ON THIS DATE (6TH DECEMBER) 96 YEARS AGO : A TERRIBLE CATASTROPHE IS BORN.
One of the leaflets (pictured) distributed by Irish republicans in late 1921 to counteract anti-republican propaganda that the ‘Treaty (of Surrender)’ was “a stepping stone” to that which they had fought for – indeed, one of those who accepted that Treaty, ex-republican Arthur Griffith, declared, in a press release immediately after signing same – “I have signed a Treaty of peace between Ireland and Great Britain. I believe that treaty will lay foundations of peace and friendship between the two Nations. What I have signed I shall stand by in the belief that the end of the conflict of centuries is at hand.” Yet historian Nicholas Mansergh noted that, at practically the same time as Griffith had penned the above, the British were talking between themselves of “…concessions (from the Irish) wrung by devices..some of which can be described at best as devious..every word used and every nuance was so important…”
On Monday 5th December 1921 – the day before the Treaty of Surrender was signed – the then British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, announced to the Irish side in the negotiations that he had written two letters, one of which would now be sent to his people in Ireland ; one letter told of a peaceful outcome to the negotiations, the other told of a breakdown in the negotiations – Lloyd George stated that if he sent the latter one “it is war, and war within three days. Which letter am I to send?”
That ‘war letter’ meeting took place on the afternoon of Monday 5th December 1921 ; at around 7pm that same evening, the Irish team left the Downing Street meeting to discuss the matter between themselves and returned to Downing Street later that night. At ten minutes past two on the morning of Tuesday 6th December 1921, Michael Collins and his team accepted ‘dominion status’ and an Oath which gave allegiance to the Irish Free State and fidelity to the British Crown – the Treaty was signed (and it should be noted that Collins and his team did not consult the [32-County] Dáil, the institution on whose behalf they were acting, before they signed it) :
On the 16th December (1921), the British so-called ‘House of Commons’ (by a vote of 401 for and 58 against) and its ‘House of Lords’ (166 for, 47 against) ascribed ‘legitimacy’ to the new State and, on the 7th January 1922, the political institution in Leinster House voted to accept it, leading to a walk-out by then-principled members who, in effect, were refusing to assist in the setting-up of a British-sponsored ‘parliament’ in the newly-created Irish Free State. But, at an IRA convention on the 26th March (1922), at which 52 out of the 73 IRA Brigades were present – despite said gathering having been forbidden by the Leinster House institution (!) – the ‘Treaty’ was rejected and a statement issued deriding Leinster House for having betrayed the Irish republican ideal.
Within six months, a Civil War was raging in Ireland, between the British-supported Free Staters and Irish republicans who did not accept the ‘Treaty’ and that vicious fight continued until the 24th May 1923 when the IRA were ordered by their leadership to “..dump arms (as) further sacrifice on your part would now be in vain and the continuance of the struggle in arms unwise in the national interest…military victory must be allowed to rest for the moment with those who have destroyed the Republic..” , but, ‘unofficially’, Free Staters continued to exact revenge on republicans for some time afterwards and, indeed, are still doing so today, albeit in a different manner.
On the 11th July 1924, the Treaty was registered at the ‘League of Nations’ by the Free State authorities which, in our opinion, would have been the ideal occasion for a legal challenge to it, based on the fact that, when Michael Collins and his supporters were attempting to ‘sell’ it to their own side, they made a big deal of the ‘Boundary Commission’ clause and in particular the part of it which stated that the ‘border’ could be adjusted “in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants”, which is precisely why Westminster ‘took’ only six of the nine Ulster counties – a built-in ‘majority’. Also, the British actually took it on themselves to amend the 1921 Treaty of Surrender to allow themselves (ie Westminster) to unilaterally appoint a representative to speak on behalf of the Stormont ‘Parliament’. That Boundary Commission clause (‘Article 12’) was not properly adhered to by the signatories of the 1921 Treaty thereby, legally, negating the Treaty itself but deep pockets would be required to take such an action. And the only grouping in this State in a position to mount a challenge like that is the same (Free State) grouping which benefited then and continues to benefit today from that Clause and that which spawned it. For now they do, anyway…
MEMORIALS DEFACED – WHY?.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.
A new type of campaign has recently made its appearance in Ireland, and it does not need much thought to realise its origin. It is a campaign to deface or mutilate republican memorials.
Its first effort was in Tralee a few years ago when the inscription on the memorial to Charlie Kerins was destroyed. More recently the statue of Seán Russell in Fairview Park, Dublin, has been the target for repeated attacks – the last resulting in the breaking off of an arm.
Now the scene shifts to Dundalk and in the first week of August this year the memorial in the Republican Plot there was defaced. This memorial was erected by the National Graves Committee in 1935 and was unveiled by the late Miss Mary McSweeney. On it was inscribed the names of those Dundalk men killed in the Tan and Free State wars. The name of Richard Goss was added, with the date of his execution, 9-8-1941. His name has not been interfered with, but the date of his execution has been completely obliterated. Why? Is it not obvious that some consciences are very uneasy. Defacing a memorial will not set them at rest.
(Next, from the same source : ‘SCOTLAND YARD MEN IN DUBLIN.’)
ON THIS DATE (6TH DECEMBER) 92 YEARS AGO : A ‘CON’ ARTIST IS BORN!
Con Houlihan, pictured, a sports writer who sometimes strayed into other subjects, was born on this date – 6th December – in 1925.
One of those ‘other subjects’ that Con occasionally visited was politics (he was a Fine Gael supporter, it seems) which prompted us to post a piece on this blog a few years ago in connection with a highly coloured article (!) that the man wrote after he happened to share street- space with Ruairí Ó Brádaigh –
‘Not so much (or at all, even) ‘speaking ill of the dead’ in this piece as highlighting the straws an ‘artist’ will clutch at when they attempt to stray onto another ‘canvass’. And Mr. Houlihan was indeed an ‘artist’ when it came to discussing and dressing-up/colouring in matters of the field and had wonderful turns of phrase which he employed with great timing.
But he done himself no favours when he attempted to ‘stray’ on to the well-trodden anti-republican ‘canvass’, where he was not as sure-footed as he was ‘on the field’ – indeed, the only way he could sustain an ‘away trip’ of that nature was to use a straw man argument in the hope that those as unfamiliar with that particular ‘turf’ as he was would consider him to be as good a ‘pol corr’ as he was a sports writer. The first fault with Mr. Houlihan’s effort in this piece is that a radio station would not be played through the same loudspeakers on the same stage at the same time as an Irish republican was addressing an Irish republican gathering. It just wouldn’t happen, simple as and, whilst some might dismiss this example as ‘nit picking’, it is from such ‘little acorns’ that mighty deceptions spring from. It was a ‘straw man’ introduction that the author invented in order to ‘colour’ the gathering as “inflamed with hatred.. indoctrinated by bigots in pubs and cafes or by mob orators..”, before bringing in the standard ‘Nazi’ comparison.
All standard fare for any ‘straw man’ author – invent a ‘connection’ then rage against it. Mr. Houlihan got his answer days later from that particular “bigot (of a) mob orator” but the damage had been done : through deliberate misrepresentation, one anti-republican had ‘confirmed’ to others of that ilk just how right they were to despise Irish republicans and republicanism in general and, job done, Con parked his ‘straw weapon’ (in the back of the net, no doubt) to be (ab)used another day. Which he did, by the way – and often – but I’ll not go into that here , as I have no desire to ‘speak ill of the dead’..’ (from here.)
Mr. Houlihan died on the 4th August, 2012, at 86 years of age. He was a fantastic sports writer, so I’m told (regular readers will know that I’m not big into sports or those that write about it etc) but I knew Ruairí, and I know how republicans carry themselves at rallies and protest marches etc and considered it fitting to repeat the above piece on the ‘Con Almighty’s’ birthday.
ALARM IN UNIONIST CAMP.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.
The Unionist candidate for South Antrim in the forthcoming general election to Westminster, Mr O’Connell MP, expressed the opinion at a meeting of his supporters that Sinn Féin was using the election machinery for a referendum. The fact that Sinn Féin was contesting constituencies where it would be impossible to have their candidates elected was, he thought, very significant.
He appealed to all Unionists, official and unofficial, to sink their differences and present a united front against the menace of Sinn Féin, and urged the importance of every Unionist vote being recorded in order to keep the Sinn Féin percentage of the total poll as low as possible.
It is obvious that the Unionists consider the Nationalist and Separatist policy of Sinn Féin a real danger to British powers in Ireland. They realise that Sinn Féin’s programme has the elements of unity that has been lacking in sectional political parties since the inception of Stormont and the Treaty… (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!
SEND OUT THE HORSE.
I knew him years before by reputation. I didn’t like him. He knew me years before by reputation also. He didn’t like me. He wasn’t strikingly handsome, but he had a presence about him. His honesty was at times overwhelming and most of the time embarrassing. As my granny used to say “There’re no back doors in him.”
Most of all Honky was a showman – he didn’t enter into conversations, he hijacked them. He was a notorious storyteller, and his stories nearly always started with “Our Jimmy…”. He made horror stories out of a trip to the local corner shop. This particular story revolves around his shocking exhibitionism and ‘Floorboards’ ingenuity and skill with a sewing machine and a creative imagination.
It wasn’t much of a horse as horses go, but it was the size and shape of a horse maybe fourteen hands and, given the fact that ‘Floorboards’ hadn’t much to work with, it was a fine effort. The skin was made out of standard Long Kesh blankets stuffed with old newspapers – he had worked for days creating this jaded palomino and the applications, although limited, were not impossible. Given Honky’s habit of taking his clothes off it was just a matter of waiting for the right moment to put his plan in motion… (MORE LATER).
LAST 650-TICKET GIG OF THE YEAR!
It’s not because we’re taking an early Christmas break or heading off to New York for the shopping (we wish!) that we won’t be here next Wednesday (13th December) – that would be due to the last 650-ticket raffle for this year, which will be held on Sunday 10th December in the usual venue, on the Dublin/Kildare border.
And not only that – we’re also in the middle of helping to organise this gig, which takes a fair bit of effort by a few people but is always well worth it and ‘pays’ for itself, in more ways than one. We’ll be back posting on Wednesday 20th December, all going well : the raffle, the Cabhair swim, the Christmas shopping, the Christmas dinners, the decorating etc etc! Breakfast at Tiffany’s next year, maybe..!
Thanks for reading,