THE COALISLAND STORY : British Torture In Ireland.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, January 1958 .
Torture stories are not new . But the inhuman treatment meted out to young Irishmen in the name of British law in our Occupied Six Counties may be news to the majority of the Irish people .
The unwritten orders of the RUC are that a ‘confession’ must be got at any price . And this ‘confession’ must not only involve the youth who is being interrogated but many others also . Near Coalisland , in County Tyrone , an RUC Sergeant named Arthur James Ovens was killed in an explosion in a disused house at Brackaville , in August 1957 . The Stormont authorities had publicised a scheme of rewards for information leading to the capture of Irish freedom fighters and , accordingly , British military and RUC guides were rushed to Brackaville after being told by telephone that young men had been seen entering the disused house . RUC Sergeant A.J. Ovens was killed when a mine exploded .
The British authorities have , since then , turned East Tyrone into a terror-area . Uniformed British thugs have rounded-up scores of young men…….
Ellen Hazelkorn wrote : ” There is a growth of cynicism and alienation from politicians and the political process , but political debate has not shown any significant alteration in style , content or ideological level .
The Workers’ Party and sections of the Labour-left have occasionally succeeded in raising debate onto a more ideological plane , but change will not be easy or automatic . For them to operate in constituencies through clinics could be politically disastrous in the long-term ; suggestions that their councillors/TD’s can be as effective as others in acquiring services or information will likely reinforce the traditional vertical/clientele links , and negate the horizontal/class ties which they ideologically favour .
In Ireland , clientelism is not merely a cultural or historic feature of rural life now appendaged onto the urban political scene , nor has its existence and persistence been merely the result of successful interventions by politicians – it is used by the State to deflect incipient conflict……. “
Robert Emmet’s trial – on September 19 , 1803 – in Green Street Courthouse in Dublin – lasted all day and by 9.30pm he was pronounced guilty ; asked for his reaction , he delivered a speech which still inspires today . He closed by saying that he cared not for the opinion of the court but for the opinion of the future , “…when other times and other men can do justice to my character .” Robert Emmet was publicly executed on Tuesday September 20 outside St Catherine’s Church in Dublin’s Thomas Street .
The final comment on the value of Robert Emmet’s Rising must go to Séan Ó Brádaigh who states that to speak of Emmet in terms of failure alone is to do him a grave injustice . He with the men and women of 1798 set a course for the Irish nation , with their appeal to Protestant , Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of Irishman , which profoundly affected Irish life for more than two centuries and which will , we trust , eventually bear abundant fruit .
[END of ‘ROBERT EMMET – THE DARLING OF ERIN’]
(NEXT : ‘The Eamonn Byrne Case’ – from ‘Phoenix’ magazine , 1983)