“We will not disband.” Although on a permanent cease-fire, the RIRA say they will not be disbanding and would dump rather than surrender any weapons. By Liz Walsh. From ‘Magill’ magazine, October 1998.

The Real IRA, the organisation responsible for the Omagh bombing, said it will not disband and will attempt to remain a cohesive group, senior RIRA sources have said. Despite this, they say the permanent ceasefire called on the 8th September 1998 will remain intact. The fall out from the Omagh bomb, which killed 29 people , had a catastrophic effect on the RIRA, a senior RIRA source acknowledged. Speaking two weeks after the ceasefire announcement, the source said Omagh, and the public revulsion that followed, was the main reason for declaring an end to the RIRA’s seven month military campaign. The RIRA and senior gardai rejected continued speculation that the anti-terrorist laws enacted after Omagh would not be enforced against the group, in return for a complete cessation.

The ceasefire declaration followed a meeting of the RIRA’s Army Council in Louth, at which the six members present voted unanimously for a permanent cessation. The six included the south Armagh man who is the chief suspect behind the bomb, the RIRA leader and activists from Cork and Dublin and, according to senior garda sources, the RIRA leader and a prominent activist from Cork had reservations about the ceasefire up to two days before the vote. This, they said, was one of the reasons for the three-week gap between the announcement of a suspension of the armed campaign on the 18th August 1998 and the permanent cessation on the 8th September 1998.

“There was a debate and there were conflicting views about the way forward, but we knew realistically that there was nothing to be gained by continuing the use of armed force after Omagh”* , the RIRA source acknowledged, but the minority within the RIRA opposed to a total ceasefire argued that it was necessary to maintain some form of physical force tradition following the Stormont Agreement “But for a military campaign to continue, it must have an attainable goal. After Omagh, there was none” **, the RIRA source said.

(*Such a pity that the British political administration didn’t feel like that after any of its many atrocities in this country and elsewhere / **”the goal” remains, and it is still “attainable”, and that position ‘can never be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people…’) (MORE LATER).



Two factors led to the reorganisation of the IRA – the most important was the success of the RUC arresting and extracting confessions from IRA Volunteers and leaders. Between 1976 and 1977 when the interrogators of Castlereagh and elsewhere were working overtime, over 2,500 people, mostly Provisionals, were convicted of murder, attempted murder and arms and explosives offences. Such was the success of the ‘criminalisation policy’, as it was called, that the then British Secretary of State, Roy Mason, and his security chiefs at one time thought they had actually pulled it off and defeated the IRA – “We were almost defeated,” admits one present Provo leader.

The second important factor was the effect of the post-Feakle ceasefire and peace talks of 1975/76 on the thinking of leading Provisional strategists. That ceasefire brought certain short term gains for the IRA – ‘incident centres’ to monitor British Army infringements of the ceasefire were set up and talks were held between Provisional leaders and British civil servants at which the carrot of British withdrawal was dangled tantalisingly over Provo noses. But the ceasefire also created major long term problems for the Provos , as it provoked a bloody loyalist backlash which tied up IRA resources and questioned long-held republican assumptions about the loyalist community.

It also gained the British Army and RUC time to recover from the trauma of 1974 and to collect vital intelligence on an increasingly open and careless IRA and it allowed the British to formulate a radical change in security policy of which the present H Blocks and Castlereagh were part. With hindsight the IRA was the net loser from the 1975/76 ceasefire and the subject itself remains a major and bitter bone of contention within the Republican Movement. “Disastrous” , is how one member of the current Provisional IRA Army Council describes it , “a running sore” , according to another IRA leader. The ceasefire forced on the Provisionals a major political, military and strategic re-think of which the 1977 military re-organisation was an integral part. It also paved the way for a change in the leadership of the IRA – the present 7-person Army Council is dominated by Northern ‘hawks’ and radicals who vow never to speak to the British again except from a position of absolute strength. (MORE LATER).


1932: Born in Longford.

1950: Joined Sinn Féin.

1951: Joined the Irish Republican Army.

1955: OC Arborfield arms raid.

1956: 2nd OC Teeling Column, South Fermanagh.

1957: Elected in Longford-Westmeath Sinn Féin TD to All-Ireland parliament.

1958: Escaped with Dáithí Ó Conaill from Curragh Camp.

1958-9 and 1960-62: IRA Chief of Staff.

1966: Republican candidate in Fermanagh-South Tyrone.

1970-83: President of Sinn Féin.

1987 to date: President of Republican Sinn Féin.

2009-2013: Patron of Republican Sinn Féin.

Married to Patsy, six children: Mait, Ruairí Óg, Conor, Deirdre, Ethne, Colm, grandchildren and great-grandchild. He was a secondary teacher by profession.

“Speaking at the graveside of O’Donovan Rossa, Pearse restated the principles which had fired the
soul and intellect of O’Donovan Rossa and restated the determination of his generation to take up the torch of freedom from Rossa and his generation: “I propose to you then that, here by the grave of this unrepentant Fenian, we renew our baptismal vows; that, here by the grave of this unconquered and unconquerable man, we ask of God, each one for himself, such unshakable purpose, such high and gallant courage, such unbreakable strength of soul as belonged to O’Donovan Rossa. Deliberately here we avow ourselves, as he avowed himself in the dock, Irishmen of one allegiance only. We of the Irish Volunteers, and you others who are associated with us in to-day’s task and duty, are bound together and must stand together henceforth in brotherly union for the achievement of the freedom of Ireland. And we know only one definition of freedom: it is Tone’s definition, it is Mitchel’s definition, it is Rossa’s definition. Let no man blaspheme the cause that the dead generations of Ireland served by giving it any other nme and definition than their name and their definition.”

“For Ruairí Ó Brádaigh there too was but one definition of Irish freedom. For him there was but one straight and true path leading to the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week. We come here to mourn the loss of Ruairí but we also come to celebrate his long and rich life. It was a life marked by unselfish devotion to the cause of Irish freedom. It was a life set apart by his sense of duty, honour and the intellectual rigour that he brought to the Republican Movement. Indeed often would Ruairí quote these lines from Louisa May Alcott, which are inscribed on the headstone of the tireless champion of Republican prisoners and the working class Charlotte Despard: “I slept, and dreamed that life was beauty; I woke, and found that life was duty.” Coupled with all of this was Ruairí’s deep humanity. He was a man whose empathy and compassion for the downtrodden and oppressed knew no boundaries of race or creed……” (From here.)

On Saturday fortnight, the 17th January 2015, Volume 1 (1970-1986) of the selected writings and speeches of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh will be launched in the ‘Teacher’s Club’, 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin city centre, at 2pm. Places are limited, and those intending to attend are advised to telephone RSF Head Office in Dublin (01-8729747) beforehand to ensure a seat.



There was no ‘famine’ in Ireland, but there was a potato blight which decimated one food source – the potato – but plenty of other foodstuffs (cereals, wheat, beef and pork, to name some of the alternative foods which were available but not obtainable for the ‘ordinary’ family) were in abundance, but there was still 1,225,000 deaths due to An Gorta Mór (the ‘Great Hunger’/so-called ‘famine’), 4,185,000 who were forced to emigrate and 3,668,000 who were evicted from the hovels which the ‘landlord’ allowed them to build on ‘his’ land. As George Bernard Shaw explained (in ‘Man and Superman’, 1903) “The Famine? No, the starvation. When a country is full o’ food, and exporting it, there can be no famine. Me father was starved dead; and I was starved out to America in me mother’s arms. English rule drove me and mine out of Ireland….” .

Now, apparently, a British television station, ‘Channel 4’, has decided to commission a ‘comedy programme’ based on An Gorta Mór, saying that “..brilliant humor can come out of times of terrible hardship….it’s not unusual for sitcoms to exist against backdrops that are full of adversity and hardship….”. I’ll believe that when they put their money where there foul mouth is and produce a ‘comedy programme’ about the death of their ‘Princess’ Diana. And, while they’re at it, maybe they could hire someone (a German, perhaps?) to maintain the memorials they, the British administration, erected in her memory. The Brits themselves, it seems, couldn’t be bothered. Potato juice, I’m told, would do the job nicely for them.


Henry James “Harry” Boland (27th April 1887 – 2nd August 1922).

“I rise to speak against this Treaty because, in my opinion, it denies a recognition of the Irish nation..I object to it on the ground of principle, and my chief objection is because I am asked to surrender the title of Irishman and accept the title of West Briton….I object because this Treaty denies the sovereignty of the Irish nation, and I stand by the principles I have always held — that the Irish people are by right a free people.

I object to this Treaty because it is the very negation of all that for which we have fought. It is the first time in the history of our country that a body of representative Irishmen has ever suggested that the sovereignty of this nation should be signed away…..we secured a mandate from the Irish people because we put for the first time before the people of Ireland a definite issue ; we promised that if elected we would combat the will, and deny the right of England in this country, and after four years of hard work we have succeeded in bringing Ireland to the proud position she occupied on the fifth December last. The fight was made primarily here in Ireland ; but I want to say that the fight that was made in Ireland was also reflected throughout the world ; and we — because we had a definite object — had the sympathy of liberty-loving people everywhere….I have taken one oath to the Republic and I will keep it. If I voted for that document I would work the Treaty, and I would keep my solemn word and treat as a rebel any man who would rise out against it. If I could in conscience vote for that Treaty I would do so, and if I did I would do all in my power to enforce that Treaty ; because, so sure as the honour of this nation is committed by its signature to this Treaty, so surely is Ireland dead. We are asked to commit suicide and I cannot do it…..”
(7th January, 1922,from here.)

It is generally considered that Harry Boland was the first man to be ‘unofficially executed’ by a Michael Collins-controlled Free State death squad on the evening of Sunday 30th July/early Monday morning 31st July 1922 and, following that shooting, in the Grand Hotel in Skerries, Dublin, the State gunmen issued this statement (on Monday 31st July 1922) – “Early this morning a small party of troops entered the Grand Hotel to place Mr. H.Boland T.D., under arrest. Mr. Boland had been actively engaged in the irregular campaign. When accosted in his bedroom he made an unsuccessful attempt to seize a gun from one of the troops and then rushed out to the door. After firing two shots at random and calling on Mr. Boland to halt, it was found necessary to fire a third shot to prevent an escape. Mr. Boland was wounded and removed to hospital. A man giving his name as John J.Murphy with residence at 3 Castlewood Avenue, Ranelagh,Dublin, who was found with Mr. Boland, was taken prisoner. Subsequently he was identified as Joseph Griffin* , an active irregular, belonging to Dublin.” (*’1169′ Comment – Joe Griffin was an IRA operative within the Movement’s Intelligence Department.) One of the Free State troops present at the time stated afterwards – “Mr.Boland was wanted and we went to the hotel and two or three of us entered his room. He was in bed. We wakened him and he got up out of bed and partly dressed himself. He had no gun.
Suddenly he turned and rushed to tackle one of our fellows for his gun. A shot was fired over his head to desist but he continued to struggle and almost had the gun when a second shot was fired and Mr.Boland was wounded.”

The bullet entered his right side near the ribs, passed through his body and came out through his left side causing very serious injuries.

A photograph of the actual bullet which killed Harry Boland….

…and his funeral service, Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

Although unarmed at that moment, as admitted by his executioners, caught by surprise and outnumbered (a “small party” of Free State troops were in the room at the time) the Staters attempted to present the execution of Harry Boland as ‘a killing in self-defence’ ie ‘he attempted to jump us and then tried to flee…’. They had learned well from their British colleagues. Harry Boland died from his wounds on the 2nd August 1922, in St. Vincents Hospital, Dublin and, as he lay waiting for death, he told family members that the Stater who shot him had been imprisoned with him in Lewes Prison, in England, but he refused to put a name to him. The funeral expenses were taken care of by the Cumann na Poblachta organisation.

‘Boland’s mix of animal charm, gregariousness, wit and a dash of ruthlessness made him an influential and formidable character. Though not an intellectual in his manner he was a clear thinker, a forceful orator and a graceful writer….’ (from here.) Thankfully, there are those like him who continue to this day to work for the Movement….


Dr Tony O’Connell MBBS (Hons), FANZCA, FCICM, FCHSM (Hon) GAICD. All of which secured him a job here with the HSE (an organisation that “has failed to deliver”, according to a 26-County ‘government’ party) , on a weekly wage of €3125. Which should buy him a business-class flight home…!)


He came here (after being headhunted), no doubt with great hopes, from a position as Director-General of the Queensland public health system in Australia where he managed 182 hospitals, a budget of €8 billion, over 80,000 staff and 35 years experience in the business (and it is , unfortunately, a ‘business’ , rather than that which it should be – a vocation). His first position here was as the CEO of the ‘Dublin North East Hospitals’ group (in March 2014) and he progressed from there to the job of ‘National (sic) Director for Acute Hospitals’ (an appointment re which questions were asked at the time in relation to the appointment process involved) which also secured him a seat on the ‘HSE Directorate’ body.

Anto’s problem, I imagine, is that he expected the HSE organisation to be run on broadly similar lines to its equivalent in Australia , where value for money is required , and not just in print, where being responsible for your actions is a foregone conclusion, and not just something that is promised by the incoming State health minister at election time and where competency in and efficiency at your job is something that employees pride themselves on and are not simply words used by management to pad out the end-of-year report. But we soon put him right on those fancy notions. And – at the risk of being generous – I’ll hazard a guess that the man still has his self-respect and a sense of professional honesty about him, so much so that his conscience wouldn’t permit him to remain in a €3125-a-week job which, because of the nature of the beast (the HSE), he knew he couldn’t ‘tame’. And unlike the charlatans here (who cling on to their positions as if to dear life, slobbering, bullshitting and lying through their teeth until their pension becomes due) he done the honourable thing – resigned – having realised that the health service in this State is broke and can’t be fixed. That would be because the State itself is broke and can’t be fixed. This is no ‘country’ for old or honest people.



As expected, the ‘royal toadies’ have begun their campaign of ‘character rehabilitation’ in relation to one of their favourite icons – ‘Prince Andrew is the Queen’s darling who has always dodged blame : Editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine Ingrid Seward says Prince Andrew was always a mischief maker – Prince Andrew was forever making mischief as a child, but he was always a favourite with the Queen….conventional discipline didn’t work with him and he could be very naughty indeed….on one occasion the Queen sent her page running up to the nursery demanding to know where Andrew was – which was when nanny Mabel Anderson found the little Prince had hidden the memo asking her to bring him downstairs to meet Her Majesty’s luncheon guests….’

Ho! Ho! The little rascal, eh….

That ‘little rascal’ has, apparently, grown to be an even bigger one, if media reports are to be believed : ‘(Britain’s) Prince Andrew took part in an orgy with underage girls on his tycoon pal’s private Caribbean island, a woman has sensationally claimed….Jane Doe #3 was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor in three separate locations: in London (at Ghislaine Maxwell’s ­apartment), New York, and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands (in an orgy with numerous other underaged girls)….’ . But, really, it’s a ‘move-along-nothing to-see-here’ moment regarding that man and his family, as the ‘underage sex’ scenario would seem to be the lesser of all their associated evils : ‘In court it was found that the so called pillars of society running the home, were guilty of the ritual sexual abuse of defenceless young boys in their care, whom they exploited and sold to their VIP clientelle….Lord Mountbatten was rumoured to have been linked to the abuse network…..in their world and exclusive social circles it is ok for rich perverts to sexuallly and physically abuse the children of the poor….'(from here).

And, whereas poor Fergie probably never considered the act of “selling access” to be interpreted in soooo many ways, it was, seemingly, so interpreted by her ex-in-laws : ‘The Queen Mother’s favourite servant was William Tallon, who died of Aids…(he)had an underground passage leading from his room to the Queen Mother’s room….(and used it) to smuggle controversial guests in to see her…..the author Anthony Summers (co-author of Honeypot) has alleged that photographs removed from the home of Stephen Ward showed a likeness of Prince Philip alongside various naked girls….after Stephen Ward was murdered, reportedly by MI5, the portraits that he had made, of the Duke of Edinburgh and others, were removed from an art gallery and made to disappear….the man who removed the portraits is said to be Sir Anthony Blunt, who worked for both MI5 and Soviet intelligence. Blunt told his friends that he was the illegitimate child of King George V, by his mother, Hilda Blunt….’

‘Orders from London and representatives of the Queen…’ are also said to be involved in an incident that occurred when ‘…ten indigent children of the Canadian Kamloops Indian Residential School went on a picnic on 10th Oct 1964 with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and did not return….’ , all of which, when compared with Andrew’s apparent follies highlight him as not yet being in the same ‘camp’ as the clan he is associated with. But, one presumes, it’s early yet…..


In the 19th century in Ireland, one of the many small farmers (who attempted to eke out a meagre ‘living’ for his family from a half an acre of rough land) , Nicholas Clooney, Kilkenny, was one of many who were continually harassed by their British ‘landlord’ and his agents into vacating their small rented holding, as the land was of more value to the foreign ‘owner’ if sold en bloc rather than in a piecemeal fashion. The harassment extended to physically preventing any work or maintenance being done in or to the half-acre area and destroying the tools with which same could be done.

Court records from the time show that it was not unusual for those small farmers to be prosecuted for trying to tend to their land on a Sunday and this type of harassment and other uncalled for victimisation eventually had the desired affect – the small peasant farmers left their near-worthless rented holding to die on the roads, die in the workhouses – or emigrate. Nicholas Clooney was thrown off his ‘farm’, at 18 years of age, in 1847, after his ‘landlord’ found out that he was not going to make a profit from the young man as he only had £2 and 2 shillings to his name. He managed to get to Kentucky, in America, where he was to become the great-great-grandfather of actor George Clooney! (More here.)

The ’roundabout relation’ to the above Clooney piece is that resistance to ‘English ways and English laws’ is still on-going in Ireland, as the British parliament in Westminster claims jurisdiction over part of this country – our six north-eastern counties. RSF are not financed by the Clooneys of this world, nor do they expect to be, but they do need finance to continue the struggle and your help would be appreciated – contact details are on the above link. Even £2 and 2 shillings would help!

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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