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

I had been going over in my own mind how to explain why Fianna Fáil could speak to the slogan ‘CALL OFF THE BAILIFF’ and at the same time refuse to endorse ‘NO RENT’. The resolution on which Moore and I agreed called for the suspension of decrees enforcing land annuities until such time as there would be national agreement (sic) on the payments which Irish farmers must make to national (sic) housekeeping expenses.

If this money was neither morally nor legally due, why should farmers pay it and why should Fianna Fáil worry so long as the resolution contemplated the prospect that Irish farmers might be asked to make a direct payment later on? Who would argue that the land annuity, that was negotiated to compensate rack-renting landlords, was the charge that should be regarded as the farmers’ proper payment towards national (sic) housekeeping expenses?

We now settled down to a friendly sparring match : I explained that I must keep the case of the people already exposed to seizures and arrests in mind in any slogan that we raised. Hugo Flynn was a surprise to me – he was quite impatient with what he called the niceties in the hesitations of some of the leaders , saying that the truth was that the city-minded men were scared of their lives of the countryside. If the countryside was going to break loose, good luck to it. By the time we reached Loughrea there could be no doubt that we would muster a full team of speakers on the platform the next day. But new troubles broke out as we stepped from the train – to understand them , the Galway story must be brought up to date and that is a story for Father John Fahy to tell….. (MORE LATER).


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

The ‘Operations Room’ was a long rectangular room , with tables at each end, one of which was occupied by the apparatuses for three radio networks and their operators – these were for the police, surveillance and military. At the other end was a table for use by the Commissioner’s advisory group which, the inquest was told, were features of all such operations where military aid had been requested by a civil power.

On this occasion the advisory group consisted of ‘Soldiers E’ , ‘F’ and ‘G’ , Deputy Commissioner Columbo , Detective Chief Inspector Ullger , Head of the Special Branch , ‘Officer M’ and other security people. In cross examination at the inquest , Commissioner Canepa said that the decision to form the advisory group had been a joint one between himself and certain senior military officers and intelligence.

Also in advance of the operation, as was also apparently customary, two documents had been prepared by the military to enable control of the operation be signed over to them should the need arise. The first was the ‘handing over’ document , which said – ” I have considered the terrorist situation in Gibraltar and have been fully briefed on the military plan with firearms. I request that you proceed with military option which may include the use of lethal force for the preservation of life.” This was to be signed by Commissioner Canepa or his appointed deputy whenever he decided it appropriate that the IRA ASU be apprehended.

The second document , the ‘handing back’ form, was to be signed by ‘Soldier F’ , the SAS commanding officer , when the arrests were completed. It read – ” A military assault force completed the military option in respect of the terrorist ASU in Gibraltar and returns control to the civil power.” Now , just before 3pm on Sunday March 6th 1988 , Deputy Commissioner Columbo , in command in the absence of the Commissioner, was presented with the first form by the SAS and asked to sign it…. (MORE LATER).


Pat and Harry Loughnane , Galway – tortured to death in Ireland by British forces in 1920.

“I am of the opinion that hand grenades were put in their mouths and that these then exploded …..” – part of the comments made by the doctor who examined the remains of the Loughnane brothers.

The remains of Harry Loughnane.

Pat and Harry Loughnane were well-known and equally well-liked and respected in their neighbourhood of South-Galway. Pat (the eldest) , was an IRA man and Secretary of Sinn Féin in the area ; he was also active in GAA circles. His younger brother , Harry , played in goal for the local Beagh Hurling Club , and was in charge of the local cumann of Sinn Féin ; both brothers worked on the family farm in Shanaglish , County Galway , and were working in the corn fields on Friday , 26th November 1920 , when the Black and Tans surrounded them. The two brothers were thumped around a bit in the corn fields by the Black and Tans and then thrown into the back of the lorry belonging to the Tans – they were pushed off the lorry outside the Bridewell Barracks in Gort and put in a cell. People in near-by cells later reported hearing the brothers being battered by the Tans , who were well aware that the Loughnane brothers were active in the struggle for Irish Freedom.

After three or four hours of beating , the brothers were dragged out to the courtyard of Gort Bridewell and tied to each other ; the other end of the rope was then tied to the back of the truck , which drove off , heading for Drumharsna Castle , which was then the Headquarters of the Black and Tans in that area of Galway. Both Pat and Harry Loughnane were at that stage too weak to run behind the truck , and ended up being dragged on the ground behind it and, on arrival at Drumharsna Castle, the rope was untied from the truck and the two men were dragged into another cell and beaten again. At around 10.30 or 11pm that same night (Friday 26th November 1920) the Loughnane brothers were removed from the cell and put in the back of the truck ; they were pushed out of the back of same after travelling a few miles – the brothers would have been too dazed to realise it, but they were now in Moy O’Hynes Wood , and were being taken deep into the thicket of it by the Black and Tans.

Locals later reported hearing four shots and, the following day (Saturday , 27th November 1920) , rumour was rife in the neighbourhood that Pat and Harry Loughnane had been dragged into the Moy O’Hynes Wood and shot dead by the Black and Tans but that rumour also insisted that Harry Loughnane somehow survived the ordeal – and the Tans heard that same rumour. It was early on Sunday morning (28th November 1920) that the Brits again entered the Wood – they were observed loading something into the back of their lorry and driving off at speed towards the small town of Umbriste (near Ardrahan , on the Gort to Clarinbridge road) ; it later transpired that the Black and Tans burned the bodies of the Loughnane brothers when they arrived at Umbriste but even then they were not satisfied – so they dug a hole and threw the bodies in to it. However , because of the rocky terrain , the Tans were unable to fully cover their tracks and were convinced that the charred remains would be found ; they dug them up and carried them to a near-by pond , weighted them down , and threw them in – they then apparently poured a couple of gallons of dirty engine oil into the pond at that same spot.

That happened on Sunday , 28th November 1920 ; the following day (Monday 29th November) the Brits called to the Loughnane home and told the boys’ mother that they were looking for her two sons – that they had escaped from custody and were “on the run”. The Brits knew well enough where the two brothers were but , as well as deliberately giving false hope to the family , they were in the process of concocting an alibi for themselves. However , at this stage , the family and friends did not know any better and search-parties were organised to look for Pat and Harry.

In the middle of December that year (1920) , the remains were found. Before the brothers were given a proper funeral , a local doctor was asked to examine the remains and his report showed that both men had , at first , been sadistically battered ; the eldest of the brothers , Pat , had both wrists broken and both legs broken , while Harry had had two fingers removed by a saw , while still alive , and his right arm was only attached to the remains of the charred body by sinews. The doctor stated that the damage to the head , neck and upper-chest area of both men was caused , in his opinion , by “…hand grenades (which) were put in their mouths and that these then exploded …” The remains of both men showed that the Black and Tans had attempted to ‘write’ on the men , using knives or bayonets – sets of initials were carved into both bodies.

There was a heavy presence of Black and Tans at the funerals of Pat and Harry Loughnane , but the IRA called their bluff just as the burial ceremony was coming to an end – six armed IRA Volunteers stood over the grave and a three-volley shot was given. The kidnap , torture , abuse and manner of death suffered by Pat and Harry Loughnane is the most horrific incident that this author has come across in researching articles for this blog. Even in times of war , the fate deliberately inflicted on the brothers was inhuman. At the risk of sounding like we are trying to score a cheap political point , we remind our readers that the military kin of the Black and Tans are still in this country. And they receive their instructions from the same political institution which gave the Tans their orders. Think of that , next time you hear talk of “dissident Republicans” in Ireland , and ask yourself how could you be but “dissident” to British rule in any part of Ireland ? And ask yourself when have true Irish Republicans ever been but “dissident”?

On Sunday 24th November last , the Republican Movement held a commemoration to mark the 93rd anniversary of that savage act , and a report on same can be viewed here.


….not unheard of with such ‘high-profile’ political figures,but ‘PM’ Cowen was such a ‘dizzy’ man that he considered that title suited him better than his proper one – ‘Free State Taoiseach’.

Gerry Adams is right , without a doubt , in regards to his ‘drink in the workplace’ comments , but the man is wasting his time : the ‘drink culture’ , whatever about it being ingrained in ‘Irish culture’ , definitely ‘comes with the job’ as far as those in Leinster House are concerned. And why wouldn’t it ? Those ‘professional’ politicians have too much time and too much spare money on their hands , and even if they don’t make a show of themselves by their (publicised) drunken behaviour, and even if they don’t apparently spend what workers and the unemployed would consider a small fortune on alcohol (and/or other mind-altering substances), they are still in receipt of more money than they know what to do with.

And not only is the man who raised the issue ‘(financially)guilty as charged’, but he could teach the rest of them a thing or two : in 2011, Gerry Adams was paid a wage of €1920 a week and also claimed weekly ‘expenses’ of €1013 and last year he was paid the same weekly wage (€1920) and, on top of that, collected weekly ‘expenses’ of €1198! Any chance , Gerry , that instead of complaining about how your political colleagues in Leinster House spend their money, you would query , instead, how come they can afford to spend it in that manner?


On his knees : the economic war being waged on the citizens of this State by those in Leinster House is , literally, killing people.

Being faced with a choice of part-paying a bill , buying some food or putting the heat on for an extra hour (or at all) is something that those in Leinster House will never have to do and, in order to keep it that way, they need to maintain their lifestyles , which costs money – large amounts of it and on a regular basis. Which leads to them having to make a choice between relinquishing some of their luxury items in order that cash might flow back into the ‘kitty’ in the hope that some of it , at least, might trickle down , or deliberately making a decision that ‘it’s every man for themselves’. And they have , to a man (and a woman) , decided on the latter – at great cost to the citizens that they claim to ‘govern’ over. No matter to them how often this happens or who knows about it as they are inured to criticism at this stage of their political ‘careers’ and, indeed, the further up that slimey political pole they climb the less they care about such criticism (witness Pádraig Flynn in the above-linked video) . It’s not ‘new people’ we need to replace the existing shower of mé féiners , but a new system to replace this failed political entity. And until that happens, the rest of us would be advised to wrap-up well…


37 Years underwater!

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 area. At the appointed time on the agreed day – 12 Noon , Christmas Day 1976 – a soon-to-be 37-years-young event was ‘born’. The CABHAIR Christmas Day Swim is , thankfully , still going strong and will be , as mentioned , 37-years-young on December 25th next!

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


(….and on this link you can read how firewood from the Inchicore Cabhair Swim can be used to get you into ‘hot water’ elsewhere..!)

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. Pingback: THE TANS BURNED THEM, BUT THAT WASN’T ENOUGH… | 11sixtynine

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