From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.
One danger is the attempts of Free State politicians to divert this (republican) revival to their party advantage. Just as the nation-wide resentment at the passing of the ‘Ireland Bill’ was successfully controlled and canalised by those politicians until it became a campaign of futile verbal abuse, with the squandering of the £50,000 subscribed as a protest fund, so there is the danger that the present revival may be diverted, controlled and stifled by the same politicians, with the connivance of Stormont. Republicans must be alive to that danger and should expose it at every opportunity.
THE LATE ALICE FRENCH.
It is with sincere regret that we announce the death of one of our best and most regular contributors, Miss Alice French. She died at her residence at Kincora Road, Clontarf, Dublin, on the 20th September (1954), and was buried in the family graveyard at Ballapousta, Ardee, County Louth, on Wednesday 22nd September.
Her poems have been a regular feature of the ‘United Irishman’ almost since it’s first issue appeared and they have been noted for their real depth of feeling and sincere national feeling. In this issue we publish a poem received from her only a few days before her death… (MORE LATER).
ON THE 15TH NOVEMBER 1985…
..the Stormont Treaty (a.k.a. ‘Anglo-Irish Agreement/Hillsborough Agreement/London-Dublin Agreement’) was signed at Hillsborough Castle, County Down, by Garret Fitzgerald and Margaret Thatcher (pictured, left, doing the deed) and we mention this now because on the actual date when it was signed in 1985 – the 15th November – we won’t be able to post about it here, as we’ll be recovering from and doing the final tidy-up after a 650-ticket RSF gig, which will be held on the Dublin/Kildare border on Sunday 12th November next. The preparations for these monthly events begin, like clockwork, on the Tuesday before the gig and finish on the Monday (or Tuesday) evening after it, which means that we won’t have the time to put one of our usual offerings together ; it will probably be Wednesday 22nd November before we post here again.
Anyway – a wee comment on that Treaty which, at the time, the then Sinn Féin organisation was opposed to (it wasn’t a Leinster House-registered ‘political party’ at the time, although some did leave shortly afterwards and formed a group which then registered itself with that institution) ; “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..” – so said the late Martin McGuinness, speaking in Bodenstown, on Sunday 22nd June, 1986. Less than six months after he delivered those fine words, he was assisting other nationalists and ex-republicans in splitting the Republican Movement, although he had yet to meet his queen. Gerry Adams denounced that Treaty, describing it as “..the formal recognition of the partition of Ireland…a disaster for the nationalist cause (which) far outweighs the powerless consultative role given to Dublin..”
Meanwhile, as I type this, Gerry and Co. are in a somewhat “powerless consultative role” themselves, regarding Westminster, as they wait nervously to see what type of a financial allowance they get from Westminster to enable them to put a ‘budget’ together to run that bastard statelet on behalf of the British. They should actually lodge a complaint along those lines, next time they meet and greet their queen…
“AFTER 32 YEARS – AN OPEN LETTER,” by POW Philip Clarke. From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.
‘Under the title ‘After 32 Years – an open letter’, the following article was written for ‘THE UNITED IRISHMAN’ newspaper by Philip Clarke (pictured, right), shortly before his arrest in connection with the Omagh Raid on October 17 last (1954). The circumstances surrounding the arrest and trial of Phil Clarke and his comrades are ample proof that there are young men in Ireland today who have taken the words of Pearse to heart : “It is not enough to say merely ‘I believe’, one must also say ‘I serve’ “.
FREEDOM VERSUS SLAVERY.
Your gospel is and has been to maintain the connection of Ireland with England for the good of England. Our gospel, you know only too well, is to break the connection between Ireland and England for the good of Ireland.
Between these creeds lies an unbridgeable gulf as between Communistic Atheism and Christianity. One stands for tyranny, for corruption, for slavery, the other for justice, for honesty, for freedom – the one for the denial of human rights, the other for the fulfilment of the Will of God. Time itself will not outlive these principles.
(Next, from the same source : ‘THE ONLY WEAPON’.)
ON THIS DATE (8TH NOVEMBER) 22 YEARS AGO – DEATH OF A ‘GUN-RUNNER’.
Neil T. Blaney (pictured, left), born 29th October 1922, died 8th November 1995 : 22 years ago on this date.
On November 10th 1966, when Sean Lemass resigned as Free State Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fail, George Colley and Charles J.Haughey made known their desire for that position. Neil Blaney entered on the nomination of another Fianna Fail Minister, Kevin Boland, but Haughey and Blaney withdrew when Sean Lemass nominated Jack Lynch. George Colley stayed in the contest and was defeated by 53 votes to 19 ; the Colley-Haughey power struggle began to develop, but all concerned (George Colley, Haughey, Boland, Neil Blaney and Jack Lynch) continued to cooperate with each other within the confines of the Fianna Fail ‘TACA’ group. Neil Blaney was interested in the workings and objectives of the ‘Civil Rights Association’ in the Six Counties but let it be known that he didn’t consider them to be hardline enough and tried to steer Fianna Fail away from having too much to do with them, a position which some seen as a challenge to Free State Taoiseach Jack Lynch, and more so with each speech Blaney made in which he verbally attacked a politician favoured by Lynch, Six County (British) ‘Premier’, Captain Terence O’Neill (who was also under attack by Ian Paisley). Blaney actually advised nationalists in the Six Counties not to support ‘Premier’ O’Neill.
However, for the sake of party unity (a State-wide general election was due in June 1969), Neil Blaney softened his tone in public but tension remained high between him, George Colley and Haughey, although Jack Lynch tried to avoid taking sides. Seamus Brady, a Fianna Fail ‘spin doctor’ and a linkman between Blaney and the media of that time, was a well-respected Fianna Fail activist in the Dublin North-East area and was friendly with Blaney, who maintained his contacts in the Six Counties even though the Fianna Fail party itself, officially, did not bother to keep in touch too much with the few remaining contacts it had in the North, a position it regretted finding itself in as the Six County area was in open turmoil.
Jack Lynch made a speech on television in which he stated – “The Stormont Government is evidently no longer in control of the situation…the Government of Ireland (sic) has requested the British Government to apply to the United Nations for urgent dispatch of a peace-keeping force to the Six Counties…many injured do not wish to be treated in Six County hospitals, so Irish Army (sic) authorities have been instructed to establish field hospitals in Donegal and other points on the border..” and the State Minister for External Affairs, Patrick Hillery, flew to London (where he was told to mind his own business) before flying off to America and the UN, where he was to raise the Six County issue at the Security Council.
Leinster House decided that money would have to be provided to deal with ‘distress’ in the Six Counties and wanted any such funds spent in a way which would win friends and influence people for the Fianna Fail Government : £100,000 from State exchequer funds was agreed and a special sub-committee of the State Cabinet was appointed to deal with the whole Northern ‘problem’; elected to that sub-comittee were Padraig Faulkner, Joe Brennan, Neil Blaney – their constituencies were on the border – and Charles J.Haughey, who was (FS) Minister for Finance and had strong Northern connections, his father having come South to join the Free State Army in the 1920’s. The objectives of that ‘Northern sub-committee’ were outlined by Charles Haughey at the ‘Arms Trial’-
“We were given instructions that we should develop the maximum possible contacts with persons inside the Six Counties and try to inform ourselves as much as possible on events, political and other developments – within the Six County area.” This ‘Northern Sub-Committee’ made contact with the Belfast IRA, with Saor Éire elements through the Citizens Committee located in a house in Kildare Street in Dublin (now demolished) the use of which was made available by the New Ireland Assurance Company, and contact was also made with Cathal Goulding, the IRA Chief Of Staff, with the objective of using every possible contact to influence decision making in the Northern nationalist community. Leinster House was not prepared to be ‘compromised’ by the decisions taken in either the Civil Rights Association or the IRA. Neil Blaney’s friend, Seamus Brady, was appointed (on the 15th August 1969) by Haughey to the ‘Propaganda Corps’ attached to the State sub-committee and he was sent into the Six Counties and, later on that month, gave a report to Jack Lynch which concentrated on the strength of the IRA in the area.
Seamus Brady had produced a booklet entitled ‘Terror in Northern Ireland’ for the Central Citizens Defence Committee (CCDC) in Belfast – he had been chosen to infiltrate the CCDC and this publication launched him nicely into his work. The full costs of producing the booklet were paid by the Leinster House-established ‘Information Bureau’, and a jointly-written booklet by Seamus Brady and local Civil Rights activist Aidan Corrigan was produced, entitled – ‘Eye Witness in Northern Ireland’ ; this too was financed by the ‘Information Bureau’ and was printed – 5,000 copies – at the Cityview Press in Dublin despite its imprint stating that it was ‘Published and printed in the Province of Ulster’. The booklet was launched at a press conference in Dublin’s Jury’s Hotel on October 5th, 1969 (the same month in which Neil Blaney, speaking at celebrations for his 21st year in Leinster House, said – “..the Fianna Fail party has never taken a decision to rule out the use of force if the circumstances in the Six Counties so demand ..”), at an event organised by Brady who, along with Neil Blaney (the then State Minister for Agriculture) had had a meeting with an IRA staff officer, in Dublin (in Blaney’s office in ‘Government Buildings’!), the previous month (ie September 1969).
Neil Blaney’s political career also encompassed ministerial sackings, the ‘Arms Trial’ ,an inquiry by the State ‘Committee of Public Accounts’ into exactly how a sum of money* (£100,000) was spent and power struggles in the Fianna Fail party, and I hope our few paragraphs, above, can give a flavour of Neil Blaney’s involvement re the occupied six counties. (*For instance – on the 14th November 1969, a bank account was opened [by a person operating on behalf of Charles J. Haughey, State Minister for Finance at that time] in a Baggot Street, Dublin, bank, in the name of ‘Ann O’Brien’, and the money in same was used mainly for the running and promotion of a newspaper called ‘Voice of The North’, which was based in an office in Monaghan and which pushed the views of Fianna Fail on ‘the Northern Question’). The ‘Gun Runner’ died on the 8th of November, 1995, in his 74th year, 22 years ago on this date.
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!
The tunnel was to blame for the toilets being blocked up. Communications were coming in from up the Camp that the toilets were near blocked up as far as Lisburn! The tunnellers were asked to find another method of disposing of the earth or stop digging, so they tried to get more of the earth into the walls of the shower hut but, before long, there was an ominous creaking coming from that hut.
The Cage OC called everyone together and urged us to put our heads together and come up with a better method of disposing of the earth. It was at this point that we paid our first and only visit to the tunnel. We passed the footballers kicking the ball in the yard and entered the study hut. A small trap door was lifted and three of us jumped into the mouth of the tunnel. The drop down into the tunnel, I thought, seemed very long and it was only my hitting the ground and nearly breaking both legs and my neck that stopped me thinking anymore about the ‘long drop’.
A candle was lit and we found ourselves standing in what I thought was a subterranean cavern. It was about seven foot deep and about eight foot wide all round. “What in the name of Jesus is this..” screamed the Cage OC. “It’s the mouth of the tunnel”, came the response. “What tunnel?” asked the Cage OC. “The Mersey Tunnel..?” he asked… (MORE LATER).
Thanks for reading,