..and, unfortunately, the potential for more of same remains.

An unusual piece for us, given the point of view of this blog and the point of view of the man featured in the article, but the dates coincide (ie this being the 22nd February) plus it is in relation to the ‘Irish issue’ and, as stated, the potential for it to happen again remains in place, unfortunately, because Westminster continues to claim political jurisdiction over a part of Ireland, and enforces that claim militarily.

A member of the British ‘Royal Corps of Transport’, Lance Corporal Norman James Duncan (27) (pictured, above), was shot dead on the 22nd February 1989 – 28 years ago on this date – when a British Army military bus was waiting to clear a road junction. The driver, Lance Corporal Duncan, was driving from Ebrington B.A. Barracks in Derry to a near-by primary school to collect the children of his comrades when ‘…a man jumped out of a nearby car, walked over to the bus and fired 15 shots at the driver, hitting him six times in the head and abdomen…’ (from here.)

This shooting was well reported on at the time (as, indeed, was only proper) ‘Lance Corporal Norman Duncan (27) was shot dead by an IRA Unit as he drove from Ebrington Barracks in Derry to the nearby Ebrington Primary School to collect the children of British soldiers in a school bus. He was a native of Craigellanchie in Scotland…married with 3 children and a soldier with the Royal Corps of Transport holding the rank of Lance-Corporal, (he) was driving a minibus from Ebrington Barracks to Ebrington Primary School to collect children when he was shot by the IRA in Londonderry’s Bond Street. Duncan left Ebrington barracks at 1:40PM to collect the children of soldiers. As the minibus slowed at a junction, a car pulled up alongside and a gunman got out, walked over to the bus and fired at least 15 shots at the driver. Duncan was hit in the head and upper body 6 times and died almost immediately. A witness told the inquest that he saw the soldier “bouncing about inside the minibus”. Duncan was due to leave Northern Ireland in 4 weeks time. A police spokesman said that (he) was very popular with his superiors and other soldiers and added: “He was a quiet man by nature but was always willing to help his colleagues regardless of the additional hours it meant working”. After the attack, the (British) army carried out a review on its arrangements for carrying school children to and from local schools. LEST WE FORGET!’ (From here.)

‘The 170-seat parish church in the Speyside village of Craigellachie was packed for the funeral service yesterday of Lance-Corporal Norman Duncan, who was shot dead in Northern Ireland last week while driving a
minibus to collect Army children from a primary school in Londonerry. Lance-Corporal Duncan, 27, was a driver with the Royal Corps of Transport. He was buried with full military honours at Aberlour Cemetery. He was a married man with three children, and had been due to leave the Army in June…’
(from here.)

‘ROYAL CORPS OF TRANSPORT : DUNCAN – Lance-Corporal Norman J. – 22nd February 1989 – Aged 27. Shot when driving a minibus to collect children from Ebrington Primary School in Londonderry. From Banffshire, Scotland.’ (From here.)

There are other such tributes etc here and here, for example but, regardless, Westminster continues to place its military personnel in harm’s way in Ireland (and elsewhere) all in the ‘name of Empire’. Perhaps when they leave the EU, they might hold a referendum on ‘leaving’ the ‘elsewhere’ countries, too. For the sake of their own people, if nothing else.



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.

THE SYSTEM. (By Harry Melia.)

Tried to break my spirit
tried to take my pride
deep down inside
the hatred I could not hide.

Got me as a kid
they’re to blame for what I did.

Pulls the strings
tried to make people dance
can one get a chance?

Builds you up
gives you a name
sets you up
makes you a shame.

(Next – ‘Calming the Storm’, by M. O’Callaghan.)



The role of the trade union movement in Ireland in relation to the continued imperialist occupation of the North and to the foreign multi-national domination of the Irish economy – both north and south – remains an area of confusion for many people. John Doyle examines the economic policy of the ‘Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ (ICTU) and the general failure of the official Labour movement to advance the cause of the Irish working class, except in terms of extremely limited gains. From ‘Iris’ magazine, November 1982.

By mimicking the ‘left’ of the Labour Party, the Workers Party have made temporary gains in the Free State, though they have become increasingly redundant in the North. Yet, despite their greater efficiency and comprehensiveness of policy, they are no nearer James Connolly than the Labour Party.


The political and social crisis inside and outside the trade union movement requires as a base line that republicans and all genuine progressives come together in a sort of economic broad front to head the new political direction forward.

Just as socialists must play their full part in the liberation struggle, so republicans must orientate themselves seriously into urgent work on the trade unions, now. (Provisional) Sinn Féin can be the catalyst for the building of Connolly’s vision, if the effort is made*. (*‘1169’ comment : “Connolly’s vision” did not extend to implementing British rule in one part of Ireland while working, politically, within the confines of Free Statism in another part of Ireland, as anyone with a ‘republican vision’ will confirm.)

(END of ‘Trade Unions And Capitalism In Ireland’ : next – ‘Ricochets Of History’, from 2002).




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!

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE (does my head in…)

James Young was shouting his catch-phrase : “Stap fightin’…” on Cage 22’s radio, storm clouds were-a-gatherin’ and I for one wasn’t a happy POW. Negotiations broke down at the wire and the screws stormed off. A few minutes later another tobacco tin flew across between Cage 7 and Cage 22 – “Everybody, meeting in the canteen.”

Gerry stood out in front of the ranks of men ar sochra (at ease) in the canteen – “We’re refusing to lock up,” he said. This was part of an ongoing tactic against the screws and their policy of trying to break our spirit and moral, and was designed by us to be more disruptive than destructive, although we were always prepared for both.

The standard day in Long Kesh started at about 6.30am when the huts were unlocked until 9.00pm, as it was at that time that the huts, with us in them, were locked up for the night. We were told to await further orders and dismissed. Our minds raced back to the fire and how most of us were experiencing a déjá vu type thing. The months before we had been receiving training in survival and, to this end, we had been supplied with survival kits, comprising of a cloth bag with a string through the top, which you pulled to tighten. (MORE LATER).


Lie The Remains of
The Beloved Son of MICHAEL CAREY
Of Francis Street
Who Was The First Ever Interred
in This Cemetery
22nd February 1832’

(the inscription on Michael Carey’s headstone, pictured, left, in Glasnevin Cemetery).

In 1821, in Dublin, a child, Michael Carey, was born in the slums of Francis Street ; his father, Michael, worked as best he could as a scrap metal dealer/labourer, and his mother, Bridget, was a ‘stay-at-home’ wife. When he was only 11-years-young, Michael fell victim to ‘consumption’, now known as tuberculosis, and his parents moved him to a ‘safer’ part of Dublin – Phibsborough – in the hope of giving him a chance to get his strength back to fight the illness, but to no avail – the poor young lad died, and is recorded as being the first person to be buried in the then new (Glasnevin) graveyard (in an area known as Curran’s Square, in a graveyard to be later known as ‘Prospect Cemetery’) on Wednesday 22nd February 1832 – 185 years ago on this date.

Another very sad episode in relation to ‘consumption’ (‘congestion of the lungs/weak action of the heart’) and the then new graveyard is that of a William Pope : he buried his three-year-old daughter, Margaret, then, three days later, buried his one-year-old son, Patrick. William and his wife persevered as best they could but tragedy struck again five years later – another son, John, died – he was only one year ‘old’, too. Four years later, they buried another daughter, Elizabeth – she was only a week old. The father, William, died at 81 years of age, having witnessed almost his entire family die before him. His ’cause of death’ was listed as ‘old age’, but safe to say he died from a broken heart. So sad.

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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