ON THIS DATE (19TH FEBRUARY) 76 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A REBEL POACHER-TURNED-FREE STATE MILITARY GENERAL.
‘JJ O’Connell (pictured) joined the Irish Volunteers in 1914, becoming Chief of Inspection in 1915. He travelled the country organising volunteer corps, as well as contributing to the Irish Volunteer’s journal and delivering lectures on military tactics to both the Volunteers and Na Fianna Éireann. He also delivered a series of lectures about the famous Irish battles to the Gaelic League in Dublin (but) was not a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood as he believed that soldiers should not be a part of secret societies…
At the time the 1916 Easter Rising, O’Connell was operating in Dublin under instruction from Joseph Plunkett. He was dispatched to Cork by Eoin MacNeill to try to prevent the Rising. Following the Rising, he was arrested and held in Frongoch internment camp from April to July 1916. In 1918 he was again arrested and interned, spending time in Wandsworth Prison with Arthur Griffith for the alleged involvement in the fabricated German Plot.
During the Irish War of Independence, he was a member of the Irish Republican Army headquarters staff, as Assistant Director of Training and, after the killing of Dick McKee, as Director of Training. He coordinated, and was the principal lecturer, for a training course for military officers. The course was run clandestinely in the premises of the Topographical Society on Gardiner Street in Dublin. A sympathetic doorkeeper allowed O’Connell’s group in at night when the society was not present. Topics delivered by O’Connell included tactics, ordinance and engineering. In the IRA split after the Anglo-Irish Treaty was ratified, O’Connell took the pro-Treaty side…’ (from here.)
On the 26th June, 1922, Leo Henderson and a group of ‘Irregulars/Dissidents’ left the then republican-occupied Four Courts, which had been taken over on the 14th of April by anti-treaty forces ‘..and arrived at Ferguson’s garage on Dublin’s Baggot Street, accusing them of doing business with Belfast ; this was, they said, in violation of the boycott the IRA had placed on the city due to violence against nationalists there. Leo Henderson, their leader, seized a number of cars at gunpoint, and was on the point of driving back to the anti-Treaty stronghold of the Four Courts when he was arrested by pro-Treaty/Free State troops. Henderson’s comrades in the Four Courts in response arrested a pro-Treaty General, JJ O’Connell and, within 24 hours, Free State artillery was battering at the walls of the Four Courts in central Dublin. The first shots of the Irish Civil War were caused by a row over selling cars to Belfast…’ (from here.)
Not altogether the full story, although the ‘bones’ of what actually happened are there ; Harry Ferguson’s garage (pictured) was a well-known Belfast automobile company, with a branch on Baggot Street, in Dublin. It was known to be unsympathetic to the ‘Irregulars’ and had blatantly ignored an overall directive from the IRA that for-profit business dealings with Belfast should cease until business bosses in that city took steps to ensure the safety of their nationalist workforce. Leo Henderson and his men commandeered about 15 cars which had been sent, for sale, to Dublin from Belfast – the IRA’s intention, as well as to be seen enforcing the ‘Belfast Trade Boycott’, was to use the vehicles, as part of the war effort, against the continuing British political and military presence in the Six Occupied Counties and in their campaign to overthrow the then-fledging Free State political administration.
Leo Henderson was captured by the Staters, with ex-IRA man Frank Thornton in command of them and, when the IRA leadership heard that Henderson had been ‘arrested’, they discussed abducting Collins himself or Richard Mulcahy in retaliation, but decided instead to seize Free State General Jeremiah Joseph (JJ) ‘Ginger’ O’Connell, who was Richard Mulcahy’s Deputy Chief-of-Staff. At 11.15pm on the night of Tuesday, 27th June, 1922, ‘Ginger’ was arrested in Dublin by the IRA after an evening out with his girlfriend – the couple had gone to the theatre and, after the girlfriend was dropped home, ‘Ginger’ went to McGilligan’s Pub in Leeson Street for a few pints. As he left the pub, the IRA seized him and held him in the republican-occupied Four Courts ; Ernie O’Malley actually telephoned Free State General Eoin O’Duffy, who was in Portobello Barracks, and told him that ‘Ginger’ will be returned to the Staters in exchange for Leo Henderson.
The republicans knew that ‘Ginger’ was valued by Collins and his renegades – he was one of the few that eagerly conveyed the ‘cancel-the-Rising’-order from Eoin MacNeill in 1916 and both Collins and Mulcahy regarded him as a safe pair of hands. Collins’s political and military bosses in London were notified about ‘JJ Ginger’ being held in republican custody and made it clear to Collins that if he and his Free State colleagues didn’t take steps to remove the republicans from the Four Courts, they would – the Staters had already decided to attack their former comrades in the Four Courts and had already accepted the offer from Westminster of equipment with which to carry-out the task ; British artillery, aircraft, armoured cars, machine guns, small arms and ammunition were by then in the possession of Collins and his team, who then used the ‘JJ kidnap’-incident as a further ‘reason’ to press ahead with the assault.
At 3.40am, on Wednesday, 28th June 1922, the republican forces inside the Four Courts were given an ultimatum by Collins – ‘surrender before 4am and leave the building’. The republicans ignored the threat and held their ground and, less than half-an-hour later – at about 4.30am – the Staters opened fire on the republicans with British-supplied 18-pounder guns and practically destroyed the building (pictured), an act which was recently described as “..a major national calamity..an assault on the collective memory of the nation..such actions are considered as war crimes..a cultural atrocity..” The IRA held out for two days before leaving the building, but fought-on elsewhere in Dublin until early July, 1922, with Oscar Traynor (who later joined the Fianna Fáil party) in command.
‘JJ Ginger’ was rescued by his Stater colleagues on Friday, 30th June 1922 when they finally managed to enter the then shell of a building where the Four Courts once stood and, within months, was demoted from a Lieutenant-General to a Major-General and then to a Colonel, a position he was to remain at. He got married in 1922 and, between 1924 and 1944 (he died, aged 56, in the Richmond Hospital in Dublin from a heart attack on the 19th February of that year – 76 years ago on this date), he was shifted around like a pawn on a chess board : chief lecturer in the FS Army school of instruction, director of Number 2 (intelligence) bureau, OC equitation school, quartermaster-general and director of the military archives. We wonder did he consider himself to be the man who helped give ‘credence’ to the Civil War…?
THERE ARE THREE KINDS OF LIES : LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND STATISTICS!
The spoof, the spin, the ignorance, the deliberate misdirection and the smoke and mirrors dished-out by various candidates and their Head Offices and, indeed, by their political ‘opposition’, since the 8th February 2020 election in this State, has been breathtaking. As expected. And as usual.
Mary Lou McDonald declared after the results were known that “Sinn Fein (sic) has won the election…” (from here) and “It’s official. Sinn Fein (sic) won the election..” (from here.) Yet, as ‘winners’, they are unable to form an administration without the help of the ‘losers’!
Statistics to ‘prove’ that the winners (!) are/are not winners and that the ‘losers’ (!) are/are not really losers are ten-a-penny on the internet and in the newspapers etc, with the different authors spinning the percentages and the comparisons etc to suit their own needs. Although we have seen that type of political codology since then, we were reminded of the 1998 Stormont Treaty (‘Good Friday Agreement’) onslaught by Leinster House and its affiliates in regards to that particular sell-out : when the Stormont Treaty was voted on here in May 1998, one of it’s main ‘selling-points’, according to the State establishment that were promoting it – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Provisional Sinn Féin, the various Church’s, media etc – was that the British Government would legislate for the creation of a united Ireland if a majority within the Six Counties desired same. This was said to be a major development and, on it’s own, worth voting ‘YES’ for.
However, that ‘commitment’ from Westminster was contained in the ‘Ireland Act’ of 1949, the ‘Northern Ireland (sic) Act’ of 1973, Section Five of the Sunningdale Agreement and the opening section of the 1985 Hillsborough Treaty! It was a deliberate mis-representation of the facts by the pro-treaty side, which repeatedly claimed that a peaceful end to the North-Eastern conflict depended on a majority ‘YES’ vote in the referendum, thereby insinuating that those who voted ‘NO’ were pro-war.
In 1922, Liam Mellows said of the 1921 ‘Treaty of Surrender’ – “This is not the will of the people ; it is the fear of the people”. The conflict continued after that Treaty, and continues today. In 1973, the political establishment here and its hangers-on were amongst those telling republicans that the Sunningdale Agreement was the “solution” to the North. In 1985 they did the same with the Hillsborough Treaty. In 1998 they did the same with the Stormont Treaty.
Those responsible for the ‘GFA’ – Bertie Ahern, Bill Clinton, Gerry Adams, Tony Blair, John Hume, John Major etc etc were experienced enough to have recognised it for the ‘false dawn’ it was – and is – but were more interested in puffing-up/re-building their political ‘careers’ and would have attempted to sell any so-called ‘settlement’ to anyone foolish enough to listen to them. Indeed, such maneuvering was rife in the period leading up to, and after, that 1998 vote (it was signed-off on the 10th April 1998 by the politicians involved and put to a vote on the 22nd May that year) –
Bertie Ahern, quoted in ‘The Sunday Business Post’ newspaper on the 3rd May 1998, page 16, said it means that “Britain is out of the equation”, AP/RN editorialised, on the 10th of September, 1998, on page 9, that the vote was “the will of the electorate in both partitioned states..”, ‘The Sunday Business Post’, on the 13th February 2000, on page 18, said that the Stormont Treaty (‘GFA’) institutions were set up “as a direct result of a vote of all the people of this island…the will of the entire people of Ireland..”, the ‘Ireland on Sunday’ newspaper, on the 28th March 1999, on page 14, said it was “the wish of almost every last man and woman in this country..”.
And the codology didn’t end there – AP/RN, on the 20th May 1999, on page 9, said it was “endorsed by a huge majority of this country’s people..”, Tim Pat Coogan, in his ‘Ireland On Sunday’ column on the 24th September 2000, on page 32, said that “more than 90 per cent of the people of this island voted for it..”, Niall O Dowd, in his ‘IOS’ column on the 13th February 2000, on page 31, said that it was “the democratic wish of 95 per cent of the population in the Irish Republic and 72 per cent in the North..”, Piet De Pauw, the Belgium lawyer and human-rights expert, said, in December 2000, that “the majority of the people on this island voted for it”, AP/RN, on the 11th March 1999, on page 12, said “it was endorsed by 85 per cent of the people of Ireland..” and Tim Pat Coogan, again – this time in his ‘IOS’ column dated 7th May 2000 (page 34)- said that its institutions “were voted for by an overwhelming majority on this island..”.
In the edition of ‘The Sunday Business Post’ newspaper that was published on the 12th April 1998 – just two days after the Stormont Treaty was signed – the editorial referred to the proposed amendments to Articles 2 and 3 of the Free State Constitution as “well meaning drivel”, saying that the treaty would make us become “the laughing stock of Europe”, and described that treaty as “a rescue operation for unionism”. But, six weeks later – on Sunday, 24th May 1998 – the paper had changed its tune : the editorial in that edition declared that “clearly the vast majority of people on this island are prepared to invest their hope and trust for the future in what is, by any standards, a complex agreement.” A ‘laughing stock’ indeed!
However, an examination of the actual outcome of that vote reveals the true figures, and confirms that the establishment and its supporters will still attempt to purposely distort the facts and mislead those who are foolish enough to simply take them at their word – in this State, the turnout for the 1998 Stormont Treaty poll was 56.3% and, of those, 1,442,583 (94.4%) voted ‘YES’ and 85,748 (5.6%) voted ‘NO’. But 43.97% of those entitled to vote in the State did not do so!
In the Six Counties, the turnout was 81% and, of those, 676,966 (71.12%) voted ‘YES’ and 274,879 (28.88%) voted ‘NO’ . But 19% of those entitled to vote in the Six Counties did not do so!
The claims that ‘the majority voted for it’ and that it represents ‘the democratic wish of 95% of the population’ etc etc is a deliberate falsehood put about by those that would attempt to convince the Irish people that the struggle to achieve a just and permanent settlement has been achieved. That finality can only begin when the British give a date for their withdrawal from this country – it has not been a war of over 850 years only to say to the British that which the Stormont Treaty leads them to believe – ‘stay if you want, just treat us better..’. That was never the republican objective, regardless of how well dressed and presentable those are that travel the globe claiming, in effect, that so-called ‘civil rights’ was the objective all along.
The same spoofery, the same spin, the ignorance, the deliberate misdirection and the same smoke and mirrors are being dished-out again in relation to the 8th February 2020 election held in this State, so much so that, in reply to Mary Lou’s “We won!” statements, Fine Gael’s Simon Harris was able to use the same election results to claim, correctly, that “..not everybody voted for Sinn Fein…you’d think by listening to some of the commentary that everybody voted Sinn Fein…76% of people did not vote for Sinn Fein to be in government..” (from here.) As we said at the start of this piece – the ‘winners’ are not allowed to collect their ‘prize’ unless the ‘losers’ permit them to do so!
Incidentally, the 8th February 2020 election was to elect members to the 31st Leinster House assembly and not, as declared by all and sundry, to “the 33rd Dáil Éireann”. That latter term is a spoof, a spin, ignorant of the true position, deliberate misdirection and smoke and mirrors, like the outcome of the election itself.
‘IRA CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY – A CONSPIRATOR SPEAKS AND IS BOOHED…’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, December 1954.
Normally one would not pay any attention to the abnormal utterances of Earnan De Blagdh, as he is known when associated with the Gaelic League or the Abbey Theatre – otherwise Mr. Ernest Blythe. But when he assumes the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the IRA veterans it is time to join issue. The veterans themselves know Mr. Blythe too well, but the young republicans of today may not be sufficiently acquainted with his career as a republican.
Figuring in his early years as an IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood)-cum-Volunteer-cum-Gealic League organiser, Mr. Blythe did trojan work on behalf of these organisations. With his election to Leinster House (‘the government of the Irish Republic’) his political life began, and the blithe enthusiastic Volunteer was transformed into the compromising partition-builder whom we know today ; the first conspiracy (criminal, in the eyes of Irish republicans) which came to light was that by which the IRB engineered the signing of the Treaty of Surrender in 1921, and later put it over on the Irish people, Mr. Blythe playing a prominent part.
The second criminal conspiracy was that by which the so-called government (Provisional) and the IRB borrowed 18-pounders and other guns from Lloyd George and the British Government with which to crush the IRA and the Irish republican government, Mr. Blythe again playing his part… (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (19TH FEBRUARY) 97 YEARS AGO : IRA VOLUNTEER SHOT DEAD BY RENEGADE IRA MAN.
On this date, 19th February, in 1923, IRA officer Thomas O’Sullivan, of Ballineanig, Kerry, was shot dead by a Free State Army officer near Dingle, in that same county. The Stater who shot him was an ex-IRA man who had been expelled from the Republican Movement for misconduct and, as such, must have felt right at home with his new comrades.
This account of the death of Thomas O’Sullivan is taken from Dorothy Macardle’s book ‘The Tragedies Of Kerry’ –
‘ “I had twelve children, but I had none like him,” Mrs. O’Sullivan says. Tom was twenty-two years old when he was killed ; he was a teacher of Irish and a fisherman, and he was a Volunteer since the Black-and-Tan time ; he was Commandant of his Battalion when he died. They (Free Staters) came raiding for him in December, with their lorries, but his mother got him away. He was going fishing and had his hand on the kettle, going to make himself a cup of tea, when she ran in with the warning and he made out through the back door. She lifted a bucket and went up the road towards them thinking to hold them awhile in talk.
“Who’s that man running?”, the officer shouted to her, and she called back “I don’t know at all..” “You know well, you devil!” he answered, “‘Tis your son, Tom,” and he went down on his knee and fired. The bullet slit Tom’s jersey, but Tom was not hurt. But the danger to him seemed more than she could bear.
“Wisha, give me your gun,” she said to Tom that night, “and I’ll carry it into town for you.” “No, mother,” he answered, “that’s what I’ll never do. I didn’t take my oath to break it,” he said. “I know what’s before me, and I’m satisfied to face that.”
He used to come home sometimes, never to sleep, but maybe to change his clothes. He came in on the eighteenth of February (1923). His mother thought he looked troubled. “Have you any letter from Dan?” he asked her at once. Dan, his brother, was in jail. She gave him the letter and he read it under the lamp.
“Dan’s all right,” he said with relief in his voice, and gave her the letter again. Then he said, “Come down with me now.” She went with him down the bohereen. It was getting dark and she could not well see his face. Suddenly he put his arms round her. “Goodbye, mother,” he said. “Why do you talk like that, Tom,” she said, half-crying, “and you always so brave?” “Ah, mother,” he answered, “I’ll be under locks from you soon.” He took her hand then and they walked together a little further on. He was going to sleep in a house across the fields, where he’d be safe, he said. He started to go but came back to her again : “You’re not ashamed of me, mother?” he asked her. It was in Irish, the speech of her heart, that she answered him.
In the dark of the night a man came to her door. It was Bob McCarthy, Tom’s friend : she knew him well. “‘Tis pity to be disturbing you,” he said, “but the Staters are in the fields below. Where’s Tom?” She told him and he ran out. She was on her knees praying when she heard a shot fired. She started up and drew the bolt and ran out. She stood, crying out her prayers and blessings, against the gable of the house when she heard another shot and another again.
The man who was with Tom hiding in a hollow knows what happened then, but he is a prisoner, sentenced to fifteen years. Only the little that he told to a fellow-prisoner, since released, is known – “They were hiding and spoke to one another, not thinking the enemy were near, but they heard a voice call out suddenly : “That’s O’Sullivan! I know his talk.” They knew the man who spoke. He had been expelled from the Volunteers for misconduct and was a Free State Officer now. His kind were the most vindictive, always. Tom O’Sullivan must have known that this was death. The man saw him and fired , and Tom fell. He was badly wounded and put his hands up as he lay on the ground. “I surrender to you,” he said. “Get a priest for me before you do any more.” The man fired again and Tom moaned, “O Jesus and Mary come against me” and died.
Bob McCarthy evaded the enemy that night. He had another month to live. It was he who came to Mrs. O’Sullivan to tell her that her son was dead…’
That Free State officer, and other sleveen’s of his type, still reside in, and operate from, Leinster House, morally and physically. And republicans continue to operate outside that institution, parasite free.
‘WOMEN AIDING WOMEN…’
From ‘USI News’ magazine, February 1989.
When acknowledged, it often gives rise to an ‘us and them’ mentality which can easily become crystalised along class lines. It is much more comfortable to think about domestic violence in terms of it ‘never happening to me’, If the people it ‘happens’ to are from very different backgrounds. But this requires a deeply held belief that the women it does ‘happen’ to somehow let/make it happen, that they are somehow at fault. They are, therefore, not to be trusted.
This conflict is, at its root, a class one, between women from vastly different backgrounds. The powerless women are those using the refuge – they are powerless in their lives and are further being denied power in the place that they have come to for refuge. It is a poor reflection on the ‘Women’s Movement’, a movement based firmly in the middle class, that potential solidarity between women in a very basic struggle against male oppression is made impossible by an unwillingness to share/give away power.
(END of ‘Women Aiding Women’. NEXT – ‘Illegal Arms : In Bad Company’, from 2002.)
ON THIS DATE (19TH FEBRUARY) IN 1919 AND 1921…
On the 19th February 1919 (101 years ago, on this date), British Army Private T. Kennedy died in Dublin from Bronchitis ; he was attached to the ‘Royal’ Welsh Fusiliers // Lance Corporal Herbert Richard Roper, 22 years of age, attached to the Norfolk Yeomanry, died in Ballinasloe from pneumonia // Lance Corporal Charles Matthews, 24 years of age, Northumberland Fusiliers, died in Belfast from pneumonia // Private John Daly, 42 years of age, from the ‘Royal’ Defence Corps, died at the Military Hospital in Athlone, from bronchitis, and a Sergeant Percy Dawson, ‘Royal’ Scots Regiment (service number 47225) died, aged 32, in Ireland, from influenza. We are not sure of how much trouble they caused in this country before they died.
On the 19th February 1921 (99 years ago, on this date) three British soldiers (privates) of the Oxford Regiment were found by IRA men, unarmed and wearing civilian clothes near Feakle, Co Clare. The soldiers said they were deserters but the IRA suspected they were spies, shot them and dumped their bodies near Woodford ; ‘There had been a number of cases in the area of British soldiers posing as deserters to gather intelligence..’ (from here.) ‘On 22nd February 1921, during the War of Independence, the bodies of three British soldiers – Privates Williams, Walker and Morgan of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry – were discovered by a farmer on the Woodford to Cahir road near the shores of Lough Attorick at Poolagoond near the Clare – Galway county border. The three soldiers had been executed by the I.R.A.’s East Clare Brigade, each been shot in the head. One of them had a label hung around his neck which read “Spies. Tried by courtmartial and found guilty. All others beware…” (from here.)
It would have been best for those men had they, and their political leadership, not come to Ireland at all.
‘IRA PRISONERS REMANDED : ELABORATE SECURITY PRECAUTIONS BY NORTHERN ‘POLICE’ ‘.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.
Mr. Roy, the court clerk, addressing Seán Hegarty, told him that he could be brought back in 14 days or, if he so wished, on the 2nd November ; eight days, as suggested, to which Seán replied – “Tomorrow week.” The Magistrate then stated – “When he does not consent, there is no point in asking the other prisoners.”
As the prisoners were led handcuffed into the two Black Marias, through an avenue of police guards, eight police vans were drawn up on the High Street, with three police tenders and four police radio cars. The streets were cordoned off as the prison vans and their escorting convoy moved off from the courthouse at 11.15am for the 70-mile journey back to Belfast. The convoy was headed by a police traffic radio car and a field radio car, then two Lancia cars with armed police, the two Black Maria prison vans, two more police vans, then two other police radio cars and two further police vans.
The police in towns through which the convoys passed were ‘on guard’ and police cars also patrolled road junctions leading into the provincial towns on the route and around Cookstown. A Royal Air Force spotter plane flew low over the countryside, reporting ‘all clear’, and the movement of traffic to the pilot radio car. Special security precautions were in operation also in Belfast in the vicinity of the jail.
It is possible that further hearings will take place in Belfast ; a senior police officer stated last night – “We do not wish to run any risk of losing these men.”
(END of ‘IRA Prisoners Remanded : Elaborate Security Precautions By Northern ‘Police’ ‘. NEXT – ‘Greater Love’, from the same source.)
Thanks for reading, Sharon.