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

The government group in the village would be a danger to us , which brought us to a great problem – publicity , speech-making. We were very short of speakers and I , who was the only experienced speaker among us, lived in Dublin. I encouraged them by telling of my experience with workers on strike. Once a man got excited he would find he was not scarce of words.

The first task, in any case, was to spread word of what we had agreed on that night throughout the townlands and I promised that ‘An Phoblacht’ would pick up every noise they made and make a bugle call of it. Big Nial Houston had a word to say : “Maybe I couldn’t make a speech but when it comes to scolding I’ll hold my own with anybody. So let them among us who can’t argue , scold.”

I rowed back across the calm bay , idling on the oars now and then on the helpful ebb. Things had gone very quickly and the people moving into this conflict were my neighbours , so I was desperately anxious to win time for them to get themselves organised. It was easy to see how many gaps were open to the bailiff to make a quick raid and get away with a few head of cattle. I knew the bailiff – a sour, courageous , plucky man , and I knew him rather well some years earlier when he was the local champion cyclist. I wondered whether any good would come of my seeing him but , by the time I had tied up my boat , I had made my mind up to go that road on my way back to Dublin and see what I could do with him. There was the danger that he might go to the local guards and make a charge against me, but I did not think he would dare….

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.

” During that weekend I gave the matter earnest thought and came to the conclusion that by giving up my job I would save my family from their nightmare existence and that my action would , also, ease the pressure on Government. I submitted on Monday 30th November , my Note of my intention to retire which, subsequently , Mr. O’ Malley told me he read to Government who expressed concern and sympathy at my predicament and that Mr. Colley was to see how recompense could be made for the loss of over £10,000 that I and my family would suffer by premature retirement.

Mr. O’Malley gave me a clear impression that the Government had a firm intention which was specifically shared by the Taoiseach and himself. Some months earlier , when I was ill in a nursing home, he assured me in writing that both he and the Taoiseach were very concerned for me. I have that letter.

Before the Government meeting on 1st December I gave the Minister a submission headed ‘Kidnapping : Counter Measures’ , in which I started off by saying that I had come to the “inescapable” conclusion that the line of action in contemplation was all wrong. In the course of that submission I suggested that early publication of my intention to retire might take the heat off the Government’s necessity to take action and I remember saying , also, that the overnight news from London that the extradition proceedings could not come on before the end of January would cool the situation. The Government adopted an alternative course, not the course that I favoured but one put forward by External Affairs…..”


….GOLD !!

Headlines can be a wee bit like buses – you wait ages for the proper one to come along (Number 749 , in this instance!) and when you think you see it in the distance….

…it turns away at the last minute !

But there is a certain ‘Mr. W’ (McKenzie W) , from Waterford , who can now ignore the bus and get a taxi : the lucky man won 1st Prize on Sunday 12th August last at the CABHAIR raffle – his ticket , 749, was first out of the raffle drum , winning him a handy €200 in cash !

McKenzie , in his excitement , told us that he is a Clare man and travelled to Dublin that morning with a friend , Anita K , in the hope of buying two tickets for a GAA game (against us Dubs!) that was being held that afternoon in the City – as it turned out he couldn’t source the two tickets but decided to stay in the hotel to watch the game on one of the big screens : a good move for him , and for his friend , Anita K , from Kilrush – she won 6th Prize (€20) on ticket number 473 and , to put the icing on the cake for the pair of them – Clare won !

In a ‘reverse-type’ win , a Dub , now living in Wicklow – C O’Callaghan – hoarse from cheering-on the (losing!) Dub team somehow managed to find his voice again when his ticket , number 702 , was pulled from the drum to claim the 2nd Prize – €100. Using sign language (!) we asked him to pull out the 3rd Prize , €40, which went to the holder of ticket number 264 – a Jamie D. , from Cork (they were playing against Galway that day) and shy Jamie came to the CABHAIR table , accompanied by his Dad , Tómas , and happily collected his winnings ! One of the raffle team got him to pull out the 4th Prize (€20) and a Wicklow boyo , Seán K , from Arklow , claimed it with ticket number 459.

The 5th Prize of €20 was sold to Mick B. by one of our regular ticket sellers , Andy , who won it with ticket number 696 and another one of our regular sellers , Anto , sold ticket number 561 to Robbie and Ken , who won the 7th Prize (€20) and it was Ken who pulled out the 8th and last prize,worth €20, which was won by David J. , another Wicklow resident , with ticket number 738.

It was , as usual, a packed house and a noisy affair, at times – the atmosphere was buzzing , as would be expected when you have dozens of different GAA supporters in the one building – men , women and kids from Dublin , Cork , Galway , Wicklow ,Clare and Kildare but , all-in-all, it made for a very successful fund-raiser for the Movement and afforded us the opportunity to meet people that might not otherwise have had the chance to chat with Irish republicans. Winners all round !


A plaque well-deserved , but with one fault : Noel Dempsey (or any other Free State time-server) should not have been allowed to have his name on it as the only ‘Cause’ he served was his own.

However – Dempsey’s attempt to link himself to an act of Irish rebellion does not take from what happened on that day in 1599 : this battle in Roscommon (Curlew Pass) took place a few months after the British ‘Earl of Essex’, Robert Devereux, was appointed ‘Lord Lieutenant of Ireland’ – his objective was to bring to an end the then six-year-old uprising of the Ulster Chiefs…..
….this story involves an Irish turncoat , guerrilla tactics by the Irish rebels and the beheading of a titled British Commander and can be read here. And please don’t let the ‘Dempsey Connection’ prevent you from reading about the actions of true Irishmen….

499,673 AND COUNTING…..

Thanks to you , the readers (…and a wee mention also for the 1169 Team on this side of the screen!) this little blog will have scored over half-a-million hits before the coming weekend is over : it was never an objective of ours to reach that or any other figure but it’s nice that we have ! Our intention is to keep going in much the same manner and format that got us to this point , in keeping with the old maxim If it ain’t broke , don’t fix it! We enjoy what it is that we do here and have made contact with all types of people from all walks of life , including some who wanted to interview one of us , some who wanted to shut us up and others that wanted us to place political and non-political advertising on the blog. We said ‘No Thanks’ to the first lot , and ‘No’ (without the ‘Thanks’ !) to the second and third proposers. But – again – we’ll say ‘Thanks’ to our many readers and we hope you will keep checking in on us in the future. Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir !

Thanks for reading,

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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