ON THIS DATE (27TH SEPTEMBER) 95 YEARS AGO : MORE REPRESSIVE LEGISLATION IMPOSED.
Irish Free State soldiers, left, were given ever more of a free reign to impose the dictat of their paymasters in Leinster House in 1927, with the passing of the gloriously misnamed ‘Public Safety Act’.
In July 1927 a general election was called in the Free State and Fianna Fail won 44 seats to Cosgrave’s 47 : de Valera’s policy was not to enter the Free State parliament until the Oath of Allegiance to the British monarch was removed but, in that same month, Kevin O’ Higgins was assassinated and the Free State government passed a law which would force future Leinster House candidates to swear on their nomination that they would take the Oath of Allegiance : in August 1927, de Valera led the Fianna Fail elected representatives, many of them with revolvers in their pockets, into Leinster House and signed the Oath of Allegiance document. A second general election was held in September 1927 and Fianna Fail increased its vote, winning 57 seats.
In short, Free Staters were once again in power in the Free State (!) but Irish republicans continued to fight back – on the 21st September 1927, six Free State soldiers were killed in a gun battle with the IRA near Ballina in Mayo and, on that same day, the Free State barracks in Drumshambo in Leitrim was attacked and taken by republicans, during which one Stater was killed. On the 22nd September a FS soldier was killed and several others and three civilians injured in a gun and grenade attack by the IRA on enemy troops on Eden Quay in Dublin and, on the day that the ‘Public Safety Act’ was being voted on in Leinster House, several hundred IRA Volunteers attacked the town of Killorglin, in Kerry, and were only denied their victory, after 24 hours of fighting, when more Free State troops arrived in force, from Tralee.
The ‘Public Safety Act’, passed in the Free State assembly by 41 votes to 18 on this date, 27th September, 95 years ago, allowed for the State to execute those captured bearing arms against it and permitted State agents ‘to punish anyone aiding and abetting attacks on the National (sic) Forces’, and/or anyone having possession of arms or explosives ‘without the proper authority’ or anyone ‘disobeying an Army General Order’. ‘Section 5’ of the Act declared that “..every person who is a member of an unlawful association at any time after it has become by virtue of this Act an unlawful association shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and shall be liable on conviction thereof to suffer penal servitude for any term not less than three years and not exceeding five years or imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years…” .
‘Section 28’ stated that “..any person found guilty by a special court of the offence under the Firearms Act, 1925 (No. 17 of 1925) of having possession of or using or carrying a firearm without holding a firearm certificate therefor, shall if the offence was committed while this Part of this Act is in force be liable to suffer death or penal servitude for life, or any term of years not less than three years, or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years, and shall be sentenced by such court accordingly..”
That ‘Act’ represented politically and morally corrupt legislation and was enacted by a then, and now, politically and morally corrupt political assembly.
THOMAS ASHE : WREATH-LAYING CEREMONY AND SEMINAR.
After the 1916 Rising, Thomas Ashe (pictured, left) was court-martialed (on the 8th of May 1916) and was sentenced to death, which was commuted to penal servitude for life. He was incarcerated in a variety of English prisons before being released in the June 1917 general amnesty and immediately returned to Ireland and toured the country reorganising the IRB and inciting civil opposition to British rule. In August 1917, after a speech in Ballinalee, County Longford, he was arrested by the RIC and charged with “speeches calculated to cause disaffection”. He was detained in the Curragh Camp and later sentenced to a year’s hard labour in Mountjoy Jail. There he became O/C of the Volunteer prisoners, and demanded prisoner-of-war status and, as a result, he was punished by the Governor. He went on hunger strike on the 20th September 1917 and died five days later as a result of force-feeding by the prison authorities. He was 32 years old. His death resulted in POW status being conceded to the Volunteer prisoners two days later.
A wreath-laying ceremony for this brave Irish hero will be held on Saturday, 30th September 2017, at 12 noon, in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin and, afterwards, a seminar on the man will take place in Wynns Hotel, Dublin city centre, from 1pm to 5pm. And, in Kinnard, Lispole, in Kerry, on Sunday 1st October 2017, at 2pm, a commemoration in his honour will take place. All genuine republicans welcome!
JOKER IN THE PACK…?
Padraig Flynn (left) has been facing the flak since he became Minister for the Environment. But Michael O’Higgins finds that nothing phases him. He retains the same certainty he had when saying quite different things. From ‘Magill’ magazine, May 1987.
Specifically, Padraig Flynn was worried that the ‘Single European Act’, if ratified, would herald the introduction of divorce and abortion services. His fears were grounded on the basis that ratification of the Act appeared to give the right to the Court of Justice to apply the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights when ruling on issues of fundamental rights ; the Convention allows for divorce and abortion in certain circumstances.
The response of the then Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald, to Flynn’s contribution, was characteristic of the way in which the Mayo man is regarded by more liberal and cosmopolitan politicians – Flynn’s speech, Garret FitzGerald said, was “a flight of fancy”. He himself, he said, would attempt to address the issues “in more sober and relevant terms”.
But Padraig Flynn now feels vindicated – he had also expressed worries about Title III of the Single European Act, on political co-operation in foreign policy matters and it was on the basis of that Title that the Supreme Court deemed the process of ratifying the Act unconstitutional. But Flynn, meanwhile, has become an enthusiastic supporter of the Act… (MORE LATER).
ON THIS DATE (27TH SEPTEMBER) 368 YEARS AGO : A WAR CRIMINAL AND “THE REDUCING OF CARLINGFORD”.
Pictured, left – some of Oliver Cromwell’s Irish victims, sold as slaves and ‘sex workers’ to the highest bidder.
On the 29th April, 1599, a baby boy, Oliver Cromwell, who had been born on the 25th, was christened in Saint John the Baptish church in Huntingdon, England. Decades later, when someone was trawling through the birth records for that period, they came across an unofficial addendum to that particular entry : it read – “England’s plague for five years..” Cromwell should need no introduction to readers of this blog, but some readers may not be aware of the significance of a particular date in this month – the 3rd September – in that creature’s life : on that date in 1649, Cromwell began his nine-day siege of Drogheda after which thousands of its inhabitants were butchered, the infamous ‘Death March’ he forced on his enemy after the battle of Dunbar on the 3rd September 1650 and, one year later on that same date – the 3rd September – he wallowed in more blood and guts, this time in his own country, at the battle of Worcester.
And, somewhere in between wrecking havoc and stealing and selling Irish children, he found the time – on the 27th September in 1649, 368 years ago on this date – to write to his political bosses in London :
‘FOR THE HONOURABLE WILLIAM LENTHALL, ESQUIRE, SPEAKER OF THE PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND :
Dublin, 27th September 1649.
Mr. Speaker – I had not received any account from Colonel Venables – whom I sent from Tredah to endeavour the reducing of Carlingford, and so to march Northward towards a conjunction with Sir Charles Coote – until the last night. After he came to Carlingford, having summoned the place, both the three Castles and the Fort commanding the Harbour were rendered to him. Wherein were about Forty Barrels of Powder, Seven Pieces of Cannon ; about a Thousand Muskets, and Five-hundred Pikes wanting twenty. In the entrance into the Harbour, Captain Fern, aboard your man-of-war, had some danger ; being much shot at from the Sea Fort, a bullet shooting through his main-mast. The Captain’s entrance into that Harbour was a considerable adventure, and a good service ; as also was that of Captain Brandly, who, with Forty seamen, stormed a very strong Tenalia at Treda, and helped to take it ; for which he deserves an owning by you.
Venables marched from Carlingford, with a party of Horse and Dragoons, to the Newry ; leaving the place, and it was yielded before his Foot came up to him. Some other informations I have received form him, which promise well towards your Northern Interest ; which, if well prosecuted, will, I trust God, render you a good account of those parts. I have sent those things to be presented to the Council of State for their consideration. I pray God, as these mercies flow in upon you, He will give you an heart to improve them to His glory alone ; because He alone is the author of them, and of all the goodness, patience and long-suffering extending towards you. Your army has marched ; and, I believe, this night lieth at Arklow, in the County of Wicklow, by the Sea-side, between thirty and forty miles from this place. I am this day, by God’s blessing, going towards it.
I crave your pardon for this trouble; and rest, your most humble servant, OLIVER CROMWELL.
P.S. I desire the Supplies moved for may be hastened. I am verily persuaded, though the burden be great, yet it is for your service. If the Garrisons we take swallow-up your men, how shall we be able to keep the field? Who knows but the Lord may pity England’s sufferings, and make a short work of this? It is in His hand to do it, and therein only your servants rejoice. I humbly present the condition of Captain George Jenkin’s Widow. He died presently after Tredah Storm. His Widow is in great want.
The following Officers and Soldiers were slain at the storming of Tredah: Sir Arthur Ashton, Governor; Sir Edmund Varney, Lieutenant-Colonel to Ormond’s Regiment; Colonel Fleming, Lieutenant-Colonel Finglass, Major Fitzgerald, with eight Captains, eight Lieutenants, and eight Cornets, all of Horse; Colonels Warren, Wall, and Byrn, of Foot, with their Lieutenants, Majors, etc; the Lord Taaff’s Brother, an Augustine Friar; forty-four Captains, and all their Lieutenants, Ensigns, etc; 220 Reformadoes and Troopers; 2,500 Foot-soldiers, besides the Staff-Officers, Surgeons, etc.’
This misfit had another date with his favourite day and date – 3rd September – in 1658, when he was collected from this Earth by his maker. A pity he was spawned at all.
“We British are sometimes told we do not understand the Irish but, if this is so, the failure to understand is a two-way street. Everything on which the IRA is currently engaged suggests that it does not understand us at all.” – So wrote Peter Brooke, Secretary of State for ‘Northern Ireland’, last July in ‘The London Evening Standard’ newspaper. More august* persons such as CJ Haughey and Garret Fitzgerald have also said the same from their varying points of view. By Cliodna Cussen, from ‘Iris’ magazine, Easter 1991. (‘1169′ comment : *’August’ as in ‘ dignified and impressive’? Haughey and Fitzgerald? How so? From what point of view? Certainly not from a republican perspective, anyway…)
Writing in the ‘Sunday Times’, Dorothy Wetherburn (Dorothy Wedderburn?) made the following points – “Mrs Thatcher was bad for the Scots ; not just those living in Scotland, but the descendants of the Scots who settled in Ulster 300 and more years ago. They, too, have remained stubbornly nationalistic. Conservatism has been the best guarantee of the link the Unionists wished to preserve. Now, with the Anglo-Irish Agreement (Hillsborough Treaty), faith in that guarantee has been dealt a mortal stroke. It has shown that the British establishment has wholly given up on Ulster’s cause – that there is no political reason for retaining the link* (there has not been a strategic or economic reason for some time) as Tom King made brutally clear.”
Indeed, Peter Brook reiterated in his speech last November (1990) that ‘England has no longer any strategic or economic reason for remaining in Ireland’ and, if there had been a ‘greater quality of esteem’ between the Irish and English governments, then things might have been different. (* ‘1169’ comment : not entirely the case, in our opinion – Westminster and the rest of the British establishment still value the ‘currency’ that is represented, they apparently believe, in maintaining their ’empire’ and, having physically, at least, ‘lost’ part of this country, they refuse point blank to risk being labelled/seen as ‘weak’ by politically and militarily completely ending their occupation in Ireland.) (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!
SMUGGLING – THE EASY WAY.
A STUDY IN TERROR AND INDIFFERENCE.
My two female visitors started fumbling about with their clothing in the visiting area – it was nearly Christmas 1973 and they had smuggled balloons of alcoholic beverages into me as a Christmas present. “What did you bring me?” I asked. “Six Vodka, four Whiskey and four Vat 19”. “Jesus, how am I supposed to smuggle these back into the Wing [‘A’ Wing, Crumlin Road Gaol?]“ “Then why not drink them here?” asked my Mother.
“No way. I have to get them inside for the Christmas party.” The half-hour visit was coming to an end and I was trying to secrete all the balloons down my jeans. But there was just too many of them. I heard someone whistling, walking down the visit area towards the gate back into the Gaol. It was big Ned Maguire – he appeared to be cradling something in his arm and it looked very much like balloons of drink… “Ned, c’mere, what are you doing?” I asked him. “My visit’s over. I’m going back inside,” he replied. “I know that, I said, “but what about the balloons?”
“What about them?”, said Ned. “You’re not allowed to bring them in. The screws will take them off you.” “They better not even attempt it,” growled Ned. “But do you want me to carry your drink in as well?”, he asked. “Are you sure?” I asked. “No problem,” Ned prophesised, so I handed him my contraband balloons. Ned stood there, with about 24 small balloons in total, all full of drink, cradled in his arm. My visit was over and I joined Big Ned at the security gate between A-Wing and the visiting area. A screw stood at the gate and two other screws escorted Ned and myself back into the gaol.
As we approached the gate, the screw opened it with a key and said to Ned – “Here, Maguire, where do you think you’re going with those balloons…?” (MORE LATER).
ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK…
..we won’t be in a position to post our usual offerings (Ard Fheis paperwork job on!) and we may not be able to post on the following Wednesday, 11th October, either, as the Cabhair group are holding a 650-ticket raffle in Dublin on Sunday, 8th October, meaning that we’ll be busy with that from the 3rd to the 9th! We will hopefully slip-in a few words between now and then, but it looks like our next post might not be until Wednesday 18th October next. But with a bit of luck, we’ll do better than that – keep in touch, anyway!
Thanks for reading,