ON THIS DATE (30TH JUNE) 99 YEARS AGO : PRO-BRITISH MERCENARIES IN DUBLIN RETAKE THE FOUR COURTS.
The Four Courts building in Dublin, located on Inns Quay, was abandoned by Anti-Treaty forces on the 30th June, 1922 after a two-day bombardment by the Free Staters, who used borrowed British guns against those who, only months earlier, they had been fighting with, against the British occupiers.
At 3.40am, on Wednesday, 28th June 1922, the republican forces inside the Four Courts were given an ultimatum from (poacher-turned-gamekeeper) Free Stater Tom Ennis (pictured), which had been sanctioned by Michael Collins – ‘surrender before 4am and leave the building’.
Tom Ennis had been active within republicanism in 1916 but jumped ship in 1922 into the then newly-formed Free State Army, which he resigned from in 1924. His brother, Peter, also fought on the republican side in 1916 but he, too, joined the Staters as the Chief Supertendent of their new ‘Intelligence Department’, then based in the notorious Oriel House, in Dublin. He earned his keep for his employers in Leinster House and eventually retired in 1941.
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, 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..” (from here.)
The IRA held out for two days before leaving the building (on the 30th of June, 1922), but fought-on elsewhere in Dublin until early July, 1922, with Oscar Traynor (who later joined the Fianna Fáil party, in 1929) in command.
Incidentally, 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, and more details can be read here.)
On this date – 30th June – in 1922, a then recently-employed service provider for the British, Michael Collins, used British weaponry against men and women that only months earlier he had fought alongside in opposition to the British military and political presence in Ireland.
And those who fumble in the greasy till in this rotten State consider him a hero for doing so.
‘MORE ENGLISH THAN…’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.
The Gaedhilg-printed ‘Indiu’ was among the few papers opposed to the IRA action in Armagh. It carried a long-winded hostile article, which followed the ‘main line of reasoning’ which is being put forward recently by a certain ex-politician and formerly a member of the Free State Government.
The argument was something like this : Catholic families tend to have more children than Protestant, hence in the normal course the Catholic population of the Six Counties will gradually overtake and eventually exceed the Protestant population, meanwhile we should concentrate on trying to win over a section of the Protestants to support Irish unity.
A couple of hundred thousand would be sufficient but, while doing this, we must establish the best possible relations with the Stormont Government, being always careful not to do or say anything that would offend their pro-British susceptibilities. Thus, in fifty or a hundred years time, the problem would be solved and everyone would live happily ever after*.
That a man who was party to the surrender in 1921 and has been a supporter of the Free State since then should put forward such a case is understandable enough, but that it should be supported and publicised by a Gaelic newspaper is lamentable…
(* ‘1169’ comment – the ‘outbreed them’ policy re the Occupied Six Counties has been the ‘official’ position of the Leinster House administration since it was spawned here in 1921 by the British, and the ‘win-over-without-causing-offence’ notion has been practised by the self-serving career politicians in that institution ever since then. Indeed, one set of politicians in that Kildare Street venue have gone one step further – they offered themselves as service providers for the British, for financial rewards, of course, and have been gainfully employed as such for decades now!)
ON THIS DATE (30TH JUNE) 80 YEARS AGO : THE STEPHEN HAYES AFFAIR.
On the 30th June, 1941, Stephen Hayes, a former IRA chief of staff, was kidnapped by the IRA after suspicions were raised that he was an informer ; ‘…Hayes, Stephen (1902–74), revolutionary, was born 26 December 1902 in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, one of eleven children of Thomas Hayes, publican, and Ellen Hayes (née Brown).
In 1920 he left the local CBS and became a clerical officer with Wexford county council. Having been an active member of Fianna Éireann while still at school, he was appointed commandant of the Wexford brigade (1920–21) and was subsequently obliged to go on the run in early 1921…Hayes was kidnapped (on the 30th June 1941, by the IRA) and taken to a house in the Cooley Mountains…(and) was then moved to a house in the Wicklow Mountains before being taken to a safe house at 20 Castlewood Park, Rathmines (Dublin)…Hayes swiftly grabbed a gun from a table and threw himself from the window on to the street. He gave himself up at Rathmines garda station and eventually gave evidence against the IRA…’ (from here.)
That he eventually turned informer is not in doubt, but whether he was an informer at the time that he was arrested by the IRA is still open for discussion, and part of that discussion will have to take the following into consideration –
‘Hayes later admitted in a detailed statement that he had been an agent for the Gardaí and the Government…’ – from here.
Another murky episode in our history. One of many such episodes, which can all be directly linked to the British military and political presence in this country.
‘WHAT IS TO BE DONE? THE STRUGGLE IN THE 26 COUNTIES’.
The following article was solicited by ‘IRIS’ from a political observer in the 26 Counties. The article – whose author, John Ward, is not a member of the Republican Movement – is aimed at provoking discussion within (P)Sinn Féin.
From ‘IRIS’ magazine, October 1987.
(‘1169’ comment – please note that ‘IRIS’ magazine had, at that time, recently morphed from a republican-minded publication into a Trot-type mouthpiece for a Leinster House-registered political party.)
The German communist playwright Berthold Brecht remarked wryly that if the people did not vote the way the party wished them to, then perhaps they should dissolve the people and elect a new one.
A lot of Sinn Féin members probably felt like that after the general election in the South last February. After they had taken the trauma-laden decision to end abstentionism, the electorate rewarded them with a miserable 1.9% of the vote. And for all the complaints about Section 31, garda harassment etc, most of them knew that was a fairly accurate reflection of how ordinary people viewed (P) Sinn Féin.
“It’s enough to make you go back to militarism” was the feeling of more than one disgruntled election workers. And, naturally, the so-called** ‘Republican Sinn Féin’ were cock-a-hoop, while those who had pushed for the end to abstentionism were shaken and disillusioned.
Part of the problem was exaggerated expectations. While Gerry Adams had said it was not the next election but the one after the next that (P) Sinn Féin should be judged on, nonetheless many members fooled themselves into believing that the steadily rising graph of (P) Sinn Féin’s electoral successes in the North would be repeated in the South. They thought they really would win a couple of seats and hold the balance of power in Leinster House…
(**’1169′ comment – the author, a nationalist, has no notion of the difference between being a ‘nationalist’ and being a ‘republican’. And, actually, his type were to fill the void left by the departure, in 1986 and afterwards, of Irish republicans from the Provisional Sinn Féin grouping.)
(Lol! The ‘King and Queen’ of political “exaggerated expectations” is to believe that Leinster House [and Stormont] can be factored-in, in a positive manner, to the goal of removing the British military and political presence from Ireland. Both of those institutions were established here, in Ireland, by the British, to secure its presence in this country, not to weaken it!) (MORE LATER.)
‘TALK, FORCE AND POLITICIANS….’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.
Politicians Condemn Force…
“We are convinced…” Mr Costello stated, “..of the futility and danger to the national interests of the use of force as a method of ending partition.”
He does not advance one fact or one argument in support of this very dogmatic statement. Could it be that, like his redoubtable predecessor, he cannotadvance one fact or one argument to support his dogma? No, Mr Costello, you are not convinced, no more than Mr De Valera, of the futility of force. But both of you are convinced of the danger which it may ultimately hold for men (sic) like you.
History Supports Force.
Eight hundred years of cold logical history, plus the national resurgence so apparent from the actions of June and October last, fail to even influence Mr Costello’s thought on the subject of armed force. He keeps urging the people to state and restate the injustice of partition hoping that an armed garrison will one day pack up and move out in the face of politicians talk.
It seems right, in conclusion, to formulate some views on the limits of mere argument as a force and a general proposition may be stated – the limit that argument can effect is to render conscious what is already sub-conscious.
(END of ‘Talk, Force and Politicians’ ; NEXT – ‘Mór Mó Náir’, from the same source.)
Thanks for the visit, and for reading,