SIXTEEN DEAD MEN.
O but we talked at large before
The sixteen men were shot,
But who can talk of give and take,
What should be and what not
While those dead men are loitering there
To stir the boiling pot?
You say that we should still the land
Till Germany’s overcome;
But who is there to argue that
Now Pearse is deaf and dumb?
And is their logic to outweigh
MacDonagh’s bony thumb?
How could you dream they’d listen
That have an ear alone
For those new comrades they have found,
Lord Edward and Wolfe Tone,
Or meddle with our give and take
That converse bone to bone?
(W. B. Yeats, from here.)
Black flag vigils in memory of the sixteen leadership figures executed in 1916 by the British have been organised by Republican Sinn Féin –
Tuesday May 3rd, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin : Pádraig Mac Piarais, Tomás Ó Cléirigh, Tomás MacDonnchadha.
Wednesday May 4th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin : Éamonn Ó Dálaigh, Liam Mac Piarais, Mícheál Ó hAnnracháin, Seosamh Ó Pluingcéad.
Thursday, May 5th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin : Seán Mac Giolla Bhríde.
Sunday, May 8th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin : Éamonn Ceannt, Conchúir Ó Colbáird, Seán Mac Aodha, Mícheál Ó Mealláin.
Monday, May 9th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin : Tomás Ceannt.
Thursday May 12th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin : Seán MacDiarmada, Séamus Ó Conghaile.
Roger Casement was hanged at Pentonville Prison, England, on August 3rd 1916. A black flag vigil will be held on Wednesday 3rd August 2016, at the GPO, Dublin, from 4pm to 5.30pm.
All genuine republicans welcome!
PROSE AND CONS.
By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.
Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.
First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O’Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.
In the silence of myself
the door slides slowly open
to the heart of all things
there I reach to the suffering of others
to care and share in my own woundness
there we give our trust
and gently flow together
into the warm streams
Silently we gather up the broken pieces
through the eyes of inner conflict
we give rise to meaning, to hope
we give expression with only words
though innocently chosen
steeped in love
we feel the hurt, the pain, with joy
though inside a tear does cry
for tears are words to those
and creation has made us
all the same.
‘Magill’ magazine has unearthed new information which raises a grim but important question : were explosives from within this Republic used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings? It is a question which, bizarrely, also encompasses the controversial Dónal de Róiste case. By Don Mullan, author of the book ‘The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings’.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, February 2003.
THE CLONAGH AFFAIR.
Patrick Walshe’s contemporaneous commentary to his military superiors concerning the Clonagh affair is revelatory – he expressed concern that three months had elapsed and his recommendations had not been implemented. He expressed deep dis-quiet that a facility existed from which explosive materials could be taken with minimal risk of detection and he also stated – “It is apparent that a double standard of custody and control of dangerous substances exists…over one year ago, quantities of sodium chlorate as small as two kilograms were withdrawn from hardware and chemist shops throughout the country (sic) . This substance was stored in military custody under high security conditions…the implementation of that procedure rings hollow when compared with the present situation evident at Clonagh.”
Captain Patrick Walshe expressed concern that no consideration appeared to have been given to the serious responsibility of ensuring “…that these dangerous substances are prevented from getting into the hands of subversives..” and he recommended urgent action “without further delay” and expressed the opinion that the immediate closure of the plant and impounding of all materials in safe custody might be necessary until such time as management of the factory met some basic security commitments but became increasingly alarmed at the lack of response to his reporting.
Yet another report, dated 4th September 1974, concluded that ‘..until such time as ALL deficiencies are corrected..there can be no reasonable assurance that the source of bomb-making material in unauthorised hands has not come from the ‘Irish Industrial Explosives Plant’ at Clonagh.’ In late October 1974 a Garda investigation into the theft of explosives at Clonagh was conducted and two Irish Army (sic) privates were convicted of stealing small quantities of substances from the factory.
Ex-Commandant Walshe told ‘Magill’ magazine that he fully co-operated with the investigation and furnished it with a full set of the reports but he is, however, critical of the Garda operation against the members of the (State) Army and believes it was an attempt to discredit the (State) Army when, in reality, people in more senior positions in the political administration should have been held accountable for the scandalous lack of security. Garrett Fitzgerald’s recent revelation that the Clonagh factory was, indeed, a major source for the IRA’s bombing campaign in the North has vindicated the young officer’s concerns. (MORE LATER.)
GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…
SIN SCÉAL EILE.
By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.
Biographical Note : Jim McCann is a community worker from the Upper Springfield area in West Belfast. Although born in the Short Strand, he was reared in the Loney area of the Falls Road. He comes from a large family (average weight about 22 stone!). He works with Tús Nua (a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Upper Springfield), part of the Upper Springfield Development Trust. He is also a committee member of the ‘Frank Cahill Resource Centre’, one of the founders of ‘Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh’, the local Irish language primary school and Naiscoil Bharr A’Chluanaí, one of the local Irish language nursery schools.
His first publication last year by Glandore was ‘And the Gates Flew Open : the Burning of Long Kesh’. He hopes to retire on the profits of his books. Fat chance!
“THANK YOU, BOYS, THANK YOU…” (PART ONE.)
For the next twenty-four hours Damien tormented Arder about his impending release and Arder took to hiding under beds and in lockers to stay clear of the incessant banter. When it happened it was beautiful, even though it wasn’t planned in any shape or form – it was just the product of the sleeping giant that was Arder’s brain (it should be noted here that ‘Arder’ is just a pseudonym for the author) . Anyway – Arder’s brain has been a secret too long : he was sitting playing cards when Damien came into the hut. Arder got in first – “Fair play to you,” he said to Damien. “What are you on about?” asked Damien. Arder winked at him knowingly. “I understand, Damien, said Arder, “you can’t say too much about it, but obviously I hope it comes off.” “I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about,” said Damien. “Say no more,” answered Arder, “You kept that a secret, ye fly frigger…” Damien went out off the hut scratching his head but returned ten minutes later – “Listen, Arder, what did you hear?”, he pleaded. “Stop messing about,” said Arder, “I heard all about it from the I.O. [Intelligence Officer] of the cage.” “Does it involve me?” asked Damien. “Maybe not, right enough,” Arder retorted, “it’s just about the escape tomorrow. I just heard that Lasher Beirne was taking the place of someone getting released tomorrow and I thought that it was you as you’re the only one out tomorrow.” “I am?” shrieked Damien. “Jesus! Sorry comrade, I thought you knew…” replied Arder.
Damien went white in colour – “This is insane,” he said, “Lasher looks fuck all like me..” “But they have a wig and make-up,” said Arder. Damien went out again looking for the I.O. and returned shortly afterwards – “That’s a load of rubbish. I was talking to the I.O. and he told me someone was messing about.” “Is that right?” said Arder, with a sly grin…
ON THIS DATE (4TH MAY) 16 YEARS AGO : “NAIL IT TO MY BACK” MAN DIES.
When he was only 16 years of age, Kieran Nugent was arrested by the British Army and spent five months on remand in Crumlin Road Prison. When he was eventually tried, the case against him was withdrawn and he was released. He became an active volunteer until his arrest and imprisonment, without trial, on 9th February 1975 and spent nine months in Cage 4 of Long Kesh prison camp until the 12th November 1975. He was imprisoned again after another arrest on 12 May 1976, and sentenced to three years imprisonment on the 14th September 1976 for hijacking a vehicle.
With the removal of Special Category Status, the (British) Labour Government began the process of ‘criminalisation’ in 1976. All prisoners convicted of ‘offences’ committed after March 1st, 1976, were denied political status and classified as ‘criminals’! The prisoners were now expected to do prison work ; in Long Kesh, ‘criminalisation’ also meant that male prisoners had to wear prison uniform. In September 1976, Kieran Nugent refused to wear a prison uniform and began the ‘Blanket Protest’, and the women in Armagh refused to do prison work. The protesting prisoners in Armagh and Long Kesh had begun a struggle for the recognition of their political status which was to end in the deaths of the hunger strikers five years later (ie 1981). In May 1979, Billy McKee, a former IRA Chief of Staff and Belfast Brigade Commander, spoke at a welcome home rally for Kieran.
Some of those that once not only (apparently) championed the Cause he fought for but gave the impression they actually supported that Cause were partially exposed here and the British government itself, too, were later shown to have attempted to manipulate Kieran and his comrades for their own purposes –
‘The proposal is to allow an ITN team (including cameras) to visit Maze tomorrow, to see both clean and dirty cells; and to interview Nugent (who) may refuse but if he does so we expect this to be to our advantage. It would be just as effective in propaganda terms from our point of view. Discussions are now taking place with the Governor…tomorrow morning, Thursday, Nugent will be bathed, and his hair trimmed, with a hospital officer in attendance. Minimum necessary force will be used to bath him, but if he shows a disposition to resist violently and there seems to be a risk of injury, the bathing will not be proceeded with…on the morning of Friday 11 May (1979) Nugent will have an early breakfast…he will then be given his own clothes…release is expected to take place at about 8.30 am…’ (From here.)
On the 4th May 2000 – 16 years ago on this date – Kieran Nugent died from a heart attack and Irish republicanism lost another stalwart of our on-going fight for freedom.
ON THIS DATE (4TH MAY) 100 YEARS AGO : FOUR 1916 LEADERS EXECUTED BY THE BRITISH.
On Thursday, 4th May 1916 – 100 years ago on this date – in reprisal for the then recent attempted uprising against British rule in Ireland, the London administration removed four Irish republican prisoners from their cells and executed them :
JOSEPH PLUNKETT – born into a privileged background (his father was a papal count) he was one of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation and one of the founders of the ‘Irish Volunteer’ organisation. He was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on the 4th May 1916. He was Director of Military Operations for the Rising, with overall responsibility for military strategy. Hours before his execution by the British, he married his sweetheart Grace Gifford in Kilmainham Gaol. Grace was born on the 4th March 1888, in Dublin, and attended art school there and in London and, in 1915, at the age of 27, she ‘stepped out’ with the then editor of ‘The Irish Review’ magazine, Joseph Plunkett. He was imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising and was condemned to death by firing squad : he asked Grace to marry him and, on the 3rd of May 1916, at 6pm, in Kilmainham Jail, Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett were married, with two prison officers as witnesses and fifteen British soldiers ‘keeping guard’ in the same cell. The couple were allowed ten minutes together, before Grace was removed from her husband. He was executed by the British hours later, on the 4th May, 1916. Grace Gifford Plunkett was at that time on the Executive of the then Sinn Féin organisation, and spoke out against the Treaty of Surrender.
EDWARD DALY – was born in Limerick in 1891 into a strongly nationalist family. His father (also named Edward) , a staunch Irish republican, died at only 41 years of age, five months before Edward (junior) was born, but his father’s brother, John – who was imprisoned for twelve years for his republican activities during the 1867 rebellion against British rule – helped to raise the young child. Edward (junior) was Tom Clarke’s brother in law and lived with him in Fairview, Dublin. He was a member of the IRB and the Irish Volunteers in which he held the rank of Commandant of the 1st Battalion. During Easter week he led his battalion in the Four Courts area which witnessed some of the most intense fighting of the week. After his arrest he was sentenced to death by the court-martial and executed at Kilmainham Gaol on 4 May 1916. As a youth, Edward (junior) was considered somewhat lazy and easily distracted, more concerned with his appearance and a ‘party lifestyle’ than he was with the day-to-day poverty and related injustices that surrounded him, but he developed a social conscience to the extent that, at only 25 years of age, he was asked to take command of the First Battalion of the Irish Volunteers, leading raids on the Bridewell and Linenhall British barracks and seizing control of the Four Courts, before which he addressed the men under his command – “Men of the First Battalion, I want you to listen to me for a few minutes, and no applause must follow my statement. Today at noon, an Irish Republic will be declared, and the Flag of the Republic hoisted. I look to every man to do his duty, with courage and discipline. The Irish Volunteers are now the Irish Republican Army. Communication with our other posts in the city may be precarious, and in less than an hour we may be in action..” . On the 4th of May, 1916, 25-years-young Commandant Edward Daly was executed by firing squad by the British in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin and was buried in near-by Arbour Hill Cemetery. He was the youngest commander of the rebels and the youngest 1916 leader to be executed by the British.
MICHAEL O’HANRAHAN – was born in New Ross, County Wexford, in 1877 and educated in Carlow. He was active in the Gaelic League from 1898, and that organisation would lead him to Dublin where he worked as a proof reader and journalist, and was the author of two novels, ‘A Swordsman of the Brigade’ and ‘When the Norman Came’. He joined Sinn Féin shortly after its establishment by Arthur Griffith, and in 1913 joined the Irish Volunteers. He was Vice-Commandant of the 2nd Battalion of the Irish Volunteers under Thomas MacDonagh. During Easter week he was stationed at Jacob’s Factory, was arrested by the British after the Rising and sentenced to death by court-martial. He was executed at Kilmainham Gaol on the 4th May 1916.
WILLIAM PEARSE – The younger brother of Patrick, William was born in Dublin in 1881 and trained as a sculptor under his father. He studied art in London and Paris, and his career was progressing well until he decided to go and work with his brother Patrick at St Enda’s. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, and during Easter Week he was alongside his brother in the General Post Office. He was sentenced to death by court-martial in the wake of the Rising, and was executed at Kilmainham Gaol on the 4th May 1916. Pearse railway station on Westland Row in Dublin was re-named in honour of the two brothers in 1966, and a black flag vigil was held today, Wednesday 4th May 2016, in memory of these four men – see ‘SIXTEEN DEAD MEN’, above.
ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 11TH MAY 2016)…..
…we won’t be posting our usual contribution, and probably won’t be in a position to post anything at all until the following Wednesday ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 7th/8th May 2016) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Dublin Executive of Republican Sinn Féin in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border (work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle) and the ‘autopsy’ into same which will take place on Monday evening, 9th, in Dublin, meaning that we will not have the time to post here. But we’ll be back, as stated above, on the following Wednesday, 18th May 2016, so please check back with us then.
Thanks for reading, Sharon.