‘…a secondary school in North Dublin held an LGBT week and pupils were forced to wear LGBT badges, write essays in favour of LGBT rights and do artwork in a similar vein….a 16-year-old girl who refused to wear one of the badges was told by her teacher that she was being “disrespectful” to LGBT people….another girl (aged 14) was asked to do an art project on an LGBT theme. When she objected, the teacher said she would have to leave her convictions outside the classroom…’(…from here.)

Hopefully, the above incident will be the exception rather than the rule although, having said that, I can almost picture a State in which a teenage boy and girl meet up behind the school bike shed for a clandestine kiss and to whisper their intention to go on a date that night, for fear that to do so in the school yard or on the street would cause ‘offence’ to fellow pupils and/or teachers (are separate schools the answer and, if so, why not separate shops,buses and whole housing estates etc?). Indeed, we should perhaps go the whole hog now – strike while the iron is hot and all that – and demand that all State citizens wear some item of clothing or badge etc identifying them as ‘pro-equality’ in relation to the ‘gay marriage’ issue, with failure to do so to be considered a probable offence under a new ‘Public Order Act’. Those that object (especially the majority of voters from the Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency and some from Donegal South-West) will be moved to a ‘re-education’ camp for their own good and that of society overall, and be ‘encouraged’ to stay there until they realise that a gay man can be a ‘mother’ and be described as such on a birth certificate!

And, speaking of ‘equality’, there has been no media uproar about the obvious lack of it regarding the age at which a citizen can be officially considered ‘fit for office’ in relation to the ‘job’ of State president (a position which, incidentally, I do not believe should exist at all) – ageism , apparently, is not as important and/or as ‘sexy’ an issue as ‘gay marriage’ and seemingly not as ‘cool’ to propagate on. And, as an Irish republican , it annoys me to witness careless people confuse the 26 county State with the country of ‘Ireland’ : Seth MacFarlane/@SethMacFarlane/Congratulations to Ireland for legalizing same-sex marriage on a national level! Come on U.S., let’s catch up to the future.

Richard Branson/
@richardbranson/Great to see the people of Ireland voting to live in a country where everybody is treated equally #MarRef #YesEquality
(…and more here.) But perhaps it’s only a rainbow that’s blocking their vision.

The only answer which should be given in regards to the Office in question : this pic shows a ballot paper from the ‘State presidential age’ referendum, which was held here on Friday 22nd May 2015.

And, finally – it seems that whereas ‘gay marriage’ is good and ageism is acceptable, being politically inept can be rewarding. It’s at times like this that I wonder if we’re doing ourselves more harm than even the British could do!


Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan’s visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From ‘Magill’ magazine, May 1987.


The prisoners were told they could make a phone call, if it was practicable. It wasn’t practicable, said the gardaí, so some prisoners prevailed on the gardaí to make phone calls for them, to relatives and friends, usually asking for dry clothes.

Outside the Bridewell, the women who had not been arrested gathered to give support to their friends inside, and a priest visited them and said Mass in a corridor, with the women in two rows, delighted to get out of the cells, some sobbing. In the cells emotions swung , above all the feeling of powerlessness, and rage at times – tears of anger, frustration, anxiety and fear. As always, there was singing. Paper plates were cut into quarter-moon shapes and used to decorate the cell, and plastic forks became brooms for paper witches.

Monica Barnes, the Fine Gael representative, got a phone call and went to the Bridewell that evening. The gardaí first wanted the prisoners to select a spokeswoman to come out and meet the politician, but this search for ring leaders had been a feature of the garda activity in the Phoenix Park – so the women pointed out yet again that they were individuals and had no hierarchy. The gardaí went around the cells flushing the toilets before Barnes came in ; she went from cell to cell and visited all the women, and was appalled at the conditions. She found some women frightened, a high level of anxiety throughout, some worried about their families, not knowing what law they had broken, not knowing how long they could be held like this. (MORE LATER).



But those two developments and, in particular, the Economic Resistance campaign, are at the root of conservative unease with the move leftwards. Not only is Economic Resistance uncomfortably reminiscent of the ‘communist’ Officials and their concept of a National Liberation Front, it also smacks of the same politics that led to the 1970 split over recognition of the two States in Ireland. For an Economic Resistance campaign to be really successful it clearly needs to get into the businesses of making demands on the State, both North and South of the Border. Building campaigns around the demand for jobs or better housing will lead, say the traditionalists, to a de facto recognition of Leinster House and whatever Humphrey Atkins can devise in the North to replace Stormont.

So far an uneasy compromise has been reached, which allows for agitation in the South but only glorified social work in the North. The most significant change in Eire Nua has come in the present differing attitudes of the IRA Army Council and Sinn Fein to the core of the 1972 document. That is Federalism, or the creation of strong Provisional government in Ireland when the British withdraw. Underlying Federalism was an implicit hope that it would mollify Northern Protestants and persuade them that however unrealistic the chances of re-unification, the Provisionals didn’t really bear Protestants there any ill will. The Provos were even prepared to give them a large measure of self-government, should the distant dream of re-unification be realised.

The Provisional most closely identified with Federalism, is of course, Dáithí Ó Conaill. As Director of Publicity of the IRA between 1972 and 1975, Ó Conaill spoke more often of the need to build a ‘United Ulster’ than a ‘United Ireland’. He even banned the latter phrase from Provisional vocabulary for a while. (MORE LATER).


The building, left, which was used at the time as a barracks for a British ‘police force’.

In 1867, the Fenians attacked a British military outpost at Kilmallock in County Limerick, but were repelled ; fifty-three years after that event, the Fenians (IRA) decided to burn the outpost (then an RIC barracks) to the ground. The building was a two-storey, solid masonry structure with steel shuttering and was set back from the road ; it housed an RIC garrison of one sergeant and seventeen constables, all armed, and was known to be a ‘tough’ building. But it had one possible weakness – its roof.

A house to the right-hand side of the barracks, which was owned by the Carroll family, was taller than the barracks, and had a ‘skylight’ in its attic. Clery’s Hotel and a bank practically faced the barracks, as did a shop, owned by the O’Herlihy family. If, during the attack, RIC reinforcements from other areas were to attempt to rescue their colleagues they would find the routes into the town barricaded by armed IRA units. Sixty IRA Volunteers were organised for the operation ; at least half of them, plus some local men, went out on the night of 27th May 1920 and blocked a number of roads leading to Kilmallock. IRA leader Tom Malone (‘Sean Forde’) and his unit took over Carrolls house, Tim Crowley and his Volunteer group took control of Cleary’s Hotel, D. O’Hannigan was in charge of a unit of IRA men which occupied the bank and J. McCarthy and an IRA unit moved in to O’Herlihy’s shop for the night. Michael Brennan, an IRA leader from East Clare, was also in the shop.

A few Volunteers were positioned near outhouses at the rear of the barracks. Just after midnight, IRA leader Tom Malone and his men took it in turns to lob heavy objects out of the skylight of the Carrolls’ house, the objective being to break a hole through the roof of the barracks, into which prepared petrol-bombs could be thrown. When Malone’s first object hit the roof, the IRA units positioned around the barracks opened fire on the front and rear of the building ; within minutes, the RIC men trapped in the building were shooting back. While this gun-fight was going on, Malone and his men succeeded in breaching the roof – dozens of parafin and petrol bombs were thrown through the hole, followed by a flaming torch and a grenade : the building was now on fire.
By 2am
(approximately two hours after the attack began) the upper storey of the barracks was about to collapse on top of the ground-floor section, where the RIC men were now confined : the IRA stopped the attack and advised the RIC to throw out their weapons and then come out themselves. The RIC refused the offer.

However , all was not as it seemed to the attackers ; the RIC men had been retreating to the outbuildings at the back of the barracks , braving the sniper-fire from the IRA Volunteers rather than face the onslaught coming through the front of the building. By about 7am, with the barracks now a smouldering ruin, it was obvious that a fresh plan and re-deployment of the Volunteers would be necessary if the RIC were to be removed from the various outhouses they were now in, and the order was given for the IRA to withdraw ; one Volunteer, Liam Scully, was dead, and the RIC Sergeant and one of his constables were dead – six more RIC men were seriously wounded.
The Kilmallock attack, on 28th May, 1920 – in the middle of the Tan War – was one of the most prolonged and fiercest battles of that period. The actual battle itself began on the 27th of May, 1920, 95 years ago on this date.


On the 27th of May, 1798 (Whit Sunday) , a few hundred well armed British Kingsborough militiamen and yeomanry from the North Cork Militia were sent to Oulart (Abhallghort/Orchard), in Wexford, to quell ‘native unease’ and, as expected, they plundered and caused havoc on their journey to ‘put manners’ on those Irish men and women who had assembled, approximately one-thousand strong, in Oulart, under the leadership of Fr.John Murphy, General Myles Byrne, from Ballylusk, and General Edward Roche of Garlough, Castlebridge.

A description of the battle can be read here, but suffice to quote one paragraph from that link : ‘…the (British) militiamen were soon completely overrun, and must have seen their fate written in the pent-up hatred on the rebels’ faces. They turned and fled for their lives, spilling down the slopes from where they had come just a few minutes before. Some ran for miles before being overtaken, impaled and gutted. They begged for mercy in both Gaelic and English. They blessed themselves and shouted out prayers, since many of their number were themselves Catholic, but received absolutely no pity from the rebels. To the insurgents, the men begging for their lives were the same ones who had so recently burned out and murdered their neighbours and friends. The merciless pikemen offered no quarter, and the detested North Cork Militia disappeared forever on the bloody slopes of Oulart Hill….’

One of the above-mentioned leaders, Myles Byrne (who lived long enough to serve as an officer in Napoleon’s ‘Irish Legion’) was born in Monaseed in Wexford, on March 20th, 1780. He was only a boy when he witnessed the attacks by the yeoman militia and other mercenaries which England let loose in Wexford in 1798. But he took his place in the United Irishmen and fought through the Wexford campaign, joined Michael Dwyer afterwards in Wicklow, later came to Dublin and was a comrade and friend of Robert Emmet in the continuation of ’98 which failed so sadly in 1803. He was sent by Emmet (then on the run) to France to seek assistance from Thomas Addis Emmet and the other exiled United Irishmen. He went with no hesitation, in the hope that he would return in the ranks of a conquering army and, for over 30 years, he followed the flag of France across the battlefields of Europe, whilst seeking out information from all sources on the situation in Ireland. After his retirement in 1835, when all hope of striking a blow for his own country had failed, he settled in Paris and continued to write, off and on, for twenty years, right up to the day of his death in 1862.

His widow published his memoirs in three volumes and the story was published in serial form in the ‘Shamrock’ newspaper of Dublin, in 1869, and reprinted in the ‘Irish Weekly Independent’ in 1898. In his memoirs, he was critical of the “gentlemany nature” of the rebel approach, believing them to have been “too willing to negotiate and to accept (British) government protections and non-existent government good faith”.

Whilst in Paris, his home was a ‘safe house’ for all who had ever served Ireland and one of the most welcome visitors to his home was that fine old soldier John Mitchel, who described Myles Byrne as “..a tall figure, the splendid ruin of a soldier d’elite , bearing himself still erect under the weight of eighty winters. The grey eye is keen and proud, the thin face bronzed and worn by war and weather, and the whole bearing gives the idea not of decrepitude, but of a certain dashing gallantry. He has marched over half of Europe, and stood full often at the head of his regiment on the rough edges of battle in Spain, in Germany, in Greece and other, earlier memories, cloud at times his clear grey eyes; and through and beyond the battle smoke and thunder of all Napoleon’s fields, he has a vision of the pikemen at New Ross, and hears the fierce ‘hurrah’ on Oulart Hill…”

Myles Byrne died in France on Friday 24th January 1862, aged 82, and was buried in Montmarte Cemetery (‘The Hill Of Martyrs’), Paris, in a grave marked with a Celtic Cross (since replaced with a different headstone) , inscribed with the words ‘Sincerement Attache A L’Irlande : Son Pays Natal, IL A Fidelement Servi La France, Sa Patrie Adoptive.’ The words on the new headstone read – ‘Here lies Myles Byrne, Lieutenant Colonel in the service of France. Officer of the legion of Honour. Knight of St Louis, born at Monaseed in the county Wexford in Ireland, 20th March 1780. Died at Paris, the 24th January 1862, his long life was distinguished by the constant integrity and loyalty of his character and by his high-minded principles. Sincerely attached to Ireland, his native land, he gave faithful service to France, the country of his adoption.’ He done more for Ireland on that one day, 217 years ago on this date, then some will do in a lifetime.

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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