On the 20th January 1921 – 100 years ago on this date – over thirty men of the East Clare Brigade of the IRA ambushed an RIC patrol at Glenwood near Sixmilebridge, County Clare, killing six of their number. The well organised rebels suffered zero casualties and captured a significant amount of guns and ammunition. Numerous houses in the general area were burned by the RIC that evening in reprisal for the attack :

‘In mid January 1921, orders were sent to all six battalions of the East Clare Brigade asking all available I.R.A. Volunteers to assemble at Parker’s house, Castlelake on the morning of the 20th of January. The officers of the Brigade had decided to attempt to ambush the regular R.I.C. patrol travelling from Sixmilebridge to Broadford.

On the appointed day, thirty seven I.R.A Volunteers reported for duty. Half of them carried rifles while the remainder were armed with shotguns and revolvers. A number of the republicans who had arrived unarmed volunteered as scouts. Volunteer Joseph Clancy of Kilkishen, a local and a former soldier in the British Army, suggested a suitable location for the attack at the rear entrance to Glenwood House. Michael Brennan accepted his advice and divided up the men into different sections and explained the plan of attack. At Glenwood the republican scouts were posted along the road a short distance in both directions from the I.R.A.’s new position. The thirty or so remaining I.R.A. Volunteers were divided into three sections under the command of Michael Brennan, his brother Austin Brennan of Meelick and Tom McGrath of O’Callaghan’s Mills. The men in Michael Brennan’s section were all armed with rifles and positioned along a high stone wall just north of the gate to Glenwood house. The stone wall would give them a good cover from enemy fire and a direct line of fire for about fifty or sixty yards.

Michael Brennan himself was armed with a revolver and stood a few yards behind the men in his group positioned along this wall. Joseph Clancy was hidden behind a large holly bush on top of the wall keeping watch along the road as the other Volunteers remained hidden. Austin Brennan’s group of Volunteers equipped with rifles and shotguns, was placed fifty yards further north behind another stone wall. The remaining men under Tom Mc Grath’s command were located along the edge of a field a hundred yards to the south of the gate armed with revolvers. The ambushers were to hold their fire, until riflemen under Michael Brennan’s command attacked the lorry…at about 4pm, a motorised patrol of ten armed Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Black and Tan members, travelling from Sixmilebridge to Broadford, approached the back gate of Glenwood house.

Waiting for them, concealed behind the walls of the Glenwood estate, was a group of approximately 37 armed IRA volunteers from the East Clare Brigade of the IRA, led by Michael Brennan of Meelick. As the British patrol passed by the gates, a fusillade of gunshot, fired by the waiting group, struck them. Six RIC and Black and Tans were killed, two were injured and two escaped unhurt. One IRA volunteer was injured. The ambush party withdrew in good order through the forest and mountains to the East of Glenwood, towards Oatfield. The surviving members of the British patrol made their way back to Sixmilebridge.

The local people, on hearing of the news of the ambush, braced themselves for the inevitable retribution which would follow. In an orgy of violence on that evening and in the following days, Black and Tans and Auxiliaries burned houses, destroyed property and terrorised and assaulted local people…’ (from here.)

The destructive and vindictive nature of the British forces that remain in Ireland are felt today by republicans in the Occupied Six Counties and, even though those forces wear a different uniform to that displayed by the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries, their methods and their objective is the same. And the resolve of Irish republicans, too, is the same.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

Peter McCarthy, Dublin, shot by police, June 1937.

Bob Clancy, Waterford, died in Curragh Internment Camp, June 1941.

Charles O’Hare, Armagh, died in Isle of Man Internment Camp, June 1944.

(END of ‘In Memoriam’; NEXT – ‘New Cumann In County Cork’, from the same source.)


A photograph from the scene of the loyalist bombing in Dublin on Saturday 20th January 1973 – 48 years ago on this date – in which one man died (29-year-old Scottish born Thomas Douglas, a bus conductor) and 13 people were injured.

‘On Saturday 20 January 1973, seven weeks after the December 1972 bombings, a further bomb exploded in Dublin city centre killing one man…unbelievably, the location was once again Sackville Place and the bombers were now beginning to thumb their noses at the security forces…by choosing to bomb the same location twice within seven weeks…the bombing was never claimed by the organisation which carried it out, but no one was in any doubt that loyalists were involved…the bomb, which contained 20 pounds of explosives, was planted in a red Vauxhall Viva car, registration number EOI 1129, which was hijacked in Agnes Street off the Shankill Road in Belfast that morning…’
(from here, and details on the author can be read here.)

Regardless of how active their campaign is in Dublin (or elsewhere in Ireland) or whether they claim responsibility for their actions or not, the fact remains that as long as Westminster continues to maintain a political and military presence in Ireland the loyalists can be ‘activated’ anytime the British administration feels it would be advantageous to do so. The loyalists and other pro-British elements can only be neutralised when Westminster stops interfering in this country.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

Michael Peoples, a friend of the McBreartys, received a series of blackmail phone calls alleging he had murdered Richie Barron. A male caller demanded £6,000 for his silence. After the first call, Peoples taped the caller and passed the tapes to the gardai. Four of those calls were traced to the home of William Doherty, while another call was traced to a garda’s house.

William Doherty denied making the calls, saying it was not his voice on the tape. A notebook belonging to the garda, containing notes on the Barron case, was also found in Doherty’s home in September 1997. Again, Doherty denied any knowledge of the notebook and claimed it was planted in his house in an effort to scapegoat the garda.

William Doherty “informed” the gardai that Noel John McBride, a youth known to the gardai, might have information on the death of Richie Barron. The gardai obtained a statement from McBride implicating several local people and, on foot of this statement, Frank McBrearty Snr and Jnr, Michael Peoples and Roisin and Mark McConnell were arrested. McBride’s statement said that on the night in question he saw McBrearty Jnr and McConnell walk away from the crime scene but he was later to retract this statement, alleging duress. He further alleges that in November 1996, William Doherty brought him to the house of a local garda, and that two other gardai were present… (MORE LATER.)


On this date – 20th January – in 1923, Free State forces removed 11 of the IRA prisoners (‘Irregulars’) they were holding and executed each one of them. Sixteen months previous to executing those men, Leinster House politicians had signalled their intent to do so in order to secure their own positions in the new Free State, declaring that those IRA men were fighting against what they described as ‘a legitimate Irish authority..’ About one year before that awful day, those Free State executioners would have fought on the same side, in the fight against Westminster, as those they executed on that Saturday, 20th January 1923.

Five Anti-Treaty I.R.A. men were executed by firing squad, at about 8am that day, in Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath : Thomas Hughes, from Bogginfin, Athlone, who was Lieutenant Commandant, ‘Officer Commanding Munitions’, Western Division I.R.A. He had served as Captain with the 3rd Engineers Dublin Brigade and was also ‘Officer Commanding Munitions’ in Athlone. Michael Walsh, born in Derrymore, County Galway. He was Vice-Commandant, 2nd Battalion No. 1 Brigade, Western Division. Herbert Collins, a native of Kickeen, Headford, County Galway, who was captured at Currahan and charged with being in possession of arms and ammunition. Stephen Joyce, a native of Derrymore, Caherlistrane, County Galway and Martin Burke, a native of Caherlistrane, County Galway – he was Officer Commanding, Active Service Unit Number 3 Brigade, Western Division.

Four of the IRA men (‘Irregulars/Anti-Treaty Army’) – Michael Brosnan of Rathenny, Tralee, County Kerry, John Clifford of Mountlake Caherciveen, County Kerry, James Daly from Knock, Killarney, County Kerry and James Hanlon of Causeway, Tralee, County Kerry – were executed at Ballymullen Barracks, Tralee, Kerry : they were ‘found guilty’ of being in possession of arms and ammunition under the ‘Emergency Powers Act’ but local opinion was that the four men were put to death because of on-going attacks on the railway system in the Kerry area.

Two I.R.A. men were executed at Limerick Jail : Commandant Cornelius ‘Con’ McMahon, Limerick, and fellow Limerick man Volunteer Patrick Hennessy. Both men were charged with the destruction of Ardsollus railway station in County Clare on the 14th of January 1923 and were ‘found guilty’ of same and of being in possession of guns and ammunition. Patrick Hennessy was secretary of Clare County Gaelic Athletic Association and a member of the county team. Con McMahon had served a term in prison in Limerick Jail in 1920.

Also, for the record, between 17th November 1922 and 2nd May 1923, seventy-seven Irish republican prisoners were removed from their prison cells and shot dead by order of the Free State administration. In this post we name those 77 men and list where each man was executed and the date of same. We do so in the hope that these men will not be forgotten :


James Fisher, Dublin, November 17th.

Peter Cassidy, Dublin, November 17th.

Richard Twohig, Dublin , November 17th.

John Gaffney, Dublin, November 17th.

Erskine Childers, Dublin, November 24th.

Joseph Spooner, Dublin, November 30th.

Patrick Farrelly, Dublin, November 30th.

John Murphy, Dublin, November 30th.

Rory O Connor, Dublin, December 8th.

Liam Mellows, Dublin, December 8th.

Joseph McKelvey, Dublin, December 8th.

Richard Barrett, Dublin, December 8th.

Stephen White, Dublin, December 19th.

Joseph Johnston, Dublin, December 19th.

Patrick Mangan, Dublin, December 19th.

Patrick Nolan, Dublin, December 19th.

Brian Moore, Dublin, December 19th.

James O’Connor, Dublin, December 19th.

Patrick Bagnel, Dublin, December 19th.

John Phelan, Kilkenny, December 29th.

John Murphy, Kilkenny, December 29th.


Leo Dowling, Dublin, January 8th.

Sylvester Heaney, Dublin, January 8th.

Laurence Sheeky, Dublin, January 8th.

Anthony O’Reilly, Dublin, January 8th.

Terence Brady, Dublin, January 8th.

Thomas McKeown, Louth, January 13th.

John McNulty, Louth, January 13th.

Thomas Murray, Louth, January 13th.

Frederick Burke, Tipperary, January 15th.

Patrick Russell, Tipperary, January 15th.

Martin O’Shea, Tipperary, January 15th.

Patrick McNamara, Tipperary, January 15th.

James Lillis, Carlow, January 15th.

James Daly, Kerry, January 20th.

John Clifford, Kerry, January 20th.

Michael Brosnan, Kerry, January 20th.

James Hanlon, Kerry, January 20th.

Cornelius McMahon, Limerick, January 20th.

Patrick Hennesy, Limerick, January 20th.

Thomas Hughes, Westmeath, January 20th.

Michael Walsh, Westmeath, January 20th.

Herbert Collins, Westmeath, January 20th.

Stephen Joyce, Westmeath, January 20th.

Martin Bourke, Westmeath, January 20th.

James Melia, Louth, January 22nd.

Thomas Lennon, Louth, January 22nd.

Joseph Ferguson, Louth, January 22nd.

Michael Fitzgerald, Waterford, January 25th.

Patrick O’Reilly, Offaly, January 26th.

Patrick Cunningham, Offaly, January 26th.

Willie Conroy, Offaly, January 26th.

Colum Kelly, Offaly, January 26th.

Patrick Geraghty, Laoise, January 27th.

Joseph Byrne, Laoise, January 27th.

Thomas Gibson, Laoise, February 26th.

James O’Rourke, Dublin, March 13th.

William Healy, Cork, March 13th.

James Parle, Wexford, March 13th.

Patrick Hogan, Wexford, March 13th.

John Creane, Wexford, March 13th.

Séan Larkin, Donegal, March 14th.

Tim O’Sullivan, Donegal, March 14th.

Daniel Enright, Donegal, March 14th.

Charles Daly, Donegal, March 14th.

James O’Malley, Galway, April 11th.

Francis Cunnane, Galway, April 11th.

Michael Monaghan, Galway, April 11th.

John Newell, Galway, April 11th.

John McGuire, Galway, April 11th.

Martin Moylan, Galway, April 11th.

Richard Hatheway, Kerry, April 25th.

James McEnery, Kerry, April 25th.

Edward Greaney, Kerry, April 25th.

Patrick Mahoney, Clare, April 26th.

Christopher Quinn, Clare, May 02nd.

William Shaughnessy, Clare, May 02nd.

Those 77 men did not take up arms in the belief that they were fighting for the establishment of a morally corrupt so-called ‘half-way-house’ institution, nor did they do so to assist the British in the ‘governance’ of one of their ‘part’ colonies : that which those men and many other men and women fought for remains to be achieved : ‘Unfinished Business’, if you like. You can help present-day Irish republicans to achieve that aim…


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

The British Army search for the Omagh raiders was directed by Colonel E. H. W. Grimshaw, Chief of Staff, ‘Northern Ireland’ District, who served in Kenya until recently with Captain T. M. Troy, officer commanding the raided depot.

Colonel Grimshaw said after the raid – “Troy and I have had plenty of experience rounding up the Mau Mau in Kenya, and we should be able to deal with this lot!”

(END of ‘Anti-Mau Officer Led British Army Search’ ; NEXT -‘Licensed To Kill’, from the ‘United Irishman’, March 1955.)

(‘1169’ comment ; you can read about Mr Grimshaw here, if you’re that way inclined. He certainly enjoyed his overseas ‘adventures’ on behalf of his ‘Empire’, and gave many a ‘terrorist’ a jolly good pasting. Jolly hockey-sticks, and all that…)


On this date – 20th January – in 1902, a baby boy was born in Dublin who was to capture world support and sympathy while still in his teens : the child’s name was Kevin Barry (pictured, left), and he was born into a strong Irish republican family which could trace members of its clan as having been active in 1798 with Wolfe Tone. Kevin Barry, 18 years young, was executed on the 1st November 1920 in Mountjoy Jail, Dublin, and was the first Irish republican to be executed by the British since 1916. At the time of his death his eldest brother Mick was OC of the Volunteers in Tombeigh and his sister, Sheila, was in Cumann na mBan. He was captured while on active service outside the entrance of Monk’s bakery in Dublin. Although, as stated, born in Dublin, he spent much of his life at the family home in Tombeigh, Hackettstown, Carlow, and both sides of his family – the Barry’s and the Dowling’s – came from the Carlow area, and some of his ancestors had fought in 1798. He attended national school in Rathvilly, Carlow, for a few years, before going to Belvedere College in Dublin where he was a medical student.

Kevin Barry’s body was not returned to his family for burial ; he was interred within the prison confines of Mountjoy Jail and was the first of what was to become know as ‘the Forgotten Ten’. Because Munster and a small part of Leinster was under martial law those executed there were shot as soldiers but, as Dublin was under civilian law, those executed in Mountjoy were hanged. In his ‘Sworn Statement’ (‘written testimony’), Kevin Barry wrote –

“I, Kevin Barry, of 58, South Circular Road, in the County of Dublin, Medical Student, aged 18 years and upwards solemnly and sincerely declare as follows: On the 20th of September, 1920, I was arrested in Upper Church Street by a Sergeant of the 2nd Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and was brought under escort to the North Dublin Union, now occupied by military. I was brought into the guard room and searched. I was then moved to the defaulter’s room by an escort with a Sergeant-Major, who all belonged to 1st Lancashire Fusiliers. I was then handcuffed. About 15 minutes after I was put into the defaulter’s room, two Commissioned Officers of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers came in. They were accompanied by 3 Sergeants of the same unit. A military policeman who had been in the room since I entered it remained.

One of the officers asked me my name, which I gave. He then asked me for the names of my companions in the raid. I refused to give them. He tried to persuade me to give the names and I persisted in refusing. He then sent a Sergeant for a bayonet. When it was brought in the Sergeant was ordered by this officer to point the bayonet at my stomach. The same questions as to the names and addresses of my companions were repeated with the same results. The Sergeant was then ordered to turn my face to the wall and point the bayonet to my back. The Sergeant then said he would run the bayonet into me if I did not tell. The bayonet was then removed and I was turned round again. This officer then said that if I still persisted in this attitude he would turn me out to the men in the barrack square and he supposed I knew what that meant with the men in their present temper. I said nothing. He ordered the Sergeants to put me face down on the floor and twist my arm. I was pushed down onto the floor after my handcuffs were removed. When I lay on the floor one of the Sergeants knelt on the small of my back, the other two placed one foot each on my back and left shoulder and the man who knelt on me twisted my right arm, holding it by the wrist with one hand while he held my hair with the other to pull back my head. The arm was twisted from the elbow joint. This continued to the best of my knowledge for 5 minutes. It was very painful.

The first officer was standing near my feet and the officer who accompanied him was still present. During the twisting of my arm the first officer continued to question me for the names and addresses of my companions and the names of my Company Commander or any other (IRA) officer I knew. As I still refused to answer these questions I was let up and handcuffed. A civilian came in and he repeated the same questions with the same results. He informed me that if I gave all the information I knew, I could get off. I was then left in the company of the military policeman. The two officers, three sergeants and civilian all left together. I could certainly identify the officer who directed the proceedings and put the questions. I am not sure of the others except the Sergeant with the bayonet.

My arm was medically treated by an officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to the North Dublin Union the following morning and by the prison hospital orderly afterwards for 4 or 5 days. I was visited by the Court Martial Officer last night and he read the confirmation of sentence of death by hanging to be executed on Monday next and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing same to be true and by virtue of the Statutory Declarations Act, 1835. Declared and subscribed before me at Mountjoy Prison in the County of the City of Dublin, 28th October, 1920.

(Signed) MYLES KEOGH, a justice of the peace for said County.


Canon John Waters, the prison chaplain, wrote to Kevin Barry’s mother with a description of his final moments : “His courage was superhuman and rested I am sure, on his simple goodness and innocence of conscience. You are the mother, my dear Mrs Barry, of one of the bravest and best boys I have ever known, he went to the scaffold with the most perfect bravery, without the slightest faltering, ’til the very last moment of his life…” Incidentally, while speaking to Mrs Barry, Canon Waters opined that young Kevin “…does not seem to realise he is going to die in the morning..” to which she asked what was meant by that comment : the priest replied that Kevin “…is so gay* and light-hearted all the time (but) if he fully realised it he would be overwhelmed..” – Mrs Barry took offence at those words and replied “Canon Waters, I know you are not a Republican. But is it impossible for you to understand that my son is actually proud to die for the Republic?” The wise Canon didn’t argue back.

It was on this date – 20th January – 119 years ago, that Kevin Barry was born.

(*’Gay’ – ‘happy’, not as it apparently would be interpreted today.)




1169 BLOG AGREES A BOOK DEAL (sort of..)!

‘The kind assistance of Sharon O’ Suillibhan of Dublin, who helps publish the 1169 and Counting blog, which keeps alive valuable articles from the era, was generous with her time and thoughts, keeping me laughing and informed..’ – so wrote author Anthony Amore, in relation to his book, ‘The Woman Who Stole Vermeer’.

Ah Shucks! Going scarla’ here…!

Anthony contacted us a while ago when he was researching info for his ‘Woman Who Stole..’ book, as we had posted an article or two on our blog which caught his eye ; nothing unusual there, as we get contacted regularly by people looking to verify dates, locations etc and we respond to each contact as quick as we can, even if it’s to politely say ‘no’, if they are looking for information which, shall we say, could be deemed to be ‘delicate’.

Anyway – the info that Anto wanted (…and yes – we feel that we know the man good enough by now to confer that honorary Dub moniker on him!) was run-of-the-mill stuff to us which contained dates and locations etc which could be found elsewhere, with a bit of digging, so we helped him as best we could and he was delira and excira (…figure that one out for yerselves!) with the wee bit of assistance we gave him.

So much so that the gentleman insisted on re-paying the favour and, with a bit of prodding from meself (!) we settled on a brief mention for the blog in the ‘Acknowledgement’ section of his book (pictured) as ‘payment’ enough ; and so it came to pass!

And that, readers, is the ‘book deal’ involved ; probably not quite what some of ye may have been expecting, and we didn’t really(ish!) mean to imply otherwise in our blog, Facebook and Twitter posts in regards to the ‘deal’, but that’s all yer gettin’! And anyway – we’re chuffed about it, so there!

And – while I’m blowing trumpets (!) here – during our conversations with the Anto fella, Irish food favourites were discussed and I’m equally as proud to say that my receipes for Irish Stew and Shepherd’s Pie were passed, by request, to himself, and were made available to a 10,000-strong membership in a book club!

As me other auld segotia* would say – “Between the famous and the infamous there is but one step, if as much as one.”

This is Sharon, signin’ off and a-steppin’ out for now. To sign autographs, that is..!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



‘Bestselling Author..’?

Ah no, don’t think so.

Then again…!

But seriously…no.

We know all about the ‘Mighty Oaks’ proverb but we’re under no such illusion about our book deal. We just happened to be the right people in the right place at the right time, and the main player in our literary rags-to-riches story just happened to like, and appreciate, the cut of our jib. Contact between both parties was initiated, conversations ensued, details and ideas etc exchanged and a happy and successdul outcome, to the liking of all concerned, was arrived at and agreed.

On Wednesday, 20th January 2021, we’ll be posting our weekly blog post (it’ll be an eight-parter) and that posting will include a few paragraphs on the recent book deal and will give a few links and mention names and details etc to do with same. You’ll soon be able to say that you knew us when we hadn’t got a pot to… choose…from (!) but don’t worry, readers, our new-found fame won’t change us ; we still intend to keep livin’ the High Life and, in regards to the begging letters, we’ll keep sending them!

See y’all on Wednesday next, 20th January.

Just pop-on by, wontcha?

No need for an appointment.


Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



On Easter Sunday morning, 1978, seven Donegal Provo recruits crossed the border to Derry City ; they had been chosen to form the Colour Party for the Easter Commemoration ceremony that afternoon, leading the Easter Parade through the Creggan and Bogside where Dáithí Ó Conaill delivered the oration.

After the event, the Colour Party members went into the Rossville Street flats, stripped off their paramilitary clothes and dark glasses and got into casual clothes. The back road from Creggan to the border had been checked and cleared, they were assured. Some of the seven men wanted to go for a few pints and then take the bus home but, under protest, they all piled into the one car and were driven off. The joint British Army/RUC patrol which intercepted them minutes later already had photographs of all seven men taken from a helicopter during the Easter Parade. IRA membership would be easy to prove.

Two of the seven men detained were from Letterkenny in County Donegal ; Patrick McIntyre of Ard O’Donnell and his colleague, Jim Clarke (pictured). Patrick McIntyre is the fifth of a family of nine, who did his ‘Leaving Certificate’ (school examination) in 1976 and, after taking a six months AnCo (state work-training) course, started working on a building site in Letterkenny. As a youth, Patrick was, as friends describe him, a ‘withdrawn kind of a lad’. His involvement with the IRA was to surprise the entire family. But he had been impressed by the 1916 plaque in Saint Eunan’s College, by the sight of Derry refugees taking shelter in Letterkenny, of the (Free State) Army on stand-by near the border, by emotive speeches by politicians and by the ‘Arms Trial’. He mixed with Official Sinn Fein members in the early 1970’s : they held meetings in a room over a pub in Letterkenny where local issues were discussed. But he always stayed clear of public displays and not a word was said at home.

However – the IRA Colour Party had now been detained by the British ‘security forces’ and, after 14 months on remand in the North, Patrick McIntyre came before a judge ; he was in deep trouble, as he had signed a statement admitting involvement in the attempted ‘murder’ of a UDR member (‘Ulster[sic] Defence Regiment’, a pro-British militia) near Castlederg in County Tyrone, in late 1977. McIntyre refused to recognise the court, was convicted and given a fifteen year jail sentence ; Jim Clarke was also jailed for the Castlederg attack – he got eighteen years. The first part of their detention was spent in Crumlin Road Prison and the two men were then transferred to the Kesh at a time when the campaign for retention of political status was intensifying ; they took part in the Blanket Protest and were still there during the 1981 Hunger-Strike. They were two of the 38 inmates who escaped from the prison in September 1983. Patrick McIntyre managed to stay loose for two days ; cameramen were alerted to film him and another escaper, Joe Corey, being recaptured near Castlewellan, County Down.

Re-captured within two days after the September 1983 jail-break, Patrick McIntyre (pictured) had to wait three years and three months to get a second chance ; with less than six months of his original sentence left, he was due three days ‘rehabilitation parole’ as Christmas 1986 approached. The prison authorities opposed his release because the trial of the Maze escapers was pending, but McIntyre defeated their objections before the courts. The Provisionals approved his absconding – they believed the recently introduced ‘rehabilitation’ gimmick was geared to cause divisions in their structures within the prisons. By December 20th, 1986, the RUC were looking for him but he was over the border, in Donegal, getting his hair tinted!

On the twisty main road between Killybegs and Kilcar, in West Donegal, there is a white flat-roofed dwelling in the townland of Cashlings ; some Gardai consider it ‘a safe house’. Raymond ‘The Rooster’ McLaughlin, a well-known IRA activist, was suspected of stopping off there not long before he drowned, accidentally, in a pool, in County Clare, in 1985. Shortly after eight o’clock on the morning of 6th January 1987 – 34 years ago on this date – Aiden Murray and other armed Free State detectives raided the house.

They roused a young man from his sleep – he was wearing pants only and, when asked his name, he hesitated before telling them he was ‘Colm McGuire’. He requested to see a doctor and solicitor and refused to answer any further questions. Detective Aiden Murray promptly arrested ‘McGuire’ on suspicion of being a member of the IRA. The Gardai were back at base in Ballyshannon with their prisoner soon after nine o’ clock ; they still had no official identity for him and, in accordance with his wishes, a local solicitor, John Murray, was sent for ; he arrived and, after consulting with the man in the cell, he told gardai during a casual conversation that the prisoner was Patrick McIntyre of Ard O’Donnell, Letterkenny. The gardai say that minutes afterwards they received information which possibly linked McIntyre to a robbery in Ballyshannon before Christmas and that they began questioning him about this crime. By mid-morning the word was out in Donegal : Paddy McIntyre had been collared and the prospect of extradition loomed. By that afternoon, a Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, was contacting a colleague in Dublin.

The legal defence was prepared in the tiny rooms over a swop-shop along Ormond Quay, near the Four Courts, in Dublin, where solicitor Anne Rowland, a native of Ballina, County Mayo, set up her own firm. Her penchant is for the cut and thrust of criminal cases. On accepting the McIntyre brief, she immediately sought out barrister Patrick Gageby – they had worked together before ; Evelyn Glenholmes and Gerard Tuite were among those they had represented. Rowland and Gageby immediately agreed that their defence case would focus on the circumstances of McIntyre’s arrest and detention. They were told that an extradition application would come before District Justice Liam McMenamin at Ballyshannon District Court on January 7th (1987). Before leaving for County Donegal, Rowland put the state on notice that she would require in court the garda who performed the Section 30 arrest and the Garda Officer who signed the order extending Patrick McIntyre’s detention for a second 24 hour period.

About one hundred Sinn Féin protestors had gathered outside the court as Patrick McIntyre was escorted from a prison vehicle ; in the melee, nobody noticed three plainclothes detectives sliding another man past – RUC member Robert Herron. He was needed to identify Patrick McIntyre. As he rose to speak, Sinn Féin members immediately headed for the exits but gardai told them the doors would have to be kept closed. Then, his identity unknown to those outside, the RUC man was discreetly and safely brought past the crowds before the hearing ended. Chief Superintendent Patrick Murphy was in the witness box – a stranger to the area, he had been transferred from Limerick to Letterkenny, in Donegal, on promotion the previous October.

Murphy gave evidence of signing the Section 30 Extension Order for a second 24 hour period. State Solicitor Ciaran McLoughlin asked him nothing further. District Justice McMenamin had no questions, and Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby kept quiet. Chief Superintendent Patrick Murphy left the witness box ; defence counsel Patrick Gageby didn’t even attempt to smile ; but he did believe that ‘the door had been left ajar’. Early last year Patrick Gageby and Anne Rowland had unsuccessfully appealed the three convictions of County Louth men in the Drumree Post Office murder trial – Garda Frank Hand had been killed in an armed robbery. In the Court of Criminal Appeal, however, Gageby had spotted one sentence and quietly filed it away. He now suggested that Chief Superintendent Murphy had not informed the court of his state of mind when signing the extension order ; it had not been proven that the garda officer had the requisite mental element to justify the detention. State Solicitor Ciaran McLoughlin was quickly on his feet trying to answer the point ; District Justice McMenamin adjourned the hearing to consider this and other legal matters raised.

When the case came before District Justice mcMenamin again in Donegal town on January 14th (1987), he again heard Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby question the validity of the Section 30 extension ; but Judge McMenamin dismissed the arguments and granted the extradition order. An appeal was immediately lodged in the High Court.

McIntyre’s case was becoming something of a cause celebre ; on March 10th (1987), when Leinster House met to elect a leader (‘Taoiseach’), Independent Donegal Leinster House member, Neil Blaney (pictured), demanded that the extradition arrangements between Britain and Ireland “be repealed so that in the interim a young county man of mine, by name McIntyre, be not extradited.” But when the case came before Mr Justice Gannon in the High Court in May 1987, Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby had further ‘ammunition’ – as well as the ruling in the McShane, McPhilips, Eccles (Drumree) case which included this phrase in relation to the person issuing extension orders –“is bona fide suspected by him of being involved in the offence for which he was arrested.”

Gageby had the additional support of a Supreme Court ruling of April 3rd (1987) which confirmed that a Chief Superintendent must give evidence of his suspicions when he is issuing an extension order ; it is not sufficient to confirm that he issues the order, he must say why. Patrick McEntee SC had been added to the defence team – McIntyre’s supporters were confident of victory. On the afternoon of 7th May 1987, Patrick McIntyre was freed, courtesy of a legal loophole which has since been closed ; the Provisionals had a motorbike waiting outside the courtroom and he was driven off at high speed and was within seconds in city centre traffic. Garda had eighteen further warrants in relation to Patrick McIntyre ; his extradition was still being sought by the British, but he was then on the run.

OTR Patrick McIntyre net with a journalist in a nondescript suburban room. His physical appearance has not altered since the Donegal court hearings – maybe he is a little less fidgety, but he speaks in a soft voice which frequently quivers. The sentiments are resolute. He was sleeping when the gardai came to the house in south Donegal, he says : “I gave the surname of the people who own the house but they didn’t believe me. They said I was Patrick McIntyre.” Yet the evidence given by gardai in court suggested that the prisoner was not positively identified until solicitor John Murray named him in Ballyshannon garda station. It was also stated that the detectives went to Kilcar after a ‘tip-off’ that an armed man or men had been seen in the area. It appears the gardai were not aware they would find Patrick McIntyre in the house. It has not been possible to establish whether they knew him by sight ; they seem to have ‘struck lucky’ – and then got the procedure wrong. As Patrick McIntyre says – “The situation I’m in now prevents me from walking around in this country. I am not wanted for anything in this jurisdiction ; I am being sought for things related to the British administration. If the Birmingham Six were in the 26 Counties now, they could and would be extradited. If the British issue warrants for any person’s extradition, the request will come before the Irish courts and the person opposing it must pay his own costs.”

The free legal aid scheme does not apply to extradition cases ; costs in the Patrick McIntyre case, expected to run into several thousand pounds, will be paid by Sinn Féin. Asked about his family and his future, Patrick McIntyre stares at the floor – “They let me out for three days to attend my mother’s funeral in March. I was told the best I could expect was to go there escorted, in handcuffs, but I fought the case for compassionate bail in the High Court and won. Then there was a rumour that the decision might be appealed by the state and I was thinking about that all the way during the journey from Dublin to Donegal. That was a shattering experience.

I tried to spend the three days with my family. There were thousands of people at the funeral and at the house. It was the first time that we had the family together for a long time, and we had photographs taken. I met a lot of people that I grew up with. Just before I left, my sister gave me a Saint Patrick’s Day card that my mother had written, to me, in Saint Luke’s Hospital…”

A knock comes to the door – it is time for him to go. What does he intend to do now?, I ask – “Make it third time lucky. Or at least stay out longer than the past two times…”, he replies.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

‘Letter to the Editor’, from The Secretary, Sinn Féin, Glasgow ;

‘Congratulations on your splendid fight in the Six Counties. Over 152,000 votes is a great achievement in such a short time and you fought in areas that had been shamefully neglected in the past. Mo ghoirm thú.

Go forward to the fight! Ireland surely could lose no more in battle than is pouring from her into the industrial slums of Britain, there to be lost forever to her, mentally and physically’.

Signed ‘Irish Exile’.

(END of ‘Splendid Fight’; NEXT – ‘In Memoriam’, from the same source.)


On the 6th January 1940 – 81 years ago on this date – the then Free State President, Douglas Hyde (pictured) stated that it was his intention to convene his ‘Council of State’ (this was the first such meeting ever of said body) to discuss a bill he was asked to sign, concerning an amendment to the heavy-handed ‘Offences Against the State Act 1939’, which would have allowed the Leinster House administration to intern Irish-born citizens in a move said to be necessary in the Free State’s fight against the IRA.

It should be noted that those who wanted that power fully intended to use it against men and women that they had fought side-by-side with only twenty years previously.

Two days later (ie on the 8th January 1940) the ‘Council’ held a meeting in a Free State residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park (behind closed doors, minutes not made public) following which Hyde announced that he was going to refer the proposed amendment/legislation to the Free State ‘Supreme Court’, stating that he also intended to seek a judgement on the ‘Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill 1940’ in its entirety. The ‘Supreme Court’ replied that, in its opinion, it was within the power and the authority ‘of the Oireachtas, consistent with the Constitution, to enact such legislation’. Hyde then signed the necessary paperwork, no doubt having convinced himself that he had done all in his power to prevent further injury to the republicans he would have associated with during his years as a member of the ‘Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language’, the ‘Gaelic League’ and the ‘Gaelic Journal’.

But easing your conscience isn’t the same as cleansing it.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

The Garda ‘Witnesses’ And The People They Accused :

Garda witnesses against the McBreartys included garda informer, William Doherty, who is well known to the gardai and has a long line of convictions for assault, larceny and other crimes. He was subsequently involved in making allegations that there was a bomb-making factory on the farm of elderly Donegal farmer, Alfie Gallagher and his family.

In 1997, 40 armed gardai and 200 (State) soldiers raided the farm and stayed there for three days and nights. Alfie Gallagher, recovering from a heart by-pass at the time, told ‘Magill’ – “They tore up over 200 young trees, turned the house upside down, and the helicopter frightened the ewes ; they were pregnant at the time and they ran into barbed wire and did a lot of damage to themselves. Most of them aborted. The raiders wouldn’t say what they were looking for. They put a machine-gun in my ribs when I went to feed the stock.”

Nothing was found at the Gallagher’s farm, and the family are adamant they had never been involved in political or criminal activities. In fact, Mrs Gallagher, a retired teacher, said her father was himself a member of the Garda Siochana. The Gallaghers are currently taking a case against the State. ‘Magill’ understands that the warrants authorising the search of the Gallaghers’ farm have gone missing… (MORE LATER.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

Two of the men arrested in connection with the Omagh Raid – Paddy Kearney and Eamon Boyce – are conductors on the CIE buses in Dublin and, immediately on hearing the news of their arrest, workers in the garages to which they were attached decided that they would make regular weekly collections in order to provide for the dependents of the two men. Both Mrs Boyce and Mrs Kearney, the mothers of the lads, are widows, and they greatly appreciate the kind offer of the busmen.

The Republican Aid Committee also wish to express publicly their real appreciation of the wonderful spirit of these workers and the very practical way in which they have come to the help of the dependants, thereby considerably easing the burden on An Cumann Cabrac.

(END of ‘Fellow-Workers Generous Gesture’ ; NEXT -‘Anti-Mau Officer Led British Army Search’, from the same source.)


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) was held in Dublin on Christmas Day last, albeit in a ‘bare bones’ format : we sadly and badly missed the usual craic and banter, the flag, banners, the music, the sing-songs, the ‘soup’, the Christmas crackers, the tables full of ‘goodies’, the silly hats etc etc, but the main attraction – the swim in the icy waters of the Grand Canal – did take place. And that was the main objective!

The lads and a much-reduced back-up team sampled sea-water for Cabhair on St Stephen’s Day in Wexford, for their 10th such sponsored swim ; a very ‘Well Done!’ to both sets of swimmers, and we know that both groups are hoping and looking forward to getting back to their usual formats this coming December. Ye all done Cabhair proud – GRMA!

Dublin, 25th December, 2020.

Wexford, 26th December, 2020.


Beannachtaí ar Lá Nollag na mBan!

January 6th is marked by Nollaig na mBan or ‘Women’s Little Christmas’ : in celebration of the feast of the Epiphany in Ireland, January 6th is marked by Nollaig na mBan or ‘Women’s Little Christmas’. On this day it is the tradition in Ireland for the women to get together and enjoy their own Christmas, while the men folk stay at home and handle all the chores. It is also common for children to buy their mothers and grandmothers presents on this day, though this custom is gradually being overtaken by ‘Mothers Day’.

I sometimes think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.(Oscar Wilde)
Happy Nollaig na mBan to all our readers, especially the Ladies!


…we won’t be posting our usual contribution, and probably won’t be in a position to post anything at all ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 9th/10th January 2021) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Dublin Executive of Sinn Féin Poblachtach, work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle, and the ‘autopsy’ into same which will take place on Monday evening, 11th, via conference calls, meaning that we will not have the time to post here. But we’ll be back, as stated above, on Wednesday, 20th January 2021 and, in the meantime, you might read a few paragraphs from us here. See ye then!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



IRA Volunteer Ciarán Fleming (pictured) – ‘On Sunday 2nd December 1984, IRA Volunteers Antoine Mac Giolla Bhríghde, from Magherafelt, County Derry and Ciarán Fleming, who had broken out of Long Kesh prison in the Great Escape of 1983, were preparing to mount an operation against crown forces near Drumrush in County Fermanagh when Mac Giolla Bhríghde saw a car parked on the lane which he believed to contain civilians. Approaching the car to tell the occupants to leave the area, undercover SAS members opened fire, hitting him in the side. Cuffed with plastic stays, Mac Giolla Bhríghde was tortured before being summarily executed. His comrades, when later debriefed, reported hearing a single shot, then screaming, and a short time later a further burst of machine gun fire, after which the screaming stopped….’ (from here.)

Ciarán Fleming ‘…drowned in Bannagh River, near Kesh, County Fermanagh (while) escaping from a gun battle between undercover British Army (BA) unit and Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit. His body (was) found in the river on 21st December 1984..’ (from here) Ciarán was buried on the 23rd December 1984 – 36 years ago on this date – and his funeral was at the time described as ‘…the most gratuitously violent RUC attack of the year on any funeral. Many of the RUC had come in full riot gear of helmet, shield and body armour, to show that they were intent on violent disruption. Several times during a tense and exhausting funeral which lasted three full hours, the RUC baton-charged the mourners, which encouraged near-by children, standing on a wall, to throw stones at them in reprisal : the RUC then fired at least four plastic bullets into the funeral cortege, seriously injuring two people. During the afternoon, numerous mourners suffered bloody head wounds and one man was knocked unconscious by the RUC.

Stewards were often forced to halt the proceedings because of this harassment but, despite the RUC’s terror, the people stood firm and, in a twilight Bogside, three uniformed IRA Volunteers stepped out of the crowd and paid the IRA’s traditional salute to their fallen comrade, as a forest of arms were raised in clenched-fist salute. Finally , thanks to the courage of thousands of nationalists, Volunteer Ciaran Fleming was laid to rest..’ (from ‘IRIS’ magazine, October 1987.)

IRA sources that were contacted at the time by journalist Ed Moloney stated that Ciarán Fleming ‘…was noted for his hard line militarist republicanism. He is reputed to have backed a plan to form full-time guerrilla units or ‘flying columns’ based in the Republic, which would carry out four or five large scale attacks in the north a year. This approach was espoused by the militant Provisional IRA East Tyrone Brigade led by Padraig McKearney and Jim Lynagh, who wanted an escalation of the conflict to what they termed “total war”. They were opposed by Kevin McKenna, the IRA Chief of Staff and by the republican leadership headed by Gerry Adams, on the grounds that actions on that scale were too big a risk and unsustainable. The IRA leadership wanted a smaller scale campaign of attrition, supplemented by political campaigning by (Provisional) Sinn Féin….’ (from here.)

That “political campaigning by Provisional Sinn Féin” has seen that grouping morph into a slightly more-nationalist political party than either of the latter-day Fianna Fáil or SDLP organisations but, true to form, like Fianna Fáil and the SDLP, the Provisional Sinn Féin party has distanced itself (except verbally) from Irish republicanism. It’s an easier life, with a salary and a pension, neither of which were available when Adams and company professed to be advocates of change rather than that which they are now (and have been for the last 37 years, at least) ie advocates of British accommodation in Ireland.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

Michael Traynor, Ard Runaidhe, Sinn Féin, said that the Ireland of today with its emigration and unemployment was not the nation visualised by James Connolly, nor did it enjoy the freedom for which he gave his life.

Seán O Riain, on behalf of the Comhairle Ceanntar Sinn Féin Ath Cliath, thanked all those who had helped to provide funds and cars for the election, in particular the Dublin Civil Servants and the employees of CIE, the Irish Bricklayers Society and the residents of Fairview who formed a committee to collect in their area for Tom Mitchell’s election fund. Other speakers were Eamon Thomas and Seosamh MacCriostail, Ath Cliath.

(END of ‘Sinn Féin Victory Rally’. NEXT – ‘Splendid Fight’, from the same source.)


British PM Ted Heath, right, with his friend Jimmy Savile.

On the 23rd December 1971 – 49 years ago on this date – British PM Edward Heath paid a visit to the Occupied Six Counties of north-east Ireland and declared his ‘determination to end the violence’, making it clear in the process that he was referring to the then IRA campaign to remove the British military and political presence. Five weeks after that visit, his troops let loose with live rounds in the Bogside area of Derry, killing fourteen Irish people and, as a PR exercise, Heath (and his sidekick, Reginald Maudling) set up the ‘Widgery Inquiry’ into the massacre.

‘Lord’ Widgery proceeded to exclude the political background to the shootings, a politically motivated decision, as was suggested by the minutes of an extraordinary discussion between Widgery, Edward Heath and the British ‘Lord Chancellor’, ‘Lord’ Hailsham, at Downing Street, two days after the massacre, on the evening before the British ‘Commons’ announcement of Widgery’s appointment to conduct the ‘inquiry’. Among “..a number of points which I [Edward Heath] thought it right to draw to the Lord Chief Justice’s [Widgery] attention (was that) it had to be remembered that we were in Northern Ireland (sic) fighting not just a military war but a propaganda war…” and, indeed, Heath is on record as saying that the Derry Guildhall building would be unsuitable as a venue for tribunal hearings as it “…was on the wrong side of the River Foyle..” (ie – the ‘Catholic/Nationalist’ side) !

It should be noted that the day before the Bogside massacre (ie on Saturday 29th January 1972) , the RUC and the British Army issued the following joint statement : “Experience this year has already shown that attempted marches often end in violence and (this) must have been foreseen by the organisers. Clearly, the responsibility for this violence and the consequences of it must rest fairly and squarely on the shoulders of those who encourage people to break the law. The (British) security forces have a duty to take action against those who set out to break the law…”

Mutinous talk there, from that joint statement because, if they were to do their ‘duty’, then they would have had to “take action” against themselves and their own political leaders, including Edward Heath. But considering that Heath and his political establishment were pals with the Jimmy Savile’s of their world, then it should have been obvious to all that they would have no ‘duty’ of care or responsibility to 14 dead Irish people.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

Garda Tina Fowley stated that she thought no more about it “until recently, when concerns about the veracity of the statement of admission had been expressed in the media”. Later that evening, a named officer claimed to have a signed confession from Frank McBrearty Junior admitting the killing of Richie Barron. Other gardai in the station were “stunned” – they claim they clearly heard McBrearty Junior protesting his innocence throughout the period. He continues to deny ever having made any such statement.

Garda Tina Fowley also made statements regarding “two distinct sets of notes” relating to the detention of Roisin McConnell on the 4th December, which she says an officer asked her for. She refused, phoned a superior officer at home, and was told to get the original notes out of the office and into the custody of another named officer. Tina Fowley’s honesty and courage resulted in her being subjected to harassment from some of her colleagues. She claims her computer was interfered with, she was given little or no work to do, a dead rat was left on her doorstep, and she received threatening letters and phone calls. A colleague said that “what Tina did was not popular with certain people”.

Eventually she was forced to leave Letterkenny – on sick leave from the force. She had paid a heavy price for her commitment to honesty and justice, the very qualities we expect from our police officers. Through her solicitor, Damien Tansy, in Sligo, she has issued proceedings against the Garda Commissioner and Attorney General for breach of contract, failing to secure a safe place of work and loss of legitmate expectations… (MORE LATER.)


“Now’s here’s a proof of Irish sense

Here Irish wit is seen

When nothing’s left that’s worth defence,

We build a Magazine.”
(Jonathan Swift)

The Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park, Dublin (pictured) – built in 1735, raided by republicans twice ; in 1916, when thirty members of the Irish Volunteers and Na Fianna Éireann captured the building and took guns and withdrew from the area and again in 1939 – on the 23rd December, 81 years ago on this date – when, at about ten pm on that Saturday night, an IRA man walked up to the Free State sentry who was guarding the locked gate and told him that he had a parcel for his commanding officer. The sentry unlocked the gate only to be faced with a revolver pointed at his head : he was held there as other IRA men entered the Fort and then the hapless State soldier was forced to lead the IRA men to the guardroom where they ordered the Free Staters to surrender, which they promptly did.

13 lorries were then driven into the complex and crates containing Thompson machine guns and ammunition (estimated at 1,084,000 rounds!) were removed from the premises and neither side suffered any casualties. However, State soldiers who were based in the nearby Islandbridge Barracks were perplexed as to the reason why such a heavy volume of truck traffic was entering and leaving the Phoenix Park and they went to investigate : two of the IRA raiders were captured but their comrades made good their escape, complete with that which they came for. However, within a week most of the liberated munitions (including about 850,000 bullets) had been recovered by the Staters : two-and-a-half-tons were seized in Dundalk, County Louth, eight tons recovered in Swords, County Dublin, sixty-six cases of Thompson machine guns and ammunition were seized from an arms dump in South Armagh and 100 crates containing 120,000 bullets recovered in Straffan, County Kildare.

Also, on March 1st, 1940, Jack McNeela and Jack Plunkett – two of the many republicans who were ‘lifted’ by the Staters following the ‘Fort Raid’- were sentenced to two years and eighteen months respectively on a charge of “conspiring to usurp the function of government” by, of all things, operating a ‘pirate’ radio transmitter. On March 5th, 1940, Tony D’Arcy and Michael Traynor, both arrested during a raid on the Meath Hotel, Parnell Square, Dublin, the previous month, where an IRA meeting was being held to plan an attack in the Six Counties, were sentenced to three months imprisonment for refusing to answer questions. After being sentenced, the four prisoners were transferred to Arbour Hill Prison, Dublin and, on March 27th 1940, they were moved to St Brican’s Military Hospital next to the prison. On April 1st that year they were joined there by Tomas MacCurtain and Thomas Grogan, both of whom were still awaiting trial. MacCurtain was charged with shooting dead a Special Branch detective in Cork and Thomas Grogan with taking part in the Magazine Fort raid.

On April 16th, 1940, Tony D’Arcy, a native of Headford, County Galway, died after 52 days on hunger strike ; Jack McNeela, a native of Ballycroy, Westport, County Mayo, died three days later, after 55 days on hunger strike. The fast ended that night when the prisoners were informed that their demands had been met. The hunger strike began on February 25th, 1940, in Mountjoy Jail, Dublin, and resulted in the deaths of two IRA Volunteers.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

He had only one message ; it was that any young Irishman worth his salt should know how to use arms in defence of his freedom. This was stated by Mr Tomas MacCurtain, of Cork, when he unveiled a memorial in Cavan to eight soldiers of the IRA who gave their lives during the War of Independence.

The limestone memorial – the work of Mr Leo Broe, Harold’s Cross Road, Dublin – represents a Volunteer, and the names inscribed on the granite base are : Captain Thomas Sheridan, Drumcrow ; Staff Captain Joseph McMahon, Kilmaley, County Clare ; Volunteer Seán McEntyre, Laggan ; Staff Captain Michael E. Baxter, Kildoagh ; Volunteer Seán MacCartney, Belfast ; Staff Captain Edward B. Boylan, Corratober ; Captain Andy O’ Sullivan, Denbawn, Cavan and Commandant Thomas Fitzpatrick, Cavan Brigade.

A wreath was placed on the monument on behalf of the Memorial Committee by Miss Mary Brady, Chairman, Cavan UDC, and another wreath was laid, inscribed from the ‘Thomas McMahon Sinn Féin Club, Kilmaley, County Clare.’ Before the ceremony, 200 Cavan IRA veterans, members of Cumann na mBan and a body of young men paraded through the town to the music of the three local bands. The ceremony ended with the playing of the National Anthem.

(This report was published in ‘The Irish Press’ newspaper on the 25th October 1954, and reprinted in ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper in November 1954.)

(END of ‘Cavan Ceremony’ ; NEXT – ‘Fellow-Workers Generous Gesture’, from the same source.)


Liam Mellows (pictured) wrote, in his last letter to his mother – “The time is short and much I would like to say must go unsaid. But you will understand in such moments heart speaks to heart. At 3.30 this morning we [Dick Barrett, Rory O’Connor, Joe McKelvey and I] were informed that we were to be “executed as a reprisal”…I go to join Tone and Emmett, the Fenians, Tom Clarke, Connolly, Pearse, Kevin Barry and Childers. My last thoughts will be on God, and Ireland, and you. I had hopes that some day I might rest in some quiet place – beside Grandfather and Grandmother in Castletown (Co. Wexford), not amidst the wordly pomps [sic] of Glasnevin but if it is to be the prison clay, it is all the sweeter for many of our best lie here…” . That was on December 8th, 1922 – he was then executed by a Free State Army firing squad. However, forty-six years after that execution (ie in 1968) more information regarding that deed was made public ; in a letter to the media forty-six years after the execution of Liam Mellows (ie on April 24th, 1968) a Free State Army Captain, Ignatius O’Rourke, who was present at the execution of Liam Mellows and the other three men – Dick Barrett, Rory O’Connor and Joe McKelvey – wrote that, a few minutes before Mellows was shot dead he [Mellows] sent for the prison chaplain, a Father McMahon. Captain O’Rourke wrote that “… a few minutes later…I saw Father McMahon leaving the room [cell]..accompanied by Liam Mellows, with his right arm around Liam’s shoulders, and they walked along together leading the group as we all walked to the sandbags. Liam and Father McMahon appeared to be in deep, friendly conversation, with no sign of discord, disagreement or argument, just like two men discussing some point in a friendly fashion. They continued to talk until Father McMahon left Liam in the number one position at the sandbags …”

Fifteen days after his execution (ie on the 23rd December 1922 – 98 years ago on this date) an article he had written, entitled ‘Labour and the Irish Republic’ was published in the trade union ‘Voice of Labour’ newspaper : “Industries will receive encouragement ; employment will increase ; the natural resources of the country tapped ; emigration stopped ; education put on a proper basis, and direct contact with the outside world established. Yet all this, resulting as it would in the country being richer and more prosperous, would not mean that the freedom of Ireland has been attained if the economic system remained unchanged. A political revolution in Ireland, without a co-incident economic revolution, simply means a change of masters – instead of British capitalists waxing rich on the political and economic enslavement of Ireland, as at present, we would have Irish capitalists waxing rich on the political freedom, but continued enslavement, of Ireland. We do not want a change of masters* : it would be foolish, surely, to free Ireland from foreign tyranny today, and less than twenty years hence to have to free it from domestic tyranny. Therefore, the Irish Republic must have for its foundation the people. It is they who are freeing Ireland, and it is for the people – all the people – that it is being done, not for any section or group.

The Dail Éireann had this clearly in mind when, at its first session, in January 1919,it issued its ‘Programme of Democratic Policy’ that the soil of Ireland and all that grew upon it and lay under it, as well as all the wealth and wealth-producing processes in the country, should belong to the people. In the last analysis, the fight between the Irish people and the British government is not alone one between two nations : it is more than that – it is a struggle between two systems of civilisation, between the feudal system of England under its present guise of industrialism and the democratic system upon which the old civilisation of Ireland was built. A vestige of that civilisation remains in Ireland today – it is growing, expanding, and the end of foreign rule in Ireland will usher in not alone a new political era in Ireland, but a new economic one as well.”

Unfortunately, as Mellows opined, above, the citizens in this part of Ireland – the so-called ‘Free State’ – have had ‘a change of masters/domestic tyranny’ imposed on them, not only by an outside force (Westminster, which established the Leinster House ‘parliament’) but by a force that they themselves are responsible for – the ballot box. “The foundation, the people”, as referenced above by Liam Mellows, are for the most part made of clay and it is a relief that Mellows and his comrades did not live to witness the hypocritical shambles that the political institution on Kildare Street in Dublin, and those voters that time and again ‘legitimise’ that Free State cess pit, converted his efforts into. Small mercy that the man went to his grave believing that his contribution to the struggle for freedom would help to achieve a proper Irish democracy rather than the ‘whats-in-it-for-me’ political culture that has hijacked his efforts.


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) will be held – in two days time – on Christmas Day, at 12 Noon, at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal, in Dublin (opposite the Kelly’s/Blackhorse Inn building in Inchicore, Dublin 8), but a ‘Plan B’ has been put in place by the organisers to take account of the circumstances brought about by the Covid 19 issue.

The Swim will not be going ahead in full ‘party’-type mode ie music, dancing, ‘soup’ for the adults (!), crowds etc ; it will take place in a restrained manner to take account of Covid-enforced social distancing (‘Level 3’, at the time of writing) and other common-sense guidelines ie just the ‘bare bones’ – a reduced number of swimmers, one family member with each swimmer, a much-reduced Cabhair Crew on the ground and the public being asked to observe from a safe distance (ie the bridge, or further up the canal), with no foodstuffs, no ‘lemonade or soup’ (!) , no music etc on site, which should help to prevent a crowd from gathering at the actual Swim spot.

Definitely not the ideal, or usual, manner, for this event, but Covid circumstances have dictated that this is how it must be for 2020. This blog will be represented by one person (usually all three of us are there) and we’ll miss the party atmosphere for sure, but we’ll wring whatever craic we can out of it, and gladly contribute whatever we can to it. It’s for a good Cause – hope to see as many of ye as possible there, on the day. Safely and socially distanced, of course!

We won’t be here next Wednesday, 30th December 2020 ; taking a little break over the Christmas, getting our house in order for 2021 and will probably still be cleaning up after the holiday madness! But we’ll be back on Wednesday, 6th January 2021 or, if yer that desperate for our company (!), you can catch us on New Years Day at the Dáithí Ó Conaill wreath-laying ceremony in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, at 1pm.


Ar eagle an dearmaid ….

Ba bhrea an rud e siochain bhuan bunaithe ar an gceart a bheith againn in Eireann. Is i an bronntanas is fearr a d’fheadfaimis a thabhairt duinn fein agus dar gclann.

Coinniodh an ceart agus an tsiochain uainn le breis agus ocht gcead bliain, de bharr ionradh, forghabhail agus miriaradh na Sasanach. Socru ar bith a dheantar in ainm mhuintir na hEireann agus a ghlacann le riail Shasana agus a dhaingnionn an chriochdheighilt, ni thig leis an ceart na an tsiochain bhuann a bhunu.

Ni dheanfaidh se ach la na siochana buaine a chur ar an mhear fhada agus an bhunfhadb a thabhairt do ghluin eile. Tharla se seo cheana nuair a siniodh Conradh 1921 agus cuireadh siar ar mhuintir na hEireann e in ainm na siochana. Is mor ag Sinn Fein Poblachtach Eire a bheith saor agus daonlathach, an cuspoir ceanna a bhi i gceist ag Wolfe Tone agus ag na Poblachtaigh uile anuas go dti 1916 agus an la ata inniu ann.

Rinne a lan fear agus ban croga iobairti mora , thug a mbeatha fiu , ar son na cuise uaisle seo.



Least we forget…

A just and permanent peace in Ireland is most desirable. It is the greatest gift we could give to ourselves and our children. We have been denied justice and peace for more than eight centuries, because of English invasion, occuption and misrule of our country.

Any arrangement which, in the name of the Irish people, accepts English rule and copperfastens Britain’s border in this country will not bring justice and lasting peace. It will only postpone the day of permanent peace, handing over the basic problem to another generation.

This happened before when the Treaty of 1921 was signed and was forced on the Irish people in the name of peace. Republican Sinn Féin cherishes the objective of a free, democratic Ireland, as envisaged by Wolfe Tone and all republicans down to 1916 and our own day. Many brave men and women sacrificed a lot, even their lives, for this noble Cause.


Beannachtai na Nollag agus slan go foill anois!

Thanks for reading, Sharon and the 1169 team ; hope to see ye all back here on Wednesday, 6th January, 2021 but, in the meantime, you might read a few paragraphs from us here, if you’re that way inclined!

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



The ‘Sunningdale Agreement’ was an attempt in 1973 by Westminster at a ‘power-sharing’ arrangement between the British political establishment and Irish ‘civil-right’ nationalists regarding the British-occupied six north-eastern counties of Ireland. The document was signed by British PM Edward Heath and Free State ‘Taoiseach’ Liam Cosgrave on the 9th December 1973 (47 years ago on this date) at Sunningdale Park Hotel in Berkshire, England, and spawned a ‘power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive’ and a cross-border ‘Council of Ireland’, both of which were rejected by the then republican movement (but which were accepted by the UUP, the SDLP, Free State Labour Party and the Alliance Party) and, indeed, the whole set-up collapsed within a year and ‘direct rule’ from Westminster was imposed.

When, 25 years after Sunningdale (ie in 1998) a similar half-way-house treaty was being promoted by the political establishments in this country and England and by the Provisional organisation, the republican leadership here again spoke out about yet another bad treaty – “…the great unanswered question before history is why did Paisley on the one hand and the present Provo leadership on the other not accept and work the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973 which offered more and for which less was to be paid than the 1998 Belfast Agreement? Did we, as a people, have to endure 25 years more of sacrifice and suffering until both elements were poised to divide the major share of the spoils of office between them…when the Framework Documents were issued in 1995 (what) Irish people were facing was a repeat of Sunningdale with the Provos on board this time. Indeed, the British Prime Minister Edward Heath is reported as saying that “..the Good Friday Agreement was modelled on Sunningdale. But the present prime minister has never acknowledged that. He may even be ignorant of it for all I know. But obviously we know the people who were working out the new agreement went back over the whole of Sunningdale and more or less copied it.”

But the Stormont Deal was actually less than Sunningdale. The l973 Agreement provided for an evolving Council of Ireland while the 1998 accord contains the possibility of merely cross-border bodies which would be responsible to the New Stormont and cannot grow and develop without the permission of that Unionist-dominated assembly. Further, the 26-County State has paid more for the Stormont Agreement than it did for Sunningdale. Articles 2 and 3 of the 1937 Constitution were not given away in 1973; in 1998 they were and the nationalist people of the Six Occupied Counties were reduced – in the eyes of the 26-County State – to the level in rights of people with one Irish grandparent living as far away as Australia or New Zealand…”

The republican position, then as now, can be summed-up in the words of Seán MacDiarmada “We bleed that the nation may live. I die that the nation may live. Damn your concessions, England; we want our country.”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

A Sinn Féin Northern election victory rally was held in Dublin on Saturday, 5th June last, at which Seoirse Dearle, who presided, said that the cynics and the “hurlers on the ditch” who had criticised Sinn Féin’s intention to contest the 12 Northern seats in the British imperial elections were confounded when, on nomination day, all the 12 nominatioons were filled.

Cries of vote splitting were also levelled at the Movement from all sides, completely ignoring the fact that Sinn Féin in contesting all seats were providing all the republicans of the Six Counties with an opportunity to express as a whole their desire to be free. Many of them had not had that constitutional means of expression for over 30 years.

Liam Fogarty, a fellow-student of Philip Clarke TD, called on the youth of Ireland to take inspiration from the courageous unselfish deeds of men like Eamon Boyce and Tom Mitchell. Michael Traynor, Ard Runaidhe Sinn Féin, and one of the candidates in the elections, stressed the weakness in our national economy through our connection with Sterling… (MORE LATER.)


The following article was published in ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper in January 1958 – ‘An article in ‘The London Times’ newspaper of December 9th, 1957 (63 years ago on this date), entitled ‘Actors In The Political Scene’, stated : ‘The country families of the North of Ireland, after surrendering control to the captains of industry for a long period, are well established in the present government.’ There, perhaps, is the key to the whole situation : the ‘lords of land’ and the ‘barons of industry’ who together make up the Tory-Unionist Ascendancy, the ‘master-minds’ with Britain’s Tories, of the anti-freedom struggle in Ireland. These are the ‘gentry’ who imposed their views on the Orange rank-and-file under the guise of religion – the ones who stand to lose most by separation from Britain. It is those gentlemen who act as Britain’s puppets in Ireland : even those who consider themselves as ‘left-wingers’ can be enticed to forget where they came from.

In a fit of pitiful pleading, David Bleakley stated : “It is an anachronism that an economically insecure Northern Ireland should exist in the midst of an industrially thriving British community. Ulster’s labour force is ready, anxious and able to work its way through to prosperity. All it asks is to be given the tools and the jobs.” He should have said that the whole concept of Occupied Ireland is an anachronism – that the only way we can all ‘work our way through to prosperity’ is by first winning vocational independence and driving British imperialism from our land. That would be wisdom but one does not expect wisdom for Ireland in the columns of ‘The London Times’ newspaper…’

The word ‘anachronism’ (‘something [such as a word, an object, or an event] that is mistakenly placed in a time where it does not belong in a story, movie, etc/ a person or a thing that seems to belong to the past and not to fit in the present..’) is apt when describing the continuing military and political occupation of part of Ireland by Westminster, but unfortunately it’s not only in the columns of English newspapers that such wisdom is absent. We have, and always have had, our ‘Times’ readers here, too.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

Brendan Howlin told ‘Magill’ – “Before they arrived I spoke to Jim Higgins. They had also been in contact with him. They appeared anxious to establish the source of our information. This wasn’t to be taken lightly. They came to me as if I was under some sort of suspicion myself. They said we need to get information, we need to get the name of the source.” The Carthy Inquiry, set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the case, found itself conducting a widespread inquiry into allegations of garda corruption and incompetence in the Donegal Division.

At the time of Richie Barron’s death, three on-duty gardai, together with one off-duty member, attended the scene, but failed to preserve the ‘scene of crime’. Evidence, including bloodstains, was washed away by locals in the belief that it had been a car accident ; gardai continued to investigate the accident and, by early December, officers were drafted in from outlying districts to carry out multiple arrests of the extended McBrearty family. Four detectives arrived from Dublin and attended a pre-arrest conference in Letterkenny Garda Station ; some gardai expressed doubts about the legality of the powers of arrest in relation to some of the suspects, in particular that of Roisin McConnell, wife of Mark McConnell, who was also arrested as a suspect.

A young garda, Tina Fowley, was one of those casting doubts on the legality of the arrests – she was later to make a statement claiming a superior officer, who was at the pre-arrest conference, showed her a ‘half-sheet’, which is used to take statements from suspects, and she stated that “..there was writing on this sheet of paper, covering approximately a third of the page.There also was the name ‘Frank McBrearty’ written in long hand at the end of this writing. Also on the table in front of (named officer) was a black-and-white photocopy of a manuscript signature of the name ‘Frank McBrearty’…(named officer) showed me the half-sheet and asked me ‘was that a good likeness?’ I took this to mean were both signatures alike. I thought it was a practical joke. I started laughing and so did he..” (MORE LATER.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

‘Oh how I wish that Ireland had a voice

To speak the praise of her whose heart is stilled

To beat no more in triumph to rejoice

Or grieve for those by foe or traitor killed.

What lips could frame an elegy for you

Whose heart encompassed all whose blood was shed

To cool the fevered brow of Roisin Dhú

That now you rest with our immortal dead.

Be this the epitaph they’ll carve for you ;

Her life was spent to lift the Saxons’ curse

She strove for Ireland, and ’till death was true –

Her sword still smites in all her searing verse.
By M. Ó Cinnéide.

(END of ‘Alice French RIP’ ; NEXT – ‘Cavan Ceremony’, from the same source.)


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) will, as usual, be held – later on this month – on Christmas Day at 12 Noon at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal, in Dublin (opposite the Kelly’s/Blackhorse Inn building in Inchicore, Dublin 8), but a ‘Plan B’ has been put in place by the organisers to take account of the circumstances brought about by the Covid 19 issue.

There are, as stated already on this blog, two possible scenarios regarding this event : it either goes ahead in full ‘party’-type mode ie music, dancing, ‘soup’ for the adults (!), crowds etc etc, presuming that, by the 25th December 2020, Covid will have been dealth with, or the Swim will take place in a restrained manner to take account of Covid-enforced social distancing (‘Level 3’, at the time of writing) and other common-sense guidelines ie just the ‘bare bones’ – a reduced number of swimmers, one family member with each swimmer, a much-reduced Cabhair Crew on the ground and the public being asked to observe from a safe distance (ie the bridge, or further up the canal), with no foodstuffs, no ‘lemonade or soup’ (!) , no music etc on site, which should help to prevent a crowd from gathering at the actual Swim spot.

At the time of writing, it’s looking like it’s ‘Plan B’ that will be put into operation on Christmas Day at the Swim site, but we’ll hold our whist for now and hope for the usual, party-type affair on the day. What is certain, however, is that, for the 44th successive year, the Swim will be going ahead, in one format or the other!


…we won’t be posting our usual contribution, and probably won’t be in a position to post anything at all ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 12th/13th December 2020) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Cabhair organisation (work on which began yesterday, Tuesday 8th) and the ‘autopsy’ into same which will take place on Monday evening 14th via ‘Zoom’.

Then it’s straight back to the preparations for the Cabhair Christmas Swim, which is the 44th successive such event. Our next ‘normal’ (!) post will be on Wednesday 23rd December 2020, although if anything grabs our attention between this and then we might do a ‘ghoster’ – but it would wannabe good!

At the time of writing, this State is still governed by the Leinster House-enforced ‘Level 3’ restrictions in relation to Covid which, compared with ‘Level 5’, offers some small comfort in regards to visiting loved ones in nursing home and some relaxing of travelling and shopping etc. But the ports in this State remain open for business, and this despite the fact that, for instance, in America, internal travel has been severly curtailed but business people and tourists from that curtailed country (and other countries) can freely enter this State and travel around!

That is as good an example as any of what is described here as ‘an Irish solution to an Irish problem’ ie put that ‘law’ on paper, refer any questions or queries about it to that written text and assure himself/herself that’s asking about it that ‘all is in hand (sure it’ll be grand on the day…)’! And that, for the most part, is acceptable to most of the citizens here, as its being like that since this corrupt entity of a Free State was spawned in 1922 and most people will shrug their shoulders and declare ‘ah sure, it’s about the best we can do..’.

Its attitudes like that that Irish republicans want to change – we shouldn’t just accept ‘second best’ and/or ‘half-baked’ so-called ‘solutions’ : we, as a Nation, are worth more than that. We deserve more than that, and we have earned more than that. And we will have more than that. We will have that which we are entitled to!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Posted in History/Politics. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast (pictured) – known for its good quality bed sheets…

In November 1971, there were more than 700 IRA prisoners being held in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast, with at least the same number again ‘housed’ in Long Kesh and other prisons. All had access to an exercise yard and, in Crumlin Road Jail, the escape committee decided to use that yard as part of their plan to free three of their number – Martin Meehan, Anthony ‘Dutch’ Doherty and Hugh McCann. The plan was for the three men to hide themselves under a sewer manhole in about two feet of ‘water’, which they did – on the 2nd December 1971, 49 years ago on this date – for about five hours.

As luck would have it, when they eventually let themselves out, a thick fog had settled in the area, giving good cover. They ran for the prison wall and, using bed sheets which they had roughly fashioned into a rope ladder, with a home-made ‘hook’ tied to the top of the ‘ladder’, they managed to scale the wall. Within hours, Martin Meehan and Hugh McCann were in a safe house in the Free State and their comrade, Anthony Doherty – who stayed in Belfast following the escape – joined them two weeks later.

Incidentally, on the 17th November 1971 – about two weeks before the above-mentioned ‘rope ladder’ escape – nine other IRA prisoners had also escaped from that same prison with the use of rope-ladders! The nine were Thomas Kane, Seamus Storey, Bernard Elliman, Danny Mullan, Thomas Fox, Tom Maguire, Peter Rogers, Christy Keenan and Terrence ‘Cleaky’ Clarke and all of them escaped in two cars which were waiting for them on the near-by Antrim Road. To add further to the distress caused to the then British ‘Home Affairs Minister’, Brian Faulkner, and his side-kick, ‘Sir’ Edmund Compton (“…torture would never happen in a British jail..”) by those jail breaks, they were referenced in a popular song of the time –


In Crumlin Road Jail all the prisoners one day

took out a football and started to play,

and while all the warders were watching the ball

nine of the prisoners jumped over the wall!

Over the wall, over the wall,

who would believe they jumped over the wall?

over the wall, over the wall,

It’s hard to believe they jumped over the wall!

Now the warders looked on with the greatest surprise

and the sight that they saw brought tears to their eyes,

for one of the teams was not there at all

they all got transferred and jumped over the wall!

Now the governor came down with his face in a twist

and said “Line up those lads while I check out me list,”

but nine of the lads didn’t answer at all

and the warder said “Please Sir, they’re over the wall.”

The ‘security forces’ were shook to the core

so they barred every window and bolted each door,

but all their precautions were no use at all

for another three prisoners jumped over the wall!

Then the news reached old Stormont, Brian Faulkner turned pale

when he heard that more men had escaped from his jail,

said he – “Now we’ll have an enquiry to call, and we’ll get Edmund Compton to whitewash the wall.”

Ah, whitewash : the second-favourite liquid used in Westminster, after Earl Grey, of course…!


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

A camp under the auspices of the Dublin Brigade was held over the Whit weekend in the Glencree Valley, County Wicklow – it was graced with very fine weather and was attended by 30 scouts. Officers from GHQ supervised a vigorous programme of scout training, embracing semaphore, knots, campcraft etc. An enjoyable campfire was held on Sunday with the surrounding hills echoing to the sound of marches and ballads after which tired and happy scouts turned in to sleep like the logs in the nearby woods!

Note – new Headquarters address : all correspondence should be addressed to Fianna Eireann, Sean Tracey House, 94 Sean Tracey Street, Dublin.

(END of ‘Fianna Éireann Ard Fheis’. NEXT – ‘Sinn Féin Victory Rally’, from the same source.)


Ireland, 1920 : a flavour of the chaos inflicted here by the British political and military presence : in January that year, the 1st Cork Brigade of the IRA captured Carrigtwohill ‘Royal Irish Constabulary’ (RIC) barracks, in February the ‘Home Rule Bill’ was published, in which Westminster voiced its intention to establish a 128-member ‘parliament’ in Dublin and a 52-member ‘parliament’ in Belfast despite knowing, from previous partition experiments, that two ‘parliaments’ in one country was a receipe for political disaster, Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtain, was murdered in his house by British forces in March, in April a hunger-strike began in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin by IRA prisoners who were demanding POW status, in May that year forty IRA prisoners who were on hunger-strike in Wormwood Scrubs in London, England, were released and in June an armed British militia in Ireland, the RIC, got the go-ahead from Westminster to‘officially’ shoot republicans dead.

In July 1920, those deemed not fit for the regular British forces in Ireland were given a new home in the ‘ADRIC’ (‘Auxiliary Division Royal Irish Constabulary’) and in August Terence MacSwiney went on hunger-strike in Brixton Prison in England. In September the ‘Black and Tans’ destroyed more than fifty properties in Balbriggan town in Dublin, a British militia, the ‘USC’, was established in October, in November fourteen British spies were executed in Dublin by the IRA and in December 1920 Westminster declared ‘Martial Law’ in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.

Questions re ‘the Irish situation’ surfaced occasionally in the grand halls of Westminster and, on the 2nd December 1920 – 100 years ago on this date – the following exchange took place in that venue but was dismissed by the chairperson as ‘the wrong question having been asked’ :

Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland how many prisoners in Ireland have been shot dead while trying to escape, according to police reports, up to the end of November of this year and during the present year; how many have been wounded; and how many of these were handcuffed at the time of their death or wounding?

Mr. GALBRAITH asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what is the total number of persons who have been shot at in Ireland when attempting to escape from custody; and how many of such persons have been wounded and killed, respectively?

Mr. HENRY : According to the police reports the number of prisoners fired at while attempting to escape from custody within the period from 1st January to 30th November, 1920, is 11. Of these nine were killed and two wounded. One of the prisoners killed and one of those wounded are stated to have been handcuffed while attempting to escape.

Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY : Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that when the bodies have been given to the relatives that in many cases those men have been found to be riddled with bullets through the head: how does he think that men can try to escape from police lorries; and can he inform me if all these cases have been investigated by a court of inquiry?

Mr. HENRY : I must have notice of that question.

Mr. MacVEAGH : Can the Attorney-General say whether the figure he has quoted includes those shot dead on the allegation that they were attempting to resist arrest?

Mr. HENRY : The question put to me was as to the number of men shot whilst attempting to escape from custody.

Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY : Surely the right hon. and learned Gentleman can say whether there has been an inquiry into these cases, in view of the very serious allegations made and reported in the newspapers throughout the country?

Major O’NEILL : Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that when General Lucas was captured, the officer who was captured with him attempted to escape, and was shot by the Sinn Feiners?

Mr. MacVEAGH : Also does the right hon. and learned Gentleman know that when General Lucas was released he stated that he had been treated with the greatest consideration by his captors?

Mr. SPEAKER : We are getting a long way from the question on the Paper…

(HANSARD 1803–2005 ? 1920s ? 1920 ? December 1920 ? 2 December 1920 ? Commons Sitting ? IRELAND. ESCAPING PRISONERS [SHOOTING]. HC Deb 02 December 1920 vol 135 cc1410-1 1410.) (From here.)

That was 100 years ago and shows that those political defenders of British imperialism were as quick then as they are now to use obfuscation in an attempt to ‘neutralise’ an embarrassing situation. But Irish republicans had been fighting the British writ in Ireland centuries before the Westminster parliament was established and – no obfuscation here – will continue to do so, in one form and/or another, until they remove themselves, politically and militarily, from our country!


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

At the time of the transfers, Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne said that they were “..in both the public interest and the interests of the Garda Siochana and should not be seen as an indication of any wrongdoing by those directed on transfer.” Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter said the Commissioner’s statement and actions in transferring the officers did not adequately address public concern over events in Donegal.

In the course of proceedings at Letterkenny District Court, no less than five gardai had, on oath, denied the existence of such a document. Following the circulation of these orders, the summonses became “a cascade”, according to Martin Giblin SC, and it became apparent that certain members of the force were intent on accusing the McBreartys of involvement in the death of Richie Barron, despite the lack of evidence.

Frank McBrearty cites unlawful arrest, slander and false imprisonment in a detailed affidavit setting out the extent of the harassment campaign against his family. He says his life and that of his family has been a “living hell”, and that they “will never get over it – it’s destroyed our lives for the past five years”.

To date, despite several garda inquiries, including the long running Carty Inquiry, the report of which has been with both the Commissioner and Justice Minister John O’Donoghue for some considerable time, the outcome of these inquiries has not been made public. During the Carty investigation, senior politicians such as Labour TD Brendan Howlin and Fine Gael’s Jim Higgins, who raised the issue of garda corruption allegations in the Dail (sic), spoke of their concern at the manner in which the inquiry was being conducted. Brendan Howlin told ‘Magill’ that, following his contact with the Minister for Justice on foot of new information he had received about the internal garda investigation, detectives from the ‘National (sic) Bureau of Criminal Investigation’ called to his home in Wexford, and questioned him. Howlin was concerned about the course of the inquiry… (MORE LATER.)


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

An ‘American businessman’, a ‘Mr. Leonard’, approached the manager of the ‘Irish Helicopters’ company at Dublin Airport and discussed hiring a helicopter for an aerial photographic shoot in County Laois and, after being shown the company’s fleet of helicopters, this ‘businessman’ booked a five-seater Alouette II helicopter for October 31st.

‘Mr Leonard’ arrived at Irish Helicopters on the day and was introduced to the pilot of the helicopter, a Captain Thompson Boyes, who was instructed to fly to a field in Stradbally, County Laois, to pick up photographic equipment.

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

On Wednesday, 31st October 1973, at 3.40pm in the afternoon, the Alouette II helicopter landed in the ‘D Wing Exercise Yard’ of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, when a football match was taking place between the prisoners, and Twomey, O’Hagan and Mallon jumped aboard, but were quickly spotted (!) by an alert (!) prison screw who used his training and power of intuition to take immediate action – he called on the screws at the gate to close them over as he feared the helicopter was trying to escape (according to the RTE ‘Scannal – Prison Break’ programme!).

Another IRA prisoner who was in the yard at the time recalled how an embarrassed screw told him that he had apologised to the prison governor in relation to the incident, saying that he thought the helicopter contained a visiting (Free State) Minister for Defence (and well-known publican) Paddy Donegan : the IRA prisoner replied that , in fact, “..it was our Minister of Defence leaving…!”

All three men reported back to the IRA and continued their work for the Movement but, after a few weeks of freedom, Kevin Mallon was recaptured at a GAA Dance in the Montague Hotel in Co. Laois on 10th December 1973, J.B.O’Hagan was recaptured in Dublin in early 1975 and Seamus Twomey managed to remain uncaptured until December 2nd, 1977 – 43 years ago on this date – after the Special Branch came across him in a ‘suspicious car’ parked in Sandycove, in Dublin. He had managed to evade the forces of ‘law and order’, North and South, for fifty months, despite been hunted by the best that Leinster House and Westminster could throw at him!


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

Mr Sean Ryan, Tralee, in his oration, said “We are assembled here today to unveil this little limestone memorial to a republican soldier who gave his life so that Ireland might be free. Ireland still remains in the hands of that tyrant England, and while this is the position the young men of Ireland must be prepared to carry on the fight for freedom and die if necessary in its defence, like the man they were honouring today.

There will always be men found in Ireland to challenge the might of England. In the last decade we had Charlie Kearns, Sean McCaughy, Maurice O’Neill and several others and we had, the other day, a unit of the IRA carrying out such a daring raid in the strongest military barracks in occupied Ireland and stripping it completely of all its equipment.”

The meeting then closed, and Jeremiah Donoghue thanked all those who attended. Mr E. Looney, Sculptor, Killorglin, appealed for financial support for the East Kerry Memorial Committee.

(END of ‘Kerry Honours Her Patriot Dead’ ; NEXT – ‘Alice French RIP’, from the same source.)


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) will, as usual, be held – later on this month – on Christmas Day at 12 Noon at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal, in Dublin (opposite the Kelly’s/Blackhorse Inn building in Inchicore, Dublin 8), but a ‘Plan B’ has been put in place by the organisers to take account of the circumstances brought about by the Covid 19 issue.

There are, as stated already on this blog, two possible scenarios regarding this event : it either goes ahead in full ‘party’-type mode ie music, dancing, ‘soup’ for the adults (!), crowds etc etc, presuming that, by the 25th December 2020, Covid will have been dealth with, or the Swim will take place in a restrained manner to take account of Covid-enforced social distancing (‘Level 3’, at the time of writing) and other common-sense guidelines ie just the ‘bare bones’ – a reduced number of swimmers, one family member with each swimmer, a much-reduced Cabhair Crew on the ground and the public being asked to observe from a safe distance (ie the bridge, or further up the canal), with no foodstuffs, no ‘lemonade or soup’ (!) , no music etc on site, which should help to prevent a crowd from gathering at the actual Swim spot.

What is certain, however, is that, for the 44th successive year, the Swim will be going ahead, in one format or the other!

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team.

On Monday last, 30th November 2020, at 12 Midnight, the regime in Leinster House introduced a change for the State in relation to Covid restrictions ; we went from ‘Level 5’ to ‘Level 3’. It is an IBEC/business-requested/instructed change, purely for economic reasons rather than health reasons and will no doubt lead to more draconian measures in late January/early February 2021. Indeed, the quango established by the Leinster House institute to advise on those issues has itself voiced concern over going from ‘5’ to ‘3’ but, due to the fact that our society is geared towards capitalism, the concern expressed was ignored
(not for the first time, either).

Capitalism, the attitude it spawns and those who gladly and greedily operate within and agree with its structures will cause more harm and destruction to every society than any other virus could. We need a new political system, before it’s too late.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



On the 11th of November in 1913 in Dublin, in the then 68-year-old Wynn’s Hotel on Lower Abbey Street, a group of Irishmen and women held a meeting to discuss the formation of an ‘Irish National Volunteer Force’. Those present at that meeting and/or at five other such meetings which were held immediately afterwards in the space of a two-week period, included Sean Fitzgibbon, John Gore, Michael J Judge, James Lenehan, Michael Lonergan, Peadar Macken, Seamus O’Connor, Colm O’Loughlin, Peter O’Reilly, Robert Page, George Walsh, Peadar White and Padraig O’Riain, amongst others (all of whom were well known in Irish nationalist circles ie Sinn Féin, Cumann na mBan, Na Fianna Éireann, the Gaelic League, the IRB, the Irish Citizen Army, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Irish Parliamentary Party and the United Irish League).

Then, on the 25th November 1913 – 107 years ago on this date – the inaugural enrolment meeting for the ‘Irish Volunteers’ was held at the Rotunda Rink in Dublin, to “secure the rights and liberties common to all the people of Ireland”. That meeting was overseen by a Provisional Committee consisting of thirty members, all of whom had been elected at the above-mentioned meetings. A week previous to the formation of the ‘Irish Volunteers’, Jim Larkin and James Connolly had formed the ‘Irish Citizen Army’, and both groups were in competition for members, the former on a 32-county basis whereas the latter was confined to the Leinster area, although attempts were made, through trade union structures, to recruit in Cork, Belfast, Derry, Sligo, Limerick, Kilkenny, Waterford, Dundalk, Galway and Wexford, but with no success. Also, those joining the ‘Volunteers’ were supplied with a uniform and other equipment while those joining the ‘ICA’ had to purchase same themselves.

Relations between the two organisations were not the best, as the ‘Volunteers’ allowed, for instance, employers to join and this at a time when employees and other trade unionists would most likely be ‘ICA’ members or supporters and, actually, when the ‘Volunteers’ were in conference for the first time (25th November 1913) ‘ICA’ members and supporters loudly made their presence felt and they also objected in print – their first leaflet stated that the ‘Volunteers’ were controlled by those who were opposed not only to trade unionism but also to workers rights re conditions etc.

Within a few months, however, the animosity had lessened to the extent that there was some official co-operation between both groups at the Wolfe Tone commemoration in June 1914 and again in October that year during the events held to commemorate Charles Stewart Parnell, and both groups joined forces at Easter 1916 and took part side-by-side in the 1916 Rising. ‘Competitors’, if you like, working around their differences to focus on the one true enemy – Westminster, and its military and political forces in Ireland.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

Opening speech by the Chief Scout, NFE –

“As the eyes of the nation once again swing upon the Republican Movement it is inevitable that many who are now returning to their old ideals will remember almost as inevitably before all other things their days in the Fianna. This is because the deeds of childhood and the happiness of youth spent in noble company will always outlive other memories.

We of Fianna must now take stock of our relative position in the Movement and ask ourselves where do we stand. Are we capable of taking our position again in Ireland as we did in the past? That position which was filled so nobly and so well in the past by all those who have passed through our ranks. Our ideal of loyality, service and honour must be ever before us. Remembering the deeds of the first Fianna who defended our land from the first invaders, let us strengthen ourselves, physically and spirtually, living daily our Code of Honour, putting our God and our Country before ourselves so that we will always be a source of inspiration to the youth of our country, so that we may play the noble part which Fianna has always played in defence of Ireland’s freedom and independence.”

The annual Ard Fheis of Fianna Éireann was held in Number 9 North Frederick Street, Dublin, on Sunday, 8th May, 1955. Delegates attended from the different units throughout the country and Seoirse Dearle, Ath Cliath, was elected as Chief Scout and, in the course of an address, he called on all units to assist the efforts of the incoming Headquarters Staff and Ard Coiste in their plans for reorganisation. The delegates were unanimous in approving of the Fianna uniform and of the raising of the standard of Scouting in general… (MORE LATER.)


On the 25th November 1921 – 99 years ago on this date – Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith arrived in Dublin, from London, where they had taken part in negotiations on a ‘Peace Treaty’ with the British and one of the clauses that caused dissension in the ranks of the Irish republicans was a British demand that ‘Ireland shall recognise the British Crown for the purposes of the Association as symbol and accepted head of the combination of Associated States’.

The military and political sections of the republican movement were split over what the British demanded and what they should be given and Collins, among others, sensed that an ‘in-house’ compromise was not going to be reached and, by February 1922, he was openly recruiting for a new ‘National Army’ from among those who, like himself, reluctantly (?) accepted the ‘Peace Treaty’ : he was assembling, in effect, an armed military junta in Ireland to enforce British demands re their ‘Treaty’. Collins and his people assured Westminster that they would secure the ‘Treaty’ and all it encompassed and, on the 6th December 1921, the ‘Treaty’, which partitioned Ireland, was signed.

The British began to withdraw their own proper soldiers (as opposed to their surrogates, the Free State Army) from the bases which they had been occupying and some of these bases were then taken over by Irish republicans and, in late June 1922, the new Free State Army borrowed heavy weaponry from their new allies in Westminster and proceeded to enforce the British writ in Ireland.

The rest, as they say, is history but, incredibly, the lessons learned remain unheeded by some (and more so by others) but have been taken on board by republicans who continue to campaign for a full British military and political withdrawal from Ireland, despite the best efforts of the above-linked advocates of accommodation.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

The “attached” was a letter marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ from the Garda Siochana Chief Superintendent’s Office, Letterkenny Division of Donegal, dated 27th February 1998, entitled – ‘Re Campaign to discredit Gardai in Donegal Division’. It said –

‘I refer to the attempts to discredit gardai from the Division and other members involved in the Barron investigation. There is information to hand to suggest that Frank McBrearty (Senior) from Raphoe is financing a campaign to discredit members of the force. The campaign is being operated mostly by Mr Billy Flynn, and sometimes trading as ‘Zimmerman & Co’ from Enfield, County Meath.

Members of your distract force, and gardai who assisted in the investigation into Richard Barron’s death, should be notified of this matter, and directed to report any incidents or unusual contact that may occur either with Mr McBrearty and his extended family or Mr Billy Flynn and his employees. This document is for garda use only and is confidential.” The letter was signed by Chief Superintendent DN Fitzpatrick.

The existence of these circulars came to the attention of the McBrearty’s legal team and, on six occasions when Frank McBrearty applied for them in pursuance of his case, gardai denied their existence. Martin Giblin SC told the High Court that Superintendent Lennon had also denied their existence. Lennon was subsequently shown to have been the author of one of the circulars and, in July 2001, he was transferred to administrative duties at Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Chief Superintendent Denis Fitzpatrick, who issued the controversial Divisional Circular in February 1998, was transferred to the ‘National (sic) Traffic Policy Bureau’ in Dublin and three other officers, including Detective Superintendent John McGinley and two officers of garda rank, were also transferred in an almost unprecedented move. It was the first time for over twenty years that gardai in such numbers and of such high rank had been transferred following internal inquiries… (MORE LATER.)


On the 25th November 1925 – 95 years ago on this date – the then Free State President, William Cosgrave, and his ‘Minister for Home Affairs’, Kevin O’Higgins, arrived in Downing Street in London for a meeting with British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and Stormont ‘Prime Minister’ ‘Sir’ James Craig. Within nine days (ie by the 3rd December 1925), the Free Staters had been ‘sold’ a(…nother!) ‘pup’ by the British.

On the 3rd December 1925, all those present at a meeting (ie all those mentioned above) agreed that the ‘border’, as fixed 5 years earlier in the ‘1920 Government of Ireland Act’ and as stated in the 1921 Treaty of Surrender, would so remain, and an agreement was signed to that effect by those present. But the British, no doubt smelling fear and relief at the same time from the Free Staters, wanted more ‘concessions’ : they pushed for, and got , a separate agreement that the ‘Council of Ireland’ (a ‘talking-shop’ which the 1921 Treaty promised to set-up) be scrapped (even though it had not, in fact, ever been established!) and, as a final insult to the Free State ‘negotiators’, the British demanded that they repay the compensation which Westminster had paid to them for damage which the British themselves had caused in Ireland during the Black and Tan War!

And, in for a (British) penny, in for a (British) pound – no doubt by now realising the ‘calibre’ of the men they were up against, the British also insisted, and again, got, a commitment from the Free Staters that they would continue to pay land annuities to the British Exchequer!

The above shambles, and many others, occurred during ‘negotiations’ between Westminster and the then newly-minted Free State administration during meetings which were held as part of the ‘Boundary Commission’ remit, a useless talking shop which the Staters shamelessly sold to their own followers as a ‘political vehicle’ which they could use to wring concessions from Westminster. For instance, On 2nd February 1922, a meeting was held between Michael Collins and the Stormont ‘Prime Minister’, ‘Sir’ James Craig. Voices were raised over the issue/structure/terms of reference of the Boundary Commission, and the meeting ended abruptly over the matter. However, ‘spin’ and ‘PR’ (media manipulation) was immediately employed by both sides – at a press conference following that failed meeting, ‘Sir’ James Craig (Stormont ‘PM’) claimed that the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, had assured him that the Boundary Commission “…would deal only with minor rectifications of the boundary ..” ; in effect, that the Boundary Commission was a useless ‘talking-shop’ which had only been set-up to help the Free Staters to ‘sell’ the ‘six County idea’ to other Free Staters.

However, Michael Collins claimed that he had left that same meeting with a promise, from the British, “…of almost half of Northern Ireland (sic) including the counties of Fermanagh and Tyrone, large parts of Antrim and Down, Derry City, Enniskillen and Newry.” Obviously, both men could not have been right ; it is straightforward to state that the ‘Boundary Commission’ idea was a ‘sweetener’, if you like, to be used by both sides to convince their respective ‘flock’ that the British were really on their side!

We wrote about that ‘Commission’ and all its failings, in consecutive posts, beginning here (click on the ‘Newer Post’ link for part 2, and same again for part 3 etc).


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

A limestone Memorial was unveiled on Sunday, 3rd October 1954, at Knockanes, Headfort, County Kerry, to the memory of Section Commander Michael O’ Sullivan IRA, Cloghane, who was shot by Free State forces during the Civil War. There was a very large crowd present at the unveiling and Mrs P. Riordan, NT, Killala – a sister to the late Section Commander M O’Sullivan – recited a decade of the Rosary in Irish.

Mr Jeremiah Donoghue, Lacca, Killarney, presided and said – “We are assembled here today to pay tribute to a soldier of the IRA ; Section Commander Mick O’ Sullivan, who gave his life in this spot in the fight for freedom. We should bear in mind that in erecting this Memorial and in paying tribute such as this we are not paying the debt we owe him. Only when the youth of Ireland will give their allegiance to the IRA as he did, and complete the task he left unfinished will the debt we owe him be repaid. It is only fitting that the task of unveiling and delivering the oration should be performed by men who through all these years haven’t faltered in their allegiance to the principles this soldier cherished so dearly.”

Mr Mick Lynch, The Spa, Tralee, said – “He felt very honoured to be asked to perform the unveiling ceremony to his comrade, Mick O’Sullivan, who gave his life in defence of the Republic. I and all his comrades who knew him knew of no greater and fearless a soldier, and I appeal to all his comrades and especially to the young men to remain faithful to the Cause for which he laid down his life. That Cause still remains unfinished and until Ireland is free, men like Mick O’Sullivan will give their lives ’till the last British soldier is driven out of Ireland…” (MORE LATER.)


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) will, as usual, be held on Christmas Day at 12 Noon at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal, in Dublin (opposite the Kelly’s/Blackhorse Inn building in Inchicore, Dublin 8), but a ‘Plan B’ has been put in place by the organisers to take account of the circumstances brought about by the Covid 19 issue.

There are, as stated in early October on this blog, two possible scenarios regarding this event : it either goes ahead in full ‘party’-type mode ie music, dancing, ‘soup’ for the adults (!), crowds etc etc, presuming that, by the 25th December 2020, Covid will have been dealth with, or the Swim will take place in a restrained manner to take account of Covid-enforced social distancing and other common-sense guidelines ie just the ‘bare bones’ – a reduced number of swimmers, one family member with each swimmer, a much-reduced Cabhair Crew on the ground and the public being asked to observe from a safe distance (ie the bridge, or further up the canal), with no foodstuffs, no ‘lemonade or soup’ (!) , no music etc on site, which should help to prevent a crowd from gathering at the actual Swim spot.

What is certain, however, is that, for the 44th successive year, the Swim will be going ahead, in one format or the other!

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team.

Not working from home? Not going into the job because it’s no longer there? Working part-time? Have you lost your job because of the Covid lockdowns? Are you, like many others, behind with the rent or mortgage? Are you trying to decide between paying the gas bill or putting food on the table? No doubt you’ll be delighted to know that those in Leinster House you voted for have no such concerns, thanks to your support for them. We hope you’ll remember that when next they come seeking your support at the next election. Ask them how come they themselves haven’t suffered financially if, indeed, ‘we are all in this together’? Then vote for them, or maybe a differently-branded one of them ; hopefully, you’ll eventually come to the conclusion that it’s the whole political system that’s broken in this State, regardless of the ‘brand’ of politician that seeks your vote to operate same.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



On the 18th November 1920 – 100 years ago on this date – an aeroplane made an emergency landing in a field near Punches Quarry in Cratloe, County Clare, and word quickly spread in the area that the craft was fitted-out with a machine gun. The British ‘authorities’ heard about the incident, as did the local IRA unit, and the former ordered their man in the area, 2nd Lieutenant MH Last, to organise a platoon from ‘C’ Company, ‘Oxon and Bucks’ (the ‘Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry’ regiment) and get to the site to guard the wreck, which they did and, in an act of bravado (given the times that were in it!) the British forces apparently posted no sentries and built and lit a large fire to make themselves comfortable.

The IRA, too, had arrived on site and a gun battle ensued –
‘1920 Nov 18. A platoon from “C” Company, 1st Battalion of the Ox and Bucks were guarding the crashed RAF plane near Punches Quarry, Cratloe area. They were under the command of 2nd Lieutenant M.H.Last. A group of I.R.A. volunters led by Joe Clancy (Brigade Training Officer East Clare Brigade) had seen the plane come down and got togather an attacking group from IRA men hiding out at Hogans house in Cratloe. Their objective was to capture the aeroplane’s machine gun. After dusk Clancy and his group climbed to the top of Punches Quarry and opened fire at 17.30 on the unsuspecting Ox and Bucks troops who were grouped round a large bonfire that they had lit to keep themselves warm. The IRA said that there were no sentries posted…’ more here.

Meanwhile, the republican PR Department had been busy, too…!


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

A series of after-Mass meetings were held throughout County Galway on Sunday, 29th May last, in support of the Sinn Féin candidates for the local government elections. The speakers at all meetings received an enthusiastic welcome and there is good reason to believe that the two candidates selected, Paddy Ruane, Carranmore, and Martin Kelly, Ballygar, will be elected. The sales of ‘The United Irishman’ in County Galway have risen from 4,000 in April to 7,700 in May ; Galway is surely giving a lead to Ireland!

A feature of the Sinn Féin campaign in Galway as in all other parts of Ireland is the enthusiasm and energy of Sinn Féin workers. All who are anxious to help in the County Galway campaign should write at once to the candidates or the Head Office, 3 Lower Abbey Street.

(END of ‘The West’s Awake’ ; NEXT – ‘Fianna Éireann Ard Fheis’, from the same source.)


On the 17th November 1920, a 46-year-old Kerry-born RIC Sergeant, James O’Donoghue, who had 22 years ‘service’ in that particular ‘police force’ and was about to be promoted to Head Constable, was shot dead in White Street in Cork city by three IRA men (Charlie O’Brien, Willie Joe O’Brien and Justin O’Connor) , who were standing in a gateway, waiting for a target that never showed. The IRA unit were about to leave the area when they were spotted by O’Donoghue, who had just left his home at Tower Street, in full uniform, to make his way to the RIC barracks at Tuckey Street, about a half-mile of a walk from his house. According to reports of the incident, the RIC man “came upon” the IRA men and he was shot dead as a result.

The next day – the 18th November (1920), 100 years ago on this date – a gang of masked men, believed to be RIC and/or Black and Tans from the Tuckey Street barracks, forced their way in to the O’Brien house, looking for Charlie and Willie Joe ; they shot Charlie, leaving him for dead, and then shot his brother-in-law, Eugene O’Connell, who died at the scene. The British execution gang then broke into the near-by home of Patrick Hanley and shot him dead, and then turned their guns on his friend, Stephen Coleman, severely wounding him, and a James Coleman was also attacked by the gang and shot dead. An IRA investigation into how the IRA unit had been exposed led the organisation to believe that informers had been at work and three men were shot dead as a result – John Sherlock, ‘Din-Din’ O’Riordan and Eddie Hawkins (whose father, Dan, was seriously wounded in that action).

Incidentally, a week after they killed the RIC man, the Cork Command IRA officially apologised in writing to his family and let it be known that they were ‘furious’ that their Volunteers had taken it on themselves to carry-out that operation. No such apology was issued by the RIC or the Black and Tans.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

Initially thought to have been a road accident, Richie Barron’s death became the focus of a murder investigation with the McBreartys and their extended family the main subjects of garda attention. The DPP refused to prosecute, but the McBreartys, their family members and staff continued to be the subject of garda attention ; Martin Giblin SC claims that between late 1996 and 1998, some 190 summonses were issued in what is alleged to be part of a harassment campaign by gardai following Richie Barron’s death.

Some of the summonses were issued on foot of statements by garda informers, in respect of after-hours drinking and related matters in the McBreartys pub, ‘The Parting Glass’, and ‘Frankies Niteclub’ in Raphoe. These ‘witnesses’ – garda informers who gave evidence in court – have since been discredited and are themselves facing charges. All 190 summonses were subsequently withdrawn, but in prosecuting the summonses, garda gave evidence at Letterkenny District Court on a number of occasions, and it is in these circumstances that the High Court application to compel the Commissioner to investigate allegations of perjury by the five gardai arose.

A Garda Divisional Circular dated 20th March 1998 from the Detective Superintendent at Letterkenny, and addressed to “each Sergeant, each member/unit/office Letterkenny District” was circulated and signed by Superintendent Kevin Lennon. Entitled ‘Campaign to discredit gardai in Donegal Division’, it stated – ‘The attached is communicated for the information of all members. You will instruct compliance with the terms of this document or briefings of units, sections etc. You will ensure that these instructions are carried into effect…” (MORE LATER.)



Isaac Butt was born in Glenfin, Donegal, on the 6th September 1813. His father, The Reverend Robert Butt, became Rector of St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Stranorlar in 1814 so Isaac spent his childhood years in Stranorlar. His mother’s maiden name was Berkeley Cox and she claimed descendency from the O’Donnells. When Isaac was aged twelve he went as a boarder to the Royal School Raphoe and at the age of fifteen entered Trinity College Dublin.

He trained as a barrister and became a member of both the Irish Bar and the English Bar. He was a conservative lawyer but after the famine
(‘1169’ comment – it was an attempted genocide) in the 1840s became increasingly liberal. In 1852 he became Tory MP at Westminster representing Youghal, Co. Cork and in 1869 he founded the Tenant League to renew the demand for tenant rights. He was a noted orator who spoke fervently for justice, tolerance, compassion and freedom. He always defended the poor and the oppressed. He started the Home Rule Movement in 1870 and in 1871 was elected MP for Limerick, running on a Home Rule ticket. He founded a political party called The Home Rule Party in 1873. By the mid 1870s Butt’s health was failing and he was losing control of his party to a section of its members who wished to adopt a much more aggressive approach than he was willing to accept. In 1879 he suffered a stroke from which he failed to recover and died on the 5th May in Clonskeagh, Dublin. He was replaced by William Shaw who was succeeded by Charles Stewart Parnell in 1880. Isaac Butt became known as “The Father of Home Rule in Ireland”. At his express wish he is buried in a corner of Stranorlar Church of Ireland cemetery, beneath a tree where he used to sit and dream as a boy.’ (from here.)

On the 18th November, 1873 – 147 years ago on this date – a three-day conference was convened in Dublin to discuss the issue of ‘home rule’ for Ireland. The conference had been organised, in the main, by Isaac Butt’s then 3-year-old ‘Home Government Association’, and was attended by various individuals and small localised groups who shared an interest in that subject. Isaac Butt was a well-known Dublin barrister who was apparently viewed with some suspicion by ‘his own type’ – Protestants – as he was a pillar of the Tory society in Ireland before recognising the ills of that creed and converting, politically, to the ‘other side of the house’ – Irish nationalism, a ‘half way house’, if even that – then and now – between British imperialism and Irish republicanism ie Isaac Butt and those like him made it clear that they were simply agitating for an improved position for Ireland within the ‘British empire’, as opposed to Irish republicans who were demanding then, and now, a British military and political withdrawal from Ireland.

Over that three-day period the gathering agreed to establish a new organisation, to be known as ‘The Home Rule League’,and the minutes from the conference make for interesting reading as they highlight/expose the request for the political ‘half way house’, mentioned above – ‘At twelve o’clock, on the motion of George Bryan, M.R, seconded by Hon. Charles Ffrench, M.P., the Chair was taken by William Shaw, M.R.
On the motion of the Rev. P. Lavelle, seconded by Laurence Waldron, D.L., the following gentlemen were appointed Honorary Secretaries : — John O.Blunden, Philip Callan M.P, W.J.O’Neill Daunt, ER King Harman and Alfred Webb. ER King Harman read the requisition convening the Conference, as follows : —

We, the undersigned feel bound to declare our conviction that it is necessary to the peace and prosperity of Ireland, and would be conducive to the strength and stability of the United Kingdom, that the right of domestic legislation on all Irish affairs should be restored to our country and that it is desirable that Irishmen should unite to obtain that restoration upon the following principles : To obtain for our countiy the right and privilege of managing our own affairs, by a Parliament assembled in Ireland, composed of her Majesty the Sovereign, and the Lords and Commons of Ireland.

To secure for that Parliament, under a Federal arrangement, the right of legislating for, and regulating all matters relating to the internal affairs of Ireland, and control over Irish resources and revenues, subject to the obligation of contributing our just proportion of the Imperial expenditure. To leave to an Imperial Parliament the power of dealing with all questions affecting the Imperial Crown and Government, legislation regarding the Colonies and other dependencies of the Crown, the relations of the United Empire with Foreign States, and all matters appertaining to the defence and the stability of the Empire at large…’
(from here.)

The militant ‘Irish Republican Brotherhood’ (IRB) was watching those developments with interest and it was decided that Patrick Egan and three other members of the IRB Supreme Council – John O’Connor Power, Joseph Biggar and John Barry – would join the ‘Home Rule League’ with the intention of ‘steering’ that group in the direction of the IRB. Other members of the IRB were encouraged to join the ‘League’ as well, and a time-scale was set in which to completely infiltrate the ‘League’ – three years. However, that decision to infiltrate Isaac Butt’s organisation was to backfire on the Irish Republican Brotherhood : the ‘three-year’ period of infiltration ended in 1876 and in August 1877 the IRB Supreme Council held a meeting at which a resolution condemning the over-involvement in politics (ie political motions etc rather than military action) of IRB members was discussed ; after heated arguments, the resolution was agreed and passed by the IRB Council, but not everyone accepted that decision and Patrick Egan, John O’Connor Power, Joseph Biggar and John Barry refused to accept the decision and all four men resigned from the IRB.

Charles Stewart Parnell was elected as leader of the ‘Home Rule League’ in 1880 and it became a more organised body – two years later, Parnell renamed it the ‘Irish Parliamentary Party’ and the rest, as they say, is history (with an interesting tangent along the way) !


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

At the weekly ceilidhe in Halla Mhuire, Glenn Colm Kille, on 20th October last, run under GAA auspices, the Club Secretary, Séan Heaney, who acted as ‘Fear a Tíghe’, thanked all present for their patronage.

Foreign games, he said, were banned in the GAA because they were the popular outdoor pastime for the British garrisons here in Ireland, and I can well assure you that ceilidhe dancing, such as we have here tonight, was definitely not the popular indoor pastime of the garrisons. No, not likely!

On Sunday night, 17th October 1954, an attack on Omagh Military Barracks by armed men proves that there is yet in our country British garrisons ; our heartiest congratulations to those brave Irish boys who had the courage and daring to face the might of one of her Majesty’s strongholds in our country!

A ban which, in our opinion, should never have been lifted. Bad enough that the invader is here, politically and militarily, without allowing him/her to participate, mingle and eavesdrop on us on the playing field.)

(END of ‘British Garrisons And The Ban’ ; NEXT – ‘Kerry Honours Her Patriot Dead’, from the same source.)


HANSARD 1803–2005 – 1920s – 1920 – November 1920 – 18 November 1920 – Commons Sitting – IRELAND.


HC Deb 18 November 1920 vol 134 cc2072-4

Mr. PENNEFATHER (by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for War whether he had any information to impart relating to the four officers taken by force out of a train at Waterfall, County Cork, the day before yesterday, and carried off in rebel motor cars, and whether, in view of this further proof of the assistance to crime afforded by privately-owned motor cars, the Government would at once prohibit their use in the disturbed areas?

Mr. DEVLIN : “What is a “rebel motor car”?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Churchill): “The only information which I have at present is that two Education Officers, Captain M. H. W. Green, Lincolnshire Regiment, and Captain S. Chambers, Liverpool Regiment, and an officer of the Royal Engineers, Lieut. W. Spalding Watts, were captured by the rebels. I understand that Captain Green and Lieutenant Watts might have been witnesses of a murder of a police sergeant and that Captain Chambers was the principal witness against Father O’Donnell, who was arrested in October, 1919, for seditious speeches. Presumably, these are the reasons why they were kidnapped, but I do not know the circumstances of their capture. With regard to the last part of the hon. Member’s question, I think ample powers already exist under the Restoration of Order in Ireland Regulations. Certain restrictions regarding the use of motor vehicles are already in force, and I understand that further drastic restrictions will come into operation on 1st December.”

Mr. TERRELL : “Have these officers been released?”


Mr. DEVLIN : “The right hon. Gentleman brings in the trial, and the statement that Father O’Donnell was arrested for seditious language. For what reason ho dons (sic – ‘he done’?) that, I do not know. Will he state that the court-martial acquitted him of that charge?”

Mr. CHURCHILL : “I did not attach importance to that. I have given the answer specially framed for me in answer to this question.”

Mr. DEVLIN : “Who framed it for you?”

Mr. CHURCHILL “I had no communication whatever with the hon. Member (Mr. Pennefather), and there is no ulterior design behind the framing of the answer.” (From here.)

We also found the following information in relation to this incident :

Capt M H W Green – removed and shot. Capt S Chambers – removed and shot. Lt W S Watts – removed and shot… there were 4 officers in mufti in a 3rd class compartment travelling from Cork (they thought it less conspicuous to travel 3rd class). There were 10 people in the compartment. The officers were en route to Bere Island. The soldiers were Lt R R Goode (inspector of Army Schools), Capt Reedy R.E., Chambers and Green. The train stopped at Waterfall, 6 miles from Cork. 3 armed civilians entered their compartment. Looking at Chambers one of these armed men said “That is one of them” and looking at Green said “That is the other”. Chambers and Green were then marched out with their hands up and were last seen at the bridge over the railway….In ‘The Year of Disappearances’ (link here) the author makes a case for mistaken identity, for the Green the IRA wanted being George Edward Green, and not MHW Green…Watts had decided to travel First Class and was by himself. Reedy only realised Watts was missing when the train got to Kinsale Junction and he could not find Watts…Goode added to his statement that he knew that Chambers had been responsible for the arrest of Father O’Donnell (Chaplin to the Australian Forces) in Oct 1919 for seditious language….Goode also said that Chambers and Green had the previous week been witnesses to the murder of 2 RIC constables at Ballybrack in the course of a railway journey…Goode believed that Green was carrying an automatic pistol, but believed that the others were unarmed…1921 Nov 29- The IRA confirm that the men were executed, but details of their burial place did not emerge… (from here) and these British Army documents also make for interesting reading.

The lesson, whether it should have been learned in 1920 (if not centuries earlier!) or will be learned even at this late stage by those who think they have secured their political future and that of this Free State, is a simple one : ‘Ireland unfree shall never be at peace’.


The 44th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim (1976-2020) will, as usual, be held on Christmas Day at 12 Noon at the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal, in Dublin (opposite the Kelly’s/Blackhorse Inn building in Inchicore, Dublin 8), but a ‘Plan B’ has been put in place by the organisers to take account of the circumstances brought about by the Covid 19 issue.

There are, as stated in early October on this blog, two possible scenarios regarding this event : it either goes ahead in full ‘party’-type mode ie music, dancing, ‘soup’ for the adults (!), crowds etc etc, presuming that, by the 25th December 2020, Covid will have been dealth with or it takes place in a restrained manner to take account of Covid-enforced social distancing and other common-sense guidelines ie just the ‘bare bones’ – a reduced number of swimmers, one family member with each swimmer, a much-reduced Cabhair Crew on the ground and the public being asked to observe from a safe distance, with no foodstuffs, no ‘lemonade or soup’ (!) , no music etc on site.

What is certain, however, is that, for the 44th successive year, the Swim will be going ahead, in one format or the other!

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team.

You working from home? Still going into the job? Working at all? Lost the job because of the Covid lockdowns? Behind with the rent/mortgage? Trying to decide between paying the ESB bill or putting food on the table? No doubt you’ll be delighted to know that those in Leinster House you voted for have no such concerns, thanks to your support for them. We hope you’ll remember that when next they come seeking your support at the next election.

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



On the 10th October, 1969, ‘The Hunt Report’ recommended that the RUC (which had been formed on the 5th April 1922) should be changed into an unarmed force, that the ‘B Specials’ (the ‘Ulster Special Constabulary’) should be disbanded and a new reserve force be established, to be known as the ‘Ulster Defence Regiment’. The RUC name was given to the then-existing RIC force on the 1st June 1922 in an attempted sleight-of-hand manoeuvre to present an existing pro-British paramilitary force as a ‘new entity’ and that ‘new entity’ – the RUC – was, in turn, amalgamated into the ‘new’ PSNI on the 4th November 2001 – 19 years ago on this date.

This was another tweaking of the name and uniform of a paramilitary outfit (and they’ve done it again!), as the ‘police force’ in that part of Ireland are still administered by Westminster and are as anti-republican as they were when they bore the ‘RIC’ name, and maintain the same structure and objective as when they were known by that latter name.

The more gullible in Leinster House and elsewhere among us (although they are well salaried to be so or, at least, to give the impression that they are that gullible) profess themselves convinced that a new day has dawned, ignoring the fact that the shadow in the room is caused by an elephant that they themselves have encouraged.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

However, the electors of Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh-South Tyrone realised quite clearly that no matter what English law says or does, a vote for Philip Clarke and Tom Mitchell was a vote for the unity and freedom of Ireland and an end to British rule in Ireland. Although no other Sinn Féin representatives were elected in the other constituencies, the electors voted with the same clear realisation – that a vote for Sinn Féin was a vote for a united and free Ireland.

The political situation in the North of Ireland has for many years been confused by a general classification of all Catholics as ‘nationalists’ and all Protestants as ‘unionists’. This has been demonstrated to be false in this election ; we interpet ‘nationalist’ to mean one who believes in the freedom and unity of the nation and separated from English influence and control, and ‘unionist’ to mean one who believes in Ireland remaining subject to English power and control and domination by the English Parliament at Westminster.

Previous elections in the North of Ireland have been contested on a purely sectarian issue – Catholic versus Protestant. The ‘status quo’ was never seriously challenged and the ‘castle catholics’ could with safety vote for the ‘nationalist’ candidate. The issue in this election was really serious – England’s ‘right’ to rule in Ireland was challenged and only the brave and the Irish voted for Ireland.

It now remains for the people in the 26 Counties to follow the lead given by the North : vote Sinn Féin at every opportunity, organise branches of Sinn Féin in every area in Ireland. A united people cannot be defeated. (* ‘1169’ comment – if you “vote/organise” for that grouping now, you will be doing so to benefit an organisation that has accepted/works with the Free State and Westminster administrations in Ireland, and will be prolonging the British military and political presence in this country and/or shoring-up the capitalist political situation that exists here.)

(END of ‘British Occupation Challenged’ ; NEXT – ‘The West’s Awake’, from the same source.)


Judith Ward (pictured), an ‘IRA activist’, was arraigned on the 3rd October 1974 at Wakefield Crown Court, West Yorkshire, England, on an indictment containing 15 counts : Count 1: causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property on the 10th September 1973, at Euston Station, Count 2: a similar count relating to the explosion on the motorcoach on the M62 on the 4th February 1974, Counts 3-14: twelve counts of murder relating to each of the persons killed in the explosion on the motorcoach and Count 15: causing an explosion as before on February 12, 1974, at the National Defence College at Latimer.

She pleaded “not guilty” to all counts but, on the 4th November 1974 – 46 years ago on this date – she was convicted on all counts, by a majority of 10 to two on Count 1 and unanimously on all the others. She was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on Count 1, 20 years’ imprisonment concurrently on Count 2, life imprisonment for the murder Counts 3-14 and to 10 years on Count 15, to be served consecutively to the 20 years on Count 2, making a determinate sentence of 30 years.

It took eighteen years of campaigning to have her conviction quashed, which it was on the 11th May 1992 and it transpired that she had changed her ‘confession’ several times and that the police and the prosecution selected various parts of each ‘confession’ to assemble a version which they felt comfortable with! One of the main pieces of forensic evidence against her was the alleged presence of traces of nitroglycerine on her hands, in her caravan and in her bag. Thin layer chromatography and the Griess test were used to establish the presence of nitroglycerine but later evidence showed that positive results using these methods could be obtained with materials innocently picked up from, for instance, shoe polish, and that several of the forensic scientists involved had either withheld evidence or exaggerated its importance.

Her book, ‘Ambushed – My Story’ makes for interesting reading and allows the reader to draw comparisons with the injustices suffered by the Maguire Seven, the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four ; a total of 18 innocent people, including Judith Ward (13 men, 3 women and two children) who, between them, spent a total of 216 years in prison. Anne Maguire, a mother of 5 children, was menstruating heavily and denied all toiletries for a week, and was beaten senseless and Carol Richardson, who didn’t even know she was pregnant, miscarried in Brixton Prison days after her arrest. Pat O’Neill, who had minutes before entered the Maguires house to arrange for a baby-sitter when the police arrived, was told by a cop to swear that he saw a big cardboard box on Maguires table or else he would be done, but he refused to lie – he served eleven years. On his release, he found his marriage was broken beyond repair and that his six children had left the family home.

How many more Irish children will have to ‘leave the family home’ before the British eventually give a date for their political and military withdrawal from Ireland, because the situation as it now (and still) exists here is that their very presence continues to be objected to by Irish republicans and continues to give rise to unrest. And, if our history is to be used as a yardstick, that will always be the case.


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

As Pat Byrne’s tenure as Garda Commissioner draws to a close, he could be forgiven for wishing he could fast-forward his retirement and hand over the poisoned chalice, particularly in the light of Abbeylara, allegations of garda corruption in Donegal, the Dean Lyons affair and numerous other ‘occasions of sin’ for the guardians of law and order in Ireland (sic).

In the latest round of events, the legal team acting for Donegal publican Frank McBrearty and his family (which now numbers five barristers and two solicitors) secured leave from the High Court to take an action designed to compel the Garda Commissioner to fully investigate allegations of perjury by five of his officers in District Court proceedings against the McBreartys between December 1998 and April 1999.

Martin Giblin SC, for the McBrearty family, instructed by Ken Smyth of Binchy’s Solicitors, told Mr Justice O’Neill that his clients were the subject of intense garda attention following the death of Raphoe man Richie Barron in 1996. Mr Barron was found by two local men on a roadway close to his home in the early hours of 14th October 1996 ; seriously injured and lying in a pool of blood, Mr Barron was taken to hospital by ambulance but subsequently died from his injuries… (MORE LATER.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

A plea for a return to Sinn Féin principles of self-reliance was made at the Irish Club in Eaton Square last night by Professor John Busteed, who lectured on the future of Ireland.

Suggesting that emigration should be regarded as a test of the efficiency of the national economy (sic), Professor Busteed said that, on present figures, out of every 1,000 boys aged 14 now, 350 would have left the country in twenty years, and out of every 1,000 girls, 390 would have left.

That was a phenomenon that existed nowhere else in the world ; Denmark, for instance, had three times the national (sic) income of Ireland and had no emigration problem. When the Free State was set up there were 1,220,000 at work, of whom over half were employed in agriculture. Today the total was 1,200,000, and the number engaged in agriculture had declined from 650,000 to 480,000. (From an ‘Irish Independent’ London letter, 27-9-1954.)

(END of ‘Return to Sinn Féin’ ; NEXT – ‘British Garrisons And The Ban’, from the same source.)


…we won’t be posting our usual contribution, and probably won’t be in a position to post anything at all, next Wednesday, 11th November 2020. This coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 7th/8th) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Dublin Executive of Sinn Féin Poblachtach in a different venue than usual, due to the Covid 19 issue, and in a slightly different format.

But, closed venues and social distancing etc or not, work on this gig began yesterday, Tuesday 3rd November 2020, and the paperwork ‘autopsy’ into it will be held on Monday, 9th, so – between the three of us – we’re booked up solid with our ‘pay-the-bills/day-job’ work and the work on the raffle, and Ard Fheis paperwork, even though the Ard Fheis itself has been defered. Then it’s straight on to the December 2020 Cabhair raffle and the Cabhair Christmas Day Swim and loads of other stuff which one committee or another will no doubt be looking to have done!

But it’s all for a good Cause and we don’t mind helping out. Check back here for us on Wednesday 18th November 2020 ; sure you’d never know what it is that we’ll be givin’ out about!

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team.

…and we’re still in ‘Lockdown 2’ in this State, but most citizens are less compliant than they were during the first ‘Lockdown’ and, in our opinion, with good reason ; State politicians grant themselves exemptions from Covid rules for golf society/business meetings and for attending other such business/political meetings in the State and abroad but insist that the rest of us comply! They provide faulty PPE and declare that clothes are not essential items (!), resulting in State ‘officialdom’ losing more of whatever ‘authority’ it had left. And they continue to pay themselves their full salary while offering the rest of us a State payment which is, for most people, inadequate to meet their needs. There is general unrest and resentment here as a result, and that unrest and resentment is growing…

Posted in History/Politics. | Leave a comment



“We must take no steps backward, our steps must be onward, for if we don’t, the martyrs that died for you, for me, for this country, will haunt us forever” – Máire Drumm, (pictured).

On the 28th October 1976 – 44 years ago on this date – the then Sinn Féin Vice President, Máire Drumm, was shot dead in her hospital bed by a pro-British loyalist death squad. She was born in the townland of Killeen, South Armagh, on the 22nd October 1919 to a staunchly republican family (the McAteer’s) and her mother had been active in the Tan War and the Civil War.

In 1940, Máire joined Sinn Féin in Dublin but, in 1942, she moved to Belfast, which became her adopted city, and she continued her republican activities. Every weekend, she would carry food parcels to the republican prisoners in Crumlin Road Jail and it was here that she met Jimmy Drumm, who she married in 1946. When the IRA renewed the armed struggle in the late 1950s, Jimmy was again interned without trial from 1957 to 1961, and Máire became more actively involved in the civil rights movements of the 1960s. She worked tirelessly to rehouse the thousands of nationalists forced from their homes by unionist/loyalist pogroms.

During her work as a civil rights activist, Máire emerged as one of the republican movement’s most gifted leaders and organisers and was the first to warn that the British troops sent in as ‘peace keepers’ were a force of occupation. Máire was a dynamic and inspirational speaker – once, when addressing a rally in Derry after the shooting of two men from the city, Máire said – “The people of Derry are up off their bended knees. For Christ sake stay up. People should not shout up the IRA, they should join the IRA…”

In 1972, she became Vice President of the then Sinn Féin organisation and, due to her dedication and the dedication of her family to the republican struggle, they were continuously harassed by the RUC, British Army and by loyalist paramilitaries.

The British Army even constructed an observation post facing their home in Andersonstown and, at one point, her husband and son were interned at the same time. Her husband, Jimmy, became known as the most jailed republican in the Six Counties and Máire herself was also jailed twice for ‘seditious’ speeches, once along with her daughter.

In 1976, at only 57 years of age, her eyesight began to fail and she was admitted for a cataract operation to the Mater Hospital, Belfast. On the 28th October 1976, as Máire lay in her hospital bed, loyalist killers wearing doctors white coats walked into her room and shot her dead. Máire Drumm, freedom fighter and voice of the people, was buried in Milltown Cemetery.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

In spite of attempts by the unionists, the ‘nationalists’ and the so-called ‘national press’ to misrepresent the policy of Sinn Féin, the republicans and the separatists in the north rallied to the cause of Irish freedom and unity and elected two representatives to the republican parliament of the 32 Counties. The results are a striking vindication of Pearse’s dictum that “the great, silent suffering mass of the Irish people are always ready to assert their right to freedom. The people have never failed Ireland. Always it has been the leaders who have failed the people.”

On nomination day, the unionists tried to stampede the electors by declaring that votes cast for Mitchell and Clarke would be thrown away – that they would be completely discounted and the unionist candidate elected, but the republican electors were not deceived nor intimidated by the unionist tactics. Now that the smoke and fire of battle has cleared away, the unionists are regretting their rash threat and cannot decide what to do.

The legal position was made quite clear by the lobby correspondent of the London ‘Observer’ newspaper on Sunday 29th May, 1955, three days after the election : “Several Sinn Féin candidates were elected in 1918 although they were in prison, but no attempt was made to unseat them, and there has been no change in the law since then…”



It’s practically impossible to write about William Keogh (pictured) without mentioning his pledge-breaking colleague and fellow charlatan, John Sadleir. Both men were born into difficult times, but so were many others and not all of them resorted to being ‘snake oil’ sales people, the path chosen by Keogh and Sadleir.

Their 19th century Ireland was one in which approximately six-and-a-half million people ‘lived’ in, which was a rise in population of about three-and-a-quarter million since the introduction of the potato into the country in the middle of the 18th Century (ie 1760, population of approximately three-and-a-quarter million ; 1815 – population of approximately six-and-a-half million).

With the potato being in itself highly nutritional and a good basis for an adequate diet, as well as being a prolific crop, the poor were able to get better use from what little land they had and use their land to support more people, which led to an increase in the population. Also, the potato needed less land than, for instance, grain, and allowed the farmer to grow other crop elsewhere which he could then sell. Unfortunately for the Irish ‘peasant’ farmer (as the British described us) , this ‘good fortune’ was noticed by the British ‘landlords’ and rents were increased at the same period that land was scarce (due to the population increase) – the ‘rent’ for a ‘holding’ quadrupled between 1760 and 1815, so the ‘holding’ (ie small farm) was sub-let, usually to the farmers sons, so that the ‘rent owed’ for that patch of soil could be shared by the family.

However, the Irish spirit was strong, and the British ‘landlords’ and their agents did not have it all their own way. The so-called ‘lower-ranks’, the ‘wretched people’, those who wore ‘the mark of slavery’, had organised themselves as best they could ; secret, underground oath-bound societies fought back – the Whiteboys, Oakboys, Moonlighters, the Defenders and the Steelboys : fences belonging to British ‘landlords’ were ripped-up, the ‘masters’ cattle were taken, his haystacks and crop removed, his ‘Big House’ attacked and, when possible, levelled and burnt, and he himself, and his minions, put to death when the opportunity presented itself to do so. It was into this ‘melting-pot of madness’ that a child was born in County Tipperary in 1815 – John Sadleir.

At the time that John Sadleir (pictured) was growing-up, a man named George Henry Moore (who was connected to, and supported by, the Catholic Church Hierarchy) was organising a ‘pressure-group’ which was to be called the ‘Irish Brigade’ to lobby Westminster on behalf of the Catholic Church, its members, and its ‘flock’ – John Sadleir joined the ‘Irish Brigade’ lobby-group and became a prominent member of it, as did about twenty liberal-minded British MP’s, including William Keogh. When John Sadleir was 36 years of age (in 1851) the British administration introduced the ‘Ecclesiastical Titles Bill’ (on 6th February 1851) making it ‘illegal’ for any Catholic prelate (ie priest, arch-bishop, bishop etc) to be that which the Vatican claimed him to be – that is, under the ‘Ecclesiastical Titles Bill’, it was deemed to be ‘a crime’ to be described as the ‘parish priest of XXX’, ‘arch-bishop of XXX’, ‘bishop of XXX’ etc – in short, the assumption of titles by Roman catholic priests was outlawed by Westminster : the British wanted to curb the activities and influence of the catholic church, but this ‘law’ was not always followed-up (ie enforced) on the ground (what we in Ireland would call ‘an Irish solution to an Irish problem’).

However, enforced or not, the ‘Titles Bill’ was vehemently opposed by John Sadleir and William Keogh and ‘The Irish Brigade’ (who were by now known by the nick-name of ‘The Popes Brass Band’, such was their support for the catholic hierarchy) and others, too, were opposed to the ‘Bill’ – a group known as the ‘Tenant Right League’, which had been founded in 1850 by ‘Young Ireland’ Movement leaders Charles Gavan Duffy and Frederick Lucas (to secure better conditions for those that worked the land) also campaigned against ‘The Ecclesiastical Titles Bill’ : the ‘Tenant Right League’ was formed in City Assembly House in William Street in Dublin in August 1850, after a four-day conference which was attended by a right mix of people – magistrates, ‘landlords’, tenants themselves, priests (of both Catholic and Presbyterian persuasion) and newspaper journalists and editors. In his own constituency, where he was entertained to a public banquet on the 28th October, 1851 – 169 years ago on this date – William Keogh declared, in the presence of Archbishop McHale : “I will not support any party which does not make it the first ingredient of their political existence to repeal the Ecclesiastical Titles Act…” and again, in Cork, on the 8th March, 1852, he declared : “So help me God, no matter who the Minister may be, no matter who the party in power may be, I will support neither that minister nor that party unless he comes into power prepared to carry the measures which universal popular Ireland demands…” As the British themselves are fond of saying – ‘Fine words butter no parsnips’.

In 1852, ‘The Irish Brigade’ and ‘The Tenant Right League’ joined forces to get the ‘Ecclesiastical Titles Bill’ revoked and, in July that year (1852) the new grouping came together as ‘The Independent Irish Party’, which declared that “legislative independence is the clear, eternal and inalienable right of this country, and that no settlement of the affairs of Ireland can be permanent until that right is recognised and established…(we will) take the most prompt and effective measures for the protection of the lives and interests of the Irish people, and the attainment of their natural rights…” John Sadleir and William Keogh, two of the more prominent MP’s in ‘The Independent Irish Party’ (of which there were about forty, as the new ‘IIP’ was joined by Irish MP’s in Westminster) , like all the other ‘IIP’ representatives, took a pledge not to accept any Office in a Westminster administration or to co-operate with same until, among other things, the ‘Ecclesiastical Titles Bill’ was done away with ; however, the British had seen developments like this elsewhere in their ’empire’ and were preparing to manoeuvre things in their own favour.

The new ‘Independent Irish Party’ was flexing its muscle ; as William Keogh (a barrister and MP for Athlone) put it – “I will not support any party which does not make it the first ingredient of their political existence to repeal the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. So help me God …” By this stage, Charles Gavan Duffy had been elected as an ‘Independent Irish Party’ MP to Westminster, representing the New Ross area of Wexford. The ‘IIP’, with forty members elected to Westminster, did actually hold the balance of power in ‘Lord’ Derby’s Tory-led government in Westminster and so pressed their claims with that administration regarding the ‘Titles Bill’ and other matters pertaining to Ireland – but they got no satisfaction from ‘Lord’ Derby or any of his Ministers, so the ‘IIP’ ‘pulled the plug’ and the British government of the day collapsed.

The main opposition party in Westminster, the ‘Whigs’, led by ‘Lord’ Aberdeen (pictured), apparently promised John Sadleir IIP MP and William Keogh IIP MP that the ‘Whigs’ would be sympathetic to the interests of the ‘Independent Irish Party’ and the two Irish MP’s, in turn, passed this information on to the ruling body of their own party and it was agreed to support the ‘Whigs’ in their bid for power which, with ‘IIP’ support, they got. But no sooner had ‘Lord’ Aberdeen climbed into the prime ministerial chair when his political promises to Sadleir and Keogh were cast aside ; he was, it seems, prepared to ‘honour’ part of the agreement he made with the ‘Independent Irish Party’ representatives and party, but not enough to satisfy them, and certainly not enough when compared with what he said he would do. This led to rows and bickering within the ‘IIP’, a signal which ‘Lord’ Aberdeen picked-up on and used to his own advantage, in true British ‘divide-and-conquer’-style.

‘Lord’ Aberdeen offered John Sadleir IIP MP the position of ‘Lord of The Treasury’ in the new British administration, and also ‘threw a bone’ to the other dog, William Keogh IIP MP – that of the Office of British Solicitor-General for Ireland and, despite already having their parsnips well buttered, both men took the offer, and the Catholic Church, subservient as ever to the British, when push came to shove, supported them for doing so! This tore not only the ‘Independent Irish Party’ asunder (although it did manage to ‘hobble’ on for another few years, disintegrating along the way) until finally it disbanded in 1858, but it also disappointed Charles Gavan Duffy IIP MP, one of the more prominent members of the party, so much so that, in October 1855, he emigrated to Australia in despair.

As ‘Lord of The (British) Treasury’, John Sadleir aspired to a lifestyle which he no doubt considered to be his of right – he was, after all, a British Minister and he also owned, by now, a community-type bank/financial house, in Ireland – the ‘Tipperary Joint-Stock Bank’ (pictured) : however, such was his taste for the fine life and his desire to ‘keep in’ with his new ‘friends’, when his bank was found to be shy by over one million pounds the shame was too much and he killed himself in 1856. However, his old buddy, the British Solicitor-General for Ireland, William Keogh, somehow managed to ‘soldier-on’ and was asked to perform another task for his British pay-masters and he became a British Judge, in Ireland, during the infamous Fenian Trials of 1865-1867, where he verbally cracked many an Irish rebel skull, saving his employers from getting their hands even more bloodier. His conscience must have eventually got the better of him because, in 1878, he, too, killed himself. It could only make you wonder that, had he a bank to embezzle, would he have lived longer?

Despite success at the polls, and having the ‘ear’ of the political bosses and the ‘respect’ of the British ‘establishment’ and good, favourable media coverage, being well-dressed, well-spoken and well-paid, if you lose your political principles, you’re finished – draw your own conclusions….


By John Drennan.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

The law exists to protect us but, as with the moral law of the Church, those who devote their lives to it should be under its closest scrutiny, precisely because they are more empowered by it than anyone else in our society.

It is time that journalism and politics started asking difficult questions of the legal profession. For starters, we can look into the scandal of the family courts, and then go on to ask who benefits the most from our relatively new-found public tribunal culture. Only then will we even begin to redress the balance of power between the people and the courts.

(END of ‘Is It Time To Ask Questions Of The Legal Profession?’ ; NEXT – ‘In The Name Of The Law’, from the same source.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

“A Chara,

The following statement has been released for publication. Please publish it in full or not at all…

Those who think in terms of a compromise with the leadership of Fianna Uladh must also realise that when they seek to get an alignment with the latest arrival of the splinter parties they are seeking that which is tantamount to an alignment with either Clann na Poblachta or Fianna Fail, both of which, for their own separate ends, foster and promote the growth of Fianna Uladh, whose advent can only distract our people further.

Its continued existence can but serve to create further dissensions and its leaders appear to do all in their power to retard and obstruct the advance of the Republican Movement.

Issued by the Army Council, Óglaigh na hÉireann, and the Standing Committee, Sinn Féin.”

(END of ‘The Republican Position ; Statement Issued By Óglaigh na hÉireann and Sinn Féin’. NEXT – ‘Return To Sinn Féin’, from the same source.)

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Are you still with us, out there? Hard to know just where we are, in this State, in relation to the health and safety of the citizens of this State, as ‘regulated’ by Leinster House, that is : we think, as it’s a Wednesday, we’re somewhere between level 3.5 and level 5 of the ‘lockdown’. Not sure. And it could change tomorrow. Or maybe not. Sure we’ll see how it goes…

Posted in History/Politics. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment