Ernie O’Malley, pictured during his arrest in Dublin Castle in 1921 . He was using the alias ‘Bernard Stewart’ .
ERNIE O’MALLEY : SOLDIER OF OGLAIGH na hEIREANN …….
Following the recent publication of O’Malley’s third book ‘Raids And Rallies’, on the Tan War years 1920-1921 , Frances-Mary Blake , who edited the book and his earlier works , writes an appreciation of the man who wrote ‘On Another Man’s Wound’ and ‘The Singing Flame’.
From ‘IRIS’ magazine , July 1983.
While in exile in America , Ernie O’ Malley’s diaries showed support for the republican prisoners in the Free State , of whom he wrote – ” …who are there for the very same reason that the men we read of and revere were imprisoned . ” Back in Ireland , at a meeting in 1939 of the Irish Academy of Letters, he voted in favour of Peadar O’ Donnell’s motion that a concert be organised to support dependants of IRA prisoners – not surprisingly the motion was rejected .
His was the drama and sacrifice of a really doctrinaire republican – a very brave man , at once ruthless and sensitive , whose contrasting traits of character are well revealed in his autobiographical writings . He was very nearly killed in November 1922 when Free State troops besieged his headquarters – ensuring ill health that affected the rest of his life and very likely resulted in his comparatively early death , aged 57 .
But while not shirking the possibility of death in action , he fought for military victory , and for a time believed that it was possible . An old Ulster proverb says it is easy to sleep on another man’s wound : there are many in Ireland today who rest cruelly or carelessly on the hardships and sufferings of brave men and women who fought and still fight for their country’s freedom. The only books Ernie O’ Malley wrote were about the Irish wars and it is in those that he should be most remembered…….
AN OUTLINE HISTORY OF THE RUC . RUC brutality , torture , murder and lies were brushed aside as the unionist establishment congratulated itself for the continuing existence of a paramilitary force which had maintained and safe-guarded its rule in the Occupied Six Counties of Ireland…….
From ‘IRIS’ magazine , July/August 1982.
The black history of the RUC is shrouded in a cloak of lies and false platitudes : although it was founded in June 1922 , its roots , nonetheless , and its political nature , can be firmly traced back to the force which was established to maintain British rule in Ireland before partition .
The Constabulary (Ireland) Act 1836, passed by the British government , created a constabulary of some 8,500 men but , by 1846 , this was extended to 13,500 with , in addition , a large number of auxiliaries, specifically to protect the property of absentee landlords and to squeeze rent from impoverished peasants in the Great Hunger period, or to seize the property they attempted to ‘live’ on .
The ‘Royal Irish Constabulary'(RIC) as it was known , effectively acted as the strong-arm of the landlords and the mill and factory owners , carrying out evictions against tenants who defaulted on ‘rent’ payments – if those who had been evicted decided to squat on the land (as they often did , because they had nowhere else to go) the RIC and/or the Auxiliaries would attack them again for doing so . If a ‘street’ or village attempted to defend their neighbour from eviction , the same State thugs would move-in to break-up what they considered the ‘strike action’…….
OPERATIONAL COMMENTS OF A BRITISH ARMY OFFICER…….
British Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Dewar of the Royal Green Jackets has served in Cyprus , Borneo and Malaya , as well as in the Occupied Six Irish Counties . He has written three previous books – ‘Internal Security Weapons And Equipment Of The World’ and ‘Brushfire Wars’ . The extracts reproduced here are from ‘The British Army In Northern Ireland’ , which was published by ‘Arms and Armour Press’ in 1985 . The underlined comments in this article are ours . This article reflects the operational thinking of a British military commander , more so than his political or ideological outlook.
From ‘IRIS’ magazine , October 1987.
A search of the house in which Volunteers John Quinn and Raymond McCreesh were caught in revealed an Armalite and a Garand with 150 and 119 rounds respectively – the latter was damaged and could only be reloaded with difficulty . Meanwhile , the Scout and the Puma helicopters returned to Bessbrook to lift in a second platoon and , as they were arriving , the British Army Company Commander in his Gazelle helicopter spotted a man moving across the fields from the vicinity of House ‘A’ towards House ‘ D’ .
He did not see him go in , but still ordered the Puma to land its men from the new platoon just to the south of House ‘ D’ . The British troops were told to search the house , its outhouses and the surrounding area : nothing was found . The Scout helicopter remained airborne with a reserve of four men in it – it was now 11.30pm and dark . The BA Company Commander continued to direct operations from his Gazelle ‘copter , using its ‘Nightsun’, and that of the Scout ‘chopper , to illuminate the ground . ‘Nightsun’ is a lightweight highpower searchlight , originally developed in the USA for use on helicopters , and is capable of providing 50 x bright moonlight at 1,100 yards for a 110 yards diameter beam .
‘Nightsun’ can also be equipped with a special infra-red filter so that at night a person being observed will not know that a beam is being directed in his or her direction…….