“A NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT, A DEDICATED REVOLUTIONARY…
..UNDETERRED BY THREAT OR PERSONAL RISK.” (FBI description of Peter Roger Casement Brady / Ruairi O Bradaigh, from here.)
Nine years ago on this date (8th June) the Republican Movement buried one of its founding fathers, a gentleman who, during his lifetime (born in Longford 2nd October 1932, died 5th June 2013) joined the then Sinn Féin organisation at 18 years of age and, one year later, joined the IRA.
At 23 years of age he was the Officer Commanding during the Arborfield arms raid and, at 24 years young, he was second-in-command of the Teeling Column, South Fermanagh, which was lead by Noel Kavanagh.
In 1957, at 25 years of age, Ruairi was elected in Longford-Westmeath as a Sinn Féin TD (to an All-Ireland Parliament) and, the following year, he escaped from the Curragh Internment Camp in Kildare with Dáithí Ó Conaill, with whom he served in the IRA as Chief of Staff (between 1958 and 1959, and again between 1960 and 1962) and, in 1966, at 34 years of age, he contested a seat for the Movement in Fermanagh-South Tyrone.
He was Sinn Féin President from 1970 to 1983 and again from 1987 (which was the year after the organisation re-constituted itself as ‘Republican Sinn Féin’) to 2009 and was the Patron of the Movement from 2009 until his untimely death in 2013.
He worked throughout his life for economic, political and social justice both in Ireland and internationally and has now joined the other Patrons of the Republican Movement – Comdt-General Tom Maguire, Michael Flannery, George Harrison and Dan Keating.
‘Forego tears for the glorious dead and gone; his tears if his, still flow for slaves and cowards living on…’
Rest In Peace, Ruairi.
‘FALSE DOCTRINE AND TRUE.’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.
“More than thirty summers have now passed since that disastrous measure called a ‘legislative Union’ extinguished at one blow the pride, the prosperity, the independence of the Irish Nation” – those are the words of ‘Sir’ Jonah Barrington, thirty years after the passing of the ‘Act of Union’.
Substitute for ‘legislative Union’ the word ‘Treaty’ and you have Ireland in 1955. The writer goes on to refer to England’s upholding the Union “a measure effected by corruption and upheld by oppression”. Are not the words equally applicable today?
What remains to be said of British occupation that has not been said before? Can there be any thinking, reasoning individual still left who requires convincing of the utter hopelessness of ending it by means of a few friendly chats?
The spokesmen (sic) of the various political parties deprecate the use of force as a solution. Mr Costello states that his aim is to ensure that the ending of partition will be achieved with mutual goodwill. Mr Costello’s approach is unreal. Its unreality seems even clearer in the light of the recent pronouncement of the Six-County Minister for Agriculture, the Rev Robert Moore, who booms : “We will neither discuss with Mr Costello, nor with any of his representatives, the constitutional position so far as Northern Ireland (sic) is concerned. Hear we are, and here we mean to stay…”
ON THIS DATE (8TH JUNE) 331 YEARS AGO : ‘PRISONERS TAKEN IN BALLYMORE’.
‘On June 6th 1691, the fort overlooking Lough Seudy was garrisoned by a force of Jacobite (Irish) Troops (loyal to English King – James 2nd) under Col. Ulick Burke, consisting of 50 officers, 800 troops and 250 rapparees, there was also 600 women and children.
The fort was well provisioned with food but very poorly armed with only 2 No. small cannon. Ballymore, a town of over 100 cabins, was considered, by some of the Irish leaders as a vital obstacle in delaying the Williamite Army (loyal to English King William 3rd) advance on Athlone. Early on the 7TH of June, the Williamite army, under Gen. de Ginkel, consisting of between 11,000 and 12,000 men, having advanced from Mullingar, set up positions on Mullaghacloe hill, and called on the Irish garrison to surrender (or suffer the fate of the Irish Sergeant –on a gallows on Mullaghcloe hill, in full view of the fort), instead they opened fire with their 2 cannon and small shot.
Ginkel then commenced fire with 4 field cannons which pounded the fort for 4 hours. That afternoon 14 cannon and 4 mortars were set up on the low ground east of the fort. The following morning they opened fire with all force. The Irish garrison were called on again to surrender, but refused. The full weight of the enemy artillery was again aimed on them. Early on the 8th, the attackers launched 3 boat loads of troops onto Lough Seudy and, as the Irish had no means of defending the lake side of the fort, at noon Col. Burke raised the white flag…’
The following ‘List of Prisoners’ was compiled on the 8th June, 1691 ; we have left it formatted as we found it –
Colonel Ulick Bourke, governor.—Lieutenant-colonel Peter Barnwall, of my lord Gormanston’s regiment.—Lieutenant-colonel Thomas Thomas Corbet, of colonel Nicholas Fitzgerald’s.
Of my lord Bellew’s:—major John Dowdall, captain Valentine Russel, captain Owen Murphy, captain William Pippard, lieutenant p.273 Thady Croly, lieutenant Thomas Macarton, lieutenant John Ley, ensign Branagan, ensign Thomas Tuite, ensign Thomas Smith, David Kennedy, adjutant.
Of sir Maurice Eustace’s: —captain Thomas Sherlock, captain Thomas Aspoll, captain Valentine Browne, lieutenant George Fitzgerald, lieutenant Francis Tipper, lieutenant Symon Hart, ensign Andrew Aspole, ensign Matthias Eustace, ensign John Keating, —Connor, chirurgeon.
Of colonel Henry Dillon’s: —captain Thomas Dillon, captain Gerard Dillon, lieutenant Morgan Reynolds, lieutenant James Leynam, lieutenant Redmond Fitzgerald, ensign Charles Castoloe.
Of colonel Walter Bourke’s:—captain Luke Sheile, captain Robert Fitzgerald, lieutenant Peter Dally, lieutenant Walter Dalton, lieutenant Philip Fox.
Of colonel Charles Moore’s:—captain Roger Wolverston, captain John Bourke, captain John Bruerton, lieutenant Christopher Barnwall, ensign Daniel Sullivan, ensign John Bourke, ensign Nicholas Synott.
Of colonel Oxborough’s:—lieutenant Luke Everard.
Of my lord of Gormanston’s:—ensign Barnewall.
Of colonel Goughegan’s:—captain Charles Taaff.
Of colonel Clifford’s:—captain Edward Bourke, cornet Daniel Griffith, quarter-master John Caffery, James Mabe, storekeeper, John Pierce, chaplain.
These three not being owned by the governor, the general has ordered them to be included in the number of raparees:—ensign Timothy Lenaghan, ensign Henry Bryan, quarter-master Thomas Joy.
There were found besides in the custody of the provost-marshal twenty-seven private men, which were made prisoners.
The number of the prisoners taken in the fort of Ballymore were: 780 private men, 259 raparees, 645 women,—children.
Endorsed: 8 June, 1691. List of the officers taken prisoners at Ballymore.’
Those who talk about ‘the Troubles having lasted thirty years’ are either politically ignorant of the on-going conflict here in Ireland or they are pushing an anti-republican agenda. The Ballymore attack took place, as stated, 331 years ago and even that occurred 522 years after the conflict first started!
Those ‘Troubled’ people (!) are ‘out’ by at least 823 years but they won’t thank you for pointing that out to them!
ON THIS DATE (8TH JUNE) 101 YEARS AGO : ACCOUNTS DIFFER OVER THE DEATH OF A USC MEMBER.
On the 8th June, 1921, a ‘USC’ member (and ‘Orange Order’ man), George Lyness (25), who lived on Basin Walk, in Newry, County Down, was shot dead. That much is known, but there are two versions of the incident surrounding his death, plus a statement issued afterwards by a sister of the two men that were also killed in that same incident.
1) A patrol of ‘USC’ members were on the ground in the townland of Corrogs, just outside Newry, when they encountered IRA Volunteers and a gunbattle ensued, in which one USC member, Joseph Gibson, was wounded in his left heel ; the IRA men took to the safety of a near-by cottage, USC reinforcements arrived on the scene and the cottage was stormed, resulting in the death of USC man George Lyness and two IRA men.
2) A USC raiding party forcibly entered a house in Corrogs and kill two men, Stephen Magill and his brother Owen, and their father is then set upon by that raiding party and severly beaten. During that incident, USC member George Lyness was shot dead.
Then, on the 20th June, 1921, a sister of the two brothers issued the following sworn statement –
“I, Mary Ellen Magee, of Corrogs, Newry, County Down, do hereby solemnly declare that the statements made herein are the truth, so help me God.
On Wednesday, June 8, at or about the hour of 8 o’clock in the evening, I heard voices (which I afterwards found to be those of Special Constabulary) speaking to my brother, Stephen Magill, at the door of our house. They were asking him was his brother in the house. Before he could reply, my brother, Owen Magill, walked out to the side of Stephen.
They were only a few feet from the door when I heard the order, ‘Hands up’ and the next thing I heard was a volley of shots. I ran to the door and saw my brother Stephen falling, and my brother Owen ran to me and said to me ‘I’m done.’ I took my brother Owen round to the back of the house and helped to bandage his wound, which was in his right side. He was quite conscious and did not appear to be seriously wounded. My brother Stephen was shot through the heart and died in a few minutes. His wound appeared to be caused by an explosive bullet as the gash in his breast was almost two inches in diameter.
When the Specials left, we took my brother Owen into the house and he undressed himself and went to bed. At about 10 p.m. the Specials returned and enquired for my brother Owen, who was wounded. They told him they were going to take him to hospital and they told me the same. My father was in the room with my brother at the time ; the Specials kicked him out of the room and abused him badly. My father is aged 78. Then my brother walked out of the house with the Specials, and as far as I know, walked over two hundred yards to the military lorry which was in waiting. They did not allow my brother to put on his coat, but took him away in his shirt and trousers. As far as can be ascertained, my brother was dead when he arrived at the hospital.
On the occasion of their visit on June 8 they followed me through the fields, and threatened to shoot me if I did not tell them where my wounded brother was, he having hid himself under the bed when he heard they were coming the second time. This is a true statement of all the main facts of the case.
The Specials returned on June 10, and raided our house. They knocked down a stack of hay, and threw clothes and other things on the yard. On Sunday, June 12, they again returned. Neither my father nor myself were in the house at the time. They broke open the door and tossed everything over the house, pitching beds, clothes, and everything here, there, and everywhere They again returned on June 18.
(Signed) Mary Ellen Magee, June 20th, ’21.”
Mr Lyness had previous experience in ‘keeping the peace’ with the British Army in the ‘Royal Irish Rifles’ and the ‘Machine Gun Corps’ sections of that Army, and is buried in Meetinghouse Green Road Cemetery in Newry. His father received £600 compensation from the British Government for the loss of his son.
ON THIS DATE (8TH JUNE) 177 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A NON-SHOE-SHINING SLAVER!
‘WANTED : DEAD OR ALIVE. ANDREW JACKSON…responsible for the death of thousands of Native Americans..’ (more here) and we are aware of his involvement with the ‘slave trade’, both of which issues would usually exclude a person from mention on our blog but, due to his Irish roots, the particular date involved (8th June) and this wee story featuring himself and the British, we have decided to make an exception.
Andrew Jackson was an American statesman who served as the seventh President of the United States from 1829 to 1837. He died on this date – 8th June – 177 years ago, in 1845.
His parents were born in Donegal and they emigrated to the USA. As a boy, his mother, an Irish republican, told young Andrew of the horrors the British committed on the Irish people, and she told him of how the Irish fought back.
During the American Revolution, Jackson, at just 13 years young, was taken prisoner by the British, who soon discovered that he had Irish roots. A British Officer ordered Jackson to shine boots and, when Jackson refused, the enraged Officer unsheathed his sword and slashed young Jackson across the face, leaving a scar he would carry to his grave.
Throughout his life, Andrew Jackson despised the British. The USA again fought the British, from 1812-1814, and the war was fought to a standstill. A treaty was signed in England but it took thirty days to get word across the sea to America and the war waged on. The famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, an admirer of Jackson, got word to him that the war was over, but Jackson decided to ignore this until he got an official order!
His army, supported by Lafitte’s pirates, were prepared to meet the British in battle, in New Orleans and, under a fog in the bayou, the British attacked ; the Americans, under Jackson, destroyed them. The British lost over two-thousand soldiers and the Americans lost eight.
Later, when asked why the battle was fought after the war was over, Jackson claimed he had no official word that that was the position…!
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.
Old, comforting certainties have vanished and, as the patina of ethnic superiority has been stripped away, many loyalists have come to regard their position as isolated and desperate.
They are more suspicious than ever of both the British government and their own political figureheads. Their alienation is further deepened by concessions to nationalism on policing and demilitarisation, while modish concepts like ‘the equality agenda’ are regarded with a mixture of contempt and bewilderment.
“I think Protestants and unionists feel that their culture is under attack,” says Seán Mag Uidhir, editor of the nationalist ‘North Belfast News’ newspaper. “That culture is something they took for granted, just as many of them took inequality for granted. There is now an awareness of issues like equality and human rights, and the result is that unionists believe they are constantly losing things.” (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (8TH JUNE) 48 YEARS AGO : FORCE-FED IRISH HUNGER-STRIKER BURIED.
Michael Gaughan (pictured, inset, left) , the eleventh Irish republican to die on hunger strike was four months away from celebrating his 25th birthday.
Immortalised in song by Seamus Robinson, Michael Gaughan was an IRA activist in England and, in December 1971, he found himself in front of a British judge in the Old Bailey, where he was sentenced to seven years in Wormwood Scrubs for taking part in a (fund-raising) bank raid in north London. Two years later, he was transferred to Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight and demanded that he be treated as a political prisoner. This was refused and he was placed in solitary confinement before being moved to Parkhurst Prison, also on the Isle of Wight.
On the 31st of March, 1974, Michael Gaughan joined an on-going hunger-strike protest and, after 23 days, he was force-fed : the tube that was forced down his throat punctured his lung, killing him, in Parkhurst Prison, on the 3rd of June, 1974.
His body was removed from London and on Friday and Saturday, 7th and 8th June 1974 – 48 years ago on this date – thousands of mourners lined the streets of Kilburn and marched behind his coffin, which was flanked by an IRA guard of honour, to a requiem mass held in the ‘Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus’ in Kilburn.
On that Saturday (8th June 1974), his body was transported to Dublin where, again, it was met by mourners and another IRA guard of honour who brought it to the Adam and Eve’s Franciscan church on Merchant’s Quay, where thousands filed past as it lay in state. The following day, his body was removed to Ballina, County Mayo. The funeral mass took place on the 9th June, at St. Muredach’s Cathedral, Ballina, and the procession then went to Leigue Cemetery, Ballina.
He was given a full republican burial and was laid to rest in the republican plot. Mayo republican Jackie Clarke (Seán Ó Clérigh) presided at the last obsequies, and the oration at his graveside was given by Dáithí Ó Conaill, who stated that Gaughan “..had been tortured in prison by the vampires of a discredited empire who were joined by decrepit politicians who were a disgrace to the name of Irishmen…”
His coffin was draped in the same Tricolour that was used for Terence McSwiney’s funeral 54 years earlier. He left a final message in which he stated – “I die proudly for my country and in the hope that my death will be sufficient to obtain the demands of my comrades. Let there be no bitterness on my behalf, but a determination to achieve the new Ireland for which I gladly die. My loyalty and confidence is to the IRA and let those of you who are left carry on the work and finish the fight.”
And today, 48 years after Michael Gaughan was buried, republicans are still working towards that same objective.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.
The Senior Hurling game, Wexford v Dublin, at Croke Park on Sunday 6th February last, was a great success.
Over 8,000 spectators attended and they were treated to a very enjoyable and keenly contested game, which was featured by score for score exchanges until in the last minute Dublin scored the final point, to leave it a draw ; 3-7 to 3-7.
An Cumann Cabhrach will benefit to the extent of more than £300 – there are still some expenses to be submitted before the final accounts can be arrived at. It will be necessary to have a replay in order to decide who will get the set of gold medals provided for the winners.
The Central Council GAA are due sincere thanks for giving Croke Park for the match on the 6th February but with all the calls on them during the year it is hardly likely that they will be able to let us have it again for the replay – so alternative arrangements may have to be made.
Hearty congratulations to Dublin and Wexford for their great display and hoping they will both be available for the replay, probably in early summer.
(END of ‘GAA Support’ ; NEXT – ‘Correction’, from the same source.)
ON THIS DATE (8TH JUNE) IN…
On the 8th June, 1739, a child, John Scott (pictured) ‘…was born in to a landed family in Tipperary in the mid 18th century and was educated in Kilkenny College..and became an Irish barrister..’
Mr Scott had a colourful (!) life, to put it mildly, and apparently lived it to the full, in between which he progressed up the ‘Establishment’ ladder as an MP, then ‘..between 1774 and 1783 he was either Solicitor General or Attorney General for Ireland. In 1784 he became Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench in Ireland…’
However, he temporarly fell out with Westminster ‘..for opposing the incursions of English officials on the small measure of Irish sovereignty obtained in 1782..’ but he was not well got with the ‘United Irishmen’ or other revolutionary organisations in Ireland who viewed him with ‘contempt and detestation’.
He kept himself active with ‘wine, women and drink’ and had the financial means to do all that, and more – including duels over women and politics – and, while he didn’t make his mark in Irish republicanism, he deserves a mention, with the date that’s in it, if only because he sounds like good craic to have been around!
More on this man (whose nickname was ‘Copper-Faced Jack!) here.
On the 8th June, 1921, an IRA ‘Active Service Unit’ from the 4th Battalion of the Kerry No. 2 Brigade fired from both sides of the track at a train carrying British troops at Ballybrack station near Farranfore.
One British soldier, from the 2nd Battalion of the so-called ‘Loyal Regiment’, is listed as having died in that operation, and was named as Private Harry Minion (‘Service Number 3848931’) ; he was hit twice, and is buried in Bolton (Tonge) Cemetery in Lancashire, in England.
On the evening of June the 8th, 1921, RIC member Dennis Patrick O’Leary (43) (‘Service Number 60374’), from Rathmore, in County Kerry, was cycling from Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, where he was stationed, to his lodgings in Carrickbeg.
He had joined the RIC on the 1st October, 1901, and was based in Galway until 1911, when he was transfered to Tipperary.
At about 8.40 pm that evening, as he was cycling, two men ran out on to the road and shot him in the chest and thigh, inflicting wounds from which he died. His widow received £3,165 in compensation, which was to be shared with her mother-in-law.
On the 8th June, 1921, David Fitzgibbon (37), From Liscarroll, in County Cork, answered a knock on his hall door at about 5pm.
He was grabbed by a number of men, pulled outside and shot dead ; his body was left on the road and a label was attached to it, which read – ‘Shot by the IRA. Spies and Informers Beware.’
Mr Fitzgibbon was an ex-British Army soldier.
Daniel Crowley (30), a Volunteer with the Aultagh Company of the Third Battalion of the Cork No.3 Brigade IRA, was at home in the family house in Behagullane, Aultagh, in the Dunmanway district of Cork, on the 8th June, 1921, when a British Army raiding party descended on the house at about 12.30am. The British knew that at least two of the four Crowley brothers were IRA Volunteers and they were determined to get one or more of them.
One of the brothers, Jim, was Captain of the Aultagh Company IRA at the time.
Daniel made a run for safety as the raiding party approached the house, but was shot dead by them. He is buried in Castletown Kinneigh Cemetery, in Cork.
On the 8th June, 1922, the home of the McCann family in Cloughmills, near Martinstown, in County Antrim, was attacked by members of the ‘USC’.
Two family members – John McCann and his uncle Archie McCann – were taken from their home for ‘questioning’. Both men were shot by the ‘USC’, Archie McCann died from his wounds but, although seriously injured, John McCann survived.
While recovering, he identified a neighbour of his, a Mr Thomas McDowell, as one of the attackers ; Mr McDowell, a sergeant in the ‘B Specials’, was taken into custody by his own people, found guilty and imprisoned.
He probably got promoted after his release.
A convention of 250 officers from IRA brigades, battalions and companies of the 1st Northern Division IRA, along with divisional staff, took place in Ballybofey, in County Donegal, on the 8th June, 1922. Approximately 90% of those present, from that particular IRA Division, declared themselves pro-Treaty.
Within weeks they had been gifted weaponry by Westminster to use against their former comrades and to protect the Westminster-imposed political institutions in their new ‘Free State’. And they are still at it.
On the 8th June, 1971, the General Officer Commanding the British Army in the Six Occupied Counties, Harry Tuzo (pictured), said that a permanent military solution to the conflict in the O6C could not be achieved. So Westminster started to buy off those opposed to them, as they had done in 1921. Their last such purchase was in 1986, when their plants in the Republican Movement showed themselves and morphed into an anti-republican political party.
On the 8th June, 1974, the Price sisters ended their hunger strike in Brixton Prison, in England.
In March 1973, seven men and three women, including Marion and Dolours Price (pictured), had been charged in London with the Old Bailey and Whitehall bombings. After being sentenced to life imprisonment, the Price sisters embarked on a hunger-strike for repatriation.
Their hunger-strike was to last 206 days, during which they were force-fed in horrific conditions. In support of the Price sisters, the women in Armagh Jail started having a token 24-hour hunger-strike every Friday. Those prisoners on remand would also use the opportunity of court appearances to make speeches from the dock about their comrades on hunger-strike.
The Price sisters were finally transferred to Armagh Jail on March 18th 1975 – their transfer had been announced much sooner and the Armagh women prisoners didn’t expect them on that day. As Teresa Holland put it – “We had been practising for weeks, with flags, uniforms, the lot, and they hadn’t come. And then suddenly there they were! So we got out the flags and the uniforms and had another parade just for them. They were lost, they couldn’t believe their eyes. Everybody felt brilliant and, for a full week, every time they went into someone’s cell, the girl in that cell would make them a big feed. It actually took them a long time to settle in, with all the fuss!”
You can read more about the Price sisters here.
On the 8th June, 1977, the then British ‘Secretary of State’ for the Occupied Six Counties, ‘Lord’ Roy Mason, a member of the ‘Privy Council of England’ and a political ‘Deputy Lieutenant’, announced that the strength of the RUC would be increased by 1,200 and that of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) increased to 2,500 full-time members. He also announced that there would be more undercover activity by troops, and that the ‘spearhead battalion’ would be withdrawn.
Other people, however, had a desire to reduce those numbers, and ignored ‘Lord’ Mason’s announcement and carried on with their own plans…
On the 8th June, 1981, IRA POW Thomas McElwee (pictured), from Bellaghy, in County Derry, began his hunger strike in the H Blocks of Long Kesh prison.
He was the 21st Irish political prisoner to die on hunger strike between 1917 and 1981, and died on the 8th August, 1981, at 23 years of age, after 62 days on hunger strike.
“I am fully aware of the pain and suffering I will have to endure and I know that at the end I may and most likely will have to forfeit my life…” – Thomas McElwee, who was born on the 30th November, 1957, in Tamlaghtduff, Bellaghy, Co. Derry.
He was the fifth of twelve children in a family living in the three-bedroom house their father built along the Tamlaghtduff road. The house sat on five acres of land. His parents were Alice and Jim. Four other children didn’t survive infancy. They were a very close family. His father Jim was a builder by trade… (more here.)
May he Rest in Peace.
Thanks for the visit, and for reading. And hope you can make it on Sunday, 12th June 2022, to the RSF/SFP Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown Churchyard, County Kildare – we’ll be there a bit earlier than the 2.30pm start, and we’ll be lookin’ out for ya…!
Sharon and the team.