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

“They are good people. You have not the full story.” I knew I must spend a while with them , else they would not be at their ease together after I left. I joked over the woman’s statement that only crackpots were on my side, and I agreed with her that I noticed that people bruised by life often had a good word to say of me.

I told a story of a woman of the road , with enough fixed residence in Ballybofey to have a vote. She voted for me in 1923 , and on her way home she passed by McGee’s Hotel , just when the nabobs of the town were in session on the door-step – Jimmy McGee himself , a bank manager , superintendent of police, a solicitor, couple of shopkeepers and the like. She wore her shawl as a scarf across her shoulder and, dancing on her toes in front of them, one of her long, skinny arms thrust upwards as she shouted ” I struck a blow at you bastards this day , I struck my blow. I gave my vote to the reverend father…” The woman had taken it from the sound of my name that I was an unfrocked priest and that by voting for me she was somehow taking it out on the world that had hurt her!

I told other stories and she made us tea and there was no awkwardness among us when I rose to go. “What will we say brought you?” , she asked. I laughed – I had forgotten that no step goes unnoticed. I said she could tell the neighbours about the cattle, and how I came to get her man help me take them back. I said she could curse me a bit for putting her man into danger and the neighbours would know fine it’s boasting she was. “Hell won’t be full until you’re in it,” she told me, but we shook hands and we were friends. The husband saw me to the public road and promised to go with me to take back the seized cattle at any time that suited me. I said nothing to him then, nor later , about the letter – I just knew that all that was over and time proved me correct. I never had any way of confirming that I was right about the woman but I never needed any proof. The scientist is never so sure of himself as the novelist. (MORE LATER).


The inside story of a personal feud that has left one man dead and tarnished the reputation of the PIRA’s most fearsome brigade.

From ‘Magill’ magazine , April 2003.

By John Keane.

The house searches, frustrating road blocks and street-corner humiliation of youth, all features of occupied nationalist areas, were absent from a region where British soldiers travelled only by helicopter in convoys of up to five aircraft at a time.

But the downside of living in a liberated zone controlled by a revolutionary army is that, like all generals, Murphy has scant regard for civil liberties.

The last known chief of the Provisionals, Murphy lives in a modest cottage at Larkin’s Road , Ballybinaby, on the Louth/Armagh border. Huge sheds in his farmyard each have an entrance on the County Louth side and another on the County Armagh side, as does his cottage. He has reputedly made millions from smuggling a variety of contraband , such as livestock, grain and fuel in either direction, depending on the prevailing tariff.

The hostility of the local population towards the British Army and RUC extended also to HM Customs and Excise because a significant number of families earned their living from smuggling, and many of those who did not at least managed to reduce their living costs by purchasing black market fuel, cigarettes and alcohol. British authorities in the North have devoted almost as much time and manpower to Tom Murphy’s smuggling operations as they have to his military operations. (MORE LATER).


Article 9 of the 1689 Bill of Rights.

The above Article states – “The freedome of speech and debates or proceedings in Parlyament ought not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parlyament.”

The kerfuffle here last week in relation to the so-called ‘Childrens Referendum’ debacle brought to mind the above-mentioned ‘Bill of Rights’ and the ‘get-out’-clauses that politicians build into the system for themselves (1689 [and before then] to date).

The 26-County Free State is governed by what is known as ‘Common Law’ , which basically means that elected political legislators here (ie those in Leinster House) are covered by a ‘Privilege’ gifted to them under that 1689 Bill of Rights. However, not content with one ‘get-out-of-jail’ card , those political poker-faced cheaters decided to give themselves (and their pals in the Free State Senate) a ‘second Ace’ and framed Article 15.13 of the Free State Constitution to be such a beast : “The members of each House of the Oireachtas shall, except in case of treason as defined in this Constitution, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest in going to and returning from, and while within the precincts of, either House, and shall not, in respect of any utterance in either House, be amenable to any court or any authority other than the House itself.”

Article 15.13 (which is usually referenced in conjunction with State ‘sub judice’ rules) insist that a Leinster House / State Senate elected member who is travelling to or from that institution is immune from arrest , cannot be sued for defamation for remarks made in that institution and cannot be prosecuted for contempt for remarks made in either institution which, if stated ‘outside’, could lead to charges of ‘interference with a legal trial’.

If you or I are deemed by the court system here to have breached the above-mentioned ‘rights’ of that political class a legal case can (and in all probability would ) be brought against us for ‘Contempt of the Oireachtas’ but there is actually no set penalty for that ‘offence’ because it is not considered to be a ‘statutory’ one , but you can (will?) be summoned to present yourself in front of the Members of the institution you have ‘offended’ where an apology will be expected from you. Failure to apologise will lead to a punishment being imposed.

Richard Ryan , a Fine Gael member of Leinster House was quoted in a newspaper interview in May 1964 as stating that many members in Leinster House were “blatantly dishonest” in the manner in which they shared cars whilst travelling to Dublin for political business but still claimed individual travel expenses for the journey : the (Labour Party) Ceann Comhairle , Patrick Hogan , insisted that that statement amounted to a prima facie breach of privilege and insisted that the internal ‘Procedures and Privileges Committee’ investigate the matter. That Committee asked Richard Ryan if he had indeed made such a statement , he denied having done so and the ‘PPC’ stated that no further action should be taken : if an ‘outsider’ (ie not one of the ‘political elite’) had found him/herself similarly charged there is no chance that s/he would have just walked away as Ryan did.

One of the members of that ‘PPC’ , Seán McCarthy (Fianna Fáil), was driving his car in Rathmines in Dublin years later (1989) when the cops pulled him in, at 5am one morning, on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a car. McCarthy immediately claimed that ‘as a member of the State Oireachtas‘ , he was immune from arrest as he was on his way home from a meeting of the State Senate and, as such, was not obliged to give a blood or urine sample (as is the normal course of procedure in such a case). The cops made enquiries and discovered that the State Senate had finished its business at 8.30pm the previous evening (McCarthy was pulled-in by them at 5am the following morning) and they proceeded with the case against him. But ‘one law for the (political) rich…’ intervened and the State Director of Public Prosecutions decided to withdraw the case ! Again , had that been you or I behind the wheel of that car no such ‘immunity privilege’ would have been available ; a ‘get out’ clause built into the system by those that operate that system strictly for the use of those within that system. And that’s ‘democracy’ , Free State style !


As stated yesterday, we only received seven pics from the RSF Ard Fheis, four of which we already posted – the remaining three are on this post and again , we apologise for the quality. The pics we did manage to obtain were taken on the Saturday of the Ard Fheis (10th November 2012) between 9.30am and 10.30am ; our photographer had to leave the event then as she was needed to do some work on the Monthly Raffle, which was being finalised that same day and was due to be held the following day, Sunday 11th, and it was.

A section of the RSF Ard Fheis delegates, 10am Saturday 10th November 2012.

Our congrats are offered to RSF’s new Vice President, Cait Trainor, a lovely lady – and politically staunch – whom it has been my pleasure to march beside on many a protest in Ireland, and to the out-going RSF VP Fergal Moore , a great Irish Republican and a solid man to have at your back in rough times. And of course great to welcome the re-election of Des Dalton as RSF President, a man who gives his all for the Movement and is never found wanting.

Framed Republican poster , on view at the Ard Fheis.

Due to the fact that the 650-ticket Monthly Raffle was held on that same weekend and this Blog crew was part-responsible for the running of it, we are unable to give a more in-depth report on the Ard Fheis or post better quality pics of same but we do know that ‘SAOIRSE’ had a team on the ground and a full report and better pics re the Ard Fheis will be published in the December 2012 issue of the paper, which goes to print on Wednesday , 5th of that month.

RSF Ard Fheis delegates , Saturday morning, 10-11-12.

And one young lady , from Tallaght, in Dublin, who was actually at the Ard Fheis at the time, almost got herself barred for the roars out of her – we could hear her, and we were in a hotel in Kildare! – when she was texted within seconds of winning the first prize – €200 , on ticket number 680 – and had to be ‘calmed down’ by AF Security ! Good on ya , Róisín , for giving the RSF Security lads (and the 9 Branchmen on the footpath outside the venue) near-heart attacks as they all scrambled to find out what the hell all the screaming was for 😉 !

A much calmer customer – a real cool dude ! – Shay , from the RT Club in the area, presented himself in a nonchalantly fashion to the Top Table in the Raffle hotel with ticket stub number 286 , to claim second prize , €100 , and ever soooo professionally asked myself and the three other girls what we would like to drink – completely ignoring the three fellas with us (HA!) – and wouldn’t pick-out the third prize (€40) until we told him ! So of course he won that one (!) and two local lads , John S. and Doug , collected €40 on ticket number 521 , courtesy of ‘Mr Shay Smooth’ !

Coílín , who had bought ticket 254 from one of our regular sellers , ‘L’ , won the 4th prize (€20) and then pulled-out the next winning ticket : number 360 , won by Jimmy K. from Wexford, who was enjoying a family get-together in the hotel and all of a sudden found himself with an extra twenty-spot in his pocket. Jimmy put his hand in the raffle drum and took out ticket number 147 , belonging to Linda, who had bought her ticket from Owen, winning herself the 6th prize, €20, and was pretty pleased with herself for having done so! She then pulled-out the second-last prize (€20), number 176, which local supporter ‘PM’ had sold to a lady named Irene , who was delighted to receive a few bob out of the blue, and she then pulled the last prize for us – the 8th , worth €20 , ticket 119 – which local bus driver, Anto, had sold to Paul H , a regular attendee at the monthly raffle, now a first-time winner.

It was, as per usual , a very successful fund-raising venture for the Movement on what was a busier-than-usual weekend : and it’s to the credit of the overall organisation that it is capable of running two large functions like this at the same time. And that’s an indication of the commitment of the people involved – a good solid foundation on which to keep building !

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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