British ‘Chief Secretary for Ireland’, Lieutenant-Colonel ‘Sir’ Hamar Greenwood (pictured, left, and short video here showing ‘the Hamar’ rewarding his troops in this country for the destruction they wrought while maintaining ‘law and order’) promised to put an end to republican “outrages” but that was just another outrageous false promise by the British!

In May 1920 the British Foreign Secretary, ‘Lord’ Curzon, proposed vigorous ‘Indian measures’ to suppress the rebellion in Ireland and he and other British imperialist ‘gentlemen’ formulated a policy with that objective in mind. On the 9th August 1920, the British ‘Lords Commissioners’ announced that ‘Royal Assent’ had been granted for the following 14 items –

1. Overseas Trade (Credit and Insurance) Act, 1920.
2. Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920.
3. Restoration of Order in Ireland Act, 1920.*
4. Aberdeen Corporation Order Confirmation Act, 1920.

5. Pilotage Orders Confirmation (No. 3) Act, 1920.
6. Local Government Board (Ireland) Provisional Orders Confirmation (No. 3) Act, 1920.
7. Ministry of Health Provisional Order Confirmation (Chesterfield Extension) Act, 1920.
8. Mid-Glamorgan Water Act, 1920.
9. Wallasey Corporation Act, 1920.
10. Life Association of Scotland Act, 1920.
11. Uxbridge and Wycombe District Gas Act, 1920.
12. Exmouth Urban District Council Act, 1920.
13. North British and Mercantile Insurance Company’s Act, 1920.
14. Lever Brothers, Limited (Wharves and Railway) Act, 1920.

On the 19th October 1920 – 96 years ago on this date – the British ‘Chief Secretary for Ireland’, Lieutenant-Colonel ‘Sir’ Hamar Greenwood (who later threatened to resign his position if Westminster agreed to a ceasefire with Irish republicans before they had surrendered their weapons!) stated, re the British ‘law and order’ campaign in Ireland – “The outrages against the police and military forces since the 1st January last, which I regret to say include the loss of no less than 118 lives, are as follows: police killed -100, military killed -18, police wounded -160, military wounded -66. There have been 667 attacks on police barracks, resulting in most cases in their complete destruction. There has been an organised attempt to boycott and intimidate the police, their wives and relations. The hon. Member will realise that I cannot publish the steps that are being taken to cope with the campaign of murder, outrage and intimidation, but I can assure him that the means available to the Government for protecting all servants of the Crown in the discharge of their duties, and for bringing to justice those who commit or connive at outrages, are steadily improving. The Royal Irish Constabulary is rapidly increasing in numbers owing mainly to the flow of recruits from ex-officers and ex-service men who served in the Army or Navy during the War. The effective strength of the Force is now higher than it has been for the last 15 years. In the last three weeks alone there have been 194 trials by Court Martial under the ‘Restoration of Order in Ireland Act 1920’, and 159 convictions. The Forces of the Crown are now effectively grappling with the organised, paid and brutal campaign of murder in Ireland..” (*The ‘Restoration of Order in Ireland Act’ was a ‘legal’ item through which the British could authorise, in Ireland, ‘the issue of Regulations under the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, for effecting the restoration and maintenance of order in Ireland where it appears to His Majesty in Council that, owing to the existence of a state of disorder, the ordinary law is inadequate for the prevention and punishment of crime, or the maintenance of order..’)

The British claimed that the ‘legal’ changes had been rendered necessary by the abnormal conditions which at that time prevailed in certain parts of Ireland, where ‘an organised campaign of violence and intimidation has resulted in the partial breakdown of the machinery of the ordinary law and in the non-performance by public bodies and officials of their statuary obligations…in particular it has been found that criminals (sic) are protected from arrest, that trial by jury cannot be obtained because of the intimidation of witnesses and jurors, and the local authorities and their officers stand in fear of injury to their persons or property if they carry out their statuary duties…’

The ‘Order in Council’ provided, among other things, for the putting into operation of many of the existing ‘Defence of the Realm Regulations’ for the purpose of ‘the restoration or maintenance of order, for the trial of crimes by Courts Martial or by specially constituted Civil Courts, and for the investment of those Courts with the necessary powers’. Also, it was now to be allowed for ‘financial punishments’ to be implemented – the withholding from local authorities who refuse to discharge the obligations imposed upon them by Statute, financial grants which otherwise would be payable to them from public funds and for the application of the grants so withheld to the discharge of the obligations which the local authority has failed to fulfill, for the holding of sittings of courts elsewhere than in ordinary courthouses, where these courthouses have been destroyed or otherwise made unavailable and ‘although the Regulations are not, in terms, restricted to any particular part or parts of Ireland, it is the Government’s intention that they shall not be applied in substitution for the provisions of the ordinary law in places where the judicial and administrative machinery of the ordinary law are available, and are not obstructed in their operations by the methods of violence and intimidation above mentioned…for instance, under the Regulations an ordinary crime can only be tried by a Courts Martial or by a specially constituted Civil Court, if the case is referred to the Competent Naval or Military Authority. Instructions will be issued by the Irish Executive to ensure that such cases will not be referred to the Competent Naval or Military Authority except where the prevalence of actual threatened violence or intimidation has produced conditions rendering it impracticable for them to be dealt with by due process of ordinary law…’

Greenwood stated the above, as mentioned, on Tuesday, 19th October 1920 – 96 years ago on this date – and, the following day, a young (19 years old) IRA Volunteer, from Fleet Street in Dublin, Kevin Barry, became the first person to be tried by court martial under the new ‘Restoration of Order in Ireland Act 1920’ which,among its other trappings, allowed for the suspension of the courts system in Ireland (bad and all as that system was) and the establishment of military courts with powers to enforce the death penalty and internment without trial. On the 10th December 1920 martial law was proclaimed in counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, and Tipperary and, in January 1921, this order was extended to include Clare and Waterford. The ‘ROIA’ was widely used by the British against Irish republicans and, indeed, was used as a ‘tool’ to impose censorship on the media of the day, an imposition which was challenged, sometimes succesfully so – in 1921, a ROIA court-martial convicted the proprietors and editor of a Dublin newspaper for violating ROIA press regulations. At the end of the trial, a military detachment acting without a written order from the military court arrested the defendants and conveyed them to a civil prison. The prisoners petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that a transfer from military to civil custody based merely on oral statements of anonymous soldiers was unlawful.
The Crown argued that since the defendants were subject to military law, they could be moved from military to civil confinement without a written order. Finding this contention to be “quite untenable,” the King’s Bench put on record its desire “in the clearest way possible to repudiate” the doctrine that a civil prison could detain a king’s subject without proper written authority: “To sanction such a course would be to strike a deadly blow at the doctrine of personal liberty, which is part of the first rudiments of the constitution.” Moreover, the court-martial’s failure to issue an order left the civil jailer “without the protection of any written mandate” and therefore exposed to the risk of a lawsuit.

Declaring that there was “no vinculum or bond of union between the military and the civil custody,” the King’s Bench issued the writ of habeas corpus. Ostensibly protecting the liberty of civilians against overreaching by the British Army, the court equally protected a civil institution from subordination to military command.

Today, the British and their political colleagues in Stormont and Leinster House are still attempting to use ‘laws’ of that nature, and media censorship, to destroy Irish republicanism. But it didn’t work then and won’t work for them today, either – we are in this for the long haul!



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.

NATURE OF THE CAT. (By David Lynch.)

Sitting on the soft cushion
purring in peaceful silence,
content in the nature of its being
nothing existing but the moment.

Urban domestic and wild
poised in noble posture by the fireside.

Moving with gracious flair,
manoeuvring as if on air
never before seeing a mouse,
instinctively preparing to kill it.

The goldfish swimming in the bowl upon the shelf,

the tropical fish in the aquarium of dreams,
soothing perverse pleasures of domination.
Poised for deadly attack.

The goldfinch singing in the cage above the door,
imprisoned in man’s tiny world
whistling nature, echoing life.
Nails ripping through flesh first strike.

The dying squeal fills the room…

Streams of pain flowing down a mother’s face
half carried behind small white coffins
carrying little children to eternal grace.

Sitting content, urban domestic and wild
poised in noble posture by the fireside.

(Next – ‘Ocean of Dreams ‘ , by David Lynch.)



The Far Right has been resurgent across continental Europe for several years. But only in the last 12 months has Ireland seen an emergence of openly neo-Nazi cells.
By Alan Walsh.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, May 2002.

Naturally enough, more than one Blueshirt journal proposed communism as a Semitic invention – Marx, Engels and Ricardo all being Jewish. And the Blueshirts were to the apparently communist IRA what Mussolini’s Blackshirts were to communist anarchy in Italy. Indeed, O’Duffy saw his Blueshirts as a viable extension of European fascism and, aside altogether from raising a force for the defence of Franco in Spain, offered assistance to Hitler on the Russian front.

His short-lived tenure at the initial helm of Fine Gael might not reflect at all on the present position of the party, but his place in Irish history has not been overlooked by those who would today seek to emulate him – and it would appear that there are more than a few.

O’Duffy is today quoted on a website (http://www.nsrus.com ie ‘National Socialists R Us’) (‘Stormfront’, apparently?) which has, of late, gained notoriety. He is quoted as follows – “Party politics has served its period of usefulness and the sooner change is effected the better.” The website, avowedly national socialist in content, came to the attention of Limerick residents recently when overt fascist slogans surrounded by swastikas appeared daubed on the local Guinness Bridge, alongside its address.




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!

Eddie Brophy was a character. Universally loved. No task in Long Kesh was so great that Eddie couldn’t avoid it. It wasn’t that he was lazy (although in the absence of action it would be hard to say whether he was or not) – he was just ‘Broph’ , and had a story to tell about any given situation, always plausible, never believable. Eddie died recently (in 1997 – Sharon) and is sadly missed by all who knew him.

The ‘Study Hut’ of Cage 22 was used as the canteen and the canteen proper itself was used as a five-a-side indoor football pitch. The canteen staff at the time, unlike all the other ancillary workers in the cage who were rotated weekly, were permanent, mainly because they got the ice cream first on the rare occasions it appeared on what was laughingly called ‘the prison menu’. It was also the easiest detail and the canteen staff were basically six lazy bastards! I know this to be true as I was on the canteen staff at the time.

The dinner arrived at the gate of Cage 22 at 12.30pm ; seventy-one dinners and one ‘special diet’, which was for Eddie Brophy. Eddie was a very warm-hearted person but, unfortunately, he had a bad heart, which exempted him from doing work in the cage and entailed him eating ‘special diet’ food which was all steamed and absolutely atrocious to eat. Every day, when everyone got their dinner, the canteen staff would take theirs into the hut and eat it, before cleaning all the utensils, dinner containers and serving tables etc. What remained of the dinner would sit unattended for about half an hour in the Hut until the canteen staff put the containers on the trolley and wheeled it over to the gate for collection. It was during that half hour that Eddie would always make his move… (MORE LATER).



“Burn everything English but their coal” – the ‘Hibernian Patriot’ [from the ‘Drapier’s Letters’ collection], Jonathan Swift (pictured, left), an Irish author and satirist (perhaps best known for ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and for his position as dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin) was born in Dublin on the 30th November 1667 ; his father (from whom the ‘Patriot’ got his first name) was an attorney, but he died before the birth of his son. As if that wasn’t misfortune enough, young Jonathan suffered from Meniere’s Disease and, between the bill’s mounting up and her sickly son, his mother, Abigail, found that she was unable to cope and the young boy was put in the charge of her late husband’s brother, Godwin, a wealthy member of the ‘Gray’s Inn’ legal society.

His position in St. Patrick’s Cathedral ensured that he had a ‘pulpit’ and a ready-made audience to listen to him, an opportunity he readily availed of to question English misrule in Ireland – he spoke against ‘Wood’s Halfpence’ and in favour of ‘burning everything English except their coal’ and, satirically, wrote a ‘modest proposal’ in which he suggested that poor children should be fed to the rich (‘a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled..’)!

In 1742, at 75 years of age, Jonathan Swift suffered a stroke, severely affecting his ability to speak, and he died three years later, on the 19th October, 1745 – 271 years ago on this date. He was buried next to the love of his life, Esther Johnson, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. “It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by providence as an evil to mankind” – Jonathan Swift.



Emily Lawless, pictured, left (aka ‘Emily Lytton’), the writer and poet, was born on the 17th of June, 1845, in Ardclough, County Kildare and was educated privately.

War battered dogs are we
Fighters in every clime;
Fillers of trench and of grave,

Mockers bemocked by time.

War dogs hungry and grey,
Gnawing a naked bone,
Fighters in every clime –
Every cause but our own.
(Emily Lawless, 1902 ; “With the Wild Geese”.)

She was born into a politically mixed background, the eldest daughter and one of eight children (‘Sir’ Horace Plunkett was her cousin). Her father was ‘Titled’ by Westminster (he was a ‘Baron’) even though his father (Emily’s grandfather) was a member of the ‘United Irishmen’. Her brother, Edward, seems to have taken his direction from his father rather than his grandfather – he held and voiced strong unionist opinions, wouldn’t have a catholic about the place and was in a leadership position within the anti-Irish so-called ‘Property Defence Association’. Perhaps this ‘in-house’ political confusion, mixed between staunch unionism and unionism with sympathies for Irish nationalism/republicanism, coupled with the ‘whisperings of shame’ that Emily was a lesbian and was having an affair with one of the ‘titled’ Spencer women, was the reason why her father and two of his daughters committed suicide.

She wrote a full range of books, from fiction to history to poetry, and is best remembered for her ‘Wild Geese’ works, although some of her writings were criticised by journalists for its ‘grossly exaggerated violence, its embarrassing dialect and staid characters..’ – ‘The Nation’ newspaper stated that ‘she looked down on peasantry from the pinnacle of her three-generation nobility..’ and none other than William Butler Yeats declared that she had “an imperfect sympathy with the Celtic nature..” and that she favoured “theory invented by political journalists and forensic historians.” But she had a great talent :

After Aughrim :

She said, “They gave me of their best,
They lived, they gave their lives for me ;
I tossed them to the howling waste
And flung them to the foaming sea.”

She said, “I never gave them aught,
Not mine the power, if mine the will ;
I let them starve, I let them bleed,
they bled and starved, and loved me still.”

She said, “Ten times they fought for me,
Ten times they strove with might and main,
Ten times I saw them beaten down,
Ten times they rose, and fought again.”

She said, “I stayed alone at home,
A dreary woman, grey and cold ;
I never asked them how they fared,
Yet still they loved me as of old.”

She said, “I never called them sons,
I almost ceased to breathe their name,
then caught it echoing down the wind
blown backwards, from the lips of fame.”

She said, “Not mine, not mine that fame ;
Far over sea, far over land,
cast forth like rubbish from my shores
they won it yonder, sword in hand.”

She said, “God knows they owe me nought,
I tossed them to the foaming sea,
I tossed them to the howling waste,
Yet still their love comes home to me.”

She considered herself to be a Unionist although, unlike her brother, she appreciated and acknowledged Irish culture (or, in her own words – “I am not anti-Gaelic at all, as long as it is only Gaelic enthuse and does not include politics..”) and, despite being ‘entitled’ to call herself ‘The Honourable Emily Lawless’, it was a ‘title’ she only used occasionally. She spent a lot of her younger days in Galway, with her mother’s family, but it is thought that family tragedies drove her to live in England, where she died, on the 19th of October 1913 – 103 years ago on this date – at the age of 68, having become addicted to heroin. She was buried in Surrey. Emily Lawless, 1845-1913.



On the 19th October 1989 – 27 years ago on this date (after serving 15 years in prison)– the ‘Guildford Four’ – Gerard Conlon, Patrick Armstrong, Carole Richardson and Paul Hill – are released from prison in what is considered to be one of the biggest-ever miscarriages of justice in Britain. Their convictions in 1974 for the Guildford pub bombings of that year were quashed at the Old Bailey in London on the 19th October 1989. All four had been falsey accused of the attacks on two pubs in which five people died and more than sixty people were injured. ‘Confessions’ were obtained by the use of torture and attempts to appeal the convictions were unsuccessful – the British establishment and its police force wanted ‘those responsible’ (and/or those whom it could somewhat plausibly present as being responsible) caught and for ‘justice’ to be done.

‘After the incredulity and then the euphoria of release from jail, the four people who had served 15 years for the Guildford pub bombings in 1974 had to find a life. Three are now married with families but the years of adjustment have been painful…the only thing that mattered was when Lord Lane, the lord chief justice, pronounced those magic words: the convictions of Gerry Conlon, Carole Richardson, Paul Hill and Paddy Armstrong were unsafe and unsatisfactory…”Gerry Conlon punched the air in defiance and ran the wrong way down the street. Just like a confused animal, his lawyer thought. Conlon was then 35…Richardson, 17 at the time of her arrest, was shocked and weak at the knees. She and her former boyfriend, Armstrong, disappeared separately out the back. She just wanted to hide. Hill was taken to Crumlin Road prison in Belfast and bailed two days later…theirs was the first of the momentous Irish miscarriage of justice cases which convulsed the criminal justice system and led to a rare royal commission. The crisis of confidence was encapsulated in one of Lord Lane’s concluding remarks: “The officers must have lied…” (From here.)

“Officers” of that same calibre (albeit in a different uniform), answerable to a similar political establishment as mentioned above, are still in a powerful position in the north-east of this country (and, indeed, are not confined to that area) and are still willing and able to frame innocent people for their objective of securing the British military and political presence in Ireland. The only long term solution is to end that presence and flush out the contaminants left behind.



“Fight on, struggle on, for the honour, glory and freedom of dear old Ireland. Our hearts go out to all our dear old friends. Our souls go to God at 7 o’clock in the morning and our bodies, when Ireland is free, shall go to Galbally. Our blood shall not be shed in vain for Ireland, and we have a strong presentiment, going to our God, that Ireland will soon be free and we gladly give our lives that a smile may brighten the face of ‘Dear Dark Rosaleen’. Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!” – the last words of Limerick (Ballylanders) IRA man Patrick Maher, 32 years of age (pictured, left), to his comrades.
He was hanged by the Free State administration on the 7th June 1921 for his alleged involvement in the rescue of Tipperary IRA man Seán Hogan, even though he was not involved in that operation. Thousands of people (including his mother and sister) had gathered outside Mountjoy Jail in Dublin in protest against his execution, but to no avail (it should be noted that at the time, Munster and a small part of Leinster were under British ‘martial law’ and those executed there were shot as soldiers, but Dublin was under civilian law and that is why those executed in Mountjoy were hanged).

Patrick Maher and his comrade Edmond Foley were executed in Mountjoy jail, Dublin, on the 7th of June 1921, after being charged with ‘the murder’ of two RIC men (Peter Wallace and Michael Enright) – he strongly protested his innocence but, even though two juries failed to reach a verdict, he was convicted (by a military court martial) and sentenced to death. He was one of ‘The Forgotten Ten’ IRA Volunteers (Kevin Barry, Patrick Moran, Frank Flood, Thomas Whelan, Thomas Traynor, Patrick Doyle, Thomas Bryan, Bernard Ryan, Edmond Foley, and Patrick Maher) – Kevin Barry was executed in 1920 by the British and the other nine men were put to death in 1921. All ten were buried in the grounds of Mountjoy Jail in Dublin, where six of them were placed in the same grave.

On Sunday, 14th October 2001, nine of those men were reinterred in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin by representatives of a 26-county state in an ‘official’ ceremony and, on Friday, 19th October 2001 – 15 years ago on this date – this state made the final arrangements to do the same for the tenth man, Patrick Maher, who was reburied in his home parish of Glenbrohane in Limerick (at the request of his family) on Saturday, 20th October 2001. Both reinterments were carried out by a state which none of the ten men were fighting for – a 26-county free state – as the objective of the republican campaign – then (1920/1921) and now (2016)- was and is for a free Ireland, not a partially-free Ireland. And, to add insult to injury, the then Free State ‘minister for justice’, John O’Donoghue, was the ‘official figurehead’ present, on both occasions, during which he delivered the graveside orations. Irish republicans are looking forward to the day when those moral and political misappropriations can be corrected.

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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