‘Glaine ‘nar gcroi – Purity in our hearts. Neart ‘nar ngeaga – Strength in our arms. Beart do reir ar mbriathar – Truth on our lips : Na Fianna Éireann, 1909 to date.

On the evening of Friday October 6th 1922 – 99 years ago on this date – a young Dublin lady, Jennie O’Toole – a member of Cumann na mBan – was pasting republican leaflets on lamp posts on the Clonliffe Road in Drumcondra, Dublin and, when she got near the Distillery Road junction, she was shouted at repeatedly and verbally abused by a local man when he saw the nature of the material involved ; the young lady had been similarly harassed while out leafleting on the previous two weekends.

That loudmouth was, according to information distributed in Irish republican circles at the time, Free State Army Captain Pat Moynihan, who lived on that same road. Moynihan, an Irish republican ‘poacher-turned-gamekeeper’, could very well have been watching that street as two of his nieces were expected home on that route from a date to a theatre which they had been on with two anti-republican State operatives, Nicholas Tobin and Charlie Dalton, who both worked for the Free State Army Intelligence Section at Wellington Barracks.

When Charlie Dalton was the same age as one of the NFE youths mentioned in this piece – Joseph Rogers (16) – he was recruited by Michael Collins and joined the squad that Collins was then assembling : this IRA unit was permanently housed in Abbey St, Dublin, in a ‘front’ premises in which a ‘legitimate’ business operated from – ‘George Moreland, Cabinet Maker’- and squad members were paid £4 10s a week to carry out assassinations on a full-time basis. Shortly after his 17th birthday, as a member of that Squad, Charlie Dalton took part in the executions of British Army Major C M Dowling and British Army Captain Leonard Price in their bedrooms in Baggot Street.

The distressed young lady, Jennie, encountered three young lads, members of Na Fianna Éireann, who offered to take over the work : Edwin Hughes (17), an engineering student, who lived at 107 Clonliffe Road, Drumcomdra, Brendan Holohan (17), a clerk in Arnott’s store, 49 St.Patrick’s Road, Drumcondra and Joseph Rogers (16), an apprentice car mechanic, 2 Upper St.Patrick’s Road, Drumcondra.

It appears to be the case that Free State Captain Moynihan met Nick Tobin and Charlie Dalton and told them that republicans were in the area, pasting leaflets, and that Tobin and Dalton contacted a near-by Free State Army barracks for a search party and arranged to meet them in the area. Dalton could very well have known who he was hunting, as young Brendan Holohan and Joseph Rogers were near-neighbours of his and the nature of his job would have dictated that he familarise himself with local Republican activists.

The three young boys were still pasting leaflets on poles on that route which took them in the vicinity of Free State Captain Pat Moynihan’s house when, shortly after 10.30pm on that Friday night, a Free State Army truck screeched to a halt beside them and they were violently thrown in to the back of it and taken to Wellington Barracks, where they were interrogated and released.

Their Free State captors included Charlie Dalton and Nick Tobin. The next day – Saturday 7th October 1922 – the three young lads were lifted again by the Free Staters and soon found themselves standing in waste ground just off the Naas Road in an area known then as ‘The Quarries’, in Clondalkin, Dublin (near to the Naas Road/Monastery Road junction) : each of them was riddled with bullets and had a coup de grâce delivered to ‘finish the job’ – a shot to the head. The youngest of the three lads, 16-years-old Joseph Rogers, was the son of well know Dublin Bookmaker Mr. Thomas Rodgers and had served two years of his apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer. The remains of Edwin Hughes (17) was identified by his older brother, Gerald, 17-year-old Brendan Holohan’s body was identified by his father Michael and Joseph Rogers (16) was identified by his older brother, Michael.

At the inquest, Dr Frederick Ryan, who performed the post mortem, described the wounds that killed them ; “Joseph Rogers’ overcoat was saturated with blood. He had 16 wounds altogether. There was an entrance wound in the back of the skull, about an inch and a half from the ear. There was no exit wound. It was possible for a man to inflict this wound while both were standing. There was no singeing. In the left upper jaw there was an entrance wound, but no corresponding exit wound. There were superficial wounds on the left side of the body corresponding to the nipple, on the left side of the abdomen, a punctured wound on the left side of the nose, an entrance and exit wound at the base of the left index finger, superficial wounds on the left arm, an entrance and exit wound in the middle of the left thigh, a large contused wound on the left shin bone, and an incised wound on the left knee, probably caused after death.

Regarding Brendan Holohan there was a bullet hole through the peak of his cap, but no mark on his head. The coat was torn on the right elbow, and there was a wound through the flesh of the arm, corresponding with the perforation in the sleeve. There were two entrance wounds, four inches from each other, in the right chest…(but no exit wounds). They were clean cut, such as might be made by an instrument of the same diameter as a pencil. The clothing was perforated at the place corresponding with these wounds. There was a wound over the right shoulder blade, which was an old one. There was an entrance wound in the lower portion of the abdomen, and a bullet lodged in the surface over the left hip bone and the shin. There was a wound in the back of the skull in the occipital protuberance, which took a downward direction into the neck and severed the spinal cord. This was sufficient to cause death immediately. If a man was standing on top of a ditch he could have been shot in the head, otherwise he must have been lying down.”

In the case of Edwin Hughes (17), he said “The first wound, on the right-hand side corresponding to the second rib, took a horizontal direction and pierced the great vessels of the heart. There was no exit wound to it. There was no singeing. Another bullet pierced the overcoat on the right side, but there was no mark on the inner coat or vest. There were wounds in the abdomen and on the left thigh. On the right knee and right arm there were superficial wounds, such as might be caused by grazing bullets. The clothes were cut as if by barbed wire. The abdomen wound might possibly be caused by a prod of some instrument, but that was not probable.”

But this crime did not go unnoticed – Dermot MacGiolla Phadraig, a Na Fianna Éireann training officer, was passing by the area at the time on Saturday 7th October 1922 and witnessed the executions and a Charles Byrne, an undercover man for the IRA in Oriel House, was also passing by and actually spoke to one of the Free State gunmen, Charlie Dalton and, in November 1922, an inquest was held at which the prosecution demanded that a verdict of murder be brought against Charlie Dalton but, apparently, the jury were ‘reminded’ by the State that they were living in ‘exceptional times’ and, following that and possibly other ‘reminders’, the jury declined to entertain the prosecution.

In an effort to suggest that ‘justice will be done’, Dalton was then ‘arrested’ by his colleagues in the CID but was never charged with an offence related to the ‘Quarrie Killings’. Incidentally, Nick Tobin, one of the Free State ‘Quarrie Gunmen’, was in charge of a Free State raiding party later on that same month (October 1922) when they went to kill more republicans who, they were told, were operating an IRA bomb-making factory from house number 8 in Gardiner Place, in Dublin city centre: Nick never made it back to his Free State base that day, having been shot dead by ‘accident’ by his own colleagues.

The Na Fianna Éireann organisation is still active to this day and, as in 1922, continues to support the republican position : Na Fianna Éireann (literally ‘Warriors of Ireland’) has had several subtitles in its history ; Irish National Youth Movement, Irish Republican Youth Movement, Irish Republican Scouts etc but its central ethos has never changed.

It has always had the object of educating the youth of Ireland in national ideas and re-establishing the independence of the nation. The goal of the organisation on its foundation in 1909 was “…to re-establish the independence of Ireland by means of training the youth of Ireland to fight Ireland’s fight when they are older and the day comes…”. Members are trained in scouting skills and parade drill and receive education regarding republicanism and Irish history and heritage. In short, the NFÉ organisation instills a sense of pride, worth and value into those who join – worthy character traits which they carry with them into adulthood.

A video crew from the international ‘Vice News’ organisation, which has offices throughout Europe and America and “provides an unvarnished look at some of the most important events of our time (and) highlight under-reported stories from around the globe…” was in Dublin a few years ago and produced a twenty-minute video on Na Fianna Éireann.

Finally, if you would like to contribute, financially, to Na Fianna Éireann you can do so care of 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1. Go raibh maith agat!


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

“It can’t happen here”, wrote ‘The Belfast Telegraph’ newspaper, which is an attitude that has now no relevance…“ did a posse of men take control of a British Army barracks for 20 minutes? Part of the answer would seem to be that they had inside information. The Éire authorities (sic)are just as concerned as their opposite numbers in Northern Ireland (sic)with the illegal (sic) possession of arms.

For that very reason we hope that the question of extradition will again be raised. As the law stands at present it is most unsatisfactory to those responsible for law and order (!) on both sides of the border. This sort of thing has happened elsewhere and the raiders have been brought to justice. The authorities (sic)can be relied on to do their utmost and are entitled to the active help of anyone who can sharpen their investigation.

Because no one is safe when wild men (!) are about bearing arms we trust that all sections of the community will co-operate in every measure that will restrain the evil-doer (!) and restore the public confidence…” (MORE LATER.)


‘Charles Stewart Parnell (pictured) was born on 27th June 1846 in County Wicklow into a family of Anglo-Irish Protestant landowners. He studied at Cambridge University and was elected to parliament in 1875 as a member of the Home Rule League (later re-named by Parnell the Irish Parliamentary Party). His abilities soon became evident. In 1878, Parnell became an active opponent of the Irish land laws, believing their reform should be the first step on the road to Home Rule…’ (from here.)

His home was one of the ‘Big Houses’ in Avondale, in County Wicklow and, although he was the son of a ‘landlord’ (and, indeed, later, a ‘landlord’ himself) he was politically-aware enough to realise that he was privileged, while his neighbours were struggling, financially, physically and socially, and he decided to see if he could change those circumstances.

He began his political ‘career’ at the age of 29, when he was elected as a ‘Member of Parliament’ for County Meath and, for the following 16 years, he operated within the Westminster political system as an ‘MP’ and as the leader of the ‘Home Rule League’ (from 1880 to 1882) and, from 1882 to 1891, as the leader of the ‘Irish Parliamentary Party’.

It was at a meeting in Ennis in County Clare, on the 19th September 1880, that Charles Stewart Parnell – of whom the British were to describe 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..” – that he was elected as the leader of the ‘Home Rule League’ and it became a more organised body. Two years later, Parnell renamed it the ‘Irish Parliamentary Party’.

He was looked at in a 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’. At 45 years of age he married Katherine O’Shea (in June 1891) which created a scandal which he is, unfortunately, best remembered for.

He died from pneumonia in Brighton, England, only months after the wedding (on October 6th 1891 – 130 years ago on this date) and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.


On the 6th October 1922 – 99 years ago on this date – Free State Army Brigadier General Tony Lawlor shot an Irish republican POW, Patrick Mulrenna/Mulrenan, during what the Staters claimed was “a riot” in Custume Barracks Prison in Athlone, County Westmeath. The prisoner died later from his wounds.

Lawlor was the State ‘Commanding Officer’ for their Claremorris Command and, in June that year (1922), as a State Army Colonel, he was one of those entrusted by Michael Collins to ensure that the Four Courts in Dublin was not a safe haven for the IRA ; he used British weaponry on his former comrades in that building.

Because of the circumstances surrounding that prison shooting, it remained a ‘live issue’ for years after, so much so that, in 1928, it was actually raised in the Leinster House institution by a Doctor O’Dowd –

“I desire to draw the attention of the Dáil (sic) to the circumstances surrounding the death of Patrick Mulrenan, of Lisacul, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon. I raise the question on the motion for the Adjournment because of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply to a question of mine by the (Free State) Minister for Defence. In reply to a question of mine on this day week the Minister said that a coroner’s inquest was held to investigate the circumstances of this man’s death. The inquest appears to have been adjourned on three occasions and no definite findings were arrived at. Perhaps the Minister in his reply now will tell us if it is usual for a coroner’s inquest to meet and adjourn after three sittings and arrive at no definite findings.

I challenge the Minister to set up an impartial inquiry to inquire into the circumstances of Patrick Mulrenan’s death. He should certainly agree to do so unless he is afraid of the findings of such Committee of Inquiry. The Minister admitted on this day week and also to-day that this young man died as the result of a wound received from a shot fired by an officer of the National Army (sic). That much is admitted. The Minister further said — “I understand that there was a state of active mutiny and that this man and others were warned that unless they behaved themselves they would be shot.”.

I expect that he will advance that as a reason why Colonel Lawler shot Patrick Mulrenan in Athlone on the Pump Square on 6th October, 1922. Everybody in this House may not be conversant with the facts of this young man’s death. This young man, practically the main support of his widowed mother, was taken prisoner and conveyed to Custume Barracks, Athlone. On 6th October two senior officers in the National Army (sic) in the Athlone Command entered the prisoners’ compound. One fired a revolver shot and was rebuked by his senior officer with the remark : “You are a damned bad shot, Tony.” Tony (Lawlor) used an expression which I would not like to repeat in this House and expressed his determination to do better next time. He fired again. Mulrenan fell wounded and died some days later at the Curragh.

These are the facts. I expect the Minister will tell us he was shot after being warned because there was a mutiny. There was no mutiny. I hold in my hand a statement sworn before Peace Commissioners by 94 prisoners who were in Athlone at the time declaring that there was no mutiny, and that they were engaged in their ordinary occupations of making rings and bags. Patrick Mulrenan was seated on a dustbin reading a book. Was that the mutiny for which he was shot and fell wounded? The Minister has decided to tell the House that there was a mutiny. If the Minister can prove there was a mutiny let him hold any inquiry he wishes, and I will prove by hundreds of witnesses on oath beyond aye or nay that there was no mutiny. The coroner’s inquest adjourned for the third time without finding a verdict. If there was any prospect of the coroner’s inquest finding a verdict favourable to the Minister and to his Department would he not be glad to give them the opportunity of adjourning a fourth or fifth time if necessary to arrive at their verdict? Instead, there was an indefinite adjournment without finding any verdict. I say deliberately the reason for the adjournment indefinitely was that the verdict would be unfavourable to the (Free State) Minister for Defence and his Party.

…those who take prisoners are responsible for their safe custody. In this case you have Patrick Mulrenan held a prisoner by the National Army (sic), standing helpless behind barbed wire, shot down like a dog. The State have the audacity to deny they have any responsibility for his death. The State are morally and legally responsible for the death of Mulrenan. One of their servants shot him, and he was not alone one of their servants but the second officer in command at Athlone, and in his company at the actual moment of the shooting was the senior officer of the Athlone Command.

Patrick Mulrenan was practically the main support of his widowed mother. She lost another son in the fight as well. This woman is now looking for outdoor relief. She is trying to exist on a mere pittance amounting to a few shillings per week. The State have legal and moral responsibility, as I have said, for the death of Patrick Mulrenan, and also a moral and legal responsibility for seeing that his widowed mother is not allowed to remain in want. I trust the Minister will give some hope that he will reconsider his decision about this poor old woman.

I hope he will give some kind of an assurance that if an inquiry is not instituted into the death of Patrick Mulrenan that he will at least consider those left behind to mourn his loss, and who were dependent on him. There is an old saying that you may fool all the people some of the time, you may fool some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. The Minister for Defence cannot even fool his own supporters on this. Let him go to Westmeath, Roscommon, Sligo, or elsewhere, and he will be told the true circumstances surrounding the death of Patrick Mulrenan. Even his own supporters, prominent members of Cumann na nGaedheal, can tell him the full circumstances. Let the Minister advance some plea for the shooting of Mulrenan other than the plea of mutiny, for there was no mutiny, as can be proved if an inquiry is held…”

(from Leinster House records, 29th February 1928 – more here.)

Incidentally, Lawlor’s actions in having shot dead Patrick Mulrenna/Mulrenan were defended by Seán MacEoin, a rabid Free Stater and Blueshirt, who once stood beside men like Patrick Mulrenna/Mulrenan. But that was before he took the soup.


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.)

On the other hand, all this means that to judge the level of support for revolutionary change in the 26 Counties just by the electoral performance of Sinn Féin is to be unduly pessimistic as well as politically sectarian.

The working-class in the South is still shell-shocked from the speed and savagery of the onslaught by the new right-wing alliance of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the PD’s. Workers have grown used to the security of even the half-baked form of welfare State that has developed in the 26 Counties and the social democratic consensus that means that no party tries to claw back the gains the working class made in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Now that is exactly what the new coalition under Haughey is trying to do and the fightback has not even begun yet. But the elements and organisations that can start to hit back are there – community organisations, women’s groups, militant trade unionists, even Third World and radical church groups, as well as Sinn Féin and the small left organisations, and even perhaps some of the Labour Party left-wing.

Sinn Féin cannot expect all these groups to flock under its umbrella, though it can perform a useful and essential function by helping to link their struggles on limited 26-County issues with the Northern struggle and with political repression in the South which most Southern organisations shy away from until it hits them in the face… (MORE LATER.)


..1921 ; in March, 1921, most of ‘K Company’ of the British paramilitary ‘Auxiliaries’ (pictured) were fired because of their part in the burning of Cork and the murder of Canon Magner, but some of those mercenaries were moved to ‘O Company’, which ‘kept the peace’ in Dunmanway, among other locations.

On the 6th October, 1921 – 100 years ago on this date – the local IRA, under the command of Peadar Kearney, opened fire on those British thugs, but more of them arrived to the scene of the battle and the IRA withdrew safely, with no fatalities.


..1922 : the IRA ambushed a Free State Army convoy at Tullycrine, in County Clare, during which IRA Lieutenant Michael J. Keane, from Gortglass, County Clare, was killed, as were a number of Free State troopers.


..1922 : The Dublin IRA carried out a gun and grenade attack on Free State soldiers at St Stephens Green, in Dublin city centre, resulting in the wounding of three of the combatants.


..1922 : an IRA soldier, Francis Power, was killed during a gun fight with Free Staters at White’s Cross in Cork. His name is inscribed on the Cork No. 1 IRA Brigade monument in Donoughmore Cemetery in Cork (pictured).


..1922 ; on this date (6th October – 99 years ago on this date) IRA Commandant Denis Barry, of Cork, was ‘arrested’ by Free State forces in Courtown Harbour in County Wexford and brought to Newbridge Internment Camp where he was detained without charge or trial.

He joined a mass hunger-strike on the 17th October the following year (1923) and died, after 34 days, on the 20th November 1923 : ‘..Commandant Denis Barry, Brigade Staff Cork 1st. Cork Brigade Irish Republican Army joined the Volunteers in 1914. He went to Kilkenny in 1915 and was arrested there on 2nd May 1916. He was detained there for 7 nights. Transferred to Richmond Barracks and shipped to Frongach, Wales. When released, he returned to Kilkenny…’ – more here, and –‘Having been denied the benefit of a Christian burial, Barry’s remains were taken to the headquarters of Sinn Fein, at 56 Grand Parade, in Cork City. The funeral the next morning to the Republican Plot, in St. Finbarr’s Cemetery, was one of the largest seen in Cork for some time…he was forty when he died…’ – from here.


..1972 ; the Leinster House administration, with Fianna Fáil’s Jack Lynch in charge, sent uniformed State cops and their ‘Special Branch’ colleagues (‘political police’) out of their lairs to close down the then Sinn Féin office in Kevin Street, in Dublin, which they did.

It inconvenienced the Movement for a few weeks, but had no lasting effect.



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

(The writer of the following letter has requested that it be published in ‘The United Irishman’ ; it was sent to ‘The Irish Weekly Independent’ but was refused publication.)

‘To the Editor,


In your issue of January 27th, 1955, which has just reached me, Mr MacEoin is quoted as saying that
“..any person who wished to serve the best interest of Ireland should join either the permanent army or the FCA which was organised throughout the country..”.

As one of the not-so-young men he referred to, may I appeal for a little more honesty in the selection and use of words. The infamous so-called ‘Treaty’ of 1921, with its Boundary Commission clause, was hailed as the ultimate solution of partition and Mr. MacEoin may, for all I know, have been honestly influenced to vote for it for that reason.

But what, now, is the excuse for his saying that ‘the permanent army and the FCA is organised throughout the country*’, when any pre-school child could probably inform him that such is far from being the case…’ (MORE LATER.)

(‘1169’ comment :*this is a major bugbear of ours, and should be, too, for any Irish republican – this country, all 32 counties of it, is ‘Ireland’. This State – all 26 counties of it – is not ‘Ireland’. What it is is a (Free) State within the country of Ireland.)

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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