On the 17th February, 1896 – 125 years ago on this date – John Redmond (pictured) secured speaking time in the Westminster Parliament to discuss the plight of Irish political prisoners held in prison by the British political administration.

Such was the dire conditions endured by our prisoners, two ‘Irish Unionist’ (Free Stater-) members of that political administration – Horace Plunkett and W.E.H. Lecky – actually supported Mr Redmond in his attempt to secure some sort of justice for those POW’s.

During his plea to ‘The House’, Mr Redmond said – “…many hon. Members seemed to think that because it was contended that these were political prisoners who ought to be released, the Irish Members were thereby claiming that political offences ought not to be punished. Nothing could be more absurd. What they said was that there was a distinction drawn by all the nations in the world between the treatment of political offences and offences which sprang from the ordinary criminal instincts of mankind, and in dealing with every other nation in the world except with Ireland, England had been the first to draw this distinction…

…all persons to-day would admit that John Mitchell (pictured) was a political offender, but Englishmen of his day did not admit it, and they passed a special Act of Parliament dealing with the subject of treason in order that he might be treated, not as a political offender, but as an ordinary criminal. All men of all parties admitted that the Fenians were political offenders, but anyone who listened to the speech of the hon. Member for South Mayo (Mr. Davitt) the other night, who knew his history, and heard what he suffered in prison, would recognise that though he was a political offender he was not treated as such. In this case the Government still maintained the fiction that these men were not political prisoners; but when all these men had been released, and when another generation of Englishmen looked back on these transactions, they would, perhaps, be just as willing to admit that they were political prisoners as men of the present day were willing to admit that the hon. Member for South Mayo (Mr. Davitt) and John Mitchell were political prisoners of their day…

Michael Davitt.

…was it not a disgraceful thing for England and for the Imperial Parliament that every generation with relentless regularity had in face a question of amnesty? England’s Government of Ireland involved this — that she was almost the only country in Europe which was never, by any chance, without some political prisoners in her gaols. An amnesty movement had become part of recognised political life in Ireland. He remembered that the first political meeting he ever attended was an amnesty meeting. The first Debate he, ever heard in the House was when, some 20 years ago, he came to listen to his father making a speech in favour of the amnesty of the political prisoners of his day. Irishmen had recently been blamed for telling the English people that in any foreign complications they had not the sympathy of the Nationalists of Ireland. Irishmen would have been liars and hypocrites if they had said anything else…” (From here.)

Mr Redmond and company were ‘put in their place’, albeit eloquently, by the political Dandies they were sitting with, which wasn’t the first time that such proceedings ended in that manner. Indeed, Thatcher did much the same, although less eloquently.

The only solution is to ensure that there are no more Irish political prisoners been held for political ransom by Westminster and the best way to ensure that is by Westminster withdrawing, politically and militarily, from Ireland. Until that happens, we will always, unfortunately, have Irish men and women incarcerated for political actions against the Crown.


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

‘After a month’s leave in Yorkshire, the 1st Battalion of the West Yorks Regiment, who returned from two years service in Malaya on May 1st, are to have a period of service in ‘Northern Ireland’, where they will be stationed at Lisanelly Camp, near Omagh. They will leave Leeds for Ireland on Wednesday, June 1st.’

The above report was carried in ‘The Irish Times’ on the 25th April, 1955. Lisanelly Camp has been unoccupied now for a number of years. Its re-occupation is an indication of the uneasiness with which British military circles regard the present resurgence and growth of the Republican Movement.

(END of ‘Occupation Forces Augmented’ ; NEXT – ‘New Choir’ and ‘Ireland’s Soldiers Remembered’, from the same source.)


On the 17th February, 1846 – 175 years ago on this date – speaking in the British so-called ‘House of Commons’, Daniel O’Connell (pictured) raised, among other issues, the potato blight in Ireland, and the effect it was having on ‘her majesty’s subjects’ on that island.

The ‘servants of the people’ in that political institution were only too aware of the suffering that the Irish were trying to live through, and O’Connell was aware of that, but he was hoping that his comments would be carried in the newspapers and reach a wider audience.

This is an extract of the speech he delivered –

“…It was certain that there was a fearful prospect of a most calamitous season before the people of Ireland. The extent of that calamity had been disputed, and there had been a time when there was a prospect of some portion of it being possibly averted..the calamity was pressing, was imminent – more pressing, more imminent, and more fearful than that House was aware of. In order to understand it, it was right that the House should be made aware of the state of Ireland before the calamity, had impended.

The last Population Returns of 1841 showed that, out of the whole rural population of Ireland, 46 per cent lived in a single room ; the entire human family and the pigs occupied the same apartment together. The next fact was, that of the civil population – that is, of the inhabitants of towns – 36 per cent lived in a single room, and that two or three families sometimes occupied the same room.

An account of all cattle, sheep, and swine, imported into Great Britain from Ireland, from the 10th day of October, 1845, to the 5th day of January, 1846 ; oxen, bulls, and cows, 32,883 ; calves, 583 ; sheep and lambs, 32,576 ; swine, 104,141..more than half the potato crop is unfit for human food, and the disease is progressing. More than half the labourers are unemployed, and are likely to continue so for the next three months, and during the months of July and August, as the farmers will not have money nor food to give them.

The agricultural labourers of Ireland suffer the greatest privations and hardships ; that they depend upon precarious and casual employment for subsistence ; that they are badly housed, badly fed, badly clothed, and badly paid for their labour ; that it would be impossible to describe adequately the sufferings and privations which the cottiers and labourers and their families in most parts of the country endure ; that in many districts their only food is the potato, their only beverage water ; that their cabins are seldom a protection against the weather ; that a bed or blanket is a rare luxury ; and that nearly in all, their pig and their manure heap constitute their only property ; that a large proportion of the entire population comes within the designation of agricultural labourers, and endure sufferings greater than the people of any other country in Europe have to sustain…” (from here.)

The finely-suited ‘parliamentarians’ in that institution were aware of the suffering endured by the Irish, as policies enacted and enforced by Westminster was responsible for the genocide being played-out in Ireland, but they didn’t care, as they themselves were not only not affected by those conditions but actually benefited, financially, from same ; Irish land, free of impoverished ‘tenants’, was more valuable and easier to sell than if the same land was sold with ‘troublesome tenants’ on it.

That mindset is still prevalent in British ‘High Society’ to this day, but here’s a newsflash for our snob Brit readers – we ain’t goin’ nowhere ; this is our country, not a political and/or military base for your good selves. Take your unwanted debris back to your own country, and leave us in peace!


Confidence in the Garda Siochana continues to erode as more incidents of questionable Garda ‘evidence’ emerge.

By Sandra Mara.

From ‘The Magill Annual’, 2002.

Edward Moss said he eventually made a statement when he was told (by the gardai) that he’d never work in Donegal again if he didn’t. In it, he claimed that Frank McBrearty gave him £15,000 not to make a complaint. He was reluctant to go to court, but was subpoenaed to attend. ‘Magill’ spoke to John Fahy, Moss’s solicitor in Strabane, who wrote to the gardai on his client’s behalf ; “You have insisted that he attend at the Garda Station to make statements, which statements have not been made voluntarily”. John Fahy put the gardai on notice that if they persisted in contacting his client he would take proceedings to restrain them from doing so.

He says he no longer works in Donegal courts because of the difficulties he encountered – “I found some gardai were intimidatory towards me as an extension of the client. I accepted that situation prevailed in the North, but I expected more from the gardai in the South. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I’d rather take my chances in a Northern court…”

‘1169’ comment – the ‘cops’ (ie State security service) on this island, North and South, will collaborate with each other in all cases to do with ‘security matters’ ; if they believe you have got the better of them in the North then you have made enemies with them, too, in the South, and vice versa.) (MORE LATER.)


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

One aspect of this whole business must be emphasised over and over again ; that is, it is the deliberate policy of the Stormont junta to provoke and incite the ‘B Specials’ to cause these incidents. They are frantically anxious to bring about sectarian strife in the Six County area and the instrument ready fashioned for this purpose is the ‘B Special police force’. It was founded for this purpose and is maintained and used today for this purpose.

Deliberately, they are organised, instructed and trained to carry on a campaign of hostility and outrage on behalf of the Orange Order against the nationalist people in the North. They are the weapon which the Stormont junta inevitably falls back on in times of stress, whether that stress arises from economic or national causes. The Stormont junta know that the continuance of the Six County puppet State cannot be justified on economic grounds any more than it can on national grounds.

It is a monstrosity on both grounds and it would long ago have fallen but for the gullibility of the bulk of the Protestant people there who allow their religious feelings to be played upon and abused, by the cute self-seeking politicians in Stormont… (MORE LATER.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

About 11sixtynine

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