“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.

According to security sources, some of those questioned are suspected of involvement in a stolen car ring that supplied vehicles to the RIRA which were then used to transport explosives. Some of those arrested, however, are described as RIRA activists , including a former PIRA member suspected of being involved in several PIRA bombings who was arrested in Monaghan in mid-September. Security sources say a number of files are being prepared for the DPP.

The permanent ceasefire declared by the RIRA means that all the main paramilitary groups except one – the Continuity IRA – have called off their respective military campaigns. On September 8th, the CIRA said it was refusing to go on ceasefire : this group is thought to be numerically small, and is strongest around Fermanagh. Its last known attack was the bombing of the River Club in Enniskillen in January last. One of its most devastating attacks was in Markethill in 1997, where a CIRA explosion caused £2 million worth of damage to property.

Although details of the CIRA weapons arsenal are scarce, security sources believe the organisation has established a weapons supply from the US, which yielded a number of MAC 10 rifles and a small number of Uzi sub-machine guns. Although the security forces do not believe it has the capacity to mount a sustained campaign, they fear the CIRA will launch sporadic paramilitary attacks, similar to Markethill. Some gardai believe that RIRA members will join the CIRA following the collapse of the RIRA, but republican sources say this is unlikely as the two organisations are at one on the issue of sovereignty, but differ on the question of the Irish State, which the CIRA refused to recognise.

[END of ‘THE REAL IRA’ : next – ‘THE PRICE OF PEACE’ (Ronald Reagan in Ireland) – from ‘Magill’ magazine, May 1987]




With the depressing prospect of a ‘long war’ in front of them, what then keeps the IRA going? Prime among the motives for continuing the campaign is the hope that in the harsh economic climate of the 1980’s the cost of the North to the British will get so high that they will be forced into looking for a way out. There’s no doubt that the cost of shoring up a degenerating economy in the North combined with the damage caused by the Provisional’s campaign and the cost of the security and prison services has become increasingly burdensome for the British. Last year’s subvention to the North from Westminster – which is the money the British have to find to make up the difference between income from taxes and public spending in the North – was equivalent to the five year refund demanded from the EEC budget by Margaret Thatcher.

The true cost of the Provisional’s campaign can never be established, but the available figures show a depressingly upward trend for the British. Another factor prominent in IRA thinking is the belief that the longer the war goes on the more of an embarrassment Northern Ireland will become internationally. This is especially so in the United States but also in Europe, where left wing leaders of the IRA believe it will cause increased pressure on the British to arrange a long term solution capable of providing stability and security, for profitable foreign investments in Ireland.

IRA leaders also believe that the longer the war continues, the greater the chances of another Loyalist reaction. Although the IRA could start a terrible and bloody civil war in the North with a dozen or so well placed bombs, it hasn’t done so and will not do so. It would certainly be the loser anyway. But the IRA has applied steady pressure on the Loyalist community mainly through the shooting of part-time and ex-UDR soldiers. In this respect the possible reaction of Loyalist leaders like Ian Paisley, is particularly important. One independent observer and confidant of IRA leaders put it this way: “They hope that by shooting Protestants in the security forces they’ll cause Ian Paisley to have another brainstorm and start another Loyalist strike. The hope then is that Thatcher, The Iron Lady, wouldn’t do a Harold Wilson, but give the Loyalists an ultimatum. In which case it’s all up for grabs!” Paisley, by that reckoning, is one enemy the Provos would prefer to keep alive….. (MORE LATER).


(* “The founding meeting of my party was chaired by Constance Markievicz….” – Micheál Martin, current leader of Fianna Fáil : from here.)

‘Return of IRA prisoners, June 1917 : Countess Markievicz arrives at Liberty Hall, Dublin.’

Constance Georgina Gore-Booth was born in Buckingham Gate, London (the first of five children), on the 4th of February 1868, in what was then considered to be a ‘high class’ family – her father, Henry (the ‘Fifth Baronet of Sligo’) was a landowner and businessman, and her mother, Georgina (who died in January 1927, the same year as her daughter, Constance) , had her own connections to British ‘high society’, as she was the granddaughter of the ‘Earl of Scarborough’. Constance was raised on the family estate at Lissadell, in Sligo and, at 19 years of age, was ‘presented’ to Britain’s ‘Queen’ Victoria , as was the custom in those days within her social group.

It was when she was in Paris to further her education (at the Julian School) in the late 1890’s that she met a Polish ‘Count’, Casimir Dunin-Markievicz – he was already married at the time, but his wife died in 1899, and he and Constance got married in 1900. They had one child together, Maeve Allys (who was raised by her grandmother, as her own mother, Constance, was heavily involved in politics) , who was born in Lissadell in 1901 and, two years later, the family moved to Dublin (prompting George Russell (AE) to comment “…the Gore-Booth girl who married the Polish Count with the unspellable name is going to settle near Dublin…we might get the materials for revolt..”)

Her interest in social issues brought her into contact with Irish republicans and others who were agitating for change in society and, to her credit, she remained steadfast to her republican beliefs (“…the old idea that a woman can only serve her nation through her home is gone….now is the time, on you the responsibility rests. It may be as a leader, it may be as a humble follower, perhaps in a political party, perhaps in a party of your own, but it is there…so many of you, the young women of Ireland, are distinguishing yourselves every day and coming more and more to the front…we [older people] look to you with great hopes and a great confidence that in your gradual emancipation you are bringing fresh ideas, fresh energies…women, from having until very recently stood so far removed from all politics, should be able to formulate a much clearer and more incisive view of the political situation than men…you will go out into the world and get elected on to as many public bodies as possible…” –
Constance Markievicz, in a speech she gave to the Irish Women’s Franchise League in 1915)
and was one of only two female officers that bore arms during the 1916 rising, for which she was sentenced to death, a sentence later commuted to life imprisonment, but was released in June 1917.

In 1918 she was the first woman to be elected to the English ‘House of Commons’, but she never took her seat – instead, with other elected republicans, she helped to establish the First Dáil and served as ‘Labour Minister’ in that proud institution. She opposed the Treaty of Surrender and played an active part in the struggle against the British-imposed ‘parliament’ that followed. However, she joined de Valera and others and assisted with the formation of the ‘Fianna Fáil’ party, which was founded on the 23rd of March , 1926 and, the following year, she was elected as a Fianna Fáil candidate to the then-new Leinster House Free State parliament – but never took her seat, this time due to illness : she suffered from peritonitis , and the treatment she received for same was administered too late – she died, at 59 years of age, as a member of Fianna Fáil, in a Dublin hospital at 1.25am on the 15th of July, 1927.


Edward Carson, born in Dublin in 1854, died in Kent, England, in 1935, age 81.

Edward Carson was born in Dublin in 1854,and was educated at Portarlington School, Trinity College, and King’s Inns. He 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. He was virulently anti-(Irish) republican, and never hesitated to encourage others to despise those he considered to be of a ‘lower class’ – “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 own defence, throughout the province, the Ulster Volunteers. And those are not mere words. I hate words without action…” – the ‘not mere words’ of then soon-to-be paramilitary leader Edward Carson (‘Lord Carson of Duncairn’) at an ‘Orange’ rally in Finaghy, Belfast, County Antrim.

Carson was a staunch supporter of the Irish (pro-British) Unionists and, 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’. He 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 and resigned as *leader of the Ulster Unionist Party on the 4th February 1921, at 67 years of age (* he was replaced by James Craig) . Carson had held that position since 1910 , when he was elected to lead the ‘Irish Unionist Party’ – he was then appointed a ‘Lord of Appeal in Ordinary’ [law lord], entering the ‘House of Lords’ on the 24th May that year. In June 1935, at 81 years of age, Carson contracted bronchial pneumonia but, even though he recovered some good health within weeks, a few months later his strength weakened again and he died on the 22nd of October, 1935.


On a freezing but dry early Saturday afternoon, the 31st January last, three different groups converged in Balgaddy Park (pictured, left, and below) in Clondalkin , Dublin, to hold a protest against the forced imposition of a second, more direct level of taxation on household water. Two of the three groups had left their meeting point, at opposite ends of Clondalkin, at about 11.30am as had the third group, from near-by Lucan, and the couple of hundred people present assembled in the park for a brief rally, before heading into Dublin city center for the main protest.

The rally was addressed by members of political organisations (including Republican Sinn Féin) and by those with no particular political affiliation, all with one issue in mind – their outright objection to been told by Leinster House that they must pay twice for the one service. As we said on this blog last week , in 1997 the political administration in Leinster House added 2% to VAT on goods for sale and 5% to road tax and VRT to fund a water supply throughout the State, a point made by both placards on display in Balgaddy Park and by those speaking at the microphone, all of whom reiterated the point that they would object to paying twice for any one service/utility. The hundreds of people that made it their business to make a stand against this unjust and unwanted double-tax on that Saturday in Balgaddy Park are to be commended for the position they hold and for challenging the pro-double-water-tax politicians and their friends in the media who are attempting to brand those brave people as ‘trouble-making dissidents’. We are ‘dissidents’ in that we dissent from their attempts to practically criminalise us for objecting to paying twice for any one service and we will continue to do so!


At this point in time it’s not likely that we will be posting our usual blog post next Wednesday (11th February) as the coming weekend is already ‘spoke’ for with preparation for, and the actual raffle itself, on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th, followed by the usual ‘inquisition’ on Monday night in Dublin city centre. The preparation work for this Cabhair raffle , a 650-ticket affair, actually began yesterday (Tuesday 3rd February) when reminder notifications were texted and/or emailed to all sellers and arrangements made, where required, to assist with the return/collection of the ticket stubs belonging to the sellers involved. Each ticket is individually accounted for and its number recorded before the raffle and again after same, regardless of whether it is a winning ticket or not. Also, arrangements have to be made with the hotel and followed up on and other arrangements have to be put in place to collect the raffle team and to get them home afterwards – meaning, for me, anyway, any ‘blog time’ I might have had has already been spoken for. So it’s looking like it will be Wednesday 18th February next before we put ‘pen to paper’ here again. But our absence is for a good cause…!

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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