ON THIS DATE (17TH AUGUST) 53 YEARS AGO : BRITISH PRESS RELEASE RE “DISTURBANCES” EXPOSES WESTMINSTER MINDSET.
‘Speech by the Prime Minister, Major The Rt. Hon. J.D. Chichester-Clark, D.L., M.P., At a Press Conference in Stormont Castle To-Day, Sunday, 17th August 1969.’
“We have, of course, been doing what we can to provide you all with a regular and accurate supply of information on the public order situation in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland (sic).
I have, however, invited you to come here to-day so that my colleagues and I may put before you, and through you to the public, our views on some of the wider issues involved.
This is vitally necessary in view of a great deal of speculation, much of it wide of the mark…”
– Mr Chichester-Clark’s mealy-mouthed and marble-in-the-mouth misdirections and outright mistruths dripped off those first two pages as, indeed, they did for the following four pages in that six-page press release, which was unleashed for public consumption on the 17th August 1969 – 53 years ago on this date.
The reason the ‘Right Honourable’ Mr Chichester-Clark and his people felt it prudent to call a press conference was because of the riots caused by one of their surrogate groupings, the ‘Apprentice Boys’, five days previously which, in turn, meant that Irish republicans had to take to the streets to protect themselves and the areas that they lived in.
“The real cause of the disorder is to be found in the activities of extreme Republican elements and others determined to overthrow our State. That is why we have found it necessary to detain a considerable number of known and dangerous agitators.
I would remind you again that the trouble in Belfast began with firing upon the police (sic) at widely-scattered locations within a short period of time…disorder was mounting ; riots had taken place in ten different towns the night before ; great damage was being done ; lives were clearly at risk…”
The Westminster political and military administration has invaded almost 90 per cent of the world’s countries (to date, but it’s early yet…) and, without exception, has ‘explained’ that bloodshed occurred because some of the natives got uppity and objected to being robbed, raped and pillaged ie ‘The real cause of the disorder is to be found in the activities of (name natives here) and that is why we have found it necessary to etc…’
Same as it ever was, then, from Mr Chichester-Clark who, incidentally, was crudely impersonated by those who associated politically with him, including his own people, who viewed him as a representative of aristocratic nepotism and amateurism and spoke behind his back about Mr C-C and his unionist cabinets comprising of ‘captain this and major that and general nothing..’, as the poet John Montague put it!
“We fully appreciate that the United Kingdom Government and the Westminster Parliament must be satisfied that troops are involved only in a setting about which they can be confident and that the situation had arisen through no failure or error of this Government…no one here would dispute the sovereign authority of Westminster to secure its will…”
Perhaps no one in the circles you moved in, Mr C-C, would have “dispute(d) the sovereign authority of Westminster to secure its will” (..in the Occupied Six Counties) but we know of thousands of natives who did, and continue to do, just that!
While facing repeated votes of ‘No Confidence’ in his leadership, Mr Chichester-Clark resigned his Stormont position on the 20th March, 1971, in protest at the failure of the London administration to send in more troops and impose wide-ranging security measures in the Six Occupied Counties but was no doubt placated when, on the 20th July, 1971, he received a ‘Life Peerage’ and was gifted the title of ‘Baron Moyola of Castledawson’. And he never even thanked the natives for helping him to secure his ‘Baronship’!
James Dawson Chichester-Clark (‘Lord Moyola’) died, aged 79, on the 17th May, 2002, in Moyola Park Country Estate, near Castledawson, in County Derry. We’ll hazard a guess and say that his family missed him.
‘TOMÁS MacCURTAIN COMMEMORATION.’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.
At the Tomás MacCurtain Commemoration, held in the City Hall, Cork, on March 18th last, the following address was delivered by Domhnall O Cathain :
“We are inclined to dwell mostly on current affairs, to attempt to expose the hypocrisy and insincerity that is rampant in this Ireland of today.
You may ask what has this got to do with the Tomás MacCurtain Commemoration, maybe you may even accuse us of using the Commemoration for some obscure political reason or some ulterior motive.
This tendency became apparent when the Republican Movement was surrounded by, if I might use the hackneyed phrase, the ‘Paper Wall’, when every device known to modern propagandists was used to slander and detract from the Republican Movement.
All this cleverness, prompted by cynical materialism, was brought to bear on an organisation sadly depleted by imprisonments, demoralised by ruthless coercion, and its spokesmen (sic) had no other means of retaliation, no other means of nailing the lies than the common rostrum…”
ON THIS DATE (17TH AUGUST) 102 YEARS AGO – TERENCE MACSWINEY TRANSFERRED FROM CORK TO BRIXTON.
“If I die I know the fruit will exceed the cost a thousand fold. The thought of it makes me happy. I thank God for it. Ah, Cathal, the pain of Easter week is properly dead at last…”
– Terence MacSwiney wrote these words in a letter to Cathal Brugha on the 30th September, 1920, the 39th day of his hunger strike. The pain he refers to is that caused by his failure to partake in the 1916 Easter Rising. Contradictory orders from Dublin and the failure of the arms ship, the Aud, to land arms in Tralee, left the Volunteers in Cork unprepared for insurrection.
In his book ‘History of the Irish Working Class’, Peter Beresford Ellis wrote : “On October 25th, 1920, Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney – poet, dramatist and scholar – died on the 74th day of a hunger-strike while in Brixton Prison, London. A young Vietnamese dishwasher in the Carlton Hotel in London broke down and cried when he heard the news – “A Nation which has such citizens will never surrender”. His name was Nguyen Ai Quoc who, in 1941, adopted the name Ho Chi Minh and took the lessons of the Irish anti-imperialist fight to his own country…”
Terence MacSwiney, born on the 28th March 1879, was the Commandant of the 1st Cork Brigade of the IRA and was elected as the Lord Mayor of Cork. He died after 74 days on hunger strike (a botched effort to force feed him hastened his death) in Brixton Prison, England, on the 25th October, 1920, and his body lay in Southwark Cathedral in London where tens of thousands of people paid their respects.
He summed-up the Irish feeling at that time (a feeling and determination which is still prominent to this day) – “The contest on our side is not one of rivalry or vengeance but of endurance. It is not those who can inflict the most but those who can suffer the most who will conquer. Those whose faith is strong will endure to the end in triumph.”
And our faith is strong.
It was on this date – 17th August – in 1920, that Terence MacSwiney was transferred from Cork Prison to Brixton Prison, where he died.
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.
According to John White – “At the inception of the peace process the governments, including the American administration, said they would target funding into areas that had suffered most, and that didn’t happen.”
“There were great hopes, particularly among paramilitaries who said ‘this is it, it’s over, I’ll be able to get a job and live a normal life.’ When the jobs didn’t come and when the economic and social deprivations in this area weren’t alleviated in any way, they just felt ‘what have we got out of it’? I saw many of them go back to senior positions in the UDA.”
John White received a life sentence for the 1973 murder of SDLP Senator Paddy Wilson and his companion Irene Andrews, both of whom died from multiple stab wounds. Since his release from prison in the early 1990’s he has become a prominent figure in the UDA’s political wing, the ‘Ulster Democratic Party’ (UDP).
In the mid-90’s, the UDP and the UVF’s political wing, the ‘Progressive Unionist Party’ (PUP) were regarded as potentially transformational forces, combining hardline loyalism with left-of-centre social policies and a pragmatic attitude towards issues like power sharing…
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, March, 1955.
We wish to remind American readers that the U.S. headquarters of the ‘Republican Aid Committee’ (RAC) is at 112 West 72nd Street, New York 23.
This is the only body in the U.S. which is authorised to collect funds on behalf of the Republican Prisoners and their dependents. Those wishing to subscribe to the fund should forward their subscriptions to the Secretary of the New York Committee.
A circular issued recently by ‘The Irish Republican Adherents Benevolent Society’ may have given the impression that the ‘Society’ had been authorised by the Central Committee in Dublin to collect funds. This is not the case.
Due to a misunderstanding, the sum of £100 was handed to the Central Committee some time ago on behalf of ‘The Irish Republican Adherents Benevolent Society’. This sum has now been returned by the Central Committee.
(END of ‘RAC Reminder’ ; NEXT – ‘United Stand Once More’, from ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.)
ON THIS DATE (17TH AUGUST) IN…
William Corbet (pictured) was born in Ballythomas, County Cork, on the 17th August, 1779 :
‘William Corbet was an Anglo-Irish soldier in the service of France. In September 1798 he accompanied Napper Tandy in an aborted French mission to Ireland in support of the United Irish insurrection. After two years incarceration he escaped Ireland, and served in the campaigns of Napoleon reaching the rank of colonel. In 1831, under the July Monarchy, he was employed in the French expedition to Greece. He returned to France in 1837, retiring with the rank of Major-General…’ (from here.)
Depending on circumstances, William sometimes used the name ‘Billy Stone’ but a name-change alone wasn’t enough to save him from being expelled from Trinity College, in Dublin, in 1798, alongside Robert Emmet and others, for ‘treasonable activities’.
He went to Paris and joined a French military force under Napper Tandy, with the rank of Captain, and sailed from Dunkirk with arms and ammunition for Ireland. The expedition had to turn back following the defeat of General Humbert and, arriving in Hamburg, they were handed over to the British authorities and taken to Ireland, where they were imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail.
He remained a military man for the rest of his life, obtaining the rank of Major-General, and died at St Denis, in Paris, on the 12th August, 1842, at only 63 years of age.
On Yer Bike..!
This advertisement was published in ‘The Connaught Telegraph’ newspaper on the 17th August, 1912, and was placed by ‘The Connaught Cycle and Motor Works of Linenhall Street, Castlebar and Main Street, Claremorris’.
It is a list of “satisfied customers” from the then British ‘police’ force in Ireland, the RIC, who had purchased bicycles or cycling accessories from the company and were so thrilled with what they got that they apparently wrote to the bike shop about it (!).
Among the happy customers was a Sergeant W. Driscoll, Clonboo RIC, County Galway, who bought an ‘RIC Erin’s Hope Bicycle’ (..how ironic!), Daniel O’Sullivan, New Inn RIC, Galway, a ‘Head Constable’ be the name of Gargan, from Killarney, an RIC man named Hanley, from Kinvarra RIC, in Galway, and a few other Crown Agents, all of whom were full of praise for the product and the company.
We wonder did that company operate from a ‘Big House’-type premises…?
Tuesday, 17th August in 1920 was a busy day for the ‘Irregulars’ in Donegal ; Volunteer members of the Ardara Battalion attacked a four-person RIC patrol, leaving all four injured, two seriously (and that same IRA unit attacked another RIC patrol near the chapel in Ardara the following night) and, on the 17th, Volunteers from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions took over the village of Falcarragh (pictured) to remove the wireless telegraphy equipment from the post office in the town.
The IRA were aware that a garrison of RIC operatives were stationed in the town barracks and Joe Sweeney and James McCole organised their men in such a manner that the RIC knew not to attempt to leave their barracks until the IRA were finished their business ; the building was surrounded by armed republicans but no attempt was made to enter the premises and no attempt was made by the RIC to leave the safety of their barracks.
The removal of the wireless equipment took about two hours, during which the RIC stayed indoors and the IRA stood watch over them before dispersing and re-grouping in the Gortahork area, having completed their mission.
On the 17th August, 1922, two Free State Army medical orderlies from County Galway, Cecil Fitzgerald and John O’Mara, who were based in Killarney in County Kerry, decided to take a boat trip to Innisfallen Island (pictured) in Lough Leanne, in Kerry.
As they were approaching the jetty on the island, an IRA sniper opened fire on them and both were shot dead.
On the 17th August, 1922, Free State troops re-occupied the town of Dundalk, in County Louth. The Staters were led by republican-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-poacher Dan Hogan (pictured) who obtained the rank of Free State Army ‘Major General of the Eastern Command’ and, in 1927, was promoted to ‘Chief of Staff of the State Defence Forces’, a position he resigned from in 1929.
He was last heard of in Chicago, in 1941 when, according to Fearghal McGarry’s biography of Eoin O’Duffy – “Hogan left for the United States under a cloud, financial or sexual. He was killed in a bar brawl there in the early 1940s…”
A British ‘police force’ in Ireland, the ‘Royal Irish Constabulary’ (RIC) which was, in effect, an armed British militia in Ireland, was disbanded between the 17th and the 31st August, 1922, after that grouping had faithfully served the Westminster administration since 1822.
They were replaced by the ‘Civic Guards’ (which had been formed on the 7th February 1922), a grouping which was re-titled the ‘Garda Siochana’, in the Free State, in 1923, and which carried-on the old RIC traditions of assisting at evictions and doing its utmost to suppress Irish republicans and republicanism.
Indeed, one of the RIC’s most high profile ‘hits’ was the murder of Cork Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain on the 20th March 1920, the inquest into which found that he had been – “…wilfully murdered under circumstances of the most callous brutality, and that the murder was organised and carried out by the Royal Irish Constabulary, officially directed by the British Government, and we return a verdict of wilful murder against David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England ; Lord French, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland ; Ian McPherson, late Chief Secretary of Ireland ; Acting Inspector General Smith, of the Royal Irish Constabulary ; Divisional Inspector Clayton of the Royal Irish Constabulary ; District Inspector Swanzy and some unknown members of the Royal Irish Constabulary…” (From here.)
The anti-republican mentality of the RIC lives on today in those who wear the uniforms of the State cops and their colleagues in the Occupied Six Counties, the RUC/PSNI.
On the 17th August, 2000, the last passing out parade for RUC recruits, under the RUC name, was held in the Garnerville Training Centre in Belfast, when 36 new members of that British militia threw their caps in the air and shouted “Hurrah! Hurrah!”
On the 4th November, 2001, the RUC amalgamated with, and transitioned into, a grouping which calls itself the ‘Police Service of Northern Ireland’ (PSNI) (sic) and the RIC and the RUC were simply re-born in a different uniform.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose..!
Thanks for the visit, and for reading!
Sharon and the team.