From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , March 1998.

Mr Dick Spring : ” A number of very serious questions have been raised in the reporting of this matter in the public domain in recent months – it seems that some concerned members of the Garda Síochána were to the fore in supplying the media with information in relation to the circumstances surrounding this murder. I have questions I would like the minister to address :

Did the garda have prior knowledge of the IRA’s plan to murder John Corcoran ?

If so , why was no action taken to prevent the murder and to arrest those who were torturing him ?

Why have the garda not interviewed Mr Seán O Callaghan , who has publicly confessed to carrying out this murder on IRA instructions , and why has he not been brought in for questioning by the garda since he made his public confession ?

Can the minister explain to the House the statement from the garda in December 1996 to the effect that the Corcoran case had been fully investigated and that a file was on its way to the director of public prosecutions , and the contradiction of that statement from the garda press office about one week later to the effect that the investigation had not been completed…….? “

THE PETER BERRY PAPERS……. The Top Secret Memoirs of Ireland’s Most Powerful Civil Servant : Dirty Tricks, Election ’69/ Spying on a Unionist Politician/ Keeping the (State) Taoiseach informed/ The Garda Fallon Murder/ Advice to Jack Lynch- ‘Fire the pair of them…’/ Vivion De Valera’s advice to O’Malley/ Rumours of a Coup D’Etat/ The Internment Plot, November 1970/ Secret Meeting with William Craig.
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , June 1980.

” Chief Superintendent Fleming said that he was bewildered as to why he was summounded to the Taoiseach’s house as he had not been asked any questions or for an opinion. He told me that the Attorney General and the Minister for Defence , Mr Gibbons , were present, as was Colonel Delaney , Director of Military Intelligence (only since 9th April 1970 ie for 3 weeks) who was not asked any questions either – not, said the Chief , that he could contribute anything.

He said that the Taoiseach and the Attorney General did most of the talking to one another with an occasional remark from the Minister for Defence but it was inconsequential kind of talk which did not clarify any matter that he could see. While the Chief Superintendent was speaking to me the phone rang and I answered it – it was the Taoiseach. He said ‘I have had a conference with……including Colonel Delaney and Chief Superintendent Fleming and I now have a better understanding of the position.’

I said – ‘ Mr Fleming called to my home after he had left your house and he told me that he was bewildered as to why he was present as he was not asked any question and his opinion was not sought. He also told me that Colonel Delaney was not questioned. I think that you should know this as the Chief Superintendent will be making a report on these lines tomorrow to the Commissioner.’

There was an appreciable pause and then the Taoiseach said – ‘ Why did he not ask questions if he was in doubt about anything ?’ , and I said that nobody had told him for what purpose he had been summounded to the Taoiseach’s house. The Taoiseach’s voice was angry……. “

Mná an IRA (‘Women of the IRA’)….

Josephine Hayden , General Secretary of Republican Sinn Féin.

“…..born in County Waterford, Josephine Hayden became aware of a curious fact when she worked in a hotel for the summer as a young woman. She noticed that a large influx of people arrived around the time of the 12th July and she discovered that they came South to avoid the Orangemen’s marches. This piqued her interest and made her question what life was like for Catholics in the North. Over the years, what began as sympathy for the people she met then hardened into direct involvement in the armed movement towards a united Ireland. She served four-and-a-half years in Limerick prison for transporting arms and ammunition for the Continuity IRA….”

– from a thirty-minute television documentary to be broadcast on TG4 on Thursday 12th January, 2012 , at 10.30pm : over many years , this blog has , on regular occasions, worked alongside Josephine at various pickets , protests , meetings , commemorations and other such events and we can honestly declare that never once has she compromised her Irish Republican beliefs , whether faced with Free State ‘security force’ thugs or their British equivalent – and she never will !
This TG4 documentary should be well worth viewing , so make a note
now of the time and date that it’s on – TG4 ,Thursday 12th January 2012 , 10.30pm – because , as Josephine herself might say : “I’ll be asking questions afterwards….” !

Dan Hoban speaks , unscripted , about Seán Sabhat……

Mayo Republican , Dan Hoban , pictured in Bodenstown , 2008 .

On Sunday, January 1st, 2012, the annual Seán Sabhat commemoration was held at the Republican Plot, Mount St. Lawrence cemetery in Limerick , which is the burial place of IRA Volunteer Sean Sabhat who gave his live 55 years ago in the cause of Irish freedom.
The event was organised by the Munster Executive of Republican Sinn Féin and RSF
members and supporters marched from Mulgrave St to Mount st Lawrence cemetery led by a Republican Colour Party.
The commemoration was chaired by Geraldine McNamara , national PRO of Republican Sinn Féin who ,in her opening address , said –
“Sean Sabhat was a scholar, a fluent Irish speaker and a freedom fighter and we honour him today by continuing that struggle in the same honourable way that he and his comrades did.
It is an honour to be here amongst respectable members of Republican Sinn Féin who have had to endure a great deal in the past for the cause for Irish freedom….”

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the republican prisoners by Adrian O’Hare, on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin by Joan Kennedy and on behalf of the Republican Movement by Donal Malone.
A decade of the rosary was recited by John Mangan which was followed by a minutes silence and the last post.
Thomás Ó Curráin read the New Year Statement from the Leadership of Republican Sinn Féin following which the main oration was delivered , unscripted, by Mayo Republican , Dan Hoban :

” Friends and fellow Republicans, I feel deeply honored to be asked here today to pay tribute to Sean Sabhat the soldier of the Irish Republican Army who gave his life in the fight for Irish freedom fifty five years ago on New Years eve 1956 and in doing so he was continuing a tradition of the Irish people and those who never accepted British rule in Ireland. For 800 years the Irish people have resisted British rule and Sean Sabhat was part of that resistance movement and he gave his life on New Years eve 1956 and he also handed on that tradition to those who came after him. We have a long history of battle to liberate ourselves from British rule in this country and it has gone on for over 800 years, but in every generation we haven’t been successful so far to achieve our goal, but every generation of Irish men and Irish women have come out at different times when all the forces that were against us thought they had Republicans defeated. Right up to the proclamation of 1916 when you had Padraig Pearse and his comrades who so gallantly fought in Easter week and then were executed by firing squad. At that time we had the Proclamation, the Proclamation which Republicans are still true to today, those who believe that we will achieve that ultimate goal. Many have fallen by the wayside in the meantime but Republicans have stuck together and eventually will come out and achieve that goal and one time there recently the patron of Republican Sinn Féin who is not with us here today , Ruairí Ó’Brádaigh, when he was asked in an interview is this it, have we gone into politics now ? – and are the McGuinnesses and the Adams’ and all those going to take over? ; and his answer was this “while British rule remains in Ireland there will always be some form of an IRA, somebody will take on the powers that be”. We had that glorious fight in 1916 and then we had the treaty of surrender in 1922 when Irish men were divided over what course we should take and at that particular time people were compromised when they went over to London and they signed a deal but then there were others, true Republicans who said we will not have this deal we will fight on and then further on down the road we had people who stood with the Republican cause decided they had enough and we had the formation of Fianna Fail, and we had De Valera and his cohorts said put your guns away they will be needed another time but the next time they were needed was to execute men in the 30s and the 40s. We have a long history and we have a long memory and we dont forget and those men who were executed during that period by Eamon De Valera and his government who knew so much about the IRA that they said they were going to defeat them for all times and when the men of the 1940s we owe a huge deal of respect to for keeping things together during those lean years, men who lay in English jails, men who lay in the Curragh, who lay in Portlaoise and the sacrifice made by men like Charlie Kerins, Maurice O’Neill , McNeela and Darcy who died on hunger strike and all the sufferings, women in jail in England who fought on and said we will have the whole thing, the Irish Republic or nothing. And at the end of that period when the people were released from the Curragh concentration camp and all the others came out of English jails De Valera and his cohorts said we have the IRA put down for all times but they were making a sad mistake but I can tell you one thing, they were the nearest people who came to defeating the IRA and they failed and when they failed nobody else will succeed. We had then right on to the 1950s campaign in which Sean Sabhat paid the supreme sacrifice along with Fergal O’Hanlon the Border campaign and many more , the Wexford men, Michael Watters and all those people kept the tradition going and that campaign then they thought it had fizzled out – they thought the IRA were gone again. But in 1969 when Bernadette Devlin and her comrades came to Burntollett Bridge a new generation of Irishmen and women were on the march again. And then we had a glorious campaign that was fought for over 30 years and with victory in sight we had men who got greedy , men who wanted power, who wanted to take part of the apple and not the whole apple and what did they do ; they had their Good Friday Agreement and everything that went with it and they turned around and said the paths of fighting are over now we will go back to the politics that our former friends De Valera and Cosgrave and all those who came before them were going to free Ireland with this type of politics. But there was only one type of politics that the British understood and that was the politics that came from the point of a gun and that was the only message that they had ever answered and so McGuinness and Adams and all his friends are lying there now in Leinster House and lying in Stormont and they are over in London and they are taking big salaries and they have forgotten about the men who died in the H-Blocks, they have forgotten about the men who have fought and struggled for the last 30 years but there are still people who haven’t forgotten about them and those people will come back and they will reorganise the Republican Movement and if it wasn’t achieved by a generation in the past it will be achieved by a generation in the future and there will always be men and women who are prepared to fight and to die to liberate their country and while the last generation was a great generation there will come a greater one and we have to struggle on to achieve what hasn’t come to fruition. And we have all types of propaganda now from the British and from this side and that side, from former comrades , and we had recently in the last few days British papers released on something that happened over 30 years ago. They have released the papers and what the British version is on what happened on the Hunger Strike of 1981 when ten men paid the supreme sacrifice once more, and Maggie Thatcher was embarrassed by what the outside world would think about her and now they are coming along and saying that she wanted to end it, that they were attempts made to end it and that Bobby Sands was prepared when he was near to death to compromise and talk but in the previous Hunger Strike that they had to give up there was compromise and there was talk and what was given was never given so it was organised during the H-Block hunger strike in which they died that there would be no compromise and let them not try to besmirch the name of Bobby Sands or Patsy O’Hara or anyone else and saying that when they were on their death bed they were prepared to take food there was nothing on offer and they cannot take away what those men stood up and fought for, they stood up and fought for political status for Irish Republican prisoners and they fought for the liberation of their country and all these people talking from one to the other the British agent who was supposed to be an expert on it was talking to a man in Belfast and Martin McGuinness was involved in it and they are all clapping one another on the backs and they are all getting big salaries. We are standing here today as the true standard bearers of Irish Republicanism and we will continue on to encourage and support everybody who opposes British rule in Ireland and who uses whatever means is at their disposal to get rid of it that there be no peace in Ireland until the last Brit is gone out of it. Finally, I wont hold you much longer but in conclusion and coming back to Sean Sabhat and Fergal O’Hanlon : Sean Sabhat was a very inspirational figure not alone to those who fought side by side with him but to those who came after him and to many of the Volunteers who died in the struggle over the last twenty years. I am very sure that a lot of them were inspired by Sean Sabhat and I would like to conclude by saying that he was an inspiration to all of us in the struggle for Irish independence and I will conclude by referring back to the opening lines in the introduction of that famous balled that has been sung by Irish people all over the world Sean Sabhat of Garryowen and in that version of the song it said ‘….sad are the homes around Garryowen, since they lost their joy and pride and the banshees cries over every vale along the Shannonside the city of the ancient walls and broken treaty stone undying fame surrounds your name Sean Sabhat from Garryowen…’. An Phoblacht Abu ! “

Oration by Líta Ní Chathmhaoil at the Dáithí Ó Conaill commemoration, Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, January 1, 2012…

Lita , pictured recently at an RSF Rally in O’Connell Street , Dublin.

” It is an honour to be invited here to speak at the grave of my fellow
Corkonian and comrade Dáithí Ó Conaill. His untimely death at the age of
51 was a great blow to the Republican Movement.

Dáithí came from a strong Cork Republican family. His uncle Michael O’Sullivan (17), along with five of his comrades, was bayoneted to death by British Crown forces in March 1921. He joined Sinn Féin at the age of 17 during the local elections in 1955. By the end of the following year he was on active service as a Volunteer in the Irish Republican Army , serving as an organiser under GHQ staff in Co Fermanagh.

On January 1, 1957 he was second-in-command of the Pearse Column during the attack on Brookeborough RUC barracks which resulted in the deaths of two of his comrades, Fearghal Ó hAnluáin and Seán Sabhat. Four others were wounded including the column commander. At 18 years of age Dáithí took command and led a successful withdrawal back across the border – evading 400 RUC, B-Specials, two helicopters and the British army – where they were forced to retire. He was then imprisoned in Mountjoy and the Curragh Concentration camp from where he escaped with his friend and
comrade Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in September 1958.

He returned to active service and for a period was Director of Operations. He was critically wounded in an ambush by the RUC and B-Specials in Arboe, Co Tyrone on the shores of Lough Neagh in November 1959. He made his escape but was forced to seek help because of loss of blood and his weakened condition. He was captured by Crown Forces and was sentenced to eight years which he served in Belfast’s Crumlin Road
Jail. Following his release in 1963 he reported back to active service.

In 1969/70 he again made his talents available to the Republican Movement. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said of him he possessed the ‘ablest mind in the Republican Movement for over 20 years’. The sheer breadth of his ability and intellect was evidenced by his service to the All-Ireland Republic both militarily and politically. He had a central role in framing ÉIRE NUA and remained a tireless advocate of it right up to his death in 1991.

Dáithí Ó Conaill never equivocated on what was the cause of the war in Ireland or what was required to deliver a just and lasting peace for all of the Irish people. Speaking in Belfast at Easter 1973 he said: ‘Today, the central issue in the war is one of conflict between Ireland’s right to freedom and England’s determination to keep us in subjection. All other issues are subordinate to this basic point. There can be no compromise on the fundamental issue as to who should rule Ireland: the
British Parliament or the Irish people. We have had 800 years of British ineptitude in ruling Ireland; we have never known rule by the Irish, of the Irish, for the Irish. Until we do, we shall never enjoy peace and stability in our land.’

In the past year we have seen the Establishments in Britain and Ireland move to cement the status quo – the British presence in Ireland. The visit of the Queen of England, which was a non-event in the eyes of most of the Irish people, has been elevated to almost a holy event where we are told ‘the relationship between Ireland and Britain is changed forever’. The shoneens in the Dublin Administration would have us believe that because she spoken a few words of broken Irish the past must be forgotten and all is forgiven.

Well, that can only come about when the British presence is removed from all of Ireland and its military apparatus has gone, lock, stock and barrel. While Britain holds sway over any part of our country there will always be men and women to resist that presence, no matter how many former comrades take the British shilling and do her dirty work. Empty gestures will not bring about a 32-County United Ireland where all, nationalist and unionist, may live in peace together.

The coming year presents us all with huge challenges but also opportunities. The two fronts on which it is essential that we engage in 2012 are political and economic.
The young people in the Six Counties who took on the forces of the British Crown during 2011 were once again dismissed as ‘apolitical thugs’ or merely representing an anti-social sub-youth culture. We know what the truth is. These young people represent a new undefeated generation prepared to take on British rule in Ireland. They are young people simply taking their place in the latest phase of the historic
struggle for Irish freedom.

It is our duty in Sinn Féin –the only political organisation representing the revolutionary Irish Republican tradition – to give political expression and
leadership to this new generation.
I take this opportunity to send new year greetings to the Republican prisoners in both Portlaoise and Maghaberry. The situation of the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry in their fight for political status is extremely serious and the conditions they are enduring requires all of us to make a huge effort in the coming year to bring their protest to a successful end. The internment of Martin Corey and Marian Price must be ended. It is up to all of us to do our utmost to publicise the plight of the Republican POWs.

Here the 26-County Administration, faced with a choice between taxing the rich or taking from the marginalised and vulnerable, have once more chosen to put their hands in the pockets of the poor. Employers and the State are intent on rolling back any advance made by workers over the course of the last century. Whatever sovereignty the 26-County State had is now in the hands of the so-called troika of the EU/EMF/IMF and this is set to get worse in coming years. Water taxes, septic tank taxes, property taxes and waste charges are crippling people while the rich
continue to get richer.

Ninety-six years after the 1916 Proclamation the children of the nation are certainly not cherished equally. The men and women who sacrificed their lives and freedom so that we could live in a country free from foreign interference are turning in their graves as they see the mess that has been made of the country by self-serving and incompetent politicians, bankers and developers. Once again our young people are being forced to emigrate all over the world to find work and whole
communities are being decimated.

In the run-up to the centenary of the 1916 Rising those of us who follow in their path must provide the lead to the Irish people as they struggle to fight the cuts and deprivation caused by the failure of those elected to run the country, north and south. Armed as we are with clearly thought out and radical programme for real
political and economic democracy ÉIRE NUA and SAOL NUA we can take our rightful place in the vanguard of the struggle.

One final thing: There are people, some former members of our organisation who either left because they were not prepared to accept the democratic decision of An Ard-Fheis or who were dismissed for bringing the organisation into disrepute, and their camp followers who were never members, are using the honourable name of the Republican Movement while engaging in criminal and nefarious acts.

These people are doing the work of the enemy and we in Republican Sinn Féin will not allow them to continue to do so. We demand that they cease using the name of this organisation forthwith. Republican Sinn Féin is not now, nor never has, been involved in gangsterism and criminality and these people will not be allowed to besmirch our name.
Our work is clearly marked out for us. It is our duty to bring to the task all our energies and abilities. This is the most fitting tribute we can pay Dáithí Ó Conaill and all those who lie in this pantheon of our patriot dead. ‘Life springs from death; and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations.’

Beir Bua agus beannacht agus Áth-bhliain fé mhaise go léir ! “


Fergal O’Hanlon.

….we were hoping to travel to Monaghan this coming Sunday (8th January 2012) to meet some of our many comrades , colleagues and friends at the Annual Volunteer Fergal O’Hanlon Commemoration but Dublin RSF has asked that , instead , we make ourselves available (and comfortable !) in a 4-Star hotel on the Dublin/Kildare border to assist in the holding of a 650-ticket Republican raffle ; the girl that rang us , from the Parnell Street Office, mentioned that it will be busier than usual at the raffle because ‘Manchester is playing with itself that day and it’s going to be shown on TV…..’ !
And that’s our weekend ‘spoke for’ , as we also assist , on the Saturday of the raffle weekend , to collect some of the 650 tickets that are to be entered into the raffle on the Sunday : so we’ll be in a cosy , warm hotel ‘for’ Manchester rather than Monaghan this weekend – but we’ll manage , somehow……;-) !
Thanks for reading,

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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