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

I spoke like I had a gale of wind in my back, and he just could not make up his mind what stand to take against me. And then all of a sudden my bad temper exhausted itself and I sat down : “Let us stop all this nonsense. You know damn well you’re ashamed of yourself.” I pointed to his little boy who stood by the door – “Do you think he’ll be proud of it before other boys some day? ” He replied ” If I didn’t buy them somebody else would.”

I picked up ‘Ireland’s Own’ and flicked the pages and I told him there used to be an advertisement in it that began ‘Monkey Brand Won’t Wash Clothes…’ and told him that his excuses would not go far to wash his name – “I was drunk and they talked me into it….I did it out of spite…” .

He grinned at me and there was no further quarrel between us. I left him a note he could use if ever the need arose to clear his name. I like to recall that two of the great lessons I got in agitation came from my father and ‘Black James’ Duirin. Their secret? They both liked people.

Somebody close to Paddy Hogan , Free State Minister for Agriculture, sent me, every now and then, a letter or a memorandum or a scrap from one written by him or to him on some issue in which I might be considered to have interest – it goes with my picture of him, a careless, open man. The first of these came to me at the height of the crisis on the findings of the Boundary Commission in 1925 and it was so sensational I just did not believe it , but I did take notice when I got a bit of a letter that showed that this country-wise man took a serious view of the noises made in a few townlands around Dungloe. I could have wished they had not drawn his notice on themselves until they won a few mild skirmishes with the bailiff to give them confidence. (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.

Unionists have denounced Patrick O’ Callaghan’s statement as further evidence of IRA intimidation even of “their own kind”. However , it could also be the product of a conciliation attempt by the republican (ie PSF) leadership to halt the South Armagh brigade’s slide towards the type of mafia-like bloodletting that recently brought about the demise of Johnny Adair’s equally notorious and efficient killing machine in the Lower Shankill.

The fallout, including the labelling of the staunch O’ Callaghan clan as “vermin” by PIRA hardman Brian Keenan at the funeral of PIRA member Keith Rodgers , leaves the South Armagh PIRA’s reputation severely tarnished. Even their bitter adversaries in the British Army have conceded grudging admiration for the discipline and military capability of the two South Armagh battalions in the past but now, with the (PIRA) war over and names being named with tacit approval in coffee-table history books, the PIRA in South Armagh looks like ending its struggle not with a bang but with a whimper.

The public condemnations had already begun before the South Armagh Provos began turning on their own : Raymond Kelly , a 20-year-old University of Ulster student from Ballsmill in South Armagh, was savagely beaten six months ago and that attack followed exactly the same pattern , was carried out with the same military precision and is thought to have been executed by the same people as the attack on Kevin O’ Callaghan. The third-year civil engineering student was on the first week of a work placement job with a firm in the 26 Counties when an eight-man gang in three vehicles forced him off the road shortly after he left his home at 7am…….(MORE LATER).


‘Four Martyrs’ Mass Card , December 1922 (and a BIG ‘GRMA’ to Anthony for this pic!)

The commemorative event held on Saturday 8th December 2012 in Wynn’s Hotel for the ‘Four Martyrs’ was a great success , with a full room and the full programme adhered to. Unfortunately, a rep from this blog was unable to get to same as we had a full programme of events ourselves, preparing for the 650-ticket monthly raffle ,which was held on Sunday 9th , but most of the stubs have to be collected on the Friday and Saturday before the raffle, as the amount of paperwork attached to each individual stub is unreal!

We were promised a brief report and a few pics re the commemorative event but so far nothing has been sent to us and the party responsible is doing more ducking and diving than a State Labour politician trying to justify the recent savage State budget – but when (if?!) we do eventually get some material we will post it here although at this rate our colleagues in ‘SAOIRSE’ will get their stuff first and publish it in the January 2013 edition of the ‘paper (….which, BTW, goes to print on Wednesday 9th of that month!). However , we do know that Des Dalton , President of RSF, delivered an in-depth oration on the Free State executions of Liam Mellows, Rory O’Connor, Joe McKelvey and Dick Barrett , during which Peadar O’Donnell’s book ‘And The Gates Flew Open’ was referenced , following which a busy discussion regarding the comparisons of the 1922 political situation and that pertaining today was held. Street-songs and ballads from the 1920’s in Ireland were recited and the event was brought to a close with a rousing rendition of our National Anthem.

ANYWAY : re the monthly raffle…..

….we have the results….

….but first – a big ‘THANKS , FOLKS!’ to the dozens of soccer fans who helped CABHAIR to score (!) on the day : we actually had to hand money back to most of them , as dozens of tickets were paid for ‘on spec’ that we would get enough returns to look after at least most of the soccer lads but, alas, that wasn’t the case: we got 17 unsold tickets back but they were sold before they even landed on the admin table (which was good, and expected) but that meant that we had to hand back €80 to disappointed punters (which was bad, and ‘near kilt’ us having to do it !). Although I didn’t know it at the time , the City of Manchester, in England, was United in the desire to play with itself (!) , live on television, on that same Sunday and even though I haven’t got a notion who came first or second (!) , I do know that CABHAIR were the real winners !

A very nice (and surprised and embarrassed !) American Lady , Robin, who had bought ticket number 581 from one of our lads from Blanch, PE, won the first prize of €200 and, after she came to (!) , she agreed (eventually!) to pull out the second prize (€100) , thus giving ‘Tapper’ Owen the first of his three wins – a J. Molloy won that 2nd prize (ticket sold by the ‘Tapper’ fella) and ‘J’ then pulled out the third ticket , number 219, which was owned by Connor, who had bought it from the Tapmeister . Connor pulled out the 4th prize (€20) and ticket number 559, belonging to Vinny , won it – the seller of that ticket was our Anto B, who was at the raffle with his daughter. Prize number 5 (€20) was won by a Carlow man , Peter , on ticket number 417 , Luke from Meath won sixth prize (€20) on ticket 300 and the second-last prize was won by ticket number 382, owned by Niall , from Wicklow, who then pulled out our last prize (€20) – won by David C , who had bought the ticket from the ‘Tapper’ fella, giving him (…if not City or United..) a hat trick !

As usual , we had a ball (!) , made new friends , and raised a nice few bob for CABHAIR : and we will be back in action for that organisation on Christmas Day when , no doubt, they will busy us with something in the freezing cold on the Grand Canal in Inchicore. If you’re near the area , do drop by and say ‘Hello’ !


IRA Volunteers , pictured around the time of the Border Campaign.

At the time of this IRA campaign , Eamon de Valera’s Fianna Fail State Administration were of the opinion that it actually began in 1954 , with the raid on Gough Barracks , in Armagh, on Saturday 12th June that year (1954) , in which some 300 weapons were liberated from the British Army. Fianna Fail considered that proof enough that the IRA “…had renewed its activities, was rearming, recruiting young men and engaging in drilling and other manoeuvres….” and indeed they were. On 11th December 1956 , communication was sent to the IRA Volunteers involved – over 150 men – that the operation would begin at midnight on 12th December and , at the appointed time, three IRA flying columns crossed the Free State border to attack British Army depots and administration centres , air fields , radar installations , BA barracks , courthouses , bridges , roads and custom posts : the ‘Resistance Campaign/Operation Harvest’, had begun proper , being co-ordinated from County Monaghan.

In a letter from the then leadership of the Sinn Féin organisation , which was signed by Maire Ni Gabhan and Miceal Treinfir (see ‘Sinn Féin Rally In Dublin’, here) (and which was sent from the Sinn Féin Office, 3 Lr. Abbey Street, Dublin) the Secretary of each Cumann was instructed to read out a statement after every Mass in their area , on Sunday 16th December (1956), announcing the start of ‘the Border Campaign’ , an announcement which , later, prompted the then Free State ‘Taoiseach’ , Fianna Fail’s Seán Lemass , to describe the IRA as being “similar to fascists” re its decision to mount such a campaign.

Although it did not achieve its objectives, the Border Campaign kept ‘the National Question’ in the political forefront , enabled the Republican Movement to make new connections and ensured that valuable operational lessons were learned and documented for the next generation. On 26th February 1962 the IRA, through the Irish Republican Publicity Bureau, in a communication signed by J. McGarrity, sent out the following message:
” The leadership of the resistance Movement has ordered the termination of the Campaign of Resistance to British Occupation launched on December, 1956. Instructions issued to Volunteers of the Active Service Units and of local Units in the occupied area have now been carried out. All arms and materials have been dumped and all full-time active volunteers have been withdrawn. Foremost among the factors motivating this course of action has been the attitude of the general public whose minds have been deliberately distracted from the supreme issue facing the Irish people – the unity and freedom of Ireland.

The Irish resistance movement renews its pledge of eternal hostility to the British Forces of Occupation in Ireland. It calls on the Irish people for increased support and looks forward with confidence – in co-operation with the other branches of the Republican Movement – to a period of consolidation, expansion and preparation for the final and victorious phase of the struggle for the full freedom of Ireland.”

Although that Campaign was called off as, indeed, were others like it over the centuries of resistance , opposition to British military and political interference in Irish affairs remains in place and has been bolstered by those ‘failed campaigns’. Even when we ‘lose’ , we win !


A newspaper advertisement placed by the State Labour Party in February 2011 whilst they were seeking votes in the State-wide general election of that same month. The aim of the ad was to convince voters that Fine Gael needed a ‘watchdog’ in Leinster House to ensure that such cutbacks didn’t take place ; it worked, and Labour received enough votes to form a coalition administration with Fine Gael. Once they had their well-shod feet under the oak table, Labour morphed from a ‘watchdog’ into a ‘mudguard’ and have now supported Fine Gael in forcing financial cutbacks on those they asked to vote for them !

As if the above wasn’t bad enough (at least for those shocked voters that fell for the ploy) it now seems that the same halfwits that voted for either Fine Gael or the State Labour Party now think that the Fianna Fail Party has their best interests at heart !

As Irish Republicans have consistently said since this backward State was forced on this country at the point of a British gun, it is not (only) those that operate or seek to operate the political system here that are at fault, it is the system itself that is faulty. It needs changing , and fast.

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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