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

Tyrone and Fermanagh were held within the occupied area , which was to benefit farther from slices of Donegal and Monaghan. It was a cruel, cynical trick to play on men who had by now no retreat. The Free State Government faced the fact that it had enforced, in blood , a Treaty which now turned out to be a fraud – the most courageous decision open to them was to denounce the Treaty on the ground that the pledges that moved Collins and Griffith to sign it had been dishonoured by the British , which would mean facing a very angry people.

It is to the credit of members of the government that they urged their colleagues to make an honest announcement to the people that Britain had broken yet another Treaty with Ireland. Colonel Paddy O’Connor, senior officer at the Curragh , led an army revolt – it was he directed the attack on the Four Courts in 1922. He was a very good friend of mine before the parting of the ways in 1921, and we saw a great deal of each other again after he retired from the army. O’Connor threatened he would lead a Brigade into East Donegal and he would resist the British armed forces , which must go in there to establish the new border, let what would come of it.

O’Connor and his associates did not plan any steps in support of Tyrone and Fermanagh , but merely to resist an attempt to push the Boundary outwards – a more energetic protest in the name of Michael Colloins would have become them better. The limits to the army revolt indicated the way out of the difficulty – to suppress the findings of the Boundary Commission and abide by the territorial arrangement of the 1920 Act. (MORE LATER).


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

Despite the fact that these ‘Rules of Engagement’ , drawn up by the military for the military , were to represent the central plank of the Crown and SAS case at the inquest , Paddy McGrory, apart from occasional passing references in cross-examination , never made any serious attempt to question their validity in a civil situation. Again, as with the PII certificates , he appeared to be content to allow the jury draw conclusions on its own.

According to police and military witnesses , a number of important things happened in the days leading up to Friday 4th March 1988 : Chief Inspector Ivor Lopez of the Gibraltar police was given details of an evacuation plan for the area where the bomb was expected – he was to be in charge of this part of the operation. The plan would require large numbers of police personnel , twenty-six for traffic duty alone, but he was not given any indication when the plan might be required to be put into action.

The SAS soldiers were rehearsed in arrest technique by members of the Gibraltar police force , whom the soldiers referred to as ‘Joes’. The procedure was for the soldiers to approach the IRA ASU members and put them down to the ground with their hands well out from their bodies, at which point the Gibraltar ‘Joes’ would step in to make the arrests proper. Following on from the assessment that a remote control device was to be used, police photographers went up the Rock and took photographs from the most likely places where ‘line-of-sight’ could be obtained by a bomber of a car parked in the assembly area. A ‘Joint Operations Room’ , or Ops Room, was set up at a secret location in Gibraltar, from where the operation was to be controlled. The exact location was not revealed during the inquest. (MORE LATER).


Dan Keating (right) and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh : Ruairi was born on 2nd October (1932) and Dan died on 2nd October (2007).

On this date (2nd October) in 2007 , Dan Keating (born 2nd January, 1902) died , aged 105.

Dan was born in the townland of Ballygamboon, Castlemaine, Co Kerry. In 1917, he went to work in Tralee at Jerry McSweeney’s Grocery, Bar and Bakery. Jerry McSweeney’s uncle, Richard Laide, was shot in the attack on Gortalea barracks which was the first barracks to be attacked in Ireland. Dan joined the Fianna in Tralee in 1918 and about two years later he joined the Irish Republican Army. Others to join at that time were Gerry Moyles, Donnchadh Donoghue, Tommy Vale, John Riordan (Kerry All-Ireland footballer), Jerry O’Connor (better known as ‘Uncy’), Matt Moroney and Paddy and Billy Griffin.

In the meantime, Dan met a soldier who used to frequent the bar where he worked and during conversations procured a rifle from him. This was then handed over to Johnny O’Connor of the Farmers’ Bridge unit. Dan was later to join this unit which included men of the calibre of Johnny Duggan, Johnny O’Connor, Timmy Galvin, Moss Galvin, Jack Corkery, Jim Ryle, Mick Hogan and Jamesy Whiston. This unit was very active from 1920 to 1924 and many of its members took part in the Headford ambush which claimed the lives of approximately 20 British soldiers. Volunteers Danny Allman and Jimmy Baily also lost their lives at Headford. Dan took part in the ambush at Castlemaine in which eight RIC and Black-and-Tans were killed. Gerry Moyles was severely injured in this encounter. The last ambush in Kerry took place in Castleisland on the night before the Truce and Dan also participated in this. Four RIC members were killed in this action and Volunteers Jack Shanahan, Jack Prenderville, John McMahon and John Flynn also lost their lives.

In 1922 Dan was transferred to a unit in Tralee which was commanded by Tommy Barton of Ballyroe when they occupied Ballymullen barracks for a period of three months. Dan took part in the attack on Listowel barracks, now occupied by the Free Staters, in which one Free Stater was shot dead. In Limerick, Dan, along with comrades from Kerry, fought the Free State troops over a period of ten days. Republican Volunteers Patrick Foran, Charlie O’Hanlon and Tom McLoughlin lost their lives there. Dan was then sent to Tipperary to instruct Gerry Moyles to return to Kilmallock but on the way they were surrounded by Free Staters. After a battle at Two Mile Bridge Dan and his comrades were taken prisoner and held in Thurles barracks for two days before being conveyed to Portlaoise jail where he was held for six months. This was to be the first of many times he was interned by the Free State.
During this period in Portlaoise the jail was burned and Volunteer Paddy Hickey from Dublin was shot dead. Dan was then transferred to the Curragh Internment Camp and was held there until March 1923. A Free State soldier named Bergin from Nenagh, who became friendly with the Republican prisoners and acted as a courier to Republicans on the outside, was executed by the Staters.

Dan was charged with possession of a shotgun in 1930 and was issued a summons but did not attend court and was fined £1. In the true Republican tradition he refused to pay and was sent to Limerick and held for one week. During a court case in Tralee involving Johnny O’Connor and Mick Kennedy, in which they refused to recognise the court, their supporters in the courthouse cheered loudly and when things died down the judge ordered Dan Keating to be brought up before him and gave him three months for contempt. Dan was jailed in Cork with Johnny O’Connor but after a hunger strike by Johnny both were released after three weeks. The next time Dan was interned was after O’Duffy’s visit to Tralee; he was sentenced to six months in Arbour Hill. Dan was later captured in Carrigans in Clonmel by a policeman who had previously arrested him in Tralee and was taken first to Thurles and from there to the Curragh where he was held for three years and six months. In this period the camp was burned and Barney Casey from Longford was shot dead. Dan was also on active service in England during the early 1940s.

Dan returned to work in Dublin and operated as a barman in the Eagle House, James Street, the Cornet and the Kilmardenny public houses. His other great interest was Gaelic games, and indeed between football and hurling he has attended more than 140 All-Ireland senior finals including replays, which must be a record in itself. When Dan retired he returned to Kerry in 1978 and resided at Ballygamboon, Castlemaine. In 2004 Dan Keating replaced George Harrison of Mayo and New York as the fourth Patron of Sinn Féin Poblachtach since 1986, following in the footsteps of such illustrious Republicans as Comdt-General Tom Maguire and Michael Flannery of Tipperary and New York. During his long, healthy and adventurous lifetime Dan has seen many splits and deviations from Republican principles, but he remained loyal and true to the end. He died in Tralee on 2nd October 2007, after a short illness , and was buried on 5th October in Kiltallagh cemetery, Castlemaine, County Kerry and, at the time of his death, was the oldest man in Ireland. An audio interview with Dan can be listened to here.


‘MAG Man’ at Leinster House authorised to open fire in certain situations ?

One of Irish readers came across this little gem on a discussion board which focuses on Dublin/Irish issues of interest and, whilst s/he cannot vouch for the accuracy of the post, our reader does vouch for the author of the post whom , we are told, is well briefed on matters to do with the Free State military :

” There is a detachment of Military Police on duty inside the perimeter of Government Buildings (which of course includes Leinster House).

There is also a detachment of infantry personnel who provide a fire piquet duty. Anything that happens inside the gates of Leinster House is their responsibility, as military law applies. In effect Leinster House is a Military Installation while there are military personnel on duty. This may seem far fetched. It’s not.

Anyone remember that man that drove the mixer truck up to but without touching the gate? He was within miliseconds of death. The MAG man (General Purpose Machine Gun) was about to fire a burst into the cab if the truck had hit the gate. That soldier had to take time off (a day or two) because of how close he came to killing a man.

When may an Irish soldier on guard duty fire ball (live bullets) ammunition without warning?
1 In defence of his own life.
2 In defence of his comrades life.
3 To prevent himself from being forcibly disarmed.
4 For the safety of the post concerned.
5 To prevent destruction to government property.

A bit over the top for a few protesters breaching the gates of Leinster House? Perhaps, but remember that truck driver. Protest by all means, that’s our right. But for gods sake never even think of breaching the gates or any part of the periphery of Leinster House! “

(This is the post in question , on this thread , from the site mentioned above)

The same poster , apparently a man with some working knowledge of the subject , went on to state the following in relation to this issue : “The NCO i/c of the installation judges whether a situation warrants military action…..the closest it came to firing on a man (to my knowledge) was that early morning when a man drove a mixer truck up to within a few inches of the gate. Its true that the MAG man did release his safety and put his finger inside the trigger guard as he saw and heard the truck approach, and was prepared to fire a burst into the cab had the vehicle hit the gates… point in the post was that while there IS a possibility that a riotous group breaching the perimeter of Leinster House (or indeed any military post) COULD cause the guard to open fire…..there are no exceptions to the standing order to shoot….”

Make of that what you will , but personally I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true – there is huge levels of public resentment towards the inmates of that institution and they themselves are aware of that : if the worst comes to the worst (the ‘worst’ as they themselves would view it, anyway…) and they are forced to make a stand in defence of their standard of lifestyle, then what better venue to do it from than “…a military installation..” ?


Gerry Adams , Irish republican recruitment officer for a British paramilitary ‘police force’ in Ireland.

As our post title says , there is nothing really new in this ‘development’ , but if nothing else it might help convince those that are still of the opinion that (P) Sinn Féin remain an ‘Irish republican party’ that , in fact, they are about as ‘republican’ as the SDLP or Fianna Fáil. PSF support for the institutions of this State (and the State itself) and for the apparatus of the British-occupied Six Counties area was first signalled in 1986 when that grouping went constitutional , thereby expelling itself from the Republican Movement. Since then , it has further morphed into a ‘catch-all’ party for disaffected and/or floating Workers Party/SDLP/Fianna Fáil supporters and over the years has had to ditch more of its political ‘principles’ in order that it may hold on to those new members and voters.

For instance , in 2007 , the grouping held a ‘Special Ard Fheis’ in Dublin to secure confirmation from as many of its members as possible that the RUC/PSNI were , after all , ‘acceptable’ (although it did prove to be ‘a [Westminster] bridge too far’ for some of them, who promptly left the grouping, finally realising that they actually were on a slippery slope downwards) and when that confirmation was obtained , Chief Constable Adams hailed it as a “truly historic” occasion which , when compared with the last lemming throwing itself off a cliff, sounds about right to me : “The decision we have taken today is truly historic,” , declared Chief Constable Adams , “this is one of the most important debates in the history of republicanism and of this country. Let’s not be upset by how others respond to today’s decision. The higher they build their barriers the stronger we become,” he declared , not acknowledging that in assisting Westminster to ‘govern’ its last part-colony, his grouping were strengthening a “barrier” , not weakening it , something his own ‘Youth Wing’ could have told him.

“It is not something we would discuss, but we certainly would encourage people to apply….obviously when people are looking at future careers it is an option and good luck to people who decide to take it….” – the words of one of the two (P) Sinn Féin elected representatives , quoted in the first link , above. It’s a sorry state of affairs , indeed, when ‘republican’ reps encourage their neighbour to join enemy forces. It used be only the Workers Party , SDLP and Fianna Fáil that did that……


This politician , Ian Paisley Jnr , was paid £3456 a week , every week, last year , and is only one of dozens on money like that : their ‘peace dividend’ , paid by the same taxpayers that are having to make weekly decisions of whether to put food on the table or part-pay a bill.

The above figure comprises ‘expenses’ of £2087 a week and a wage of £1369 a week , but the ‘350 Pounds An Hour’ is a third issue – that figure is in reference to this wee nixer that ‘Baby Doc’ managed to secure for himself , for doing ‘consultancy work’ for a business entity in Africa. Not bad takings for someone who began his political ‘career’ as a ‘researcher and aide’ to his father , another politician who verbally slammed the British every day except payday. Like others of their ilk, the Paisleys have financially prospered from Britains interference in Irish affairs and ‘Jnr’ has made himself available , at a price, to travel the ‘Empire’ to show others how to do it, too. ‘Spreading the Gospel’ , you might say….


Is this where you go if you want to make a payment to ensure that your planning application is accepted…?

That there is systematic corruption in planning and environmental decision making in this State is beyond question and, unfortunately, also beyond question is the fact that any ‘official investigation’ into that corruption was always going to be carried out via the Irish maxim ‘an Irish solution to an Irish problem’ ie ‘give the impression that we’re going to clamp down on it’.

The first ‘official’ response is usually to deny it ever actually happened or , if the evidence is too strong to be side-stepped in that fashion , then blame a ‘glitch in the system’ or some such nonsense. If the incident continues to attract attention it will then be ‘referred to a committee of inquiry’ and/or a (toothless) Tribunal will be established to get to the bottom of the issue (!) and if/when a report is published , it will be referenced a few times in a newspaper and then be ignored. Some of the major players involved may get a slap on the wrist which they will begrudgingly accept like martyrs to a Cause , promoting themselves as ‘entrepreneurs’ who simply tried to take a shortcut ‘as there were jobs/environmental concerns/future contracts’ etc at stake.

That the Tribunal established by the politicians here in this State in relation to corruption in the planning process was established in a manner which ensured that its findings could not be used as the basis of criminal proceedings might very well have given a ‘green light’ to politicians in the Six Counties that , should the worse come to the worse and ‘awkward’ questions are asked re planning applications there , then an equally toothless tribunal can be established to , eventually , brush the matter under the carpet , in the hope that most people by then will have lost interest in the case – and who could blame them for that ; ‘Over a period of 15 years, the tribunal steadily grew more complex and costly. It produced 60,000 pages of evidence, 76,000 pages of correspondence, heard from 400 witnesses and sat for 917 days….’ (from here).

My reference , above, to the Six Counties is in relation to recent changes * made by the Stormont administration in regards to issues of planning which will limit , if not extinguish, any appeals process and which will open the door for property developers to be able to brush aside environmental and social concerns in regards to what they want to build, and where. In my opinion , this raises the issue as to whether those politicians in the Occupied Six Counties have been looking over the British-imposed border in admiration of the manner in which their cousins in Leinster House (ab)used the planning process and decided that they , too, want a piece of the action?(*That link is accurate save for the term “country” which is mistakenly used in reference to six Irish counties.)


“How else can I be expected to sustain my present lifestyle….?”

This coming Friday (4th October 2013) I’ll be casting a ‘Yes’ vote in the hope that enough citizens of this State will do the same and, between us, we can commence with the abolition of the useless State Senate. It is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded political creche for young wannabes and an old folks home for retiring politicians, each one of whom drains the State of over €60,000 a year in wages with ‘expenses’ on top of that. As well as the outrageous waste of taxpayers money poured into this institution, it offers a platform for publicly unelected politicians to grandly pontificate on issues which otherwise they usually wouldn’t care about and affords them publicity to promote themselves to their party leadership as a future ‘safe pair of hands’ ie HMV at the State cabinet table.

Indeed, in campaigning amongst the various ‘special nominating bodies’ for election to the State Senate, one of the candidates expressed his distaste for the manner in which that institution was constituted (“…its electoral system was an affront to democracy…”) but appears to have had a change of heart since winning a seat. There are more than enough politicians in Leinster House with that air about them without gifting them a second , expensive, venue to operate from. Vote ‘Yes’ on Friday 4th October 2013 for State Senate abolition (even though , if a ‘Yes’ vote is achieved, it will be at least two-and-a-half years before that ineffective institution is abolished) , and while you’re there, vote ‘NO’ to the establishment of a new State ‘Court of Appeal’ : we don’t need more Judges and legal secretaries etc on the State payroll , chomping at the bit to lighten the already sparse public purse. We can’t afford them and, even if we could, they’re not worth it.

Thanks for reading , Sharon.

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.


  1. M. Byrne says:

    Hi, I just wanted to draw your attention to the hyper link you have on Ivor Lopez in the article on Gibraltar. The person in this link is not the person you are referring to

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