, as he started to devote his time to the study of all things Irish. At about this time he changed his name from John Reidy to Seán Ó Riada.

He took over as the musical director in the famed Abbey Theatre in 1957 where he remained until 1962. In 1950s Ireland traditional music was still held in low regard by some elements of Irish society. His first attempt to combine Irish song with the classical tradition was in 1959 (when he) composed the score for the documentary ‘Mise Éire’ and ‘Saoirse’ in 1960 and, most famously, the score for the film version of ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ in 1963. This last piece made him a household name in his homeland. He also composed Mna na h’Eireann (‘The Women of Ireland’) which forever proved the musical eloquence of his writing. In this period, he sought to create a sort of Irish flavoured Classical music ie Irish folk tunes arranged for orchestra, as Vaughan Williams had done in England and other nationalist composers has done in Europe towards the end of the previous century. He studied and collected old Irish music and produced a series for RTE called Our Musical Heritage..’ (from here.)

Incidentally, one of Seán’s seven children (Peadar, Eoghan, Alasdair, Cathal, Reitseal, Sorcha and Liadh), who is an MEP (a ‘job’ which comes with a weekly wage of €2120!) will be contesting the up-coming Free State presidential election (a ‘job’ which comes with a weekly wage of €5200!) but will probably need an election-expense ‘top up’, just like the present incumbent. A sad reminder that not all of the career political class in this State got a pay rise, an unbalanced and unfair situation, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Best to keep that type on an even keel, in our opinion, and the best way of doing that, of being equally fair to all of them, is to vote NOTA!


‘PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin (that’s not him in the pic, by the way..) stated – “What we are calling for is anybody with influence within the catholic community, within the nationalist and republican community – churches, political parties, community, cultural and sporting backgrounds, schools – please do what you can to step forward and actively and noticeably advocate and encourage Catholics to consider joining the police..we have obviously encouraged Sinn Féin to do that. That would be a helpful move and would certainly be a very positive contribution to the debate…” ‘ (from here).

Nothing to see here, move along there, folks – Provisional Sinn Féin are on record for calling for more women, of any religious background, obviously, to join the RUC/PSNI, going as far as asking the RUC/PSNI Chief Constable “..to make policing more attractive to women..” ! Then there’s this –

‘PSNI RECRUITMENT GETS SINN FÉIN BACKING : The new PSNI recruitment campaign has targeted Catholic people in Fermanagh and two local Sinn Féin councillors have backed the move…”it is not something we would discuss, but we certainly would encourage people to apply…obviously when people are looking at future careers it is an option and good luck to people who decide to take it..” (from here).

Foolhardy be the woman

who thinks he cannot see

beneath her web of lies

and cold duplicity.

Foolhardy be the woman

who thinks blinkers he does wear

and therefore fails to see

that deep down she doesn’t care!
(From here.)

How anyone can profess to be in favour of a British military and political withdrawal from Ireland and in the same breath encourage recruitment to British, pro-British and anti-republican armed forces is beyond me!


– this ‘March For Justice’ leaflet is being circulated around parts of Dublin and deserves to be highlighted as the protest march it publicises encompasses republican issues, State corruption and civil right issues which, between them, are the issues which blight this State and divide people against each other, which suits the ‘establishment’. If those attending don’t get waylaid by career politicians, it might have the potential to be the beginning of something bigger…

“Society often forgives the criminal ; it never forgives the dreamer”. (Oscar Wilde.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

Let us look for example at the effort made by their political correspondent, Aknefton (‘1169’ comment – ‘Aknefton’ was a pseudonym used by a Mr. Christopher Ferguson), to demolish Sinn Féin with a few strokes of his pen : I refer to his article of January 15th last, headed – ‘Out on the Limb of Sinn Féin’, which he opened by quoting Connolly’s famous dictum “Ireland apart from her people means nothing to me”. Aknefton then commented that “..in his stand, Connolly was of course attacking that purely sentimental patriotism which saw nothing beyond ‘the mist that does be on the bog'”.

The “of course” is obviously inserted to silence the questioning mind because Connolly was not attacking purely sentimental patriotism for the simple reason that ‘purely sentimental patriotism’ is a non-existent commodity – it is merely a figment of Aknefton’s too fertile imagination. I challenge Aknefton to name even one ‘purely sentimental patriot’ – was Connolly attacking Pearse or Tom Clarke or McDonagh or any of his 1916 colleagues? Surely not. But maybe he was attacking Arthur Griffith, the founder of the ‘hateful’ Sinn Féin? No, I think even Aknefton will agree that whatever else one could call Griffith, one could never call him a “sentimental patriot”!

But since Aknefton has raised the question, it is as well to point out who exactly was being attacked by Connolly – who was “the fraud and liar” who professed “to love the combination of chemical elements which he is pleased to call ‘Ireland'”? Who, indeed, but the ‘Irish Parliamentary Party’, who called themselves ‘nationalists’ and professed to love ‘Ireland’, while they felt no burning desire to end the British plunder of the Irish people… (MORE LATER).


Here at ‘1169 Towers’ we never get tired of watching careerist politicians, from all parties or none, trip up-and-over their own words – hoisted by their own petards!

Michael D. Higgins had stated in 2011 that he would be a one-term officer holder only but, having had 7 years of being feted like royalty, at taxpayers expense, for those seven years, he has since decided that he quite fancies more of the same and is looking for another seven years ‘in the job’.

At the time of Fidel Castro’s death, the bould Michael declared that Castro “.. would be
remembered as a giant among global leaders whose view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet..”
but, last week, at his ‘presidential press conference’ to announce his candidacy for another seven years of bliss, Higgins said he was “wrong” to have said that about Castro and ‘explained’ that he had wrote those words of praise at 7am on a Saturday morning without the help of his advisers. When asked about his recent stays in posh hotels (€3,000 a night), man-of-the-people Michael D. stated “I couldn’t care less if I stayed in a tent”(..like this, he probably means..).

And with that in mind, here’s some of Mick’s neighbours from Limerick that wouldn’t mind swopping abodes with him. And maybe those same people would like some new clothes, and Mr. Higgins can help them out there, too – when he first went for the ‘job’ in the Park, seven years ago, he got new bib and tucker from Brown Thomas on Grafton Street in Dublin, in one of Louis Copeland’s shops and he acquired some new garments (!) from Hanley’s in Galway. A charcoal suit for €1165, a shirt for €185, a tie for €115 (well..that tie was made by Charvet!) and a ‘Magee’ jacket for €295. But sure we all like some new gear when we’re going for a job interview… (incidentally, that ‘few bob’ that he spent was later reimbursed by the State).

Anyway – don’t cod yourself that it’s only wee Mickey that would treat the public purse with such a sense of entitlement ; whoever gets that ‘job’ on Friday, 26th October next, will have their head turned in the same manner – human nature, ya can’t beat it! For your own peace of mind, vote NOTA – None Of The Above!


The arrest of the ‘Colombia Three’ on charges of training left-wing FARC guerrillas had implications for more than the North’s peace process. Colombian paramilitaries suddenly had an excuse to target other Irish people in that country.

By Paul O’Brien. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

Gearoid O Loingsigh explained – “A captain came out of the military base and questioned us about what we were doing in the area. We told him that we were going to speak to communities about productive projects in the area, which was true – it was one of our tasks. He took our ID and said that they had problems with Irish people in the recent past. I told him that I had a resident’s card issued by the DAS (the Colombian equivalent of the Special Branch), which he was holding, a visa from the Colombian embassy, letters from various politicians and that the vice-president’s office had ordered Colonel Pineda – head of police for the entire region – to protect my life.

I told him that those who came to train guerrillas would be unlikely to have any of that paperwork. He went off. Then a man came to collect us – as we hadn’t arrived at the meeting point he became worried but no sooner had he stepped out of his car than the sergeant pulled out his revolver and pointed it at him. He told two policemen to search him and his ID was taken. The captain returned and told us that we couldn’t proceed and that we would have to spend the night in the town.”

Furious, O Loingsigh immediately started making phone calls to the Ministry of the Interior and military headquarters, but the captain insisted that special permits were needed and that an army general, also called Pineda, had ordered him not to let the Irishman and his colleagues proceed… (MORE LATER).

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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“I will not..break up my country..we cannot accept anything that threatens the integrity of our union..as I have already said, that is unacceptable…we will never agree to it..divides our country in two..it would mean breaking up our country..” (..from here, and loads of other sources!)

Oh the irony! It can’t have been lost on her, can it? She must be aware of the moral ammunition she has handed to, among others, Irish Republicans who, unfortunately, know a thing or two about ‘having their country broke up’ and having their country divided by outside political (and military) forces. Where were her political advisers? Her scriptwriters? Where were her political minders? Was there ner a proofreader to hand to gently advise her that such comments would be thrown back at her a thousand times over by those of us in Ireland who know our history?

Or, more likely, having parlayed with the useless, self-serving political idiotic yes-men (and women) in Leinster House, did she and her advisers etc realise that the only issue that the latter group would take offence with is if their money and privileges were threatened? That would explain her hypocritical outburst, and would also explain the silence from Leinster House regarding same ; by their inaction in relation to her ‘rule Britannia’ rant, they were acknowledging that, through their own political subservience to those that established their political institutions in the first place, they had made themselves powerless to highlight the irony that a British politician was displaying in relation to this country and that was, once again, slapping them across the face. But being so sycophantic doesn’t affect their money or their privilege so they carry-on, prepared to ‘suffer’ all types of hypocrisy in the name of ‘democracy’!


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


For every student who is corrupted by ‘The Decameron’, thousands of young people are corrupted by American ‘comics’, says a commentator in the Church of England newspaper. “It is surely time, declares the writer, “that something was done to revise the legislation which deals with obscence publications”.

“All right-minded people are agreed that the so-called ‘comics’ which come into this country from America are obscene, if the word has any meaning. We are glad to see that the Major of Blyth has drawn attention to the harm that such papers are doing to the young people who read them. It seems incredible that he should get no support from the Home Secretary or from the Director of Public Prosecutions, who ruled that there is insufficient ground for prosecution under present law.”

That report was from ‘The Irish Times’, 20/8/1954. Oh! But DO let us be ‘broad-minded’ : We in Ireland mustn’t ‘interfere’ with the free-flow of this ‘culture’ into the country.

(END of ‘Church Objects to U.S. Comics’ – NEXT, from the same source : ‘Murder-For-Fun Gang See The Evidence’.)



‘The Blog Awards Ireland 2018 – Finalist Announcement : The Blog Awards Ireland are delighted to announce the Finalists for the 2018 awards! These awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of the blogger community throughout the country over the past 12 months. This round the blogs were judged on their writing skills, the quality of their content, their interactions with the public and the overall feeling the judges got after reading the blogs. Were they enjoyable? Were they inspiring? Did they use their voice intelligently..?’ (From here.)

And, despite what you, the reader, might think, the Blog Award Judges answered “YES! YES! YES!” to the above questions, and sent the following notification to us –

“Hi Sharon,


We’re over the moon to let you know that 1169 And Counting is a Finalist for the 2018 Blog Awards Ireland in the following category(ies) :
Personal Blog > Current Affairs / Political..”

Yep, we’ve only gone and done it now – somehow, we’ve set the bar so high that we can be guaranteed not to hit our heads off it as we stumble aimlessly and unnoticed underneath it! Who in the name of James Street did we think we were kiddin’ – look at the heavyweights that we’re mixing it up with : An Sionnach Fionn, Ciaran Tierney, Disordered World, Jessica Thompson and TheChampsVoice (..not linking to those [OTHER!] finalists, as I don’t want to encourage them!).

What were we thinking – that we could somehow persuade the Blog Award Judges to give us a sympathy vote and maybe give us an ‘Also Ran’ award, just by virtue of the fact that (once again..) their not gonna give us something better..?

Our pathetic pleading won’t work – we’ve tried it before. Unashamedly. And we’re now preparing our ‘Thanks anyway..’ speech, which I, personally, will deliver from the bottom of an empty flagon of cider to anyone who listens. Not that anyone will be listening, as you lot will be off celebrating with the winners but, in time, I’m sure we’ll get over it…


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


The Irish ‘modernists’ find an outlet for their views in the columns of ‘The Irish Times’ ; that newspaper, by maintaining a comparatively high literary standard, attracts to its reading circle some of Ireland’s finest thinkers.

It is therefore in a position to impose its views on some of the most influential minds in the nation, and for that reason it is potentially a great danger to the Republican Movement. I say “potentially” because in actual fact it does not constitute a danger at present.

The high literary standard of its contributors and their grand air of detached cynicism merely cloak their barren minds and specious arguments. Thus it is that ‘The Irish Times’ fools none but the fool… (MORE LATER).


The arrest of the ‘Colombia Three’ on charges of training left-wing FARC guerrillas had implications for more than the North’s peace process. Colombian paramilitaries suddenly had an excuse to target other Irish people in that country.

By Paul O’Brien. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

Gearoid O Loingsigh spent five days walking a circuitous route through mountains in the Southern Bolivar region of Colombia to escape a right-wing paramilitary death squad. His work with Colombian human rights organisation ‘Sembrar’ had seen him arrive in the region some weeks earlier to meet with the local peasant and mining communities and their leaders.

These were the same peasants and miners who had converged in their thousands on the city of Barrancabermeja in 1998 to protest at an infamous paramilitary onslaught which took place there. The Sembrar-supported Mesa Regional entity represents these communities, and it was on Mesa’s behalf that the Irishman travelled to the region ; part of his work would have involved the investigation and documentation of suspected human rights abuses. He couldn’t foresee what lay ahead.

Along with colleagues, he arrived at a stretch of tarmac cut out of a mountain and functioning as an airstrip in the municipality of Santa Rosa del Sur. The airstrip lies next to a military base and as Gearoid O Loingsigh got off the plane the police approached him and requested his details – a standard procedure. Although he had already been questioned at the airport before boarding the flight to the region he gave his details again. It was then an army sergeant intervened, saying there were more questions to be answered. The trouble had started… (MORE LATER).
Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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Robert Emmet was tried before a ‘Special Commission’ in Green Street Court House in Dublin on September 19th, 1803 – 215 years ago on this date.

The ‘trial’ lasted all day and by 9.30pm he was pronounced guilty ; asked for his reaction, he delivered a speech (“..when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written..” – full text here) which still inspires today. He closed by saying that he cared not for the opinion of the court but for the opinion of the future – “..when other times and other men can do justice to my character..”

He was publicly executed the next day, Tuesday, September 20th, 1803, outside St Catherine’s Church in Dublin’s Thomas Street. The final comment on the value of Robert Emmet’s Rising must go to Séan Ó Brádaigh who states that to speak of Emmet in terms of failure alone is to do him a grave injustice. He and the men and women of 1798 and 1803 and, indeed, those that went before them, set a course for the Irish nation, with their appeal to Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of ‘Irishman’, which profoundly affected Irish life for more than two centuries and which will, we trust, eventually bear abundant fruit – “The Society of United Irishmen to which he belonged was no myth. Nor is the Republican resistance to English rule in Ireland, before Emmet’s Rising and since, a myth. The invasion, conquest and plantation of Ireland are no myths, nor is the suffering of the Irish people. We know of the laws against Catholics, we know of the landlord system and the evictions, the starvation of 1845-48 and the coffin ships. None of these are myths..” (more here.)

It should be noted that it was not only college-educated men and women like Robert Emmet (ie those who might be perceived as being ‘upper class’) who decided to challenge Westminster’s interference in Irish affairs in 1803 : so-called ‘working class’ men and women also acknowledged the need for such resistance – Edward Kearney, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St / Owen Kirwin, tailor, hanged, Thomas St, September 1st 1803 / Maxwell Roche, roofer, hanged, Thomas St, September 2nd 1803 / Denis Lambert Redmond, coal facer, hanged, Coalquay (Woodquay) Dublin, / John Killeen, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St, September 10th 1803 / John McCann, shoemaker, hanged at his own doorstep, Thomas St, September 10th 1803 / Felix Rourke, farm labourer, hanged, Rathcoole, Dublin, September 10th 1803 / Thomas Keenan, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St, September 11th 1803 / John Hayes, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St, September 17th 1803 / Michael Kelly, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St, September 17th 1803 / James Byrne, baker, hanged, Townsend St, Dublin, September 17th 1803 / John Begg, tailor, hanged, Palmerstown, Dublin, September 17th 1803 / Nicholas Tyrrell, factory worker, hanged, Palmerstown, Dublin, September 17th 1803 / Henry Howley, carpenter, hanged, Kilmainham Jail, Dublin, September 20th 1803 / John McIntoch, carpenter, hanged, Patrick St, Dublin, October 3rd 1803 – there are dozens more we could list here, but suffice to say that ‘class’ alone was not then, nor is it now, a deciding factor in challenging British military and political interference in this country. ‘Justice’ is the deciding factor in that equation.

‘The struggle is over, the boys are defeated

Old Ireland’s surrounded with sadness and gloom

We were defeated and shamefully treated

And I, Robert Emmet, awaiting my doom

Hung, drawn and quartered,

sure that was my sentence

But soon I will show them no coward am I

My crime is the love of the land I was born in

A hero I lived and a hero I’ll die’.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


We ask the American people, and particularly those of Irish origin, to examine where they are being led, to look beyond the statements of the politicans to the actions which follow them, to realise what their money and their armed forces are being used for.

How low have they fallen, that ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’ should be used as a bully-boy to protect John Bull and his accursed ’empire’?

(END of ‘America Propping Up The Empire’ : next – ‘Church Objects To U.S. Comics’, from the same source.)


‘In September 1796, Ireland was pregnant with expectation. The United Irishmen and Defenders planned insurrection and a French invasion was imminent. On 19 September Dublin Castle announced plans to follow Britain’s lead and enlist civilian volunteers as a yeomanry force. In October commissions were issued to local gentlemen and magistrates empowering them to raise cavalry troops and infantry companies. Recruits took the ‘Yeomanry oath’, were officered by the local gentry but were paid, clothed, armed and controlled by government. Their remit was to free the regular army and militia from domestic peacekeeping and do garrison duty if invasion meant troops had to move to the coast. Service was part-time—usually two ‘exercise days’ per week—except during emergencies when they were called up on ‘permanent duty’.

If the Irish Yeomanry are remembered at all it is usually for their notoriety in the bloody summer of 1798. The popular folk memory of every area which saw action supplies lurid stories from the burning of Father John Murphy’s corpse in a tar barrel at Tullow to the sabreing and mutilation of Betsy Gray after the battle of Ballynahinch….(from here.)

At a meeting in Ennis, County Clare, on the 19th September 1880 – 138 years ago on this date – Charles Stewart Parnell – whom the British described as “..combining in his person all the unlovable qualities of an Irish member with the absolute absence of their attractiveness…something really must be done about him…he is always at a white heat or rage and makes with savage earnestness fancifully ridiculous statements..” , who was looked at in a wary fashion by some of his own people as he was a Protestant ‘Landlord’ who ‘owned’ about 5,000 acres of land in County Wicklow and his parents were friends of and, indeed, in some cases, related to, the local Protestant ‘gentry’, stated – “Now what are you to do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which his neighbour has been evicted? Now I think I heard somebody say ‘Shoot him!’, but I wish to point out a very much better way, a more Christian and more charitable way…when a man takes a farm from which another had been evicted you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him, you must shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him in the shop, you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the marketplace, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him in a moral coventry, by isolating him from the rest of his country as if he were the leper of old, you must show your detestation of the crime he has committed..”.

However, another man in the leadership of the ‘Irish National Land League’ which, at its peak, had 200,000 active members, John Blake Dillon (who was also a member of ‘The Young Irelanders’ War Council) will forever be more associated with introducing the word ‘boycott’ into the English language as it was Dillon who was the most active in organising such campaigns.

Also active was the then British Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone who, within months of Parnell’s ‘Boycott’ statement, introduced and enforced a ‘Crimes Act’ ; that particular piece of British ‘statute law’ in Ireland was better known as the ‘Coercion/Protection of Person and Property Act’, which made it illegal to assemble in relation to certain issues and an offence to conspire against the payment of rents ‘owed’ which, ironically, was a piece of legislation condemned by the same catholic church which condemned the ‘Irish National Land League’! That church did not approve of the Act because it introduced permanent legislation and did not have to be renewed on each political term.

The ‘uncrowned boycott king of Ireland’, Charles Stewart Parnell, made what was to be his last public appearance at Creggs, County Galway, on the 27th September 1891, on a wet and cold winters day – he was in bad health, and the Creggs rally proved fatal : he returned to his wife’s home in Brighton, England, after the rally and, on the 6th October 1891, he died there. He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. ‘The Irish Times’ newspaper of the 12th October 1891 wrote of a ‘..spontaneous and irresistible wave that surged from all parts of Ireland to the grave at Glasnevin, whose wild waters would have swept away any barrier that either priests or politicians could have put up to stop it…the Catholic democracy of Ireland yesterday mustered in force to pay the last tribute of homage to a Protestant leader, in defiance not only of their priests, but of the vast majority of their elected Parliamentary representatives…’

Hopefully, sooner rather than later, we’ll witness another ‘surge that will sweep away the priests and politicians’, who are still a blight in, and on, this country.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


There have, I suppose, been ‘modernists’ and ‘liberals’ in every age and in every country (‘1169’ Comment – …and in every political party, disguised and undisguised), but it seems to me that present-day Ireland has more than its quota. They are the cynical product of the self-seeking opportunism and downright dishonesty of Irish political life over the past 30 years, and their stock-in-trade is the smear and the jeer.

While they regard religious fervour* as sloppy sentiment and a sign of weakness they do not yet openly attack it in Ireland. They do, however, advocate an extreme liberalism whether it be in regard to pornographic literature or immoral and anti-social legislation.

Their most cynical jibes are, however, reserved for the man (‘1169’ Comment – or woman) who has in him (them) the true spirit of patriotism, for patriotism is out of fashion and regarded as mere parochialism – a relic of a more ignorant and barbaric age… (* – ‘1169’ Comment : although this WAS taking place in the 1950’s [and before and since then] it was not, unfortunately, exposed then as much as, thankfully, it is now.) (MORE LATER).


A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

In the paradigm of sectarianism that is the Orange Order, words like ‘compromise’ and ‘agreement’ are seldom uttered. The hospitality of those at the cafe in Drumcree is not reflected by the Order as a whole – despite two requests, no one from the Order’s head office was available for interview.

Those at Drumcree were not the polished professionals that the Order would like to present – indeed, most had the look of fatherly figures that simply wanted to have a quiet cup of tea and a chat. But it would be a mistake to ignore them, or to dismiss out of hand their perceived grievances as being mere paranoia and nothing more.

It may appear that way but, as ever with the North, nothing is ever quite that simple. The heartbeat of the Order lies somewhere amidst the tables and chairs, the bread and bacon in that little cafe, demanding that their voice be heard. The tea and the trouble will continue to brew for some time yet.

(END of ‘View From The Hilltop Cafe’ ; NEXT – ‘Columbia : No Irish Need Apply’, from the same source.)



‘The Blog Awards Ireland 2018 : Shortlist Announcement –

The Blog Awards Ireland, are delighted to announce the Shortlist for the 2018 Awards! These awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of the blogger community throughout the country over the past 12 months. After a gruelling round of judging, where each blog was judged on its readability, knowledge on their subject matter, navigation and design choices, the Blog Awards Ireland Judging Panel are proud to announce the Shortlist in both Business and Personal blogs in each category. These blogs will go through one more round of judging before the Finalists are announced!’ (From here.)
AND – we made it through to that ‘Shortlist’! We are in the hands of the Blog Award Judges who, as part of their remit, will be reading this blog and will therefore no doubt read this post. We don’t know who those judges are, so we can’t bribe (!) them, nor can I offer them employment as our bag carriers on my next trip to New York with the girls (..all expenses paid, incidentally!) so I decided to write* this poem for them instead :

If you want a Blog Award bad enough

To go out and fight for it,

Work day and night for it,

Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it,

If only desire of it

Makes you quite mad enough

Never to tire of it,

Makes you hold all other Awards tawdry and cheap,

If life seems all empty and useless without it

And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,

If gladly you’ll sweat for it,

Fret for it,

Plan for it,

Lose all your terror of God or man for it,

If you’ll simply go after that Award that you want

With all your capacity,

Strength, and sagacity,

Faith, hope, and confidence, stern pertinacity,

If neither cold, poverty, famished and gaunt,

Nor sickness nor pain

Of body and brain

Can turn you away from the Blog Award that you want,

If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,

You’ll get that Blog Award. You can bet on it!

(*..by which I mean ‘borrowed and slightly edited it’, from here!) We’ll either soar to new heights or..it’ll be a car-crash for us!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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