By Peadar O’Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

I borrowed a punt and sailed across the bay to the meeting at Jimmy Getins’ house. Black James Duirnin rode over and Big Nial Houston met Widow Biddy Doherty at the village and brought her along – it was the first time that I met that brave woman. “The devil is in you…” , she greeted me , “…why didn’t you get us together long go ?” , and that was the mood of the meeting. I have rarely sat with a group of people who contributed so evenly to the making of a decision. We talked with the townlands in plain view in our minds and we went over them house by house , picking on a man here and a man there who would make a good firm foundation for any movement , and we had names over when we thought we had built a big enough committee.

I suggested that we get the townlands to appoint delegates chosen at small gatherings of neighbours , and that the delegates sit with the committee , from time to time, for consultation : there is more than an echo in this of the relationship between the Army Council of the IRA and its Executive. The committee would grow into the townlands through these talks with the delegates but policy must be made by the committee , meeting by itself.

Later , when the townlands came fully to life , the delegates could elect the committee which, in the meantime , must be hand-picked : the joint meeting of the committee and the delegates came to be known among us as ‘The Dáil’. There seemed no doubt among us that the townlands would make a stand against the bailiff , but once we went among the people on this issue there would be questions we would have to answer. Now that the courts had begun their bombardment , people who could pay their arrears would want to know if it was our wish they should stand out. Were we , in fact, going to preach the doctrine of 1919? This would cut us off from everyone except Irish Republicans , but then the truth was that Free Staters would not attach themselves to a movement built around me……


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.


” The trial opened on 22nd September and , contrary to the undertaking which had been given to me , Counsel for the prosecution opened the case with a dramatic recapitulation of my account of my conversation with Mr. Haughey on Saturday , 18th April , which he described as of “crucial importance” . It hit the headlines and , in the view of the Garda Authorities, made me a target for IRA extremists who felt that they had been deprived of getting arms.

I protested to the Minister and said that this placed me and my wife and children in acute danger from the psychopaths in Saor Eire and the IRA . Thereupon , he offered to give an undertaking , in writing, that if I were killed or injured because of my part in the Arms Trial my family would be compensated. He mentioned a figure of £20,000. I didn’t ask for his written assurance there and then but having discussed the matter with my Departmental colleagues I returned to the Minister and asked for his assurances in writing , and he gave it to me.”

One of the most bizarre incidents of Mr. Berry’s extraordinary career came at the end of his tenure in the Department of Justice and was in fact to precipitate his retirement. This was the Saor Eire kidnap plot , which was to involve Mr. Berry himself , and the internment plan conceived by Mr. Lynch and Mr. O’ Malley…..



On Saturday 25th August 2012 , the Bundoran/Ballyshannon H-Block Committee will be holding a rally in Bundoran , Donegal , to commemorate the 31st Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike and in memory of the 22 Irish Republicans that have died on hunger strike between 1917 and 1981 ; those participating have been asked to form-up at 3pm at the East End. The main oration on the day will be delivered by Diarmuid Mac Dubhglais, Republican Sinn Féin, Dublin , and all are welcome to attend !

Bundoran Hunger Strike Commemoration , Saturday 25th August 2012.

Unseen Sorrow. (By Bobby Sands)

Her tears fall in the darkness as the rain falls in the night,

Silvery tears like silvery rain, hidden out of sight,

The stars fall from her eyes like floating petals from the sky,

Is there no one in all this world who hears this woman cry?

A simple little floating dreamy thought has stired this woman’s heart,

The golden sleepy dream of yesterdays before they were apart,

What comfort can there be found for a petal so fair and slim

Alone in a forest dark of sorrow she weeps again for him?

Warm silver rolling tears blemish a once complexion fair,

That once shown in the fairest radiance midst a cloak of golden hair.

And the children whimper and cry for a father’s care

and love they’ve never known,

Who sees their little tears of innocent years

as the winds of time are blown?

What sorrow will you know tonight

when all the worlds asleep,

When through the darkness comes the wind

that cuts the heart so deep,

For there is no one there to dry your tears

or your childrens tears who cling around your frock,

When there has been another bloody slaughter

in the dungeons of H Block.

Some pics from last years Hunger Strike Commemoration can be viewed here……

…..and we look forward to seeing (and meeting) as many of our readers as possible on Saturday , 25th August 2012 , in Bundoran !


Thomas T.Burke : the last ‘honest’ member of Leinster House ?

For 11 years (from 1937 to 1948) , a Mr.Thomas T. Burke sat in Leinster House representing County Clare as a member of the ‘Independent Farmer’ organisation. He rarely took part in debates and made no secret of the fact that he was in politics purely for the salary , expenses and pension. He traded as a ‘bone-setter’ , a kind of unlicensed chiropractor , who provided his services free providing that the patient vote for him in the next election! From 1948 until 1951 he ‘traded’ bones for seats as an ‘Independent’ , losing his seat that year as his 43-year-old bones gave up and he found a different graveyard to rest in.


and impostor

pretended to be

some desperate rogue suborned.


[Cinquain definition ; Crapsey , I know…. :-)]


In recent posts on this blog we have ‘stayed local’ and mentioned St.Brigid’s Well and the ‘Red Cow Three’ : not too far from those two sites lies a round tower , info on which you can read here and , lucky for us in ‘1169 Towers’ , the shortest way , on foot, for us to get from base to the tower is through Corkagh Park , a 120-hectare (almost 300 acres) oasis of tranquility which opened 26 years ago and contains a playground for children , pet farm , two fish lakes , a rose garden , cycle tracks , allotments ,sports and playing pitches and a caravan/camping park.

This pic of the inside of the round tower in Clondalkin was taken by a local man…..

…..whilst this pic was taken by our ‘Junior’ , who recently found himself in the Intercultural Centre in Clondalkin , the back garden of which contains an unusual feature at the end of it – a round tower !

Now that I’ve put this post ‘to bed’ – and before I have to do the same with my youngest daughter – the two of us are off for an hour or two to stroll around Corkagh Park:lucky us !

Thanks for the visit,


About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
This entry was posted in History/Politics. and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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