By Peadar O’Donnell ; first published in January 1963.
The Free State government and its propagandists made a mistake : they said too much and the government arrested too many, too soon. It was all very well for propagandists to denounce the land annuity agitation and the IRA as ‘communist, anti-God…’ and generally an affair of blackguards out to destroy the church, but the arrests gave the people a chance to check this wild talk against life. The church-burning , anti-God ‘Reds’ , when arrested, turned out to be neighbours’ sons that grew up among them , and the commonsense of the people began to work again. But within this madness IRA leaders had, somehow, to survive. Those of us high on the list of villains sometimes trembled, sometimes chuckled, at the thought of the roasting we should get were we captured.
We survived because of a network of safe houses in Dublin, many of them with secret rooms. Country officers had friendly townlands around them, but the police drive was intense and continuous, and IRA officers whom the organisation could badly spare were captured. In Dublin, the greatest menace was the sit-down raid ; political police took over a house quietly, let nobody out, and waited for a catch. One such raid came near to capturing the IRA Army Council – by whatever chance, police took over a house in Stamer Street, off the South Circular Road, in Dublin, where the IRA Army Council was to rendezvous at 8pm on that, a winter evening. IRA Dublin Brigade intelligence, which screened meeting places, discovered the trap barely in time , and Seán Russell had no choice but to ‘phone a clear message to my wife to intercept me. But I was on my way by car from a sneak visit to one of my country groups and, in desperation, my wife took her stand at the turn into Stamer Street and stepped into the car headlights of every car that turned in there, drawing blasts and curses on herself.
I cut in on the South Circular Road , but neither my driver nor I was sure on which side of us Stamer Street lay, so I let down the window to – and looked up into my wife’s face! (MORE LATER).
THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS……..
By Michael O’Higgins and John Waters. From ‘Magill Magazine’ , October 1988.
The pathologist, Dr. Alan Watson, said that he located sixteen distinct tracks through Seán Savage’s body, plus the possibility of more if two symmetrical wounds, one in either shoulder, were taken into account. Watson could not establish any definite tracks leading to or from these wounds, but another pathology witness, Professor Derrick Pounder, established from the jacket worn by Seán Savage that the wound on the left shoulder was a separate exit wound (rather than a ricochet or a graze from another bullet). This made seventeen, yet the British soldiers insist that they fired only fifteen shots and turned in their magazines with the remaining live rounds to the police. They do not, however, appear to all have turned in other magazines they were carrying that day – some of them say they did, other said that they “didn’t remember”. The police officer who recorded receipt of the weapons and ammunition had no record of any extra magazines being handed in.
And, of course, there are the four strike marks within the area of the chalk mark showing where Seán Savage’s body lay, three of these within the area marking the head. The soldiers’ case was that these shots were fired at Seán Savage while he was falling to the ground. Both of them admit firing at his head. Both Professor Watson and Professor Pounder said that in their opinion some at least of the shots to the head had been fired while Savage was lying on his back on the ground, with Professor Pounder advancing the view that the shots were fired from the direction of the feet. One of the two groups of spent shells mentioned by Sergeant Acris as being in the vicinity of Savage’s body were found about four feet to the right of his head. The inquest also heard evidence that the Browning pistols used by the SAS soldiers eject cartridges to the right, usually to a distance of about four feet.
If the evidence concerning Seán Savage is at best suggestive, that with regard to Daniel McCann and Mairead Farrell is decidedly more clear. Professor Watson told the inquest that Mairead Farrell died from damage to the liver and heart resulting from damage by three bullets fired from the back. She also received two bullets to the head, which caused five wounds, all of which were superficial and would not have been fatal. Both bullets, according to Professor Watson, entered Farrell in the face – one in the left cheek and the other to the right of the chin, exiting respectively under the left ear and at the back of the neck. These wounds indicated that the shots had been fired while she was facing the shooter and had been received before the three shots to the back. (MORE LATER).
MICHEÁL MARTIN TAKES THE (WRONG) BOUNDARY COMMISSION TO TASK.
“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!(PART 16)
In Ireland in the early 1920’s, a ‘Sir’ Richard Dawson Bates (the Stormont ‘Minister for Home Affairs’) gave himself unprecedented powers to, for instance, “….outlaw organisations…to detain or intern people indefinitely without charge or trial …(and)..to destroy houses and buildings ….” , amongst other powers. He was to become the envy of others with a similar mind-set : some 40 years later (ie in [April] 1963) a Mr. Vorster, then South African ‘Minister for Justice’, was introducing a new Coercion Bill in the South African Parliament when , no doubt thinking of ‘Sir’ Bates and his colleagues in Stormont and Westminster, stated that he “…would be willing to exchange all the legislation of that sort for one clause of the Northern Ireland (sic) Special Powers Act.” Birds of a feather indeed. ‘Sir’ Richard Dawson Bates was a known bigot, and apparently took it as a compliment when it was said of him in Stormont (by a senior civil servant) – “(He) has such a prejudice against Catholics that he made it clear to his Permanent Secretary that he did not want his most juvenile clerk or typist, if a Papist (Catholic), assigned for duty to his ministry.” In 1935, however , he seemed to believe that he could treat everyone like dirt regardless of their religion – on 18th June that year (1935), ‘Sir’ Bates issued an Order banning all parades, not just those with a Republican/Nationalist ‘flavour’ : the Orange Order objected and told Bates and his people that it was their intention to hold a parade on the 23rd June (1935) and that said parade would be going ahead. Bates was not pleased – it was one thing to trample over the rights of the ‘Papists’, but the Orange Order were his own people. Bates put his troops on notice, and repeated his ‘banning Order’. On the 23rd June (1935), the Orange Order took to the streets, as intended – and the RUC, and ‘Sir’ Bates , stood and watched! At that parade, the then Orange Grand Master , a ‘Sir’ Joseph Davison, ‘put it up’ to his friend, ‘Sir’ Bates – ” You may be perfectly certain that on the 12 July the Orangemen will be marching throughout Northern Ireland (sic) . I do not acknowledge the right of any government, Northern or Imperial, to impose conditions as to the celebration.” Four days later (ie on the 27th June 1935) ‘Sir’ Bates backed down and lifted the ‘ban’. Three years later (on 22nd December  ) ‘Sir’ (or ‘Master’ ?!) Bates introduced internment for Republicans, saying – “The (Stormont) Government decided there was no alternative other than to arrest and intern well-known leaders and prominent members of this illegal organisation (IRA).” No ‘backing down’ on that one. ‘Sir’ Richard Dawson Bates was a ‘product’ of the times and ‘class’ he was born into ; he could not help but be arrogant…. (MORE LATER).
ON THIS DATE (13TH AUGUST) 45 YEARS AGO : THE BATTLE OF THE BOGSIDE BEGINS.
Amongst other acts of provocation perpetrated by Westminster and its agents in the Occupied Six Counties, the attack on the Devenney family was still fresh in the memory of the population in the deprived Bogside area of Derry.
The ‘Battle of the Bogside’ has had so many thousands of words printed about it over the last 45 years that it is unlikely that we can give any fresh insights into it nor do we feel it necessary to even attempt to do that – regardless of the position that this incident is viewed from, it is beyond doubt that it helped to further expose the lie from Westminster that its ‘police force’, the RUC, and its army, were only in that part of Ireland to ‘keep the peace between two warring religious factions’. Even to this day, some of the files related to/connected with that event will not become public for another eight years – 53 years after those atrocities!
The Free State administration declared that it “…could not stand by and watch innocent people injured and perhaps worse..” and they didn’t – they dressed the wounds of the injured (!) but backed off when it came to intervening to prevent any more injuries and, indeed, have themselves inflicted injuries on those of us who continue to oppose the British military and political presence in Ireland. But we have broad shoulders, as had those whose footsteps we follow, and we will persist.
SHAMELESS HYPOCRITES WITH NO BOUNDARIES.
Obama – voices concern about an issue and at the same time assists those who give rise to his ‘concern’.
Higgins – pays homage to the British Army despite the fact that that same military force is occupying six Irish counties.
Both Obama and Higgins would be well aware that their above-mentioned actions offer ‘hostages to fortune’ but such is their eagerness to please the ‘establishments’ that own them and to preserve their own comfortable position within same that they have apparently suppressed whatever qualms their conscience may still be capable of producing.
C.JoyBell C. synopsised the Obamas and Higgins’ of this world when she wrote – “The difference between my darkness and your darkness is that I can look at my own badness in the face and accept its existence while you are busy covering your mirror with a white linen sheet. The difference between my sins and your sins is that when I sin I know I’m sinning while you have actually fallen prey to your own fabricated illusions…..” but the fact is that no matter the issue at hand or their own personal feelings and/or beliefs re same, career politicians will follow the path of least resistance – least resistance, that is, to their own careers and fortunes. Humanity can go to hell.
THE RISING OF THE MOON…..
Ní bhrisfidh siad mé mar tá an fonn saoirse agus saoirse mhuintir na hEireann i mo chroí. Tiocfaidh lá éigin nuair a bheidh an fonn saoirse seo le taispeáint ag daoine go léir na hEireann ansin tchífidh muid eirí na gealaí” (“If they aren’t able to destroy the desire for freedom, they won’t break you. They won’t break me because the desire for freedom, and the freedom of the Irish people is in my heart. The day will dawn when all the people of Ireland will have the desire for freedom to show. It is then we’ll see the rising of the moon”) – Bobby Sands.
The annual commemoration in honour of all 22 Irish hunger-strikers will be held this year on Saturday, 30th August, in Bundoran, as usual. And, as usual, all genuine republicans are welcome! Some more info re same can be sourced here.
IRISH REPUBLICAN RESOURCE…..
….a new website is in the process of being built which, even as it now is, will offer a valuable resource for those interested in the on-going struggle against British imperialism and Free State gombeenism : the site will offer examples of almost 30 years of republican record and comment and can be accessed here. It would be appreciated if you could highlight same within your own contact list, as republicans are subject to (‘unofficial’) State censorship and, when we do achieve some coverage from the main-stream media, it is highly edited to present us in a bad light. Go raibh maith agat!
ÉIRE NUA ‘ON TOUR’!
In what I hope will be a regular event, the Republican Movement will be taking its message to the people via street meetings, which it has done before but which, in my opinion, can never be overdone. Details here, and again – please spread the word as best you can to those on your contact lists, as we all have our part to play!
Kilkenny did indeed do themselves proud on the pitch on Sunday last, but the nearest they got to having a win at the CABHAIR raffle on that same day was when a shy punter, who signed himself ‘Racey’, from Carlow, a county bordering Kilkenny, won our 5th prize, €20, on ticket number 291 : but if it’s any consolation to ‘the Cats’, the ‘Racey’ fella was a supporter and told us that he had placed a €50 bet with the bookies that Kilkenny would win both games and that he “got decent odds”. And he sure looked happy with himself! Anyway – our 1st prize, €200, was won by a lady on the premises, Carmel, who had bought the ticket, number 273, from one of our regular sellers, Martin, from Drogheda, who also sold a ticket (261) to a Mr. Brendan Purcill , who won 4th prize, €20, thus ensuring two free pints for our Martin, who we didn’t see again until after the raffle, when we were having a bite to eat!
Our 2nd prize, €100, was delightedly (and loudly!) won by local lass Louise Sheridan, who had bought her ticket (512) from behind the bar in the local GAA club as did the winner of our third prize, Jack Dempsey (not pictured here!) , from Portlaoise (ticket 098), and we gave him his envelope and a box in the eye and sent him on his way! Our bus driver, Anto, sold ticket number 078 to a fella in the hotel bar, Willie Langan, who won prize number 6 on it, €20, and who pulled the seventh prize for us – that was worth €20 and was won by a near-neighbour of ours, on ticket 559, Chris, from Clondalkin in Dublin, who had bought his ticket from one of our sellers in that town, Anthony B. The last prize, worth €20, went to a Meath man, Luke, on ticket 245, and he immediately joined the Kilkenny-loaded ‘winners enclosure’ section of the bar and got a ‘Royal’ welcome from ‘The Cats’. The banter and slagging was, as always, great craic , and we congratulated the many Kilkenny fans who kept us company and, even though they hadn’t got a raffle winner between them, were happy that they had the opportunity to support republican prisoners. And, lads and lassies, we were delighted to be in your company and happy for ye that your teams won their games on the pitch. But win or lose the match, we’ll be back next month for another outing!
Thanks for reading, Sharon.