….we enjoyed our ‘long weekend’ (Irish style, that is – it lasted a week!) in Ballyconneely (not far from Clifden) in Galway , in a self-catering bungalow and, while it was nice knowing that we had nothing to do and all day to do it, and were surrounded by breathtaking scenery, I kept finding myself making comparisons with my last holiday where I was surrounded by concrete and steel and constant noise and grime and traffic and fumes , smells and crowds. And I just know that I wouldn’t last for three weeks in any rural or semi-rural setting, but would give almost anything for another three week holiday where I feel I belong. In short – Galway for a break, New York for a holiday!
PASSPORTS FOR INVESTMENT….
Jim Higgins, Fine Gael spokesman on Justice and former government Chief Whip, presented the clearest exposition so far of the passports for investment scheme in his speech to the Dáil (sic) on September 11, 1997. From ‘Magill’ magazine, October 1997.
“It would be commendable that Deputy Reynolds was very involved in the most minute details of his family business had he not been Minister and the major shareholder in the company, had he not been the beneficiary of a softer that soft loan, and had he not denied his retention of his involvement with the company. These questions are not vexatious and they are certainly not trivial , nor are they asked out of simple curiosity. They should be asked and, despite being asked in the past, they have not been answered. There is too much involved here to allow them go unanswered any longer, too much doubt, ambiguity , evasiveness and contraction.”
(That is the end of the ‘Magill’ magazine piece ‘Passports for Investment’ : the same issue of that magazine also carried a piece, by Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan, entitled ‘Meat exporters and insurance’ , in which the bona fides of Albert Reynolds was again questioned. That article will be posted here, beginning on Wednesday 29th October 2014.)
(‘Meet Exporters and Insurance’ next).
THE ANATOMY OF AN AFTERNOON : THE STORY OF THE GIBRALTAR KILLINGS……..
By Michael O’Higgins and John Waters. From ‘Magill Magazine’ , October 1988.
Felix Pizzarello took just over an hour and a quarter to charge the jury. It was a fair and comprehensive address , in which he explained that there were five sets of circumstances in which they could bring in a verdict of unlawful killing. In three of these instances the persons responsible – the jury were expressly prohibited from pointing the finger of blame at anybody – would be guilty of murder. The most simple example of murder and which would lead them to return a verdict of unlawful killing would be if the jury found that the SAS soldiers went out that day with the specific intention of killing and that the arrest procedure worked out with the police was only a facade.
The coroner also told the jury that if they believed any of the three were shot while on the ground to finish them off then this too was murder, but the third situation was more complicated – here the jury would have to conclude that there had been a high level plot to kill the three once they were trapped inside Gibraltar. In this instance responsibility for the murder would rest with the most senior officers of the SAS and British Intelligence ‘Office O’.
There were two other situations where a verdict of unlawful killing could be arrived at. These depended on the degree of force used. If the British soldiers believed it was necessary to use force to apprehend Mairead Farrell and Daniel McCann and no force was necessary, or if the force used was excessive , an unlawful killing verdict could be returned. Notwithstanding the obvious efforts the coroner made to be fair and comprehensive there were shortcomings, particularly in relation to his summing up of the evidence of eyewitnesses to the shooting of Seán Savage. These were crucial. In the case of the evidence of Robin Mordue the coroner stated categorically “that there were no shots fired after Savage is on the ground”. This was a gross misunderstanding of the evidence tendered by Robin Mordue.(MORE LATER).
COMING TO A TOWN NEAR YOU THIS MONTH….
As stated on the poster, on Friday , Saturday and Sunday , 24th , 25th and 26th (respectively) this month (October 2014) , Irish republican supporters will be highlighting the plight of Irish republican political prisoners by holding street events in Ireland (in Wexford, Dublin, Drogheda and Belfast,so far) and abroad : Scotland, Manchester, London, Vienna, Germany, Utrecht (in the Netherlands), France, Italy, America, Albuquerque (New Mexico) and Australia,to date, will witness protests and/or pickets on one or more of the three dates mentioned above. A similar event was successfully held last year in nine countries on three continents, and the theme remains the same for this event, the fourth such annual set of protests/pickets to be held. If you can make it to one or more of these, please do so : more details here.
ON THIS DATE (22ND OCTOBER) 94 YEARS AGO….
The actual site of the Toureen Ambush, at the house which was then owned by the Roberts family.
Mr. Pennefather (related to this family?) ‘…asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what steps have been taken, or will be taken, to increase the number of armoured cars for the use of the military in Ireland, and to equip them with quick-firing guns in order to prevent, as far as possible, repetitions of what happened to soldiers of the Essex Regiment on Friday last….?’ to which Mr. Churchill replied – “My right hon. friend has asked me to reply. The question of the provision of armoured cars for use in Ireland is very seriously engaging the attention of the military authorities. Large numbers, armed with machine guns, are already in Ireland, and steps are being taken to effect a considerable increase in these numbers….”
The above verbal exchange took place in The House of Commons in London in the days after five British soldiers were killed in Ireland, in an IRA ambush in the Cork area on the 22nd of October in 1920, in a military engagement that became known as ‘the Toureen Ambush’– ‘The IRA men moved from behind the gate out on to the road. They now faced the Essex, whose shooting appeared to be wayward. Volley after volley was fired by the volunteers. Captain Dickson (sic) was shot through the head as he fired his revolver and soon more British soldiers were hit, some fatally. Before long the remainder of the British surrendered, raising their hands over their heads. Immediately the whistle to cease fire was blown and an order was given to divest the enemy of their arms and equipment….’
Six days later, Westminster held a military court of inquiry into the IRA ambush which stated that… ‘….the deceased, Lieutenant Alfred William Dixon (sic- the man’s name was William Alfred Dixon) MC, Suffolk Regiment, attached 1st Essex Regiment, died at a spot midway between Innishannon and Ballinhassig, at about 1000hrs on Friday 22nd October 1920, as a result of gunshot wounds inflicted at the aforementioned time and place, and that the said deceased met his death whilst in the execution of his duty, at the hands of some person or persons unknown. They further stated that “such person or persons aforesaid are guilty of wilful murder”…..’
British Army Lieutenant Dixon died as a result of the part he played in assisting with the military occupation of a country he should not have had any dealings with except, perhaps, as a tourist. He was shot dead whilst attempting to kill or wound those defending their own country from the military (and political) occupation that he, Dixon, enforced ; to state he was ‘murdered’ is incorrect.
ON THIS DATE (22ND OCTOBER) 79 YEARS AGO : DUBLIN-BORN UVF LEADER DIES.
‘Lord’ Carson was born in Dublin in 1854 and died at 8am on the 22nd October 1935 on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, England. His beloved empire had conveyed the title of ‘Right Honourable The Lord Carson KC PC’ on him , a prefix he was delighted to take with him to his grave.
“We must proclaim today clearly that, come what will and be the consequences what they may, we in Ulster will tolerate no Sinn Féin- no Sinn Féin organisation, no Sinn Féin methods. But we tell you (the British Government) this : that if, having offered you our help, you are yourselves unable to protect us from the machinations of Sinn Féin, and you won’t take our help ; well then, we tell you that we will take the matter into our own hands. We will reorganise, as we feel bound to do in our our defence, throughout the province, the Ulster Volunteers. And those are not mere words. I hate words without action” – the words of then soon-to-be (anti-republican) paramilitary leader Edward Carson (‘Lord Carson of Duncairn’) at an ‘Orange’ rally in Finaghy, Belfast, County Antrim.
He was a staunch supporter of the Irish (pro-British) Unionists who, at 38 years young, was elected as a Unionist MP (to Westminster) for Dublin University and, again at that same age, was appointed (British) ‘Solicitor General for Ireland’ and served as the ‘Solicitor General for England’ from 1900 to 1905. He was also an Irish Barrister, a judge and politician, and the leader Of ‘The Irish Unionist Alliance’ and ‘Ulster Unionist Party’. At 57 years of age (in 1911*) he was elected leader of the ‘Ulster Unionist Council’ (UUC) and helped to establish the ‘Ulster Volunteer Force’ (UVF), a pro-British militia (*he wrote to his friend James Craig re his UUC leadership that he intended “….to satisfy himself that the people really mean to resist. I am not for a game of bluff and, unless men are prepared to make great sacrifices which they clearly understand, the talk of resistance is useless…”) .
On the 3rd of September 1914, in an address he delivered in Belfast to the ‘UUC’, he stated – “England’s difficulty is not Ulster’s opportunity. However we are treated, and however others act, let us act rightly. We do not seek to purchase terms by selling our patriotism….” A lesson there, without doubt, for all the gombeens that inhabit the Leinster House institution!
From 1915 to 1916 he served as the British Attorney General, and was appointed as the ‘First Lord of the Admiralty’ in 1916 (until 1917) and was a member of Lloyd George’s War Cabinet from 1917 to 1918. Westminster thought so highly of him that they offered him an even bigger ‘prize’ – that of the ‘Premiership’ of the new Six County ‘State’ – but he refused, and retired from public life in 1921, at 67 years of age. In June 1935, at 81 years of age, Carson contracted bronchial pneumonia but, even though he recovered his health somewhat within weeks, a few months later his strength weakened again and he died on the 22nd of October, 1935.
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO……?
Johnny Doodah (!) ,a Dublin city councillor (and company director) for Provisional Sinn Féin apparently felt that members of his own party were spreading rumours about him and announced that he was to quit the party and vacate his council seat, then stated that he was going to resign from the party but hold on to the council seat and, finally (for now, anyway!) has announced that he intends to hold on to both – party membership and the council seat!
This attitude will, I believe, help him to make a name for himself within his party and could possibly even mark him out as suitable party material for Stormont, Westminster or Brussels, as his party leadership have, in the recent past, voiced their opposition to the State property tax , but then paid same themselves, and have expressed outrage at the double-water tax but have paid same themselves. Johnny Doodah’s liking for attempting to ride two horses at the same time will no doubt bring him favourably to the attention of his party leadership who without question view such a trait as a necessity if one is to progress in the world of constitutional politics. And they’ll give him a fancy nickname, as the media love that!
AND, IN COMPLETE CONTRAST TO ‘ZIPPEDY’, ABOVE ….
….a recent report in the ‘Connacht Sentinel’ newspaper referenced a councillor with a clear direction , unlike those who are unburdened by political principles : Sinn Féin Poblachtach (Republican Sinn Féin) Galway councillor Tomás Ó Curraoin was recently advised by a political representative of the Fianna Fáil/State establishment to contact ‘the Dáil’ regarding a query he made and, to his credit, Tom replied – “That’s not my Dáil. My Dáil finished in 1922. That’s Llyod George’s Free State…” , a comment which, I imagine, would go right over the head of ‘Doodah’ and most of those in his party, as that type of political education/knowledge is of no value/best forgotten when your aim is to forge a political career for yourself within the confines set down by “the Dáil” mentioned above. Tomás is not associated with an organisation which is funded by the same institutions which it professes to detest and, as such, he does not have to refer back to his head office for guidance before he can comment on any one of those institutions. Republicanism as it should be!
10 OUT OF TEN FOR THESE 10-FOUR’ERs !
It is heartening to see any working class person stand up for fair treatment in their workplace and all the more so when the cause of unfair treatment cannot be laid at your employers doorstep but can be fairly said to be as a direct result of greed and short-sightedness on the part of those who ‘lay down the law’ to your employer. Such is the case in this State in relation to, amongst other industries, haulage firms which, by nature of the fact that we are an island nation, are of vital importance to the employment prospects of thousands of workers. Yet that industry and those that work in it are being scandalously squeezed out of existence to the point that, for financial reasons, they are being forced to register themselves and their vehicles in the Six Counties rather than in the State where they reside and draw their work from ; at least 2,000 owner-drivers have done that so far and estimates suggest that as many as 5,000 more owner-drivers will do so next year, due to the difference in, for instance, road tax, between this State and the Six County area.
This very issue came to a head again this week when truckers protested at Dublin Port as the president of their association, Eoin Gavin, released a statement in which he stated – “While the Department state that there is an inter-departmental Working Group in place the Association is concerned with the complete lack of evidence that this group has made any progress on the matter…there is no substance to the statement made by the Department this morning and it will not influence our strategy going forward. The industry needs the Government to fast track efforts to overhaul road tax for trucks in the south. They have been talking about changing the road tax system for the last four years and to date have produced nothing which assists the haulage operator at ground level. The industry has had enough, we need action now, not more of the same old message from the Department….operators, where possible, are ‘reflagging’ to other jurisdictions to avoid the excessive road tax levels but that is not an option for everyone and quite frankly why should an indigenous haulage operator be forced to relocate because the Government departments are doing nothing to alleviate this difficulty…?” , which prompted Free State finance minister, Michael Noonan , to respond – “(We have to…) respect each others difficulties…I don’t think they should have protested (as) they interfered with an awful lot of hard-working people trying to get to work…” ignoring completely, of course, the fact that he and his cronies in Leinster House are ‘interfering with hard-working truckers’ who are just trying to make a living and pay their bills.
It is to be hoped that this industry will use its size and its might (ie huge big trucks!) to bring this State to a physical lockdown and hoped again that other industries will join them in challenging not just an unfair taxation system but an unfair and immoral political system, operated and enforced by a useless and lazy institution.
FINE GAEL POLITICIAN (ALMOST) CLAIMS THAT WATER IS MAN-MADE!
“Water just doesn’t fall from the sky….” – the words of Fine Gael State Senator Martin Conway, speaking on the TV3 ‘Tonight’ television programme on Monday 20th October last and, after he was ridiculed for that claim, he hurriedly replied– “What I should have probably said was that purified water doesn’t fall out of the sky. Anybody with any kind of a brain at all will understand what I meant…”, completely ignoring the fact that ‘anybody with any kind of a brain at all’ would not have claimed, in the first place, that “water just doesn’t fall from the sky”.
The good Senator is the spokesperson in the State Senate for his party on equality and disability issues and, as such, should be aware that if you venture outdoors without an umbrella on a rainy day it can be a disability in that you will get wetter than if you had an umbrella to shelter under, thus putting you on an equal footing with those who, like you, had journeyed without one and proving that water does indeed “fall from the sky”.
The same gentleman is a founder member of the ‘AHEAD’organisation (‘Association for Higher Education Access and Disability’) and probably hasn’t enough time left on his hands to educate himself to the fact that should you venture outdoors on a wet day (ie when water is falling from the sky) you will get wet unless you access some form of shelter ; basic cop-on would make you aware of that, no need at all to have a higher education to know that much. But perhaps an allowance should be made for Martin, as he might have picked up the dumb bug from one of his friends and is now ‘power’-less to even discuss the weather without making a fool of himself. Although the fact that he is where he is means that we’re the fools for not objecting loud enough about the idiots that claim to be speaking on our behalf.
Thanks for reading, Sharon.