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

Black James found it easier to raise his hand than to speak ; up went his hand , and up went another and another , and then all the hands went up with a great roar. I explained to them how we would go about this business of raking the fire. I had two packets of forms in the car – one form would be signed by the chairman and secretary of the committee : a man’s name would be written on it and the wording on it was an instruction to him to send in a year’s annuity. When he got that form he would sign one in return, and the wording on the one he signed made it a pledge that he would stop paying anytime the committee ordered him to stop. In this way we would still be organised , and members of the committee would go through the townlands and explain these things. Everything I said was cheered : we were at war again!

It took us a good while to get the kitchen clear for a committee meeting , which endorsed the decision of the evening. There was a confused , gay, lively discussion , during which I explained that what was really important now was that there still should be a Donegal movement when other areas were coming more and more into the struggle. We had many urgent tasks. We must get more subscriptions into our defence fund. “Peadar , it was a dizzy night” , James Getins said, as I left his home , “I say, it was a dizzy night.”

It was almost dawn when I drove Phil McCauley home ; we were just a little bit out of humour with one another and it was the only time there was any real sharpness between us. It arose over Black James Duirnin – Phil had word that James would be arrested again soon , and I think it likely that this news influenced him to the side of those who wanted peace. He thought it unworthy of us now to let the old warrior go to prison again, especially as we were permitting so many people to take shelter. He thought we should pay whatever amount was against the warrant that would send Black James to prison, at the point where the police car came for him. I could not bring myself to trifle with the old man , as he was the pulse of the movement, the very root of its courage. I would rather see his old body give out than lessen him in any way in his own eyes…..(MORE LATER).


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

It could have embraced all this and more , but for the purposes of the inquest it embraced primarily the events of one afternoon – the four hours between the arrival of the three IRA members in Gibraltar and their being shot to death – and the thoughts which were in the minds of their killers as they fired the fatal shots. Of events prior to that day , Sunday March 6th , 1988 , the inquest was given only the sketchiest of accounts , likewise with the process by which the (British) soldiers came to think what they told us they thought : the intelligence gathering, the planning of the operation , the movements of the IRA active service unit before it arrived in Gibraltar.

The court heard evidence of at least one witness who might be able to shed light on some aspects of the truth but was prevented from so doing. Chief Inspector Correa of the Gibraltar police force gave evidence of taking a statement from a Spanish police officer in which details of the surveillance of the IRA members in Spain were revealed but the police officer had been denied permission to appear at the inquest by his superiors in Spain and the statement was ruled inadmissible by the coroner.

There was other information , too , about the nature of the surveillance operation in Spain which appeared intermittently in the newspapers throughout the inquest , indicating constant surveillance by both Spanish and British officers in Spain. Interesting though this might all have been , however, it did not become part of the truth which the jury of the inquest were invited to consider. The inquest heard sketchy pieces of information about events prior to Sunday March 6 , 1988 , and some details of related happenings after that date , such as the post mortems on the bodies and the finding of a car containing explosives in Spain on Tuesday 8th March 1988…..(MORE LATER).


To listen to her deliver a speech at the recent ‘Macgill Summer School’ in Donegal , you could be forgiven (!) for believing that she isn’t at all arrogant although, in that regard, Josephine Feehily is her own worse enemy. She first associated herself with that outfit in 1993 as HR boss and worked her way ‘up’ to the position of ‘Accountant-General’ , and is now in command of finance in relation to tax and customs in this warped State. In 2011 , her ‘skills’ were truly recognised when the ‘World Customs Organisation’ appointed her its Chairperson following which , last year, she stole the show as the Chairperson of the OECD Forum for Tax Administration. She is one travelled lady , no doubt about it , and well used to getting her own way , and would appear to be the best person to contact if you want to see about getting a favour done for a friend – depending, that is, on how well connected you yourself are.

And, although lacking in ‘connections’ in that particular department myself , I’m almost tempted to send Josephine a copy of a letter I received recently from an acquaintance of hers and ask the good woman if she could possibly delete a digit (or two) from the figure mentioned , but maybe I shouldn’t – it seems even those from her own social circles wouldn’t do that themselves , so what chance would lil’ old me have , unless and until I can improve my standing in this community ? Probably best to wait until I ‘graduate’ to those fine circles before I even think of asking her for a favour , as the little people seem to be easier to ‘pick off’ than the ‘gentry’ in this State. But perhaps I’m wrong , and there is , out there – somewhere ? – copies of letters from Michael Gladney and/or his State Revenue team which were sent to the Banksters , threatening to stop money at source from them ? Must go now , as I’m expecting the postman. And he always rings twice (the second time to apologise , I don’t think…!).


Cathal Brugha described Fr. Michael O’Flanagan as “The staunchest priest who ever lived in Ireland.” This ‘turbulent priest’ died , aged 66, on this date (7th August) in 1942.

Born to Irish speakers and into a clan of Fenians in Roscommon in 1876 , Michael O’Flanagan was only 18 years young when he went to Maynooth College to study for the priesthood. He returned to his old alma mater , Summerhill College in Sligo and, at 24 years of age (in 1900), he was appointed ‘Professor of Irish’ in the college , from where he continued his involvement in Conradh na Gaeilge , through which he befriended Pádraig Mac Piarais and Douglas Hyde. His church at first considered him to be a valuable asset and repeatedly sent him abroad on assignments , but less so over the years as he had a social conscience which took precedence over his church’s need for him to be a ‘team player’ and, indeed, he embarrassed his church hierarchy when , at 37 years of age, he fully supported the Sligo dockers in their trade dispute in 1913 (even though he was working in Rome at the time , which is where he was based between 1912 and 1914) as, then as now, his religious ‘betters’ had more in common with the owners and bosses rather than the poorer workers. In 1914 he was allocated to the parish of Ahamlish (North Sligo) before moving to Cliffoney , in that same county, and quickly became a true friend to the small farming community he now lived and worked with , and assisted them in their battle with the ‘Congested Districts Board’ who were trying to dictate the manner in which turf bogs could be used by the locals , an occasion that became known as the “Cloonerco Bog Fight” . During that ‘turf war’ , Fr. O’Flanagan helped to organise the funeral of O’Donovan Rossa (who died on the 29th June 1915) and he spoke in Dublin City Hall when Rossa was lying in state there , which seemed to be ‘the hair which broke the camel’s back’ , as far as his Bishop (Coyne) was concerned – in October 1915 , the church hierarchy attempted to transfer him to a new parish.

However , his friends and supporters in Cliffoney objected and physically prevented the new parish priest from taking up his priestly duties , a situation which lasted until Christmas Day. Eventually , Fr. O’Flanagan was moved to Crossna, near Boyle, in County Roscommon, from where he continued to spread his own ‘gospel’ and that of Irish republicanism – he was vocally in favour of land reform and was strongly against Ireland taking any part in ‘the First World War’ , ‘forced’ (by Westminster) or not. He worked in the background for Irish republicans during the 1916 Rising and became more politically involved in the years following same and , in October 1917, he was elected the vice-president of the then Sinn Féin organisation. In May 1918 , he condemned the English and German ‘Establishments’ for their encouragement to young men to join what they called “the war effort” : “Those royal cousins who rule England and Germany will come together and clink their champagne glasses over the graves of millions of the flower of the manhood of Germany and England…” , and, no sooner had he delivered those words to an appreciative audience when Bishop Coyne banned him from saying Mass in public or administering the sacraments and it would be 1938 before those duties were restored to him. He played an active part in Sinn Féin’s political victories that same year and was given the honour of opening the public session of the First Dáil Éireann in 1919 and was practically employed full-time in the ‘Republican Courts’ and in the development of the Dáil’s land policy. He stayed true to his political principles in 1921 and opposed the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ , being barred from America and Australia for doing so.

He was elected president of Sinn Féin in 1933 , a position which he held until 1935 but he was expelled from the organisation the following year because he breached the abstentionist policy . He supported the Spanish Republic in its fight against Franco fascism from 1936 to 1939, which again put him at odds with his religious hierarchy , and undertook a number of speaking tours abroad in support of that fight. Father Michael O’ Flanagan , 66 years of age, died in Dublin on 7th August 1942 and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery on 10th August. Fittingly , his graveside oration was delivered by John Joseph O’Kelly (‘Sceilg’) , an action that that ‘turbulent priest’ would have appreciated.


Good to see action like this , even though it did inconvenience me and my kids , all of whom had different places to go , at different times : normally , I would just drive them and their friends to the bus stop and spend the rest of the day worrying about them (under strict orders not to phone or text them to inquire if they’re okay !) but , like all Irish Mammies , that’s my ‘job’!

The bus drivers were about to suffer cuts in earnings (with €12million in total to be cut from the operational costs of the company) and changed working hours , both of which they objected to , but their employer insisted the new imposed practices were going to be implemented , so the workers withdrew their labour. And , to the shame of the trade union leadership , it missed the opportunity that the situation offered to ‘flex its muscle’ and bring other workers out in support of the drivers because , in my opinion , that is what’s needed : an all-out State-wide strike , to show both management and politicians that we pay their wages , and not the other way around.

Anyway : speaking about ‘jobs’ , ‘No Cent’ Leo (who is a medical doctor by profession , by the way – ‘pick up your crutches and walk….!’) Varadkar , the State ‘Transport Minister’ , has stated that the dispute is ‘nothing to do with me’ but , at the same time , appeared to offer support to the management by saying that he understands that they have ‘a responsibility to balance their books’ but , to be fair to the man , he wasn’t always concerned about ‘balancing the books’ , and will fight your corner if he deems you to be worthy and if he can do so using taxpayers money. However ; there you have it – a ‘transport minister’ who is ‘neutral’ in regards to a transport issue which should fall within his remit but who is ‘more neutral’ towards one side than the other. I’m actually less puzzled over the ‘no contact , Ma’-policy of my daughters than I am over Leo’s position , but he can continue not being involved , for now, anyway, as the strike – which began on Sunday morning (4th August) at 12.01am – was suspended at 12.01am this morning (Wednesday 7th) , pending discussions between both parties. If they can keep Leo out of it, they might just about sort something out….


Following on from our piece (see ‘Cash Cow Dying A Loud Death’ , here) on the very expensive but politically useless State Senate , it now transpires that Mr Brendan Howlin , a Labour Party Minister (for ‘Public Expenditure and Reform’ , believe it or not!) in the present Dublin administration which , by the way, is supposedly campaigning for the abolition of the Free State Senate (a vote on same will, it seems, be held on Friday 4th October next) had voiced his opinion that the members of that institution should be allowed to ‘work’ from home (see our exclusive pic ,left…) and , for doing so , should be paid even more (see number 7 at that link) than they are at present!

I wonder would Mr. Howlin’s concern for his political cousins in the State Senate have anything to do with the fact that he knows he and his lot in the State Labour Party will be ‘Greened’
(ie wiped-out) in the next State election and he’s attempting to secure his own political future , as a ‘State Senator’ (albeit one ‘working’ from home) and may therefore be about to offer a compromise re the State Senate abolish-or-not vote – that its plush building , offices and physical infrastructure only be done away with , as a ‘cost saving measure’ , but the positions themselves remain in place , on a digital platform. Mr Howlin and his colleagues have priced the overall cost of maintaining the State Senate as it is now at €20 million a year , comprised of €8.8 million in direct costs (wages, expenses and staff for the premises) , €9.3 million in indirect costs (computer systems and maintenance of same, mobile phones , office printers and ink cartridges [should have got them cheaper – see ‘Pat and Aengus’ , here !] and other stationery requirements , building security , cleaning staff , translation services and the cost of broadcasting and distributing the ‘deliberations’ of the Chosen Few that inhabit that institution) and €2 million on pensions for those that have retired from that retirement home.

If Brendan Howlin could spin a con-job like that , he would be giving himself a fighting chance to continue his ‘career’ as a (‘work-from-home’) paid politician , which beats having to work for a living.



THIS is truly heartbreaking , and more so when you realise that the poor child’s family are not only trying to do what they can while their son is still with them but have prepared themselves to carry on the fight afterwards, too. But it’s a perfect yardstick for the type of society we have ‘evolved’ into : unless you have money , it genuinely is ‘no country for the old’ (or the young ,the sick or the unemployed) but , in a perverse way , it explains why our political system is so corrupt – the politicians and their ilk in the business community are determined that their health and welfare and , in most cases, that of their family, will be secured at whatever cost to anyone else. Regardless of whether the cuts are implemented in Dublin Bus or the cost of the State Senate is reduced (see above piece) the situation on the ground will not change for the ‘ordinary joe’ as there is no ‘trickle down’ policy for us : any money not spent on public transport or on a retirement home for the political class will be diverted to further the comforts of those administering the corrupt political system in this State. And , no matter whether its Fianna Fail , Fine Gael , Labour or Provisional Sinn Féin or whoever it is that’s administering that system, that’s the way it will remain. It’s a new system that’s needed , not different faces to administer the current system.



Or ‘Whatever’! This coming Sunday (11th August 2013) , the CABHAIR organisation will hold a 650-ticket raffle in a hotel on the Dublin/Kildare border and, as usual with republican events of this nature, all tickets have been sold , except for the fifty that the organisers have held back for sale on the day , in the venue. There are a number of sporting fixtures that will take place that same day (the best known of which , I’m told (!) , are the games to be held between Man Utd – Wigan and Leeds and Leicester ?) and matches like those are important to us as they pull an audience into the hotel from which we benefit regarding our ticket sales. I’ll be there , as always , with the usual raffle crew and , as usual , I’ll post the results on this blog as soon as I can after the event , as I know we have a good few readers who purchase tickets from one or other of our sellers but who are unable to attend the raffle and , if you’re one of the eight lucky winners , mine’s a pint of cider. And even if you’re not a prize winner , it’s still thirsty work….. 😉 !

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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