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

Paddy Hogan , the Free State Minister for Agriculture, seemed to consider that the IRA was lurking in the shadows and I did not know how to take this news. There was the danger that if he considered I was merely doing a chore for the IRA he might hit , hard and quick, before the movement got a basis. It took me a little while to realise that the attack on the land annuity agitation was to be a specialised one – that it was to become almost entirely an attack on me.

It was a wise choice of whoever it was that guided government propaganda in that particular field, for to accuse the IRA of responsibility for this new land war would be to gesture people to join it, whereas by denying it any right of succession from the land wars of the past, and isolating it from current Republican struggles by relating it to foreign influences, there would be all the greater hope of confining it.

So the land annuity agitation became a ‘communist activity’ with Peadar O’ Donnell as its ‘High Priest’ : it was easier to charge communism against me than any other in the leadership of the IRA. Herein, I think , lies the explanation of the storm of abuse that followed me around during those days. It is rarely that anybody with so little public support comes under so much hostile notice as I experienced during the campaign against land annuities. It makes sense only on the ground that it was intended to make it difficult for me to work outside my own district. Paddy Hogan was not the ‘minute hand’ of that abuse but he was its ‘Big Ben’ . (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 gang smashed Raymond Kelly’s windscreen , hit him over the head with a hammer and bound his hands ; they told him they were from the (P)IRA , he was dragged from his car and bundled into a van which was driven to a school. There, he was ordered to lie on the ground and then savagely beaten with iron bars, nail-studded bats and a sledgehammer. Hardly a bone in his legs, arms, feet and hands was left unbroken. The gang used such force that his left hand was almost severed and scraps of tissue , skin and bone mixed with blood were found at the crime scene.

The injured man’s father , alerted by a neighbour, was one of the first at the scene. Covered in the blood gushing from Raymond’s wounds, he tended his injured son until the ambulance arrived. The ambulance crew who rushed the injured man to hospital had to halt en route to give him blood and, at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital, doctors worked for 11 hours in the operating theatre to reconstruct Raymond Kelly’s arms and legs. They told the injured man’s family it was the worst beating they had ever encountered.

Raymond Kelly’s parents are well respected locally – his father , Peter, is a building-control officer with Newry and Mourne Council and his mother, Jane , is a teacher at St Patrick’s primary school in Crossmaglen. When young men are beaten in such a fashion a statement is rarely issued ; the perpetrators prefer a few carefully placed rumours alleging criminal or anti-social behaviour and, usually , such rumours are not challenged but, in this case , one month after the attack, and with his son on the road to at least partial recovery, Peter Kelly went public…….(MORE LATER).


The ‘Ulster Defence Regiment’ , a pro-British loyalist paramilitary gang, was established by Westminster on 18th December 1970 and continued to uphold the British writ , as the UDR, until 1992, when they were amalgamated with the ‘Royal Irish Rangers’ to form the ‘Royal Irish Regiment’.

In every country it occupied (….and in every country it continues to either occupy or take an ‘interest’ in) Britain , like other imperialist forces, recruits a native ‘workforce’ which it uses to serve its interests : in the mid-to-late 19th Century in Ireland, for instance , Westminster decreed that the then Irish police force be re-named the ‘Royal Irish Constabulary’ , a move which the then British ‘queen’ , Victoria, was strongly in favour of , as a ‘reward’ to them in payment for the cruel manner in which they dealt with the Fenian rising : in the early 1920’s , after Britain had partitioned Ireland, the paramilitary RIC groupings in the Six Counties were re-classified as the ‘RUC’ , ‘U’ for ‘Ulster’ (‘1169…’ comment : sic – Ulster has nine counties , not six) and a new pro-British death squad was also established – the ‘USC’ (or the ‘B Specials’ , as they were better known) , comprised of native loyalist/unionist supporters , sharing a common hatred of all things Irish.

‘The Specials’ were left with more or less a free rein by Westminster to ‘maintain (English) law and order’ in that part of Ireland but they shit on their own doorstep so often that Westminster , long embarrassed by having to clean up after them so often, produced a report which, basically (much to the disgust of the local ‘powers-that-be’) , called for their reign to be brought to an end but, by coincidence (!) , a new pro-British murder gang was formed : the UDR. This latest reincarnation of the RIC/RUC/USC/B Specials (which also ‘traded’ as the ‘UVF’) had, by 1992, ran out of doorsteps to dirty and, in that age-old British ‘tradition’ , was ‘re-launched/re-named’ as the ‘Royal Irish Regiment’ (RIR), on 1st July 1992.

But regardless of what name or uniform Westminster dresses them up as (or in) they will remain what they have always been – mercenary boot-boys in military garb , whether in Ireland or abroad. And they will continue to meet the same response that their ilk so readily dish out to those that dare challenge the ‘might of the British Empire’.


An armed sectarian paramilitary force in Ireland seeks to indoctrinate school children into accepting it as part of a ‘normal security service’.

Whilst the eyes of the world are (rightly) concentrated on this tragedy, the potential for similar incidents has gone almost unnoticed in this country : the armed outfit involved (1) are known beyond doubt to be sponsored by a rogue State (2) which has left a trial of bloodied corpses in its wake throughout its long history of warfare and is unashamed in its support for terrorism , for which it has been condemned by a ‘Human Rights’ body (3) .

We recognise that it takes courage to speak out against such State-sponsored terrorism especially when , as has happened in this country, those that have done so in the past have been brutality dealt with (4) (5) by that same armed militia or its surrogates (6) and we commend and fully support those that have courageously raised their heads above the parapet on this occasion (7) : the armed administration-backed grouping involved has proved itself untrustworthy and should be disbanded immediately, before it causes any more unnecessary deaths. It is nothing more than an armed rogue gang directed by an imperialistic rogue State and, as such, it has no place in a civilised society.



John Whale , born on this day (19th December) in 1931 , died in 2008, aged 77.

Perhaps not a name that is too well known outside of journalistic circles and probably better known in religious ones , John , in a varied career, worked as a reporter for ITN and was the political correspondent for that station before becoming its ‘Man in America’ for a number of years. He was on the political staff of ‘The Sunday Times’ in a ‘hot’ period in Ireland, 1969 to 1979, then took over as religious affairs correspondent and assistant editor before joining the BBC religious affairs department , a position which led to him working as the editor of the ‘Church Times’ newspaper. He also found time to serve as a councillor for the British Labour Party in Barnes in south-west London.

When the ‘hot’ period mentioned above (1969-1979) literally exploded under the nose of the various media agencies that were trawling the Six Counties looking for ‘colourful’ stories that highlighted how ‘normal’ life was in that occupied area , John Whale was the political reporter for ‘The Sunday Times’, which was then an investigative newspaper , compared to the run-of-the-mill broadsheet-sized tabloid it is today. The media were ‘encouraged’ by powerful people in the British House of Commons to ‘spin’ the conflict as ‘religious strife between the Irish/drunken escapades/stupid Paddy’-type of thing, and to steer clear of any mention of there being a political reason for the upheaval – historical perspective regarding ‘The Troubles’ was not up for discussion. Failure to comply would lead to the journalist(s) concerned being branded a ‘PIRA patsy’ or, indeed, a ‘PIRA supporter’ , and whispering campaigns would spring up from nowhere (!) suggesting that he/she/they ‘couldn’t be trusted…’

Like other journalists ‘on the ground’ in the Six Counties, John Whale was aware of the atrocities being committed almost on a daily basis by the British government and its armed representatives in that part of Ireland but, unlike those other journalists, he refused to ignore those atrocities : he highlighted , in ‘The Sunday Times’, the case of the ‘Hooded Men’ and, practically alone amongst his peers, wouldn’t let go of it until it became a ‘mainstream’ issue , which it eventually did. He won a ‘Journalist of the Year’ award for his work in relation to that particular case of British-encouraged torture and stayed with that newspaper until 1984.

It’s a sad state of affairs when anyone can win an award for simply doing their job and, as such, the award won by John highlighted not so much his professionalism but the lack of same in the conduct of his media colleagues. All of whom, by the way, should now be awarded a prize for their consistency.



It began – properly structured and organised – in 1976 ,as a ‘fundraiser with a difference’ , combined with the need to gain extra publicity for a situation which was then – as now – making world headlines . Those that sat down together in early September 1976 to tighten-up the then ‘hit-and-miss’ affair were a dedicated team who fully understood that to fail in their business would not only bring derision on them and the issue they sought to highlight , but would give their enemy a publicity coup which they would exploit to the fullest extent . With that in mind , the team persevered – favours were called-in , guarantees were secured , provisions obtained and word dispatched to like-minded individuals in the near-locale . At the appointed time on the agreed day – 12 Noon , Christmas Day 1976 – a soon-to-be 36-years-young event was ‘born’…….
The CABHAIR Christmas Day Swim is , thankfully , still going strong and will be , as mentioned , 36-years-young on December 25th next!

Sponsored Swim * Christmas Day * 12 Noon * Grand Canal * 3rd Lock* Inchicore* Dublin*

But don’t despair if you are unable to get to the Dublin Swim on Christmas Day – you can now also show your support for Irish Republican prisoners by attending a similar event in Craigavon in County Armagh , Rosslare Strand in Wexford and, on New Years Day, on Coney Island in New York. And, re the latter, please give me a call if you are travelling to that event as I’m a dab hand at carrying luggage (….but be warned that we might be coming back with a wee bit more than we went with..) !

More info on these CABHAIR SWIMS here.


Better off on the dole…?

This job advertisement was published in Dublin in the last week –
“……willing to start off at a low-level salary and work their way upwards….(who)look forward to undergoing a rigorous and challenging probationary period either as an intern or employee… not have any other commitments (personal or professional) that will interfere with their work (family obligations, writing, involvement with other organizations, degrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc)….any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above. DO NOT APPLY IF ALL OF THE ABOVE DOES NOT DESCRIBE YOU……”

This is the employer in question and this is their response when queried about the ad and, on reading the job advertisement, I had come to the conclusion before finishing same that it was worded to attract publicity for the company involved more so than attracting applications from those seeking employment.

The self-inflicted economic and social mess in this backward little State is such that advertisements for jobs – genuine advertisements for jobs – could very well soon be worded in that fashion by employers and, even though it is not acceptable for a job-seeker to be “tongue-in-cheek” when applying for a position (….apart from an exception now and then..) , the employer , should they ‘exaggerate’ as per the above, will face no such consequence. Indeed, the company which places such a ‘spoof’ ad will be practically guaranteed extra (favourable) publicity for doing so whilst the applicant who furnishes spoof info in the hope of obtaining a job and is caught doing so will have blacklisted themselves (courtesy of a ‘Google’ search) and rendered themselves almost unemployable. Unless, of course, during the term of your employment you have done favours for those who can secure you an ‘all-expenses’ paid position on a State Board and also obtained for yourself , from your brief time in such employment, a pension for life. And then you won’t be worried at all about what a ‘Google’ search throws up about you…..

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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