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

The position of the Free State government had worsened steadily from the introduction of the ‘terrorist legislation’ of 1931 : within themselves they had not resolved the tensions created by the British betrayal of Collins and Griffith and had reason to fear pockets of unrest within the Free State army. They had cause to suspect police officers of guilty contact with IRA intelligence , and thereby hangs a story – they got evidence of IRA intentions, as secrecy was less important, at that stage, than an inspired leakage. The government weakened, and announced a general election. Without waiting for an IRA Council directive, ‘An Phoblacht’ met this announcement with an editorial slogan, “Put Cosgrave Out”.

The government had one good electioneering gimmick – the ‘Red Scare’. It just might work for them, and victory won to that war-cry would permit the measures it had in mind for dealing with the IRA. It was now the hour for IRA leaders to be found unequal to their task. We moved close to Mellows in our confused statement of policy in ‘Saor Éire’, and Bodenstown demonstrated that we enjoyed a strong, aggressive and popular backing. We then marked time.

Facing a general election, we believed we could add enough push to de Valera’s campaign to over-run the government party, but we had problems : de Valera and those around him wore no halos for us. They were a version of the leadership that made it easy for Arthur Griffith to break out of the independence movement at the head of the Home Rulers. These men would be incapable of the comprehensive state-sponsored schemes, which alone could reach out to the small-farm countryside, expand industry, and give Irish life the resilience and vitality it needed to reform the independence movement. Private enterprise in our retarded economy was a policy of make-believe. (MORE LATER).


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

In any event, there were no other wounds on Seán McCann’s body to account for the shots which Soldier ‘B’ said that he fired at McCann. His evidence was that he fired first either one of two rounds at Mairead Farrell , then turned fire on Seán McCann, then back on Farrell. He said that he did not miss with any of his seven shots, though he could not be specific as to how many he had fired at each of the two.

According to this analysis of his own and Soldier ‘A’s evidence, therefore, Soldier ‘B’ did not hit Seán McCann at all, except perhaps directly or indirectly with the mysterious bullet to McCann’s jaw. Similarly on this analysis, Soldier ‘A’ fired at most one shot into Mairead Farrell – and this into her back. Therefore, four of the five wounds received by Mairead Farrell had to be fired by Soldier ‘B’ , and these wounds were fired from two different directions- two directly into her face as she was facing the shooter and two into her back.

Soldier ‘B’ said that he was directly behind Mairead Farrell all the time he was shooting at her. He fired first at the centre of her back and, having momentarily switched his fire to Seán McCann , turned back to Mairead Farrell and continued to fire at her as she fell to the ground. But, as she fell forward, there is no possible explanation within this scenario for the wounds which she received to the face. To do what he says he did, Soldier ‘B’ would have needed to fire two bursts of shots, firing from two completely different positions, within the space of a couple of seconds. (MORE LATER).


Two Berts and a right Charlie – Reynolds and Ahern, both are well looked after, financially, by the State which, like Haughey, they ‘done some service for’.

*…..AND NO, NO QUESTION MARK. None needed, in the opinion of this blog. For a start, how can there be ‘(political) peace in Ireland’ when our six north-eastern counties remain under the political and military jurisdictional control of a foreign government? Those who confuse the absence of a sustained campaign against the British political and military presence with ‘peace’ have either allowed themselves to fall victim to both State propaganda and the watery nationalist verbal diarrhea emanating from those who were always prepared to accept crumbs or they are politically ignorant of the true nature of the issue at hand. The so-called ‘peace in the North’ that has been obtained was actually available to Irish republicans at any time over the last eight centuries but only if those with the ‘muscle’ on the republican/nationalist side were prepared to accept much less than what the struggle is about ie if they would only accept ‘civil rights’ from the British rather than to continue to seek a full British military and political withdrawal from Ireland and could persuade the majority of their members to accept same as ‘a stepping stone to freedom’. And, in that respect, the political dominoes fell just right for Albert Reynolds, in that he found himself dealing with, amongst others of similar ilk, Adams and McGuinness who, despite constant assurances from them to the contrary, have obtained their objective – to be treated ‘fair’ by Westminster.

However – having gratefully seized the opportunity to do business with half-hearted ‘republicans’, Reynolds allowed the outrageous claims re ‘peace at last’ to percolate and basked in the glow of others in his establishment and in the mainstream media (who knew better) who lauded the man as a political ‘messiah’.
Indeed, to their credit, some Fianna Fáil members recognised that Albert Reynolds was not all that he professed to be (even if Adams and McGuinness and their supporters , to their shame, didn’t cop it or chose to ignore it) – the ‘youth wing’ of his party wanted him dismissed for “conduct unbecoming” due to revelations disclosed about the man at a State-established tribunal of inquiry : “…the Tribunal’s final report said Reynolds had abused his political power as Taoiseach by soliciting a donation from developer Owen O’Callaghan in exchange for government support in his proposed national stadium at Neilstown in Dublin……he was also criticised for failing to act when he learned of the IR£50,000 donation made by Tom Gilmartin to Padraig Flynn in 1989, which had been intended by Gilmartin as a donation to Fianna Fáil but which Flynn is accused of personally retaining…..” and, speaking of money, let’s not forget that Reynolds was in receipt of a State pension to the value of €3119.58 a week!

It’s true that money can’t buy you love, but it can, apparently, buy you the ‘respect’ of various toadies and wannabe toadies who will laud the fallen as the risen if the price is right. Coat-tail jumpers, the lot of them, regardless of where the ‘coat’ has been.


‘Free State Keeps Ireland Down…’ : a poster used and distributed by Sinn Féin in the 1923 Free State general election.

‘Justice and Brotherhood-not Flogging and Tortures….Sinn Féin will abolish the murder gangs and secure the life, liberty and property of the people…’ : a leaflet used and distributed by Sinn Féin in the 1923 Free State general election.

‘A Self-Reliant Nation…..Ireland Free and Therefore Strong, Prosperous and Peaceful…’ : a 1923 Sinn Féin election poster.

Besides this State election, 1923 was an eventful year for Irish republicans : on the 2nd January, Cathal Goulding was born in East Arran Street in Dublin, and on the 13th of that month Free State President W.T. Cosgrave had to find somewhere else to live. On the 10th of April, Liam Lynch was shot dead by Free State forces, on the 14th of that month Austin Stack was captured by the Staters and on the 23rd of that month, Sinn Féin politician Seán Etchingham died.
Three of our twenty-two republican hunger-strikers died in that year – Joe Witty, from Wexford, on the 2nd September, Dennis Barry, Cork, on the 20th November and Andy O’Sullivan, also from Cork, on the 22nd November. The 27th August 1923 election results, in which Sinn Féin polled 286,000 votes (29% of those that voted), winning 44 seats, can be accessed here.
At the time, there were over 11,000 Irish republicans in jail in the State, for refusing to accept any British political or military presence in Ireland and, for the same reason, the elected Sinn Féin representatives refused to take their seats in Leinster House as those sitting in that assembly had to take an oath of allegiance to the English ‘King’ , George V , whereas nowadays they just utter same to themselves, mentally (and morally).



Encounters with youths exposed him to IRA.


First published in ‘NOW’ magazine, Volume 1, No.4, October 1989, page 37.

British ‘Lord’ Louis Mountbatten was killed because of his homosexuality, according to Irish Republican sources ; ‘Lord’ Mountbatten died in August 1979 when his boat was blown up at Mullaghamore, County Sligo, by the Provisional IRA. A book to be published in Britain next month (ie meaning October 1989) by a former British Intelligence Officer will give details of ‘Lord’ Mountbatten’s gay life and claim that he was a risk to British State security ; but, ironically, ‘Lord’ Mountbatten proved to be a bigger threat to his own security. It was his liaisons with three young Irish boys which led to his assassination – it was information obtained indirectly from one of the boys which drew the attention of the IRA to ‘Lord’ Mountbatten’s presence in Ireland. The same source provided details about his movements.

‘Lord’ Mountbatten regularly slipped away from his Irish Special Branch guards for homosexual encounters. The IRA had expected his cabin cruiser to be used for such a meeting with a teenage boy on the day he died. They planted a radio-controlled bomb in the engine compartment on the boat, killing Mountbatten and three others, including a 15-year-old Enniskillen boy ; the bombing brought widespread condemnation and an immediate crack-down on the IRA on both sides of the Border. It came on the same day as 18 British Paratroopers were killed at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down, in an IRA double ambush. The new book , ‘The Greatest Treason’ by Richard Deacon, claims that Mountbatten passed secret information to the Russians ; Deacon, whose real name is Donal McCormick, is an ex-intelligence Officer who was a close friend of the former head of the British Secret Service, ‘Sir’ Maurice Oldfield. Author ‘Richard Deacon'(/Donal McCormick) quotes an unnamed former CIA Officer as saying – “What we could never understand was how Mountbatten, a known homosexual and therefore a security risk, managed to achieve the kind of promotion and jobs he got….” ‘Deacon’ says – “It was known inside the (British) Navy long before World War Two that he was a homosexual, sometimes even risking such conduct in his cabin when at sea….” The author describes ‘Lord’ Mountbatten as “… devious and egotistical..”

The IRA bomb was detonated from a car parked on the shore as ‘Lord’ Mountbatten sailed past a couple of hundred feet away : a pulse-coded transmitter of a type not used before was brought in from South Armagh because the IRA believed that British security officers may have fitted ECM (Electronic Counter-Measure) equipment in Classiebawn Castle which would have prematurely detonated any radio-bomb they attempted to plant. The IRA spent nearly two months setting-up the assassination, relying on information from ‘Lord’ Mountbatten’s homosexual contacts to track his movements. Mountbatten was an uncle of both (British) ‘Queen’ Elizabeth and her husband, ‘Prince’ Phillip, and was interested in what homosexuals call ‘the rough trade’ and liked to have ‘contacts’ with ‘working-class’ youths. He was particularly attracted to boys in their early teens and it was this characteristic which made him especially vulnerable to the IRA, because he needed to slip away from his personal bodyguards to keep dates with such boys, some of whom came in contact with IRA men. His vice habit was similar to that of the former British Secret Service Chief, ‘Sir’ Maurice Oldfield, who was appointed ‘Ulster (sic) Security Co-Ordinator’ by Margaret Thatcher in the wake of the Mountbatten assassination. ‘Sir’ Maurice also slipped away from his ‘personal protection detail’ – a team of handpicked, plain-clothes British ‘Royal’ Military Policemen – on various occasions while he was living in Stormont House, beside Stormont Castle in Belfast. But a plan by the IRA to kill him during one such expedition into County Down failed when he was unexpectedly moved back to London.

(Posted here originally in 2005 and again on 23rd July last and re-posted again, today [27th August 2014], to mark the occasion!)


“Playing the very Devil with the country….

‘On they rode, hearing a menace in every whisper of the wind, a cannonade in every rustling of the leaves. Beside this, John Gilpin’s famous pace sinks to the level of a peddler’s jog, nor did Tam O’Shanter’s Mag e’er display such mettle as their panting, sweating beasts, spurred on until the blood dripped from their flanks. So great was their fright, indeed, that they never stopped for breath until they had reached the town of Tuam, forty miles away; and even here they paused scarce long enough to eat, and then made on to Athlone. At this place an officer of carabineers, with sixty of his men, arrived on the afternoon of the 29th of September. These heroes had covered a distance of over seventy English miles in twenty-seven hours! No wonder the battle has been jocularly styled “the Races of Castlebar”!’ (from here.)

Ten weeks after the United Irishmen had been crushed at Ballynahinch, Co. Down, and two months after the fall of the rebel camp at Vinegar Hill, near Enniscorthy in Co. Wexford, Humbert landed at Kilcummin strand, on Killala bay, with about 1,100 officers and men of the army of the French Republic. Four days later, on Sunday, 26 August, having taken Killala and Ballina, Humbert led about 700 of his men, and about the same number of untrained Irish recruits, in an amazing all-night march down the almost trackless west shore of Lough Conn, arriving next morning in front of the startled British garrison of Castlebar. The force opposing Humbert numbered about 1,700……

As you can read via the links, above, this was a short-lived victory, physically, that is, but , morally and spiritually, it , and other ‘failures’ like it, gave future generations added incentive to continue the struggle. Which, if nothing else, is one aspect of this campaign that we will always have until we no longer need it ie when we, or a future generation, can bring this campaign to a just conclusion!


* “We need non-violent total civil disobedience. We have scaffolded and supported and continue to support a terrorist State which has never given a toss about children or women……we can’t blame anyone but ourselves for this. We are cowards. Grateful for crumbs on tables and think we deserve nothing more. We are pathetic. An inexcusable disgrace to the courage of those who fought and died in 1916….ailing animals can have a compassionate death. People can’t. What the fuck more evidence do you need? We are less than animals to the state and to the church who still run it…..”

Fighting talk, certainly, but totally neutered, in my opinion, by previous comments from the same author : ** “I understand entirely why people would want to fight back. But I don’t think it actually achieves anything. It doesn’t bring back your lost people.I kind of like a peaceful life nowadays. I’d rather not get in trouble…”

A cynic would be forgiven for thinking that she has something new to try and sell…..!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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