ON THIS DATE (17TH JUNE) 46 YEARS AGO : IRA BOMB WESTMINSTER.

On Monday, 17th June 1974, the then IRA decided to make it’s presence felt, once again, in ‘the Belly of the Beast’ – a 20lb device exploded at the British Parliament, causing widespread damage and injuring 11 people. Six months before that attack, the IRA had exploded two bombs in London – one at Madame Tussauds and one at a boat show which was taking place at Earls Court Exhibition Centre and, one month after the 17th June attack, two bombs also exploded in London – British government buildings in Balham, South London, were damaged in the first explosion that day and the Tower of London was the target for the second bomb. This is a BBC report of the 17th June 1974 IRA attack –

‘A bomb has exploded at the Houses of Parliament, causing extensive damage and injuring 11 people.
The IRA said it planted the 20lb (9.1 kg) device which exploded at about 0828 BST in a corner of Westminster Hall.
The explosion is suspected to have fractured a gas main and a fierce fire spread quickly through the centuries-old hall in one of Britain’s most closely-guarded buildings. Scotland Yard detectives have said they fear this attack could herald the start of a new summer offensive by the dissident Irish group on government buildings. No one expected in those days the House of Commons would be a target – security was extremely casual.’


Former Labour MP Tam Dalyell (‘Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet) gave this account – “A man with an Irish accent telephoned the Press Association with a warning only six minutes before the explosion. Police said a recognised IRA codeword was given. Although officers were not able to completely clear the palace before the bomb went off, most of the injured were only slightly hurt” and Edward Short, the Leader of the British ‘Commons’, announced that a review of security procedures would begin immediately, but he said the attack would not disrupt parliamentary business or intimidate MPs. Liberal Chief Whip David Steel was in the building when the device detonated and told the BBC the damage looked considerable – “I looked through Westminster Hall and the whole hall was filled with dust. A few minutes later it was possible to see flames shooting up through the windows…”


Today, the group that carried out that attack are only a short step away from again entering that bastion of British misrule but, this time, to assist their new objective of administering the British writ in Ireland. Shame on them.





‘THE CULT OF THE FALSE PROPHETS.’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.



That Ireland was once the cultural centre of Europe is general knowledge, as also the fact that she retained her nationality throughout centuries of oppression. The latter implies the survival of learning, literacy and language ; the survival of those forces which, with organised religion, are the marks of a civilised nation.


It was the wonder of Elizabeth’s conquistadores, themselves with but a generation of renaissance learning behind them, to observe that Ireland had retained also something of the long-forgotten legacy of classical Europe ; but the Elizabethans and their successors were more adept masters in the perverted art of applying fruits of knowledge to the business of conquest. They appreciated the power of the pen and they formulated the dual policy of exterminating Ireland’s culture along with her people.


This fear, on the enemy’s part, of language, literacy and learning, served to enhance their value for Ireland’s people. Though the latter many times surrendered their swords, they never completely surrendered their native culture. Many apostatised during the 19th century, but the perfidy of some was a stimulus to others to provide the cultural reaction and national revival necessary for successful revolution… (MORE LATER.)











ON THIS DATE (17TH JUNE) 175 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF A GREEN-HEARTED LOYALIST.

Emily Lawless, pictured, left (aka ‘Emily Lytton’), the writer and poet, was born on the 17th of June, 1845, in Ardclough, County Kildare and was educated privately.


War battered dogs are we


Fighters in every clime;


Fillers of trench and of grave,


Mockers bemocked by time.



War dogs hungry and grey,


Gnawing a naked bone,


Fighters in every clime –


Every cause but our own.


– Emily Lawless, 1902 ; “With the Wild Geese”.

She was born into a politically mixed background, the eldest daughter and one of eight children (‘Sir’ Horace Plunkett was her cousin) . Her father was ‘Titled’ by Westminster (he was a ‘Baron’) even though his father (Emily’s grandfather) was a member of the ‘United Irishmen’. Her brother, Edward, seems to have taken his direction from his father rather than his grandfather – he held and voiced strong unionist opinions, wouldn’t have a Catholic about the place and was in a leadership position within the (anti-Irish) so-called ‘Property Defence Association’. Perhaps this ‘in-house’ political confusion (mixed between stauch unionism and unionism with sympathies for Irish nationalism/republicanism, coupled with the ‘whisperings of shame’ that Emily was a lesbian and was having an affair with one of the ‘titled’ Spencer women) was the reason why her father and two of his daughters committed suicide.


She considered herself to be a Unionist although, unlike her brother, she appreciated and acknowledged Irish culture (…or, in her own words – “I am not anti-Gaelic at all, as long as it is only Gaelic enthuse and does not include politics…”) and, despite being ‘entitled’ to call herself ‘The Honourable Emily Lawless’, it was a ‘title’ she only used occasionally. She spent a lot of her younger days in Galway, with her mother’s family, but it is thought that family tragedies drove her to live in England, where she died, on the 19th of October 1913, at the age of 68, having become addicted to heroin. She was buried in Surrey.

She wrote a full range of books, from fiction to history to poetry, and is best remembered for her ‘Wild Geese’ works, although some of her writings were criticised by journalists for its ‘grossly exaggerated violence, its embarrassing dialect and staid characters…’.


‘The Nation’ newspaper stated that ‘she looked down on peasantry from the pinnacle of her three-generation nobility…’ and none other than William Butler Yeats declared that she had “an imperfect sympathy with the Celtic nature…” and that she favoured “theory invented by political journalists and forensic historians.” But she had a great talent :

After Aughrim

She said, “They gave me of their best,

They lived, they gave their lives for me ;

I tossed them to the howling waste

And flung them to the foaming sea.”



She said, “I never gave them aught,

Not mine the power, if mine the will ;

I let them starve, I let them bleed,

they bled and starved, and loved me still.”



She said, “Ten times they fought for me,

Ten times they strove with might and main,

Ten times I saw them beaten down,

Ten times they rose, and fought again.”



She said, “I stayed alone at home,

A dreary woman, grey and cold ;

I never asked them how they fared,

Yet still they loved me as of old.”



She said, “I never called them sons,

I almost ceased to breathe their name,

then caught it echoing down the wind

blown backwards, from the lips of fame.”



She said, “Not mine, not mine that fame ;

Far over sea, far over land,

cast forth like rubbish from my shores

they won it yonder, sword in hand.”



She said, “God knows they owe me nought,

I tossed them to the foaming sea,

I tossed them to the howling waste,

Yet still their love comes home to me.”


Emily Lawless, 1845-1913.





KICKING AGAINST THE PRICKS…

The heavy-handed official response to a number of Irish publications and websites has drawn attention to this country’s growing satirical network. Which can only be a good thing. By Noel Baker.


From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.


‘Alan’ of the ‘Evil Gerard’ website opines – “With a newspaper, you print it, it’s bought, it’s read, it’s thrown out and then two days later you’re asking ‘Oh, has anyone seen that paper?’ It would seem that these things should be printed, but then you might end up over-stretching yourself and it gets a bit tired. ‘The Slate’ is great,” he continues, adding that it would be harder for a website to transfer itself to print than vice-versa.


“Their features are very funny, such as ‘Blacks in the Jacks’ – I just think it shows that asylum seekers should be allowed work instead of being put in this horrible situation.” As for the suggestion that a country of cronies such as ours deserves a ‘Private Eye’-like publication, ‘Alan’ demurs. “I think then it could be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. You could have people saying ‘write about this’ and that would be a problem. I don’t think simply having a bigger audience would make it any better than it is.” Yet it says much that the most recognisable champions of satire in this country at present are the ‘Apres Match’ team – and they don’t make the screen unless a football match is on.


And with other websites such as the excellent ‘Salon.Com’ charging for laughs, it could be argued that Irish websites such as ‘Evil Gerard’ and ‘Waffle-Iron’ (this month’s headline – ’02 planning to flood country. And they mean literally’) are part of a shrinking majority. But as ‘Alan’ maintains – “People say we’re copying ‘The Onion.Com’, which we are, but with a different style, and they were copying someone else anyway.” And ‘The Onion’, the seminal site which is required reading for sub-editors everywhere, is still a free service… (MORE LATER.)





‘LEINSTER HOUSE DEBATE : A TERRIBLE MESSAGE FOR THE NORTH..’

From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.


Recognising the 800-year-old historical fact of British occupation, republicans are facing the task in the only way that it can be faced and anyone who ignores the fact of the British occupation by throwing the onus on to either majority or minority groups is either ignorant of the true position or deliberately falsifying the facts.


The denunciation of force, based on the misrepresentation of the republican activity, as being directed against the minority group rather than against the army of occupation, was most effectively answered by one voice in Leinster House, that of ex-Fianna Fail deputy M. Maguire, when he said – “This is a terrible message for the people of the North.”


(END of ‘Leinster House Debate : A Terrible Message For The North’ ; NEXT – ‘In Memoriam’ and ‘Barnes and McCormack Memorial’.)



Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Stay safe, and ‘play’ safe!




About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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