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

You ask me what I think you should do : I told them I should like them to stay out and hold their position at the head of this land war, but I would have to lessen their risks. I had an idea how to do that and I should like to put it to James Duirnin – would they all listen ?

Black James got to his feet and men near me made way for him ; “James” , I said , ” when you’re going to bed at night you don’t put out the fire , you rake it. You turn the day’s ashes over on live coals to slow down their burning and in the morning you pick out the live coals and you kindle a new fire from them. If I had my way now, I would not put out this fire. I would rake it.” We would have to make ashes of part of the movement by asking a lot of neighbours to make peace.

I could not be sure whether one year’s rent would set aside the risk of seizure for arrears, when everybody didn’t do it, and there was no report that it was done against my advice, but if we were driven to it we would use our defence fund to help pay arrears to get the people with most to lose and least fitted for jail out of danger. That would give us the ashes and the safe byres and safe fields but if we were only going to rake this fire we would need live coals too – people who would not settle. And we would pick them : farms hardest to get at , with least stock, men who have known jail and do not fear it , men willing to give it a trial. It would be easy to make the ashes, but had we the live coals ? (MORE LATER).


By Michael O’Higgins and John Waters. From ‘Magill Magazine’ , October 1988.

What we got , after nineteen days comprising over seventy witnesses and an estimated three-quarters of a million spoken words, was a controlled explosion of the truth. This is perhaps inevitable in any legal procedure, where there is a jury to be swayed and two opposing sides each with nothing to gain and a lot to lose from exposing that jury to certain aspects of that truth.

This, too , was exacerbated on this occasion by the fact that one of those sides comprised the Crown of England, speaking loftily of its need to protect “national security” and “the public interest” , phrases which, in the context of the Gibraltar killings, often seemed like they could be code for almost anything.

The truth is a many-faceted concept – rarely has that truism been so aptly illustrated as at this inquest in Gibraltar. The truth , for instance , could have embraced the several centuries of history which brought Mairead Farrell , Daniel McCann and Sean Savage to Gibraltar on whatever mission they were on the weekend they were killed. It could have embraced a whole sequence of events, actions and reactions, strategies , plans , policies , conspiracies – fill in your own colouring – leading inevitably and inexorably to those three bodies lying dead in the Gibraltar sun…..(MORE LATER).


….on Saturday 3rd August 2013 , RSF will hold a picket at the GPO in Dublin in support of Irish republican POW’s , beginning at 12.30pm. All genuine republicans welcome!


The Free State ‘Council of State’ , as presently constituted and, indeed , if constituted at all , is just another expensive ‘talking shop’ which offers nothing of substance to the ‘ordinary joe’ but helps to secure entry into the State ‘Establishment’ for its members and its supporters and , as with its political ‘cousin’ , the Free State Senate, should be abolished – see ‘Cash Cow Dying A Loud Death’ , here.

At the moment there are twenty-four political and/or politically connected/motivated individuals on this ‘Council’ and the fact on its own that twenty-two of them have no objection to sharing the same air as these two fellow-members speaks volumes , never mind the fact that the whole lot of them are trying to push their ‘services’ on an already overcrowded ‘marketplace’ : their ‘boss’ , Michael Higgins, has at least two (female) ‘Councillors/Advisers’ , both full-time staff members (‘Special Advisor’ and ‘Communication’s Director’) , one of whom is paid €2156 a week whilst the other one has to rough it on a mere €1582 a week which , incidentally, is more money than they should have been paid for doing the ‘job’. People of that ilk are responsible for pulling the plug , financially and morally, on this State whilst at the same time hanging-on for all their worth to the greasy chain, to ensure that they don’t disappear down the same drain hole as the rest of us. That ‘Council’ and, indeed, the position of ‘State President’ , should be abolished and the assorted hangers-on made work for a living.


‘Private Eye’ magazine celebrates (!) the ‘royal’ birth!

Lol! What a breath of fresh air the above magazine cover is , compared to the unreal coverage afforded the incident by other print media outlets. And that same event received wall-to-wall coverage here in Ireland , as well as in England and elsewhere, to the extent that I severely limited my TV viewing , radio listening and newspaper reading on the day before the woman had a baby , and that day itself , and the following day. No doubt the shops , street stalls and other such hawkers of cheap trash made a nice amount of extra cash from the mugs , jugs and hugs they traded but that will soon pale into insignificance when the cost of keeping another silver spoon in another ‘royal’ mouth is taken into account. The Brits do love their pomp and ceremony and sure what harm , as it keeps their minds busy and draws them away from reality. There’s nowt so queer as folk , to be sure…..


The Miami Showband – deliberatey targetted by British forces as a warning to the ‘taigs’.

On this date (31st July) 38 years ago the true nature of Britain’s interference in Ireland once again made world headlines : a well-known musical act was targeted and attacked by armed elements associated with Westminster , in order that a message should again be delivered to all those opposed to British injustice : ‘keep your head below the parapet or else…’.

As the British themselves said at the time (almost getting it right) “….unfortunately there were certain elements in the police (RUC) who were very close to the UVF, and who were prepared to hand over information, for example, to Mr Paisley. The (British) Army’s judgement was that the UDR was heavily infiltrated by extremist Protestants, and that in a crisis situation they could not be relied on to be loyal….” (from here) : however , according to their ‘reading’ of the ‘script’ which had been handed to them by Westminster, the perpetrators were being “loyal” in that they were doing that which their ‘Empire’ had always done – take by force and maintain by force.

That ‘take and maintain by force’ attitude is still rampant in the mindsets of those who remain “loyal” to British military might but, for now , they have ‘toned down’ the method by which they practice same – instead of blatantly executing those they perceive to be ‘the enemy’ , they now intern them without ‘reason’ and can do so relatively assured that a compliant media will , in the main, ignore such outrageous actions as it is deemed to be not as ‘hot’ as a showband massacre and therefore less deserving of coverage. For what it’s worth , this blog will continue to highlight such injustices and will continue to be ‘disloyal’.


The ‘Poor Law Act/Act for the More Effectual Relief of the Destitute Poor in Ireland’ , which encouraged wealthy ‘landlords’ to evict their tenants rather than assist them financially.

On this date (31st July) 175 years ago, the Westminster Government introduced a new tax in Ireland ostensibly to ‘aid the poor’ , provided they entered one of the new workhouses, which soon became overcrowded. Emigration was encouraged by Westminster and by their agents on the ground – the ‘landlords’ , as they were subject to the new tax – and, so desperate were the Irish to survive any way they could, the emigration ‘option’ was soon over-subscribed and a new ‘rule’ was introduced by Westminster : only those who had been ‘resident’ in a Workhouse for a two-year period would ‘qualify’ for (forced) emigration. Such was the number of those seeking any sustenance they could get (for instance , from 1849 right up to 1906 , about 45,000 Irish people had to leave their native land) the British decided that ‘relief’ would also be offered to those whom the Workhouses couldn’t admit (due to sheer numbers alone) and financial and other offers were made by the British to those in the Workhouses (and outside of it) to encourage them to leave Ireland and, in one short period – between 1883 and 1891 – about 25,000 people fled their homeland.

The new taxes on the ‘landlords’ (which funded the Workhouses and other such ‘relief’ schemes) were based on a ‘per head’ count, meaning that the more tenants a ‘landlord’ had, the more s/he paid in tax, the reality of which soon hit home for the ‘gentry’ : less tenants equals less tax , so ‘offers’ (worth the bare price of a ticket on the coffin ship)were made and reluctantly accepted as to do so worked out cheaper in the long run for the ‘landlord’. The issue was reported on by, amongst others, ‘The Illustrated London News’ which, in January 1850 , recorded the following – ‘Do not suppose that, in questioning the principle of the law, I advocate the misrule of the landowners, who demand the repeal of this law, and the restoration of the Corn-Law. I have seen enough to be thoroughly convinced, speaking of them as a body, and admitting many exceptions, that they are extremely selfish, ignorant, negligent, profligate, and reckless. To the serf-like people they have always been more oppressors than protectors; and have thought of them only as sponges out of which they were to squeeze the utmost possible amount of rent, to squander on their own pleasures…. for the landlords, as a body, I have no respect, and cannot feel any pity…. we may condemn the manner in which the land was appropriated – we may trace to that many present evils….it is perfectly clear that the very smallest occupiers could pay no rates, and the landowners, having been made responsible for their rates, eviction was further encouraged by a desire to get rid of non-ratepaying tenants, and to acquire tenants, who, occupying larger holdings, would pay rates. The law, therefore, said to be for the protection of the people, was really a scourge to them…..’ (More here.)

And, indeed , ‘the manner in which the land was appropriated’ should be condemned, as should the manner in which six of our counties are still being ‘appropriated’ to this day , by the same political and military entity. Or will it take another 175 years before some among us see through the lies from Westminster ?

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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