ON THIS DATE (6TH FEBRUARY) 142 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF AN IRISH PATRIOT.
‘Imposing Military and Civic Demonstration in New York. The Remains En Route to Ireland – The Irish people of New York paid the last tribute of respect to the memory of the late Colonel John O’Mahony (pictured) on Tuesday of last week in one of the most imposing funeral demonstration that has been witnessed in this city since the obsequies of Terence Bellew McManus ; and by the time this issue of our paper reaches some of its more remote readers, the body of the dead Fenian leader will be upon the soil of his native land, as the “Dakota” by which it is being conveyed, is remarkable for making rapid and successful voyages.
The body of Colonel O’Mahony laid in state at the armory of the 69th Regiment until the morning of the 13th inst., and was viewed there by thousands of our citizens, the throng at times being so great as to entirely block up all the approaches to the building. A guard composed of a full Company of the 69th and detachments from the “Irish Legion” and the “Irish Brigade” and other national military organizations, was constantly on duty while the body lay at the armory ; and from the number of floral decorations that were from time to time sent in by sympathizing admirers of the deceased, the room in which the body was placed might have been taken for some fragrant parterre, if the character of the emblems were not suggestive of the somber presence of death. There were floral harps, with broken strings; shattered columns, and memorial crosses; as well as other designs of a more figurative nature and endless variety.
The coffin was draped with the handsome Irish flag sent to the 69th Regiment by the people of Tipperary, until the morning of the funeral, when the regimental flag of the 99th Regiment, NYSM, was substituted for it, and remained on the coffin to the end of the ceremonies. At an early hour on Tuesday morning, the remains were taken from the officers’ room in the armory, and placed in a handsome plate glass hearse, through the transparent panels of which the casket was plainly visible, covered by the regimental flags, and with the military cap, sword and belt of the deceased resting on the lid. Escorted by the guard of honor, the body was conveyed to the church of St. Francis Xavier, West sixteenth st., where preparations for the celebration of the last solemn offices of religion had been made by the Jesuit Fathers. The coffin was placed on a black draped catafalque in front of the high altar, which, as well as the body of the church, was dressed in mourning. On either side were three tall candlesticks ; and the numerous floral decoration were placed about the catafalque or on the lid of the casket. The Casket itself was of solid oak, covered with black cloth, and ornamented with silver bar-handles and mouldings, having a silver plate on the lid, on which was the following inscription:
“Colonel John O’Mahoney. Died Feb. 6, 1877; Aged 61 years.”
About half past eight o’clock, the church doors were opened, and though arrangements had been made to admit the congregation by tickets, so great was the throng that in a few minutes the spacious edifice was packed in every portion, nave, aisles and galleries…’ (…from here.)
But then, as now, all was not well between those who struggled against British imperialism in Ireland – James Stephens who, along with Joseph Denieffe and Thomas Clark Luby had established the ‘Irish Republican Brotherhood’ in Peter Lanigan’s timber yard, Lombard Street, Dublin, on St. Patricks Day in 1858, did not agree with the way John O’ Mahoney got things done, and famously described O’Mahoney and his supporters as “…Irish tinsel patriots (who make) speeches of bayonets, gala days and jolly nights, banners and sashes, bunkum and filibustering, responding in glowing language to glowing toasts on Irish National Independence over beakers of fizzling champagne..” However – in our opinion, both were good men who shared a common objective but differed in how to obtain it, and both deserve to be remembered for the time and effort they gave to the cause of Irish freedom.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, December 1954.
There was a dramatic turn in the trial of the eight men charged in connection with the Omagh action, at the Winter Assizes in Belfast on November 30th, when ‘Lord Chief Justice’ McDermott addressed the Grand Jury on a new charge against the men – ‘treason felony’.
This latest charge is a throw-back to the old days and proves more conclusively than ever that the struggle against the British forces remains fundamentally the same old struggle. ‘Treason’ connotes rebellion by one owing allegiance and this latest charge seems a fitting rebuttal of the oft-boasted claim by Leinster House that ‘this part of Ireland is free’.
The address of ‘Lord’ McDermott substantiates and upholds the stand which the Republican Movement has always maintained. He said – “The days have passed when war is necessarily a matter of large armies or uniforms…if the evidence satisfies you that there was intent to compel her Majesty to change her councils for example by removing or causing her to remove her troops from Northern Ireland (sic) you would be justified in finding that ingredient present. If you find evidence of intention to remove Northern Ireland (sic) from the United Kingdom and so deprive her Majesty of her right and title you would be justified in finding a true Bill.”
‘Lord’ McDermott’s words above definitely accept that the attack on Omagh Barracks was an act of war against the British forces – but the prisoners are not being treated as ‘prisoners of war’! Why not? Apparently ‘the Crown’ wants it both ways. Yes – it’s the same old enemy with the same old ways!
(END of ‘Treason Felony’. Next, from the same source : ‘British Forces Must Go, demands Sinn Féin President’).
ON THIS DATE (6TH FEBRUARY) 119 YEARS AGO : IRISH “FIGHT-FOR-ENGLAND” NATIONALIST ELECTED ‘LEADER OF THE PACK’.
John Redmond (pictured), the leader of the ‘Irish Parliamentary Party’, was born into a ‘Big House’-type Catholic family on the 1st September in 1856 and, after a ‘proper’ education (in Clongowes College in Kildare and Trinity College in Dublin) he became a political ‘player’ in the British so-called ‘House of Commons’, where he supplemented his income as a clerk. He was only 25 years-of-age when he was first elected as an MP, having worked his way up the establishment ladder, and was elected as the leader of the ‘Irish Party’ on the 6th February, 1900 – 119 years ago on this date.
He was an Irish nationalist (small ‘n’) politician who, occasionally, campaigned for his followers (and anyone else that would listen to him) to join the British Army in its fight against Germany, and did so infamously, and unashamedly, in a public speech he delivered in Woodenbridge in County Wicklow on the 20th September in 1914, where he stated – “The interests of Ireland – of the whole of Ireland – are at stake in this war. This war is undertaken in the defence of the highest principles of religion and morality and right, and it would be a disgrace for ever to our country and a reproach to her manhood and a denial of the lessons of her history if young Ireland confined their efforts to remaining at home to defend the shores of Ireland from an unlikely invasion, and to shrinking from the duty of proving on the field of battle that gallantry and courage which has distinguished our race all through its history. I say to you, therefore, your duty is twofold. I am glad to see such magnificent material for soldiers around me, and I say to you : ‘Go on drilling and make yourself efficient for the work, and then account yourselves as men, not only for Ireland itself, but wherever the fighting line extends, in defence of right, of freedom, and religion in this war..”.
And, unfortunately, in the months that followed his ‘call to arms’, tens of thousands of Irishmen joined his ‘Cause’ and fought alongside imperialism to the extent that one of his modern-day political mirror-images (…who called for Irish people to join and support the British ‘police force’ in Ireland!) all but called Redmond a traitor for encouraging such folly. Other political leaders did not agree with John Redmond and, among them, was James Connolly, the Irish Trade Union leader, who was also in command of the Irish Citizen Army – he answered Redmond’s call thus :
‘Full steam ahead, John Redmond said,
that everything was well, chum ;
Home Rule will come when we are dead,
and buried out in Belgium’.
Also, some of John Redmond’s own men disagreed with his pro-British ‘call-to-arms’ ; Eoin MacNeill, who was then in a leadership position within the ‘Irish Volunteers’, was of the opinion that the ‘Irish Volunteers’ should only use force against the British if* Westminster first moved against them ; a bit ‘watery’, definitely, but he was, however, against fighting with the British (*if having your country occupied by a foreign power cannot be considered a ‘first move against us’ then Mr MacNeill had a different understanding of the English language than we have!).
Just over a year after Mr Redmond had delivered his ‘join imperialism’-speech in Woodenbridge, a British Army Major-General, ‘Sir’ Lovick Bransby Friend (..perhaps his parents never bonded with him?) the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in Ireland, said that 1,100 recruits were needed from Ireland every week “to replace wastage” (!) of existing Irish soldiers. The comments were made at a private conference on recruiting in Ireland that was held under the presidency of the ‘Lord’ Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Wimborne, at the Viceregal Lodge in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, where it was also stated that approximately 81,000 Irishmen had ‘heeded Redmond’s call-to-arms’. The political mirror-image, mentioned above, had a point : if a call to assist the foe comes from ‘the right quarters’, it will – unfortunately – be heeded by those who should know better.
Anyway : the ‘fight-for-England-for-Ireland’ man died on the 6th March 1918, after a medical operation that month to remove an intestinal obstruction ; the operation appeared to progress well at first, but then he suffered heart failure and died a few hours later at a London nursing home. But his party lived on, albeit with a name change..!
‘TRAITORS TO THE CROWN’.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, January 1955.
A crowded courtroom in Belfast town. Armed ‘police’ stand shoulder to shoulder on guard. The courthouse is packed with the forces of the invader and her satellites – British military officers and soldiers, CID, RUC, B Specials and loyal civilians. On the judges bench a white-wigged figure sits dressed in robes of scarlet, representing the ‘law’ and force of the invader.
Before him in the dock stand eight young Irish republicans, cheerful and carefree in their captivity. They stand arraigned on the charge of ‘treason-felony’ ; over a century ago the ‘Treason-Felony Act’ was enacted to make sure of the conviction of Newry’s patriot Presbyterian, John Mitchel. In that pro-British, hostile atmosphere, the men in the dock affirm their allegiance to Ireland – her unity and independence and protest against the assertion that a citizen of Ireland could be guilty of treason against a foreign queen.
“Our war is not waged against Irishmen of any creed or class”, states Eamon Boyce, “but against a foreign queen who has no right whatever to have forces on our soil.”
And young Philip Clarke spoke as well – “We are Irishmen, our Fatherland is Ireland, and it is to the Fatherland we owe allegiance. It is against all reason, all justice, and every tenet of democracy that we should be convicted of treason against a foreign queen to whom we owe no allegiance…” (MORE LATER).
‘INFORMING’ ON A FUND-RAISING RAFFLE!
We won’t be posting next Wednesday (13th February) as we’ll be busy until at least next Monday/Tuesday (11th and 12th) putting the finishing touches to a Cabhair fund-raising raffle, which will be held in a hotel on the Dublin-Kildare border on Sunday, 10th February 2019.
One of our intended posts for the 13th was to do with a two-legged rat who caused serious damage to the Irish republican cause in the early 19th century and, as we won’t be ‘on air’ then to give this despicable character a mention, we reckoned we should do it now.
‘Leonard McNally, playwright, barrister, United Irishman and an Informer died on this day. He was born in Dublin in 1752, and became a barrister in England before returning home to practise at the Irish Bar. He was one of the original members of the Society of United Irishmen and came to and defended many of its members in the Courts. He turned informer in 1794 following the arrest of the French agent the Rev Jackson. The general opinion is that his nerve snapped under threats during interrogation but the exact circumstances that led to his decision to become a tout remain unclear.
His play Robin Hood (1784) was playing in Dublin on the night in 1798 when Lord Edward Fitzgerald was captured on foot of information he had provided. . During 1798 and in 1803 he found himself in the bizarre situation of taking money both from revolutionary defendants before the Courts and from Dublin Castle for providing them with information that would compromise his clients…some of his associates had their doubts, and indeed one ‘doubter’ sent him a snake in a parcel from America as a token of gratitude! However his dark secret remained hidden until his death in 1820. Ironically he was given a Patriots funeral. It was only when his family demanded from the British government that his pension of £300 per annum should be continued that his secret life as a traitor was exposed…’ (from here.)
And exposed he was, but not before he had ‘earned his keep’ for the British administration in Dublin Castle – while being hunted by the British, Robert Emmet took refuge in the Harold’s Cross area of Dublin, during which time he met with his mother and Sarah Curran but, on Thursday August 25th, 1803, he was finally located and ‘arrested’ by the British. It has been stated by others that a £1000 reward was paid by Dublin Castle to an informer, for supplying the information which led to his capture. Robert Emmet’s bad luck did not stop on his arrest : he had the misfortune to be defended by one Leonard McNally who was trusted by the United Irishmen. However, after McNally’s death in 1820 it transpired that he was a highly paid government agent and, in his role as an informer, that he had encouraged young men to join the rebels, betrayed them to Dublin Castle and would then collect fees from the United Irishmen to ‘defend’ those same rebels in court!
This tout is alleged to have died on the 13th February, 1820, but he is also listed as having died in June that year : ‘Hereunder lyeth the body of William NALLY, of [illegible], in the county of Dublin, Gent. who departed this life October 7th, 1669.” [Mr. D’Alton mentions him as William MALLY, of Roebuck. His descendant, Leonard Mac Nally, was here interred 8th June, 1820…’ The confusion arises because his son, Leonard (Jnr), also a solicitor, died on the 13th February that year and was buried in Donnybrook on the 17th February. His father, Leonard Snr, actually sent a legal missive to ‘Saunder’s Newsletter‘, on the 6th March that year, looking for financial ‘compensation’ for the “severe injury caused by the circulation of my death”! Ever the snake in the grass -trying to make money out of the death of his own son.
Anyway – this parasite died, as stated, in June, 1820, and was buried in Donnybrook on the 8th of that month, and, in his memory, we post the following ‘tribute’ :
A sheepman in the Mournes observed it first
Gorging on the entrails of a still-born
Lamb; next it was disturbed plucking the heart
From an aborted human foetus unborn
For better things elsewhere and on the third
Day poachers stoned it from the corpse of
an Informer they found gagged with a dragon’s turd And testicles.
But it grew weary on
Such rich fare, scavenging the abattoirs
Of hate until, enormous, gross, and fat
With the viscera of the dove and rat,
Sated yet home-sick for the heat and flies,
It bore South again, smelling a sweeter war,
Where God died long ago of tribal lies. (From here.)
In the Christmas edition of ‘Garda Review’, the editorial records that “..despite our many detractors, the Garda Síochana can be justifiably proud that as a police force it is winning the battle against criminal elements in this country (sic) ..” It would be interesting to know precisely who the ‘detractors’ in mind are. Certainly, it can’t include politicians, because only a maverick breaks the unwritten rule that politicians don’t criticise the gardaí. Yet there is not a single politician of any party representing an urban constituency who, over the past four or five years, has not been privately sharing stories of worrying criticism of policing in his or her own constituency.
This criticism usually falls into two categories – firstly, prior to ‘Operation Dochas’ being introduced in late autumn 1996, a policing vacuum was allowed to develop in areas most severely ravaged by the drugs epidemic. This vacuum was almost inevitably filled by elements untroubled by the dictates of natural justice. Besieged parents sickened with fear for their children’s welfare couldn’t afford to withhold support from the ‘self-policing’ of their communities. Secondly, residents’ associations in middle-class areas experienced unprecedented criticism of policing effectiveness and garda responses.
How much of this criticism was the result of legislators not doing their job, low morale, for whatever reason, in garda ranks or outdated management techniques in the upper echelons of the garda, or a combination of all three, is difficult to say…
Thanks for reading, Sharon.