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

I had no idea how a ‘NO RENT!’ poster came to be issued in Galway , but in face of this letter I must somehow get there. Just then a nurse asked me if I would speak with Colonel Moore on the phone and I said I would. I certainly would. I am always very glad to remember that for all my blazing anger I did not fly out at him : I had forgotten for the moment that he tried to reach me the day before . He asked me if I had seen the letter and I said I had. He said he was very unhappy about it and that he tried to reach me before signing it. He was afraid that all his good work with Fianna Fáil had been swept away and that the poster was most unfortunate. I agreed with him.

“I told them that,” I said , “I knew you had nothing to do with it.” I could chuckle now – Sinn Féin were not the only people who had their doubts of me. “Isn’t it a wonder they wouldn’t suspect some of the local Cumann na nGael flyboys for it , for after all this meeting is to be on Paddy Hogan’s doorstep. He must have his own bright boys round him.” Colonel Moore asked me if I think they did it, but I replied no , and laughed. He asked me what I intended to do and I told him I would be on my way to Loughrea by the afternoon train. Did I want him to come along , he asked , but I said that he had better stay back with the others so as to keep within speaking distance of Fianna Fáil , behind whom the radicals of the countryside were shut away from us.

It was easy enough to say to Moore that I would be on the next train to Loughrea , but I had to get out of hospital. Fortunately my clothes were at hand , so I wrote a note for Jo O’Donnell , and I phoned my wife. She understood that I just must go , and I promised to see a doctor that evening in Loughrea. I slumped into a corner of the carriage – my head was one raw ache. I awoke to find Colonel Moore with his hand on my shoulder. He told me that Frank Fahy and Hugo Flynn were also on the train and he was not at all sure they would speak at the meeting , but they came along in the hope that we might somehow find a way out of this muddle. (MORE LATER).


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

Coming up to 2.50pm , Mairead Farrell and Daniel McCann were approaching the assembly area having walked from the border. They arrived via Line Wall Road and walked up the square towards the spot where the car was parked just off Main Street. Police Constable Viagas , watching from the Hambros Bank , heard on his radio that the two people had been postively identified and were walking at a casual pace. Daniel McCann glanced at the car in passing and almost immediately they were joined in the square by Seán Savage.

Police Commissioner Joseph Canepa , meanwhile, was on his lunch break : he had gone home at 12.30pm , twenty minutes before Seán Savage drove into the assembly area, and was still there at 2.30pm when he got a call from his deputy, Acting Deputy Commissioner Charles Columbo , to say that two members of the IRA ASU , Mairead Farrell and Daniel McCann , had just been tentatively identified entering at the frontier. Commissioner Canepa remained at home.

Back in the Operations Room , Acting Deputy Commissioner Columbo was in charge, despite the fact that this was his first real involvement in ‘Operation Flavius’. Once the operation had got under way , Acting Deputy Columbo had taken over Commissioner Canepa’s other duties to allow the Commissioner give the operation his full attention. Columbo had not attended the midnight briefing on the previous night, at which all personnel involved in the operation had attended, although he was a member of the Commissioner’s advisory group. He did, however , receive a private briefing from Commissioner Canepa , filling him in on the details and objectives of the operation. Now , just as things were beginning to happen , he found himself in command. (MORE LATER).


IRA Commandant Denis Barry – died on hunger-strike on 20th November 1923.

90 years ago on this date (20th November) , at forty years of age, IRA Commandant Denis Barry , from Riverstick , in south County Cork, died on hunger-strike in Newbridge Internment Camp in Kildare after fasting for 34 days.

Denis Barry was 31 years of age when he joined the then seven-month old ‘Irish Volunteers’ (membership number ‘1426’) and, when the time came to declare himself a ‘dissident’ or a ‘Free Stater’ (in 1921) , he bravely chose to stay on the Irish republican side. In late September/early October 1922 he was captured by the Staters and, on 6th October , was imprisoned in Newbridge , one of approximately 11,000 republican prisoners that were under armed guard in the State at that time. The only way these men and women could continue the fight for the Irish Republic was to use the hunger-strike weapon either to obtain freedom or, at least, to improve their prison conditions and, in October 1923 , an estimated 7,800 republican prisoners used that weapon. After 33 days on hunger strike , Denis Barry was brought by military ambulance to the Curragh Military Hospital in the afternoon of Monday 19th, where he died the next day (Tuesday 20th November 1923) at 2.45am , at forty years of age. The Catholic Church refused him a Christian burial so the Staters buried him in the Curragh but, three days later, after a legal battle, his remains were taken to Cork Sinn Féin Head Office (56 Grand Parade , Cork City) and he was then buried in the Republican Plot in St. Finbarr’s Cemetery, in one of the biggest funeral services that ever took place in that city. That was 90 years ago this month, and Denis Barry , and his comrades – from whatever year – will always be remembered by the Republican Movement.

Serving British soldiers , former British soldiers, RIC members and ex-members, carpenters, plumbers, electricans, landlords (and landladies), servants , busdrivers and taximen , businessmen and women , postmen and housewives – and the IRA ; all the above, and others, combined their knowledge and skills to great effect on the morning of Sunday, 21st November , 1920 : it was on that morning , 93 years ago, that thirteen senior British intelligence officers were executed in Dublin ……

A list giving details of the British assassins executed by the IRA in Dublin on 21st November 1920.

The IRA Intelligence Department at that time was an extremely efficient machine, run by Michael Collins , and the British were well aware of that fact ; Sir Henry Wilson wanted it, and Collins, eliminated , and sanctioned the use , in Ireland, of ‘The Cairo Gang’ , a unit of British agents which specialised in political assassinations – they got their name , and their reputation, from ‘hits’ in the Middle East, carried out on the instruction of Wilson and others in Westminster.

‘The Cairo Gang’ lived quietly in boarding houses and hotels in Dublin , never drawing attention to themselves, and set about compiling a ‘hit-list’ of Irish Republicans for assassination ; the IRA , however, were one step ahead of them. A Sergeant Mannix of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force, stationed at Donnybrook in Dublin, was an IRA agent, and obtained the names and addresses of all the ‘Gang’ members and passed the list on to his IRA contact, Frank Thornton. A situation then developed that ‘The Cairo Gang’ were monitoring the movements of the IRA members that they intended to assassinate while being monitored themselves by the IRA Intelligence Department. The Dublin Brigade of the IRA and the IRA Intelligence Department decided to work together on a plan to wipe out ‘The Cairo Gang’ , and a meeting was held at which Michael Collins , Dick McKee , Liam Tobin , Peadar Clancy , Tom Cullen , Frank Thornton and Oscar Traynor were present : the operation was to take place on Sunday morning, 21st November 1920 , as the then Leinster champions, Dublin and Tipperary, were to play in a GAA match, and large crowds would be in Dublin for the occasion, providing ‘cover’ for the IRA teams to escape in.

British Army Captain Leonard Price , a Major Dowling , a Captain Keenlyside and two British Army Colonels, Woodcock and Montgomery, were staying in premises at 28 Pembroke Street in Dublin when , at 9am on Sunday 21st November 1920, eight armed IRA Volunteers entered the building ; Price and Dowling were in a room by themselves sorting paperwork when the IRA entered the room and shot them dead – one of the Dublin Volunteers , Andrew Cooney , gathered up the sheets of paper and left the building . At the same time , British Captain Keenlyside and the two Colonel’s found themselves confronted by some of the same IRA unit and a struggle ensued between Keenlyside’s wife (no doubt present as part of what her husband probably considered a ‘working holiday’) and IRA Volunteer Mick O’Hanlon ; another IRA man , Mick Flanagan, pushed Mrs. Keenlyside out of the way and shot her husband dead….

British Lieutenant McLean , John Caldow (McLean’s brother-in-law) and known informer T H Smith were staying at 119 Morehampton Road in Donnybrook, Dublin, on that Sunday morning when six armed IRA Volunteers entered the building ; McLean , Caldow and Smith were caught off-guard and escorted to the top of the building , where IRA men Vincent Byrne and Sean Doyle shot them. John Caldow survived that morning and , after receiving medical attention, fled to Scotland (where he had come to Ireland from in order to join the RIC).

British Captain Newbury and his wife were staying at 92 Lower Baggot Street and heard the front door being kicked in – he immediately blocked the door to his room and made a run for the window ; he was half-way out of the window when his door was forced open and Volunteers Bill Stapleton and Joe Leonard shot him dead. His body was left draped over the open window for hours , as the Black and Tans believed it to be booby-trapped. At 38 Upper Mount Street , a maid let a number of men in to the building and led them to two rooms ; British Captain George Bennett was in one of the rooms, and British Colonel Peter Aimes was in the other one. Both men were armed and resisted the Volunteers, resulting in a gun-battle which left the two ‘Cairo’ men dead.

More documentation on IRA members, compiled by the ‘Cairo Gang’, was found at 28 Earlsfort Terrace , where British Captain Fitzgerald was staying ; he was shot dead on that Sunday morning and the paperwork removed for examination by the IRA Intelligence Department. Two British Lieutenants , McMahon and Peel , had been brought in by the British from Russia, where they had been involved in gathering intelligence information – they were to do the same job , in Dublin, this time as members of the ‘Cairo Gang’. They were staying at 22 Lower Mount Street. McMahon had a score to settle with the IRA : he had previously shot dead a Sinn Fein member , John Lynch, in the mistaken belief that Lynch was the Divisional Commandant of the 1st Southern Division of the IRA , Liam Lynch . The IRA later shot McMahon in a billiard hall , wounding him, and he wanted revenge. The two ‘Cairo’ men were in different rooms in number 22 Lower Mount Street when the IRA unit was let in ; they entered McMahon’s room just as he had picked up his revolver and shot him dead. On hearing the gunfire , Peel locked his door and then blocked it with a piece of furniture – unable to get in , the Volunteers fired more than a dozen bullets through the door , but Peel survived that day.

Na Fianna Eireann (Irish Republican Scouts) were also on Lower Mount Street that Sunday morning , as ‘lookouts’ ; one of their members ran into number 22 to tell the eleven-person IRA unit that the British Auxiliaries were on the street – five members of the IRA unit left calmly by the front door , the other six men went to the back of the house, out the back-door and walked away up a laneway . These six men were challenged by a number of Auxiliaries and a gun battle ensued – IRA man Frank Teeling was wounded , and two of the Brits, Garnin and Morris, were killed . The wounded Volunteer, Teeling, was captured, but the rest of his unit made good their escape. British Captain Bagally , who had made his reputation by presenting ‘evidence’ in showtrials which led to the executions of the Irish Republicans on ‘trial’ , was staying in number 119 Baggot Street when, on that Sunday morning, 21st November 1920, three IRA Volunteers (including Sean Lemass, a future Fianna Fail Free State Taoiseach) entered his room and shot him dead . British Captains McCormack and Wilde were staying in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin’s O’Connell Street when a number of men , claiming to be undercover British soldiers with a message to deliver to the two Captains, were shown by the hotel staff to the rooms they were looking for : as each man opened his door he was shot dead.

An IRA unit entered a guesthouse in Fitzwilliam Square to deal with a ‘Cairo Gang’ leader, British Major Callaghan ; he was booked in at the guesthouse but was not there at that particular moment – his colleague , however, a Captain Crawford, was present and was held at gunpoint by the Volunteers. Crawford was held at gunpoint by the Volunteers : however , it was decided that, as he was not the intended target his life would be spared if he left the country within twenty-four hours – Crawford threw some things in a case and left immediately. Another missed target was a Colonel Jennings , who was staying in the ‘Eastwood Hotel’ ; when the IRA unit broke in the door of his room,it was empty and there was no sign of him in the hotel – the Volunteers left the premises. A total of 13 British Secret Service executioners known as ‘ The Cairo Gang ‘ were themselves executed in Dublin on Sunday 21st November , 1920, by the IRA . The loss of those operatives , and the intelligence material they had accumulated, shook the British establishment to its roots , and highlighted on a global scale the extent of the British ‘dirty-tricks’ campaign in Ireland.

FOOTNOTE – IRA Volunteer Frank Teeling , who was wounded and captured in a laneway at the back of Lower Mount Street , was sentenced to death – however , he escaped with others from Kilmainham Jail / Days after the ‘Cairo Gang’ were wiped-out , it emerged that Major Callaghan and Colonel Jennings , who were both absent from their digs when the IRA called, had in fact stayed overnight in a local brothel! I can only presume that they were both with women./ On that Sunday ( 21st November, 1920) , a match took place between Dublin and Tipperary : the ‘Black and Tans’ came on to the pitch and opened fire on the players and the crowd – fourteen people were killed and sixty injured. The British later said they were fired on first….


On the 11th of November in 1913 in Dublin , in the then 68-year-old Wynn’s Hotel on Lower Abbey Street , a group of Irishmen and women held a meeting to discuss the formation of an ‘Irish National Volunteer Force’. Those present at that meeting , and/or at five other such meetings which were held immediately afterwards in the space of a two-week period, included Sean Fitzgibbon, John Gore, Michael J Judge, James Lenehan, Michael Lonergan, Peadar Macken, Seamus O’Connor, Colm O’Loughlin, Peter O’Reilly, Robert Page, George Walsh, Peadar White and Padraig O’Riain, amongst others (all of whom were well known in Irish nationalist circles ie Sinn Féin , Cumann na mBan , Na Fianna Éireann , the Gaelic League , the IRB , the Irish Citizen Army ,the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Irish Parliamentary Party and the United Irish League.)

Then, on the 25th November (1913), the inaugural enrolment meeting for the ‘Irish Volunteers’ was held at the Rotunda Rink in Dublin , overseen by a Provisional Committee consisting of thirty members , all of whom had been elected at the above-mentioned meetings. A week previous to the formation of the ‘Irish Volunteers’ , Jim Larkin and James Connolly had formed the ‘Irish Citizen Army’ , and both groups were in competition for members , the former on a 32-county basis whereas the latter was confined to the Leinster area , although attempts were made , through trade union structures, to recruit in Cork , Belfast , Derry , Sligo , Limerick , Kilkenny , Waterford , Dundalk , Galway and Wexford , but with no success. Also , those joining the ‘Volunteers’ were supplied with a uniform and other equipment while those joining the ‘ICA’ had to purchase same themselves.

Relations between the two organisations were not the best, as the ‘Volunteers’ allowed , for instance, employers to join and this at a time when employees and other trade unionists would most likely be ‘ICA’ members or supporters and, actually, when the ‘Volunteers’ were in conference for the first time (25th November 1913) ‘ICA’ members and supporters loudly made their presence felt and they also objected in print – their first leaflet stated that the ‘Volunteers’ were controlled by those who were opposed not only to trade unionism but also to workers rights re conditions etc.

Within a few months, however, the animosity had lessened to the extent that there was some official co-operation between both groups at the Wolfe Tone commemoration in June 1914 and again in October that year during the events held to commemorate Charles Stewart Parnell , but…….you will have to attend the seminar in Wynn’s Hotel in Lower Abbey Street, Dublin, on Saturday 23rd November 2013 , between 11.30am and 4.30pm to hear the rest….!


Martin is obviously delighted with his new acquisition , and he has no objection to the payback required for same….

One of the shared British ‘prime ministers’ of the occupied Six Counties, Martin McGuinness, is due to pay homage at the graves of British soldiers on December 19th next in Messines , Belguim , in the company of other anti-republican elements. I’m told that the full story was published in the ‘Irish News’ newspaper on 15th November last, but as it’s not freely accessible I won’t be using it here – that article, McGuinness and the other two clowns mentioned in our first link are not worth the price. Won’t be long now until McGuinness physically wears a poppy and/or sells them. He’s good at selling things, is our wee Martin…..


….then, from the inside, he padlocks himself in and throws away the key..!

This British spy was obviously a cross between James Bond (he was shaken, but didn’t stir…) and Harry Houdini or , indeed , even better than both of them : he obviously (!) placed himself into a suitcase , in a bath tub, closed the (external) zipper and put a padlock on it without leaving fingerprints or DNA anywhere! Previous to that particular incident , the USA held the record for ‘Worst Case Of Suicide – Ever!’ but the Brits weren’t going to lose (to North) Face and couldn’t just let it go…..

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.