ON THIS DATE (21ST APRIL) 146 YEARS AGO : IRISH HOME-RULER ELECTED TO WESTMINSTER.
Charles Stewart Parnell (pictured) was born on the 27th June, 1846, in Avondale, in County Wicklow, and became associated with the ‘Irish Home Rule’ organisation. He proved to be a thorn in the side of British injustice to the extent that he was once described in British political circles as “…combining in his person all the unlovable qualities of an Irish member with the absolute absence of their attractiveness…something really must be done about him…he is always at a white heat or rage and makes with savage earnestness fancifully ridiculous statements..”
On the 21st April, 1875 – 146 years ago on this date – the then 29-year-old C.S. Parnell was first elected to the British Parliament as MP for County Meath ; he kept his seat for that constituency for five years, and then moved to represent County Cork. He was generally ‘well got’ in political circles but was also looked at in a somewhat wary fashion by some of his own people as he was a Protestant ‘Landlord’ who ‘owned’ about 5,000 acres of land in County Wicklow and his parents were friends of and, indeed, in some cases, related to, the local Protestant ‘gentry’.
He supported the ‘Boycott’ campaign and, in one of his many speeches, stated – “Now what are you to do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which his neighbour has been evicted? Now I think I heard somebody say ‘Shoot him!’, but I wish to point out a very much better way, a more Christian and more charitable way…when a man takes a farm from which another had been evicted you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him, you must shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him in the shop, you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the marketplace, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him in a moral Coventry, by isolating him from the rest of his country as if he were the leper of old, you must show your detestation of the crime he has committed..”.
However, in his early 40’s, he was brought down by a ‘crime’ he himself committed – he took-up with a married woman, Katherine O’Shea (whom he subsequently married, in a registry office, as their church had refused to participate) ; divorce proceedings were heard over two days in 1890, Parnell was not represented and Katherine did not contest the evidence. Indeed, her husband, Captain William O’Shea, was by all accounts a waster, a gambler, a drinker, and a figure of £20,000 was mentioned by him in regards to making the whole sorry mess disappear.
But the damage was done : Parnell’s political career was all but over and, at only 45 years of age, he died in Katherine’s arms, in Hove, in England, from pneumonia, on the 6th of October, 1891.
‘CORK MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.
At a meeting of Comhairle Ceanntair Corcaighe the following candidates who had been selected by Sinn Féin Conventions in the different areas were ratified ;
Cork Corporation – Liam Early and Seán O Murchú.
Cork County Council – Owen Harold.
Mallow UDC – Owen Harold.
Skibbereen UDC – William O’Brien, Seán MacSwiney and CC O’Sullivan.
Passage Town Commissioners – J. O’Regan.
Liam Early is a member of the Ard Comhairle of Sinn Féin, and Seán O’Murchú is Secretary of the ‘Irish Engineering and Electrical Trade Union’ and Secretary of the Cork Council of Irish Unions.
Owen Harold, a veteran of the Republican Movement, is Chairman (sic) of Mallow Urban District Council, and J. O’Regan is an outgoing member of Passage West Town Commissioners. The candidates for Skibbereen were instrumental in the formation of the O’Donovan Rossa Cumann of Sinn Féin and have brought about a wonderful revival of republican spirit in that town of the Phoenix Clubs… (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (21ST APRIL) 105 YEARS AGO : THE AUD, CON KEATING, CHARLIE MONAHAN AND DONAL SHEEHAN.
The Aud (pictured) set sail from the Baltic port of Lubeck on the 9th of April, 1916, carrying 20,000 German rifles, one-million rounds of ammunition, ten machine guns and some explosives, for use by Irish republican forces in the Easter Rising.
The British were waiting for a German gun-running ship and, on Friday, 21st April 1916, they boarded the Aud in Tralee Bay but Captain Karl Spindler managed to convince the British raiders that they were actually on board a Norwegian ship, which, he told them, was anchored for repairs.
Nevertheless, the British insisted that one of their warships should ‘accompany’ the Aud to Cobh (then known as ‘Queenstown’) Harbour and, as they approached their destination, on Saturday, 22nd April, Spindler and his men scuttled their own ship, were ‘arrested’ by the British as POW’s and, within days, were transferred to prison of war camps in England.
Roger Casement, who was following behind the Aud in a submarine, landed safely, but was later captured in Kerry and transported to London where he was charged with ‘high treason’ ; he was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging, and the sentence was carried out in Pentonville Prison, London, on the 3rd August, 1916.
Irish republicans, meanwhile, had made arrangements to transport the German equipment to Cahirciveen, in County Kerry ; three republican Volunteers – Con Keating, from Kerry, Charlie Monahan, Belfast, and Limerick-born Donal Sheehan were sent from the Dublin Command to liaise with Roger Casement and Karl Spinder but, on Good Friday, the 21st April, 1916 – 105 years ago on this date – on their way there, all three men (the first casualties of the 1916 Easter Rising) drowned when their car plunged off the pier at Ballykissane.
‘Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild…’
NO RIGHT OF APPEAL…
Why the media consensus on a broad range of issues is increasingly disturbing.
By John Drennan.
From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.
We were soon back in business ; some mildly critical articles about the Flood Tribunal inspired Halloween-style levels of horror in Mr Dunphy, who surrounded himself with consoling cliques of ‘Tribunalistas’ who informed a remarkably calm nation that dark forces were stalking the land, conspiring to collapse Justice Flood’s incubus. Happily, the absence of any response meant the ‘debate’ soon fizzled out and the media consensus returned to its normal uncritical adulation.
This was followed by another brief diversion as the discovery of some minor documentation on the Arms Trial saw the media again uniting to inform Dessie O’Malley that he had “serious questions to answer”. The same journalists were equally unified in their pragmatic silence when it was revealed that O’Malley didn’t have any “serious questions to answer” after all *. It’s called ‘vindication’, but it happens awfully quietly here.
Indeed in most instances the silence was more eloquent that the clamour. The unity over the travails of the haemophiliacs was particularly touching ; bad news – bad for the advertising figures, that is – so it’s best to get that sort of stuff off the front page. Similarly, when it came to the murder of Marty O’Hagan…well, he was only a tabloid hack, and what more do you expect up there in the badlands…? (‘1169’ comment * : Des O’Malley, and his colleagues in Leinster House, all have ‘serious questions to answer’, as they preside over a corrupt political system, operated from that institution, which financially benefits them at the expense of State citizens.) (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (21ST APRIL) 98 YEARS AGO : IRA CAPTAIN ABDUCTED AND KILLED IN DUBLIN.
20th April, 1923 : Frank Aiken is elected IRA Chief of Staff.
22nd April, 1923 : Free State troops surround Frank Aiken, Paidrag Quinn and Seán Quinn, the leaders of the Anti-Treaty forces in the Dundalk area, in a safe house in Castlebellingham. A firefight breaks out in which the two Quinns are wounded – Seán mortally – and subsequently captured. In the confusion, Frank Aiken manages to slip away…
Between the IRA election of Frank Aiken and the Castlebellingham incident (ie on the 21st April 1923 – 98 years ago on this date) 28-year-old IRA Captain Martin Hogan (pictured), from Dromineer in County Tipperary, was abducted from a Dublin street by the Staters, and shot to death. He was the fourth eldest son of Mr. Seamus Hogan, and was a member of the 1st. Tipperary Brigade, IRA. Seeking employment, he moved to Dublin and while there he joined the 1st Battalion of the Dublin City Brigade IRA.
He was out with his girlfriend in Dublin City Centre, at Eccles Place, Dorset Street, when they were surrounded by a group of about ten men from CID Headquarters, Oriel House. They bundled Captain Hogan away, leaving his girlfriend in a distraught state on the side of the road. When she regained her composure, she went looking for him, thinking that he had been kept in for an ‘overnight stay’ in a prison. The prison governor suggested she make her way to Oriel House and make inquiries there, which she did, only to be sneeringly told to “try the morgue”.
His broken body was found the following morning, in an overgrown ditch on Grace Park Road in Drumcondra, Dublin ; he had been tortured before being shot, eleven times. No one was ever held responsible for his death. He is buried in the family grave in Killodiernan Graveyard, Puckane, County Tipperary.
(There are conflicting reports on where exactly Captain Mártan Ó hÓgáin was done to death by Free Staters : some reports have it that he was killed in action in Poulacapple, Tipperary, whilst others state that he was killed on the Gracepark Road in Whitehall, Dublin. It was common practice then for the Staters to ‘lift’ republicans off the street, torture and interrogate them before killing them and dumping their bodies in an area hundreds of miles away from where they were born and/or from the scene of the crime.)
ON THIS DATE (21ST APRIL) 27 YEARS AGO : PAUL HILL (‘GUILDFORD FOUR’) WINS HIS APPEAL.
On the 21st April, 1994 – 27 years ago on this date – Paul Hill (pictured) won his appeal against a conviction for an IRA shooting in the Occupied Six Counties.
‘The story began in late 1974, following IRA bombs at pubs in Guildford in Surrey and Woolwich in London, which killed seven people and injured a hundred more. The British police picked-up two young Belfastmen, Gerry Conlon and Paul Hill, and interrogated them ; Conlon is said to have confessed to bombings, adding that Annie Maguire, his aunt, showed him and others how to make bombs in the kitchen of her London home. Paul Hill is said to have confirmed this.
The police raided the Maguire house, arrested the occupants and searched the place : nothing was found in the search and none of the people would admit to knowing anything about bombs. But forensic tests on the fingernails of six of the people, and on a pair of kitchen gloves used by Annie Maguire, were said to have yielded traces of nitroglycerine. On this ‘evidence’, the seven defendants were found guilty of handling explosives.
Patrick and Annie Maguire were sentenced to fourteen years, the judge remarking that he wished he could jail them for life. Annie’s brother, Seán Smyth, also got fourteen years. Annie’s sixteen year old son Vincent got five years, and her thirteen year old son Patrick got four years. Her brother-in-law, Guiseppe Conlon, and a family friend, Patrick O’Neill, both got twelve years. Closer examination of the facts surrounding the Guildford and Woolwich bombings raised enough doubts to lead even Sir John Biggs-Davidson, a ‘Pillar of the Establishment’ who does not lightly criticise the courts, to conclude that a miscarraige of justice took place.
Gerry Conlon and Paul Hill, who allegedly confessed to the Guildford and Woolwich bombings and implicated Conlon’s Auntie Annie, were later jailed for sentences which stand in the ‘Guinness Book Of Records’ as the longest ever handed down in Britain – natural life and thirty-five years, respectively. Yet doubt was cast on this conviction too when, in January 1977, four admitted IRA men – on trial for other bombings and killings – said they had bombed Guildford and Woolwich too. This was clearly un-welcome news to the authorities, for when the IRA men were tried they were simply not charged with the Guildford and Woolwich killings…’
(The above is a shortened and edited version of a piece we posted here in 2005, and gives an indication of how British ‘justice’ impacted on Paul Hill, among many others. More about the ‘Guildford Four’ can be read here.)
It was while he was being questioned about the Guildford bombing that Paul Hill ‘confessed’ to the 1974 killing of Brian Shaw, a British Army soldier. The conviction stood for five years after he was released for the Guildford bombing, only for it to be quashed (“…unsafe and unsatisfactory..”) by ‘Sir’ Brian Hutton, the then Six County ‘Lord Chief Justice’, on the 21st of April, 1994 – 27 years ago on this date.
“Upon my release I took some comfort from the thought that at least my misfortune would lessen the possibility of it happening to others. Alas it would appear that nothing has been gleaned from the many miscarriages of justice, especially those with political overtones. We now live in an age in which you can disappear into a black hole, be held without charge indefinitely and subject to torture, whilst Ivy League educated politicians play verbal gymnastics with the meaning of the word…” – Paul Hill. And how right he is.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.
Prisoners’ Support ;
A unanimous decision of the GAA Convention sent a motion to Congress asking that the proceeds of the Railway Cup Finals on Saint Patrick’s Day be devoted to the Irish Republican Army Prisoners’ Dependents’ Fund.
Pocket-Money for the Governor ;
“The financial position of the Six-County Governor has been steadily growing worse and he is now badly out of pocket”, Major Lloyd George (the son of the man who created partition) told the British House of Commons recently, so the House stepped-up Wakehurst’s pocket-money to £14,000 per annum. How much of it is danger money?
Churchill Cumann ;
No! It’s not the name of a Conservative Club in London – it’s the official title of a Fianna Fáil Cumann in Kerry. No wise-cracks allowed, but a recent notice in ‘The Kerryman’ newspaper was headed – ‘Fianna Fáil (The Republican Party), Churchill Cumann.’ Actually, Churchill is the name of a locality in Kerry! (MORE LATER.)
Thanks for reading,
We hope you’ll check-in with us on Wednesday, 28th April 2021, when we’ll be detailing the disgraceful events in a certain Irish county in Easter Week in 1916, when the local leadership of the ‘Irish Volunteers’ handed their members weapons over to the British military in the area in an attempt – ‘successful’, as it turned out – to ‘keep the peace’ in that county. Those ‘Irish Volunteer’ leaders were granted ‘passports’ by the British to travel throughout that county, and further afield, to call on other ‘Irish Volunteer’ branches not to take any military action during the Rising. Unbelievable, but it happened ; a very disturbing incident in our history.
See you on the 28th April 2021.