ON THIS DATE (4TH MAY) 49 YEARS AGO : BRITISH ATTORNEY GENERAL INTERFERES WITH ‘BLOODY SUNDAY’ INQUEST.
(To) The Chief Crown Solicitor,
Royal Court of Justice (Ulster),
4th May 1973
Londonderry (sic) Inquests
The problems surrounding these inquests were discussed at the Secretary of State’s meeting on Wednesday the 2nd May as were the proposals put forward in the opinion of Mr. Brian Hutton, QC, dated the 1st May.
The Secretary of State felt that although there would be certain advantages in making the proposed order, he nevertheless thought that to do so could create considerable political difficulties and, on balance, he decided not to take any action to interfere with the normal procedure.
He did not wish the inquest to be held until after the elections.
There are difficulties attending almost any period in the immediate future but it seems it would create the minimum of difficulties if the inquests could be delayed until, say, August.
Although the GOC was present at the meeting I think it would be wise for you to inform the Ministry of Defence of the present position and no doubt you will also advise Counsel and the RUC accordingly.
I am sending a copy of this letter to Brian Hall, Ministry of Home Affairs and Leslie Imrie at Stormont Castle and M. de Winton of the Law Officers Department, London.
Asst. Legal Secretary.
The above letter was sent from J MacMahon, ‘(British) Attorney General’s Office’ to the ‘(British) Chief Crown Solicitor’ on the 4th May 1973 – 49 years ago on this date – in connection with the murders by ‘their boys’ in Derry on Sunday, 30th January 1972 ; British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march in the Bogside area of Derry. Fourteen people died, of whom thirteen were killed outright, while the death of another man four months later was attributed to the injuries he suffered on the day.
British military operatives decided that ‘official’ discussions about that day of slaughter should not take place “until after the elections..(and)..it would create the minimum of difficulties if the inquests could be delayed until, say, August…”
Obviously, the deaths of innocent Irishmen (and women) should take second-place to the political requirements of Westminster.
“I went with Anger at my heel
Through Bogside of the bitter zeal
– Jesus pity! – on a day
Of cold and drizzle and decay.
A month had passed. Yet there remained
A murder smell that stung and stained
On flats and alleys-over all-
It hung ; on battered roof and wall,
On wreck and rubbish scattered thick,
On sullen steps and pitted brick.
And when I came where thirteen died
It shrivelled up my heart. I sighed..”
(By Thomas Kinsella. More details on ‘Bloody Sunday’ here.)
‘STIRRING BODENSTOWN COMMEMORATION…’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, July, 1954.
Gearóid O’Broin of Dublin continued, in his oration –
“Efforts are already been made by the enemies of Ireland and particularly by the imperialist press to misconstrue the purpose for which these arms were captured from the British forces in Armagh.
Let there be no doubt in the mind of any man or woman in Ireland on this matter ; those arms were captured by the republican forces for use against the British occupation forces still in Ireland and they will be used against them, please God, in due course.”
(END of ‘Stirring Bodenstown Commemoration’ ; NEXT – ‘Meetings Urge ‘No Co-Operation”, from the same source.)
ON THIS DATE (4TH MAY) 249 YEARS AGO : ‘MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE’!
Art Ó Laoghaire (Art O’Leary, pictured) was born in 1746 in Cork and took a military path in life ; he worked his way up to be a captain (said to be a ‘hot-tempered’ officer) in the Hungarian Hussars and ‘seen service’ in the Austro-Hungarian army, following which he returned home to Rathleigh House, near Macroom, in his native county.
Among the items he brought home with him was his army horse, which was much admired by all who seen the animal, including the ‘High Sheriff of County Cork’, an arrogant man named Abraham Morris, who was also a (protestant) landowner and a magistrate, who lived in Hanover Hall, in the town of Macroom.
Mr Morris socialised in ‘toff’ circles and one of his acquaintances was a local English ‘gentryman’ named Baldwin, who told Art Ó Laoghaire that he wanted to purchase his horse for £5 – the ‘Penal Laws’, in force at that time, stated that no catholic (like, for instance, Art Ó Laoghaire) could own a horse worth more than £5 and could be forced to sell a more valuable one, on demand, to any protestant for £5 (incidentally, under those same ‘laws’, no catholic could be a magistrate, or a lawyer) –
‘..that so much of an Act passed in the seventh year of King William III, entitled An Act for the better securing the government by disarming papists, as subjects any papists, who shall after the twentieth day of January 1695 have or keep in his possession, or in the possession of any other person to his use or at his disposal, any horse, gelding, or mare, which shall be of the value of five pounds or more, to the penalties therein mentioned…’ (From here.)
Anyway – Art refused the ‘offer’ but Mr Baldwin insisted that the ‘deal’ go ahead and wouldn’t take no for an answer ; a physical confrontation ensued and poor Mr Baldwin (!) got the crap bate out of him and reported the incident to his friend, Abraham Morris, the ‘High Sheriff’, who issued a warrant for the arrest of Art.
Whether it was during the serving of the warrant (during which, it seems, Mr Morris demanded that Art Ó Laoghaire sell him the horse for a fiver!) or before or after it, on the 13th July, 1771, a dispute between ‘Morris the Sheriff’, one of his ‘servants’ and Art Ó Laoghaire led to more punches being thrown and further charges being brought against Art.
In October that year (1771), the issues were taken to ‘court’ but the horse owner must have been tending to his horse or whatever, as he was too busy to present himself to that ‘legal body’ and was ‘indicted in his absence’, with Mr Morris sweetening the pot by offering a 20 guinea reward for his capture and declaring that Art Ó Laoghaire was now an ‘outlaw’ and could ‘legally’ be shot on sight!
In reply, Art challenged ‘Morris the Sheriff’ to a duel, but his offer was declined. Instead, Mr Morris organised a posse to locate and capture or kill the ‘fugitive’ and, on the 4th May 1773 – 249 years ago on this date – he was shot dead by one of Morris’ men. Not long after that shooting, Art’s brother, Cornelius Ó Laoghaire, shot Mr Morris, wounding him, and he died in September 1775, from injuries believed to have been as the result of having been shot that day.
We’re not sure what Mr Morris thought of the ‘quality’ of the horses, or the price of them, that accompanied his hearse to his final resting place…
Finally, the poem ‘Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire’ (‘Lament for Art O’Leary’) was composed in the main by his wife Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill after his death, and the late Irish poet, Thomas Kinsella, later translated the entire poem into English. It was voted as one of Ireland’s favourite poems by readers of ‘The Irish Times’ State propaganda sheet in 1999 –
‘The English respected you
Bowing to the ground
Not because they loved you
But true to their hearts’ hate
They’re the ones who killed you
Darling of my heart
My love’s creature…’
‘Lo Arthur Leary, generous, handsome, brave,
Slain in his bloom lies in this humble grave…’
Ulster loyalism displayed its most belligerent face this year as violence at Belfast’s Holy Cross School made international headlines.
But away from the spotlight, working-class Protestant communities are themselves divided, dispirited and slipping into crisis.
By Niall Stanage.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, Annual 2002.
On the streets of North Belfast, the peace process (sic) sometimes doesn’t amount to much. Breige Burns hasn’t felt its benefits – her home of twenty years has been pipe-bombed three times in five weeks. The Catholic grandmother has decided it is time to sell up and get out.
17-year-old Leona Davis was walking home one night in October when a group of loyalists drove past, called her a “fenian scumbag” and hurled a brick at her. Her forehead will bear the scars long after her fractured skull heals.
The young pupils of Holy Cross Girls’ Primary school in Ardoyne will grow up with the terror of the past few months lurking somewhere in their minds. They will remember a daily walk to school marked by policemen (sic) in riot gear, adults screaming abuse and blast bombs being thrown into their midst.
But while there is no mistaking the scale of intimidation suffered by nationalists in the area – there have been approximately 250 pipe bomb attacks this year – the violence has not all been one-sided… (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (4TH MAY) 101 YEARS AGO : DEAD INFORMER USED AS BAIT FOR THE RIC.
On the 27th April, 1921, IRA Volunteers from the 2nd Kerry Brigade arrested a local elderly man, Tom O’Sullivan, a travelling ‘handy man’ and ex-British Army soldier, who had been pointed out to them as being an informer.
That information came from two British Army deserters, George Mottley and Jack Steer, who were captured by the IRA and who recognised O’Sullivan as a constant visitor to their barracks for meetings with the Black and Tans.
The two deserters were later told to go to the townland of Barraduff, in Aghadoe Civil Parish, Barony, in County Kerry, to ‘lie low’, and off they went. The Barraduff Company IRA met them as arranged and, also as arranged, they executed them.
The IRA interviewed Tom O’Sullivan, found him guilty of being an informer and, on the 3rd May, 1921, a priest from the presbytery in Rathmore, North Cork, was sent for to give the man spiritual consolation, following which Mr O’Sullivan was shot dead. A plan was devised by the IRA to use the informers body as ‘bait’ ; his remains were labelled with a placard stating ‘SPY’ and he was laid out on display on the Bog Road outside Rathmore, and the RIC were notified.
On Wednesday 4th May 1921 – 101 years ago on this date – the North Cork Flying Column of the IRA, operating with Volunteers from the Cork No. 2 and Kerry No. 2 Brigades (comprising about fifty Volunteers in total), with Humphry Murphy, Andy Cooney, Manus Moynihan and Séan Moylan in command, ‘set up shop’ in the early morning as their information was that a party of RIC men would be in the area before Noon to investigate the body on the road and, as expected – at about 10am that morning – an RIC sergeant and nine ‘constables’, all armed, left Rathmore RIC Barracks, on bicyles, heading towards the Bog Road.
As the nine enemy operatives were making their way along the Bog Road they were ambushed by the IRA and a gunfight ensued ; the RIC sergeant, a Roscommon man (‘Service Number 62054’) named Thomas McCormack (35) was shot dead (his family received £710 in compensation from Westminster) and seven of his colleagues were either shot dead in the ambush or died later from their wounds (the ninth man, named Hickey, escaped and survived) –
James Phelan (‘63574’) 33, born in Limerick,
Headley D Woodcock (‘72743’, £1200 compensation), 21, from England,
Robert Dyne (‘75917’, £1000 compensation), 21, born in Sussex in England,
Alfred Hillyer (‘73061’), 19, from England,
Samuel H Watkins (‘72778’, £570 compensation), 21, from Middlesex in England,
Walter Thomas (‘70259’), 30, born in Middlesex in England and William E Clapp (‘72708’, £700 compensation), 23, born in Hants, in England (all the dead Englishmen had between three and eight months’ ‘service’ with the RIC).
The IRA liberated a large quantity of arms from the scene, including eight rifles and 800 rounds of ammunition but, in retaliation, the Crown Forces burned five houses in the vicinity of the ambush and raided, looted and burned Rathmore Creamery.
But it was Irish republicanism that was the cat that got the cream that day…
ON THIS DATE (4TH MAY) 101 YEARS AGO : FUNERAL ATTACKED, IRA SECTION LEADER SHOT DEAD.
On Sunday, 1st May, 1921, Thomas Keane, the newly-appointed Captain of ‘C Company’, Limerick City 2nd Battalion IRA, and Volunteer Henry Clancy were on their way to collect two revolvers from Volunteers of ‘A Company’ IRA in Béal Átha Síomoin (Ballysimon), a townland in Kilmurry Civil Parish, in Barony, County Limerick.
As arranged, the two men met up with an IRA Captain, Casey, and collected the two guns, neither of which were loaded.
The two men and Captain Casey were taking a shortcut out of the area, across a field when, in the distance, they seen and heard a Crossley Tender truck and an accompanying ‘cage car’, both carrying Black and Tans, leaving a road and entering the same field that they were in, and driving in their direction. Captain Casey decided to run in the opposite direction while Captain Keane and Volunteer Henry Clancy threw themselves flat on the ground, hoping that they had not been seen.
But, within minutes, the two men were surrounded by the Tans, clubbed with rifle butts, kicked and punched. They were then handcuffed and thrown into the Crossley Tender, both badly injured from the beating they had suffered, more so Henry Clancy, as he was known by the Tans to be active against them, and he knew the fate that awaited him, if he stayed put as their prisoner, so he made a run for it but they shot him dead.
IRA Captain Thomas Keane was ‘tried by field general court martial’ on the 14th May by the British with ‘being unlawfully in possession of arms and waging war against the Crown Forces’ and was sentenced to death. At 8am, on the 4th June 1921, he was placed in front of a firing squad and shot to death ; republican supporters and mourners who were outside the British barracks at the time of his execution were attacked by British forces and forcibly removed from the scene.
Henry Clancy’s funeral was held on the 4th May 1921 – 101 years ago on this date – in Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery, in Limerick, but it was not a peaceful affair. British forces attempted to take it over, restricting the number of mourners, changing the route of the funeral procession and harassing those present ; they only ‘permitted’ the hearse, one carriage and five mourners to proceed to the graveyard, so locals made their own way there and, when they arrived, the RIC and the Tans interrupted proceedings again, by opening fire in all directions.
The mourners found themselves surrounded by armed British forces who harassed them, as they searched the crowd for familiar faces.
IRA Section Leader Patrick Michael Downey (32), ‘B Company’, 1st Battalion, Mid Limerick Brigade, was among the mourners and knew if he was spotted by the enemy he would be ‘arrested’ or shot, so he made his way to a near-by field to leave the area but was shot dead by the RIC while doing so ; an RIC Sergeant, James Horan, from Mayo, was said by locals to be the man who pulled the trigger, and his name also surfaced in relation to the shooting of Volunteer Henry Clancy.
Horan was fast ‘making a name’ for himself, having played a major part in the killings of five members of the IRA who were captured at Caherguillamore House on the 27th December, 1920, and the shooting dead of two teenage brothers in County Clare in February 1921.
Indeed, such was the ‘name’ he made for himself that, immediately following the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ in December 1921, the ‘British Home Office’ instructed that he was to be re-located to Britain for his own safety, as it was common knowledge that the IRA was after him.
IRA Volunteers Thomas Keane, Patrick Michael Downey and Henry Clancy are buried in the Republican Plot in Mount Saint Laurence Cemetery, in Limerick.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.
A recent ‘Sunday Press’ newspaper leader says that British statesmanship treats Ireland differently from the rest of the world. There follows some comments about the six-county unemployment rate (it is affected by partition) and about the defence of these islands (Irish shield for British warrior).
The article ends as follows – ‘If there were any sincerity in Britain’s ‘search for peace’ it would be felt here where there is a wrong done by her, crying out to be remedied. Yet she will not lift her hand to remove the wrong, she will not discuss it or confer about it, and the minority she favours model their attitude on hers. Who then can trust her when she talks about reducing international tension, or of working for world peace founded on justice?’
Thus British statesmanship is insincere. Does that mean that we should cease to place our hopes in it? That we should turn to other methods? No, not a bit of it! We should cry, with millions throughout the world, ‘Perfidious Albion’!’
What about Perfidious Ireland?
(END of ‘Shoneenism 1955’ ; NEXT – ‘Barnes and MacCormack Remembered In Cork’, from the same source.)
ON THIS DATE (4TH MAY) IN…
Joseph Deane was born in about 1674 in what is now known as Crumlin, in what is now known as Dublin (!) ; his father, Joseph, was married to a woman called Elizabeth Parker, who was the daughter of the then Archbishop Dublin, John Parker.
His family were ‘well got’ with the political elite of the day, so much so that they mixed in the same social circles in which Oliver Cromwell moved, and were rewarded for their loyality with large parcels of land in five counties, including in the Dublin area ; they sold some of ‘their’ land (ie an estate in the Carlow area) but held on to the rest of it.
Joseph was appointed as the ‘Justice of Assize for Munster’ and secured a seat for himself in the English parliament, and continued to work his way up the socialite ladder – he was gifted a position as a judge and ‘worked’ his way up to be the ‘Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer.’
You would think with all those titles that he would be well dressed, but apparently not ; he was out of an evening, on horseback, watching an eclipse of the sun, and caught a chill, which morphed into a bad cold which developed into a fever which, on the 4th May in 1715, killed him.
However, the horse survived.
On the 4th May in 1773, according to ‘The Dublin Journal’ newspaper, a Mr. Thomas Burton, who was once ’employed’ as a member of the British Parliament for the Ennis area in Ireland, was the victim of “a melancholy accident”.
The poor man ‘…met with the melancholy accident of being overturned in his chaise, by which he was killed on the spot, in his return home, in company with a gentleman who was to have been married to his daughter the following day..’
Also, on that same date in 1782, another ‘melancholy accident’ made the headlines of the day ; according to ‘The Norfolk Chronicle’ newspaper… ‘On Saturday morning last a melancholy accident happened to Robert GATHERGOOD, son of [rest of line obscured] GATHERGOOD, bricklayer at Swaffham. As [obscured] letting down a piece of old wall belonging to [obscured] MARCON, Esq., it all at once gave way, and part [obscured] fell upon him, which bruised him in so terrible a manner, that he languished till past ten o’clock on Sunday morning, and then expired, to the no small grief of his wife and disconsolate parents. This unfortunate young man was in the 25th year of his age, was a kind indulgent husband to an affectionate wife, to whom he had been married but just twelve weeks, whose grief on the occasion is almost insupportable. On Monday the Coroner’s inquest sat on the body, and brought in their verdict Accidental Death.’
Information on other such ‘melancholy accidents’ can be read here.
Let’s all be careful out there..!
On the 4th May, 1782, one of the so-called ‘Catholic Relief Acts’ was relaxed enough by Westminster to ‘permit’ Catholics to own land outside parliamentary boroughs, to be teachers, and to act as guardians, in their own country.
However, 240 years after that act of generosity, Westminster has still to pass an ‘Act’ which will give Ireland – all of it – back to the Irish.
On the 4th May, 1916, four members of ‘The Irish Volunteers’ were executed by firing squad, by the British, at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin : Edward Daly, Michael O’Hanrahan, William Pearse (brother of Padraic Pearse) and Joseph Mary Plunkett.
Joseph Mary Plunkett was allowed to marry his sweetheart, Grace Gifford, inside the jail, and was allowed a few moments with her alone before he was taken out and executed.
On the 4th May, 1919, an Irish-American delegation representing ‘The Irish Race Convention’ arrived in Dublin to inquire into the political situation in the country. The delegation consisted of Frank P Walsh, a labour lawyer, Edward F Dunne, the former Governor of Illinois, and Michael J Ryan, a Philadelphia lawyer ;
‘A platform declaring that a state of war exists between England and Ireland were passed…[during the convention] with numerous overflow meetings. One and a half million dollars, in round figures, was subscribed for the purpose of carrying forward the Irish movement to enforce the principle of self-determination. Of that amount, New York, Massachusetts, Chicago, Philadelphia and the women of the Ancient Order of Hibernians pledged $150,000 each, while communities organizations and individuals underwrote lesser amounts…’ (From here.)
On the 4th May, 1922, as a convoy of Free State troops were driving in to Newtowncunningham Village in County Donegal, in three Crossley Tender trucks, they couldn’t help but notice that the street they were driving through was packed with IRA men on either side of the road.
A gunfight erupted, and how exactly it started is still disputed : the Staters claim that it was obvious to them that they had driven into an IRA trap/ambush (and perhaps opened fire ‘in self defence’?) while the IRA claimed that they presumed that it was a British Army convoy on its way to Derry (because of the use of Crossley Tender trucks and British Army-styled uniforms?).
Shots were exchanged until it became clear that the trucks were carrying Staters rather than members of their parent company, the British Army and, realising this, the IRA Commanding Officer, Seán Lehane, ordered his men to cease fire, in keeping with a truce* which had been agreed that day in Dublin. Seán Lehane was then fired on by the Staters and, in response, the IRA let loose with a fusillade of bullets resulting in the deaths of four Staters and the wounding of five others.
One of the injured Staters could not be located, and it seems he had been abandoned by his own and left behind in Newtowncunningham after the truck convoy regrouped and fled the scene.
*A joint ‘Army Committee’ was set up on the morning of that same day (4th May 1922) consisting of IRA fighters Liam Lynch, Liam Mellows, Sean Moylan, Rory O’Connor and Seamus Robinson and Free Staters Michael Collins, Richard Mulcahy, Diarmaid O’Hegarty, Eoin O’Duffy, Gearoid O’Sullivan and Sean MacEoin and a truce until the 8th of May (1922) was agreed but, on the 15th of that month – patience worn thin – the IRA spokesman, Liam Lynch, told the Staters that “negotiations must cease if a definite understanding for agreement is not reached.” He called their bluff, in other words, and negotiations ceased.
(On the morning of the 4th May, 1922,, Michael Collins had issued a circular to all Free State operatives, political and military, instructing them to prepare schemes of non-cooperation with the Stormont administration. Shame he couldn’t have done something similiar a few months earlier, when he accepted ‘assistance and advice in how to deal with the Irregulars’ from Stormont’s paymasters in Westminster.)
A few paragraphs re the Newtowncunningham Village incident can be read here.
Thanks for the visit, and for reading.
We won’t be posting our blog next Wednesday, 11th May 2022, as one of the ‘Girl Gang’ has a BIG Birthday [ a ‘BIG’ number before the ‘0’!] on Tuesday (10th) and, although it’s more-or-less half-organised now, it’s gonna take maybe two days beforehand to finalise the gig, which itself will last for probably two days (!) and then it’ll take about two days afterwards to recover from it. And I don’t wanna be doing this with a pounding headache and the shakes!
But we’ll be back on Wednesday, the 18th May, 2022 with, among other bits and pieces, a few paragraphs about a millionaire Leinster House politician who said the 1916 Easter Rising was a mistake and that it was an unjust war. But sure wha’ would ya expect from a Free Stater who sits in a British-imposed ‘parliament’ in Dublin…?
Thanks for the visit – see y’all on the 18th!
Sharon and the team.