ON THIS DATE (9TH FEBRUARY) 119 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A KNIGHTED, DISILLUSIONED ‘NATIONALIST’.
Charles Gavan Duffy (pictured) was born in Dublin Street in County Monaghan on the 12th April, 1816, into a well-to-do family, and received his education in Belfast.
During his 87 years in this world he worked as a politician, barrister, author and a publisher, and was the proprietor and the editor of ‘The Nation’ newspaper, which was founded in 1842 by Charles Gavan Duffy, Thomas Davis and John Blake Dillon.
That publication associated itself with ‘The Young Irelanders’ organisation but, before that, he was employed as a journalist with ‘The Dublin Morning Register’ and was the editor of ‘The Belfast Vindicator’, which was published twice a week (and cost 4d!).
He was prosecuted in 1842 for libellous comments made in ‘The Belfast Vindicator’ towards members of the judiciary following the hanging of a man in Belfast and left that newspaper that same year and then established ‘The Nation’ in Dublin, shortly after which he wrote and issued his perhaps best-known pamphlet, ‘The Spirit of the Nation’.
He was tried for sedition and acquitted, founded the ‘Irish Tenant League’ in 1850 (which was founded with good intentions, but didn’t turn out as hoped or intended ; ‘the road to Hell’ and all that..) and became an MP in 1852. He moved to Australia in 1855 and became Prime Minister of the State of Victoria in 1871, was elected as the ‘Speaker of the Parliament’ of Victoria (1877-1880), accepted a British ‘Knighthood’ (‘Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George’) in 1873 and was awarded and accepted a ‘KCMG’ in 1877.
His last years were spent in his house (12 Boulevard Victor Hugo) in Nice, France, where he wrote his memoirs and wrote and talked about his political experiences. He died there, at 87 years of age, on the 9th February 1903 – 119 years ago on this date, and it emerged after his death that his private letters told of his disillusionment with Irish politics.
His peers, some of whom at that stage called him “a middle-class whig and a deserter of the separatist cause…”, described those letters as ‘the groans of a disappointed reformer’ – “We have lost our way..”, he wrote. As, indeed, have all Irish people who accept ‘awards’ from British ‘royalty’.
Charles Gavan Duffy is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin, within the circle of the O’Connell Monument.
‘THE ARMAGH ACTION…’
This dramatic account of the action was given to one of our representatives in an interview with one of the men who took part.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.
At the armoury the loading was going on apace. A British officer who drove up in a Citroen car, inquiring for the whereabouts of a brother officer appeared suspicious, so one of our men pushed his Sten gun through the window and ordered him out. He was marched into the armoury.
GATE BLOCKED :
A Tommy, way over on the far side of the square, noticing something unusual going on, drove a lorry past and down to the main gate where he jammed it from opening. The ‘sentry’ pointed a Sten gun at him and ordered – “Back that truck up or I’ll kill you.” The driver made an effort as if to hop out on the passenger side only to find himself looking into a Colt .45.
He quickly reversed the truck and was taken out of the cabin and bundled into the guardroom.
The Alarm Bell :
Seeing this, another British soldier coming from the building opposite dashed across to ring the alarm bell on the guardroom wall. “Stop! Or I’ll blow your brains out..” ordered an IRA Volunteer. The British soldier froze in his tracks.
Two of our men had the barracks covered from the outside. One of them, seeing two soldiers up on the wall and about to jump out on the street, pointed his gun at them and ordered them to get back. They fell back into the barracks.
Smartly and coolly the Volunteers dealt with every situation… (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (9TH FEBRUARY) 101 YEARS AGO : BRITISH MURDER AND PERJURY IN DUBLIN.
On the night of the 9th February, 1921, republican activists James Murphy and Patrick Kennedy were ‘arrested’ by British Auxiliaries in Talbot Street, in Dublin, shortly after they left the ‘Cinema Theatre’ in that street.
Two hours later, a different grouping of the British presence in Ireland, the ‘Dublin Metropolitan Police’ (‘DMP’) found the two men lying shot in Drumcondra : Patrick Kennedy was dead and James Murphy was dying when the ‘DMP’ came across them, after hearing loud moans in Clonturk Park, in Drumcondra.
James Murphy, badly wounded, was taken to the Mater Hospital (where he died from his wounds two days later) and, during a visit from his brother, he told of how himself and his friend, Patrick Kennedy, were stopped in Talbot Street by members of ‘F’ Company of the Auxiliary Division of the ‘Royal Irish Constabulary’ (ADRIC) and that ‘ADRIC’ Captain William Lorraine King had ‘arrested’ them and stated that they were “just going for a drive.”
The two men were put into a lorry and brought to Dublin Castle, where they were questioned and searched, but nothing of interest to the British Forces was found on them and nothing incriminating was said by them.
They were let go at about 10pm that night but, due to the (British-imposed) curfew situation, the two men were told that they would require an escort home. But they weren’t taken to their homes…
“My brother, James Murphy, and I lived together in lodgings at 22, Killarney Street, Dublin. My brother’s age is 25. He was an assistant at Whiteside and Company, of South Great Georges Street, Dublin, grocers. I saw him last on Wednesday, the 9th instant, about 6.30, when after his day’s work he came home for his evening meal.
After he had tea he left me, saying that he was going to pass a few hours at the pictures or a game of billiards. I have since ascertained from the said James Murphy that he went to the Cinema Theatre in Talbot Street, and as he was leaving, about 9.30, there was a ‘hold up’ by the armed forces of the Crown in Talbot Street, when a number of young men were held up and searched.
He, with others, was searched, and put by the soldiers on a motor lorry, and brought to Dublin Castle, where he was examined. Nothing of any kind of a compromising character was found on him; he had no weapons and no documents of any kind.
The examination was finished at about 10 o’clock, when the military authorities told him that he was released and might go home. As it was then after curfew hour, there was danger and difficulty for anybody going through the streets for fear of the military. Accordingly the officer-in-charge told some soldiers to take my brother and Patrick Kennedy to their homes and leave them there, and to leave my brother at 22, Killarney Street, or as near to it as they could go.
Instead of bringing my brother to his lodgings, the military drove the motor lorry by Drumcondra to Clonturk Park. They halted the motor lorry near a field, where there was unused and derelict ground. They took my brother and Patrick Kennedy out of the motor lorry, brought them into the field, put old tin cans over their heads, put them against the wall, and fired a number of shots at them. I believe Patrick Kennedy was killed almost instantaneously. My brother was hit through the tin can in his mouth on the left cheek, on the right cheek, and through the breast….” (more here.)
‘ADRIC’ Captain William Lorraine King and two of his men, H. Hinchcliffe and FJ Welsh, were arrested by their own people and put on ‘trial’ but were acquitted on the 15th April 1921 after James Murphy’s dying declaration was ruled “inadmissible” (plus, both Hinchcliffe and Welsh had provided perjured alibis for their Captain King’s location at the time of the shootings).
It is the likes of King, Hinchcliffe and Welsh that those in the Leinster House institution in Dublin sought to commemorate. Shame on those quislings.
ON THIS DATE (9TH FEBRUARY) 168 YEARS AGO : UVF LEADER BORN IN DUBLIN.
On the 9th February 1854 – 168 years ago on this date – a future leader of the ‘Ulster Unionist Party’, Edward Henry Carson, was born in Dublin.
‘Lord’ Carson held numerous positions in Westminster and pursued a career as a senior barrister and a judge. He become one of seven ‘Law Lords’ and, upon his death, in 1935, he was one of the few non-monarchs to receive a United Kingdom State Funeral.
This British ‘Lord’ was born in Dublin in 1854 and died at 8am on the 22nd October 1935 on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, England. His beloved empire had conveyed the title of ‘Right Honourable The Lord Carson KC PC’ on him, a prefix he was delighted to take with him to his grave.
“We must proclaim today clearly that, come what will and be the consequences what they may, we in Ulster will tolerate no Sinn Féin- no Sinn Féin organisation, no Sinn Féin methods. But we tell you (the British Government) this : that if, having offered you our help, you are yourselves unable to protect us from the machinations of Sinn Féin, and you won’t take our help ; well then, we tell you that we will take the matter into our own hands. We will reorganise, as we feel bound to do in our our defence, throughout the province, the Ulster Volunteers. And those are not mere words. I hate words without action..” – the words of then soon-to-be (anti-republican) paramilitary leader Edward Carson (‘Lord Carson of Duncairn’) at an ‘Orange’ rally in Finaghy, Belfast, County Antrim.
He was a staunch supporter of the Irish (pro-British) Unionists who, at 38 years young, was elected as a Unionist MP (to Westminster) for Dublin University and, again at that same age, was appointed ‘Solicitor General for Ireland’ and served as the ‘Solicitor General for England’ from 1900 to 1905.
He was also a barrister, a judge and politician, and the leader of ‘The Irish Unionist Alliance’ and the ‘Ulster Unionist Party’. At 57 years of age (in 1911) he was elected leader of the ‘Ulster Unionist Council’ (UUC) and helped to establish the ‘Ulster Volunteer Force’ (UVF), a pro-British militia (he wrote to his friend James Craig re his UUC leadership that he intended “..to satisfy himself that the people really mean to resist. I am not for a game of bluff and, unless men are prepared to make great sacrifices which they clearly understand, the talk of resistance is useless..”).
On the 3rd of September 1914, in an address he delivered in Belfast to the ‘UUC’, he stated – “England’s difficulty is not Ulster’s opportunity. However we are treated, and however others act, let us act rightly. We do not seek to purchase terms by selling our patriotism…” A lesson there, without doubt, for all the gombeens that inhabit the Leinster House institution!
From 1915 to 1916 he served as the British Attorney General, and was appointed as the ‘First Lord of the Admiralty’ in 1916 (until 1917) and was a member of Lloyd George’s War Cabinet from 1917 to 1918. Westminster thought so highly of him that they offered him an even bigger ‘prize’ – that of the ‘Premiership’ of the new Six County ‘State’ – but he refused, and retired from public life in 1921, at 67 years of age.
In June 1935, at 81 years of age, Carson contracted bronchial pneumonia but, even though he recovered his health somewhat within weeks, a few months later his strength weakened again and he died on the 22nd of October, 1935. But, unfortunately, his political attitudes and morals live on, in Leinster House, Stormont and Westminster.
THE NOT SO IRISH NEWS…
Rita Smyth examines the editorials of the Northern newspaper, ‘The Irish News’, for the first six months of 1987.
Her analysis shows how the paper reflects the political attitudes of the Stormont Castle Catholics (who dominate the SDLP*) and the conservative values of the Catholic Hierarchy, especially Bishop Cahal Daly.
(From ‘Iris’ magazine, October 1987.)
(‘1169’ comment – *…and who now fill the ranks of other Stoop-like political parties in Stormont and Leinster House.)
For the Irish establishment, the fundamental priority is political stability. In their view, a ‘normal society’ is one in which commerce and industry proceed unhindered and businesspersons flourish according to the ‘natural’ order of things.
This is the view put forward by the eminent statesperson, economist and academic, Garret Fitzgerald, in the newspaper last June ; he explained that if only the economic and cultural trends of the 1960’s had continued undisturbed by “violence and reaction” they could have brought about a unired Ireland!
“But because of IRA violence.. Dr Fitzgerald explained, “…Ireland has not moved onto an economic par with Britain.” Not for Garret a complicated analysis of the imperialist domination of Ireland – the IRA is the source of all our problems and it is the IRA which has prevented Irish unity.
The choice posed by the paper on behalf of its clerical and commercial mentors is between “..the rule of law and the anarchy of force…”If only the evil IRA would desist from the armed struggle, justice and equality would be possible, but it wants to “..put a halt to the slow, laborious but certain progression towards the establishment of legal structures to which the community can give totality of support, because they are seen to be just and impartial..” (February 21st). (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (9TH FEBRUARY) 101 YEARS AGO : BRITISH FORCES LOOT AND BURN A ‘FRIENDLY BUSINESS’.
On the 9th February, 1921, at about 1pm, a unit of British Auxiliaries, travelling in 11 military vehicles, stopped outside and in the surrounding area at Chandlers Pub and Grocers (pictured) in Baile Roibín (‘Robinstown’), in the townland of Baile Bradach (‘Balbradagh’), Trim, in County Meath.
The owners and operators of the business, Richard Chandler and his family, were well-known in the area as supporters of the British Crown and “loyal subjects of his Majesty the King” but the Auxies, RIC and Black and Tans that were in that search/raiding party didn’t care ; friend or foe, they were rarin’ to go. And ‘go’ they did…
Claiming that they were searching for “illegal IRA ammunition”, they ransacked the store and began stealing from both it and the living quarters above it, and ‘mistreated’ Mrs Chandler.
Their Commanding Officer, General Frank Percy Crozier (‘CB, CMG, DSO’) heard about the destruction caused (listed on the link below) from some members of that search/raiding party – so disgusted were they with the conduct of their own colleagues – and Crozier himself travelled to the town to find out for himself what had happened, although he himself was no stranger to such armed thuggery – his first attempts to join the British Army failed on medical grounds, so he joined-up with a gang of gunmen and hired himself out as a mercenary soldier in Africa and Canada, and later joined the ‘Ulster Volunteer Force’ in Ireland.
Crozier (pictured) went to Trim and interrogated twenty-six Auxiliaries, stating that twenty-one of them were unfit to remain ‘in service’, and he held five of them for court martial. But one of his ‘bosses’, a Lieutenant-General Henry Hugh Tudor, over-ruled Crozier’s findings and reinstated the unfit gunmen.
Crozier took offence at being ‘corrected’ and stated that those men had grouped together and threatened to expose shady dealings within the British ‘security forces/peace keepers’ in Ireland unless either he, himself, or Tudor, reinstated them, and he further claimed that Westminster knew about those shady dealings and condoned them, as they helped ‘to get the job done in Ireland’. So upset was he at being over-ruled that, by the end of February that year (1921) he had resigned from the British Army and gone public with details of how ‘his army’ in Ireland were abusing Irish people.
Anyway – somehow or other, Crozier lived for a further 16 years (he died in August 1937) but ‘The Times’ newspaper, a ‘pro-our-lads’ propaganda sheet, refused to publish any tributes to the man as he had ‘spilled the beans’ – or some of them – in relation to the thuggery of ‘our lads’ in Ireland, but they did publish what was later called “an ungenerous obituary” on the man.
A more detailed account of the above can be read here.
‘SINN FÉIN NOTES…’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.
Twelve o’clock Mass at Kilburn on Sunday, 6th February, was said for the happy repose of the souls of Barnes and McCormack ; there was a large congregation at the Mass and many republicans who had been out of touch met again and reaffirmed old friendships. All Cumainn in the London area observed two minutes silence in memory of the martyrs.
WORMWOOD SCRUBS :
A friend who visited Seán Stephenson recently reports that Seán and Manus Canning are in very good spirits and that they had each received over 200 greeting cards at Christmas. They send their thanks through the columns of ‘The United Irishman’ to all the kind friends who remembered them. St Patrick’s Day is drawing near and they will be pleased to hear from you all again.
Manus is rather a figure in Wormwood Scrubs, being the only prospective MP there ; he is the Sinn Féin candidate for the Derry constituency in the forthcoming general elections for Westminster… (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (9TH FEBRUARY) IN…
Thomas Halpin, a Sinn Féin Alderman on Drogheda Corporation in County Louth, and John Moran (originally from Church Street, Enniscorthy, in County Wexford) were taken from their homes in Drogheda and shortly afterwards their bodies were found on the side of the road ; more here.
A huge search operation by up to about 2,000 British military operatives was started in west Donegal ; they ‘arrested’ seven IRA men and, later in that same week, there was another search operation in Dungloe, in Donegal, and in the surrounding areas. Over 60 men are arrested and taken to Derry City – most were later released, but 20 were detained.
A meeting was held by the Westminster-enabled State caretakers in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin on the 9th February, 1922.
Those in attendance included Michael Collins, Richard Mulcahy, Michael Staines and Michael Ring, and the objective of that meeting was the establishment of a ‘new police force’ for the then recently spawned Free State. Collins and his crew knew that they would need the help of former members of the RIC in setting up the new grouping, so they invited a number of ex-RIC men who had helped them to take on the IRA to the meeting.
They attended, and advised the Staters in relation to that task, setting-up a number of committees etc and a new grouping, ‘An Garda Síochána’, was formed on the 22nd February, 1922. And they haven’t gone away, you know…
On the 9th February, 1922, the British Army physically vacated Ballymullen Military Barracks in Tralee, County Kerry, and two barracks’ in Sligo, and handed them over to their surrogates, the Free State Army. The mind-set remained, but the uniform changed colour.
On the 9th February, 1923, a planned fund-raising operation by the IRA on the post office in Poleberry, in County Waterford, went wrong ; the Staters had been tipped-off with the details of the raid and had placed armed agents in the premises. Two IRA men, Michael Moloney (17) and Thomas Walsh (23), were killed, and a third IRA men, Nick O’Neill, was wounded, but managed to escape.
Thanks for the visit, and for reading,
Sharon and the team.
We won’t be posting here next Wednesday, 16th February 2022, as we have an in-house ‘BIG’ (!) birthday and a Christening to organise over the next few days and we intend to let rip at both!
But we’ll be back ‘on air’ on Wednesday, 23rd February 2022 with, among other items, a story from our history about an Irish man who, in the course of trying to stop a robbery, was convicted of treason by the British Government and sentenced to death after a three-day ‘trial’…
And, between now and the 23rd, you can catch me on ‘Twitter’, if ya need yer fix that bad…!
Slán go fóill anois.