ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 36 YEARS AGO : SINN FÉIN REORGANISED.
‘The story of how Gerry Adams tried to turn an eighty year old revolutionary movement into a British constitutional party. How he broke the Sinn Féin constitution, created fake cumainn to give him fake votes and barred life long republicans from voting.
How he managed to expel himself and his supporters from Sinn Féin membership. And how a small band of republicans managed to keep the Sinn Féin constitution and traditional policy in tact…in 1986, Section 1b. of the Sinn Féin constitution read as follows :
“No person who is a member of any political party, organisation, or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who, if elected, intend taking part in the proceedings of the Westminster or partitionist 26-County or 6-County parliaments or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who sign any form or give any kind of written or verbal undertaking of intention to take their seats in these institutions, shall be admitted to membership or allowed to retain membership…‘
The Adams leadership put forward a motion, titled ‘Resolution 162’, at the 1986 Ard Fheis, thus expelling themselves from membership – more here.
“Sitting in Leinster House is not a revolutionary activity. Once you go in there, once you sign the roll of the House and accept the institutions of the state, once you accept their rulings, you will not be able to do it according to your rules.
You will have to go according to their rules and they can stand up and gang up on you and put you out on the street and keep you out on the street. And those in Leinster House, who have done everything – the firing-squads, the prison cells, the internment camps, the hunger strikes – the lot, and weren’t able to break this movement, that they can come and say ‘At last, we have them towing the line, it took us 65 years, but they have come in from the cold, they have come in from the wilderness and we have them now.’
Never! That is what I say to you. Never!” – Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, 2nd November 1986.
In an interview with ‘The Irish News’ newspaper on Thursday, July 17th, 1997, Gerry Adams stated that the aim of Provisional Sinn Féin (PSF) was to achieve “maximum constitutional change and a renegotiation of the union.”
And therein lies the difference between Adams and his people and Irish republicans – the former will settle for ‘a kind of peace’ and financial security for themselves in a ‘new’ Westminster/Stormont-ordered Six-County ‘state’ while the latter continue to strive for real change outside of the present constitutional arrangements and an end – not a “renegotiation” – of “the union”.
On that Sunday, the 2nd November 1986 – 36 years ago on this date – Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Dáithi Ó Conaill and other Sinn Féin (Republican) delegates reconvened the Ard Fheis in a hotel in Chapelizod, Dublin, and that Irish republican organisation will hold its 117th Ard Fheis on Saturday, 12th November 2022, in a Dublin venue. And long may they last!
ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 222 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A LEINSTER HOUSE-TYPE POLITICIAN WHO WOULDN’T ‘BUCK’ THE SYSTEM.
Thomas ‘Buck’ (or ‘Jerusalem’) Whaley (pictured) was born in Dublin in December 1766, son of a notorious ‘landlord’, law judge and British politician, and eventually grew-up (with an inherited fortune to his name), age-wise, at least, to become a man that others of his ilk, including his father, Richard ‘Burn-Chapel’ Whaley, would be proud of.
His father earned that nick-name due to what was said to be a hobby of his – harassing local catholics.
His son, ‘Buck’, had his own problems – he was feckless and reckless, a spoiled child who ‘matured’ into a spoiled adult, believing that he had a sense of entitlement to the good life, and not of the opinion that he should have to earn it.
He wrote in his memoirs about how the quiet life (!) “…did not suit my volatile disposition : in order, therefore, to vary the scene, I sent over to London for a female companion, with whom I had been intimate, and who immediately accepted the invitation. I had no motive whatever in giving her the preference but that she was an exotic.
My inamorata was neither distinguished for wit or beauty ; but I will do her the justice to say that she had none of that rapacity and extravagance so common of her profession. What I expended on her account was from my own free will and suggestion. I hired her a magnificent house, suitably furnished, and settled an allowance of five hundred a year on her ; this was merely pro forma, for she cost me upwards of five thousand.
At her house I kept my midnight orgies, and saw my friends, according to the fashionable acceptation of the word. But soon growing tired of this manner of living, I conceived the strange idea of performing, like Cook, a voyage around the world..”
Well, to his credit, he seems to have finally realised that the world didn’t actually ‘voyage’ around him.
He was elected as a member of the ‘Irish House of Commons’ for the Newcastle area of Dublin in 1785 (when he was only 19 years of age) but used his political position almost exclusively to promote himself within ‘high society’ and cared little for those he was supposed to be representing (carrying on in that same manner when, at 31 years of age, he bought his way in to politics again, this time as a ‘representative’ for Enniscorthy, Wexford) so much so that he was a ‘guest’ in a debtors’ prison in London (from which he unsuccessfully attempted to escape!), claiming later that he had wasted a financial fortune of about £400,000 on ‘the good life’, stating that he never had “one hour’s true happiness” during his spending spree!
During his second term as a political representative (!) he at first supported the then (1799) proposed ‘Act of Union’ and let it be known that he was amenable to vote against same if the price was right – and it was, apparently, as he voted against it in 1800!
And someone, somewhere, ‘voted’ against him that same year (1800) – he died, on the 2nd of November, 222 years ago on this date, from rheumatic fever, t’was said, or then again, maybe, the rumour mill of the day got it right ; ‘…that he was stabbed in a fit of jealousy by two sisters to whom he was paying marked attentions at a time when each of them was in ignorance of his concealed attachment to the other. Sarah, or Sally Jenkinson, is stated to be the lady from whom he received his death wound..’
That particular lady was said to have been ‘won’ by ‘The Buck’ from the Prince of Wales in a wager!
Buck Whalley lacking much of cash
And being used to cut a dash
he wagered full ten thousand pound
He’d visit soon the Holy Ground
In Loftus’s fine ship
He said he’d take a trip
And Costello so famed
The Captain then was named.’
He was buried in the Isle of Man and, having made a bet that he would be buried in Irish soil, he was determined to ‘win’ – he had imported enough Irish soil, and was buried in it, to ensure ‘victory’!
It would be nice to say that ‘they don’t make them like that anymore’, but that’s not the case – Leinster House is full of such unscrupulous political chancers, for sale to the highest bidder.
‘TOMÁS MacCURTAIN COMMEMORATION…’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.
In his oration, Domhnall O Cathain said –
“When Tomás MacCurtain was done to death in the presence of his family by the liveried servants of the British Government, the detractors and the caluminiators began their work.
MacCurtain, the peer of any Irishman (sic) in the 100 years before his time or the 600 years before that, the slanderers said and tried to make it stick that he had been murdered by his own comrades. Foul lies that were hurled back in the teeth of the liar. History repeats itself. Recently calumny and detraction has reared their ugly heads.
The apologists fell over one another to say their hearts are in the right place but only “the elected representatives” have the right to lead, or some such platitude.
We say to the apologists that the Republican Movement of today has as much in common with the elected representatives as Pearse and MacCurtain had with Redmond, as Mitchell had with O’Connell, as Tone had with Grattan…”
ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 102 YEARS AGO : EXECUTED BY THE BRITISH FOR OBJECTING TO IMPERIALISM.
‘On November 2nd, 1920 (102 years ago on this date) James Daly was killed by a British Army firing squad in India. He had been one of the leaders of the so-called ‘India Mutiny’, but had not been among its instigators. The mutiny began on May 28th, 1920, led by Joseph Hawes at Wellington barracks in Jullundar, India, when 350 Irish members of the famous Connaught Rangers regiment of the British Army laid down their arms and refused to keep soldiering as long as British troops remained in Ireland.
As word of more and more British violence against the Irish people spread among the troops, they had begun to question the morality of wearing the uniforms of the same army that was terrorising families back home. The mutiny soon spread to Ranger detachments in Solon and Jutogh. Daly was stationed at Solon and helped lead the action of the mutineers there. Two would die in Solon during a brief confrontation. Eventually, 61 Rangers were convicted by courts martial and 14 sentenced to death.
All but one of those condemned men had their sentences reduced. James Daly of Tyrellspass, County Westmeath, was the only one shot. The Connaught Rangers would not survive much longer than Daly ; in 1922 the regiment was disbanded after the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty that created the Irish Free State. In 1970, James Daly’s body was brought home and buried at Tyrellspass. Among those in the guard of honor at the reinterment ceremony were five of his fellow mutineers: Joseph Hawes, James Gorman, Eugene Egan, Patrick Hynes, and William Coote…’ (From here.)
“The moral courage and sacrifice shown by James Daly and his comrades shines like a beacon light years after those momentous events in Jullander and Solon in India in June and July of 1920. The leadership shown by James Daly and Joe Hawes galvanised their comrades into striking a blow for the freedom of their own land. We also remember with pride the sacrifices of Peter Sears and Patrick Smythe who died at the hands of the British army during the mutiny and who are interred in Glasnevin cemetery…” -(the then) RSF President, Des Dalton, in 2010 : more here.
At that time, in Ireland, the Black and Tan War was at its height. Irishmen serving with the British Army in India mutinied in protest at the atrocities being committed in Ireland by the British. On June 27th, 1920, 350 Irishmen gave in their arms and refused to soldier for England. The mutiny was confined chiefly to members of ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies, 1st Battalion, Connaught Ranger Regiment, stationed at Wellington Barracks, Jullunder, Punjab, India. The men at Jullunder were led by Private Joseph Hawes and their protest was joined two days later by a detachment of ‘C’ Company at the hill-station in Solon, under Private James Daly, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
On June 30th, 1920, following the deaths of Privates Patrick Smythe and Peter Sears in an attempt to capture the magazine at Solon, the mutiny ended. Seventy-five of the mutineers were arrested and taken to Lucknow where they were held until September when they were moved to Dayshai Prison to stand trial.
While awaiting trial, the prisoners were subjected to such harsh treatment by the British that it resulted in the death of one of the men, Private John Miranda, a native of Liverpool. At the subsequent general court-martial , fourteen of the prisoners were sentenced to death and the remainder to terms of imprisonment varying from ten to twenty years. In mid-October 1920, 13 of the fourteen death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment – the exception was Jim Daly, a native of Tyrellspass, County Westmeath.
After six months, the mutineers were transferred to Portland Convict Prison in England, where they suffered long periods of solitary confinement and ill-treatment during their fight for political status. They were later moved to Maidstone Prison and, on January 3rd, 1923, the remaining sixty mutineers were released and returned to Ireland.
In October 1970, the remains of Daly, Smythe and Sears were brought back to Ireland : Smythe, a native of Drogheda, Co. Louth and Sears, from Neale, Co. Mayo, were buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. James Daly, who was executed in Jullunder in India on November 2nd, 1920 – 102 years ago on this date – was re-interred in his native Tyrellspass.
These men and those like them are remembered and cherished by Irish republicans, as they should be.
‘THE BRITISH STORY…’
Roy Foster (pictured) in the British media.
By Barra Ó Séaghdha.
From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.
An innocent reader of these interviews would be forgiven for imagining that Ireland is awash with sentimentalised and regressively nationalist history-writing and that nothing constructive or properly critical emerged from either the Great Famine (sic) or 1798 anniversaries.
Let us take the Famine (sic) as a case in point ; any outsider looking at Irish history-writing of all shades – republican, left-wing, middle-of-the-road, revisionist, reactionary or unionist – up to the 1980’s, would be struck by just how little research there had been into the ‘Famine’.
The removal through starvation, disease and emigration of a quarter of the population of the country in less than ten years and its effects on family life, rural class structure, popular culture, language and religious observance – all this was of little interest either to those who wanted to present an uplifting narrative of popular resistance or to those early Cambridge-trained professionals paralysed by the need to prove to their British peers how unsentimental and scientific they were…
ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 72 YEARS AGO – DEATH OF A BRILLIANTLY CONFUSED IRISHMAN.
“Power does not corrupt men ; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power” – George Bernard Shaw, dramatist, critic and social reformer (pictured).
An enigma, I think, is the best way to describe ‘GBS’, who was born in Dublin on the 26th of July 1856, and was known to be a ‘problem child’ – he grew into what many of his contemporaries and, indeed, society at large, considered to be a ‘problem adult’!
In relation to Irish politics, he supported ‘Home Rule’ within the British ’empire’ (“…socialism can be brought about in a perfectly constitutional manner by democratic institutions..” [which might indeed be possible elsewhere, but the Leinster House institution is not a “democratic institution”, as far as Irish republicans are concerned]) and constantly voiced opinion against Irish separatism (yet, at 90 years of age [in 1946] he refused an award from Westminster of an ‘Order of Merit Honour’).
In 1916, at 60 years of age, he condemned “militant Irish nationalism” and accused those attempting to overthrow British misrule in Ireland as having ‘learned nothing and forgot nothing’ and again voiced his opinion that independence from England ‘was impractical’, although he did object to the British executions of the rebels that followed.
He supported Mussolini (“…the right kind of tyrant..”),spoke of his admiration for Stalin and Karl Marx, condemned all sides in the ‘First World War’, flirted with ‘Fabianism’ and ‘Eugenics’ and flirted occasionally with ‘Flat Earthism/Zeteticism’!
‘GBS’ departed this Earth (flat or not!) on the 2nd November 1950 – 72 years ago on this date – at the grand age of 94.
“Dying is a troublesome business,” the man himself opined, “there is pain to be suffered, and it wrings one’s heart ; but death is a splendid thing – a warfare accomplished, a beginning all over again, a triumph. You can always see that in their faces.”
And, in the opinion of this blog, this world needs more ‘faces’ (and free-thinking attitudes) like that of ‘GBS’ today, even if we wouldn’t agree with all of his political positions. But he sounds like an interesting man to have had the pleasure of discussing life (and things!) with!
‘FORTH HIS BANNERS GO…’
Jer O’Leary (pictured) has become bannermaker to the radical and labour movement. Brian Trench reports on the growing recognition of his art.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, May 1987.
Artist and lecturer Charlie Cullen had done many of the recent banners for Dublin trade union branches so, at first, Jer O’Leary concentrated on work for union organisations outside Dublin.
Charlie Cullen was one of those who helped him, as did artist Robert Ballagh and the head of the ‘National College of Art and Design’, Noel Sheridan. At first, Jer and his wife, Eithne, would cut and stitch the complete banner but, more recently, as the commissions have piled up, they have been handing over the designs to a Dublin firm which makes flags and banners.
The general unions, Jer notes, generally give him a free hand but craft unions tend to be more concerned to know the precise detail of his designs…
ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) IN…
The Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Twisden (who was the son-in-law of Thomas Carter) died on the 2nd November, 1752.
The poor bishop was said to be just that – poor, financially – so, on the 2nd November, 1752, he (allegedly/apparently) dressed-up as a highwayman and headed-off to either Hounslow Heath in London or Wrotham Heath in Kent to await the arrival of a stagecoach.
And, sure enough, along came such a vehicle, and Bishop Twisden attempted to rob the passengers of their earthly coinage and a gunfight ensued and the poor bishop was shot dead.
Or maybe not?
There is a record of a ‘Bishop Twysden’ having died on the 2nd November, 1752, in his home in Jermyn Street, Saint James’s, in London but, according to religious author Henry Cotton, the bishop died (on the 2nd November 1752) at Roydon Hall in East Peckham, in Kent, his father’s country house, and was buried in the south chancel of Saint Michael’s Church, East Peckham, under a plain stone with no inscription.
But sure maybe his ghost is still out on the heath, looking for a stagecoach…
On the 2nd November, 1918, ‘The Larne Times’ newspaper carried a report that an RIC member, a ‘Constable’ Thomas Kyle, had died from gas poisoning which he suffered at Greencastle RIC barracks in Donegal on the 22nd October 1918.
But please don’t make a connection with the above ‘Short Story’ and this…
On Tuesday, the 2nd November, 1920, the Black and Tans were on the rampage in Tralee, in County Kerry, as they couldn’t locate two of their number and suspected that the local IRA were holding them for interrogation.
Shops had been closed and schools in the town were shut ‘by order’ of the Tans, who stalked the empty streets firing shots into the air and/or shooting through house windows.
An IRA Volunteer, Thomas Wall, was standing at a corner on the Main Street in Tralee, watching proceedings, thinking he’d be safe enough, as he had fought in France for the British in ‘World War 1’. But not so ; a few of the Tans approached him and one of them smashed his rifle butt into Thomas’s face and shouted at him to get off the street. As Thomas was stumbling away from the scene he was shot dead by the Tans, who later claimed that Thomas Wall was their prisoner and he was shot trying to escape from their custody.
On Monday, 1st November 1920, an RIC man was shot in the village of Ballinalee in County Longford.
The next day, eleven lorries of British troops and Black and Tans entered the village seeking revenge but they were met by an IRA column (under the command of Seán MacEoin, pictured – an IRA-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-poacher, unfortunately.).
A two-and-a-half-hour battle commenced, at the end of which the British forces retreated, leaving behind some munitions and equipment of use to the rebels, who remained in the village for a week, to ensure the safety of the villagers.
On the 2nd November, 1920, Éamonn O’Modhráin (pictured), the Vice-Chairperson of Kildare County Council, was ‘arrested’ at his home by British forces for “being in possession of seditious literature” ie republican leaflets etc.
He was ‘tried’ by court-martial and sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, 6 months of which was remitted.
On the 2nd November, 1920, as RIC members were driving through Auburn, Glasson, near Athlone in County Westmeath, in two lorries, they came under attack from the IRA at about 9.30am, an action in which IRA Volunteer James (Seamus) Finn (21), from Kileenbrack, Ballymore, in County Westmeath, lost his life.
A London-born ‘Constable’, Sydney George James Larkin(/Larking) (22), was shot dead and two other RIC members – a ‘Sergeant’ Meany and a ‘Constable’ Costello – were wounded.
RIC member Larkin(/Larking) was serving his ‘queen’ in Ireland as a member of the 3rd Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry and had also ‘kept the peace’ in this country as a member of the Devonshire Regiment.
RIP Volunteer James Finn.
On the 2nd November, 1922, an IRA Column, under the command of Charlie Daly (28), was captured by Free Staters at Munacool, Dunlewey, in County Donegal.
Among the republican prisoners were Timothy O’Sullivan (24), Daniel Enright (23) and Sean Larkin (26) and, on the 18th January, 1923, the Staters announced that they intended to execute those four men.
On the morning of Wednesday, the 14th March 1923 (about six weeks before the end of the ‘Civil War’) the four IRA prisoners were marched from their cell at Drumboe Castle, Donegal, to an improvised firing range about 300 yards up a gently sloping field in the woods at Drumboe.
It was at this spot that the four men were executed by a Free State firing squad and their bodies were thrown into a ready-made grave.
‘These four Irish soldiers were dragged from their cell,
for months they had suffered the torments of hell,
no mercy they asked from their merciless foe,
and no mercy was shown by the thugs at Drumboe…’
A unit of Free State troops, under the command of republican-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-poacher Michael ‘Tiny’ Lyons who was, by then, viciously anti-republican, came across two known IRA Volunteers, Michael O’Sullivan and Denny Connor, at Knockanes, near Headford Junction, in County Kerry, on the 2nd November, 1922.
Volunteer O’Sullivan was shot dead by the Staters “while attempting to escape” and Volunteer Connor did escape.
Lyons is purported to have died alone in a bedsit in Manchester. In dire straits, hopefully.
The home of Free State Army General Richard Mulcahy (a republican-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-poacher), Lissonfield House, Rathmines, in Dublin (near Portobello Free State Army Barracks), came under gun attack on the 2nd November, 1922. Mr Mulcahy escaped injury.
Shortly after that attack, IRA Volunteer Frank Power (a Volunteer with the IRA’s ‘Number 4 Section’)was shot dead outside Rathmines Church by the Staters.
A Private in the Free State Army, John Caddigan, was killed in County Kerry on the 2nd November 1922. We can’t find any more information on this killing.
ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 54 YEARS AGO : THOSE SEEKING CRUMBS WERE BATONED AWAY FROM THE BRITISH TABLE.
On the 2nd November 1968 (a Saturday) – 54 years ago on this date – the fifteen committee members of the ‘Derry Citizen’s Action Committee’ (DCAC) (formed only a few months earlier), which included Ivan Cooper (chairperson), John Hume (deputy chairperson), James Doherty, Claude Wilton and Paddy Doherty, set-out on a ‘civil rights’ protest march on the same route that a previous protest march was to be held on (on the 5th October), but which had been banned by the British ‘authorities’ in Stormont.
Thousands of people joined in on the 2nd November protest march even though it, too, had been ‘banned by the authorities’.
Those that organised the ‘civil rights’ protests were no doubt well-meaning individuals but their actions were interpreted by the British as a sign of weakness, in that those that Westminster had ‘conquered’ had come to accept themselves as a conquered people that desired only to be treated better ‘by those in charge’, and even that was asking too much.
That mistake (ie asking ‘the boss’ to treat you better!) has been repeated and amplified since those days but ‘the boss’ has since learned to ‘box clever’ – if you fight against ‘the boss’ him/herself you are seen as a threat but if you’re only looking to be treated better by that ‘boss’ you will be accommodated to a certain extent and will sometimes be accepted in the bosses circle as a ‘house negro’ rather than a ‘field negro’.
The former will be allowed to contest for a position in ‘the big house’ whereas the latter will be considered as trouble-making outcasts – ‘dissidents’ – to be condemned by those in ‘the big house’ and by those who aspire to be accepted into the master’s parlour.
But we ‘dissies’ sleep easier for it!
And (once again!) – we won’t be here next Wednesday, 9th November, 2022, as we’ll be doing a few bits and pieces for the 117th Ard Fheis of Republican Sinn Féin Poblachtach, which is being held in a Dublin venue on Saturday, 12th November – it’s a busy few days for us, before and after the event, but it’s for, and in, a good cause, and we’re looking forward to it.
We’ll be back on Wednesday, 16th November 2022, and ya can catch us on ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ between this and then, if yer gonna miss us that much!
Thanks for the visit, and for reading,
Sharon and the team.