ON THIS DATE (23RD MAY) 264 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF A ‘UNITED IRISHMEN’ FOUNDING FATHER.

“Nor one feeling of vengeance presume to defile

The cause, or the men, of the Emerald Isle.”


– the words of William Drennan, physician, poet, educationalist political radical and one of the founding fathers of the ‘Society of United Irishmen’, who was born on the 23rd May in 1754, 264 years ago on this date.


As well as his involvement with the ‘United Irishmen’, William Drennan will be forever associated with the descriptive term ‘Emerald Isle’ being used as a reference for Ireland, although he himself stated that that expression was first used in an anonymous 1795 song called ‘Erin, to her own Tune’. When he was 37 years of age, a group of socially-minded Protestants, Anglicans and Presbyterians held their first public meeting in Belfast and formed themselves as ‘The Belfast Society of United Irishmen’ (the organisation became a secret society three years later), electing Sam McTier as ‘President’, strengthing the link that William Drennan had forged with that revolutionary organisation – Sam McTier was married to Martha, who was a sister of William Drennan.


‘..he was born on May 23, 1754, at the manse of the First Presbyterian Church, Rosemary Street, Belfast, where his father was minister. A doctor by profession, he became one of the pioneers of inoculation against smallpox. Drennan became one of the founder members of the United Irishmen, and upon moving to Dublin in 1789 was appointed its chairman…after he was tried and acquitted of sedition in 1794, he withdrew from the movement and emigrated to Scotland (but remained) committed to radical politics..he married Sarah Swanwick in 1800, and they had four sons and a daughter…’ (from here.)


William Drennan died on the 5th February 1820, at 66 years of age, and is buried in Clifton Street Graveyard, Belfast.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


PEARSE AS OUR GUIDE.


Sinn Féin will undo the conquest in all its phases, and build a united and prosperous Ireland on solid foundations and, in pursuing the material welfare of our people, we will be mindful of the words of Pádraig Pearse : “Do the millions that make up the population of modern nations, the millions that toil and sweat from year’s end to year’s end in the factories and mines of England, the Continent, the United States, live the life intended for man?


What are the hero-memories of the past to them? Are they one whit better because great men have lived and wrought and died? Were the destiny of the Gael no higher than theirs, better for him would it have been had he disappeared from the earth centuries ago!”


(Next – ‘FIANNA NOTES’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (23RD MAY) 97 YEARS AGO : DISAPPEARANCE OF A BRITISH ‘RFAIO’ IN IRELAND.

‘A British Army Officer (2nd Lt Seymour Livingston Vincent) disappeared, presumed killed, in Co Cork. Casualty of the Great War, Captain Vincent served with the Army Educational Corps- he “disappeared at Fermoy”,while working for the Intelligence services*, presumed abducted and murdered (sic) by the IRA- body exhumed 1926…originally of the 1/13th London Regiment (Kensingtons) (he) was evacuated from Le Havre on 5th July 1916 suffering from shell shock and shrapnel wounds to the right foot and left arm. He returned to France in May 1917 and served in Salonika with the 82nd Company, Machine Gun Corps. He was was born in 1890 and lived in Loughton, Essex.

He was seconded to the 168th Machine Gun Company on 16th March 1916. He died in strange circumstances in May 1921. He had been transferred to the 2nd Brigade, RFA, in December 1920 and had been serving at Fermoy in County Cork. He had applied for a transfer to the Army Educational Corps, before the war he was a teacher, and had then asked to resign his commission. He then disappeared without trace on 23rd May 1921 (97 years ago on this date). It was not until an anonymous letter was sent to the British Government in June 1924 containing details of the burial of a British officer in Lenihans Bog, Glenville, Co. Cork, that further investigations took place.

At the time of his disappearance, the Colonel commanding the 16th Infantry Brigade based at Fermoy basically accused Vincent of lying about his intentions of going on leave but, within a week, another report, regretting several errors in the first, was issued, which noted that Vincent had appeared somewhat disorientated before going on (approved) leave. It went on to report that five days after he left, three members of the 2nd Brigade of the IRA raided Fermoy Station and, breaking into the office there, had stolen various items from Vincents luggage, including a service revolver. Although the Royal Irish Constabulary were informed nothing was ever discovered about his whereabouts. It is thought that he, and possibly another man, were murdered (sic) by the IRA and buried at Lenihans Bog. Vincents body was later re-interred in Glenville Church of Ireland, Glenville, Co. Cork…’ (from here.)


*The IRA found a notebook in Royal Field Artillery Intelligent Officer Vincent’s pocket in which he had listed the contact details of locals that were opposed to the struggle for independence – he was gathering intelligence on where ‘friendly houses’ were located and probably attempting to convince the local ‘friendlies’ to forward any information in connection with the ‘dissidents’ on to him. As a teacher by profession, his was a lesson hard learned.




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


SINN FÉIN NOTES.

APPEAL TO THE PRODIGAL.


Are you an Irishman who has served or who is now serving with the British forces? It is unlikely that you are, but it’s possible – if so, bear with me a moment.


There are men doing wrong who know what they do yet continue to do it. There are others doing wrong who tend towards regret but allow pride to restrain them. There is a third group who are upright, guiltless men and, though they be doing wrong, they sincerely believe they are right – indeed, they are often convinced that their actions are not only just, but noble.


It is to you men of the latter two groups that I am writing. I put it to you that it is not right that an Irishman should join the British forces, whether he serves in China, Africa or Ulster – he is supporting the British occupation of his country. It is a self-evident truth that directly or indirectly he is killing his fellow countrymen. This is fact – face it, for there is no way around it… (MORE LATER).





A BLANK CHEQUE FROM THE TAXPAYER TO THESE POLITICAL TIME-SERVERS…

..and if you feel that that’s in your best interest, then vote ‘Yes’ for it on the 25th May next. Leo and Co. will have moved on to the EU Parliament or some-such cushy and over-paid ‘job’ by the time you realise that your ‘Yes’ vote will have helped to secure such a ‘promotion’ for the career politicians in this State who will do whatever it takes to secure their own financial future, even at the expense of future generations. If, on the other hand, you ‘cherish all the children of the nation equally’ then vote ‘NO’ – show them that some children should not be cherished more than others. Your children will thank you for it in later years. Literally.





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


DID WE WIN?


Somewhere from the bowels of the canteen a crazed scream went up – “You Sticky bastards, ye’s are all WASTERS!” The debate stopped abruptly, such was the violent tone of the scream – the ‘screamer’, Owen, a volunteer from the Falls Road, was asked what his problem was. “What’s my problem?? Are you deaf or what? Did you not hear them Sticks getting into us?”


“What Sticks, Owen?” ‘Lightning’ Barnes inquired, They’re our ones pretending to be the Republican Clubs and the SDLP,” he said, pointing out that if you have a line you can sometimes catch people with it. “But you can’t seriously hope to shoot down their argument just by calling them names. You have to make a better argument. Hopefully, the next time we have this debate the ‘Shinners’ will make a better argument.”


Owen was still shaking with rage when he was led away by his comrades. An hour later, I’m glad to say, the arguments of the ‘Republican Clubs’ and the ‘SDLP’ were dismantled by the main body of the ‘audience’, to my personal satisfaction. We went in to see if Owen had cooled down and when we got to where he was sitting,the first thing he asked was ‘did we win?’ “It’s not over yet,” came the reply…


(END of ‘GROWING UP IN LONG KESH’ : Next – ‘VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE’, from ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.)



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (9TH MAY) 190 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF AN IRISH REVOLUTIONARY, NOVELIST, POET AND JOURNALIST.

Charles Joseph Kickham (pictured), an Irish revolutionary and a leadership figure in the Irish Republican Brotherhood, was born on this date – 9th May – in 1828, 190 years ago. He was born in a Tipperary town called Mullinahone into a Fenian family – his father, John, was in the clothing business and was a well known, and well respected Irish patriot, and his mother, Anne, came from the O’Mahony stock.


He had shown interest in a medical career but, when he was only 13 years of age, an accident with damp gunpowder (it exploded when he was trying to dry it out) left his hearing in a poor condition and almost rendered him blind, weaknesses that he carried with him for the rest of his life but, although injured, he maintained his interest in politics and, at just 20 years young, took part in the ‘Young Irelanders’ Rising, following which he was forced to go ‘on the run’.


At about 22 years of age, he began contributing poems and opinion pieces to ‘The Nation’ newspaper and it was through journalism that he became friends with John O’Leary who, in 1863, at the age of 33, was appointed editor of the newly-established Fenian weekly newspaper ‘The Irish People’, with Thomas Clarke Luby and Charles J.Kickham as his co-editors and chief contributors (Kickham also wrote poems and ballads for other Irish national periodicals, such as ‘The Irishman’, ‘The Celt’ and ‘The Shamrock’, sometimes using the pseudonym ‘Momonia’), and it was through his writings that he became associated with John Daly, who had joined the IRB at the age of 18 (in 1863) – John and his brother Ned led the Limerick city company of the IRB in the raid on Kilmallock RIC Barracks, during the Fenian Rising in March 1867, in one of the few actions which took place outside Dublin. He was a prominent member of the reorganised Fenian Movement and, following the collapse of the 1867 Rising, he went to the United States where he played an active role in the IRB. During the Land War of 1879-’82, he returned to Ireland as a member of the Supreme Council of the IRB and took on the role as Organiser for Connacht and Ulster.

Charles Joseph Kickham was one of the Irish representatives at the ‘Chicago Convention’ in 1863 and is on record for declaring that the IRB would take action against the British forces when the time was right for them to do so and, In 1865, when ‘The Irish People’ newspaper was suppressed himself, O’Leary, Luby and dozens of other prominent members of the Fenian movement were arrested after being named to the English forces by the informer Pierce Nagle. It was in that same year – 1865 (on the 11th November) – at only 37 years of age, that he was found guilty of ‘treason’ and sentenced to fourteen years penal servitude in Pentonville Prison but was released early, in 1869, under partial amnesty, because of his bad health, which also forced him to curtail his activities somewhat, allowing him to concentrate on his writings : his better-known pieces include ‘Knocknagow’, ‘The Irish Peasant Girl’ and, of course, ‘Slievenamon’


‘I grieve my saying that that day’s slaying

should have gone on, Gaels in their hundreds dead,


because the stranger is making game of us

saying pikes for them hold fear nor dread.






Our major came not in time of day break

we weren’t prepared with our pikes as one,

but as wild sheep nearing a shepherd shearing

on the sunny side slopes of Sliab na mBan.’



The years between his late forties and his early fifties were not easy for him, health-wise or financially, but his comrades rallied to his aid as best they could and, in 1878, presented him with the proceeds of a collection they had organised on his behalf : the IRB was known then to be about 35,000 members strong, and each contributed whatever they could afford. He was at that stage mostly confined to bed and/or indoors and, at only 52 years of age, in 1880, he was unfortunate to be knocked off his feet and ran over in College Green, in Dublin, by a jaunting car, breaking a leg in the process.


At 54 years of age he had a stroke and died within days, on the 22nd August 1882. About ten thousand mourners accompanied his coffin to ‘Kingsbridge Station’ (now Heuston Station) in Dublin and he was buried, on Monday 28th August 1882, in his own parish, Mullinahone, in Tipperary, without any input from local church figures – he was a devout Catholic but the church hierarchy had instructed that he should be ostracised by them unless he renounced the Fenians. He refused, declaring – “Nothing would please us better than to keep clear of the vexed question of priests in politics if we could do so without injury to the cause which we were endeavouring to serve. But the question was forced upon us. We saw clearly that the people should be taught to distinguish between the priest as a minister of religion and the priest as a politician before they could be got to advance one step on the road to independence..”

His funeral was attended by, among many others, John Ryan (London), John Torley (Scotland), Dr Mark Ryan (one of the Connacht representatives), Robert Johnson (Belfast), John Dillon, Tim Healy and Tom Sexton. The oration was given by John Daly, from Limerick, who finished with the statement – “Surely in some distant time when Irishmen visit the shrines of their illustrious dead this lonely Tipperary grave will not be forgotten, for here reposes in death Ireland’s purest, bravest and best loved son…”

“Concessions to Ireland have always been the result of Fenianism in some shape or other. The English Government, however, while making concessions, always expected to get something in return. Not only have they stipulated upon getting prompt payment indeed, but they also contrive to get a large instalment in advance. English rule in Ireland is on its trial. The Government admit the existence of a widespread conspiracy, both in Ireland and America. This only shows that the treatment of Ireland by England has been judged and condemned. I regard alien government of this kind as a thing to be overthrown by the methods everywhere recognised as the most efficacious for such a holy purpose. This is my vindication, my justification for the attitude I have taken…” – Charles Joseph Kickham, 9th May 1828 – 22nd August 1882.






”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


UNDOING THE CONQUEST.


Finally, we could sum-up all the work of Sinn Féin in the words ‘the undoing of the conquest’ – this of course includes the restoration of our native language to its proper place in the daily life of the people, and its use in all public and legislative institutions.


Concomitant of Gaelic games and pastimes which the British have always been at pains to crush, from the time of the Statutes of Kilkenny onwards. Sinn Féin in general will foster all Gaelic activities which will serve to preserve our national individuality and act as a bulwark against evil British influences which seek to undermine and destroy the Irish nation. (Next – ‘PEARSE AS OUR GUIDE’, from the same source.)






ON THIS DATE (9TH MAY) 102 YEARS AGO : 1916 LEADER EXECUTED BY WESTMINSTER.

“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..” – Thomas Kent, 2nd January 1916. (* ‘borehole/hole in the ground’)


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, Thomas Kent, 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 Kents 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 Kents surrendered. When they arrested Kent..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 – 102 years ago on this date – Thomas Kent 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.



“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


SINN FÉIN NOTES.

THE FELONS OF OUR LAND.


Cathal Goulding, Dublin (Stafford) – 8 years’ penal servitude.

Séan Stephenson, London (Wormwood Scrubs) – 8 years’ penal servitude.

Manus Canning, Derry (Wormwood Scrubs) – 8 years’ penal servitude.

Joseph Campbell, Newry (Crumlin Road) – 5 years’ penal servitude.

Leo McCormack, Dublin (Crumlin Road) – 4 years’ penal servitude.

JP McCallum, Liverpool (Stafford) – 6 years’ penal servitude.

Kevin O’ Rourke, Banbridge (Crumlin Road) – 5 years’ penal servitude.

Eamon Boyce, Dublin (Crumlin Road) – 12 years’ penal servitude.


Philip Clarke, Dublin (Crumlin Road) – 10 years’ penal servitude.

Paddy Kearney, Dublin (Crumlin Road) – 10 years’ penal servitude.

Tom Mitchell, Dublin (Crumlin Road) – 10 years’ penal servitude.

John McCabe, Dublin (Crumlin Road) – 10 years’ penal servitude.

Séan O’ Callaghan, Cork (Crumlin Road) – 10 years’ penal servitude.

Séan Hegarty, Cork (Crumlin Road) – 10 years’ penal servitude.

Liam Mulcahy, Cork (Crumlin Road) – 10 years’ penal servitude.

Hugh Brady, Lurgan (Crumlin Road) – 3 years’ penal servitude.


“I pray that our comrades in the Irish Republican Army will have the strength and courage to carry on until such times as the last British soldier is driven from the shores of Ireland. Long live the Republic!” – Tom Mitchell. (Next – ‘APPEAL TO THE PRODIGAL’, from the same source).






GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


DID WE WIN?


At the height of this dialectic, diarrhoeic diatribe, passions were rising amongst the chic, closet Marxists in our midst, instantly recognisable because of their habit of carrying a copy of Che Guevara’s book, sticking out of the back pocket of their jeans, which was always a dead giveaway.


I could’ve sworn I heard the collective whisper going up from them in the cage canteen – ‘we want tractor factories’ (for everyone, of course). However – they were swept away on a river of endorphin-induced emotions and one hundred CC’s of ‘big words’ and rhetoric. The greatest challenge faced amongst the ‘Trendy Left’ at that time was how to get the word ‘anti-disestablishment-tarianism’ into a sentence, any sentence. That was no mean feat, but was usually achieved with ease by any determined ‘lefty’. Such are the vagaries of youth!


The ‘Republican Clubs’ then launched an attack on nationalism, specifically Irish nationalism. They held nothing back and, of course, their argument (which created more heat than light) ended in semantics and deteriorated into a tirade of abuse against anything nationalist and the Republican Movement in particular… (MORE LATER).





ON THIS DATE (9TH MAY) 79 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF THE STANDARD INCORRIGIBLE FREE STATER.

Happy Birthday, Pee! (pictured, with his daughter, Bev) – 79 today, and probably still able to get around to all of your houses, meaning – lucky you – that each set of housekeepers and staff will throw a birthday party for you. But no doubt you’ll quickly forget it ever happened : ‘Mr Flynn told the tribunal he was not aware his wife had opened a bogus off-shore account with the Gilmartin money and when he learned of it, he asked her to close it. He could not explain how his signature appeared on the documentation, giving a false London address. Similarly, he could not remember being given a cash withdrawal of £25,000 by his daughter, or what he had done with the money. Details of his wife’s venture into farming and forestry were equally unclear…’ (from here.)


What is ‘clear’, however, is that Bev’s ‘venture’ will ensure that her dad can have a holiday each year, even if he’s spent more than we can afford on housekeepers, staff and houses (!) – the lady owns a chipper in Marbella , which enables her to top-up her tan whilst checking the accounts of her customers, some of whom may not realise that, on ‘leaving’ Leinster House, she received a top-up to help her on her way : a lump-sum payment of €186,000, hardly enough, these days, to put fish and chips on the table. But not to worry : ‘Class Act’ Bev also receives a weekly State pension, courtesy of her services to those that had elected her to Leinster House, of €697 a week, every week, for the rest of her life. Birthdays included. Which must feel like every day.





ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 16TH MAY 2018)…

..we should be just about finished our multitasking job – this Sunday coming (the 13th May) will find me and the raffle team in our usual monthly venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, running a 650-ticket raffle for the Dublin Executive of RSF : the work for this event began yesterday, Tuesday 8th May, when the five of us started to track down the ticket sellers and arrange for the delivery/collection of their ticket stubs, cash and unsold tickets (yeah, right!) and, even though the raffle itself is, as stated, to be held on Sunday 13th May, the ‘job’ is not complete until the following night, when the usual ‘raffle autopsy’ is held. The time constraints imposed by same will mean that our normal Wednesday post will more than likely not be collated in time for next Wednesday (16th) and it’s looking like it will be between that date and the Wednesday following same before we get the time to put a post together. But check back here anyway – sure you never know what might catch our fancy between this and then, time permitting…! And here’s another republican event which occurred on the 13th May – 99 years ago, on that date. Check back with us on Wednesday, 23rd May next, and maybe even between this and then!



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (2ND MAY) 224 YEARS AGO : PRISON ESCAPE BY AN IRISH REPUBLICAN, WHO LIVED FOR HIS COUNTRY, AND DIED FOR HIS FAMILY.

‘Little about Archibald Hamilton Rowan’s beginning in life suggested that he would become a leading political revolutionary…conceived in Killyleagh Castle in Co Down, he was born in 1751 and grew up in England surrounded by wealth and privilege…he lived a charmed and adventurous life, travelling in Europe and America, and lived for a time in France. He could be reckless at times, lost a lot of money at the gaming table, became involved in duels, and ‘had scrapes with married women’. He came under the influence of the celebrated radical John Jebb, who held that no man should suffer persecution for his religious and political opinions and that the people have a right to resist tyrannical forms of government.


Rowan married Sarah Dawson in France in 1781, and thereby gained the lifelong love of a steadfast comrade. On his return to Ireland in 1784, he fought an unforgiving ruling class in the pursuit of justice for the poor. He championed the cause of Mary Neal, a child who was raped by the Earl of Carhampton, and denounced the military for the shooting dead of tradesmen in Dublin who were engaged in bull-baiting (…for which, in my opinion, the [British] military should have been commended, not condemned).


In 1794 Rowan landed on the French coast in the run-up to the naval slaughter that became known to history as the ‘Glorious First of June’. Such was the tense disposition of the French forces at this time that he was immediately imprisoned as a suspected English spy. From his cell window he watched many men with their hands pinioned carted to the guillotine. At the height of the Terror he was fortunate to escape the guillotine himself. Within days of his release his boots were stained with the blood of revolutionaries guillotined by their erstwhile comrades.

Rowan was a founder of the United Irish Society, and was imprisoned, this time in Newgate Prison (pictured, in the Cornmarket area of Christ Church, in Dublin). When he was implicated in a plot initiated by the Committee of Public Safety in Paris to bring a French revolutionary army into Ireland, Rowan successfully escaped from the prison (‘1169’ comment – he paid a prison officer £100 to allow him out of prison to visit his wife (and sign some paperwork) in near-by Dominick Street and, on the 2nd May 1794 – 224 years ago on this date – escaped from custody by jumping out a back window of his house and then laid low for about three days in the Lusk area of Dublin). Had he not escaped he would almost certainly have been hanged. He sailed to Roscoff in a small fishing craft, enduring 11 years of hardship as a political exile in France, America and Germany. Fortunately for Rowan, his wife, Sarah, successfully secured his pardon, and he returned to Ireland in 1806. Without Sarah’s tenacity, Rowan would almost certainly never have set foot in Ireland again…’ (from here.)


He maintained his quest to free Ireland and continued his fight for justice for the working class but lost heart somewhat when his wife died, in her seventieth year, in late February 1834 ; they were married for 53 years, and were a ‘team’. His sorrow was compounded in August that same year when his son, Gawin William, 51 years of age, died, and the poor man never recovered from the pain those deaths caused him : he died, aged 83, on the 1st November that same year, and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, on the corner of Mary Street and Jervis Street, in Dublin :

“My dear children,

Whilst (in residence) at Wilminoton on the Delaware, in the United States of North America, not expecting to return to Europe, and unwilling to solicit my family to rejoin me there, I was anxious to leave you some memorial of a parent whom in all probability you would never know personally. Under that impression I commenced the following details, uninteresting except to you, who have requested me to transcribe them, that each of you
should have a copy.


It was not at that time, nor is it now my intention to vindicate the act which occasioned (my) then exiled situation ; though I felt a strong self-justification, in the consciousness that if I had erred, it had been in common with some of the most virtuous and patriotic characters then in Ireland…”(from here.)


One of our less sung heroes, without a doubt.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


PASSIVE RESISTANCE.


The role of a civil organisation like Sinn Féin in time of war is a most important one. Again we have the lessons of the past to guide us. Sinn Féin provided the means of organising the whole civillan population against the outrageous decrees of the British military government.


We have the classic example of how the Castle banned all assemblies for Gaelic games and how, through its vast organisation of over 1,600 cumainn, Sinn Féin could arrange that at a certain hour on a certain day there would be a hurling or football match in almost every parish and townland in Ireland – the matches were played and the Castle was vanquished!


The potential value of such an organisation in promoting civil disobedience is enormous, and for final victory the people must ignore the foreign institutions and support the native ones. (Next – ‘UNDOING THE CONQUEST’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (2ND MAY) 61 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A REBEL PRIEST.

‘While many clerics have supported the armed struggle of the IRA since 1916, the Capuchin Friars have been particularly noted for their republicanism. One such Capuchin was Fr Aloysius Roche, the son of an Irish father and English mother, born in Scotland in 1886. He studied for the priesthood and, following his ordination, he was transferred to Dublin where he was attached to the Capuchin Order in Church Street.


During Easter Week 1916, Fr Aloysius along with Frs Albert, Augustine and Dominic brought spiritual aid to the Volunteers in the numerous garrisons and outposts throughout Dublin. Following Pádraig Pearse’s surrender on Saturday, 29 April 1916, Fr Aloysius spent the next day carrying the surrender order to the main garrisons on the south side of the city. In the early hours of the morning of 3 May, Fr Aloysius administered the last sacraments to Pearse, MacDonagh and Thomas Clarke, the first three leaders of the Rising to be executed.


On 7 May, he met John Dillon, a leading member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, who agreed to do all in his power to persuade the British government to stop the executions. And it was largely due to his efforts that Dillon, five days later, during a debate on the rising in the House of Commons, launched a blistering attack on the British government’s handling of the situation in Ireland. Earlier that day, Fr Aloysius accompanied James Connolly by ambulance from Dublin Castle to Kilmainham Gaol for execution and stood behind the firing squad as they fired the final volley.
During the Tan and Civil Wars he was an enthusiastic and practical supporter of the national struggle and continued his republican allegiance throughout the following decades…’
(from here.)

Incidentally, the ‘Fr Dominic’ mentioned, above, was Fr Dominic O’Connor (Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, pictured, being led away by Free Staters from ‘the battle of the Four Courts’, in 1922) – it is recorded that the then ‘President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State [aka ‘Taoiseach’]’, WT Cosgrave, did not agree with the political outlook voiced by the Capuchins and he wrote to the Archbishop, Edward J Byrne, to voice his objections and, in one such letter, actually accused Fr Dominic of “treasonous acts”!

Fr Dominic was, at the time, the chaplain to the local IRA Cork Brigade, and is on record for a reply he gave to the church hierarchy in relation to their anti-republican/pro-British sermons : “Kidnapping, ambushing, and killing obviously would be grave sins or violation of Canon Law. And if these acts were being performed by the Irish Volunteers as private persons, they would fall under excommunication. But they are doing them with the authority of the Republic of Ireland. Hence the acts performed by the Volunteers are not only not sinful, but are good and meritorious…therefore the excommunication does not affect us. There is no need to worry about it. There is no necessity for telling a priest in confession that you went to Mass on Sunday, so there is no necessity to tell him one is in the IRA, or that one took part in an ambush or killing etc”.


In another letter of complaint he sent, Cosgrave referred to a different priest, a Fr John Costello, and complained to the Archbishop that that priest had made it his business to approach Free State troops, in 1922, and called on them to lay down their arms ; when they declined to do so, he would call them “murdering green Black and Tans”! As ‘Lord Cosgrave’ probably said, in private – “It rings in my ears as kind of what miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord and president be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric? Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”(!)




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


SINN FÉIN NOTES.


PROGRAMME.


The Sinn Féin ‘Social and Economic Programme’ and the ‘National Unity and Independence Programme’ is a must have for every Irish man and woman. Copies can be had from the Secretaries, 3 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin, price 9d, including postage.





LETTERS.


Richard O’Sullivan QC, Crown Prosecutor at the trial of Barnes and McCormack in 1939 lectured to a Dublin audience recently at the request of the St Vincent de Paul Society. A letter (quoted below) was sent by the Ard Comairle of Sinn Féin to the Society and an unsigned answer (also below) was received. It was agreed by the Ard Comairle that Sinn Féin would neither picket the hall nor interfere at the lecture but, in passing, we say ‘Lord have mercy on the souls of these two, and help us to carry on their work.’


(From) Sinn Féin,

Oifig an Ard Runaidhe,

3 Lower Abbey Street,

Dublin.



(To) The Secretary,

St Vincent de Paul,

64 Grafton Street,

Dublin.



A Cara,

We have been informed that Mr Richard O’Sullivan QC has been invited by your Society to lecture in the Aberdeen Hall on Sunday 9th January, 1955.


We understand that this Mr O’Sullivan was the Crown Prosecutor when Barnes and McCormack were sentenced to death in Birmingham in 1939. You will appreciate that if this is the same person, there will be a large number of people in Dublin who will object very strongly to his public appearance on any platform in Ireland. We trust that this matter will receive your urgent attention.


Is mise le meas,

Maire Ni Gabann,

M. Treinfear,

Ard Runaidhte.






(From) The Society of St Vincent de Paul (Particular Council of Ireland),

64 Grafton Street,

Dublin C 2.

5th January 1955.



The Society has received a communication, of which a copy is attached, upon your notepaper.


The basis of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, it should be explained, is entirely spiritual and the lecture referred to, which has been advertised for a considerable while back, is being promoted by one of the Dublin Conferences in order to foster devotion to a Saint and at the same time to raise funds, which are sorely needed indeed, for the activities of the Conference among the poor.

Any objection to the forthcoming function would inevitably cut across the charitable work of the Conference and of the Society and it is confidently believed that nobody would contemplate this, in the foregoing circumstances and particularly having regard to the religious nature of the occasion.





(From Sinn Féin) Letter to British Home Secretary.


The Home Secretary,

H.M. Government,

Whitehall,

London.



Sir,


We have been instructed to inform you that at our recent Ard Fheis it was unanimously decided that we demand, in the name of the republican people of Ireland, the return by the English Government of the remains of the Irish republican patriots interred in English jails.


Sincerely yours,

May Smith,

Michael Traynor,

Secretaries. (Next – ‘THE FELONS OF OUR LAND’, from the same source).





WHY WE’RE VOTING ‘NO’ IN THE ABORTION REFERENDUM.

“Violence is not a solution..” – a remark constantly put to republicans in relation to the on-going campaign against the British political and military presence in this country (…with no acknowledgement that ‘violence’ employed in self-defence is completely different to the violence of an aggressor). Abortion is a violent act which is not done in self-defence and, with the safe-guards which are available today, it’s an unnecessary act, but the State and the many ‘social agencies’ (‘quangos’) it establishes and promotes (mostly to provide ‘jobs-for-the-boys’ for themselves and their political colleagues) have not lectured those in favour of abortion about ‘violence not being a solution’.


And their is more than one type of ‘violence’ : the ‘State Claims Agency’ (‘SCA’) is a State body with the given agenda of defending the politicians against the damage caused by their own incompetence and carelessness, and of that there can be no doubt : “..to ensure that the State’s liabilities in relation to personal injury and property damage claims, and the expenses of the SCA in relation to their management, are contained at the lowest achievable level (and) to reduce the costs of future litigation against the State – nothing there about fair play or taking responsibility for medical or other errors made by the State. It’s a political body, assembled, financed and nurtured by the same politicians that want you to ‘trust’ them in regards to the most vulnerable section of this society – our children not yet born.


This is how the ‘Establishment’ in this State deal with those who are ‘uppity enough’ to challenge them after falling victim to the incompetent ‘health service’ that those in Leinster House oversee and operate ‘on behalf of the public’, all funded with taxpayers money, here’s how they used to look after women (..here’s how they do it today) and this is an example of how they ‘support’ children. If you believe that those professional politicians are trustworthy and honest enough to have the best interests of mother and child at heart then vote ‘Yes’ on Friday, 25th May 2018 but if, like us, you have your doubts (to put it mildly), then vote ‘No’. Your children will thank you for it in later years. Literally.





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


DID WE WIN?


The ten minutes allocated to the ‘Shinners’ for their argument wasn’t needed – they mentioned the names Theobald Wolfe Tone and Padraig Pearse and one and one-half minutes after they started they were finished. They received a massive partisan round of applause, of course.


The ‘SDLP team’ then did their thing : they came across as all things to all men and were more concerned about what loyalists would do as opposed to what we could do and should do. To be honest, they didn’t put much into it and made very little impact on the debate, whereas the ‘Republican Clubs’ immediately went on the attack with a blistering dialectic on the failure of capitalism and the benefits of the Workers State (all very well if you’re a Stalinist) but too far removed from Marx (unless of course they were referring to Groucho) to be relevant.


The image of the not so emaciated down-trodden worker, free of his fetters, striding barrel-chestedly through the factory gates with a sledgehammer in his hand to smash the means of his exploitation, his shirt opened to the navel, sleeves rolled up to his neck, revealing a chest and arms that Sylvester Stallone could only dream about, and singing the ‘Volga Boat Song’, as with Stalinism, completely fooled the not very politically aware in the audience. (MORE LATER).



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (25TH APRIL) 337 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF AN IRISH ‘RAPPAREE’.

‘..beaten down by disease and poverty , some natives tended to ‘doff their cap’ to the denizens of the Castles, and stare in awe as they passed in their finery (but) not everyone bowed the head ; even in the worst times, when all organised opposition to tyranny had been crushed, an individual arose and struck a blow for the motherland “to show that still she lives.” My father often told me of one of those warriors, a stout fellow known as Sean Rua an Ghaorthaig ; true, he was known as an outlaw or ‘rapparree’ to ‘the powers that were’ and to most ‘respectable’ people, but in Irish history he would be classed with Redmond O’Hanlon and Eamonn an Chnuic. In England he would be with Robin Hood or Locksley – history would be very poor stuff, in any country, without such men..!’ (From Micheal O’ Suilleabhain’s 1965 book, ‘Where Mountainy Men Have Sown’.)


Redmond O’Hanlon was born into poor circumstances in Ireland, in the year 1640, even though his family’s family came from what would be called today a ‘middle class’ background – the O’Hanlon’s were closely associated with the old Irish ‘Airgíalla’ confederation and were linked to what became known as the ‘Tandragee Castle Estate’. When the family land and ‘chattel’ were ‘confiscated’ by British and pro-British ‘landowners’, the O’Hanlon’s were left destitute, and Redmond ‘lived rough’ in the countryside, where he survived as best he could with other Irish people who told much the same story – they joined forces and, led by Redmond, formed themselves into an ‘outlaw militia’ which operated in the Armagh area.


The ‘militia’ convinced (!) the ‘new landowners’ that it was in their best interest to take out insurance against theft etc and issued written documentation to them and to their business associates and visitors to ‘their’ holdings – for a fee, of course – guaranteeing safe passage. Should some ne’er-do-wells’ interfere with business, O’Hanlon and his men ran them down, imposed a ‘fine’ on them, retrieved the stolen goods and returned them to the ‘insurance policy’ holders and, if the rogue-robbers persisted in offending, killed them.


A ‘town-crier’-type leaflet issued in 1681 stated that ‘..necessity first prompted him to evil courses and success hardened him in them ; he did not rob to maintain his own prodigality, but to gratify his spies and pensioners : temperance, liberality, and reservedness were the three qualities that perserved him ; none but they of the House where he was knew till the next morning where he lay all night ; he allowed his followers to stuff themselves with meat and good liquor, but confined himself to milk and water ; he thought it better thrift to disperse his money among his receivers and intelligencers, than to carry it in a purse, or hide it in a hole ; he prolonged his life by a general distrust…’


Redmond had many enemies, and the ‘Establishment’, too, had placed a bounty (of £100) on his head : on the 25th April 1681 – 337 years ago on this date – he was shot dead while sleeping – ‘At one o’clock on the warm afternoon of April 25th, 1681, country people from County Down in Ireland were gathering for a fair at Eight Mile Bridge near the present site of the village of Hilltown. At a prearranged spot near the fair three men met after coming down separately from hideouts in the nearby Mountains of Mourne. One was William O’Sheel ; another Art O’Hanlon ; and the third was Art’s foster brother, Redmond O’Hanlon, the most sought-after outlaw in seventeenth-century Ulster, a desperate man with a high price of £100 on his head.


The three came to a small cabin by the roadside. O’Sheel stationed himself a little way along the road. Art O’Hanlon stood on guard by the door of the cabin. Redmond went inside to rest. By two o’clock he was sleeping soundly. Grasping the opportunity for which he had been waiting, Art shot his foster-brother in the chest, then fled to fetch help to secure the body…’ (from here.)


‘There was a man lived in the north, a hero brave and bold,

who robbed the wealthy landlords of their silver and their gold,

he gave the money to the poor, to pay their rent and fee

for Count Redmond O’Hanlon was a gallant rapparee…’
(from here.)





”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


THE RIGHT MEN.


When the hour of liberation is at hand we must be ready to take over the responsibility of ruling the nation – it is our duty now to prepare for that day. There will crop up the necessity of having sound men of proven national outlook to take up positions in time of stress, and carry out onerous public duties, while at the same time they may be hounded by the forces of ‘law and order’.


In former times these men sprang out of the ranks of Sinn Féin, and it is to Sinn Féin that we must look again when the occasion arises. Therefore, the expansion of the organisation becomes a matter of dire importance – it would be presumptuous to expect that an efficient administration could be set up if the material is not to hand. (Next – ‘PASSIVE RESISTANCE’, from the same source.)






ON THIS DATE (25TH APRIL) 419 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF AN ANTI-IRISH BUTCHER.

“The term ‘slavery’ is rarely associated with the white race, although during the 1600’s this was the most significant portion of the market. More specifically, the Irish were targeted the most and the fact that the population of Ireland fell by 850,000 in the space of one decade highlights just how brutal things were..he was one of the main reasons why the situation got to this point. His fanatical anti-Catholic views meant that any action he took over the Irish was brutal to say the least and as well as utilising the conquest of Ireland for religious and political means, he was bidding to cleanse the country of Catholics. In achieving this, selling the Irish off as slaves was one of his biggest weapons, but he also made sure life was as difficult as possible for those that did stay by burning off their crops, removing them from their land..” (from here.)


Pictured – some of Oliver Cromwell’s Irish victims, sold as slaves and ‘sex workers’ to the highest bidder.
On the 29th April, 1599, a baby boy, Oliver Cromwell, who had been born on the 25th April – 419 years ago, on this date – was christened in Saint John the Baptish church in Huntingdon, England. Decades later, when someone was trawling through the birth records for that period, they came across an unofficial addendum to that particular entry : it read –
“England’s plague for five years…”


Cromwell should need no introduction to readers of this blog, but some readers may not be aware of the significance of a particular date – the 3rd September – in relation to his time on this Earth. That creature died on that date in 1658, and it was also on that same date, in 1649, that he began his nine-day siege of Drogheda after which thousands of its inhabitants were butchered (…but they deserved it, according to the man himself – “This is a righteous judgement of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood..”). The infamous ‘Death March’, which he forced on his enemy after the battle of Dunbar, took place on the 3rd September (in 1650) and, one year later on that same date – the 3rd September, 1651 – he wallowed in more blood and guts, this time in his own country, at the battle of Worcester. And, somewhere in between wrecking havoc and stealing and selling Irish children, he found the time (on the 27th September in 1649) to write to his political bosses in London :


‘FOR THE HONOURABLE WILLIAM LENTHALL, ESQUIRE, SPEAKER OF THE PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND :


Dublin, 27th September 1649.


Mr. Speaker – I had not received any account from Colonel Venables – whom I sent from Tredah to endeavour the reducing of Carlingford, and so to march Northward towards a conjunction with Sir Charles Coote – until the last night. After he came to Carlingford, having summoned the place, both the three Castles and the Fort commanding the Harbour were rendered to him. Wherein were about Forty Barrels of Powder, Seven Pieces of Cannon ; about a Thousand Muskets, and Five-hundred Pikes wanting twenty. In the entrance into the Harbour, Captain Fern, aboard your man-of-war, had some danger ; being much shot at from the Sea Fort, a bullet shooting through his main-mast. The Captain’s entrance into that Harbour was a considerable adventure, and a good service ; as also was that of Captain Brandly, who, with Forty seamen, stormed a very strong Tenalia at Tredah, and helped to take it ; for which he deserves an owning by you.


Venables marched from Carlingford, with a party of Horse and Dragoons, to the Newry ; leaving the place, and it was yielded before his Foot came up to him. Some other informations I have received form him, which promise well towards your Northern Interest ; which, if well prosecuted, will, I trust God, render you a good account of those parts. I have sent those things to be presented to the Council of State for their consideration. I pray God, as these mercies flow in upon you, He will give you an heart to improve them to His glory alone ; because He alone is the author of them, and of all the goodness, patience and long-suffering extending towards you. Your army has marched ; and, I believe, this night lieth at Arklow, in the County of Wicklow, by the Sea-side, between thirty and forty miles from this place. I am this day, by God’s blessing, going towards it.


I crave your pardon for this trouble; and rest, your most humble servant, OLIVER CROMWELL.


P.S. I desire the Supplies moved for may be hastened. I am verily persuaded, though the burden be great, yet it is for your service. If the Garrisons we take swallow-up your men, how shall we be able to keep the field? Who knows but the Lord may pity England’s sufferings, and make a short work of this? It is in His hand to do it, and therein only your servants rejoice. I humbly present the condition of Captain George Jenkin’s Widow. He died presently after Tredah Storm. His Widow is in great want.

The following Officers and Soldiers were slain at the storming of Tredah: Sir Arthur Ashton, Governor; Sir Edmund Varney, Lieutenant-Colonel to Ormond’s Regiment; Colonel Fleming, Lieutenant-Colonel Finglass, Major Fitzgerald, with eight Captains, eight Lieutenants, and eight Cornets, all of Horse; Colonels Warren, Wall, and Byrn, of Foot, with their Lieutenants, Majors, etc; the Lord Taaff’s Brother, an Augustine Friar; forty-four Captains, and all their Lieutenants, Ensigns, etc; 220 Reformadoes and Troopers; 2,500 Foot-soldiers, besides the Staff-Officers, Surgeons, etc.’


Still – the man was appreciated in some circles…




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


SINN FÉIN NOTES.


PUBLIC MEETINGS.


Arrangements are being made to hold public meetings and collections at Castlebar and Cavan on Sunday 13th February, as the GAA Railway Cup semi finals are being played at those venues. The collections will be in aid of the Northern Election Fund.





NORTHERN ELECTION COMMITTEES.


The Northern Election Committee of Sinn Féin wishes to thank sincerely all who contributed so generously to the fund at last season’s GAA games, and a list of the games and amounts collected is published in this issue.


The committee has a tremendous task to perform, as the twelve candidates have already been chosen and a £150 deposit is required for each constituency, a total of £1,800, and publicity and organising work has to be done as well – most of these constituencies have not being contested since 1918.


Sinn Féin is making it possible for the first time since 1918 for the Irish people in the Six Counties to re-affirm their desire for national unity and a republican government of the 32 counties. The need for funds is urgent and the committee again this season appeals for support. (Next – ‘PROGRAMME’ and ‘LETTERS’, from the same source).





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


DID WE WIN?


The debate begins – the Sinn Féin team laid out its case using the ‘Eire Nua’ document as the basis for its argument. It was about this time that we were actually looking at this document ourselves and, to be honest, in a good few of our opinions, it wasn’t the political solution for this country that we were looking for (‘1169’ comment : and we dare say that the ‘alternative’ – Stormont and a ‘peace’-at-any-price deal [a direction which wasn’t even guessed at, at the time] – had it been known about – “wasn’t the political solution” that any republican was looking for, And it still isn’t).


The ‘Sinn Féin’ team then told us* that in the New Ireland the seat of government would be Athlone – this was because of Athlone’s geographical position on the map, as being in the middle of Ireland (fair enough!). The new nation’s capital would be jointly held by Dublin and Belfast. “What about Cork?”, came a shout from the audience. “Yeah right enough”, shouted someone else, “What about Cork? it’s big, isn’t it?” After a brief but heated debate amongst the ‘Shinners’, it was decided that Cork also would be a capital and that the capital would be rotated on a bi-annual basis.


“Which city gets to be the capital first..?”, asked the same audience member who, I suspect, wasn’t taking this aspect of the argument too seriously. “Knock it on the head”, ordered the OC. “Heh, heh, heh” sniggered the heckler, “Heh, heh, heh,” echoed the OC.
(*an Irish republican having to be “told” that that proposal was part of that policy?) (MORE LATER).



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (18TH APRIL) 69 YEARS AGO – UP THE REPUBLIC..

..UP THE YARD, THAT IS!


Not that this (or this) couldn’t happen in a proper ‘Republic’, just that instances like that happen here, in this failed ‘Republic’, as a matter of course, and make the headlines on the day but are quickly pushed aside by the next tragedy. And talking of tragedies, that’s what’s being ‘celebrated’ today, the 18th April : the tragedy, that is, that this failed State has been misconstrued as a ‘Republic’, and is being honoured, by some, as such, in the same manner that that same mistake was made on the day itself :


‘At midnight last night the twenty-six counties officially left the British Commonwealth and cut the last constitutional link with Britain. The description of the state from that moment became the Republic of Ireland.
The birth of the new Republic was welcomed throughout the country in celebrations centred on Dublin, where a 21-gun salute was fired from O’Connell Bridge..at 11.45pm, as blazing tar barrels on the Dublin hills could be seen in the city centre, O’Connell street became a blaze of light from searchlight batteries ringing the city. A few minutes after midnight the salute from the guns began, with ten-second intervals between the rounds…men, women and children shouted “Up the Republic,” while groups of young people with accordions and other musical instruments joined in singing national airs…and dancing continued until early this morning.



At one minute past midnight Radio Éireann broadcast this statement: “These are the first moments of Easter Monday, April 18th, 1949. Since midnight, for the first time in history, international recognition has been accorded to the Republic of Ireland. Our listeners will join us in asking God’s blessing on the Republic, and in praying that it will not be long until the sovereignty of the Republic extends over *the whole of our national territory” (from here : * possibly the last time that RTE publicly acknowledged, unashamedly, that “our national territory” includes the Occupied Six Counties!).


Seems straight-forward enough but, as with most things in this ‘republic’, that’s not the case : what happened in 1949 was, according to those who profess to know better*, simply a legal exercise to tidy up loose ends by declaring that the word ‘Éire’ implied that the area known as such is the ‘Republic of Ireland’ even though that area ie ‘Éire’ was itself never recognised as a ‘Republic’. So, it is being argued, the name change was a translation only and is not established as a fact in legal circles. Some ‘experts’ (but not all of them!) are of the opinion that this State ‘became a republic’ twelve years previous to the above (ie 1937) when ‘Bunreacht na hÉireann’ was enacted (29th December that year). If you think that’s confusing, you should try living here.


Anyway – for our part, we’re not so much interested in when exactly this gombeen Free State was ‘born’ as we are in regards to when it will be buried, and a proper country replaces it.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


CIVIL ADMINISTRATION.


When an All-Ireland Parliament is once more assembled and the framework of cvil administration set up, it is to be expected that all the force and energy of the British Empire will be unleashed against it, bounded only by whatever international political considerations are involved.


As Britain has the ear of the world, she will lose no time in calumniating and damning the Irish cause, as she does today in other territories under her control. For a while at any rate, things may go hard with us until we succeed in countering her false presentation of our case. That will be the testing time for us.


But surely there are none so naive as to imagine that Britain will easily relinquish her stranglehold on this country? (Next – ‘THE RIGHT MEN’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (18TH APRIL) 100 YEARS AGO – CONSCRIPTION ; ‘THE BLOOD VOTE’.

“Why is your face so white, Mother?

Why do you choke for breath?”


“O I have dreamt in the night, my son

That I doomed a man to death.”



“Why do you hide your hand, Mother?

And crouch above it in dread?”


“It beareth a dreadful branch, my son

With the dead man’s blood ’tis red…”
(from here.)


In 1916, as Westminster was ‘putting down’ the Irish for daring to challenge its misrule in Ireland, it found itself under ‘attack’ on another front – a shortage of military manpower with which to enforce the ‘writ’ of its ’empire’ on a global scale, and the ‘solution’ it arrived at, in its arrogance, was to introduce conscription on what the ’empire’ called its ‘mainland’ – Britain. But even that Act didn’t supply enough ‘cannon fodder’ (overall, about 18 million soldiers died and more than 20 million were incapacitated during that conflict) and, two years later, the criteria of those to be conscripted was ‘relaxed’, meaning that those who ‘failed to qualify’ in round one now found themselves to be suitable material.


But that wasn’t the only change made – there still wasn’t enough ‘trench filling’ so the British announced that the Irish were to be paid a visit in regards to being given the opportunity (!) to ‘serve their empire’ and, on the 16th April 1918, conscription was extended to this country (the British ‘Military Service Act’ was amended to include this country). An unintended consequence of insisting that the Irish, too, must be allowed to die ‘for their empire’ was the common ground found between the ‘Irish Volunteers’, Sinn Féin, Cumann na mBan, the ‘Irish Party’, the trade union movement and the religious orders, all of whom were, among other groups, opposed to that ‘offer’ from Westminster and, on the 18th April 1918 – 100 years ago on this date – that opposition was shown to have a loud and popular voice by way of a packed meeting held in the Mansion House, in Dublin, organised by the newly-formed ‘Irish Anti-Conscription Committee’, which attracted about 1,500 people.

The then Westminster-appointed ‘Chief Secretary for Ireland’, Henry Edward Duke (aka ‘the 1st Baron Merrivale’) knew that the Irish were not going to go quietly into the trenches, if at all, and contacted his betters in Whitehall and told them that “…it will be impossible in the teeth of the opposition of bishops and politicians to enforce conscription..implementing the measure in the face of such opposition would require more men than would be conscripted..” – that was in early April 1918 ; he was removed from his job during the first week of May but, by the middle of June that same year, those that had removed him and, indeed, their political bosses in Westminster and Whitehall, realised that he was right and abandoned their intention to force conscription in Ireland.


Incidentally, membership of the IRA increased as a result of the Irish conscription order, but the downside of accepting ‘new republicans’ into the fold, simply because those new members were opposed to conscription, was recognised by some in the Movement, at the time, but not, unfortunately, by all : ‘When the British Government introduced ‘The Conscription Bill’ on 16th April 1918, recruits flocked to the IRA – the people were scared. But people have short memories. It was merely a temporary hosting, like that of King Wire’s donkey. King Wire was an expert manufacturer of wire goods – muzzles, strainers and the like, who attended every horse fair in the south of Ireland. While he walked through the throng of people and horses, he worked unceasingly with hands and pliers on the roll of wire slung over one shoulder.


When his feet stopped he bought donkeys. Thus while his eyes surveyed his prospective purchase, and his tongue got busy to bargain with a fine humour, his hands never rested. No donkey on the market went home unsold. All went into his carelessly-kept herd. One evening in Macroom I remarked to him : “You have a big stock today, King.” “Most of those will have departed by morning,” he replied..’ (from this book.) Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer until we’re reading about another ‘departure’, or do some in this country still need to be conscripted by the British before they act to defend themselves?




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


SINN FÉIN NOTES.


NEW CUMAINN.


Fifteen new Cumann have been formed in Cork, Galway, Laoghise, Tyrone, Monaghan, Waterford, Dublin and London since the Ard Fheis in November last.


ACTIVITIES.


Lectures, ceilidhes and concerts were held by many Cumainn throughout the country to commemorate the establishment of the First Dáil Éireann on Friday 21st January 1919.


The Austin Stack Cumann held a very successful film show and lecture in their rooms at 64 Mountjoy Square in Dublin, early in January. The lecture was given by Tomás Ó Dubhgaill, Vice President, and that Cumann holds a very successful ceilidhe in their rooms every Sunday night at 8pm.


Tomás Ó Dubhgaill also gave a lecture at the Seán Misteal Cumann concert which was held in the O’Connell Hall in Dublin on Friday 21st January last. Frank McCann of the Seán Doran Cumann in Camlough, Armagh, is now serving a month’s imprisonment in Crumlin Jail, Belfast, for having collected at the chapel gate for the Sinn Féin National Collection. (Next – ‘PUBLIC MEETINGS / NORTHERN ELECTION COMMITTEES’, from the same source).





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


DID WE WIN?


Sometime near the end of 1975, education lectures were about to take a radical change in the cages of Long Kesh. The canteen in Cage 11 was set up to accommodate the three teams who were going to have a debate in front of the entire inhabitants of the cage. The idea was initiated by the Cage OC and organised by the cage education officer primarily to create opportunities for the young republican activists and the not-so-young gathered there to open up their eyes and minds to the political struggle that put them there in the first place.


Education was taken very seriously in the cage and every effort was used to make the lectures and debates not only educational but also relevant and interesting ; the idea was that nine volunteers of Cage 11 would split up into teams of three and pretend to represent Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Republican Clubs.


The teams were picked with the most politically aware pretending to be the Republican Clubs, as their argument was the weakest. The fairly politically aware were the SDLP, who were looked upon as sycophants, and anything they achieved was achieved on someone else’s back. Finally, those comrades who lay on their backs most of the day feeling sorry for themselves were Sinn Féin , who at the time were thought to be mostly living in Dublin. (MORE LATER).



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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20 YEARS ‘CELEBRATION’ OF A FALSE DAWN.

’20 years later and inevitable failure of GFA has come to pass.


02 April, 2018 13:57


With the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) certain questions have to be asked. What have Republicans gained from the unjustifiable compromise? Are we any closer to Éire Nua? What was the rationale for resurrecting an immoral failure from 1973-74 in 1998? Twenty years later and the inevitable failure has come to pass. In the two decades since it has not looked likely, nor does it look likely at the present, that the human rights bill in the GFA will ever be implemented. If the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not have a human rights bill, it does, by the way, the condemnation would be deafening especially if two decades had passed since it was meant to implement such a bill. Why isn’t the illegitimate six-county state and the GFA being subjected to a chorus of howls of condemnation?

Sinn Féin has made concession after concession without reciprocation from unionists. What was Sinn Féin able to do, within the confines of the GFA, about 4,597 stop and search of republicans in Ardoyne and Oldpark alone between January 2009 and January 2015? This shows that nature of British state policing in the six counties hasn’t changed in over two decades. Given the political and military occupation structures this is unlikely to change in the future. An indictment of Sinn Fein’s, and by extension the GFA’s, failure is that the top-five of the most economically deprived areas in the six counties are nationalist as are nine of the top 10 and 17 of the top 20. For this unforgivable sell-out, Sinn Féin could not even get the implementation of a Gaelic language statute agreed and promised at St Andrew’s in 2006.

Has Gaelic culture flourished since the GFA? Has it flourished in the absence of statutory protection? More people died in Ireland, in a shorter period of time, after the GFA than the entirety of all those who died in the Troubles.

What was the point in ending violence if more of our people were going to die in any case? Ending violence is not an end in itself especially considering a situation resulting in more premature and unnatural deaths. A University of Liverpool study by Professor Jonathan Tonge showed that economic and social conditions in the six-counties were worse in 2009 than they were in 1969. Where is parity of esteem when Remembrance Poppies are ‘commemorative symbols’ yet Easter Lilies are ‘conflict emblems’?


Have community relations improved? Why are there more segregation barriers now than during 1998? Neither Sinn Féin nor the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) have apologised for the damage done to working-class Irish people by their promotion of the Good Friday Agreement.


Right did not become wrong and wrong did not become right on the 10th of April 1998.


ÉAMONN MacGRIANNA,Belfast BT11.’




I don’t know the author of the above ‘letter to the editor’, but it was a relief to come across it after scrolling through all the ’20th anniversary celebratory’- type colour pieces that are out there, praising the ‘deal’ itself and those said to be responsible for it ie Bertie Ahern, Bill Clinton, Gerry Adams, Tony Blair, John Hume, John Major etc etc, some of whom must have recognised it for the ‘false dawn’ it was – and is – but were more interested in puffing-up/re-building their political ‘careers’ and would have attempted to sell any so-called ‘settlement’ to anyone foolish enough to listen to them. Indeed, such maneuvering was rife in the period leading up to, and after, the vote (it was signed-off on the 10th April 1998 by the politicians involved and put to a vote on the 22nd May that year)


Bertie Ahern, quoted in the ‘Sunday Business Post’ on the 3rd May 1998, page 16, said it means that “Britain is out of the equation”, AP/RN editorialised, on the 10th of September, 1998, on page 9, that the vote was “the will of the electorate in both partitioned states..”, ‘The Sunday Business Post’, on the 13th February 2000, on page 18, said that the Stormont Treaty (‘GFA’) institutions were set up “as a direct result of a vote of all the people of this island..the will of the entire people of Ireland..”, the ‘Ireland on Sunday’ newspaper, on the 28th March 1999, on page 14, said it was “the wish of almost every last man and woman in this country..”.


AP/RN, on the 20th May 1999, on page 9, said it was “endorsed by a huge majority of this country’s people..”, Tim Pat Coogan, in his ‘Ireland On Sunday’ column on the 24th September 2000, on page 32, said that “more than 90 per cent of the people of this island voted for it..”, Niall O Dowd, in his ‘IOS’ column on the 13th February 2000, on page 31, said that it was “the democratic wish of 95 per cent of the population in the Irish Republic and 72 per cent in the North..”, Piet De Pauw, the Belgium lawyer and human-rights expert, said, in December 2000, that “the majority of the people on this island voted for it”, AP/RN, on the 11th March 1999, on page 12, said it “was endorsed by 85 per cent of the people of Ireland..” and Tim Pat Coogan, again – this time in his ‘IOS’ column dated 7th May 2000 (page 34)- said that its institutions “were voted for by an overwhelming majority on this island..”.


In the edition of ‘The Sunday Business Post’ newspaper that was published on the 12th April 1998 – just two days after the Stormont Treaty was signed – the editorial referred to the proposed amendments to Articles 2 and 3 of the Free State Constitution as “well meaning drivel”, saying that the treaty would make us become “the laughing stock of Europe”, and described that treaty as “a rescue operation for unionism”. But, six weeks later – on Sunday, 24th May 1998 – the paper had changed its tune : the editorial in that edition declared that “clearly the vast majority of people on this island are prepared to invest their hope and trust for the future in what is, by any standards, a complex agreement.” A ‘laughing stock’ indeed.


However, an examination of the actual outcome of that vote reveals the true figures, and confirms that the establishment and its supporters will still attempt to purposely distort the facts and mislead those who are foolish enough to simply take them at their word – in this State, the turnout was 56.3% and, of those, 1,442,583 (94.4%) voted ‘YES’ and 85,748 (5.6%) voted ‘NO’. But 43.97% of those entitled to vote in the State did not do so!


In the Six Counties, the turnout was 81% and, of those, 676,966 (71.12%) voted ‘YES’ and 274,879 (28.88%) voted ‘NO’ . But 19% of those entitled to vote in the Six Counties did not do so!


The claims that ‘the majority voted for it’ and that it represents ‘the democratic wish of 95% of the population’ etc etc is a deliberate falsehood put about by those that would attempt to convince the Irish people that the struggle to achieve a just and permanent settlement has been achieved. That finality can only begin when the British give a date for their withdrawal from this country – it has not been a war of almost 850 years only to say to the British that which the Stormont Treaty leads them to believe – ‘stay if you want, just treat us better..’. That was never the republican objective, regardless of how well dressed and presentable those are that travel the globe claiming, in effect, that so-called ‘civil rights’ was the objective all along.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


ELECTION MACHINE.


To do all this requires an extensive ‘election machine’, set up well in advance of the elections to be contested. Now the Cumann in the area is the natural unit to provide this machinery ; the build-up before polling day is just a gradual increase on the ordinary work of the Cumann, and the doctrines we teach from day to day will be the planks of our election platforms. A Sinn Féin propagandist once said –


“The principal merit in the Sinn Féin policy was that no political reverses could leave it, like a defeated political party, at a dead end. It’s constructive programme gave its adherents something to work at through good fortune and ill, popularity or disdain.” (Next – ‘CIVIL ADMINISTRATION’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (11TH APRIL) 140 YEARS AGO : BORN INTO A FENIAN FAMILY, BUT TURNED FREE STATER.

On the 11th April 1878 – 140 years ago on this date – a daughter, Kathleen (pictured) was born, in Limerick, into a well-known and respected republican family, at the head of which sat Edward and Catherine Daly. ‘The man of the house’ worked in the timber business. Her uncle, John Daly, was as well known in republican circles as was her father, and was imprisoned with a man who, despite the fact that he was twenty years older than Kathleen Daly, was to marry her in later years. That man was Tom Clarke , who was born in a British military camp at Hurst Park in the Isle of Wight, on the 11th March 1858. His father was then a Corporal in the British Army but, like Tom’s mother, was Irish born. A year later Corporal Clarke was drafted to South Africa where the family lived until 1865. Tom first saw Ireland about 1870, when his father was appointed a Sergeant of the Ulster Militia and was stationed at Dungannon in County Tyrone.


To cut a long story short, on the 14th of June, 1883, at the ‘Old Bailey’, Tom Clarke was, with three others, sentenced to penal servitude for life. For 15 years and nine months, in the prisons of Chatham and Portland, he endured imprisonment without flinching ; 15 years and nine months of an incessant attempt, by the British, to deprive him of his life or reason. This torture did not cease with daylight and recommence on the following day – it was maintained during the hours of darkness when even the lowest criminal was entitled to sleep and rest. But Tom Clarke and his comrades got neither sleep nor rest – cunning devices for producing continuous disturbing sounds were erected over their cells, and these are described in his book ‘Glimpses of an Irish Felon’s Prison Life’. He was released in 1898, aged 40, and spent a short time in Limerick with his friend John Daly before returning to America where, in 1901, he married Kathleen Daly, John Daly’s daughter : she was 23 years of age, he was 43.

“Great God! Did I ever think I would live to see it, to see men who were the bravest, now fooled that this Treaty means a realisation of our highest ideals..” – Kathleen Clarke (Daly), speaking about the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ – but that was ‘then’, as they say, when she was anti-Treaty, to the point that she had been imprisoned in Dublin Castle, in late 1916, by the British administration for her republican activity, and was entrusted, by her husband, in early 1916, to hold on to £3,100 of IRB funds to relieve distressed republicans, as the man knew he might not survive the Easter Rising but wanted to leave some financial assistance for the families of those who might die with him – within days of his death, she had set up the ‘Irish Volunteer Dependents’ Fund’. She was a judge in the Sinn Féin courts, worked practically full-time on the production of the IRB newspaper, ‘Irish Freedom’, was president of the central branch of Cumann na mBan and was a confidant of the supreme council of the IRB before the Easter Rising, trusted with all available contact details, plans and timing for same, should the known leadership be rounded-up by Westminster.


However, it is known that, after the Treaty, she contacted Michael Collins and told him she would support that Treaty because, she opined, it offered “the machinery to work out to full freedom”, probably the same reason she turned up at the Four Courts in June 1922, after it had been taken back by Liam Mellows and his men from the British-backed Free Staters, and stated to the republicans that what they were doing was “a challenge to Mick Collins and I know Mick well enough that he’ll only accept that challenge until such time as he can get an army together and kick you out of here. Are you going to wait for that..?” but, two years after her plea to republicans not to challenge the Free Staters, she travelled to America on a fundraising tour for republican prisoners but (another ‘but’!), two years after that fundraising tour, she assisted de Valera in establishing the ‘Fianna Fáil’ party and was ensconced in the Free State system either as a ‘TD’, a ‘Senator’ and a ‘Lord Mayor’ for Dublin during the years 1921 to 1927, 1928 to 1936 and 1939 to 1941. She is on record for stating that, in her opinion, Roger Casement “made a fool of himself” by seeking military assistance from the Germans and that he knew nothing about Ireland!


In 1965, she left this country and lived in Liverpool with her son, Emmet, where she died on the 29th September, 1972, aged 94. Leinster House gave her a State funeral, and buried her in Deansgrange Cemetery, in Dublin. As we have said here before – ‘put not your trust in princes’.




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


IS THIS THE YEAR?


Is this the year, oh Lord

When Thou shalt call, and slumbering Ireland wake,

When honour shall return

When night will fade and dawn, at last, will break?






We’ve sinned against Thee, Lord,

Our pitted souls have spurned Thy proferred Grace ;

Betrayed Thy trust in us,

Unworthy, yet we hope to see Thy face.






For we’ve loved Ireland, Lord.

Thus, though we’ve sinned, Thou’ll take each pleading hand

And lead us to abide

Among the host of men who’ve loved our land.






If ’tis the year, Lord, grant

That should we die, we’ll lie among the brave

Unmourned, unsung, perhaps ;

Who cares? But grant us, Lord, a patriot’s grave.






Is this the year, Dear Lord?

The year ‘to come’ when Ireland will be free

Foreseen, when Norman steel

First sent our brave Ambassadors to Thee.






For nigh eight hundred years

They’ve gone to kneel and plead before Thy throne –

But Thou hast heard their pleas,

For Thou art just – We never stood alone.






Thou did but test our worth.

We stood the test – endured – we showed no fear.

Please! Grant now our request,

Say to our hearts “Arise, this is the year!”


(Next – ‘SINN FÉIN NOTES’, from the same source).





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


Many a laugh we’ve had since recounting those ‘football matches’ and, I have to say, of all the cultural activities we engaged in (not counting the Language), it would be nearly impossible to pick between the inter-Cage Gaelic matches and the Irish dancing classes to find out which of them would constitute the more unacceptable face of Irish culture in Long Kesh.


Even though I can still see big Clint Loughran attempting his ‘Sevens’, I would still pick the ‘football’. As the inter-Cage football matches take their place in contemporary republican folklore, one of the legacies of those Gaelic matches that has stayed with me all these years is – and I don’t know whether it’s an unconscious thing or not – but every time I walk pass Bloggs Long in the street, I instinctively duck!


Finally, I want to say that Ardoyne men are universally well known for their fantastic sense of humour and, by their nature, are very forgiving… (MORE LATER).
Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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SPOOF, SPIN, IGNORANCE, MISDIRECTION, SMOKE AND MIRRORS.

There’s an unprecedented amount of spin and misdirection in the last week or so in connection with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the 1998 Stormont Treaty (‘Good Friday Agreement’), and more so today, the 10th April, the actual anniversary of the date that treaty was signed. It’s depressing watching on TV, listening on the radio and reading on the web as professional political spoofers line up to tell all and sundry about how they practically ‘saved Ireland’, and use false assertions and incorrect ‘facts and figures’ to support their claims.

It could only happen in a partial ex-colony like this, in which the ‘leaders’ are smitten – mentally, morally, and emotionally – by their (old?) imperial bosses, whom they have an overwhelming desire to impress. It excites them to do so, and allows them to consider themselves to be ‘every bit as good’ as those that once spat down on them from the ‘big house’. When the ‘Stormont Treaty’ (‘GFA’) was voted on here in May 1998, one of it’s main ‘selling-points’, according to the State establishment that were promoting it – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Provisional Sinn Féin, the various Church’s, media etc – was that the British Government would legislate for the creation of a united Ireland if a majority within the Six Counties desired same. This was said to be a major development and, on it’s own, worth voting ‘YES’ for.


However, that ‘commitment’ from Westminster was contained in the ‘Ireland Act’ of 1949, the ‘Northern Ireland (sic) Act’ of 1973, Section Five of the ‘Sunningdale Agreement’ and the opening section of the 1985 Hillsborough Treaty! It was a deliberate mis-representation of the facts by the pro-treaty side, which repeatedly claimed that a peaceful end to the North-Eastern conflict depended on a majority ‘YES’ vote in the referendum, thereby insinuating that those who voted ‘NO’ were pro-war.


In 1922, Liam Mellows said of the 1921 ‘Treaty of Surrender’ – “This is not the will of the people ; it is the fear of the people”. The conflict continued after that Treaty, and continues today. In 1973, the political establishment here and its hangers-on were amongst those telling republicans that the ‘Sunningdale Agreement’ was the “solution” to the North. In 1985 they did the same with the ‘Hillsborough Treaty’. In 1998 they did the same with the ‘Stormont Treaty’ (‘GFA’). We’ll be posting a piece here tomorrow (Wednesday 11th April 2018) in which we will highlight some of the outrageous claims made in connection with the 1998 Stormont Treaty and not only will we be naming those who made those claims, but we will state the source of same. See ya then!


Thanks for reading, Sharon.




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