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

We saw the limitations in those others clearly enough, but we were even more aware of our own limitations, and we had not learned to trust to the dynamics of struggle involved in our policies to compensate for our shortcomings, and open the way for the people to build themselves a new Ireland. National leadership was not the challenge facing us – in any case we had let the chance of that slip by. Our task was to give coherence to the Fenian radicalism that characterised the crisis. The way to do that would be to put forward a short list of candidates to serve as a rallying point for second tier leadership to impose this militancy on the Fianna Fáil executive.

De Valera would have been eager to have an understanding with the IRA. He had no hope to win the election without our help and, if the government party won, he would find himself looking out, as through glass, at a great national storm in which he could play no effective part, and in which his party must be torn apart. But the bend to ‘politics’ was too sharp for us, and indeed had we agreed on it, the IRA Army Convention would be unlikely to let us have our way – ‘politics corrupt’ *. It is much easier for men to condition themselves for martyrdom than for leadership. In the end we set up separate election offices throughout the country ** so that we might gesture people to vote out the Cosgrave government, and demonstrate, at the same time, our attitude towards Fianna Fáil.

The Cosgrave government lost the election and de Valera took over – he had no elbow room for manoeuvre on land annuities , but tried to shadow box with Britain on a tribunal to examine the legality of the British claim. He refused to make this conscience money, and his difficulty was sharpened by a rapidly developing trend to default, among middle and even big farmers. To arrest this trend he reduced the annuity by half, without extending the period of payment. He funded arrears of three years, and forgave arrears with deeper roots. No wonder Paddy Hogan jeered at him for ‘buying off the communists who carried him to office’…. (*’Politics corrupt’ – how right some republicans were at that time [and since] not to assist Fianna Fáil [for instance], politically, as republicanism should not be bastardised or tainted by prolonged contact [voluntary or otherwise] with and/or by working to achieve victory for Leinster House-orientated career politicians.// ** Fianna Fáil speak there – that election was held in the State, not “the country”.) (MORE LATER).


By Michael O’Higgins and John Waters. From ‘Magill Magazine’ , October 1988.
Even allowing for all of the various eye-witness accounts which suggest that Soldier ‘B’ had moved onto the road at the time of the shooting, and that Mairead Farrell was looking over her left shoulder at the police car when fire was opened, Soldier ‘B’ would have needed to fire the two shots at her face from the road, and then move back onto the path before firing into her back. This is because all three wounds in her back were fired from her rear right-hand side – entering around the midline and exiting in the region of her left breast.

Even this scenario is allowing for details in three completely different accounts of both the position of Soldier ‘B’ and the movements made by Mairead Farrell. On Soldier ‘B’s own account alone there is no possible way that it could have happened in the way he described but, in any event, as we have seen, Professor Watson testified that all three wounds to Mairead Farrell’s back were of such a pattern that they must have been inflicted by the same weapon. Since the bullets all passed through the body, this is impossible to verify. But it appears that Soldier ‘B’ fired at least two – and possibly all three – of the shots into Mairead Farrell’s back while she lay on the ground, stunned or at least immobilised by the shots which she had already received to her face.

Another detail of the forensic evidence which tended to get overlooked at the inquest was the fact that one of the scene-of-crime officers testified to noticing what he described as a “ricochet mark” in the pool of blood in the water table where Mairead Farrell fell. In fact, ‘Magill’ has confirmed that there are two such marks within inches of each other in the concrete close to the edge of the path. (MORE LATER).


Denis Donaldson (centre), a top man in the Provisional organisation and a top man for his handlers in British Intelligence.

Donaldson joined the then Republican Movement in about 1965 and in 1988 he was sent to America to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Adams/McGuinness leadership,assisted by another Adams man , Brian McDonald but, whereas Donaldson thrived in his new role as PSF rep in America, McDonald couldn’t ‘mix it’ and was soon back in Ireland. Donaldson made trips back to Ireland now and then, but was the ‘main man’ in America for Adams and McGuinness until the mid-1990’s. Which, by coincidence (!), was the same timeframe (mid-to-late 1980’s to mid-1990’s) that the leadership which took over the then Sinn Féin organisation in 1983 began, slowly at first, to morph it into that which it is today – a constitutional nationalist political party, rather than the revolutionary Irish republican movement it had been up to the time they got their hands on it.

Indeed, in February 1993, as Adams and McGuinness were plotting here (and in England) on how best to ‘sell’ that which wasn’t theirs (ie Irish freedom) and their colleague Denis Donaldson was in America reporting everything to his handlers in British Intelligence, a British politician close to those handlers, Patrick Mayhew, disclosed that he had received a request from a person he knew to be acting for McGuinness. The request read – ‘The conflict is over but we need your advice on how to bring it to a close. We wish to have an unannounced cease-fire in order to hold dialogue leading to peace. We cannot announce such a move as it will lead to confusion for the volunteers because press will misinterpret it as a surrender. We cannot meet Secretary of State’s public renunciation of violence, but it would be given privately as long as we were sure that we were not being tricked.’ Adams accused Mayhew of having “….breach[ed] the confidentiality which we had at all times respected and … misrepresent[ed] the content of our exchanges. The bad faith and double dealing involved clearly presented us with serious difficulties in assessing the sincerity of the British government…” , not an actual denial that McGuinness was of that frame of mind (as was Adams) and, although both of them were later to deny that either one had actually sent such a request to the British, both of them acted in accordance with the views expressed in that request.

Donaldson , by his own admission in 2005 (“My name is Denis Donaldson. Since the 1980s…I have worked for British intelligence…”) was a British agent, a tout, placed in America by other anti-republican elements to ‘sell’ a constitutional path to the Irish republican base in Washington, New York etc, as this was seen as a vital area where ‘the new direction’ would be ‘made best’ or ‘laid to rest’ , and this fact has recently been acknowledged by Adams – “Irish America was key to this…the peace process was also now on the agenda of the Clinton administration…events were now moving quickly…” (from here) all of which translates to this – a new, soft nationalist-minded leadership (1983) wanted ‘out’ of republicanism and ‘in’ to ‘respectable constitutionalism’ and were assisted in that endeavour by at least one British agent (and driven to meetings etc to facilitate that agenda by another tout!) who, by definition, wanted to harm Irish republicanism. In my opinion, those who, today, refuse to recognise the above as the truth do so for one of three reasons : they are ignorant of the difference between constitutional nationalism and Irish republicanism, are aware of that difference but were never republican-minded enough to start with that it would upset them or are of the opinion that the best way to destroy Irish republicanism and build a political career for themselves is from being within a constitutional political party that still has a whiff of sulphur about it.

However – whatever about the motives of the above-mentioned ‘players’ (misguided loyalty to ‘the Crown’, sexual/financial blackmail by Westminster or just plain financial greed on their behalf) they only succeeded in damaging and slowing down the Movement, rather than destroying it. They, of all people, must know that republicanism, throughout the centuries, has overcome bigger obstacles than that which they are armed with!

Finally, if the ‘thousand words’ above re the ’20th anniversary of the peace process’ doesn’t ‘do it’ for you, here’s two visual aids to help you –

Ireland, 1994 , before the ‘peace process’.

Ireland now, 20 years after the ‘peace process’.


Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, 2nd October 1932 – 5th June 2013.

“In the early 1940s, as part of De Valera’s policy of maintaining Irish neutrality, the imperatives of ‘the Emergency’ played out in relations between state and IRA. A number of local men were amongst two thousand IRA volunteers interned in the Curragh over the course of the 1940s, following a bombing campaign in Britain and the consequent execution of two volunteers, Barnes and McCormick….. de Valera, intent on preserving the military neutrality of the state, set out to destroy the IRA, an organisation that he had deproscribed as recently as the election victory in 1932 (although reproscribing it in 1936). In 1940, Longford commanding officer Barney Casey was shot in the Curragh. In 1941, Richard Goss, ‘the IRA’s North Leinster-South Ulster Divisional Commanding
Officer’ was executed in Port Laoise prison. It is notable that these men came from what might loosely be termed the ‘north midlands’, an area that would include Roscommon. A number of other deaths during these years at the hands of the state, whether through hunger strike or execution, made the 1940s a tense time in republican areas….(it can be)
argued that the IRA [in the 1940s], as now, was primarily composed of people with working-class and small-farmer backgrounds. Relatively few were university educated.

While the ostensible aim of republicans was to secure a 32-county republic, he argues further that ‘a fundamental element of Irish Republicanism is a commitment to social change in favour of people who have been underprivileged, oppressed and victimised by the powers that be, whether they be landlords, employers, or Irish or British politicians’….Matt Brady, father of Rúadhirí Ó
Brádaigh and an independent socialist republican councillor in Longford during the 1930s and 1940s, would have typified such a sensibility, working with tenants under threat of eviction in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford at this time. Though diminished in numbers and in strength when internment ended in Autumn 1950, ongoing IRA
activity in the following decade saw a professionalisation of the organisation ahead of the Border Campaign between 1956 and 1962, when imprisonment without trial was re-introduced. With the intention of securing an all-Ireland Republic, this campaign sought to destabilise conditions in the six counties north of the border by attacks on police and military installations. Rúaidhrí Ó Brádaigh was teaching in Roscommon town at this time and was interned in the late 1950’s…..”
(from here, pages 115 and 116.)

In 1963, Roscommon veterans of the Black and Tan and Free State Wars erected a memorial monument (of which the plinth alone is 20 feet high) dedicated to the memory of their comrades who fell on active service between the years 1920 and 1923. The unveiling ceremony was performed by Comdt-General Tom Maguire (pictured here, with Ruairí) , who was the IRA General Officer Commanding of the Second Western Division in the 1920’s. A more recent memorial stone to the left of the main monument lists the names of 41 men comprising the Co. Roscommon IRA Roll of Honour (including some Volunteers from other counties) who gave their lives for the 32-County Republic which has yet to be re-established. Another memorial to the right commemorates Pádraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising.

In August 2014 the County Roscommon IRA Commemoration Committee, of which Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was chairperson for many years, established the ‘Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Memorial Fund’. The objective of this fund is to erect a statue in memory of Ruairí as a lasting tribute. The date for the unveiling is Easter 2016 and this new memorial will stand next to the Shankill Monument in Elphin, County Roscommon. Your help and assistance is needed, and would be deeply appreciated – more here.


The ‘4th Annual International POW Day’ event will witness events being held in, at the time of writing, Ireland, England, Scotland, Continental Europe, Canada, USA and Australia, over the weekend of Friday 24th , Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th October 2014. Support for this initiative last year saw street protests and other solidarity events held in nine countries on three continents and those helped to organise same included the International Bureau of RSF, the James Connolly Association of Australia, Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta in America and Liberation Irlande in France. If you can attend any of the events please do so and/or contribute financially or in helping to publicise the activities. This Irish republican political prisoner secured worldwide recognition for the Cause he fought for and we can, hopefully, do the same for his imprisoned comrades on the last weekend in October 2014.


On the 29th April, 1599, a baby boy , Oliver Cromwell, who had been born on the 25th, was christened in Saint John the Baptish church in Huntingdon, England. Decades later, when someone was trawling through the birth records for that period, they came across an unofficial addendum to that particular entry : it read “England’s plague for five years”.

Cromwell should need no introduction to readers of this blog (….however, just in case..!) but some readers may not be aware of the significance of today’s date (3rd September) in Cromwell’s life : on that date in 1649, Cromwell began his nine-day siege of Drogheda after which thousands of its inhabitants were butchered , the infamous ‘Death March’ he forced on his enemy after the battle of Dunbar on the 3rd September 1650 and, one year later on that same date (3rd September) he wallowed in more blood and guts , this time in his own country, at the battle of Worcester. The 3rd September also loomed large for other British warmongers, with this British Prime Minister claiming that the main event of that date in 1939 “….was not an ideological battle for freedom in the Western World; it was a determination to maintain the independence and freedom of our own country. In so doing, we would help other countries in Europe to the same end….” Indeed! ‘Helping others to obtain/maintain freedom’ while occupying part of the country of your nearest neighbour. Where’s Cromwell when you need him…..


….is to consider the fad as a nonsense, a distraction but, having said that, I do at least hope that most of the money raised doesn’t go here and can only wish that this other water issue will be judged by as many people to be as deserving as action, if not more so. If not, then those with empty buckets on their heads may as well leave them there as it will no doubt afford them some small comfort in not being able to see the politicians as they ‘dip’, once again, into their pockets, purses and wallets. And, on the plus side, I suppose, the buckets will prove useful when you’re reduced to begging to put food on your table but would be a giveaway to the State as to your new ‘profession’. Still , at least if you end up here , you’ll have something to piss in.

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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