REMINDER – SATURDAY, 15TH AUGUST 2015.
“We are the most cosmopolitan race in the whole universe; but Irishmen should have a country; they have a right to the country of their birth. By the use and aid of one steel – the pen – our committee have taken possession of that right, and as their title one day may be disputed, I trust they will be able and willing to prove it by the aid of another steel – the sword.” – the words of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa : on Saturday, 15th August 2015, Republican Sinn Féin will hold a wreath-laying ceremony at 11am in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, at the grave of O’donovan Rossa (those attending are asked to assemble at the cemetery gates) following which a seminar will be held, in Wynn’s Hotel, Abbey Street, Dublin, from 1pm to 4.30pm.
All genuine republicans welcome!
“WE SUPPORT THE USE OF ARMED STRUGGLE IN THE SIX COUNTIES…” – MARTIN McGUINNESS.
The following piece was published in the ‘Socialist Republic!’ newspaper in September 1986 and records some of the words of Martin McGuinness from a speech he delivered in Bodenstown on Sunday 22nd June of that year. That publication was ‘the newspaper of the Scottish Communist Republican Party (SCRP)’ , both of which are now apparently defunct as separate entities as, indeed, is McGuinness himself, in relation to Irish republicanism. Less than six months after he delivered the following speech, Martin McGuinness assisted other nationalists in splitting the Republican Movement.
Quote from Martin McGuinness, Sunday 22nd June, 1986, Bodenstown: “Despite the multi-million dollar hype of the (Hillsborough) Agreement, despite disinformation, despite the rewriting of Irish history by West Britons and British propaganda, more and more people are beginning to realise that internal tinkering with the six-county statelet solves nothing..”(…which is exactly what McGuinness and his nationalist colleagues are doing now – “internal tinkering with the six-county statelet.”)
IRELAND : “ONLY A SOCIALIST REPUBLIC CAN END DECADES OF WAR, INJUSTICE AND POVERTY” – Sinn Féin.
“In the past week we have witnessed the twenty-six-county administration in the ridiculous position of having to exert diplomatic pressure on Libya at the British government’s behest. The bold Peter Barry is now a mouthpiece both in Ireland and abroad of British interests.” In contrast to imperialism’s anti-people and hateful plans for Ireland, Martin McGuinness outlined Sinn Féin’s aim of a 32-county socialist republic – “More and more people are beginning to realise that internal tinkering with the six-county statelet solves nothing,” he pointed out, “Only the achievement of a socialist republic, as advocated by Sinn Féin, can end decades of war, injustice and poverty in Ireland. We are a socialist republican movement, a movement that supports the use of armed struggle in the six-counties of Ireland.”
“In the whole of Western Europe there is not a revolutionary or a socialist organisation that enjoys as much popular support as we do. We must be conscious of that fact and attempt to build on it. Our position is perfectly simple – the Irish are a subject people who have the right to be free and have the absolute right to oppose in arms the occupying forces of Britain in the six counties.”
“We are out to establish a society in which no-one is oppressed or exploited, where women are freed from their traditional oppressions, where the young people have nope and where freedom, justice and power rests with the people of Ireland.” (MORE LATER).
THE PRICE OF PEACE……
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.
Section 9 of the Phoenix Park Act, already quoted above, is quite clear – the Garda Commissioner may make regulations “for the routes” to be observed by people and vehicles. He may also direct gardai to preserve order under existing law. The regulations the Commissioner is empowered to make were clearly intended to be ones which would regulate the procession of people or vehicles but, in the event, immense powers were brought into force to arrest and hold a small group of people who were deemed an embarrassment to the government. An obscure clause in an Act designed to regulate the mundane governance of a public park was certainly stretched to its limit.
At the end of March 1987, one of the women, Jane Morgan, settled a civil suit against the State and the gardai, out of court : she and 27 others had taken the cases, all of which were settled. Jane Morgan was given £1,000 damages and £900 special damages and the others will get £1,000. All of them will get their costs, and the final cost to the taxpayer for this affair will run into tens of thousands of pounds, but the cost to ‘the flagship and flashfire of the future’ is incalculable.
[END of ‘The Price Of Peace’.]
(Next : ‘Prose And Cons’ , from Portlaoise Prison, 1999.)
“WE HAVE WORN DOWN THEIR WILL…..”
Ed Moloney speaks to a leading member of the Provisionals who has been authorised to speak on behalf of the (P)IRA Army Council.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, September 1980.
Ed Moloney : What are the present state of relations between the IRA and the Palestine Liberation Organisation?
IRA : Well unfortunately, the PLO are in a bad situation. They have found it necessary to adopt certain policies. Some would say in order to ingratiate themselves with the EEC Governments for recognition. We do not question or judge them because we know the position of their people is very bad. They’re denied their homeland and live in deplorable refugee camps. They’re also subjected to frequent Israeli attacks and from Haddad, on Southern Lebanon. We sympathise with them, but we cannot dictate their relationships with other people. That’s just unfortunate. There are only solidarity links between the IRA and the PFLP, but the Brits have used that to try to embarrass us, as they did with the Marxist smear, with those links. The IRA is a national liberation organisation.
Ed Moloney : Do the negotiations over the H Blocks between Cardinal O Fiaich and Humphrey Atkins involve the republican movement?
IRA : No. But these negotiations are causing a lot of anxiety, although by the time this interview appears in print there might be some conclusion to those negotiations. It is for the men in the H Blocks and their comrades in Armagh to decide. It’s not even up to us to decide. They are the sole negotiating body. They are undoubtedly political prisoners. In February and March this year we privately decided to suspend attacks on prison warders, but the beatings meted out by them to the prisoners continued. It wasn’t until June this year after prisoners had been continually beaten, after there was no progress in Cardinal 0 Fiaich’s ‘initiative’, that we decided to resume attacks. Since June, there has only been one IRA attack on the warders but we have said it is open season on them again. We want the H Blocks settled, we don’t want to see warders killed and the H Blocks are of no propaganda purpose to use. Our people in the jails are suffering real deprivations and we want that resolved.
[END of ‘We Have Worn Down Their Will’.]
(Next : ‘Stunning Silence’ , by Eamonn McCann , from ‘Magill’ magazine , June 1989.).
ON THIS DATE (12TH AUGUST) 46 YEARS AGO : POLITICAL RIOT IN DERRY.
The ‘Battle of the Bogside’ (pictured, left) , Derry, 12th, 13th and 14th of August 1969 : a reaction to British interference in Irish affairs.
The ‘Battle of the Bogside’ has had so many thousands of words printed about it over the last 46 years that it is unlikely that we can give any fresh insights into it nor do we feel it necessary to even attempt to do that – regardless of the position that this incident is viewed from, it is beyond doubt that it helped to further expose the lie from Westminster that its ‘police force’, the RUC/PSNI, and its army, were only in that part of Ireland to ‘keep the peace between two warring religious factions’. The Free State administration declared that it “…could not stand by and watch innocent people injured and perhaps worse..” and they didn’t – they dressed the wounds of the injured (!) but backed off when it came to intervening to prevent any more injuries and, indeed, have themselves inflicted injuries on those of us who continue to oppose the British military and political presence in Ireland. But we have broad shoulders, as had those whose footsteps we follow, and we will persist.
Tuesday 12 August 1969 : As the annual Apprentice Boys parade passed close to the Bogside area of Derry serious rioting erupted. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), using armoured cars and water cannons, entered the Bogside, in an attempt to end the rioting. The RUC were closely followed and supported by a loyalist crowd. The residents of the Bogside forced the police and the loyalists back out of the area. The RUC used CS gas to again enter the Bogside area. [This period of conflict between the RUC and Bogside (and Creggan) residents was to become known as the ‘Battle of the Bogside’ and lasted for two days.]….serious rioting spread across Northern Ireland from Derry to other Catholic areas stretching the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). The rioting deteriorated into sectarian conflict between Catholics and Protestants and many people, the majority being Catholics, were forced from their homes….Jack Lynch, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), made a television address in which he announced that ‘field hospitals’ would be set up in border areas. He went on to say that: “… the present situation is the inevitable outcome of the policies pursued for decades by successive Stormont governments. It is clear also that the Irish government can no longer stand by and see innocent people injured and perhaps worse….”
After two days of continuous battle, and with the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) exhausted, the Stormont government asked the British government for permission to allow British troops to be deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland. Late in the afternoon troops entered the centre of Derry. John Gallagher, a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Special Constabulary (‘B-Specials’) during street disturbances on the Cathedral Road in Armagh. [John Gallagher was recorded, by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), as the first ‘official’ victim of ‘the Troubles’.] In Belfast vicious sectarian riots erupted and continued the following day. In Divis Street the RUC fired a number of shots, from a heavy Browning machine-gun mounted on an armoured car, into the Divis Flats and Towers. One of the shots killed a young Catholic boy while he lay in bed… (from here.)
The Irish republican position is the same now as it was then – as long as Westminster maintains a political and military presence in any part of Ireland then ‘Bogside-type- Battles’ are inevitable.
ON THIS DATE (12TH AUGUST) 93 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF ARTHUR GRIFFITH.
Arthur Griffith (pictured, left) was born at 61 Upper Dominick Street, Dublin, in 1871 (31st March) into a family of Welsh descent – his father was Arthur Charles (a printer) and his mother’s name was Mary (nee Whelan). He left school before he was thirteen years of age but mastered the art of autodidacticism and was theoretician by nature, in that whereas he did envisage a single political parliament for all Ireland, in Ireland, he was against ‘mixing’ social issues with the fight for national freedom, opining that economic issues could not be improved until a British political and military withdrawal had been secured.
At 26 years of age he travelled to South Africa (mostly for reasons of climate – he was recovering at the time from TB) and worked there for two years – one of his jobs was as an editor of the ‘Middelburg Courant’ newspaper, during his tenure of which the paper folded, not least because Griffith couldn’t see eye-to-eye with it’s pro-British readership!
He was an unlikely Irish Republican and took no part in the 1916 Rising (because, according to his wife, Maud, – “he was against all that…”) but was still imprisoned over same, and was released in 1917. He became a Sinn Féin MP in 1918, and was Acting President of the Dail Government of 1919-20 while Eamon de Valera was in America.
Griffith led the Irish delegates as chief negotiator in the Treaty talks of late 1921 and became President of the Dail and was perhaps better known in his day as, if not an actual capitalist, then an aspiring one!
He was a follower of Deak, the Hungarian author, and was of the opinion that Irish members of the British Parliament should withdraw from that institution, as he was opposed to the British legislating for internal Irish affairs but was known to personally favour a dual monarchy system (ie as with Hungary and Austria) which would leave the British monarch as ‘King of Ireland and England’, but with separate parliaments in both countries, and was concerned with the authority/powers that any Irish Parliament could win for itself from the British Government – indeed, he wrote a series of articles in 1904 for the ‘United Irishman’ newspaper entitled ‘The resurrection of Hungary: a parallel for Ireland‘, in which he discussed that very subject.
However, that is not to say that the Arthur Griffith-linked Sinn Féin organisation, which was founded on November 28th, 1905 (compromised of an amalgamation of Cumann na nGaedheal, the National Council [which was founded in the main to organise protests at the visit of the British King, Edward VII, and included in its ranks Edward Martyn, Séamus McManus and Maud Gonne] and the Dungannon Clubs, a largely IRB-dominated republican campaign group) was, in its first years, not republican in character but rather sought a limited form of Home Rule on the dual monarchist model ; Brian O’Higgins, a founding member of Sinn Féin, who took part in the 1916 Rising and was a member of the First and Second Dáil and who remained a steadfast republican up to his death in 1962, had this to say in his Wolfe Tone Annual of 1949: “It is often sought to be shown that the organisation set up in 1905 was not republican in form or spirit, that it only became so in 1917; but this is an erroneous idea, and is not borne out by the truths of history. Anyone who goes to the trouble of reading its brief constitution will see that its object was ‘the re-establishment of the independence of Ireland.’ The Constitution of Sinn Féin in 1905, and certainly the spirit of it, was at least as clearly separatist as was the constitution of Sinn Féin in and after 1917, no matter what private opinion regarding the British Crown may have been held by Arthur Griffith.”
On the 3rd December 1921, in a heated all-day debate in the Mansion House in Dublin, the then Irish republican delegation was once again at odds regarding the treaty which Westminster sought to impose on Ireland : the Irish Minister for Defence, Cathal Brugha, just managed to stop short of describing two of his then colleagues, Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith, as traitors (“…the British government selected its men..”) whilst de Valera declared he himself might have been flexible on either one of the descriptive terms ‘Irish unity/unconditional independence’ but did not believe that compromise should be accepted on both (“…you got neither this nor that..”) and, indeed, such was the falling out that three of them -Barton, Childers and Duffy- travelled to London that night from the North Wall and the other three -Collins, Griffith and Duggan- left for London via Dun Laoghaire (‘Kingstown’, as it was known then) and, at that same meeting, Griffith is recorded as having declared in favour of the ‘offer’ : ‘Mr. Griffith in favour of Treaty…he did not like the document but did not think it dishonourable…’ (from here) and, three days later (ie on the 6th December 1921), he issued the following press release (pictured, left) –
-“I have signed a Treaty of peace between Ireland and Great Britain. I believe that treaty will lay foundations of peace and friendship between the two Nations. What I have signed I shall stand by in the belief that the end of the conflict of centuries is at hand”.(Counting chickens on a long hand there, Arthur!)
Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith (both pro-Treaty) pressurised their colleague, Richard Barton (the Irish Minister for Economic Affairs) to accept the Treaty of Surrender, telling him that if he did not sign then he would be responsible for “Irish homes (being) laid waste and the youth of Ireland (being) butchered” and, at about 11pm on Monday, 5th December 1921, Barton signed the document. Ten days later (ie on the 15th December) he had this to say in relation to that eventful day – “I want first of all to say we were eight and a half hours on that Monday in conference with the English representatives and the strain of an eight and a half hours conference and the struggle of it is a pretty severe one. One, when I am asked a question like that, “Was it or was it not?”, I cannot give you an answer. But as regards particular aspects of that question, which I cannot take on oath, I can only give you my impression. It is in my notes that the answer is given, and it is there because it was my impression of that conference. It did appear to me that Mr. Lloyd George spoke to me and I had an impression that he actually mentioned my name; but I could not swear on oath that he mentioned my name, or actually addressed me when he spoke. It appeared to me that he spoke to me. What he did say was that the signature and the recommendation of every member of the delegation was necessary, or war would follow immediately and that the responsibility for that war must rest directly upon those who refused to sign the Treaty…”
In a speech he delivered in the then Dáil Éireann (the 32-county institution) on the 19th December 1921, Arthur Griffith called for support for the Treaty of Surrender : “…we have made a bargain….I signed the Treaty, not as an ideal thing, but fully believing what I believe now, as a Treaty honourable to Ireland, and safe-guarding the interests of Ireland. Now by that Treaty I am going to stand, and every man with a scrap of honour who signed it will do the same…I hold that it is good enough…we went there to see how to reconcile the two positions, and I hold we have done it…it is the first Treaty signed between the representatives of the Irish Government and the representatives of the English Government since 1172, signed on an equal footing…it is the first Treaty that admits the equality of Ireland…it is a Treaty of equality, and because of that, I am standing by it…we have brought back to Ireland her full rights and powers of fiscal control…we are told that it is a Treaty not to be accepted; that it is a poor thing, and that the Irish people ought to go back and fight for something more, and that something more is what I describe as a quibble of words…I ask the Dáil to pass this resolution…let us stand as free partners equal with England and make after 700 years the greatest revolution that has ever been made in the history of the world, in the history of Europe – a revolution which sees the two countries standing, not apart as enemies, but standing together as equals. I ask you, therefore, to pass this resolution” (from here) .
The prolonged strain of the campaign took its toll on the man and, at 51 years of age (in 1922) , Arthur Griffith died from a brain hemorrhage. He was mentally exhausted and bore a heavy load in that he had witnessed the start of the political and military fight against his Treaty. He tried to take a break by resting in a nursing home but could not settle in and returned to his political job (administering the affairs of the Free State) and, on the 12th August 1922, he collapsed and, despite the best efforts of three doctors, he died. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, four days later. But the opposition to the Treaty he supported lives on.
ON THIS DATE (12TH AUGUST) 145 YEARS AGO : ‘UNPREDICTABLE’ BRITISH GENERAL BORN.
British General Sir Hubert de la Poer Gough, GCB, GCMG, KCVO (!) (pictured, left) was born in Gurteen, Co Waterford, on August 12th 1870, to General Sir Charles Gough and his wife, Harriet Anastatia de la Poer (who was the daughter of Edmund de la Poer MP). He was destined for a military life and trained for same at Sandhurst Military Academy, before joining the 16th (‘Queen’s’) Lancers, with which he served in the Tirah Expedition in India, to suppress an uprising, and also fought in the Boer War. He served his Empire in Ireland as commander of the 3rd cavalry brigade in the Curragh (in his memoirs, he described himself as “an Englishman but Irish by blood and upbringing”) and was the main architect behind the ‘Curragh Mutiny’ in 1914, as he was completely opposed to any notion of ‘Home Rule’ been imposed on his political brethren in the north-east of Ireland.
Yet, in spite of his political sympathies for pro-British unionists in Ireland, he couldn’t let that support override his sense of injustice about the manner in which the Irish population in general was being abused by his own grouping and its political chiefs : in 1921 he stated that “Law and order (in Ireland) have given place to a bloody and brutal anarchy in which the armed agents of the Crown violate every law in aimless and vindictive and insolent savagery. England has departed further from her own standards and further from the standards even of any nation in the world, not excepting the Turk and Zulu, than has ever been known in history before…” , feelings which, no doubt, led to his decision the following year (1922) to retire from the British Army (even though he resurfaced in 1937 to accept a ‘Knight Grand Cross of the Bath’ award from the British establishment!)
And, finally, that British General wasn’t the only one of his ilk to voice concern about the atrocious treatment inflicted on the Irish by Westminster, politically and militarily – other examples can be read here.
ON THIS DATE (12TH AUGUST) 146 YEARS AGO : THE KING OF THE U.S.A. ISSUES AN EDICT…..!
“At the pre-emptory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last nine years and ten months past of San Fransisco, California, declare and proclaim myself the Emperor of these United States…. …and with those words a new ‘royal family’ came into being, although it took the man – Joshua Abraham Norton – ten years after his ‘anointment’ to abolish some of the ‘opposition’, which he did (!) on August 12th, 1869, by declaring – “Being desirous of allaying the dissension’s of party strife now existing within our realm, (I) do hereby dissolve and abolish the Democratic and Republican parties, and also do hereby degree the disfranchisement and imprisonment, for not more than ten, nor less than five years, to all persons leading to any violation of this our imperial decree….”
JAN was his own man, with his own currency!
Anyone of that ‘character’ is bound to have left a few choice words in his/her wake and the Emperor is no exception – “We, Norton I, do hereby decree that the offices of President, Vice President, and Speaker of the House of Representatives are, from and after this date, abolished……now, therefore, the Directors of the company are hereby ordered to see that precautions are taken to make travel on said railroad perfectly safe by using a screw with at least twenty-four inches diameter…..it is my desire that, in case Maximillian will surrender, he be sent here a prisoner of war, but that in the event of his continuing the war, or refusing to surrender, then he be shot…..we do hereby command the Leaders of the Hebrew, Catholic and Protestant Churches to sanctify and have us crowned Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico…..we further decree that the Senate of the United States elect a prominent Democrat as their presiding officer, to act as President until the next election, and to reconstruct the Cabinet according to our wishes hereafter to be declared….”
This English-born ‘royal’ proclaimed himself as ‘(his) Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, Emperor of the United States of America and Protector of Mexico’ on the 17th of September 1859 and has been variously described as being both (and between!) eccentric and barking mad. Nevertheless, when he died in 1880, at 61 years of age, about 30,000 people turned out for his funeral and the cortege was two miles long!
More about Jan the Man can be had here. And it is hereby declared a violation should you not click on that link!
PLUSH GREEN CARPETS INSTEAD OF CONCRETE JUNGLE… (..although I much prefer the latter!)
New York doesn’t (scare me, that is),although I love when it tries to! Galway didn’t (nor will it) but sometimes, one or other of my three daughters do!
Especially so when one of them won’t be accompanying me and her two sisters to Galway next week, for a holiday – which is why there won’t be any posts here next Wednesday, 19th August 2015 : myself and the other New York fanatics (see above link) had considered going on our usual adventure to New York, and had received an offer (again!) of free accommodation and transport (hi Joel!) but, even so, in order to have the same spending power as we had on previous trips we would have each needed about an extra one thousand euro because of the lousy exchange rate [one euro buys only one dollar and nine cents, at the time of writing 😦 ] so we took an almost (!) group decision not to go, but consoled ourselves in the knowledge that that decision should mean that we will be able to afford to go for a full month next year.
Anyway , for now, Galway for a break, New York (2016!) for a holiday!
I’ll be back here on Wednesday, 26th August next, if I’m not out searching for that third daughter of mine…!
Thanks for reading, Sharon.