“In view of the vote that was taken here on Saturday and which I had definitely to oppose as one that was tending to subvert the Republic which I was elected to my present position to defend and maintain ; and as it appeared to me also to be a vote which would tend to subvert the independence of the country, I could no longer continue — as I was beaten in that – I could no longer continue in my present office feeling I did not have the confidence of the House. I therefore wish to place my resignation in the hands of the Assembly ; and I think it is not necessary to say any further words in doing so, but simply to resign my office and the responsibilities of it and the members of the Cabinet all go with my resignation” – Eamon de Valera (pictured) stepped down from that position on the 9th January 1922 because of the ‘Treaty of Surrender’, which had been accepted by Michael Collins and others (Arthur Griffith, Riobárd Bartún [Robert Barton], Eamonn S Ó Dugáin [Eamonn Duggan] and Seoirse Ghabháin Uí Dhubhthaigh [George Gavan Duffy] had also appended their names to that vile document) on the 6th December, 1921, in London – at ten minutes past two on that Tuesday morning (6th December 1921), those men accepted ‘dominion status’ and an oath which gave “allegiance” to the Irish Free State and “fidelity” to the British Crown – 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’.

De Valera had already stated, on the 18th December 1921, that he was against that ‘Treaty’ “We were elected by the Irish people and did the Irish people think that we were liars when we said that we meant to uphold the Republic. I am against this Treaty because it does not reconcile Irish national aspirations with association with the British Government. I am against this Treaty not because I am a man of war, but a man of peace. I am against this Treaty because it will not end the centuries of conflict between the two nations of Great Britain and Ireland. It gives away Irish independence ; it brings us into the British Empire..” (‘1169’ comment – yet the same man had no problem with working on behalf of that ’empire’ in the years following that ‘not acceptable’ speech!)

He had offered to resign on the 6th January, 1922, but the offer was not accepted at the time – but, on the 9th, it was accepted by 60 votes to 58 votes, following which Arthur Griffith (another Free-Stater-in-waiting) stated – “Before another word is spoken I want to say : I want the Deputies here to know, and all Ireland to know, that this vote is not to be taken as against President de Valera. It is a vote to help the Treaty, and I want to say now that there is scarcely a man I have ever met in my life that I have more love and respect for than President de Valera. I am thoroughly sorry to see him placed in such a position. We want him with us.”

Others objected to the ‘deal’, and among them were Austin Stack, who stated his intention to fight on “even if this rotten document be accepted”, and Erskine Childers, who complained that the ‘Treaty Ports’ section of the document would prevent the Free State from pursuing an independent foreign policy. The seven women members of the Dáil opposed the Treaty on the grounds that lives had been lost in pursuit of an Irish Republic, which the document subverted. Many, such as Margaret Pearse, Mary MacSwiney and Kathleen Clarke had lost close relatives in the struggle for
independence and stated that such an outcome was not what they and others had fought for. And, one week later
(on the 16th January), Michael Collins and his Free State comrades were given the seat of British injustice in Ireland – Dublin Castle – from which to continue the campaign against Irish republicans from.

Máire Nic Shuibhne [pictured] (Mary MacSwiney) stated her objection to the ‘Treaty’ – “I claim my right, before matters go any further, to register my protest, because I look upon this act worse than I look upon the Act of Castlereagh. I, for one, will have neither hand, act, nor part in helping the Irish Free State to carry this nation of ours, this glorious nation that has been betrayed here to-night, into the British Empire — either with or without your hands up. I maintain here now that this is the grossest act of betrayal that Ireland ever endured. I know some of you have done it from good motives ; soldiers have done it to get a gun, God help them! Others, because they thought it best in some other way. I do not want to say a word that would prevent them from coming back to their Mother Republic, but I register my protest, and not one bit of help that we can give will we give them.

The speech we have heard sounded very beautiful — as the late Minister of Finance can do it ; he has played up to the gallery in this thing, but I tell you it may sound very beautiful but it will not do. Ireland stands on her Republican Government and that Republican Government cannot touch the pitch of the Free State without being fouled ; and here and now I call on all true Republicans ; we all want to protect the public safety, it is our side that will do its best to protect the public safety. We want no such terrible troubles in the country as faction fights. We can never descend to the faction fights of former days. We have established a Government, and we will have to protect it.

Therefore, let there be no misunderstanding, no soft talk, no ráiméis at this last moment of the betrayal of our country, no soft talk about union. You cannot unite a spiritual Irish Republic and a betrayal worse than Castlereagh’s, because it was done for the Irish nation. You may talk about the will of the Irish people, as Arthur Griffith did ; you know it is not the will of the Irish people, it is the fear of the Irish people, as the Lord Mayor of Cork says. And tomorrow or another day when they come to their senses, they will talk of those who betrayed them today as they talk of Castlereagh. Make no doubt about it. This is a betrayal, a gross betrayal, and the fact is that it is only a small majority, and that majority is not united. Half of them look for a gun and the other half are looking for the fleshpots of the Empire. I tell you here there can be no union between the representatives of the Irish Republic and the so-called Free State.”

And today, on the 9th January 2019 – 97 years after the Westminster and Free State-enforced partition of Ireland – Irish republicans remain adamant that there can be no political union between “the representatives of the Irish Republic and the so-called Free State”.


An edited version of this speech was published in ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper in October 1954. This is the speech in full ; on the 13th March, 1920, Terence MacSwiney (pictured) was unanimously elected as the ‘Lord Mayor of Cork’ by that city’s Corporation. He donated his salary for the position to an outside organisation and received no salary for the other position he held at that time – Brigadier of the No. 1 Brigade, Cork IRA.

“I shall be as brief as possible. This is not an occasion for many words, least of all a conventional exchange of compliments and thanks. The circumstances of the vacancy in the office of Lord Mayor governed inevitably the filling of it. And I come here more as a soldier stepping into the breach, than as an administrator to fill the first post in the municipality. At a normal time it would be your duty to find for this post the councillor most practical and experienced in public affairs. But the time is not normal. We see in the manner in which our late Lord Mayor was murdered an attempt to terrify us all. Our first duty is to answer that threat in the only fitting manner by showing ourselves unterrified, cool and inflexible for the fulfillment of our chief purpose – the establishment of the independence and integrity of our country — the peace and the happiness of our country. To that end I am here.

I was more closely associated than any other here with our late murdered friend and colleague, both before and since the events of Easter Week, in prison and out of it, in a common work of love for Ireland, down to the hour of his death. For that reason I take his place. It is, I think, though I say it, the only fitting answer to those who struck him down. Following from that there is a further matter of importance only less great — it touches the efficient continuance of our civic administration. If this recent unbearable aggravation of our per­secution by our enemies should cause us to suspend voluntarily the normal discharge of our duties, it would help them very materially in their campaign to overthrow our cause. I feel the question of the future conduct of our affairs is in all our minds. And I think I am voicing the general view when I say that the normal functions of our corporate body must proceed, as far as in our power lies, uninterrupted, with that efficiency and integrity of which our late civic head gave such brilliant promise.

I don’t wish to sound a personal note, but this much may be permitted under the circumstances — I made myself active in the selection of our late colleague for the office of Lord Mayor. He did not seek the honour and would not accept it as such, but when put to him as a duty he stepped to his place like a soldier. Before his election we discussed it together in the intimate way we discussed every­thing touching our common work since Easter Week. We debated together what ought to be done and what could be done, keeping in mind, as in duty bound, not only the ideal line of action but the practical line at the moment as well. That line he followed with an ability and success all his own…”



From ‘Magill’ magazine, February 1998.

Whoever is responsible, ‘relativity’ has certainly caught on in Ireland – some have done relatively well from it. Others not so well. There is no doubt it has been expensive for the Irish taxpayer (sic – he means ‘State taxpayer’). Charlie McCreevy may prefer a chat with his caddy at the ‘K Club’, but there is no doubt that when it comes to ‘relativity’, the finance minister agrees with the Liberty Hall porter ; he warned in his budget-day speech that ‘relativity is something up with which he will not put’. Well, the gardaí have news for Mr McCreevy – their ‘relativity’ claim is well advanced and coming down the tracks at a fierce pace. I support the gardaí.

It is important that members of the Garda Síochana are fairly remunerated for the impartial and effective discharge of their important duties. The manner in which they serve the citizenry to a considerable extent defines the character of our democracy. We are regularly reminded that for many gardaí their job is becoming increasingly dangerous and they are expected to risk life and limb so that the citizen can sleep safely in his or her bed.

Insofar as is reasonable – and it is not possible in absolute terms to reflect that nobility in pay terms – the gardaí in turn have a right to expect a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work…


We won’t be posting here on the 16th January next as we’ll only be just about coming out of the aftermath (!) of the monthly 650-ticket fund-raising raffle, which will be held on Sunday, 13th January, in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, but we couldn’t let the 16th pass without mentioning a remarkable Irish republican woman who, to our shame, is practically forgotten about today. The following piece will hopefully encourage some of our readers to want to find out more about this dedicated Irish republican ‘dissident’ –


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

The death of Gobnait Ni Bruadar (Albina Broderick), pictured occurred on the 16th January last (1955), at her residence in Ballimeoona, Castlecove, in County Kerry. This splendid woman remained constant in her loyalty to Ireland and was actively associated with the Republican Movement until she died in the 93rd year of her life.

She was educated in England and spent most of her early life there, was ‘presented at the Court’ and knew only the ‘society life’ of a ‘Lady’ in England. Yet this did not prevent her from seeing the ills which existed in Ireland under the system of the absentee landlord nor the injustices being perpetrated by the English conquerors of the native Ireland she loved.

And for her, love was shown by deeds, not words – she gave up the easier way of living and took up one decidedly less attractive in the Republican Movement. She became a member of Cumann na mBan and remained in that organisation while she could continue to take an active part. In her last years, when too old to be actively militant, she still continued to help in every way she could, particularly in raising funds. The dependents of the republican prisoners were always a special care of hers. Her life was an inspiration to all who knew her and the Republican Movement has great reason to regret her death.

(END OF ‘DEATH OF PATRIOT IRISHWOMAN’ : next post [23rd January 2019], from the same source – ‘SAVINGS LAW SHOULD BE CHANGED’, a letter sent to the ‘Irish Times’ by a Dr. Lucey).

Also, regarding the 16th January date (…this post dictated by the in-house requirement for gender balance!) we want to give a brief mention to a perhaps lesser-known figure from Irish republican history, who was born on the 16th January 1822 –

“From the time I came to what have been called the years of discretion, my entire thought has been devoted to Ireland. I believed the course I pursued was right ; others may take a different view. When the proceedings of this trial go forth to the world, the people will say that the cause of Ireland is not to be despaired of, that Ireland is not yet a lost country — that as long as there are men in any country prepared to expose themselves to every difficulty and danger in its service, prepared to brave captivity, even death itself if needs be, that country cannot be lost…” – Thomas Clarke Luby (pictured) was born in Dublin on this date (16th January) 197 years ago.

His mother was of a different religious persuasion from his father (a Tipperary-born Church of Ireland clergyman) and both parents were determined that their son, Thomas, should be ‘successful’ in life : he was educated at Trinity College, in Dublin, from where he graduated in 1840, then studied law at ‘The Temple’, in London. However, he became more interested in journalism than in practising law and, as a ‘toff’ with a solid social conscience, he joined the ‘Repeal Association’ but came to the opinion that that organisation was not prepared to go far enough in defending Irish society from the ravages inflicted on it by Westminster and joined a more radical organisation, the ‘Young Irelanders’ and was active in the 1848 Rising. When that rebellion was put down by the British, Luby and other ‘dissidents’ established a new revolutionary organisation, the ‘Irish Democratic Association’ (‘IDA’) and once again challenged British misrule in Ireland – but, once again, they failed in their endeavours.

Shortly after that failure, Luby went to France in the hope of improving his military tactics and then to Australia, where he stayed for about a year, before returning to Ireland. He made his living through journalism (mostly working for, and with, ‘The Tribune’ newspaper) and, in 1858, he helped establish the ‘Irish Republican Brotherhood’, known as the ‘Fenians,’ with the avowed and same purpose of that of his previous efforts – to overthrow British rule in Ireland and establish an Irish Republic. Such were the times he lived in – including the period in our history when the ‘Irish National Invincibles’ struck a blow for Irish freedom – and Thomas Clarke Luby supported and/or was involved in every such effort. He died in Jersey City, at 79 years of age, in 1901, from paralysis, on the 29th November, 1901, and is buried, with his wife, in Bay View Cemetery in that city, under a headstone which reads – ‘Thomas Clarke Luby 1822–1901. He devoted his life to love of Ireland and quest of truth.’

His objective remains unfulfilled.

Thanks for reading ; we’ll be back on Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019. Sharon.

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“If the Germans landed in Ireland, taking it by force of arms, they would have just as much right to it as England…fight for Ireland and be buried in consecrated ground, not dying like those in France, to be thrown into a *bode..” – Tomás Ceannt, speaking at a public meeting in Ballynoe, County Cork, on the 2nd January 1916 – 103 years ago on this date (* borehole/hole in the ground).

Tomás Ceannt (Thomas Kent) was born on the 29th August, 1865, in Bawnard House, Castlelyons, in Cork, the fourth of seven sons and two daughters, for David and Mary Kent. The Kent family had a long tradition of fighting against social and political injustices : ‘His family were squeezed off their land by the British Crown’s incremental rate increases. Thomas Kent left for Boston in the United States, but returned to Ireland several years later, owing to illness. Himself and his three brothers became radicalised, and were often jailed for their political activities, chiefly their support for the Land League and their membership of the Irish Volunteers. When the Easter Rising kicked off in April 1916, Tomás Ceannt, then 50 years of age, and his brothers, obeyed Eoin MacNeill’s countermanding order and stayed home, Kent having planned to head to Dublin to fight. In a swoop for known republican sympathisers, however, the RIC made a dawn raid on the Kent family home in Castlelyons.

The Ceannts resisted arrest and had a shoot-out with the RIC, which lasted four hours. The RIC’s head constable was killed, his face blown off, before the Ceannts surrendered. When they arrested Tomás Ceannt..he was paraded through the town of Fermoy a bit like Jesus Christ. His hands were tied and he had no shoes — he wasn’t allowed wear any boots. He was humiliated…his mother was 89 and she was cooling down the guns and supplying her sons with ammunition during the raid. (The RIC) humiliated her as well. She was too old to walk so they put her on a cart with her dying son, the youngest son, Richard. He suffered from his nerves, as they said in those days. He had mental issues…he was terrified when he was arrested and he ran away and was shot in the back. He was dying. He died about a day later from his wounds…’ (from here).

Thomas and his brother, William, were charged by the British with ‘armed rebellion’ – the brother was acquitted, but Thomas was found guilty and sentenced to death. Another brother, David, was ‘found guilty’ of the same charge and received a death sentence, but this was commuted to five years penal servitude. On the 9th May 1916, Tomás Ceannt was put to death by firing squad and his body was placed in a hole in the ground of Cork Prison, where he lay for 99 years : in 2015, the Free State administration, still attempting to associate themselves with those who fought against British rule, shamefully re-buried that Irish republican in a televised display of pomp and ceremony and it and the ‘establishment’ it spawned practically crawled over themselves to be seen to be associated with such a man.
After their taxpayer-funded meal and drinks, they reverted to condemning those who continue to fight for the freedom of this country. Disgusting behaviour from a disgusting political ‘elite’.

‘WE ASK FOR NO MERCY AND WE WILL MAKE NO COMPROMISE…’ – edited highlights of a speech on the 13th March, 1920, by Terence MacSwiney.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.

“Those whose faith is strong will endure to the end and triumph. The liberty for which we today strive is a sacred thing – inseparably entwined as body with soul with that spiritual liberty for which the Savour of man died and which is the inspiration and foundation of all just governments. We, taking up the work left incomplete, confident in God, offer sacrifice from ourselves. We ask for no mercy and we will make no compromise.”

(END of the ‘United Irishman’-edited version of that speech : NEXT – that speech in full).


“One branch of the family was very militant. At the time land-grabbing was rampant in Ireland. You had an agent in Milltown called Leslie, and Lord Mounteagle was the landlord. You could be doing well today and a couple days later they would raise the rent to something you couldn’t meet and they would put another fellow into it and you got the road. That brought the Moonlighters and it must be said, the Moonlighters did a great job. In every generation you had [people willing to fight] . . . the Moonlighters, the United Irishmen, then onto Sinn Féin and the IRB. You could say they were the soul of Ireland at the time..

They were great, the local people at the time, they were the soul of Ireland. Without the local people, the Flying Columns couldn’t exist. They’d [the police] get no response from the people. The people were opposed to them at the time, and it continued that way right up to the Truce..De Valera? I never liked him. He’d make a statement and it’d have about four different meanings.. I always thought there was something queer about him…when it came out that you were prepared to hand over a big part of your territory to the British, there was a revulsion against it. People expected a lot — when they found out they got nothing but partition, they got very annoyed..

(Michael) Collins did marvellous work in the war against the Tans — but when he went Free Stater then, actually he declared it one time that he was signing his own death warrant. He knew it was wrong, which made it worse. As it went along then he got very bitter..I went back to Kerry then and I worked in a bread van for a number of years, but I got various jobs through the years all along. I was arrested a number of times ; the finish was refusing to answer questions and I was jailed. I lost my job again — came out and was going all right again. There was a lot of turmoil, unemployment was rotten..we decided anyway to take him (O’Duffy) out of it, the IRA in Kerry. Six of us assembled in Ballyseedy. The train is over the road at Ballycarthy. I was up in the railway station and Christy Leen was in the roadside to give me the number of the car when it’d come. The reception party was Johnny O’Connor, John Duggan, my brother Tadhg and Josie Hassett — they were well armed, they had a Thompson machine-gun and two rifles, he wouldn’t escape…

I had a number of men there (in England) — three or four active men. We kept ourselves small. And we laid bombs whenever we got the chance. You would have to say we were very successful for a long time. You would select places and one of the places we selected was the Grosvenor Hotel in Park Lane. The bomb was laid at the back of a flowerpot. The only thing was to try and cause as much confusion as we could. But as time went by, what we were doing was nothing. The war was on..” – Dan Keating, pictured, from here.

Dan Keating was born on the 2nd of January in 1902 – 117 years ago on this date – in the townland of Ballygamboon, Castlemaine, Co Kerry. In 1917, he went to work in Tralee at Jerry McSweeney’s Grocery, Bar and Bakery. Jerry McSweeney’s uncle, Richard Laide, was shot in the attack on Gortalea barracks which was the first barracks to be attacked in Ireland. Dan joined the Fianna in Tralee in 1918 and about two years later he joined the Irish Republican Army. Others to join at that time were Gerry Moyles, Donnchadh Donoghue, Tommy Vale, John Riordan (Kerry All-Ireland footballer), Jerry O’Connor (better known as “Uncy”), Matt Moroney and Paddy and Billy Griffin.

In the meantime, he met a soldier who used to frequent the bar where he worked and during conversations procured a rifle from him. This was then handed over to Johnny O’Connor of the Farmers’ Bridge unit. Dan was later to join this unit which included men of the calibre of Johnny Duggan, Johnny O’Connor, Timmy Galvin, Moss Galvin, Jack Corkery, Jim Ryle, Mick Hogan and Jamesy Whiston. This unit was very active from 1920 to 1924 and many of its members took part in the Headford ambush which claimed the lives of approximately 20 British soldiers. Volunteers Danny Allman and Jimmy Baily also lost their lives at Headford. He took part in the ambush at Castlemaine in which eight RIC and Black-and-Tans were killed. Gerry Moyles was severely injured in this encounter. The last ambush in Kerry took place in Castleisland on the night before the Truce and Dan also participated in this. Four RIC members were killed in this action and Volunteers Jack Shanahan, Jack Prenderville, John McMahon and John Flynn also lost their lives.

Dan, pictured in 2002, when he was 100 years of age.

In 1922, he was transferred to a unit in Tralee which was commanded by Tommy Barton of Ballyroe when they occupied Ballymullen barracks for a period of three months. He took part in the attack on Listowel barracks, now occupied by the Free Staters, in which one Free Stater was shot dead. In Limerick, Dan, along with comrades from Kerry, fought the Free State troops over a period of ten days. Republican Volunteers Patrick Foran, Charlie O’Hanlon and Tom McLoughlin lost their lives there. Dan was then sent to Tipperary to instruct Gerry Moyles to return to Kilmallock but on the way they were surrounded by Free Staters. After a battle at Two Mile Bridge, Dan and his comrades were taken prisoner and held in Thurles barracks for two days before being conveyed to Portlaoise Jail where he was held for six months. This was to be the first of many times he was interned by the Free State. During this period in Portlaoise the jail was burned and Volunteer Paddy Hickey from Dublin was shot dead. Dan was then transferred to the Curragh Internment Camp and was held there until March 1923. A Free State soldier named Bergin from Nenagh, who became friendly with the republican prisoners and acted as a courier to republicans on the outside, was executed by the Staters.

Dan was charged with possession of a shotgun in 1930 and was issued a summons but did not attend court and was fined £1. In the true republican tradition he refused to pay and was sent to Limerick and held for one week. During a court case in Tralee involving Johnny O’Connor and Mick Kennedy, in which they refused to recognise the court, their supporters in the courthouse cheered loudly and when things died down the judge ordered Dan Keating to be brought up before him and gave him three months for contempt. He was jailed in Cork with Johnny O’Connor but after a hunger strike by Johnny both were released after three weeks.

The next time he was interned was after O’Duffy’s visit to Tralee ; he was sentenced to six months in Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin. He was later captured in Carrigans in Clonmel by a policeman who had previously arrested him in Tralee and was taken first to Thurles and from there to the Curragh where he was held for three years and six months. In this period the camp was burned and Barney Casey from Longford was shot dead.

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dan Keating, pictured in January 2007.

He was also on active service in England during the early 1940’s, and returned to work in Dublin and operated as a barman in the Eagle House, James Street, the Cornet and the Kilmardenny public houses. His other great interest was Gaelic games, and indeed between football and hurling he has attended more than 140 All-Ireland senior finals including replays, which must be a record in itself. When he retired he returned to Kerry in 1978 and resided at Ballygamboon, Castlemaine and, in 2004, he replaced George Harrison of Mayo and New York as the fourth Patron of Sinn Féin Poblachtach since 1986, following in the footsteps of such illustrious republicans as Comdt-General Tom Maguire and Michael Flannery of Tipperary and New York. During his long, healthy and adventurous lifetime he had seen many splits and deviations from republican principles, but he remained loyal and true to the end. He died in Tralee on the 2nd of October 2007, at 105 years of age, after a short illness, and is buried in Kiltallagh Cemetery in Castlemaine, in Kerry, and his funeral oration was delivered by his comrade Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.

I measc Laochra na nGael go raibh sé .


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

DERRY MEN FINED : Patrick Shields, Terence Doherty, John O’ Doherty, Thomas Mellon and Seán Keenan, all of Derry, were charged at Derry Petty Sessions on January 31st last with collecting for the Republican Prisoners Dependents Fund without having a ‘police permit’. None of the men appeared in court . They were fined £2 each.

GAA SUPPORT : Offaly County Board, GAA, adopted a resolution that each club contributes ten shillings to a fund in aid of the dependents of the men imprisoned as a result of the raid on Omagh Barracks.

MISTAKEN IDENTITY : In our January issue we commented on an article by a David Jack, which appeared in the ‘Empire News’ newspaper of the 26th December 1954. In the course of our comment we stated that Mr Jack was the coach to the Shelbourne Soccer Club. We are now in receipt of a letter from Mr David BN Jack, the Shelbourne manager coach, in which he states that he is not a contributor to the ‘Empire News’ and has therefore no connection with the article in question. We regret the error and wish to tender our apologises to Mr Jack for publishing it.

(END of ‘Derry Men Fined’, ‘GAA Support’ and ‘Mistaken Identity’ : NEXT – ‘Death Of Patriot Irishwoman’, from the same source.)


From ‘Magill’ magazine, February 1998.

A porter I knew at Liberty Hall was renowned for the sheer breadth of his opinions on complex national and international issues, although he may have been a bit weak on portering as such. Where Noel Browne went wrong in his battle with the Catholic Church and the medical establishment, where the country (sic) went wrong on decimalisation and where the government went wrong on emigration were only some of his areas of expertise.

“Do you know what has this country ruined?”, he challenged a couple of drinking cronies in the adjacent Liffey Bar on a cold January evening. His comrades hugged their hot whiskies, knowing they were going to be told anyway : “Relativity”, he pronounced, looking up from his ‘Evening Press’. “There was never any relativity in this country before the British unions…” And he went on to berate one ‘British union’ official in particular who, happily, is still with us.

I thought it an odd line from an ITGWU partisan, given the origins of Connolly and Larkin. As if reading my mind, he threw aside the latest coverage of industrial strife and triumphantly ‘belled the cat’ – “I tell a lie. He (naming the ‘British union’ official) is not responsible for relativity. I read one time that a foreigner called Einstein started relativity, but I still say yer man brought it to Ireland…” (MORE LATER).


Thanks to all our readers for continuing to check-in with us and we hope you keep doing so in 2019 – we do appreciate it, and like to think that we’re doing a little something and maybe even making some progress in our endeavours to counter the manner in which the establishment media repeatedly misrepresent and/or ignore the Irish republican position. We haven’t got the same resources at our disposal as the latter has but we’ll continue to avail of the outlets we have – this blog, Twitter and Facebook – to promote what we believe in and hopefully reinforce that same belief in other Irish republicans and perhaps even convert some of those ‘on the fence’ to see issues as we do. A tall order, we know, but we’re nothing if not persistent!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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The Cabhair Swim site, 3rd Lock, Inchicore, Dublin, pictured at 9am on Christmas Day, 2018.

A swim in the foggy dew – not really, as it had cleared-up by about 10.30am, when we got there, but the Cabhair Crew, who arrived on site at about 8.30am to begin assembling all the paraphernalia that goes with an ‘outdoor gig’ of this size, told us that visibility was only about fifteen feet, due to the heavy fog, until about half ten, when it lifted – but they were delighted that it wasn’t raining, like last year, when all of us on-lookers got as wet as the swimmers!

Anyway – enough with the weather report : by the time we got there, the Crew were putting the finishing touches to the event, passers-by, on foot and in cars etc, were stopping for a chat and a mince pie and a few sweets and/or a drink (and not only lemonade, God bless their constitution!) and the scene was starting to buzz.

A Cabhair donation tin and some of the ‘goodies’, which those present helped themselves to.

The Cabhair Swim heating system ; not 100% efficient but, according to the swimmers, better than nothin’!

And then the fun (!) began : the Crew had to forcibly stop all six swimmers from jumping in at the same time (yeah, right…) and straws were drawn…

..resulting in one brave man (the ‘winner’ of the shortest straw competition!) ‘volunteering’ to test the waters for his comrades!

‘Short Straw’ was then joined by two more swimmers..

..one of whom made a break for dry land..

..but took the scenic route back..

..to give one of the lads a hand out!

And, finally, with the help of a sharp instrument –

– the six swimmers were corralled around the fire to have their picture taken :

And then all six were escorted off the premises and the rest of us had a party. Couldn’t let them stay, as they were dripping like mad yokes all over the beer, the cider and the ‘goodies’. But they were allowed to keep the T-shirts, and told to behave themselves next year…!

Thanks to Cabhair for putting the event together – for the 42nd consecutive year – and a BIG ‘GRMA’ to the swimmers and their sponsors, and to the on-lookers ; couldn’t have done it without ya!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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On Wednesday, 19th December 1877 – 141 years ago on this date – Michael Davitt (pictured), ‘the father of the Irish Land League’, was released from Dartmoor Prison in Princetown, Devon, in England, having served seven years in savage conditions. He was 31 years of age at that time.

This Irish ‘dissident’ was born on the 25th March, 1846, in Straide, County Mayo, at the height of An Gorta Mór (‘the Great Hunger/attempted genocide‘) and the poverty of those times affected the Davitt family – he was the second of five children and was only four years of age when his family were evicted from their home over rent owed and his father, Martin, was left with no choice but to travel to England to look for work.

Martin’s wife, Sabina, and their five children, were given temporary accommodation by the local priest in Straide. The family were eventually reunited, in England, where young Michael attended school for a few years. His family were struggling, financially, so he obtained work, aged 9, as a labourer (he told his boss he was 13 years old and got the job – working from 6am to 6pm, with a ninty-minute break and a wage of 2s.6d a week) but within weeks he had secured a ‘better’ job, operating a spinning machine but, at only 11 years of age, his right arm got entangled in the machinery and had to be amputated. There was no compensation offered, and no more work, either, for a one-armed machine operator, but he eventually managed to get a job helping the local postmaster.

He was sixteen years young at that time, and was curious about his Irish roots and wanted to know more – he learned all he could about Irish history and, at 19 years young, joined the Fenian movement in England. Two years afterwards he became the organising secretary for northern England and Scotland for that organisation and, at 25 years of age, he was arrested in Paddington Station in London after the British had uncovered an IRB operation to import arms. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, on a ‘hard labour’ ticket, and served seven years in Dartmoor Prison in horrific conditions before being released in 1877, at the age of 31, on Wednesday, December 19th – 141 years ago on this date.

He returned to Ireland and was seen as a hero by his own people, and travelled extensively in his native Connaught, observing how, in his absence, nothing had improved for the working class. He realised that if the power of the tenant farmers could be organised, it would be possible to bring about the improvements that were badly needed, and he arranged a convention in August of 1879 ; the result was a body called the ‘National Land League of Mayo’ :

‘This body shall be known as the National Land League of Mayo and shall consist of farmers and others who will agree to labour for the objects here set forth, and subscribe to the conditions of membership, principles, and rules specified below.

Objects: The objects for which this body is organised are —

1) To watch over the interests of the people it represents and protect the same, as far as may be in its power to do so, from an unjust or capricious exercise of power or privilege on the part of landlords or any other class in the community.

2) To resort to every means compatible with justice, morality, and right reason, which shall not clash defiantly with the constitution upheld by the power of the British empire in this country, for the abolition of the present land laws of Ireland and the substitution in their place of such a system as shall be in accord with the social rights and necessities of our people, the traditions and moral sentiments of our race, and which the contentment and prosperity of our country imperatively demand.

3) Pending a final and satisfactory settlement of the land question, the duty of this body will be to expose the injustice, wrong, or injury which may be inflicted upon any farmer in Mayo, either by rack-renting, eviction, or other arbitrary exercise of power which the existing laws enable the landlords to exercise over their tenantry, by giving all such arbitrary acts the widest possible publicity and meeting their perpetration with all the opposition which the laws for the preservation of the peace will permit of. In furthernance of which, the following plan will be adopted :— a. Returns to be obtained, printed, and circulated, of the number of landlords in this county ; the amount of acreage in possession of same, and the means by which such land was obtained ; farms let by each, with the conditions under which they are held by their tenants and excess of rent paid by same over the government valuation. b. To publish by placard, or otherwise, notice of contemplated evictions for non-payment of exorbitant rent or other unjust cause, and the convening of a public meeting, if deemed necessary or expedient, as near the scene of such evictions as circumstances will allow, and on the day fixed upon for the same. c. The publication of a list of evictions carried out, together with cases of rack-renting, giving full particulars of same, names of landlords, agents, etc, concerned, and number people evicted by such acts. d. The publication of the names of all persons who shall rent or occupy land or farms from which others have been dispossessed for non-payment of exorbitant rents, or who shall offer a higher rent for land or farms than that paid by the previous occupier. The publication of reductions of rent and acts of justice or kindness performed by landlords in the county.

4) This body to undertake the defence of such of its members, or those of local clubs affiliated with it, who may be required to resist by law the actions of landlords or their agents who may purpose doing them injury, wrong, or injustice in connexion with their land or farms.

5) To render assistance when possible to such farmer-members as may be evicted or otherwise wronged by landlords or their agents.

6) To undertake the organising of local clubs or defence associations in the baronies, towns, and parishes of this county, the holding of public meetings and demonstrations on the land question, and the printing of pamphlets on that and other subjects for the information of the farming classes.

7) And finally, to act as a vigilance committee in Mayo, note the conduct of its grand jury, poor law guardians, town commissioners, and members of parliament, and pronounce on the manner in which their respective functions are performed, wherever the interests, social or political, of the people represented by this club renders it expedient to do so.’

Thus began the land agitation movement. On the 21st October 1879, a meeting of concerned individuals was held in the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar, County Mayo, to discuss issues in relation to ‘landlordism’ and the manner in which that subject impacted on those who worked on small land holdings on which they paid ‘rent’, an issue which other groups, such as tenants’ rights organisations and groups who, confined by a small membership, agitated on land issues in their own locality, had voiced concern about.

Those present agreed to announce themselves as the ‘Irish National Land League’ (which, at its peak, had 200,000 active members) and Charles Stewart Parnell who, at 33 years of age, had been an elected member of parliament for the previous four years, was elected president of the new group and Andrew Kettle, Michael Davitt, and Thomas Brennan were appointed as honorary secretaries. That leadership had ‘form’ in that each had made a name for themselves as campaigners on social issues of the day and were, as such, ‘known’ to the British authorities – Davitt was a known member of the Supreme Council of the IRB and spoke publicly about the need “..to bring out a reduction of rack-rents..to facilitate the obtaining of the ownership of the soil by the occupiers..the object of the League can be best attained by promoting organisation among the tenant-farmers ; by defending those who may be threatened with eviction for refusing to pay unjust rents ; by facilitating the working of the Bright clauses of the Irish Land Act during the winter and by obtaining such reforms in the laws relating to land as will enable every tenant to become owner of his holding by paying a fair rent for a limited number of years..”

Davitt realised that the ‘Land League’ would be well advised to seek support from outside of Ireland and, under the slogan ‘The Land for the People’, he toured America, being introduced in his activities there by John Devoy and, although he did not have official support from the Fenian leadership – some of whom were neutral towards him while others were suspicious and/or hostile of and to him – he obtained constant media attention and secured good support for the objectives of the organisation.

He died before he could accomplish all he wanted to, at 60 years of age, in Elphis Hospital in Dublin, on the 30th of May 1906, from blood poisoning : he had a tooth extracted and contracted septicaemia from the operation. His body was taken to the Carmelite Friary in Clarendon Street, Dublin, then by train to Foxford in Mayo and he was buried in Straide Abbey, near where he was born. The ‘Father of the Irish Land League’ was gone, but will not be forgotten.

‘WE ASK FOR NO MERCY AND WE WILL MAKE NO COMPROMISE’ – edited highlights of a speech on the 13th March, 1920, by Terence MacSwiney.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.

“I come here more as a soldier stepping into the breach than an administrator to fill the first post in the municipality. We see in the manner in which our late Lord Major was murdered an attempt to terrify us all. Our first duty is to answer that threat in the only fitting manner by showing ourselves unterrified, cool and inflexible for the fulfilment of our chief purpose – the establishment of the independence and integrity of our country. To that end I am here.

The menace of our enemies hangs over us and the essential immediate purpose is to show the spirit that animates us and how we face the future. I wish to point out again the secret of our strength and the assurance of our final victory.

This contest of ours is not on our side a rivalry of vengeance, but one of endurance – it is not they who can inflict most but they who can suffer most will conquer. But it is conceivable that they could interrupt our course for a time ; then it becomes a question simply of trust in God and endurance…” (MORE LATER).


Austin Stack (pictured) was born on the 7th December, 1879, in Ballymullen, Tralee, County Kerry, and died in the Mater Hospital in Dublin, from complications after a stomach operation, on the 27th April 1929, at only 49 years of age. That wasn’t soon enough, as far as his former comrades were concerned – he had remained a republican, and completely rejected their politics and their Free State.

He was arrested with Con Collins on the 21st April 1916 while planning an attack on Tralee RIC Barracks in an attempt to rescue Roger Casement. He was court-martialed and sentenced to death, but this was commuted to twenty years penal servitude and he was released in the general amnesty of June 1917, and became active in the Irish Volunteers again. He was elected Secretary of Sinn Féin, a position he held until his death. His health was shattered due to the number of prison protests and hunger strikes for political status that he undertook. In the 1918 general election, while a prisoner in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast, he was elected to represent West Kerry in the First (all-Ireland) Dáil, and the British sent him off to Strangeways Prison in Manchester, from where he escaped in October 1919. During the ‘Black and Tan War’, as Minister for Home Affairs, Austin Stack organised the republican courts which replaced the British ‘legal’ system in this country.

He rejected the Treaty of Surrender in 1921 (stating, during the debate on same – “Has any man here the hardihood to stand up and say that it was for this our fathers suffered, that it was for this our comrades have died in the field and in the barrack yard..” ) and, following a short fund-raising/public relations tour of America, returned to Ireland to fight on the republican side in the Civil War.

In the general round-up of Irish republican leaders in April 1923 (during which Liam Lynch was shot dead by Free State troops) Stack, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the rebel forces, was arrested in a farmyard in the Knockmealdown Mountains in County Tipperary – this was four days after Lynch’s death. Imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin, he took part in the mass hunger-strike by republican prisoners in October 1923, which was his 5th hunger-strike in 6 years. Shortly after the end of that forty-one day hunger-strike, in November 1923, he was released with hundreds of other political prisoners, and he married his girlfriend, Una Gordon, in 1925. In April 1929, at forty-nine years of age, he entered the Mater Hospital in Dublin for a stomach operation. He never recovered and died two days later, on 27th April 1929. He is buried in the Republican Plot, Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin.

‘Austin Stack was born in Ballymullen, Tralee and was educated at the local Christian Brothers School. At the age of fourteen he left school and became a clerk in a solicitor’s office. A gifted Gaelic footballer, he captained the Kerry team to All-Ireland glory in 1904 and also served as President of the Kerry Gaelic Athletic Association County Board. He became politically active in 1908 when he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and, in 1916, as commandant of the Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers, he made preparations for the landing of arms by Roger Casement, on Banna Strand.

Although Austin Stack was made aware that Casement was arrested and was being held in Ballymullen Barracks in Tralee, he made no attempt to rescue him : RIC District Inspector Kearney treated Casement very well and made sure Stack was aware that Casement could so easily have been rescued, yet Stack refused to move (possibly sensing that a trap had been laid for him?) but he was arrested anyway and sentenced to death for his involvement, but this was later commuted to penal servitude for life. He was released under general amnesty in June 1917 after the death of fellow prisoner and Tralee man Thomas Patrick Ashe and was elected as an abstentionist Sinn Féin Member of Parliament for Kerry West in the 1918 Westminster election, becoming a member of the 1st Dail and was automatically elected as an abstentionist member of the ‘House of Commons of Southern Ireland’ and a member of the 2nd Dail as a Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Kerry-Limerick West in the Irish elections of 1921.

He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and took part in the subsequent Irish Civil War. He was captured in 1923 and went on hunger strike for forty-one days before being released in July 1924…when Eamon de Valera founded Fianna Fail in 1926, Stack remained with Sinn Féin..his health never recovered after his hunger strike and he died in a Dublin hospital on April 27th 1929, aged 49.’ (from here, slightly edited.)

A commemorative pamphlet, entitled ‘What Exactly is a Republican?’ was issued in memory of the man – ‘The name republican in Ireland, as used amongst republicans, bears no political meaning. It stands for the devout lover of his country, trying with might and main for his country’s freedom. Such a man cannot be a slave. And if not a slave in heart or in act, he cannot be guilty of the slave vices. No coercion can breed these in the freeman. Fittingly, the question – ‘What is a republican?’ fails to be answered in our memorial number for Austin Stack, a man who bore and dared and suffered, remaining through it all and at the worst, the captain of his own soul. What then was Austin Stack, republican? A great lover of his country. A man without a crooked twist in him. One who thought straight, acted straight, walked the straight road unflinchingly and expected of others that they should walk it with him, as simply as he did himself. No man could say or write of him “He had to do it”. That plea of the slave was not his. His duty, as conscience and love dictated, he did. The force of England, of the English Slave State, might try coercion, as they tried it many times : it made no difference. He went his way, suffered their will, and stood his ground doggedly, smiling now and again. His determination outstood theirs, because it had a deeper foundation and a higher aim. Compromise, submission, the slave marks, did not and could not exist for him as touching himself, or the Cause for which he worked and fought,lived and died.’

Pictured – an IRA unit in Kerry, circa 1921.

Austin Stack fought physically and verbally for the Irish Republic and, on the 19th December, 1921 – 97 years ago, on this date – he said the following in Dáil Éireann in relation to the Westminster-‘offered’ (and Free State accepted) ‘Treaty of Surrender’ : “It happens to be my privilege to rise immediately after the President to support his motion that this House do not approve of the document which has been presented to them. I shall be very brief ; I shall confine myself to what I regard as the chief defects in the document, namely, those which conflict with my idea of Irish Independence.

I regard clauses in this agreement as being the governing clauses. These are Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4. In No.I, England purports to bestow on Ireland, an ancient nation, the same constitutional status as any of the British Dominions, and also to bestow her with a Parliament having certain powers. To look at the second clause, it starts off — “Subject to provisions hereinafter set out..” — and then she tries to limit you to the powers of the Dominion of Canada. What they may mean I cannot say, beyond this, that the Canadian Dominion is set up under a very old Act which considerably limits its powers. No doubt the words “law, practice, and constitutional usage” are here. I cannot define what these may mean. Other speakers who will come before the assembly may be able to explain them. I certainly cannot. To let us assume that this clause gives to this country full Canadian powers, I for one cannot accept from England full Canadian powers, three-quarter Canadian powers, or half Canadian powers.

I stand for what is Ireland’s right, full independence and nothing short of it. It is easy to understand that countries like Australia, New Zealand and the others can put up with the powers which are bestowed on them, can put up with acknowledgements to the monarch and rule of Great Britain as head of their State, for have they not all sprung from England? Are they not children of England? Have they not been built up by Great Britain? Have they not been protected by England and lived under England’s flag for all time? What other feeling can they have but affection for England, which they always regarded as their motherland?

This country, on the other hand, has not been a child of England’s, nor never was. England came here as an invader, and for 750 years we have been resisting that conquest. Are we now after those 750 years to bend the knee and acknowledge that we received from England as a concession full, or half, or three-quarter Dominion powers? I say no. Clause 3 of this Treaty gives us a representative of the Crown in Ireland appointed in the same manner as a Governor-General. That Governor-General will act in all respects in the name of the King of England. He will represent the King in the Capital of Ireland and he will open the Parliament which some members of this House seem to be willing to attend. I am sure none of them, indeed, is very anxious to attend it under the circumstances, but, if they accept this Treaty they will have to attend Parliament summoned in the name of the King of Great Britain and Ireland. There is no doubt about that whatever. The fourth paragraph sets out the form of oath, and this form of oath may be divided into two parts. In the first part you swear “true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established.” As the President has stated, according to the Constitution which will be sanctioned under that Parliament, it will be summoned by the representative of the King of England and Ireland and will acknowledge that King.

I say even that part of the oath is nothing short of swearing allegiance to the head of that Constitution which will be the King. You express it again when you swear, “and that I will be faithful to His Majesty King George V., his heirs and successors by law.” That is clear enough, and I have no hesitation whatever in reading the qualifying words. I say these qualifying words in no way alter the text, or form, or effect of this oath, because what you do in that is to explain the reason why you give faith, why you pledge fealty to King George. You say it is in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and the meaning of that is that you are British subjects. You are British subjects without a doubt, and I challenge anyone here to stand and prove otherwise than that according to this document.

If ever you want to travel abroad, to a country where a passport is necessary, your passport must be issued from the British Foreign Office and you must be described as a British subject on it. If you are mean enough to accept this Treaty, time will tell. You wind up by saying that you further acknowledge that King in virtue of Ireland’s adherence to and membership of the group of nations known as the British Commonwealth of Nations, and all that, of course, is really consistent with the whole thing. You will become a member of the British Empire. Now this question of the oath has an extraordinary significance for me, for, so far as I can trace, no member of my family has ever taken an oath of allegiance to England’s King. When I say that I do not pretend for a moment that men who happened to be descended from, or to be sons of men who took oaths of allegiance to England’s Kings, or men who themselves took oaths of allegiance to England’s Kings are any worse for it. There are men in this assembly who have been comrades of mine in various places, who have been fighting the same fight as I have been fighting, the same fight which we have all been fighting, and which I sincerely hope we will be fighting together again ere long. There are men with whom I was associated in this fight whose fathers had worn England’s uniform and taken oaths of allegiance, and these men were as good men and took their places as well in the fight for Irish independence as any man I ever met.

But what I wish to say is this: I was nurtured in the traditions of Fenianism. My father wore England’s uniform as a comrade of Charles Kickham and O’Donovan Rossa when as a ’67 man he was sentenced to ten years for being a rebel, but he wore it minus the oath of allegiance. If I, as I hope I will, try to continue to fight for Ireland’s liberty, even if this rotten document be accepted, I will fight minus the oath of allegiance and to wipe out the oath of allegiance if I can do it. Now I ask you has any man here the idea in his head, has any man here the hardihood to stand up and say that it was for this our fathers have suffered, that it was for this our comrades have died on the field and in the barrack yard. If you really believe in your hearts that it was vote for it. If you don’t believe it in your hearts vote against it. It is for you now to make up your minds. To-day or to-morrow will be, I think, the most fateful days in Irish history. I will conclude by quoting two of Russell Lowell’s lines : —
“Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,

In the strife ‘twixt truth and falsehood for the good or evil side.”

Unfortunately, the “evil side” is, at the time of writing, in the majority. But it’s early yet…

(Incidentally, on this date, 97 years ago [19th December 1921], one of those who signed and accepted the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ attempted to explain, probably more so to himself than to those who were in his presence, why he had done so – “I do not seek to shield myself from the charge of having broken my oath of allegiance to the Republic — my signature is proof of that fact. That oath was, and still is to me, the most sacred bond on earth…” – a poor effort at absolving himself for doing the wrong thing, in our opinion : more here.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

At a special meeting of the San Francisco branch of the ‘Irish Republican Prisoner’s Aid Committee’, held on January 20th, 1955, the following resolution was unanimously passed : ‘WHEREAS the English Government, for eight centuries, has been guilty of invasion, confiscation, aggression and persecution in Ireland, and still pursues the policy, despite the world-wide maxim of peace-loving nations that all people should be allowed to govern themselves, free of outside interference and WHEREAS at the present time a number of young Irish patriots have been brutally sentenced to from four to twelve years penal servitude in English prisons and in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast for asserting their God-given rights to freedom from an alien enemy tyrant, therefore BE IT RESOLVED that we, Americans of Irish birth and extraction, meeting under the auspices of the ‘Irish Republican Prisoner’s Aid Committee’ of San Francisco, on this twentieth day of January 1955, emphatically protest the foul policy of Britain in imposing barbarous measures of punishment on Irish patriots who are entitled, under the circumstances, to treatment of prisoners of war and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we pledge our moral support to these patriotic soldiers of Ireland and our financial support to their dependents during their long and trying years ahead.”

(END of ‘San Francisco’ : NEXT – ‘Derry Men Fined’, ‘GAA Support’ and ‘Mistaken Identity’, from the same source.)


The question is no longer whether there is corruption within our political establishment but whether the political establishment is itself corrupt.

By Vincent Browne.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, February 1998.

At present, private investors on the Irish Stock Exchange own shares to an estimated value of £8 billion ; over the last year alone, the value of these shares would have increased by about £200 million. The tax on this realisable gain alone has been cut by £40 million! Of course, the capital gain on such stocks would be far greater that £40 million, taking the gain over the last several years.

And that capital gain represents only a fraction of the capital gain generated generally in the economy – it does not include, for instance, the capital gain from investment in property. Therefore, the benefit to the rich by this tax reduction is probably of the order of £100 million, although Charlie McCreevy stated that the cost to the exchequer in a single year was only £19 million. Either this was done to benefit the rich generally – on top of the benefit they gained by the reduction in the top rate of income tax – or perhaps for the benefit of a particular individual. Either way, it is a disgrace. And particularly a disgrace given the paucity of the increases in social welfare and the deferral (again) of the implementation of the benefit, such as it was.

In that vivid phrase of the hapless Michael Lowry, the cosy cartels are indeed very cosy. They have three parties to represent their interests (Fianna Fáil, the Progressive Democrats and Fine Gael) and they have little to fear from a tame Labour Party and a timorous Democratic Left. (END of ‘ON THE TAKE’ ; Next, from the same source : ‘A NEW THEORY OF RELATIVITY’, by Pat Rabbitte.)


We’ll be busy ourselves over the Christmas period, as usual – but, again as usual, we don’t mind, as it’s for a good cause! The 42nd successive Cabhair Christmas Swim will be held on Christmas Day 2018 at about 12 noon, at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal in Inchicore, Dublin, and we hope to be fit enough after it to post a few words and pics here on Stephen’s Day (or thereabouts – probably thereabouts!) – if you can make it, well and good, you’ll be made welcome and we’ll see ya there but, if you can’t make it, not to worry : we know you’ll be there in spirit and, if you want to contribute, donations can be sent to CABHAIR – Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund, 223 Sráid Pharnell, BÁC 1, Éire. All donations are gratefully received and a receipt will be issued.

CABHAIR is a charitable organisation, solely dependant on public subscriptions. It was established in early 1987, following the revolutionary / reformist split in the republican movement, for “the relief of cases of distress arising out of republican activity”. Immediately following the Ard-Fheis of Sinn Féin in 1986 when the Provisionals departed from the republican road a number of Irish political prisoners in England, the Six Counties and the 26 Counties adhered to the revolutionary path and refused to accept support from the Provisionals.

To meet this pressing need CABHAIR was formed and has continued with this noble work. Prisoners that they have cared for have been released on completion of sentence and others have gone to prison. At no time since 1987 have no prisoners been in CABHAIR’s care. As long as British rule continues in Ireland, Irish people will resist that foreign occupation and, unfortunately, there will be political prisoners.

We hope you have a Happy Christmas, and thank you for continuing to visit our wee corner of the interweb – much appreciated!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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On Monday, 5th of December in 1921 – 97 years ago on this date – in Downing Street in London, the then British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, announced to the Irish side in the ‘Treaty’ negotiations (pictured) that he had written two letters, one of which would now be sent to his people in Ireland ; one letter told of a peaceful outcome to the negotiations, the other told of a breakdown in the negotiations – Lloyd George stated that if he sent the latter one “..it is war, and war within three days. Which letter am I to send?”

That ‘War Letter’ meeting took place, as stated, on the afternoon of Monday 5th December 1921 ; at around 7pm that same evening, Michael Collins and his negotiating team left that Downing Street meeting to discuss the matter between themselves and returned to Downing Street later that night. Collins and Griffith (both pro-Treaty) had pressurised their colleague, Robert Childers Barton (the Irish Minister for Economic Affairs) to accept the Treaty of Surrender, telling him that if he did not sign then he would be responsible for “Irish homes (being) laid waste and the youth of Ireland (being) butchered..” and, at about 11pm on Monday, 5th December 1921, Barton signed the document.

Ten days later (ie on the 15th December 1921) Barton (pictured) had this to say in relation to that eventful day – “I want first of all to say we were eight and a half hours on that Monday in conference with the English representatives and the strain of an eight and a half hours conference and the struggle of it is a pretty severe one. One, when I am asked a question like that, “Was it or was it not?”, I cannot give you an answer. But as regards particular aspects of that question, which I cannot take on oath, I can only give you my impression. It is in my notes that the answer is given, and it is there because it was my impression of that conference. It did appear to me that Mr. Lloyd George spoke to me and I had an impression that he actually mentioned my name ; but I could not swear on oath that he mentioned my name, or actually addressed me when he spoke. It appeared to me that he spoke to me. What he did say was that the signature and the recommendation of every member of the delegation was necessary, or war would follow immediately and that the responsibility for that war must rest directly upon those who refused to sign the Treaty..”

On the 19th December that year, Barton, speaking in Leinster House, declared – “I am going to make plain to you the circumstances under which I find myself in honour bound to recommend the acceptance of the Treaty. In making that statement I have one object only in view, and that is to enable you to become intimately acquainted with the circumstances leading up to the signing of the Treaty and the responsibility forced on me had I refused to sign. I do not seek to shield myself from the charge of having broken my oath of allegiance to the Republic — my signature is proof of that fact. That oath was, and still is to me, the most sacred bond on earth.

I broke my oath because I judged that violation to be the lesser of alternative outrages forced upon me, and between which I was compelled to choose. On Sunday, December 4th, the Conference had precipitately and definitely broken down. An intermediary effected contact next day, and on Monday at 3pm, Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, and myself met the English representatives. In the struggle that ensued Arthur Griffith sought repeatedly to have the decision between war and peace on the terms of the Treaty referred back to this assembly. This proposal Mr. Lloyd George directly negatived.

He claimed that we were plenipotentiaries and that we must either accept or reject. Speaking for himself and his colleagues, the English Prime Minister with all the solemnity and the power of conviction that he alone, of all men I met, can impart by word and gesture — the vehicles by which the mind of one man oppresses and impresses the mind of another — declared that the signature and recommendation of every member of our delegation was necessary or war would follow immediately. He gave us until 10 o’clock to make up our minds, and it was then about 8.30. We returned to our house to decide upon our answer. The issue before us was whether we should stand behind our proposals for external association, face war and maintain the Republic, or whether we should accept inclusion in the British Empire and take peace…”

At about fifteen minutes past two on the morning of Tuesday 6th December 1921, Michael Collins and his team 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, on the 7th January 1922,the political institution in Leinster House voted to accept it, leading to a walk-out by then-principled members who, in effect, were refusing to assist in the setting-up of a British-sponsored ‘parliament’ in the newly-created Irish Free State. The British so-called ‘House of Commons’ (401 for, 58 against) and its ‘House of Lords’ (166 for, 47 against) both ascribed ‘legitimacy’ to the new State on the 16th December 1921 – the IRA, however, at an army convention held on the 26th March 1922 (at which 52 out of the 73 IRA Brigades were present,despite said gathering having been forbidden by the Leinster House institution!) rejected the Treaty of Surrender, stating that Leinster House had betrayed the Irish republican ideal.

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’. And, today, 97 years after that infamous ‘War Letter’ meeting was held, the struggle continues to remove the British political and military presence from Ireland.

From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.

26th August 1954.


Sir – I have read in your paper about a man in possession of a number of copies of ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper who has been sent to jail. Strange that I get the newspaper here constantly and I have not been sent to jail. In fact, I take this opportunity of informing you that your newspaper finds its way even to distant Japan!

Yours sincerely,

Joseph P. O’Shaughnessy,

26 Bracey Street,

Finsbury Park,

London N4.


On Saturday evening, October 23rd 1954, a Testimonial and Dance will be held at Croke Park, 240 Street and Broadway, New York City. The proceeds will go to erect a Memorial in Cahirciveen to the memory of the men* in South Kerry who died fighting for Irish freedom. We, the members of the South Kerry Memorial Committee, appeal through the ‘United Irishmen’ newspaper to all Clan na Gael and Irish Republican Army Clubs of greater New York to support this very worthy cause. For information phone John Clifford of the 3rd Kerry Brigade, Ket. 8-4614, or Jack Lynch, Mo. 5-9484.

(*’1169′ Comment – what, no women..?)

(END of ‘Belfast Jail Sentence’ and ‘South Kerry’s Heroic Dead’ : next, from the same source – ‘We Ask For No Mercy And We Will Make No Compromise’ – Terence MacSwiney.)


John Atherton was born in 1598 in Somerset, in England, into a ‘well-to-do’ Anglican family and received an education suiting his ‘standing’ in the society of his day ; Oxford University. At 36 years young, in 1634, and with a reputation as a ‘career clergyman’ – he had ‘worked’ his way up to secure a position for himself as the vicar of Huish Champflower, in Somerset – he was appointed as the ‘Lord Bishop of Waterford and Lismore’ by ‘Governor’ Thomas Wentworth (a lickspittle, ‘King’ Charles’ representative on Earth) and himself and his wife, Joan Leakey, moved to Ireland.

He ‘announced’ his presence in Ireland that same year by seeing to it that the so-called ‘Irish House of Commons’ passed legislation entitled ‘An Act for the Punishnment for the Vice of Buggery’ and it has been suggested that, due to his ‘colourful lifestyle’ – he moved in circles in which financial and sexual wheelings and dealings were used as bargaining chips – he himself was not adversed to seeking favours from either side of the house! Indeed, the political and religious culture at the time was such that no less a figure than Jonathan Swift would later declare that members of English ‘society class’ who were sent to Ireland to further their career and enhance their status (!) were being murdered en route and replaced by criminals!

As befitting Englishmen from a certain background, the good Bishop had a ‘household’ to do his bidding (!) and his ‘steward/title proctor’, a Mr John Childe and himself were said to be ‘close’ to each other and – lo and behold! – but didn’t they find themselves up in court charged with ‘indecent behaviour’ under the same Act that the Bishop himself had ‘squeezed’ his friends in the ‘House of Commons’ to pass! And so it was that on the 5th of December in the year 1640 – 378 years ago on this date, at 42 years of age – Bishop Atherton was taken to Gallows Green (now ‘Stephens Green’) in Dublin and hanged by the neck until dead. His ‘steward/title proctor/manfriend’, John Childe, was similarly rewarded a few months later.

Mr Atherton was never ‘defrocked’, as the ‘defrocker’ of the day was dead and had not been replaced, thus achieving for the good Bishop the unenviable distinction of being the only Anglican bishop hanged for buggery, and himself and Mr Childe also made the grade in that they were only the second pair of ‘close friends’ to be put to death for that indiscretion – they had followed in the famous footsteps of Mervyn Tuchet, the ‘Earl of Castlehaven’, and a member of his ‘staff’, who were put to death nine years previously for the same behaviour.

‘Suppose a Devill from th’infernall Pit,

More Monsterlike, then ere was Devill yet,

Contrary to course, taking a male fiend

To Sodomize with him, such was the mind

Of this Lord Bishop, he did take a Childe

By name, not years, acting a sinne so vilde…’

Incidentally, the phrase de mortuis nil nisi bonum apparently had no currency then : shortly after ‘polite society’ has disposed of the good Bishop, t’was said he was up to all sorts with his sister-in-law and was also a sampler of zoophilia with cattle. Thank your God that you live in an enlightened era


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

“(IRA) membership,” Mr. O’Donovan writes, “consists of young men who are half in love with death. They are not intellectuals but they are serious and steeped in Irish history…it matters little to them that their policy is more likely to strengthen the existence of partition…or that the IRA’s military plan is based on a false assumption and has no chance of success..”

Facts are facts and we welcome them. You are unfair to your own people and unjust to ours when you state as established fact your own imaginings. It is a fact that our young men in the IRA are not afraid of death in a just cause. Ireland’s claim to unity and freedom is surely just and righteous. To say that men who are not afraid of death in such a cause, love death for itself, is ridiculous.

Men serious enough to be steeped in history surely take a serious interest in the policy they pursue and would not pursue tactics that would defeat the objective of such policy. On what basis of fact does Mr O’Donovan assume that the IRA’s military plan is based on a false assumption and has no chance of success? Is the British Army invincible? Perhaps the USA, Egypt, Palestine etc are, unknown to us, still occupied by British forces!

(END of ‘Irish History For The British’ ; next – ‘San Francisco’, from the same source.)


The question is no longer whether there is corruption within our political establishment but whether the political establishment is itself corrupt.

By Vincent Browne.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, February 1998.

Was the 1993 State tax amnesty done to accommodate a single mega-rich taxpayer who was in trouble with the Revenue Commissioners and whose generosity to Fianna Fáil and perhaps to individuals within the party was considerable? So troubled was the then minister for finance, Bertie Ahern, with the proposal to introduce the scheme that he considered resignation*, and he was talked out of it only by a representative of the ‘Labour Party’, which was then in government with Fianna Fáil. How ironic that a Fianna Fáil finance minister should be encouraged to accept a measure that was so manifestly unfair by a representative of a party that purports to represent the quintessence of fairness!

The second of these decisions was the refusal to permit the Moriarty Tribunal to investigate the source of all funds in the Ansbacher accounts (the accounts held in a Dublin bank, where the holders of the deposits were unnamed, where the monies had been routed through London, the Cayman Islands and then back to Dublin). In doing this, Fianna Fáil was supported by its partners in government, the ‘Progressive Democrats’, and by Fine Gael
(Fine Gael is now busily trying to rewire its involvement in that piece of infamy).

The third was the announcement in the budget of a reduction in the rate of capital gains tax, from 40 per cent to 20 per cent ; the scale of that tax change is staggering – in one fell swoop, a government that made such a fuss about reducing the top and standard rates of income tax by two percentage points reduced the tax that most affexts the rich by a full 20 per centage points… (*’1169′ Comment – the “single mega-rich taxpayer” was not one of Bertie’s Buddies, it seems…) (MORE LATER).

ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (12TH DECEMBER 2018) YOU’LL BE MISSING US…but your aim will get better on the 19th!

We won’t be posting our usual contribution on Wednesday, 12th December 2018, and probably won’t be in a position to post anything at all until the following Wednesday, the 19th December ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 8th/9th December 2018) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Cabhair group in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle, and the ‘autopsy’ into same which will take place on Monday evening, 10th, in Dublin, meaning that we will not have the time to post here.

But we’ll be back, as stated above, on Wednesday 19th December 2018, when our offering will include, I’m told, a piece about an Irish republican who was sentenced by the British to 15 years in prison and, although he went in ‘with one arm tied behind his back’, so to speak, he came out and proved himself more useful to the republican struggle than many a so-called ‘able bodied’ person…

Thanks, for reading , Sharon.

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The 28th November in 1920 – 98 years ago on this date – was a Sunday, and it was on that day, in the morning, an open-back lorry carrying members of the Black and Tans was observed driving at speed into Moy O’Hynes Wood, near Kinvara in County Galway, and the occupants of that lorry were watched as they loaded something into the back of it and drove off at speed towards the small town of Umbriste (near Ardrahan, on the Gort to Clarinbridge road) – the story of these savage murders is perhaps best begun by quoting the words of a local medic, a Dr. Connolly, who was tasked with examining the remains of Pat and Harry Loughnane : “Hand grenades were put in their mouths and these exploded…”

Pat and Harry Loughnane were well-known and equally well-liked and respected in their neighbourhood of South Galway. Pat (the eldest), was an IRA man and Secretary of Sinn Féin in the area ; he was also active in GAA circles. His younger brother, Harry, played in goal for the local Beagh Hurling Club, was an IRA Volunteer and was also a member of the local cumann of Sinn Féin ; both brothers worked on the family farm in Shanaglish, County Galway, and were working in the corn fields on Friday, 26th November 1920, when the Black and Tans surrounded them. The two brothers were thumped around a bit in the corn fields by the Black and Tans and then thrown into the back of the lorry belonging to the Tans – they were pushed off the lorry outside the Bridewell Barracks in Gort and put in a cell. People in near-by cells later reported hearing the brothers being battered by the Tans, who were well aware that the Loughnane brothers were active in the struggle for Irish Freedom.

After three or four hours of beating, the brothers were dragged out to the courtyard of Gort Bridewell and tied to each other ; the other end of the rope was then tied to the back of the lorry, which drove off, heading for Drumharsna Castle, which was then the headquarters of the Black and Tans in that area of Galway. Both Pat and Harry Loughnane were at that stage too weak to run behind the lorry, and ended up being dragged on the ground behind it and, on arrival at Drumharsna Castle, the rope was untied from the lorry and the two men were dragged into another cell and beaten again. At around 10.30 or 11pm that same night (Friday 26th November 1920) the Loughnane brothers were removed from the cell and put in the back of the lorry ; they were pushed out of the back of same after travelling a few miles – the brothers would have been too dazed to realise it, but they were now in Moy O’Hynes Wood, and were being taken deep into the thicket of it by the Black and Tans.

Locals later reported hearing four shots and, the following day (Saturday, 27th November 1920), rumour was rife in the neighbourhood that Pat and Harry Loughnane had been dragged into the Moy O’Hynes Wood and shot dead by the Black and Tans but that rumour also insisted that Harry Loughnane somehow survived the ordeal – and the Tans heard that same rumour. It was early on Sunday morning (28th November 1920 – 98 years ago on this date) that the Black and Tans again entered the Wood – they were observed loading something into the back of their lorry and driving off at speed towards the small town of Umbriste (near Ardrahan, on the Gort to Clarinbridge road) ; it later transpired that the Black and Tans burned the bodies of the Loughnane brothers when they arrived at Umbriste but even then they were not satisfied – so they dug a hole and threw the bodies into it. However, because of the rocky terrain, the Tans were unable to fully cover their tracks and were convinced that the charred remains would be found. They dug them up and carried them to a near-by pond, weighted them down, and threw them in – they then apparently poured a couple of gallons of dirty engine oil into the pond at that same spot.

That happened on Sunday, 28th November ; the following day – Monday 29th November – they called to the Loughnane home and told the boys’ mother that they were looking for her two sons – that they had escaped from custody and were “on the run”. The Tans knew well enough where the two brothers were but, as well as deliberately giving false hope to the family, they were in the process of concocting an alibi for themselves. However, at this stage, the family and friends did not know any better and search-parties were organised to look for Pat and Harry, two ‘fugitives on the run from British injustice’, as the ‘establishment’ then would have it.

In the middle of December that year, the remains were found. Before the brothers were given a proper funeral, a local doctor (Dr Connolly) was asked to examine the remains and his report showed that both men had, at first, been sadistically battered ; the eldest of the brothers, Pat, had both wrists and legs broken, while Harry had had two fingers removed by a saw, while he was still alive, and his right arm was only attached to the remains of the charred body by sinews. The doctor stated that the damage to the head, neck and upper-chest area of both men was caused, in his opinion, by “hand grenades (which) were put in their mouths and that these then exploded”. The remains of both men showed that the Black and Tans had attempted to ‘write’ on them, using knives or bayonets – sets of initials were carved into both bodies.

Memorial to brothers Patrick and Harry Loughnane at Moy O Hynes Woods, near Ardrahan, Galway.

There was a heavy presence of Black and Tans at the funerals of Pat and Harry Loughnane, but the IRA called their bluff just as the burial ceremony was coming to an end – six armed IRA Volunteers stood over the grave and a three-volley shot was given. The kidnap, torture, abuse and manner of death suffered by Pat and Harry Loughnane is the most horrific incident that this author has come across in researching articles for this blog. Even in times of war, the fate deliberately inflicted on the brothers was inhuman. At the risk of sounding like we are trying to score a cheap political point, we remind our readers that the military kin of the Black and Tans are still in this country and monuments have been erected to them and their ilk. And they receive their instructions from the same political institution which gave the Tans their orders. Think of that, next time you hear talk of “dissident republicans” in Ireland, and ask yourself how could you be but “dissident” to British rule in any part of this country? And ask yourself when have true Irish republicans ever been but “dissident”? (‘1169’ Comment – witness statements re the above acts of butchery can be read here.)

From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.

Mr Terence O’Conlon, Secretary, Philadelphia IRA Association, in a letter, says that the raid on Armagh Barracks caused a sensation in America, especially among the native population. The story broke on a Sunday when most Americans do a large percentage of their newspaper reading.

Mr O’Conlon wrote – “No more dramatic method of conveying to the world that England has an unwelcome army of occupation in part of Ireland could possibly be employed. Thousands of Americans naively accept the idea that ‘Northern Ireland’ is probably a little island or piece of ground attached to the English mainland. This is one English propaganda bubble that has been blasted for all time* by the Armagh raid.”

(*’1169′ Comment : Unfortunately not ; if anything it’s got worse since that letter was published in 1954 – there are thousands of people in Ireland, never mind America, that consider that to be the case in relation to what the propagandists and the politically ignorant call ‘Northern Ireland’. But Irish republicans are well used to being a censored minority in this country and we’ll continue in our endeavours, regardless…)

(END of ‘Armagh Raid Good Propaganda In USA’ : next – ‘Belfast Jail Sentence’ and ‘South Kerry’s Heroic Dead’, from the same source.)


‘The organization which would become the political arm of the Irish Republican Army began (…on the 28th November, 1905 – 113 years ago on this date) as one of numerous nationalist pressure groups. The name means ‘Us’ or ‘Ourselves Alone’, a proclamation that the solution to Ireland’s predicament lay in the hands of its people and nobody else.

Sinn Féin was an amalgamation of groups founded by Arthur Griffith and Bulmer Hobson. In 1899 Griffith, a Dublin-born journalist, had founded the weekly ‘United Irishman’ newspaper, which lambasted the Irish MPs at Westminster. The following year he established an organization called Cumann na nGaedhael
(‘Tribe of the Gaels’) , which was to be the principal ancestor of Sinn Féin, and merged it with the republican Dungannon Clubs, flourishing mainly in Ulster and organized by Hobson, a Belfast-born Quaker, who described them as ‘semi-literary, semi-political and patriotic’.

Griffith believed Fenian-style reliance on armed rebellion had failed and the effective tactic was passive resistance. This would involve a withdrawal from Westminster and the establishment of a national assembly in Ireland, refusing to pay British taxes, creating independent Irish courts and an Irish civil service, taking control of local authorities and boycotting British products. He wanted Ireland as part of a dual monarchy under the British crown and developing into an industrialized country. His aim was ‘to make England take one hand from Ireland’s throat and the other out of Ireland’s pocket’. Griffith saw a precedent in the tactics of Hungarian nationalists in the 1860’s, though this parallel was derided in Ireland…’ (from here.)

As stated above, the Sinn Féin organisation was founded on November 28th, 1905 – 113 years ago today – and consisted of an amalgamation of Cumann na nGaedheal, the National Council (which was founded in the main to organise protests at the visit of the British King, Edward VII, and included in its ranks Edward Martyn, Séamus McManus and Maud Gonne) and the Dungannon Clubs, a largely IRB-dominated republican campaign group. Contrary to the perception which has been advanced by some that Sinn Féin in its first years was not republican in character but rather sought a limited form of Home Rule on the dual monarchist model, Brian O’Higgins, a founding member of Sinn Féin, who took part in the 1916 Rising, and was a member of the First and Second Dáil, remaining a steadfast republican up to his death in 1962, had this to say in his Wolfe Tone Annual of 1949 :

“It is often sought to be shown that the organisation set up in 1905 was not republican in form or spirit, that it only became so in 1917, but this is an erroneous idea, and is not borne out by the truths of history. Anyone who goes to the trouble of reading its brief constitution will see that its object was ‘the re-establishment of the independence of Ireland’. The Constitution of Sinn Féin in 1905, and certainly the spirit of it, was at least as clearly separatist as was the constitution of Sinn Féin in and after 1917, no matter what private opinion regarding the British Crown may have been held by Arthur Griffith…”

And, unfortunately, over the years since it was founded, ‘private opinion regarding the British Crown (and the Free State equivalent)‘ led to splits – ‘The story of how Gerry Adams tried to turn an eighty year old revolutionary movement into a British Constitutional party. How he broke the Sinn Féin constitution, created fake cumainn to give him fake votes and barred life long republicans from voting. How he managed to expel himself and his supporters from Sinn Féin membership. And, how a small band of republicans managed to keep the Sinn Féin constitution and traditional policy intact..’ (from here.) However – despite the best (and on-going) efforts of those who are verbally in favour of Irish republican principles but are actually, behind closed doors, opposed to those principles, the Sinn Féin organisation remains active today, and long may it do so!


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

Mr Patrick O’Donovan, writing in the English ‘Sunday Observer’ newspaper on January 30th, treated his readers to a potted history of the IRA since 1916. The ‘history’ is a nicely woven pattern of facts and Mr O’Donovan’s fancy. He states – “In 1939 the IRA issued a proclamation demanding the evacuation of all British forces from Irish soil…in 1948 the Costello Government severed the last exiguous link with the Commonwealth…since the Government of Éire was now in line with the aims of the IRA, the IRA changed its tactics – its efforts would be devoted to driving ‘the English Army of occupation’ out of the North…its attacks are at present confined to the small military force in the North of Ireland – there are two battalions there that have not been recruited in Ireland, the rest are depots and units of Irish regiments..”

Mr O’Donovan would have his readers, who are the intellectuals and leaders of England, believe that driving the English Army of occupation out of the North is entirely different tactics to forcing the evacuation of English forces from Irish soil : that the North of Ireland is not held by the British Army but by “Irish regiments”!

Having informed his readers of the numerical strength of the IRA, its standards of training, its system of organisation etc he departs from his facts/fancy story and enters the realms of sheer fantasy… (MORE LATER).


“On an extremely cold, wet night, the men began moving to Kilmichael to take on the dreaded Auxiliaries. All IRA positions were occupied at 9am. The hours passed slowly. Towards evening the gloom deepened over the bleak Kilmichael countryside. At 4.05 pm. an IRA scout signaled the enemy’s approach.

The first lorry came round the bend into the ambush position. Tom Barry, dressed in military style uniform stepped onto the road with his hand up. The driver gradually slowed down. When it was 35 yards from the Volunteers command post a Mills’ bomb was thrown by Barry and simultaneously a whistle blew signalling the beginning of the ambush. The bomb landed in the driver’s seat of the uncovered lorry. As it exploded, rifle shots rang out. The lorry, its driver dead, moved forward until it stopped a few yards from the small stone wall in front of the command post. While some of the Auxiliaries were firing from the lorry, others were on the road and the fighting was hand-to-hand. Revolvers were used at point blank range, and at times, rifle butts replaced rifle shots. The Auxiliaries were cursing and yelling as they fought, but the IRA coldly outfought them. In less than five minutes nine Auxiliaries were dead or dying. Barry and the three men beside him at the Command Post, moved towards the second lorry…” (from here.)

“Many statements have been made by Ministers and Generals in various countries on the necessity for long periods of training before even an infantry soldier is ready for action. This is utter nonsense when applied to volunteers for guerilla warfare. After only one week of collective training, his Flying Column of intelligent and courageous fighters was fit to meet an equal number of soldiers from any regular army in the world, and hold its own in battle, if not in barrack-yard ceremonials”. – Tom Barry, ‘Guerilla Days in Ireland’.

“They said I was ruthless, daring, savage, blood thirsty, even heartless. The clergy called me and my comrades murderers ; but the British were met with their own weapons. They had gone in the mire to destroy us and our nation and down after them we had to go” – Tom Barry.

And, four months later, Tom Barry (pictured, in 1921) was again active in an equally successful engagement with British forces – in the early hours of Saturday, 19th March 1921, under the command of Tom Barry (the son of an RIC officer who had retired to become a shopkeeper) and Liam Deasy (who, within less than two years afterwards, signed a Free State ‘pledge’ in exchange for his life), the West Cork Flying Column of the IRA turned the tables on a British Army and RIC column at Crossbarry, situated about twelve miles south-west of Cork city, despite being outnumbered ten-to-one.

During the hour-long firefight, in which 104 IRA Volunteers (each carrying approximately 40 rounds of ammunition) successfully fought their way out of a ‘pincer’-type movement by about 1,200 enemy troops, consisting of British soldiers from the Hampshire and Essex Regiments, Black and Tans and RIC men, three IRA men were killed in action (Peter Monahan, Jeremiah O’Leary and Con Daly) and three others were wounded. Reports varied in relation to British casualties but it seems certain that at least ten of their soldiers were killed and three wounded (more here).

In an interview he gave a number of years later, Tom Barry recalled how “..about two hours had elapsed since the opening of the fight. We were in possession of the countryside, no British were visible and our task was completed. The whole Column was drawn up in line of sections and told they had done well..” – and they had indeed ‘done well’, only to witness, within months, their efforts (ab)used by those who yearned for a political career, which they were given by Westminster in return for their surrender. But, thankfully, although still outnumbered, a republican force still exists to this day.


The question is no longer whether there is corruption within our political establishment but whether the political establishment is itself corrupt.

By Vincent Browne.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, February 1998.

We now know what we purported not to know before : that senior political figures were ‘on the take’ and that at least one of them was ‘on the take’ for decades. We now know that the manner in which this senior political figure, Charles Haughey, was ‘on the take’, involved the complicity of bankers, accountants and benefactors, that it involved a complicated financial ruse (the Ansbacher Accounts) that were availed of by many others as well. Many of those others were associates of Mr Haughey.

But whatever the further revelations of the Moriarty Tribunal into these matters and whatever more emerges about the existence of similar financial ruses in other banks, these represent only the symptom of what seems to be a much deeper malaise. That malaise is represented perhaps best by three extraordinary decisions taken by Fianna Fáil-led governments in recent years ; the first of these decisions was the tax amnesty of 1993, whereby tax defrauders were given a total amnesty on payment of just fifteen per-cent of the tax they owed to the State and a guarantee of absolute confidentiality hereafter.

The scale of this benefit to the richest in society cannot now be quantified but it may be assumed with confidence that it was massive. But of more concern is what motivated the introduction of the tax amnesty in the first place… (MORE LATER).

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

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Members of the British ‘Cairo/Special Gang’, pictured, who were executed in Dublin by the IRA on the 21st November 1920, 98 years ago today.

Serving British soldiers, former British soldiers, RIC members and ex-members, carpenters, plumbers, electricans, landlords(and landladies), servants, busdrivers and taximen, businessmen and women, postmen and housewives – and the IRA ; all the above, and others, combined their knowledge and skills to great effect on the morning of Sunday, 21st November , 1920 : it was on that morning, 93 years ago today, that thirteen senior British intelligence officers were executed in Dublin. The IRA Intelligence Department at that time was an extremely efficient machine, run by Michael Collins, and the British were well aware of that fact – Sir Henry Wilson wanted it and Collins eliminated, and sanctioned the use, in Ireland, of ‘The Cairo/Special Gang’, a unit of British agents which specialised in political assassinations – they got their name, and their reputation, from ‘hits’ in the Middle East, carried out on the instruction of Wilson and others in Westminster.

‘The Cairo Gang’ lived quietly in boarding houses and hotels in Dublin, never drawing attention to themselves, and set about compiling a ‘hit-list’ of Irish republicans for assassination ; the IRA, however, were one step ahead of them – a Sergeant Mannix of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force, stationed at Donnybrook, was an IRA agent, and obtained the names and addresses of all the ‘Gang’ members and passed the list on to his IRA contact, Frank Thornton (pictured). A situation then developed that ‘The Cairo Gang’ were monitoring the movements of the IRA members that they intended to assassinate while being monitored themselves by the IRA Intelligence Department!

The Dublin Brigade of the IRA and the IRA Intelligence Department decided to work together on a plan to deal with those British spies, and a meeting was held at which Michael Collins, Dick McKee, Liam Tobin, Peadar Clancy, Tom Cullen, Frank Thornton and Oscar Traynor were present : the operation was to take place on Sunday morning, 21st November 1920, as the then Leinster champions, Dublin and Tipperary, were to play in a GAA match, and large crowds would be in Dublin for the occasion, providing ‘cover’ for the IRA teams to escape in.

British Army Captain Leonard Price, a Major Dowling, a Captain Keenlyside and two British Army Colonels, Woodcock and Montgomery, were staying in premises at 28 Pembroke Street in Dublin when, at 9am on Sunday 21st November 1920 – 98 years ago today – eight armed IRA Volunteers entered the building ; Price and Dowling were in a room by themselves sorting paperwork when the IRA entered the room and shot them dead – one of the Dublin Volunteers, Andrew Cooney, gathered up the sheets of paper and left the building. At the same time, British Captain Keenlyside and the two Colonel’s found themselves confronted by some of the same IRA unit and a struggle ensued between Keenlyside’s wife (no doubt present as part of what her husband probably considered a ‘working holiday’ and part of his ‘cover’) and IRA Volunteer Mick O’Hanlon (pictured – Mick is the grandfather of actor and comedian Ardal O’Hanlon) ; another IRA man, Mick Flanagan, pushed Mrs. Keenlyside out of the way and shot her husband dead.

Incidentally, when Charlie Dalton (pictured,after he abandoned republicanism, in Free State Army uniform) was 16 years of age he was recruited by Michael Collins and joined the Squad that Collins was then assembling : this IRA Unit was permanently housed in Abbey St, Dublin, in a ‘front’ premises in which a ‘legitimate’ business operated from – ‘George Moreland, Cabinet Maker’, and squad members were paid £4 10s a week to carry out assassinations on a full-time basis. Shortly after his 17th birthday, as a member of that Squad, Charlie Dalton took part in the executions of British Army Major C M Dowling and British Army Captain Leonard Price : he spoke afterwards of how ‘he couldn’t sleep the night of Bloody Sunday, (how) he thought he could hear the gurgling of the officers blood..(I) could no longer control the overpowering urge to run, to leave far behind me those threatening streets..’ An understandable reaction, without a doubt, but we wonder if he felt the same remorse over his part in the ‘Quarrie Killings’ in Clondalkin, Dublin – in November 1922, an inquest was held into that incident at which the prosecution demanded that a verdict of murder be brought against Charlie Dalton but, apparently, the jury were ‘reminded’ by the State that they were living in ‘exceptional times’ and, following that and possibly other ‘reminders’, the jury declined to entertain the prosecution. In an effort to suggest that ‘justice will be done’, Dalton was then ‘arrested’ by his colleagues in the CID but was never charged with an offence related to the ‘Quarrie Killings’.

British Lieutenant McLean, John Caldow (McLean’s brother-in-law) and known informer T H Smith were staying at 119 Morehampton Road on that Sunday morning when six armed IRA Volunteers entered the building ; McLean, Caldow and Smith were caught off-guard and escorted to the top of the building, where IRA men Vincent Byrne (pictured) and Sean Doyle shot them. John Caldow survived that morning and, after receiving medical attention, fled to Scotland, where he had come to Ireland from in order to join the RIC.

British Captain Newbury and his wife were staying at 92 Lower Baggot Street and heard the front door being kicked in – he immediately blocked the door to his room and made a run for the window ; he was half-way out of the window when his door was forced open and Volunteers Bill Stapleton and Joe Leonard shot him dead. His body was left draped over the open window for hours, as the Black and Tans believed it to be booby-trapped.

At 38 Upper Mount Street in Dublin, a maid let a number of men in to the building and led them to two rooms ; British Captain George Bennett was in one of the rooms, and British Colonel Peter Aimes was in the other one. Both men were armed and resisted the Volunteers, resulting in a gun-battle which left the two ‘Cairo’ men dead. More documentation on IRA members, compiled by those British spies, was found at 28 Earlsfort Terrace, where British Captain Fitzgerald was staying ; he was shot dead on that Sunday morning and the paperwork removed for examination by the IRA Intelligence Department. Two British Lieutenants, McMahon and Peel, had been brought in by the British from Russia, where they had been involved in gathering intelligence information – they were to do the same job, in Dublin, this time as members of the ‘Cairo Gang’.

They were staying at 22 Lower Mount Street, Dublin, and one of them, McMahon, had a score to settle with the IRA : he had previously shot dead a Sinn Féin member, John Lynch, in the mistaken belief that Lynch was the Divisional Commandant of the 1st Southern Division of the IRA, Liam Lynch. The IRA later shot McMahon in a billiard hall, wounding him, and he wanted revenge. The two ‘Cairo’ men were in different rooms in number 22 Lower Mount Street when the IRA unit was let in ; they entered McMahon’s room just as he had picked up his revolver and shot him dead. On hearing the gunfire, Peel locked his door and then blocked it with a piece of furniture – unable to get in, the Volunteers fired more than a dozen bullets through the door, but Peel survived that day.

Na Fianna Éireann (Irish republican scout organisation) were also on Lower Mount Street that Sunday morning , as ‘lookouts’ ; one of their members ran into number 22 to tell the eleven-person IRA unit that the British Auxiliaries were on the street – five members of the IRA unit left calmly by the front door, the other six men went to the back of the house, out the back-door and walked away up a laneway. These six men were challenged by a number of Auxiliaries and a gun battle ensued – IRA man Frank Teeling (pictured) was wounded, and two of the British soldiers, Garnin and Morris, were killed. The wounded Volunteer, Teeling, was captured, but the rest of his unit made good their escape.

British Captain Geoffrey Thomas Baggallay, who was said to be one of those who tortured Kevin Barry, and who had further enhanced his ‘reputation’ by presenting ‘evidence’ in show-trials which led to the executions of Irish republicans, was staying in number 119 Baggot Street when, on that Sunday morning, 21st November 1920 – 98 years ago today – three IRA Volunteers (including Sean Lemass, a future Fianna Fáil Free State Taoiseach) entered his room and shot him dead. Incidentally, an IRA man who was not involved in the execution of Baggallay, Thomas Whelan, was put to death by Westminster on the 14th March 1921 for ‘the murder of Baggallay’ – the British trait of concocting ‘evidence’ the ‘Baggallay Way’ continued.

British Captains McCormack and Wilde were staying in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin’s O’Connell Street when a number of men, claiming to be undercover British soldiers with a message to deliver to the two Captains, were shown by the hotel staff to the rooms they were looking for : as each man opened his door he was shot dead. An IRA unit entered a guesthouse in Fitzwilliam Square to deal with a ‘Cairo Gang’ leader, British Major Callaghan ; he was booked in at the guesthouse but was not there at that particular moment. His colleague, however, a Captain Crawford, was present and was held at gunpoint by the Volunteers but it was decided that, as he was not the intended target, his life would be spared if he left the country within twenty-four hours – Crawford threw some things in a case and left immediately. Another missed target was a Colonel Jennings, who was staying in the ‘Eastwood Hotel’ ; when the IRA unit broke in the door of his room, it was empty and there was no sign of him in the hotel – the Volunteers left the premises. A total of 13 British Secret Service executioners known as ‘The Cairo Gang’ were themselves executed in Dublin on Sunday 21st November, 1920, by the IRA. The loss of those operatives, and the intelligence material they had accumulated, shook the British establishment to its roots, and highlighted on a global scale the extent of the British ‘dirty-tricks’ campaign in Ireland.

(FOOTNOTE – IRA Volunteer Frank Teeling (who was later to jump ship to the Free Staters, a ‘jump’ that perhaps seemed to trouble him..?) , who was wounded and captured in a laneway at the back of Lower Mount Street, was sentenced to death – however, he escaped with others from Kilmainham Jail. Days after the ‘Cairo Gang’ were wiped-out it emerged that Major Callaghan and Colonel Jennings, who were both absent from their rooms when the IRA visited, had in fact stayed overnight in a local brothel [we can only presume that they were both with women…] and,on that Sunday (21st November, 1920) a football match took place between Dublin and Tipperary : the ‘Black and Tans’ came on to the pitch and opened fire on the players and the crowd – fourteen people were killed and sixty injured. The British later said they were fired on first – (more here). British Captain Baggallay would have been proud of that ‘defence’.)

‘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 broad day!

High the sun rides o’er the hill,

Gold grain’s bursting, blades are rusting,

And ye steeped in slumber still.

Brave men wrought when ye were weeping

Wise ones sowed when ye were sleeping,

Now a harvest’s for the reaping,

Sickles many, labourers few,

Sons of Banba, Rouse ya! Rise ye!

There is work for men to do.

Sons of Banba, Wake ye! Wake ye!

Passing, fleeting, is the morn,

Let God’s harvest fall and wither,

And ye’ll wake to shame and scorn.

Hear ye! Hear! The cry for workers.

You men! True men! Loungers, shirkers,

Slaves and knaves and low-born lurkers,

Them let stupor woo,

Sons of Banba, Rouse ye! Rise ye!

There is work for men to do.

(END of ‘The Call’ ; next, from the same source – ‘Armagh Raid Good Propaganda In USA’.)


Joseph Mary Plunkett/Seosamh Máire Pluincéid (pictured) was born on the 21st November 1887 – 131 years ago today – into a wealthy family, then living at 26 Upper Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin. His father was George Noble Plunkett and his mother was Mary Josephine Cranny ; Joseph had five sisters and two brothers, but he was troubled by ill health – he suffered from tuberculosis (TB) which left him physically weak for every one of the 28 years he lived.

He was educated by the Jesuits at Belvedere College in Dublin and would later attend Stonyhurst College in Lancashire in England – he excelled at languages and joined the ‘Gaelic League’, at which he formed a lifelong friendship with Thomas MacDonagh ; the two young men joined the ‘Irish Volunteers’ where they learned military skills in the company of, among many others, Joseph’s brother George (Jnr) and his father, George (Snr) and his other brother, John ; Joseph helped to formulate the Easter Week manoeuvres and was trusted by the other IRB leaders to do so – he was frail, physically, but not mentally or militarily, and he secured a property, in Kimmage, Dublin, owned by his father, to be used by the ‘Irish Volunteers’ as a training camp/billet for those who refused to take up arms during ‘WW1’ (‘the war between three cousins’) deciding instead to fight for Ireland.

His health took a turn for the worse in early 1916 and he had to have an operation on his neck glands, which left him practically bedridden (he left his sickbed to sign the 1916 Proclamation) but he insisted on being present in the GPO during Easter Week and, although he was there with Padráig Pearse and Thomas Clarke, he couldn’t be as active as he had hoped to be, and was helped throughout the week by his ‘aide de camp’, Michael Collins, who worked with Joseph’s father as a financial adviser in his business dealings.

Joseph Mary Plunkett married Grace Clifford on the 4th May 1916 and, hours later, he was executed by a British firing squad in Kilmainham Jail, Dublin, and buried in Arbour Hill Cemetery.

“..with all my love I place this wedding ring upon your finger, there won’t be time to share our love, for we must say goodbye..” (from here.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.

In the ‘Sunday Press’ newspaper of January 13th the following letter appeared :


In your issue of last Sunday Mr. P. Pearse Danaher asks me to remain “silent” on the means to end partition. I fully know that going cap in hand to England or any imperial power will get us nowhere, yet I cannot agree with wasting young Irish lives. I admire bravery. I always shall, but I don’t believe in foolhardy enterprise. I have never asked anyone to do anything I would not do myself and *I would not attack the North under present circumstances, or in fact under any circumstances.*

I believe that the spirit of **McCracken, Hope, Russell** and other patriots will re-awaken in the North some day and when that day comes Ireland will be free and undivided.

Signed – Dan Breen’.

(* ‘1169’ comment – Dan Breen was a Fianna Fáil member of Leinster House from 1923 until he retired in 1965 and was content with that station in life, even though it was not the political outcome he fought for. Also **, McCracken, Hope and Russell physically attacked the British presence in this country and went to their graves without condemning or slighting anyone for doing the same.)

(END of ‘I Would Not Attack Under Any Circumstances’ ; next, from the same source – ‘Irish History For The British’.)


Thomas Paliser Russell (pictured) was born in Betsborough (‘Fern Hill’), just outside the village of Dromahane, in the parish of Kilshannig, south-west of Mallow, in the county of Cork, on this date (21st November) in 1767 – 251 years ago on this date. His family was Anglican and he was reared in a pro-British environment (his father was an officer in the British Army and had fought against the ‘Irish Brigade’ in the memorable battle of Fontenoy), so much so that he joined the British Army at the age of 16 and was dispatched to an ‘unruly’ India, where noises were being heard about the ‘Townshend Duties’ (imposed taxes) and other British injustices against the native population : he was stationed there for about five years and his eyes were opened to the curses of imperialism. On his return to Ireland, at the age of 21, he was appointed Captain of the British ’64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot’ but, by then, he was not only disillusioned with the ‘Empire’ but was prepared to act against it, even though it offered him the prospect of a good living – he was appointed to the position of ‘Seneschal to the Manor Court of Dungannon’, and was also made a justice of the peace for the County of Tyrone but resigned from both positions, stating that “..”he could not reconcile it to his conscience to sit as magistrate on a bench where the practice prevailed of inquiring what a man’s religion was before going into the crime with which a prisoner was accused…”

The ‘high life’ he was leaving behind had brought him into contact with other like-minded individuals such as Wolfe Tone, Samuel Neilson and Henry Joy McCracken, among others and, in October 1791, he assisted his colleagues in establishing the Belfast branch of the ‘United Irishmen’, whose revolutionary ideals he promoted in pamphlets and in ‘The Northern Star’ newspaper. His association with ‘dissidents’ and his writings brought him, again, to the attention of Westminster and, on the 16th September 1796 he was taken into custody and held in two different prisons (Newgate in Dublin and Fort George in Scotland) until early 1802 but, on his release, age 35, he returned to ‘active service’ (“Had I a thousand lives, I would venture them all for the sake of this people…”) – he worked with Robert Emmet in France and was asked to return to Ireland and concentrate his efforts in gaining support for an uprising in the Ulster area but, following the collapse of the 1803 rebellion (…about which, in a letter to
Mary Ann McCracken he stated – “I hope your spirits are not depressed by a temporary damp, in consequence of the recent failure..of ultimate success I am still certain..”)

he moved to Dublin where, on the 9th September 1803, he was arrested by the infamous Major Henry Charles Sirr, ‘the chief agent of the castle authorities’, and taken to County Down for a ‘trial’ – he was, of course, found ‘guilty of high treason’ on the 19th October (1803) and put to death on the 21st October 1803, at 36 years of age : he was hanged and then beheaded –

‘..the last request of Russell was refused, and he was executed twelve hours after the conclusion of the trial. At noon, on the 21st of October, 1803, he was borne pinioned to the place of execution. Eleven regiments of soldiers were concentrated in the town to overawe the people and defeat any attempt at rescue ; yet even with this force at their back, the authorities were far from feeling secure. The interval between the trial and execution was so short that no preparation could be made for the erection of a scaffold, except the placing of some barrels under the gateway of the main entrance to the prison, with planks placed upon them as a platform, and others sloping up from the ground, by which it was ascended. On the ground hard by, were placed a sack of sawdust, an axe, a block, and a knife. After ascending the scaffold, Russell gazed forward through the archway, towards the people, whose white faces could be seen glistening outside, and again expressed his forgiveness of his persecutors. His manner, we are told, was perfectly calm, and he died without a struggle..’ (from here.)

‘The Man From God Knows Where’ was born on this date – 21st November – 251 years ago today –

‘Into our townlan’, on a night of snow,

Rode a man from God-knows-where;

None of us bade him stay or go,

Nor deemed him friend, nor damned him foe,

But we stabled his big roan mare:

For in our townlan’ we’re a decent folk,

And if he didn’t speak, why, none of us spoke,

And we sat till the fire burned low


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.

Faced with an array of ethical considerations and a proliferation of corporate initiatives – some meaningful, some empty PR – consumers must not forget that we arecitizens too. Just as we expect our government to regulate the safety of our electrical products and our food, we can call on our government, the European Union and the international community to regulate transnational companies to safeguard the ethical considerations that would otherwise not feature in their bottom line. (END of ‘Buycotts And Beans’ : next – ‘On The Take’, from ‘Magill’ magazine, February 1998.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon. And, if you feel like a shorter (!) read, here ya go…!

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