ON THIS DATE (29TH APRIL) 104 YEARS AGO : REPUBLICAN ‘SURRENDER ORDER’ AND FR. ALOYSIUS.
On Saturday, 29th April, 1916 – 104 years ago on this date – Pádraig Pearse issued the ‘Surrender Order’ on behalf of the Irish republican forces who were taken part in the (Easter) Rising in Ireland against the forces of the Crown –
“In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, the members of the Provisional Government present at Headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the Commandants of the various districts in the City and Country will order their commands to lay down arms.
P. H. PEARSE.
29th April, 3.45 p.m., 1916.”
Approximately 64 rebels, 132 crown force members and 230 civilians had been killed. About 2,500 people had been wounded, and the centre of Dublin was devastated by the British shelling.
Sometimes overlooked and/or deliberately played-down is the role that the Capuchin Friars took on during the 1916 Rising, including that of their input regarding the ‘Surrender Order’ –
‘..the Capuchin Friars were heavily involved with the surrender – after the initial surrender had taken place between General Lowe, Patrick Pearse with Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell as the ‘runner’ (and) in all the discussion between the British Forces and the Irish Military Army. They ably assisted Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell [Cumann na mBan] with the task of delivering the surrender order to the other leaders all around the outskirts of Dublin in their strategic positions i.e Eamonn Ceant, Thomas MacDonagh , Dev Valera et.al. Of course General Lowe, not wanting to take any chances that these surrender orders would not be safely delivered..ordered two of his officers to accompany them. They then went to Dublin Castel to deliver the surrender message..’ (from here.)
‘While many clerics have supported the armed struggle of the IRA since 1916, the Capuchin Friars have been particularly noted for their republicanism. One such Capuchin was Fr Aloysius Roche, the son of an Irish father and English mother, born in Scotland in 1886. He studied for the priesthood and, following his ordination, he was transferred to Dublin where he was attached to the Capuchin Order in Church Street.
During Easter Week 1916, Fr Aloysius along with Frs Albert, Augustine and Dominic brought spiritual aid to the Volunteers in the numerous garrisons and outposts throughout Dublin. Following Pádraig Pearse’s surrender on Saturday, 29 April 1916, Fr Aloysius spent the next day carrying the surrender order to the main garrisons on the south side of the city. In the early hours of the morning of 3rd May, Fr Aloysius administered the last sacraments to Pearse, MacDonagh and Thomas Clarke, the first three leaders of the Rising to be executed.
On 7th May, he met John Dillon, a leading member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, who agreed to do all in his power to persuade the British government to stop the executions. And it was largely due to his efforts that Dillon, five days later, during a debate on the rising in the House of Commons, launched a blistering attack on the British government’s handling of the situation in Ireland. Earlier that day, Fr Aloysius accompanied James Connolly by ambulance from Dublin Castle to Kilmainham Gaol for execution and stood behind the firing squad as they fired the final volley. During the Tan and Civil Wars he was an enthusiastic and practical supporter of the national struggle and continued his republican allegiance throughout the following decades…’ (from here.)
Incidentally, the ‘Fr Dominic’ mentioned, above, was Fr Dominic O’Connor (Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, pictured, being led away by Free Staters from ‘the battle of the Four Courts’, in 1922) – it is recorded that the then ‘President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State’ [aka ‘Taoiseach’], WT Cosgrave, did not agree with the political outlook voiced by the Capuchins and he wrote to the Archbishop, Edward J Byrne, to voice his objections and, in one such letter, actually accused Fr Dominic of “treasonous acts”!
Fr Dominic was, at the time, the chaplain to the local IRA Cork Brigade, and is on record for a reply he gave to the church hierarchy in relation to their anti-republican/pro-British sermons : “Kidnapping, ambushing, and killing obviously would be grave sins or violation of Canon Law. And if these acts were being performed by the Irish Volunteers as private persons, they would fall under excommunication. But they are doing them with the authority of the Republic of Ireland. Hence the acts performed by the Volunteers are not only not sinful, but are good and meritorious..therefore the excommunication does not affect us. There is no need to worry about it. There is no necessity for telling a priest in confession that you went to Mass on Sunday, so there is no necessity to tell him one is in the IRA, or that one took part in an ambush or killing etc”.
In another letter of complaint he sent, Cosgrave referred to a different priest, a Fr John Costello, and complained to the Archbishop that that priest had made it his business to approach Free State troops, in 1922, and called on them to lay down their arms ; when they declined to do so, he would call them “murdering green Black and Tans”! As ‘Lord Cosgrave’ probably said, in private – “It rings in my ears as kind of what miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord and president be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric? Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” (!)
Sometimes one has to be ‘meddlesome’ in order to be honourable.
‘DISRUPTION TACTICS FAIL’, ‘NATIONAL UNITY’ AND ‘DEMOCRACY!’.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.
Disruption Tactics Fail ;
The Unionist threat to unseat prisoner candidates if elected backfired. Instead of disrupting the Sinn Féin campaign it put northern republicans on their mettle. English law in Ireland has always had but one purpose – to legalise the dispossession of the Irish, in rights and in property. Our forefathers fought against it and we today proudly follow in their footsteps.
National Unity ;
The main plank of the Sinn Féin election platform was that there can be no political or economic development in Ireland while the country is divided. Not only must the border be removed and the physical unity of the country as a political and economic entity be restored, but the whole people must unite with the common purpose of developing Ireland’s material resources for the welfare of all its citizens.
The English electoral laws and divisions as applied to Ireland produce a fine example of ‘democracy’ – 450,000 votes elect ten unionists, 152,000 votes elect two separatists ; 45,000 votes to elect one unionist but 76,000 votes to elect one separatist!
(END of ‘Disruption Tactics Fail’, ‘National Unity’ and ‘Democracy!’. NEXT – ‘Sinn Féin Post-Election Statement’, from the same source.)
ON THIS DATE (29TH APRIL) 421 YEARS AGO : DEVIL CHRISTENED ON EARTH.
“The term ‘slavery’ is rarely associated with the white race, although during the 1600’s this was the most significant portion of the market. More specifically, the Irish were targeted the most and the fact that the population of Ireland fell by 850,000 in the space of one decade highlights just how brutal things were…he (Oliver Cromwell, pictured) was one of the main reasons why the situation got to this point. His fanatical anti-Catholic views meant that any action he took over the Irish was brutal to say the least and as well as utilising the conquest of Ireland for religious and political means, he was bidding to cleanse the country of Catholics. In achieving this, selling the Irish off as slaves was one of his biggest weapons, but he also made sure life was as difficult as possible for those that did stay by burning off their crops, removing them from their land..” (from here.)
Pictured – some of Oliver Cromwell’s Irish victims, sold as slaves and ‘sex workers’ to the highest bidder.
On the 29th April, 1599 – 421 years ago on this date – a baby boy, Oliver Cromwell, who had been born on the 25th April, was christened in Saint John the Baptist church in Huntingdon, England. Decades later, when someone was trawling through the birth records for that period, they came across an unofficial addendum to that particular entry : it read – “England’s plague for five years…”
Cromwell should need no introduction to readers of this blog, but some readers may not be aware of the significance of a particular date – the 3rd September – in relation to the time he wreaked havoc on this Earth. That creature died on that date in 1658, and it was also on that same date, in 1649, that he began his nine-day siege of Drogheda after which thousands of its inhabitants were butchered (..but they deserved it, according to the man himself – “This is a righteous judgement of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood..”). The infamous ‘Death March’, which he forced on his enemy after the battle of Dunbar, took place on the 3rd September (in 1650) and, one year later on that same date – the 3rd September, 1651 – he wallowed in more blood and guts, this time in his own country, at the battle of Worcester. And, somewhere in between wrecking havoc and stealing and selling Irish children, he found the time (on the 27th September in 1649) to write to his political bosses in London :
‘FOR THE HONOURABLE WILLIAM LENTHALL, ESQUIRE, SPEAKER OF THE PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND :
Dublin, 27th September 1649.
Mr. Speaker – I had not received any account from Colonel Venables – whom I sent from Tredah to endeavour the reducing of Carlingford, and so to march Northward towards a conjunction with Sir Charles Coote – until the last night. After he came to Carlingford, having summoned the place, both the three Castles and the Fort commanding the Harbour were rendered to him. Wherein were about Forty Barrels of Powder, Seven Pieces of Cannon ; about a Thousand Muskets, and Five-hundred Pikes wanting twenty. In the entrance into the Harbour, Captain Fern, aboard your man-of-war, had some danger ; being much shot at from the Sea Fort, a bullet shooting through his main-mast. The Captain’s entrance into that Harbour was a considerable adventure, and a good service ; as also was that of Captain Brandly, who, with Forty seamen, stormed a very strong Tenalia at Tredah, and helped to take it ; for which he deserves an owning by you.
Venables marched from Carlingford, with a party of Horse and Dragoons, to the Newry ; leaving the place, and it was yielded before his Foot came up to him. Some other informations I have received form him, which promise well towards your Northern Interest ; which, if well prosecuted, will, I trust God, render you a good account of those parts. I have sent those things to be presented to the Council of State for their consideration. I pray God, as these mercies flow in upon you, He will give you an heart to improve them to His glory alone ; because He alone is the author of them, and of all the goodness, patience and long-suffering extending towards you. Your army has marched ; and, I believe, this night lieth at Arklow, in the County of Wicklow, by the Sea-side, between thirty and forty miles from this place. I am this day, by God’s blessing, going towards it.
I crave your pardon for this trouble; and rest, your most humble servant, OLIVER CROMWELL.
P.S. I desire the Supplies moved for may be hastened. I am verily persuaded, though the burden be great, yet it is for your service. If the Garrisons we take swallow-up your men, how shall we be able to keep the field? Who knows but the Lord may pity England’s sufferings, and make a short work of this? It is in His hand to do it, and therein only your servants rejoice. I humbly present the condition of Captain George Jenkin’s Widow. He died presently after Tredah Storm. His Widow is in great want.
The following Officers and Soldiers were slain at the storming of Tredah: Sir Arthur Ashton, Governor; Sir Edmund Varney, Lieutenant-Colonel to Ormond’s Regiment; Colonel Fleming, Lieutenant-Colonel Finglass, Major Fitzgerald, with eight Captains, eight Lieutenants, and eight Cornets, all of Horse; Colonels Warren, Wall, and Byrn, of Foot, with their Lieutenants, Majors, etc; the Lord Taaff’s Brother, an Augustine Friar; forty-four Captains, and all their Lieutenants, Ensigns, etc; 220 Reformadoes and Troopers; 2,500 Foot-soldiers, besides the Staff-Officers, Surgeons, etc.’
A Butcher of even his own forces. But he was appreciated in some circles…
FIT TO PRACTISE…?
As social work in Ireland reaches a landmark, Phil MacGiolla Bháin argues that the profession is flawed beyond salvation.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.
The internal ideological dynamics of social work pass the ordinary person by as they go about their lives. They are unaware of the existence of the rather strange worldview that governs family life until they have the misfortune to come into contact with these agents of the local State. Then, their family becomes ‘a referral’ and finds itself inducted into an industrial system for ‘the Protection of Children’. The family moves out of the constitution as a revered basic unit of Irish society into a post-feminist landscape where misandry and expediency rules.
Enforcing the educational advantages that the middle class in any society have over working-class people, social workers ‘invite’ frightened, disorientated parents to “case conferences” where they explain in opaque terms about the “treatment plan” for the family. I once witnessed the chairperson of a ‘case conference’ telling a working-class couple who just wanted their kids back that they were not to worry because the chairperson’s specialised training was “Jungian”! Had this not being so serious, it could have been part of a Monty Python script.
That this self-righteous matron could think that this bit of information was 1) intelligible and 2) reassuring to a couple whose kids were in health board care under – to say the very least – dubious circumstances, is a classic example of the middle-class professional mindset infecting this entire area of endeavour… (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (29TH APRIL) 104 YEARS AGO – THOMAS PATRICK ASHE / BATTLE OF ASHBOURNE.
Thomas Patrick Ashe, pictured, was born in Lispole, in County Kerry, on the 12th of January, 1885, the seventh of ten siblings. He was active in Irish republicanism, trade unionism and cultural circles, and commanded the 5th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade which won the Battle of Ashbourne on the 29th of April 1916 (a battle which lasted for over five hours), 104 years ago on this date. He qualified as a teacher in 1905 at De La Salle College, Waterford and after teaching briefly in Kinnard, County Kerry, in 1906 he became principal of Corduff National School in Lusk, County Dublin. He was a fluent Irish speaker and a member of the Keating branch of the Gaelic League and was an accomplished sportsman and musician setting up the Round Towers GAA Club as well as helping to establish the Lusk Pipe Band. He was also a talented singer and poet who was committed to Conradh na Gaeilge.
The funeral procession in Dublin, 30th September 1917 (pictured) for Thomas Ashe, an IRB leader who died on the 25th September that year, after being force fed by his British jailers – he was the first Irish republican to die as a result of a hunger-strike and, between that year and 1981, twenty-one other Irish republicans died on hunger-strike. The jury at the inquest into his death found “..that the deceased, Thomas Ashe, according to the medical evidence of Professor McWeeney, Sir Arthur Chance, and Sir Thomas Myles, died from heart failure and congestion of the lungs on the 25th September, 1917 and that his death was caused by the punishment of taking away from the cell bed, bedding and boots and allowing him to be on the cold floor for 50 hours, and then subjecting him to forcible feeding in his weak condition after hunger-striking for five or six days..”
Michael Collins organised the funeral and transformed it into a national demonstration against British misrule in Ireland ; armed Irish Republican Brotherhood Volunteers in full uniform flanked the coffin, followed by 9,000 other IRB Volunteers and approximately 30,000 people lined the streets. A volley of shots was fired over Ashe’s grave, following which Michael Collins stated – “Nothing more remains to be said. That volley which we have just heard is the only speech which it is proper to make over the grave of a dead Fenian.”
The London-based ‘Daily Express’ newspaper perhaps summed it up best when it stated, re the funeral of Thomas Ashe, that what had happened had made ‘100,000 Sinn Féiners out of 100,000 constitutional nationalists.’ The level of support shown gave a boost to Irish republicans, and this was noted by the ‘establishment’ in Westminster – ‘The Daily Mail’ newspaper claimed that, a month earlier, Sinn Féin, despite its electoral successes, had been a waning force. That newspaper said – ‘..It had no practical programme, for the programme of going further than anyone else cannot be so described. It was not making headway. But Sinn Féin today is pretty nearly another name for the vast bulk of youth in Ireland..’
Politically, he was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and established IRB circles in Dublin and Kerry and eventually became President of the Supreme Council in 1917. While he was actively and intellectually nationalist he was also inspired by contemporary socialism. Ashe rejected conservative Home Rule politicians and as part of that rejection he espoused the Labour policies of James Larkin. Writing in a letter to his brother Gregory he said “We are all here on Larkin’s side. He’ll beat hell out of the snobbish, mean, seoinín employers yet, and more power to him”. He supported the unionisation of north Dublin farm labourers and his activities brought him into conflict with landowners such as Thomas Kettle in 1912. During the infamous lockout in 1913 he was a frequent visitor to Liberty Hall and become a friend of James Connolly. Long prior to its publication in 1916, Thomas Ashe was a practitioner of Connolly’s dictum that “the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour”. In 1914, he travelled to the United States where he raised a substantial sum of money for both the Gaelic League and the newly formed Irish Volunteers of which he was an early member.
Ashe founded the Volunteers in Lusk and established a firm foundation of practical and theoretical military training. He provided charismatic leadership first as Adjutant and then as O/C (Officer Commanding) the 5th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade. He inspired fierce loyalty and encouraged personal initiative in his junior officers and was therefore able to confidently delegate command to Charlie Weston, Joseph Lawless, Edward Rooney and others during the Rising. Most significantly, he took advantage of the arrival of Richard Mulcahy at Finglas Glen on the Tuesday of the Rising and appointed him second in command. The two men knew one another through the IRB and Gaelic League and he recognized Mulcahy’s tactical abilities. As a result he allowed himself to be persuaded by Mulcahy not to withdraw following the unexpected arrival of the motorised force at the Rath crossroads. At Ashbourne on the 28th of April Ashe also demonstrated great personal courage, during a battle which lasted over five hours, first exposing himself to fire while calling on the RIC in the fortified barracks to surrender and then actively leading his Volunteers against the RIC during the fight.
After the 1916 Rising he was court-martialled (on the 8th of May 1916) and was sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life. He was incarcerated in a variety of English prisons before being released in the June 1917 general amnesty. He immediately returned to Ireland and toured the country reorganising the IRB and inciting civil opposition to British rule. In August 1917, after a speech in Ballinalee, County Longford, he was arrested by the RIC and charged with “speeches calculated to cause disaffection”. He was detained in the Curragh camp and later sentenced to a year’s hard labour in Mountjoy Jail. There he became O/C of the Volunteer prisoners, and demanded prisoner-of-war status. As a result he was punished by the Governor.
He went on hunger strike on the 20th September 1917 and five days later died as a result of force-feeding by the prison authorities. He was just 32 years old. The death of Thomas Ashe resulted in POW status being conceded to the Volunteer prisoners two days later. Thomas Ashe’s funeral was the first public funeral after the Rising and provided a focal point for public disaffection with British rule. His body lay in state in Dublin City Hall before being escorted by armed Volunteers to Glasnevin Cemetery. 30,000 people attended the burial where three volleys were fired over the grave and the Last Post was sounded. While imprisoned in Lewes Jail in 1916, Thomas Ashe had written his poem ‘Let Me Carry Your Cross for Ireland, Lord’ which later provided the inspiration for the Battle of Ashbourne memorial unveiled by Sean T. O’Kelly on Easter Sunday, 26th April 1959 at the Rath Cross in Ashbourne :
Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord, the hour of her trial draws near, and the pangs and the pains of the sacrifice, may be borne by comrades dear.
But, Lord, take me from the offering throng, there are many far less prepared, through anxious and all as they are to die, that Ireland may be spared.
Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord, my cares in this world are few, and few are the tears will for me fall, when I go on my way to You.
Spare Oh! spare to their loved ones dear, the brother and son and sire, that the cause we love may never die, in the land of our heart’s desire!
Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord! Let me suffer the pain and shame, I bow my head to their rage and hate, and I take on myself the blame.
Let them do with my body whate’er they will, my spirit I offer to You, that the faithful few who heard her call, may be spared to Roisin Dubh.
Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord! For Ireland weak with tears, for the aged man of the clouded brow, and the child of tender years.
For the empty homes of her golden plains, for the hopes of her future, too! Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord! For the cause of Roisin Dubh.
Thomas Patrick Ashe – born 12th January 1885, died, at 32 years of age, on the 25th September 1917.
‘REPUBLICAN AID COMMITTEE’ AND ‘FR. LIAM PILKINGTON DEPARTS FOR IRELAND.’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.
Republican Aid Committee ;
American friends please note that a Central Committee has been set up in New York to co-ordinate efforts to raise funds for the prisoners dependants. Subscribers and those wishing to help should write to – Chris McLoughlin, Secretary, c/o Clan na Gael HQ, Hargrave Hotel, 112 West 72nd Street, New York 23.
Fr. Liam Pilkington (pictured) Departs For Ireland ;
A reception was held for Father Liam Pilkington on Wednesday night, the eve of his departure to Ireland and the African mission fields, at the Clan na Gael hall, West 72nd Street, New York. The place was packed despite the temperature and the humidity.
Seán O’Riada, well known Kerry republican and life-long struggler in the cause of Irish freedom, introduced the one time Commandant of the Third Western Division, Irish Republican Army. Speaking in Irish, Mr. O’Riada spoke of the movement for independence as it has come down to us in our day and of the awakening that would seem to be occurring now. He then made a presentation to Fr. Pilkington on behalf of the Clan na Gael of New York, to which Liam replied that he was happy indeed to be among men and women who had remained faithful to the Republic through the long years.
He said he himself had been removed from the struggle for nigh on 30 years in the mission field of Africa but it was his hope that he, too, had remained faithful to the ideals for which they had fought 40 years ago. He said that when the struggle for a free Ireland was resumed* more attention should be paid to the economic side of the question. This was not a petty matter of a border**, he said, but embraced all the needs of the Irish people that they could live in their own land and find useful employment there, and that he would always pray and offer Masses for their cause which was so close to all of them.
Thanking Fr. Pilkington, Seán O’Riada said that the economic side of the struggle was of the utmost importance and James Connolly’s work in this regard should be studied today…
(‘1169’ Comment – * the struggle has never stopped, and therefore did not then, or ever, need to be “resumed”. ** A border imposed in a country, by a foreign entity, is not “a petty matter” and should not be dismissed as such by anyone who claims to be opposed to a border of that nature.)
(END of ‘Republican Aid Committee.’ ‘Fr. Liam Pilkington Departs For Ireland’ piece to be continued….)
Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Stay safe, and ‘play’ safe!