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

From Tipperary I wandered into Limerick and on into Kerry where Mick Halissey of Cahirciveen was responsive to the campaign in ‘An Phoblacht’. Johnny O’Connor of Farmersbridge gathered a houseful of people to meet me , and I think he must have mischievously selected every hard-headed Sinn Féiner within fifty miles of him, for I felt that every word I said hopped back into my face. But it was a great night, as any gathering must be, built around that great-hearted man. I had a good many ‘Phoblacht’ outposts throughout Cork, but I think I did only one public meeting there, and that was at Kinsale – it was arranged by Robert Beechinor , and I shared the platform with Martin Corry TD (sic) and Tom Mullins , who is now Secretary to Fianna Fáil.

Wexford formed a very good committee with Myles Dillon and a young man named Whitty as the driving force within it. It arose defensively around Matt Kent and it could have grown into something really worthwhile , had I been able to give more attention to it. I did a few meetings in Wicklow but I found it difficult to see much of any committee that didn’t lie along the road from Dublin to Galway or Dublin to Donegal through Sligo. Movements only develop when conditions ripen in their favour. By the end of the 1920’s the world economic crisis had made itself felt so sharply in Ireland as an agricultural crisis that middle and even bigger farmers found the current annuity an embarrassment, and suddenly our movement became self-propelled. They took no open stand, but just defaulted and waited to see what would happen. Moore noticed this trend before I did ; he gathered long lists of defaulters – I think it likely he had some friend in the Land Commission that helped him – and he grouped the defaulters by size of holding.

“This is becoming a runaway” , Moore told me, “the government will have to get out of its way.” And sure enough while the courts were being invoked widely for decrees, the decrees were not being enforced. The burden of arrears was being passed on with less and less fuss to the local rates and by now voices arose in every county council in our favour. I was even able to report, in ‘An Phoblacht’ , denunciation of land annuities by Sinn Féin TD’s (sic) and , like a great shelter belt around our movement, lay the ever-sharpening conflict between government forces and the IRA. Anything could happen. (MORE LATER).


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

Victor and Sheila Adams were two British holidaymakers who had spent the day across the border in Spain. As they walked back into Gibraltar they heard the noise of a police siren just as they reached the footbridge a short distance from the Shell station. Almost immediately they heard two blasts which Victor thought were firecrackers. In between those two bursts he saw an orange object flying in his direction. Instinctively – he couldn’t say how – he knew it was a bullet. It struck him in the stomach, slightly grazing and bruising him (he suffered no serious injury). He shouted to his wife “It’s for real” and they took cover. The next they knew there were a lot of people about. Neither he nor his wife saw anybody being shot.

Mrs Carmen Proetta was standing by the window of her apartment in Rodney House, to the right of and behind the Shell petrol station. She was filling the sink to wash the dishes when she heard a police siren and looked out of the window. A police car was coming to a halt opposite the Shell station. The siren had stopped but the blue light was still on ; the four doors of the car opened simultaneously and four men got out. Three of them were in civilian clothing, the fourth wore a police uniform. They jumped over the barrier and at least two of them were armed, she thought. She saw a man and a woman on the path. The woman was carrying a shoulder bag and a plastic carrier bag. They turned around and raised their hands in the air, palms facing outwards. She heard a shot and the woman fell to the ground. The man made a movement as if to grab her but he too went down. There was a fusillade of shots.

Then she saw another man she hadn’t noticed before – he had a gun pointed downwards. There were more shots, no smoke or fire, just the sound of shots. She saw a gush of blood coming up over the low wall of the Shell station. She heard no warning shout being given at any time. Maxie Proetta, husband of Carmen Proetta, said that at around 3.40pm he had heard a police siren and looked out his kitchen window. He saw a police car stopped at the traffic lights and two men, one on the road and the other behind the board of the Shell petrol station. Then he saw a couple, a man and a woman, at the petrol station – they had stopped and were looking back. He saw the man on the road pull something out of his jacket and at that point the doors of the police car opened and three men in civilian clothes and one man in uniform got out. At least two of them seemed to have guns in their hands. Then he heard a shot, saw the man on the road pointing something and the girl on the path raise her hands in front of her face “as if to protect herself”. The man beside the woman made a move as if to grab her, then there were more shots. He saw the man behind the board with his arms stretched out as though firing. Both the man and the woman had now fallen and the two men were still, he thought, firing at the bodies on the ground. By this time his wife had joined him at the window and when she saw the shots being fired at the bodies on the ground she said : “Lo estan rematando….” (“They’re finishing them off…”). (MORE LATER).


“Gerrymandering” , Mr. Martin called it : “It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions….” (from here) , adding “….we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on….”.

However, a more important ‘skewing’ by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called ‘opposition’ in Leinster House – the ‘Boundary Commission’ established under ‘Article 12’ of the 1921 ‘Treaty of Surrender’, which was tasked with ‘determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county ‘states’ ‘ , the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!

Austen Chamberlain , the then British Chancellor of the Exchequer , was adamant that an Oath should be taken , so the soon-to-be Free Staters put forward the following form of words to the British – ” I ……. , do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State , to the Treaty of the Association and to recognise the King of Great Britain as Head of the Associated States” but this wasn’t a big enough ‘climb-down’ to suit the Brits ; they insisted that their form of words would have to be used – “I ……. , do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established and that I will be faithful to His Majesty King George V , his heirs and successors by law , in virture of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations.”

This was ‘a bridge too far’ for the Irish ; further disagreement ensued between them and the British negotiating team over this ‘Oath of Allegiance’ and , finally , in exasperation , one of those from the Irish side , George Gavan Duffy (who, later [on 21st December 1921], stated : “I do not love this Treaty now any more than I loved it when I signed it, but I do not think that that …is an adequate motive for rejection to point out that some of us signed the Treaty under duress, nor to say that this Treaty will not lead to permanent peace. It is necessary before you reject the Treaty to go further than that and to produce to the people of Ireland a rational alternative. My heart is with those who are against the Treaty, but my reason is against them, because I can see no rational alternative”) could take no more – he stood up at the negotiating table and made a short statement to the British – “Our difficulty is to come into the Empire , looking at all that has happened in the past…”

With that , Austen Chamberlain is reported to have leapt to his feet and shouted “That ends it !” ; negotiations closed down. That was around early/mid October 1921 – ‘feelers’ were put out by both camps and the talking started again, and continued until Monday 5th December 1921 when the then British Prime Minister, Lloyd George , announced to the Irish side that he had written two letters , one of which would now be sent to his people in Ireland ; one letter told of a peaceful outcome to the negotiations , the other told of a breakdown in the negotiations – Lloyd George stated that if he sent the latter one “… it is war, and war within three days. Which letter am I to send?”

That ‘war letter’ meeting took place on the afternoon of Monday 5th December 1921 ; at around 7pm that same evening, the Irish team left that Downing Street meeting to discuss the matter between themselves and returned to Downing Street later that night. At ten minutes past two on the morning of Tuesday 6th December 1921, Michael Collins and his team accepted ‘dominion status’ and an Oath which gave “allegiance” to the Irish Free State and “fidelity” to the British Crown – the Treaty was signed (….and within six months a Civil War was raging in Ireland, between the British-supported Free Staters and the Irish Republicans who did not accept that ‘Treaty’…). The ‘Boundary Commission’ body was to be Chaired by a South African judge, who was known to be friendly to the British establishment…. (MORE LATER).


On 9th April 1981, (P)IRA POW Bobby Sands was elected as an abstentionist member in a Leinster House (Free State ‘parliament’) election, after being nominated to contest the seat by Dáithí Ó Conaill, the then vice president of the then Sinn Féin organisation. Bobby Sands was, as far as Irish republicans are concerned, a ‘Teachta Dála’ (TD) who was elected to take a seat in a 32-county Irish parliament, unlike the Free State representatives who sit in an institution in Kildare Street in Dublin today and claim to be ‘TD’s in an Irish parliament’ and, indeed, Bobby’s motives and those of Dáithí and the other then Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle members who nominated him to contest the election were pure, unlike the motives of the self-serving time-keepers who sit in that Kildare Street premises : the motives of the former involved a principled unwillingness to allow themselves and the struggle they were part of to be criminalised and to highlight to the world that they were fighting a political struggle against Westminster and its allies in this country.

Bobby Sands was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for his alleged part in a fire-bombing campaign which, as part of an economic war against the British presence in Ireland, targeted business premises (in this instance, the Balmoral Furniture Company) with the intention of making it financially unviable for Britain to maintain its grip on that part of Ireland, a fact which present-day Provisional Sinn Féin members seek to ignore or gloss over when referencing the so-called ‘ineffectual/grubby deeds’ of those who continue that struggle today. On the 9th April , 1981, Bobby Sands was elected by 30,492 of those that voted in the Fermanagh/South Tyrone district, prompting, years later, this thesis from a republican leader : “Contrary to allegations made in the news media, there was not a straight line from the election of Bobby Sands in 1981 to the Stormont Agreement of 1998. Rather was the line from March, April and May 1981 to the same months in 1998 disfigured and distorted by an internal power-struggle for the leadership of Sinn Féin accompanied and followed by deceit and artifice as the ideals of Bobby Sands were steadily perverted and a section of the then powerful revolutionary Republican Movement turned into a constitutional party…..” (from here) . Bobby Sands, 9th March 1954 – 5th May 1981. RIP.


The ‘Peter and Martin Show’ – coming soon to a social welfare office/royal banquet gig near you!

Could there be any greater social contrast issue between deciding how much to cut from a social welfare budget whilst, at practically the same time, trying to learn to curtsy and updating your table manners in preparation to play your part in the normalisation propaganda process (or the ‘peace and equality process’, as those who are quite prepared to live with and/or ignore the British political and military presence in Ireland call it!) by attending a ‘royal banquet’?

This blog can EXCLUSIVELY REVEAL!!! that Mr McGuinness will be enlarging his arse on ‘Block H’ , row J118 and will be expected to know that “…..the term ‘fit for a queen’ is more than a cliché. It is a standard upheld with British perfection and pride. Despite having a household staff of 1,200, the Queen herself is actively involved in the banquet preparation. She chooses the menu and decides on the seating plan. The banquet tables are set with the same precision that one would expect after seeing the Changing of the Guards. Napkins are measured so that they are spaced precisely 17 inches apart…. and will not be frisked on his way in. However, he will be searched on his way out, as the host has expressed concerns that any man capable of turning his back on his own expressed beliefs is capable of anything, and especially so when it comes to keeping an eye on the ‘family silver’. All 30 pieces of them.

Martin McGuinness, pictured just before his ‘Queens Banquet’ feast, Tuesday 8th April 2014. He doesn’t need a bib, as he been taking the soup now for decades but, even so, still dribbles a wee bit if in the company of other establishment figures!

And, in yet another EXCLUSIVE!!! we can reveal that Mr McGuinness has decided to return the favour of an ‘invite’ to his host, his queen and, on 5th May next, the pair of them, at Martin’s request, will lay a wreath in honour of all 22 Irish hunger strikers , the Role of Honour will be read by Enda Kenny and Bertie Ahern will deliver the main oration, in which the words ‘historic new era/dispensation….totality of relationship….mature cordial recollection relationship…’ and ‘just resting in my account…’ will be employed and which Mr McGuinness and the others will agree with. This move had led to some disquiet in Provisional Sinn Féin circles but this was soon circumvented by the PSF leadership when representatives of those discontents in the rank and file were assured that ‘the leadership knew what they were doing….part of the overall ‘Brits Out’ strategy…..we will lead you to the republic..’ and they returned to their homesteads to pass the message on to their fellow rebels. Baaaa.


This coming Sunday (13th April 2014), as Liverpool take on Manchester City, Swansea City have it out with Chelsea and Sheffield United go up against Hull City (not forgetting that a fairly important hurling match will take place between Wexford and the Dubs and, I’m told, a ‘double-header’ takes place, too (?)!) , the CABHAIR organisation will be holding a 650-ticket raffle in a sports-themed hotel on the Dublin/Kildare border , a venue which always attracts dozens of completely mad fans who are very generous to us raffle workers in that they support our endeavours wholeheartedly and even forgive us for sometimes causing a distraction as we go about our business. I’ll post the results here as soon as I can (as a good few of our readers purchase tickets and some manage to make it to the premises on the day) but can’t promise that that will be before this day week. Those that attend would be aware as to why that is….!


If you want to avoid hypocritical Free Staters and not be seen in the company of an English ‘queen’ this Easter, then you couldn’t do much better than going here on Easter Sunday and here the following day. The only ‘banquet’ on offer will be for the heart, the spirit and the mind!

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.

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