ON THIS DATE (18TH JANUARY) 192 YEARS AGO : WESTMINSTER SLAPS DOWN ONE OF ITS IRISH ‘PET REBELS’.
Daniel O’Connell (‘The Liberator’, pictured) never claimed to be an Irish republican despite involving himself in an issue which, then as now, required a republican solution in order to obtain a just resolution.
Although he campaigned on behalf of those who suffered as a result of injustices inflicted by Westminster, he made it clear that it was his desire that Ireland should remain as a unit governed by the British ‘Monarchy’ – saying, if you like – ‘stay if you want, just treat us better’. He had publicly and repeatedly vowed to work within ‘the law’ – British ‘law’.
The only force to be used, he stated, was “moral force”, but even this was too much of a demand for Westminster – ‘Sir’ Robert Peel (the then British Prime Minister) replied that to ‘grant’ O’Connell his way “would not merely mean the repeal of an Act of (British) Parliament, but dismemberment of a great Empire. Deprecating as I do all war but above all, civil war, yet there is no alternative which I do not think preferable to the dismemberment of Empire..” In other words – ‘thus far, O’Connell, but no further’.
His subservience to British ‘law’ could have been used against him at any time and, in December 1830, that’s what happened : he was one of a group of ‘troublemakers’ that were rounded-up for questioning in connection with meetings/assemblage of a type which had been forbidden by the British ‘Lord Lieutenant of Ireland’ – Westminster was ‘jittery’ regarding its political position in Ireland due, in the main, to four issues : corn (availability and price of), currency devaluations, the overall banking system and the ‘catholic problem’ ; this period in our history witnessed the beginning of ‘an Cogadh na nDeachúna’ – the ‘Tithe War’, and also heralded in catholic unrest in Belgium and Poland.
Westminster would not allow such actions to gather pace here, if it could help it.
On the 18th January 1831 (192 years ago on this date) Daniel O’Connell was charged on 31 counts (14 of which were for ‘violating the Suppression Act of 10 George IV 1829’, to which O’Connell pleaded guilty) including ‘conspiracy’, and was arrested, fined 2,000 pounds and imprisoned for one year.
He served three months, mostly because the ‘1829 Acts’ expired in April that year and those imprisoned under it were released by default.
Westminster had ‘boxed clever’ – it had been seen to ‘punish offenders’ but not to the extent where the offender would become radicalised due to the severity of the punishment, a trick it performs to this day on those Irish people who consider themself to be ‘radicals’!
‘THE CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN…’
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.
In their first years when deep and lasting impressions are made, the conflicting ideas of justice that surround them confuses their reasoning about right and wrong and, floundering through the years towards manhood, they develop a code of hate, and fear one for the other.
This has been exemplified recently when, at the bidding of the politicians in the pay of England we have the horrifying and sorrowful instance of one unfortunate young Irish boy of eighteen blowing the brains out of another.
In the Six Counties, the catholic children are usually born of parents with tendencies towards Irish nationalism, seldom clearly defined ; their first, and often last, ideas about it is that it is something anti-protestant, anti-Union Jack, anti-police, anti-‘B Special’, and that it very often means if their father works as a tradesman or factory worker, a certain amount of insecurity and very often a loss of daddy for months on end in England.
The protestant child is, generally speaking, ‘pro’ all the things that his catholic playmates are ‘anti’ ; his father is often a B-man and so he has the security of knowing when he writes ‘No Pope’ on the public highway, without having the faintest idea very often who the pope is, that he has the backing of an army, and the Pope’s people don’t have guns in the main…
ON THIS DATE (18TH JANUARY) 101 YEARS AGO : DUBLIN UNEMPLOYED OCCUPY LANDMARK BUILDING.
‘On January 18th 1922, a group of unemployed Dublin workers seized the concert hall of the Rotunda.
‘The Irish Times’ of the following day noted that ‘..the unemployed in Dublin have seized the concert room at the Rotunda, and they declare that they will hold that part of the building until they are removed, as a protest against the apathy of the authorities…a ‘garrison’, divided into ‘companies’, each with its ‘officers’, has been formed, and from one of the windows the red flag flies..’
Liam O’Flaherty, as chairman of the ‘Council of Unemployed’, spoke to the paper about the refusal of the men to leave the premises, stating that no physical resistance would be put up against the police and that the protest was a peaceful one, yet they intended to stay where they were –“If we were taken to court, we would not recognise the court, because the Government that does not redress our grievances is not worth recognising..” O’Flaherty told the Times…’ (more here.)
Rather than ‘tackle’ (occupy, in this case) symptoms of the disease (ie the Concert Hall and Apollo House), the actual disease itself should be ‘tackled’, providing those doing so have no apparent embarrassing baggage.
ON THIS DATE (18TH JANUARY) 89 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF AN IRISH NATIONALIST LEADER.
In October of 1920, a Mr. John Robert Clynes of the British Labour Party voiced his concern, in Westminster, that the British Government were “..arming the Orangemen (to) police their Catholic neighbours…” in the Six County ‘State’, while Joe Devlin (‘United Irish League’ – UIL) [pictured] pointed out that 300 of the ‘Special Constables’ from the Lisburn area had already “resigned in protest” because their “fellow Constables” would not stop looting their (Catholic) neighbours!
Mr. Devlin stated – “The Protestants are to be armed. Their pogrom is to be made less difficult. Instead of paving stones and sticks they are to be given rifles.”
Joe Devlin led a busy life – a barman and journalist at the start of his working life, he was elected as a ‘Home Rule MP’ (British Parliament) for North Kilkenny in 1902, at 31 years young, and held his seat until 1906, when he was elected again, this time for the West Belfast area. He was that area’s representative in Westminster until 1922 ; he acted as General Secretary for the ‘United Irish League’ (UIL)/Home Rule Party’, from 1904 to 1920, and was also involved with the ‘Ancient Order of Hibernians’ when, at 34 years of age, he served as the ‘National President’ of that organisation, a position he held for 29 years (!), during which time he forged links between the ‘AOH’ and the ‘United Irish League’.
He first took a seat in Stormont in 1921 (at 50 years of age, and stayed there until 1934) ; in 1928 he founded, and chaired, the ‘National League of the North’. Incidentally, he was not related to Bernadette Devlin or Paddy Devlin.
The ‘Irish News’ newspaper wrote the following piece the day after Joe Devlin died –
“It is with feelings of the most profound sorrow that we record the death of Mr Joseph Devlin, MP…his own people, like many others, were driven from the country by the conditions of the times into the growing city of Belfast, and lived in humble circumstances in the West Division. A little household typical of thousands where life was a daily struggle to avert poverty, and where the youngest were expected to do their share, was the home of his early years…like the majority of the Catholic youth of Belfast at that period, he left school early to take his part in the battle of life…
Speaking of him, Mr John Redmond M.P., said: “Mr Devlin’s career has been a proud one for Ireland. It has been more than that – it has been a hopeful one for Ireland. Few public careers in the last century have been so rapid as the career of Mr Devlin. He today holds a foremost position in the public life of our country, and if I were asked to explain the reason, in my opinion, for the rapidity and success of his career, I would say that its success and rapidity have been due to the combination of several great qualities – superb debating power and dauntless courage, combined with a cautious mind and a cool judgment ; transparent honesty and enthusiasm combined with an absolutely untiring industry; perfect loyalty to his leader for the time being, to his comrades, and to his Party – combined, let me say, with a modest and lovable disposition…”.
At the General Election of 1906 Mr Devlin was elected by a majority of 16…there was an indescribable outburst of enthusiasm when the figures were announced. Angered by the rout of the Tory, a mob of Unionists, who had been expecting the defeat of Mr Devlin and had come to the Courthouse on the Crumlin Road, where the votes were counted, with drums, bands and banners to celebrate the event, gave full expression in the usual manner to their chagrin. As Mr Devlin MP was descending the steps of the Courthouse, surrounded by his friends, a police inspector advised him not to leave that way.
Mr Devlin’s response was characteristic. “I am not going to sneak out by the back way.” He then proceeded down the steps in face of the mob, and one of the police, realising his undaunted courage, shouted for fair play for Mr Devlin. The West was truly awake that night ; it was Belfast’s night of jubilation, in which old and young came out to expression to the joy they felt at the triumph of their fellow citizen – a man who later was destined to plead their cause all over the civilised world. The historic division that night was ablaze with bonfires and illuminations, and the dawn had broken before the people retired to rest…” (from here).
Joe Devlin died young, at 63 years of age, on Thursday, the 18th January 1934 – 89 years ago on this date.
‘THE BRITISH STORY…’
Roy Foster (pictured) in the British media.
By Barra Ó Séaghdha.
From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.
Is there no connection between ‘Little Arthur’s History Of England’ by Lady Callcott, for example, and the histories of Ireland written at the same time?
“The Irish had again proved very troublesome. A number of them wished to have a separate parliament to sit in Dublin, as it did in the old days.
For some years the people of England and Ireland were greatly agitated over this but, at last, it was decided that the Irish should not have a parliament of their own, but that they should continue to sit with the Scottish and Welsh members.
The Queen had a beautiful house in Scotland called Balmoral, where she spent some months every year. She was eighty-nine when she went over to Ireland but she was very pleased with the hearty welcome she received from the warm-hearted Irish. It is pleasant to turn from Irish affairs to the Queen’s first Jubilee.”
Is there no connection between Patrick Pearse in his last years and Field-Marshall Earl Roberts VC, KG, OM etc –
“And I trust that, in a short time, every British boy will receive a certain amount of military training and be taught to use a rifle with skill. This training cannot begin too early in life…”
( ‘1169’ comment – the “connection”, if it could be called that, is in the difference between Roberts’ objectives and those of Patrick Pearse ; Roberts wanted the youth trained in military skills to aid his ’empire’ in the conquest of foreign lands whereas Pearse wanted the youth trained to defend Ireland from outside interference.)
FUNDS AND FINE GAEL’S LEADER…
Michael Lowry has so far been the focus of media attention about Fine Gael fundraising.
But the party’s current leader, Enda Kenny (pictured), hosted a £1,000-a-plate dinner two days before the second mobile phone licence was awarded. And other guests say that one of the bidders for that licence was in attendance.
By Mairead Carey.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, January 2003.
“The Scandinavian businessman told us that his company had already won a similar competition and that the licence had been worth over £200,000 to them…” ,one of the people present said – “…he obviously knew the true value of the licence.”
Rules governing the competition for the licence excluded the relevant minister, Michael Lowry, from having any knowledge of how the applications were being evaluated but it has already been revealed at the Moriarty Tribunal that Lowry had a number of conversations with members of consortia bidding for the licence in the run-up to the awarding of the contract – despite warnings from his officials not to do so. The Conrad fundraiser has never been mentioned, however.
The mobile phone licence was not the only major contract being awarded at that time – there was also a competition to build the ‘National Conference Centre’ at a cost of up to £50 million. A grant, possibly totalling £26 million, was available from the EU for the ‘flagship’ project, and thirteen consortia entered the competition, including a group of Dublin city businessmen who owned the old Carlton Cinema and adjoining properties on O’Connell Street in Dublin…
Thanks for the visit, and for reading ; ‘Happy Wednesday’ to ya and ‘Bah Humbug’ to all this enforced ‘New Year’ jolliment (!)…agus slán go fóill anois!
Sharon and the team.