John Martin, Irish revolutionary, transportee and politician, was born at Loughborne, near Newry, in County Down, on the 8th September, 1812 – 209 years ago on this date – and he grew up to become a prominent member of the ‘Young Ireland’ movement, a journalist and a politician ; the mark he left on Irish history is perhaps not as well remembered as it should be.

The son of a Presbyterian cleric, John Martin was educated in Dr. Hendersons school in Newry, where he ‘learned his lessons’ with, and from, the young Fenian John Mitchel ; the two young men were of similar mind in relation to the British presence in their country, and formed a friendship that was to last to the end of their days.

John Martin joined Daniel O’Connell’s ‘Repeal Association’ in the early 1840’s , and listened as that organisation and its leadership repeatedly condemned the ‘Young Ireland’ group, stopping short of labelling them as a ‘terrorist’ body ; John Martin and John Mitchel left the ‘Repeal Association’ and assisted William Smith O’Brien to found the ‘Irish Confederation’ movement.

Also, at this time, the well-known Fenian James Fintan Lalor was agitating on the land issue in Ireland and John Martin wrote articles in support of Lalor’s position and had same published in John Mitchel’s newspaper, ‘The United Irishman’.

Mitchel was arrested in 1848 , and his newspaper was shut down ; almost immediately, John Martin founded his own newspaper, which he called ‘The Irish Felon’, and continued on where Mitchel’s ‘paper had been forced to leave off – on the 24th June, 1848, he wrote in his first issue : “I regard the Act of Union as a usurpation and refuse to acknowledge the authority of the London parliament. So long as such a ‘government’ presumes to injure and insult me, and those in whose prosperity I am involved, I must offer to it all the resistance in my power. I hope to witness the overthrow, and assist in the overthrow, of the most abominable tyranny the world now groans under – the British imperial system.”

John Martin quickly published a second issue of ‘The Irish Felon’, again condemning the British Government and its agents in Ireland, and was arrested, charged with treason and sentenced to ten years in Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) ; he was released six years later (1854) on condition that he stayed out of Ireland, which he did.

In January 1856, that proviso was lifted and John Martin returned to his native County Down and again involved himself in the struggle – he was an outspoken supporter of the tenants rights movement and, in May 1870, at the age of 58, he helped to found the ‘Home Government Association of Ireland’.

In 1871, to the disgust of the British, he was elected MP for Meath. His good friend and fellow rebel John Mitchel died in March 1875 and, within a fortnight, John Martin died, aged 63 ; he had lived his life as a thorn in the side of “the most abominable tyranny ; the British imperial system”.

And he helped sow the seeds for more such thorns.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.

Even Irishmen who themselves had served in the British Army agree that it has no right here and that it must be got out.

This is what gave rise to the feeling of delight at Armagh – not to capture some guns, though that is important, not to make the British Army look foolish, not merely a spectacular operation, but to emphasise the fact that the British Army of occupation is still in Ireland, that it holds Irish territory by force of arms and that it must be cleared out!

It is a return to fundamentals. The devilish cunning which conceived the ‘Government of Ireland Act 1920’, which set up two statelets in Ireland and which committed these two puppets to hold Ireland for England “with an economy of English lives”, this diabolical scheme has seen for over 30 years the forces of the Southern State, and the RUC, B Specials and Territorials of the Northern State act as first line of defence as protectors and upholders of the continued grip of England on Ireland.

For over thirty years they have been united on this issue, they have been consistently and deliberately anti-republican. They have played England’s game for her, according to the rules laid down, while the English politicians in the background have been sneeringly contemptuous of their Irish dupes… (MORE LATER.)


On the 8th September 1922 – 99 years ago on this date – a Captain in the Cork No. 1 Brigade, IRA, Tadhg Kennefick (pictured) (aka Tim Kenefick), was on his way to his mothers funeral when he was jumped-on by several Free State soldiers.

They dragged him behind the back of their truck, tied his hands together and then pummeled him to the ground with their rifle butts, knocking out some of his teeth. When, eventually, he was found – dumped behind a wall outside Coachford Village, Cork – his lifeless body showed two gunshot wounds to the head.

An inquest into his death was held in Coachford on the 11th September, at which Coroner John Joseph Horgan presided, after which the verdict was announced : ‘Wilful murder of Timothy Kenefich by National troops at Nadrid, Coachford, Co. Cork, on 8th September, 1922..’

When this was put to Free State Army General Richard James Mulcahy he became defensive and declared that the inquest had been held under the auspices of the “irregulars.. (ie the anti-treaty IRA) ..who were armed to the teeth.”

He ended his input by stating that…”under the circumstances, no action had been taken to bring the so-called guilty troops to justice.” One of Mulcahy’s State Army comrades, Emmet Dalton (who, like Mulcahy, was an IRA-poacher-turned-Free State-gamekeeper) is said to have told Mulcahy that Collins’ Squad were responsible for the death of IRA Captain Kenefick, and that he – Dalton – supported such actions.

Just one of the hundreds of such actions perpetrated on their own people by those left in charge of the ‘new Free State’ by Westminster.

‘By a Traitors Hand

Was His Life Blood Shed

As Crimson He Dyed The Sod

May The Angels Watch Over This Martyrs Bed

And His Soul Find Peace With God.’


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.)

Things were flagging badly by 1980 until the hunger-strikes sparked off a new wave of support on an emotional Northern issue.

But towards the end of the hunger-strikes, republicans had realised that only action by the South could save the remaining prisoners and yet public interest was fading in the South. The poor of Kilbarrack, Finglas, Coolock, Ballymun or Gurranebraher in Cork, or Southhill in Limerick, who had come out on H-Block marches, were so burdened down with the daily struggle to survive that they could not keep their attention focused on a seemingly remote issue like the North for any length of time.

And Sinn Féin had virtually nothing to say* to them about their own day-to-day problems or how they were connected with the struggle against imperialism in the North. The hunger-strikes were the start of a whole republican renaissance in the North, but there the national question was in the forefront of everyone’s mind – though even in the North republicans had to (and wanted to) develop policies on housing, unemployment, health, public services etc.

In the South there was still that enormous gap between a movement whose entire pre-occupation appeared to be the national question** and the North, and the working-class whom they wanted to reach but who had more urgent preoccupations of their own…

(‘1169’ comment* ; a completely false and deliberately misleading claim by this anti-republican ‘nationalist/trot’ – in the mid-1980’s, the then Sinn Féin organisation had publicly-accessible policies, in leaflet and pamphlet etc format, on unemployment, agriculture, fisheries, culture etc and these were distributed at public meetings, door-to-door, pub-to-pub etc, and edited versions of same were included in election manifestos during the 1980’s. But a ‘nationalist/trot’ will never let the truth deflect him/her from their anti-republican agenda.)

(‘1169’ comment ; it “appeared” that way to those who made it their preferred business not to look for social polices within the then Sinn Féin organisation in order that they could then dismiss/label the organisation as a one-trick pony.) (MORE LATER.)


On the 8th September 1908 – 113 years ago on this date – Padraig Pearse and Thomas McDonagh, both poets, educators and then soon-to-be leaders in a Rising against British misrule in Ireland, founded and opened a new type of school, one which focussed on the connection between European issues and Irish history.

The premises was located at Cullenswood House, Oakley Road, in Ranelagh, in Dublin, and offered a curriculum of freedom for each student to choose which subjects suited them better and allowed for and, indeed, encouraged, personal development among the students ;

‘Pearse was also influenced by the most modern educational theories of his time, such as those of Maria Montessori and in particular the ‘Direct Method’ of language teaching which he had seen being practised in the bilingual schools of Belgium. Classes were to be taught in both Irish and English, with Irish as the everyday language of the school. At St Enda’s, education was to be an adventure in which the pupils’ imaginations would be stimulated and their individual talents developed..’ (from here.)

The name for the new school was almost settled on as ‘St Lorcans’ but it was felt that ‘St Enda’s’ would better reflect the ethos of what Pearse and McDonagh hoped to achieve ; ‘The mouth of the just shall mediate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement, the law of his God is in his heart…’ (from here) as St Enda had left behind him the life of a soldier to become a scholar.

In its first year in operation about forty boys were enrolled and in year two this number had increased to about 130, comprising approximately 30 boarders, 70 day-pupils and 30 in preparatory classes. Such was the demand for places, the school moved location to a building in Rathfarnham, in Dublin, known as ‘The Hermitage’, in 1910, and all the Pearse family came on board to play their part in the day-to-day running of the school.

The 1916 Rising intervened in this useful and successful enterprise and the school was closed down – but not for long. Before the end of that same year it had re-opened back in Cullenswood House in Ranelagh and, having re-established itself there, was in a position to move back, again, to The Hermitage, in 1919, which it did.

It suffered the loss of Padraig Pearse and, try as it might, was unable to overcome the absence of his organisational skills, but managed to persevere until 1935, when it closed its gates for good, leaving the way open for the Free State ‘Murder Machine’.

We need people like Padraig Pearse today, and we need his ideals.


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

The biggest republican demonstration seen in Galway for many years took place on February 5th last when the students of the city marched in support of the Omagh prisoners.

Despite opposition from the authorities, a group of students within University College Galway succeeded in organising a magnificent turn out for the Rally and the meeting which followed in Eyre Square held the attention of a big crowd – more than a thousand copies of ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper were sold at the meeting – which the daily papers reported as being only 300 strong!

Mr McNamara, Galway, chaired the meeting and speakers who travelled from Dublin held the huge crowd for more than two hours.

Appealing to the students to step into the ranks of the ever-growing Republican Movement, Seámus Sorahan BL said that their fellow-student Philip Clarke and indeed all the prisoners were a monument to a rising generation and they looked to the people to fill their places in preparation for the bitter fight ahead… (MORE LATER.)


‘Fine Gael’s roots begin in post-revolution Ireland of the 1930s. From 1918 to 1922 there was a huge swell of popular mobilisation involving strikes, boycotts, workers’ occupations and land seizures, as well as an armed struggle between the British forces and the IRA.

Hundreds of thousands were directly involved in the various elements of the revolution ; fighting for national liberation as well as a range of social aspirations, which were ultimately defeated.

After the defeat, a counter-revolution ensued in Irish society, crystallised in the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the subsequent Civil War that enforced it. The counter-revolution was led by right-wing groups and individuals trying to quash the social demands of the revolution. It is from amongst these forces of the counter-revolution that Fine Gael (pictured) would eventually emerge…’ (from here.)

The ‘Fine Gael’ paramilitary/political party was spawned on the 8th September 1933 – 88 years ago on this date – by W.T. Cosgrave, Eoin O’Duffy, James Dillon and Frank MacDermot, who thought (wrongly, obviously, as it transpired) that it would be a good idea to amalgamate their various political/paramilitary outfits into one grouping.

And so it was that Cumann na nGaedheal (which considered itself to be the ‘Party of the Irish’!), the National Centre Party (aka ‘The Farmers Party’) and the ‘Army Comrades Association/National Guard’, who were better known by their other name – the ‘Blueshirts’ – melted together into one bigger shit-show organisation, which they labelled ‘Fine Gael’ (‘Irish Race’), a grouping which represented the supporters of the Treaty of Surrender (the ‘Anglo-Irish Treaty’).

Indeed, the Fine Gael party are so ashamed of their own history that they never talk about or promote it, and their colleagues in the establishment media in this State never seek to discuss it with them as most of them are establishment supporters themselves and don’t want to upset or expose their political colleagues in their Head Office.

We went on to the main Fine Gael website and searched it for ‘Party History’ ; this is what we found –‘History of Fine Gael ; Fine Gael has long been the major vehicle of innovative reform and new thinking in the Irish state, with a proud record of achievement, and with 30,000+ members is the largest political party in Ireland (sic) today.’

And that’s it. That’s all they have to say about their own party history. And if any party that I supported had a history like Fine Gael has, I’d keep quiet about it, too.

The then new paramilitary/political party, ‘Fine Gael’, in 1933, believed that it and its supporters were the continuation of the departing British aristocracy and were entitled to the ‘spoils of war’ just like that aristocracy and, today, that is still how they view themselves.

They enhanced their value among their own type by attempting to tax childrens shoes – they consider the poor and the unemployed to be ‘a burden’ (see Mr Cosgrave’s comments, pictured) – and by making dodgy political appointments and, indeed, by attempting any other nefarious deeds that would continue to enhance their political/financial/moral standing with their own supporters.

Without the (neo-Nazi) Blueshirts there would have been no Fine Gael, but don’t just take my word for it.

That’s it, readers. Can’t handle any more of that, but there’s more here, if you can stomach it.

I need a shower now…

Thanks for the visit, and for reading,


About 11sixtynine

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