ON THIS DATE (28TH AUGUST) 154 YEARS AGO : EVE OF THE BIRTH OF AN IRISH REVOLUTIONARY.

“If the Germans landed in Ireland, taking it by force of arms, they would have just as much right to it as England…fight for Ireland and be buried in consecrated ground, not dying like those in France, to be thrown into a *bode..” – Tomás Ceannt, speaking at a public meeting in Ballynoe, County Cork, on the 2nd January 1916 (* borehole/hole in the ground).


Tomás Ceannt (Thomas Kent) was born on the 29th August, 1865 – 154 years ago, tomorrow – in Bawnard House, Castlelyons, in Cork, the fourth of seven sons and two daughters, for David and Mary Kent. The Kent family had a long tradition of fighting against social and political injustices : ‘His family were squeezed off their land by the British Crown’s incremental rate increases. Thomas Kent left for Boston in the United States, but returned to Ireland several years later, owing to illness. Himself and his three brothers became radicalised, and were often jailed for their political activities, chiefly their support for the Land League and their membership of the Irish Volunteers. When the Easter Rising kicked off in April 1916, Tomás Ceannt, then 50 years of age, and his brothers, obeyed Eoin MacNeill’s countermanding order and stayed home, Kent having planned to head to Dublin to fight. In a swoop for known republican sympathisers, however, the RIC made a dawn raid on the Kent family home in Castlelyons.


The Ceannts resisted arrest and had a shoot-out with the RIC, which lasted four hours. The RIC’s head constable was killed, his face blown off, before the Ceannts surrendered. When they arrested Tomás Ceannt..he was paraded through the town of Fermoy a bit like Jesus Christ. His hands were tied and he had no shoes — he wasn’t allowed wear any boots. He was humiliated…his mother was 89 and she was cooling down the guns and supplying her sons with ammunition during the raid. (The RIC) humiliated her as well. She was too old to walk so they put her on a cart with her dying son, the youngest son, Richard. He suffered from his nerves, as they said in those days. He had mental issues…he was terrified when he was arrested and he ran away and was shot in the back. He was dying. He died about a day later from his wounds…’ (from here).


Thomas and his brother, William, were charged by the British with ‘armed rebellion’ – the brother was acquitted, but Thomas was found guilty and sentenced to death. Another brother, David, was ‘found guilty’ of the same charge and received a death sentence, but this was commuted to five years penal servitude. On the 9th May 1916, Tomás Ceannt was put to death by firing squad and his body was placed in a hole in the ground of Cork Prison, where he lay for 99 years : in 2015, the Free State administration, still attempting to associate themselves with those who fought against British rule, shamefully re-buried that Irish republican in a televised display of pomp and ceremony and it and the ‘establishment’ it spawned practically crawled over themselves to be seen to be associated with such a man. After their taxpayer-funded meal and drinks, they reverted to condemning those who continue to fight for the freedom of this country. Disgusting behaviour from a disgusting political ‘elite’.







‘A PLACE WITH THE HEROES…’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, December 1954.



Grant me a place with the heroes, Lord,

Who nourished freedom’s glow,

When every slave had mourned his chain

and harkened to the foe.

I’d guard it well, had I the soul,

of Lynch or Cathal Brugha ;

No foeman’s wiles could dim their zeal,

their guide was Róisín Dubh.






Grant me a place with the heroes, Lord,

Who fell since Thirty-Nine,

Though o’er their graves the slave and foe

to black their names, did join.

Perchance that end will be my lot,

Yet grant it, Lord, to me ;

I’ll care not for the foe or slave,

but serve my land and Thee.






Grant me a place with the heroes, Lord,

Who blessed the bygone years,

That I might serve with pulsing blood,

Above youth’s hopes and fears.

I’ll dance no reels, or drink no toasts,

But strive for liberty,

I’ll have no fun, but sword and gun,

’till Erin’s soil is free.
(By Tomas De Staic)


(END of ‘A Place With The Heroes’ ; next -‘Issued By The Army Council, Óglaigh na hÉireann, November 1954’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (28TH AUGUST) 159 YEARS AGO : BRITISH LAND-GRAB IN IRELAND AGAIN DEEMED ‘LAWFUL’.

‘LANDLORD AND TENANT LAW AMENDMENT ACT, IRELAND 1860.

An Act to consolidate and amend the Law of Landlord and Tenant in Ireland, 28th August 1860. Interpretation of terms :


1. In the construction of this Act the following words and expressions shall have the force and meaning hereby assigned to them, unless there be something in the subject or context repugnant thereto : The word ‘person’ or ‘party’ shall extend to and include any body politic, corporate, or collegiate, whether aggregate or sole, and any public company :

The word ‘lease’ shall mean any instrument in writing, whether under seal or not, containing a contract of tenancy in respect of any lands, in consideration of a rent or return :

The word ‘lands’ shall include houses, messuages, and tenements of every tenure, whether corporeal or incorporeal :

The word ‘acre’ shall mean statute acre :



The word ‘landlord’ shall include the person for the time being entitled in possession to the estate or interest of the original landlord, under any lease or other contract of tenancy, whether the interest of such landlord shall have been acquired by lawful assignment, devise, bequest, or act and operation of law, and whether he has a reversion or not :

The word ‘tenant’ shall mean the person entitled to any lands under any lease or other contract of tenancy, whether the interest of such tenant shall have been acquired by original contract, lawful assignment, devise, bequest, or act and operation of law :

The expression ‘perpetual interest’ shall comprehend, in addition to any greater interest, any lease or grant for one or more than one life, with or without a term of years, or for years, whether absolute, or determinable on one or more than one life, with a covenant or agreement by a party competent thereto, in any of such cases, whether contained in the instrument by which such lease or contract is made or in any separate instrument, for the perpetual renewal of such lease or grant :

The word ‘rent’ shall include any sum or return in the nature of rent, payable or given by way of compensation for the holding of any lands :

The word ‘agreement’ shall include every covenant, contract, or condition expressed or implied in any lease :

The word ‘county’ shall extend to and include a city and county, and a riding of a county :

The expression ‘chairman’ shall mean the chairman of the quarter sessions of the county, and shall extend to and include the recorder of Dublin and of Cork, and the recorder of any borough or town in Ireland under the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act, 1840, and their deputies lawfully appointed :


The expression ‘clerk of the peace’ shall extend to and include the registrar of civil bills for the City of Dublin, and also the acting or deputy clerk of the peace, or registrar or other officer discharging the duties of such clerk of the peace or registrar.

2. In citing this Act it shall be sufficient to use the expression ‘The Landlord and Tenant Law Amendment Act, Ireland, 1860…’
(from here.)

Twenty million acres of land in Ireland ; 661,931 ‘tenants’ (ie native Irish) in Ireland and 19,284 ‘landlords’ (ie British Planter) in Ireland. If the ‘landlord’ could get rid of the ‘tenants’ they could increase the size of ‘their’ ranches. In the late 1850’s, an unscrupulous businessman named John George Adair arrived in the Derryveagh area of County Donegal and, by guile, hook and crook, within one year of being in the area, ‘owned’ more than ninty square miles of the surrounding countryside. Adair imported black-faced sheep from Scotland and allowed them to wander on ‘his’ land, as livestock was a more valuable ‘commodity’ than the natives were.



The British ‘landlords’ were not alone in thinking that they could do as they wished with ‘their’ holdings in Ireland ; their bigotry was shared by the political establishment in Westminster and its Vichy-styled political leadership in Ireland. In 1860, the British-appointed Attorney General in Ireland, Richard (Rickard) Deasy, had his ‘Act’ passed into ‘law’ in this country – it was known as ‘The Landlord and Tenant Law Amendment (Ireland) Act of 1860’, but was better known as ‘Deasy’s Act’ and, in short, it removed whatever insignificant amount of protection that the ‘tenant’ had in relation to their rights and those of the ‘landlord’ ; it allowed the British ‘landlords’ a ‘free-hand’ to do as they choose with ‘their’ Irish ‘tenants’.



This new ‘law’ allowed the British to set, amend, introduce and/or change any terms which the ‘tenant’ had with the ‘landlord’ and defined the contract between both parties as “..deemed to be founded on the express or implied contract of the parties and not upon tenure or service”. ‘Landlords’ were already aware that it was more profitable for them to have livestock on ‘their’ land rather than the poor ‘tenants’ who leased the land and were encouraged to shift the Irish off the land, ‘legally’, knowing that any ‘rights’ that the evicted family may have had prior to the enactment of the new ‘law’ no longer existed. The Derryveagh ‘landlord’, John George Adair, and many others, lost no time in moving against the families living on ‘their’ estates ; within a few months, evictions were taking place at a recorded level of twenty a week ; Adair had already attempted to have the families on ‘his’ estate evicted for ‘stealing’ his Scottish (black-faced) sheep – if the sheep, while wandering free, should end up near a persons cabin, that ‘tenant’ was accused of stealing the animal!



Adair changed the ‘terms and conditions’ of the manner in which he ‘leased’ the land to his existing ‘tenants’ and did not bother to notify them. Those families were served with eviction notices, and Adair then notified the ‘police-force’ and requested the British military to accompany the eviction party while it carried-out its ‘mandate’. In two days, in April 1861, in Derryveagh, Donegal, Adair and his party of licenced bandits physically removed forty-seven families from their miserable dwellings, burnt the roofs of same and, before the fire was extinguished, levelled the walls. Whole families lived in ditches ; no food, no income, no shelter, no hope.



Adair left such destruction and destitution in his wake that foreign newspapers sent over reporters to follow him , and their words and sketches were sent out world-wide. Irish exiles were furious, and did what they could to help their fellow-countrymen and women back home. In Australia, for instance, a ‘Donegal Relief Fund’ was established, and paid for most of Adair’s victims to re-settle in Australia.



That same British mentality exists to this day, and no amount of ‘Treaties’ or ‘border polls’ will solve the problem. A British political and military withdrawal will.





ONE IN FOUR ON LOW PAY…

Colm Keena reports on a new survey on low pay and talks to workers caught in the trap.

By Colm Keena.


From ‘Magill’ Magazine, May 1987.


The number of regular part-time employees rose from 22,600 to 37,600 between 1977 and 1984, and many of these workers are also considered to be low paid. John Blackwell (UCD) defines some 44,000 (46%) of women workers as low paid ; in industry, well over half of all female employees are low paid, and the same is true for women in retail distribution and only slightly less so for women in wholesale distribution.


In any industry where there is a relatively large number of women workers, wage levels are kept down and the ‘age-earnings’ profile for women – the rate at which earnings increase as the worker passes through their working lives – is slower for women than for men. He also reports that one out of every two school-leavers entering employment works for less than £55 per week. Seven out of every ten workers below the age of 20 are low paid. In supermarkets, take-away restaurants and shops, there is a particularly high concentration of young female workers on low pay – those businesses were the focus of a recent report by RTE’s ‘Today Tonight’ on low pay.


In the restaurants on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, ‘Magill’ magazine has established, the large number of young, part-time workers earn the following rates : McDonalds £1.84 per hour, Burger King £1.55, Pizzaland £1.80 and, in Flanagan’s, some workers were getting £10 for a nine-hour shift…
(MORE LATER.)





‘STUDENTS HISTORIC DEMONSTRATION’.

From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, January 1955.


In Dublin, on December 11th last (1954), 2,300 students marched through the principal streets pledging support for the republican prisoners in what was undoubtedly the most forceful student demonstration ever staged in this country. Chanting anti-British slogans and singing national songs, the demonstrators marched behind a coffin draped with the Union Jack and borne along on the shoulders of six six-foot, determined, young men, to a mass meeting in O’Connell Street.


As the parade passed the GPO, a youth emerged from the coffin, threw out the British flag on to the roadway and, waving the Tricolour aloft as he stood high in the coffin – still standing tall on the six shoulders – led the mass of students in a mighty cheer for the prisoners. The rally was indeed an inspiring sight and an historic occasion, for it marked the first ever rally of students in support of the republican soldiers.


The most remarkable thing about the demonstration was that it attracted a united front of students, was the most orderly and enthusiastic rally seen in the city for many years and earned the suspicion of press and radio. The latter imposed a virtual publicity curtain and if anything did their best to discredit the students and the demonstration, thus revealing their latent fear of any intrusion by students on national issues. It is understood that subsequent to the meeting, a big number of students enrolled in the republican movement thereby showing their readiness to prove the sincerity of their demonstration in a more positive manner… (MORE LATER.)



Thanks for reading, Sharon.




About 11sixtynine

A mother of three and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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