ON THIS DATE (2ND MAY) 224 YEARS AGO : PRISON ESCAPE BY AN IRISH REPUBLICAN, WHO LIVED FOR HIS COUNTRY, AND DIED FOR HIS FAMILY.

‘Little about Archibald Hamilton Rowan’s beginning in life suggested that he would become a leading political revolutionary…conceived in Killyleagh Castle in Co Down, he was born in 1751 and grew up in England surrounded by wealth and privilege…he lived a charmed and adventurous life, travelling in Europe and America, and lived for a time in France. He could be reckless at times, lost a lot of money at the gaming table, became involved in duels, and ‘had scrapes with married women’. He came under the influence of the celebrated radical John Jebb, who held that no man should suffer persecution for his religious and political opinions and that the people have a right to resist tyrannical forms of government.


Rowan married Sarah Dawson in France in 1781, and thereby gained the lifelong love of a steadfast comrade. On his return to Ireland in 1784, he fought an unforgiving ruling class in the pursuit of justice for the poor. He championed the cause of Mary Neal, a child who was raped by the Earl of Carhampton, and denounced the military for the shooting dead of tradesmen in Dublin who were engaged in bull-baiting (…for which, in my opinion, the [British] military should have been commended, not condemned).


In 1794 Rowan landed on the French coast in the run-up to the naval slaughter that became known to history as the ‘Glorious First of June’. Such was the tense disposition of the French forces at this time that he was immediately imprisoned as a suspected English spy. From his cell window he watched many men with their hands pinioned carted to the guillotine. At the height of the Terror he was fortunate to escape the guillotine himself. Within days of his release his boots were stained with the blood of revolutionaries guillotined by their erstwhile comrades.

Rowan was a founder of the United Irish Society, and was imprisoned, this time in Newgate Prison (pictured, in the Cornmarket area of Christ Church, in Dublin). When he was implicated in a plot initiated by the Committee of Public Safety in Paris to bring a French revolutionary army into Ireland, Rowan successfully escaped from the prison (‘1169’ comment – he paid a prison officer £100 to allow him out of prison to visit his wife (and sign some paperwork) in near-by Dominick Street and, on the 2nd May 1794 – 224 years ago on this date – escaped from custody by jumping out a back window of his house and then laid low for about three days in the Lusk area of Dublin). Had he not escaped he would almost certainly have been hanged. He sailed to Roscoff in a small fishing craft, enduring 11 years of hardship as a political exile in France, America and Germany. Fortunately for Rowan, his wife, Sarah, successfully secured his pardon, and he returned to Ireland in 1806. Without Sarah’s tenacity, Rowan would almost certainly never have set foot in Ireland again…’ (from here.)


He maintained his quest to free Ireland and continued his fight for justice for the working class but lost heart somewhat when his wife died, in her seventieth year, in late February 1834 ; they were married for 53 years, and were a ‘team’. His sorrow was compounded in August that same year when his son, Gawin William, 51 years of age, died, and the poor man never recovered from the pain those deaths caused him : he died, aged 83, on the 1st November that same year, and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, on the corner of Mary Street and Jervis Street, in Dublin :

“My dear children,

Whilst (in residence) at Wilminoton on the Delaware, in the United States of North America, not expecting to return to Europe, and unwilling to solicit my family to rejoin me there, I was anxious to leave you some memorial of a parent whom in all probability you would never know personally. Under that impression I commenced the following details, uninteresting except to you, who have requested me to transcribe them, that each of you
should have a copy.


It was not at that time, nor is it now my intention to vindicate the act which occasioned (my) then exiled situation ; though I felt a strong self-justification, in the consciousness that if I had erred, it had been in common with some of the most virtuous and patriotic characters then in Ireland…”(from here.)


One of our less sung heroes, without a doubt.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


PASSIVE RESISTANCE.


The role of a civil organisation like Sinn Féin in time of war is a most important one. Again we have the lessons of the past to guide us. Sinn Féin provided the means of organising the whole civillan population against the outrageous decrees of the British military government.


We have the classic example of how the Castle banned all assemblies for Gaelic games and how, through its vast organisation of over 1,600 cumainn, Sinn Féin could arrange that at a certain hour on a certain day there would be a hurling or football match in almost every parish and townland in Ireland – the matches were played and the Castle was vanquished!


The potential value of such an organisation in promoting civil disobedience is enormous, and for final victory the people must ignore the foreign institutions and support the native ones. (Next – ‘UNDOING THE CONQUEST’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (2ND MAY) 61 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A REBEL PRIEST.

‘While many clerics have supported the armed struggle of the IRA since 1916, the Capuchin Friars have been particularly noted for their republicanism. One such Capuchin was Fr Aloysius Roche, the son of an Irish father and English mother, born in Scotland in 1886. He studied for the priesthood and, following his ordination, he was transferred to Dublin where he was attached to the Capuchin Order in Church Street.


During Easter Week 1916, Fr Aloysius along with Frs Albert, Augustine and Dominic brought spiritual aid to the Volunteers in the numerous garrisons and outposts throughout Dublin. Following Pádraig Pearse’s surrender on Saturday, 29 April 1916, Fr Aloysius spent the next day carrying the surrender order to the main garrisons on the south side of the city. In the early hours of the morning of 3 May, Fr Aloysius administered the last sacraments to Pearse, MacDonagh and Thomas Clarke, the first three leaders of the Rising to be executed.


On 7 May, he met John Dillon, a leading member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, who agreed to do all in his power to persuade the British government to stop the executions. And it was largely due to his efforts that Dillon, five days later, during a debate on the rising in the House of Commons, launched a blistering attack on the British government’s handling of the situation in Ireland. Earlier that day, Fr Aloysius accompanied James Connolly by ambulance from Dublin Castle to Kilmainham Gaol for execution and stood behind the firing squad as they fired the final volley.
During the Tan and Civil Wars he was an enthusiastic and practical supporter of the national struggle and continued his republican allegiance throughout the following decades…’
(from here.)

Incidentally, the ‘Fr Dominic’ mentioned, above, was Fr Dominic O’Connor (Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, pictured, being led away by Free Staters from ‘the battle of the Four Courts’, in 1922) – it is recorded that the then ‘President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State [aka ‘Taoiseach’]’, WT Cosgrave, did not agree with the political outlook voiced by the Capuchins and he wrote to the Archbishop, Edward J Byrne, to voice his objections and, in one such letter, actually accused Fr Dominic of “treasonous acts”!

Fr Dominic was, at the time, the chaplain to the local IRA Cork Brigade, and is on record for a reply he gave to the church hierarchy in relation to their anti-republican/pro-British sermons : “Kidnapping, ambushing, and killing obviously would be grave sins or violation of Canon Law. And if these acts were being performed by the Irish Volunteers as private persons, they would fall under excommunication. But they are doing them with the authority of the Republic of Ireland. Hence the acts performed by the Volunteers are not only not sinful, but are good and meritorious…therefore the excommunication does not affect us. There is no need to worry about it. There is no necessity for telling a priest in confession that you went to Mass on Sunday, so there is no necessity to tell him one is in the IRA, or that one took part in an ambush or killing etc”.


In another letter of complaint he sent, Cosgrave referred to a different priest, a Fr John Costello, and complained to the Archbishop that that priest had made it his business to approach Free State troops, in 1922, and called on them to lay down their arms ; when they declined to do so, he would call them “murdering green Black and Tans”! As ‘Lord Cosgrave’ probably said, in private – “It rings in my ears as kind of what miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord and president be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric? Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”(!)




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


SINN FÉIN NOTES.


PROGRAMME.


The Sinn Féin ‘Social and Economic Programme’ and the ‘National Unity and Independence Programme’ is a must have for every Irish man and woman. Copies can be had from the Secretaries, 3 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin, price 9d, including postage.





LETTERS.


Richard O’Sullivan QC, Crown Prosecutor at the trial of Barnes and McCormack in 1939 lectured to a Dublin audience recently at the request of the St Vincent de Paul Society. A letter (quoted below) was sent by the Ard Comairle of Sinn Féin to the Society and an unsigned answer (also below) was received. It was agreed by the Ard Comairle that Sinn Féin would neither picket the hall nor interfere at the lecture but, in passing, we say ‘Lord have mercy on the souls of these two, and help us to carry on their work.’


(From) Sinn Féin,

Oifig an Ard Runaidhe,

3 Lower Abbey Street,

Dublin.



(To) The Secretary,

St Vincent de Paul,

64 Grafton Street,

Dublin.



A Cara,

We have been informed that Mr Richard O’Sullivan QC has been invited by your Society to lecture in the Aberdeen Hall on Sunday 9th January, 1955.


We understand that this Mr O’Sullivan was the Crown Prosecutor when Barnes and McCormack were sentenced to death in Birmingham in 1939. You will appreciate that if this is the same person, there will be a large number of people in Dublin who will object very strongly to his public appearance on any platform in Ireland. We trust that this matter will receive your urgent attention.


Is mise le meas,

Maire Ni Gabann,

M. Treinfear,

Ard Runaidhte.






(From) The Society of St Vincent de Paul (Particular Council of Ireland),

64 Grafton Street,

Dublin C 2.

5th January 1955.



The Society has received a communication, of which a copy is attached, upon your notepaper.


The basis of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, it should be explained, is entirely spiritual and the lecture referred to, which has been advertised for a considerable while back, is being promoted by one of the Dublin Conferences in order to foster devotion to a Saint and at the same time to raise funds, which are sorely needed indeed, for the activities of the Conference among the poor.

Any objection to the forthcoming function would inevitably cut across the charitable work of the Conference and of the Society and it is confidently believed that nobody would contemplate this, in the foregoing circumstances and particularly having regard to the religious nature of the occasion.





(From Sinn Féin) Letter to British Home Secretary.


The Home Secretary,

H.M. Government,

Whitehall,

London.



Sir,


We have been instructed to inform you that at our recent Ard Fheis it was unanimously decided that we demand, in the name of the republican people of Ireland, the return by the English Government of the remains of the Irish republican patriots interred in English jails.


Sincerely yours,

May Smith,

Michael Traynor,

Secretaries. (Next – ‘THE FELONS OF OUR LAND’, from the same source).





WHY WE’RE VOTING ‘NO’ IN THE ABORTION REFERENDUM.

“Violence is not a solution..” – a remark constantly put to republicans in relation to the on-going campaign against the British political and military presence in this country (…with no acknowledgement that ‘violence’ employed in self-defence is completely different to the violence of an aggressor). Abortion is a violent act which is not done in self-defence and, with the safe-guards which are available today, it’s an unnecessary act, but the State and the many ‘social agencies’ (‘quangos’) it establishes and promotes (mostly to provide ‘jobs-for-the-boys’ for themselves and their political colleagues) have not lectured those in favour of abortion about ‘violence not being a solution’.


And their is more than one type of ‘violence’ : the ‘State Claims Agency’ (‘SCA’) is a State body with the given agenda of defending the politicians against the damage caused by their own incompetence and carelessness, and of that there can be no doubt : “..to ensure that the State’s liabilities in relation to personal injury and property damage claims, and the expenses of the SCA in relation to their management, are contained at the lowest achievable level (and) to reduce the costs of future litigation against the State – nothing there about fair play or taking responsibility for medical or other errors made by the State. It’s a political body, assembled, financed and nurtured by the same politicians that want you to ‘trust’ them in regards to the most vulnerable section of this society – our children not yet born.


This is how the ‘Establishment’ in this State deal with those who are ‘uppity enough’ to challenge them after falling victim to the incompetent ‘health service’ that those in Leinster House oversee and operate ‘on behalf of the public’, all funded with taxpayers money, here’s how they used to look after women (..here’s how they do it today) and this is an example of how they ‘support’ children. If you believe that those professional politicians are trustworthy and honest enough to have the best interests of mother and child at heart then vote ‘Yes’ on Friday, 25th May 2018 but if, like us, you have your doubts (to put it mildly), then vote ‘No’. Your children will thank you for it in later years. Literally.





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


DID WE WIN?


The ten minutes allocated to the ‘Shinners’ for their argument wasn’t needed – they mentioned the names Theobald Wolfe Tone and Padraig Pearse and one and one-half minutes after they started they were finished. They received a massive partisan round of applause, of course.


The ‘SDLP team’ then did their thing : they came across as all things to all men and were more concerned about what loyalists would do as opposed to what we could do and should do. To be honest, they didn’t put much into it and made very little impact on the debate, whereas the ‘Republican Clubs’ immediately went on the attack with a blistering dialectic on the failure of capitalism and the benefits of the Workers State (all very well if you’re a Stalinist) but too far removed from Marx (unless of course they were referring to Groucho) to be relevant.


The image of the not so emaciated down-trodden worker, free of his fetters, striding barrel-chestedly through the factory gates with a sledgehammer in his hand to smash the means of his exploitation, his shirt opened to the navel, sleeves rolled up to his neck, revealing a chest and arms that Sylvester Stallone could only dream about, and singing the ‘Volga Boat Song’, as with Stalinism, completely fooled the not very politically aware in the audience. (MORE LATER).



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (25TH APRIL) 337 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF AN IRISH ‘RAPPAREE’.

‘..beaten down by disease and poverty , some natives tended to ‘doff their cap’ to the denizens of the Castles, and stare in awe as they passed in their finery (but) not everyone bowed the head ; even in the worst times, when all organised opposition to tyranny had been crushed, an individual arose and struck a blow for the motherland “to show that still she lives.” My father often told me of one of those warriors, a stout fellow known as Sean Rua an Ghaorthaig ; true, he was known as an outlaw or ‘rapparree’ to ‘the powers that were’ and to most ‘respectable’ people, but in Irish history he would be classed with Redmond O’Hanlon and Eamonn an Chnuic. In England he would be with Robin Hood or Locksley – history would be very poor stuff, in any country, without such men..!’ (From Micheal O’ Suilleabhain’s 1965 book, ‘Where Mountainy Men Have Sown’.)


Redmond O’Hanlon was born into poor circumstances in Ireland, in the year 1640, even though his family’s family came from what would be called today a ‘middle class’ background – the O’Hanlon’s were closely associated with the old Irish ‘Airgíalla’ confederation and were linked to what became known as the ‘Tandragee Castle Estate’. When the family land and ‘chattel’ were ‘confiscated’ by British and pro-British ‘landowners’, the O’Hanlon’s were left destitute, and Redmond ‘lived rough’ in the countryside, where he survived as best he could with other Irish people who told much the same story – they joined forces and, led by Redmond, formed themselves into an ‘outlaw militia’ which operated in the Armagh area.


The ‘militia’ convinced (!) the ‘new landowners’ that it was in their best interest to take out insurance against theft etc and issued written documentation to them and to their business associates and visitors to ‘their’ holdings – for a fee, of course – guaranteeing safe passage. Should some ne’er-do-wells’ interfere with business, O’Hanlon and his men ran them down, imposed a ‘fine’ on them, retrieved the stolen goods and returned them to the ‘insurance policy’ holders and, if the rogue-robbers persisted in offending, killed them.


A ‘town-crier’-type leaflet issued in 1681 stated that ‘..necessity first prompted him to evil courses and success hardened him in them ; he did not rob to maintain his own prodigality, but to gratify his spies and pensioners : temperance, liberality, and reservedness were the three qualities that perserved him ; none but they of the House where he was knew till the next morning where he lay all night ; he allowed his followers to stuff themselves with meat and good liquor, but confined himself to milk and water ; he thought it better thrift to disperse his money among his receivers and intelligencers, than to carry it in a purse, or hide it in a hole ; he prolonged his life by a general distrust…’


Redmond had many enemies, and the ‘Establishment’, too, had placed a bounty (of £100) on his head : on the 25th April 1681 – 337 years ago on this date – he was shot dead while sleeping – ‘At one o’clock on the warm afternoon of April 25th, 1681, country people from County Down in Ireland were gathering for a fair at Eight Mile Bridge near the present site of the village of Hilltown. At a prearranged spot near the fair three men met after coming down separately from hideouts in the nearby Mountains of Mourne. One was William O’Sheel ; another Art O’Hanlon ; and the third was Art’s foster brother, Redmond O’Hanlon, the most sought-after outlaw in seventeenth-century Ulster, a desperate man with a high price of £100 on his head.


The three came to a small cabin by the roadside. O’Sheel stationed himself a little way along the road. Art O’Hanlon stood on guard by the door of the cabin. Redmond went inside to rest. By two o’clock he was sleeping soundly. Grasping the opportunity for which he had been waiting, Art shot his foster-brother in the chest, then fled to fetch help to secure the body…’ (from here.)


‘There was a man lived in the north, a hero brave and bold,

who robbed the wealthy landlords of their silver and their gold,

he gave the money to the poor, to pay their rent and fee

for Count Redmond O’Hanlon was a gallant rapparee…’
(from here.)





”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


THE RIGHT MEN.


When the hour of liberation is at hand we must be ready to take over the responsibility of ruling the nation – it is our duty now to prepare for that day. There will crop up the necessity of having sound men of proven national outlook to take up positions in time of stress, and carry out onerous public duties, while at the same time they may be hounded by the forces of ‘law and order’.


In former times these men sprang out of the ranks of Sinn Féin, and it is to Sinn Féin that we must look again when the occasion arises. Therefore, the expansion of the organisation becomes a matter of dire importance – it would be presumptuous to expect that an efficient administration could be set up if the material is not to hand. (Next – ‘PASSIVE RESISTANCE’, from the same source.)






ON THIS DATE (25TH APRIL) 419 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF AN ANTI-IRISH BUTCHER.

“The term ‘slavery’ is rarely associated with the white race, although during the 1600’s this was the most significant portion of the market. More specifically, the Irish were targeted the most and the fact that the population of Ireland fell by 850,000 in the space of one decade highlights just how brutal things were..he was one of the main reasons why the situation got to this point. His fanatical anti-Catholic views meant that any action he took over the Irish was brutal to say the least and as well as utilising the conquest of Ireland for religious and political means, he was bidding to cleanse the country of Catholics. In achieving this, selling the Irish off as slaves was one of his biggest weapons, but he also made sure life was as difficult as possible for those that did stay by burning off their crops, removing them from their land..” (from here.)


Pictured – some of Oliver Cromwell’s Irish victims, sold as slaves and ‘sex workers’ to the highest bidder.
On the 29th April, 1599, a baby boy, Oliver Cromwell, who had been born on the 25th April – 419 years ago, on this date – was christened in Saint John the Baptish church in Huntingdon, England. Decades later, when someone was trawling through the birth records for that period, they came across an unofficial addendum to that particular entry : it read –
“England’s plague for five years…”


Cromwell should need no introduction to readers of this blog, but some readers may not be aware of the significance of a particular date – the 3rd September – in relation to his time on this Earth. That creature died on that date in 1658, and it was also on that same date, in 1649, that he began his nine-day siege of Drogheda after which thousands of its inhabitants were butchered (…but they deserved it, according to the man himself – “This is a righteous judgement of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood..”). The infamous ‘Death March’, which he forced on his enemy after the battle of Dunbar, took place on the 3rd September (in 1650) and, one year later on that same date – the 3rd September, 1651 – he wallowed in more blood and guts, this time in his own country, at the battle of Worcester. And, somewhere in between wrecking havoc and stealing and selling Irish children, he found the time (on the 27th September in 1649) to write to his political bosses in London :


‘FOR THE HONOURABLE WILLIAM LENTHALL, ESQUIRE, SPEAKER OF THE PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND :


Dublin, 27th September 1649.


Mr. Speaker – I had not received any account from Colonel Venables – whom I sent from Tredah to endeavour the reducing of Carlingford, and so to march Northward towards a conjunction with Sir Charles Coote – until the last night. After he came to Carlingford, having summoned the place, both the three Castles and the Fort commanding the Harbour were rendered to him. Wherein were about Forty Barrels of Powder, Seven Pieces of Cannon ; about a Thousand Muskets, and Five-hundred Pikes wanting twenty. In the entrance into the Harbour, Captain Fern, aboard your man-of-war, had some danger ; being much shot at from the Sea Fort, a bullet shooting through his main-mast. The Captain’s entrance into that Harbour was a considerable adventure, and a good service ; as also was that of Captain Brandly, who, with Forty seamen, stormed a very strong Tenalia at Tredah, and helped to take it ; for which he deserves an owning by you.


Venables marched from Carlingford, with a party of Horse and Dragoons, to the Newry ; leaving the place, and it was yielded before his Foot came up to him. Some other informations I have received form him, which promise well towards your Northern Interest ; which, if well prosecuted, will, I trust God, render you a good account of those parts. I have sent those things to be presented to the Council of State for their consideration. I pray God, as these mercies flow in upon you, He will give you an heart to improve them to His glory alone ; because He alone is the author of them, and of all the goodness, patience and long-suffering extending towards you. Your army has marched ; and, I believe, this night lieth at Arklow, in the County of Wicklow, by the Sea-side, between thirty and forty miles from this place. I am this day, by God’s blessing, going towards it.


I crave your pardon for this trouble; and rest, your most humble servant, OLIVER CROMWELL.


P.S. I desire the Supplies moved for may be hastened. I am verily persuaded, though the burden be great, yet it is for your service. If the Garrisons we take swallow-up your men, how shall we be able to keep the field? Who knows but the Lord may pity England’s sufferings, and make a short work of this? It is in His hand to do it, and therein only your servants rejoice. I humbly present the condition of Captain George Jenkin’s Widow. He died presently after Tredah Storm. His Widow is in great want.

The following Officers and Soldiers were slain at the storming of Tredah: Sir Arthur Ashton, Governor; Sir Edmund Varney, Lieutenant-Colonel to Ormond’s Regiment; Colonel Fleming, Lieutenant-Colonel Finglass, Major Fitzgerald, with eight Captains, eight Lieutenants, and eight Cornets, all of Horse; Colonels Warren, Wall, and Byrn, of Foot, with their Lieutenants, Majors, etc; the Lord Taaff’s Brother, an Augustine Friar; forty-four Captains, and all their Lieutenants, Ensigns, etc; 220 Reformadoes and Troopers; 2,500 Foot-soldiers, besides the Staff-Officers, Surgeons, etc.’


Still – the man was appreciated in some circles…




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


SINN FÉIN NOTES.


PUBLIC MEETINGS.


Arrangements are being made to hold public meetings and collections at Castlebar and Cavan on Sunday 13th February, as the GAA Railway Cup semi finals are being played at those venues. The collections will be in aid of the Northern Election Fund.





NORTHERN ELECTION COMMITTEES.


The Northern Election Committee of Sinn Féin wishes to thank sincerely all who contributed so generously to the fund at last season’s GAA games, and a list of the games and amounts collected is published in this issue.


The committee has a tremendous task to perform, as the twelve candidates have already been chosen and a £150 deposit is required for each constituency, a total of £1,800, and publicity and organising work has to be done as well – most of these constituencies have not being contested since 1918.


Sinn Féin is making it possible for the first time since 1918 for the Irish people in the Six Counties to re-affirm their desire for national unity and a republican government of the 32 counties. The need for funds is urgent and the committee again this season appeals for support. (Next – ‘PROGRAMME’ and ‘LETTERS’, from the same source).





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


DID WE WIN?


The debate begins – the Sinn Féin team laid out its case using the ‘Eire Nua’ document as the basis for its argument. It was about this time that we were actually looking at this document ourselves and, to be honest, in a good few of our opinions, it wasn’t the political solution for this country that we were looking for (‘1169’ comment : and we dare say that the ‘alternative’ – Stormont and a ‘peace’-at-any-price deal [a direction which wasn’t even guessed at, at the time] – had it been known about – “wasn’t the political solution” that any republican was looking for, And it still isn’t).


The ‘Sinn Féin’ team then told us* that in the New Ireland the seat of government would be Athlone – this was because of Athlone’s geographical position on the map, as being in the middle of Ireland (fair enough!). The new nation’s capital would be jointly held by Dublin and Belfast. “What about Cork?”, came a shout from the audience. “Yeah right enough”, shouted someone else, “What about Cork? it’s big, isn’t it?” After a brief but heated debate amongst the ‘Shinners’, it was decided that Cork also would be a capital and that the capital would be rotated on a bi-annual basis.


“Which city gets to be the capital first..?”, asked the same audience member who, I suspect, wasn’t taking this aspect of the argument too seriously. “Knock it on the head”, ordered the OC. “Heh, heh, heh” sniggered the heckler, “Heh, heh, heh,” echoed the OC.
(*an Irish republican having to be “told” that that proposal was part of that policy?) (MORE LATER).



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (18TH APRIL) 69 YEARS AGO – UP THE REPUBLIC..

..UP THE YARD, THAT IS!


Not that this (or this) couldn’t happen in a proper ‘Republic’, just that instances like that happen here, in this failed ‘Republic’, as a matter of course, and make the headlines on the day but are quickly pushed aside by the next tragedy. And talking of tragedies, that’s what’s being ‘celebrated’ today, the 18th April : the tragedy, that is, that this failed State has been misconstrued as a ‘Republic’, and is being honoured, by some, as such, in the same manner that that same mistake was made on the day itself :


‘At midnight last night the twenty-six counties officially left the British Commonwealth and cut the last constitutional link with Britain. The description of the state from that moment became the Republic of Ireland.
The birth of the new Republic was welcomed throughout the country in celebrations centred on Dublin, where a 21-gun salute was fired from O’Connell Bridge..at 11.45pm, as blazing tar barrels on the Dublin hills could be seen in the city centre, O’Connell street became a blaze of light from searchlight batteries ringing the city. A few minutes after midnight the salute from the guns began, with ten-second intervals between the rounds…men, women and children shouted “Up the Republic,” while groups of young people with accordions and other musical instruments joined in singing national airs…and dancing continued until early this morning.



At one minute past midnight Radio Éireann broadcast this statement: “These are the first moments of Easter Monday, April 18th, 1949. Since midnight, for the first time in history, international recognition has been accorded to the Republic of Ireland. Our listeners will join us in asking God’s blessing on the Republic, and in praying that it will not be long until the sovereignty of the Republic extends over *the whole of our national territory” (from here : * possibly the last time that RTE publicly acknowledged, unashamedly, that “our national territory” includes the Occupied Six Counties!).


Seems straight-forward enough but, as with most things in this ‘republic’, that’s not the case : what happened in 1949 was, according to those who profess to know better*, simply a legal exercise to tidy up loose ends by declaring that the word ‘Éire’ implied that the area known as such is the ‘Republic of Ireland’ even though that area ie ‘Éire’ was itself never recognised as a ‘Republic’. So, it is being argued, the name change was a translation only and is not established as a fact in legal circles. Some ‘experts’ (but not all of them!) are of the opinion that this State ‘became a republic’ twelve years previous to the above (ie 1937) when ‘Bunreacht na hÉireann’ was enacted (29th December that year). If you think that’s confusing, you should try living here.


Anyway – for our part, we’re not so much interested in when exactly this gombeen Free State was ‘born’ as we are in regards to when it will be buried, and a proper country replaces it.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


CIVIL ADMINISTRATION.


When an All-Ireland Parliament is once more assembled and the framework of cvil administration set up, it is to be expected that all the force and energy of the British Empire will be unleashed against it, bounded only by whatever international political considerations are involved.


As Britain has the ear of the world, she will lose no time in calumniating and damning the Irish cause, as she does today in other territories under her control. For a while at any rate, things may go hard with us until we succeed in countering her false presentation of our case. That will be the testing time for us.


But surely there are none so naive as to imagine that Britain will easily relinquish her stranglehold on this country? (Next – ‘THE RIGHT MEN’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (18TH APRIL) 100 YEARS AGO – CONSCRIPTION ; ‘THE BLOOD VOTE’.

“Why is your face so white, Mother?

Why do you choke for breath?”


“O I have dreamt in the night, my son

That I doomed a man to death.”



“Why do you hide your hand, Mother?

And crouch above it in dread?”


“It beareth a dreadful branch, my son

With the dead man’s blood ’tis red…”
(from here.)


In 1916, as Westminster was ‘putting down’ the Irish for daring to challenge its misrule in Ireland, it found itself under ‘attack’ on another front – a shortage of military manpower with which to enforce the ‘writ’ of its ’empire’ on a global scale, and the ‘solution’ it arrived at, in its arrogance, was to introduce conscription on what the ’empire’ called its ‘mainland’ – Britain. But even that Act didn’t supply enough ‘cannon fodder’ (overall, about 18 million soldiers died and more than 20 million were incapacitated during that conflict) and, two years later, the criteria of those to be conscripted was ‘relaxed’, meaning that those who ‘failed to qualify’ in round one now found themselves to be suitable material.


But that wasn’t the only change made – there still wasn’t enough ‘trench filling’ so the British announced that the Irish were to be paid a visit in regards to being given the opportunity (!) to ‘serve their empire’ and, on the 16th April 1918, conscription was extended to this country (the British ‘Military Service Act’ was amended to include this country). An unintended consequence of insisting that the Irish, too, must be allowed to die ‘for their empire’ was the common ground found between the ‘Irish Volunteers’, Sinn Féin, Cumann na mBan, the ‘Irish Party’, the trade union movement and the religious orders, all of whom were, among other groups, opposed to that ‘offer’ from Westminster and, on the 18th April 1918 – 100 years ago on this date – that opposition was shown to have a loud and popular voice by way of a packed meeting held in the Mansion House, in Dublin, organised by the newly-formed ‘Irish Anti-Conscription Committee’, which attracted about 1,500 people.

The then Westminster-appointed ‘Chief Secretary for Ireland’, Henry Edward Duke (aka ‘the 1st Baron Merrivale’) knew that the Irish were not going to go quietly into the trenches, if at all, and contacted his betters in Whitehall and told them that “…it will be impossible in the teeth of the opposition of bishops and politicians to enforce conscription..implementing the measure in the face of such opposition would require more men than would be conscripted..” – that was in early April 1918 ; he was removed from his job during the first week of May but, by the middle of June that same year, those that had removed him and, indeed, their political bosses in Westminster and Whitehall, realised that he was right and abandoned their intention to force conscription in Ireland.


Incidentally, membership of the IRA increased as a result of the Irish conscription order, but the downside of accepting ‘new republicans’ into the fold, simply because those new members were opposed to conscription, was recognised by some in the Movement, at the time, but not, unfortunately, by all : ‘When the British Government introduced ‘The Conscription Bill’ on 16th April 1918, recruits flocked to the IRA – the people were scared. But people have short memories. It was merely a temporary hosting, like that of King Wire’s donkey. King Wire was an expert manufacturer of wire goods – muzzles, strainers and the like, who attended every horse fair in the south of Ireland. While he walked through the throng of people and horses, he worked unceasingly with hands and pliers on the roll of wire slung over one shoulder.


When his feet stopped he bought donkeys. Thus while his eyes surveyed his prospective purchase, and his tongue got busy to bargain with a fine humour, his hands never rested. No donkey on the market went home unsold. All went into his carelessly-kept herd. One evening in Macroom I remarked to him : “You have a big stock today, King.” “Most of those will have departed by morning,” he replied..’ (from this book.) Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer until we’re reading about another ‘departure’, or do some in this country still need to be conscripted by the British before they act to defend themselves?




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


SINN FÉIN NOTES.


NEW CUMAINN.


Fifteen new Cumann have been formed in Cork, Galway, Laoghise, Tyrone, Monaghan, Waterford, Dublin and London since the Ard Fheis in November last.


ACTIVITIES.


Lectures, ceilidhes and concerts were held by many Cumainn throughout the country to commemorate the establishment of the First Dáil Éireann on Friday 21st January 1919.


The Austin Stack Cumann held a very successful film show and lecture in their rooms at 64 Mountjoy Square in Dublin, early in January. The lecture was given by Tomás Ó Dubhgaill, Vice President, and that Cumann holds a very successful ceilidhe in their rooms every Sunday night at 8pm.


Tomás Ó Dubhgaill also gave a lecture at the Seán Misteal Cumann concert which was held in the O’Connell Hall in Dublin on Friday 21st January last. Frank McCann of the Seán Doran Cumann in Camlough, Armagh, is now serving a month’s imprisonment in Crumlin Jail, Belfast, for having collected at the chapel gate for the Sinn Féin National Collection. (Next – ‘PUBLIC MEETINGS / NORTHERN ELECTION COMMITTEES’, from the same source).





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


DID WE WIN?


Sometime near the end of 1975, education lectures were about to take a radical change in the cages of Long Kesh. The canteen in Cage 11 was set up to accommodate the three teams who were going to have a debate in front of the entire inhabitants of the cage. The idea was initiated by the Cage OC and organised by the cage education officer primarily to create opportunities for the young republican activists and the not-so-young gathered there to open up their eyes and minds to the political struggle that put them there in the first place.


Education was taken very seriously in the cage and every effort was used to make the lectures and debates not only educational but also relevant and interesting ; the idea was that nine volunteers of Cage 11 would split up into teams of three and pretend to represent Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Republican Clubs.


The teams were picked with the most politically aware pretending to be the Republican Clubs, as their argument was the weakest. The fairly politically aware were the SDLP, who were looked upon as sycophants, and anything they achieved was achieved on someone else’s back. Finally, those comrades who lay on their backs most of the day feeling sorry for themselves were Sinn Féin , who at the time were thought to be mostly living in Dublin. (MORE LATER).



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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20 YEARS ‘CELEBRATION’ OF A FALSE DAWN.

’20 years later and inevitable failure of GFA has come to pass.


02 April, 2018 13:57


With the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) certain questions have to be asked. What have Republicans gained from the unjustifiable compromise? Are we any closer to Éire Nua? What was the rationale for resurrecting an immoral failure from 1973-74 in 1998? Twenty years later and the inevitable failure has come to pass. In the two decades since it has not looked likely, nor does it look likely at the present, that the human rights bill in the GFA will ever be implemented. If the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not have a human rights bill, it does, by the way, the condemnation would be deafening especially if two decades had passed since it was meant to implement such a bill. Why isn’t the illegitimate six-county state and the GFA being subjected to a chorus of howls of condemnation?

Sinn Féin has made concession after concession without reciprocation from unionists. What was Sinn Féin able to do, within the confines of the GFA, about 4,597 stop and search of republicans in Ardoyne and Oldpark alone between January 2009 and January 2015? This shows that nature of British state policing in the six counties hasn’t changed in over two decades. Given the political and military occupation structures this is unlikely to change in the future. An indictment of Sinn Fein’s, and by extension the GFA’s, failure is that the top-five of the most economically deprived areas in the six counties are nationalist as are nine of the top 10 and 17 of the top 20. For this unforgivable sell-out, Sinn Féin could not even get the implementation of a Gaelic language statute agreed and promised at St Andrew’s in 2006.

Has Gaelic culture flourished since the GFA? Has it flourished in the absence of statutory protection? More people died in Ireland, in a shorter period of time, after the GFA than the entirety of all those who died in the Troubles.

What was the point in ending violence if more of our people were going to die in any case? Ending violence is not an end in itself especially considering a situation resulting in more premature and unnatural deaths. A University of Liverpool study by Professor Jonathan Tonge showed that economic and social conditions in the six-counties were worse in 2009 than they were in 1969. Where is parity of esteem when Remembrance Poppies are ‘commemorative symbols’ yet Easter Lilies are ‘conflict emblems’?


Have community relations improved? Why are there more segregation barriers now than during 1998? Neither Sinn Féin nor the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) have apologised for the damage done to working-class Irish people by their promotion of the Good Friday Agreement.


Right did not become wrong and wrong did not become right on the 10th of April 1998.


ÉAMONN MacGRIANNA,Belfast BT11.’




I don’t know the author of the above ‘letter to the editor’, but it was a relief to come across it after scrolling through all the ’20th anniversary celebratory’- type colour pieces that are out there, praising the ‘deal’ itself and those said to be responsible for it ie Bertie Ahern, Bill Clinton, Gerry Adams, Tony Blair, John Hume, John Major etc etc, some of whom must have recognised it for the ‘false dawn’ it was – and is – but were more interested in puffing-up/re-building their political ‘careers’ and would have attempted to sell any so-called ‘settlement’ to anyone foolish enough to listen to them. Indeed, such maneuvering was rife in the period leading up to, and after, the vote (it was signed-off on the 10th April 1998 by the politicians involved and put to a vote on the 22nd May that year)


Bertie Ahern, quoted in the ‘Sunday Business Post’ on the 3rd May 1998, page 16, said it means that “Britain is out of the equation”, AP/RN editorialised, on the 10th of September, 1998, on page 9, that the vote was “the will of the electorate in both partitioned states..”, ‘The Sunday Business Post’, on the 13th February 2000, on page 18, said that the Stormont Treaty (‘GFA’) institutions were set up “as a direct result of a vote of all the people of this island..the will of the entire people of Ireland..”, the ‘Ireland on Sunday’ newspaper, on the 28th March 1999, on page 14, said it was “the wish of almost every last man and woman in this country..”.


AP/RN, on the 20th May 1999, on page 9, said it was “endorsed by a huge majority of this country’s people..”, Tim Pat Coogan, in his ‘Ireland On Sunday’ column on the 24th September 2000, on page 32, said that “more than 90 per cent of the people of this island voted for it..”, Niall O Dowd, in his ‘IOS’ column on the 13th February 2000, on page 31, said that it was “the democratic wish of 95 per cent of the population in the Irish Republic and 72 per cent in the North..”, Piet De Pauw, the Belgium lawyer and human-rights expert, said, in December 2000, that “the majority of the people on this island voted for it”, AP/RN, on the 11th March 1999, on page 12, said it “was endorsed by 85 per cent of the people of Ireland..” and Tim Pat Coogan, again – this time in his ‘IOS’ column dated 7th May 2000 (page 34)- said that its institutions “were voted for by an overwhelming majority on this island..”.


In the edition of ‘The Sunday Business Post’ newspaper that was published on the 12th April 1998 – just two days after the Stormont Treaty was signed – the editorial referred to the proposed amendments to Articles 2 and 3 of the Free State Constitution as “well meaning drivel”, saying that the treaty would make us become “the laughing stock of Europe”, and described that treaty as “a rescue operation for unionism”. But, six weeks later – on Sunday, 24th May 1998 – the paper had changed its tune : the editorial in that edition declared that “clearly the vast majority of people on this island are prepared to invest their hope and trust for the future in what is, by any standards, a complex agreement.” A ‘laughing stock’ indeed.


However, an examination of the actual outcome of that vote reveals the true figures, and confirms that the establishment and its supporters will still attempt to purposely distort the facts and mislead those who are foolish enough to simply take them at their word – in this State, the turnout was 56.3% and, of those, 1,442,583 (94.4%) voted ‘YES’ and 85,748 (5.6%) voted ‘NO’. But 43.97% of those entitled to vote in the State did not do so!


In the Six Counties, the turnout was 81% and, of those, 676,966 (71.12%) voted ‘YES’ and 274,879 (28.88%) voted ‘NO’ . But 19% of those entitled to vote in the Six Counties did not do so!


The claims that ‘the majority voted for it’ and that it represents ‘the democratic wish of 95% of the population’ etc etc is a deliberate falsehood put about by those that would attempt to convince the Irish people that the struggle to achieve a just and permanent settlement has been achieved. That finality can only begin when the British give a date for their withdrawal from this country – it has not been a war of almost 850 years only to say to the British that which the Stormont Treaty leads them to believe – ‘stay if you want, just treat us better..’. That was never the republican objective, regardless of how well dressed and presentable those are that travel the globe claiming, in effect, that so-called ‘civil rights’ was the objective all along.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


ELECTION MACHINE.


To do all this requires an extensive ‘election machine’, set up well in advance of the elections to be contested. Now the Cumann in the area is the natural unit to provide this machinery ; the build-up before polling day is just a gradual increase on the ordinary work of the Cumann, and the doctrines we teach from day to day will be the planks of our election platforms. A Sinn Féin propagandist once said –


“The principal merit in the Sinn Féin policy was that no political reverses could leave it, like a defeated political party, at a dead end. It’s constructive programme gave its adherents something to work at through good fortune and ill, popularity or disdain.” (Next – ‘CIVIL ADMINISTRATION’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (11TH APRIL) 140 YEARS AGO : BORN INTO A FENIAN FAMILY, BUT TURNED FREE STATER.

On the 11th April 1878 – 140 years ago on this date – a daughter, Kathleen (pictured) was born, in Limerick, into a well-known and respected republican family, at the head of which sat Edward and Catherine Daly. ‘The man of the house’ worked in the timber business. Her uncle, John Daly, was as well known in republican circles as was her father, and was imprisoned with a man who, despite the fact that he was twenty years older than Kathleen Daly, was to marry her in later years. That man was Tom Clarke , who was born in a British military camp at Hurst Park in the Isle of Wight, on the 11th March 1858. His father was then a Corporal in the British Army but, like Tom’s mother, was Irish born. A year later Corporal Clarke was drafted to South Africa where the family lived until 1865. Tom first saw Ireland about 1870, when his father was appointed a Sergeant of the Ulster Militia and was stationed at Dungannon in County Tyrone.


To cut a long story short, on the 14th of June, 1883, at the ‘Old Bailey’, Tom Clarke was, with three others, sentenced to penal servitude for life. For 15 years and nine months, in the prisons of Chatham and Portland, he endured imprisonment without flinching ; 15 years and nine months of an incessant attempt, by the British, to deprive him of his life or reason. This torture did not cease with daylight and recommence on the following day – it was maintained during the hours of darkness when even the lowest criminal was entitled to sleep and rest. But Tom Clarke and his comrades got neither sleep nor rest – cunning devices for producing continuous disturbing sounds were erected over their cells, and these are described in his book ‘Glimpses of an Irish Felon’s Prison Life’. He was released in 1898, aged 40, and spent a short time in Limerick with his friend John Daly before returning to America where, in 1901, he married Kathleen Daly, John Daly’s daughter : she was 23 years of age, he was 43.

“Great God! Did I ever think I would live to see it, to see men who were the bravest, now fooled that this Treaty means a realisation of our highest ideals..” – Kathleen Clarke (Daly), speaking about the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ – but that was ‘then’, as they say, when she was anti-Treaty, to the point that she had been imprisoned in Dublin Castle, in late 1916, by the British administration for her republican activity, and was entrusted, by her husband, in early 1916, to hold on to £3,100 of IRB funds to relieve distressed republicans, as the man knew he might not survive the Easter Rising but wanted to leave some financial assistance for the families of those who might die with him – within days of his death, she had set up the ‘Irish Volunteer Dependents’ Fund’. She was a judge in the Sinn Féin courts, worked practically full-time on the production of the IRB newspaper, ‘Irish Freedom’, was president of the central branch of Cumann na mBan and was a confidant of the supreme council of the IRB before the Easter Rising, trusted with all available contact details, plans and timing for same, should the known leadership be rounded-up by Westminster.


However, it is known that, after the Treaty, she contacted Michael Collins and told him she would support that Treaty because, she opined, it offered “the machinery to work out to full freedom”, probably the same reason she turned up at the Four Courts in June 1922, after it had been taken back by Liam Mellows and his men from the British-backed Free Staters, and stated to the republicans that what they were doing was “a challenge to Mick Collins and I know Mick well enough that he’ll only accept that challenge until such time as he can get an army together and kick you out of here. Are you going to wait for that..?” but, two years after her plea to republicans not to challenge the Free Staters, she travelled to America on a fundraising tour for republican prisoners but (another ‘but’!), two years after that fundraising tour, she assisted de Valera in establishing the ‘Fianna Fáil’ party and was ensconced in the Free State system either as a ‘TD’, a ‘Senator’ and a ‘Lord Mayor’ for Dublin during the years 1921 to 1927, 1928 to 1936 and 1939 to 1941. She is on record for stating that, in her opinion, Roger Casement “made a fool of himself” by seeking military assistance from the Germans and that he knew nothing about Ireland!


In 1965, she left this country and lived in Liverpool with her son, Emmet, where she died on the 29th September, 1972, aged 94. Leinster House gave her a State funeral, and buried her in Deansgrange Cemetery, in Dublin. As we have said here before – ‘put not your trust in princes’.




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


IS THIS THE YEAR?


Is this the year, oh Lord

When Thou shalt call, and slumbering Ireland wake,

When honour shall return

When night will fade and dawn, at last, will break?






We’ve sinned against Thee, Lord,

Our pitted souls have spurned Thy proferred Grace ;

Betrayed Thy trust in us,

Unworthy, yet we hope to see Thy face.






For we’ve loved Ireland, Lord.

Thus, though we’ve sinned, Thou’ll take each pleading hand

And lead us to abide

Among the host of men who’ve loved our land.






If ’tis the year, Lord, grant

That should we die, we’ll lie among the brave

Unmourned, unsung, perhaps ;

Who cares? But grant us, Lord, a patriot’s grave.






Is this the year, Dear Lord?

The year ‘to come’ when Ireland will be free

Foreseen, when Norman steel

First sent our brave Ambassadors to Thee.






For nigh eight hundred years

They’ve gone to kneel and plead before Thy throne –

But Thou hast heard their pleas,

For Thou art just – We never stood alone.






Thou did but test our worth.

We stood the test – endured – we showed no fear.

Please! Grant now our request,

Say to our hearts “Arise, this is the year!”


(Next – ‘SINN FÉIN NOTES’, from the same source).





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


Many a laugh we’ve had since recounting those ‘football matches’ and, I have to say, of all the cultural activities we engaged in (not counting the Language), it would be nearly impossible to pick between the inter-Cage Gaelic matches and the Irish dancing classes to find out which of them would constitute the more unacceptable face of Irish culture in Long Kesh.


Even though I can still see big Clint Loughran attempting his ‘Sevens’, I would still pick the ‘football’. As the inter-Cage football matches take their place in contemporary republican folklore, one of the legacies of those Gaelic matches that has stayed with me all these years is – and I don’t know whether it’s an unconscious thing or not – but every time I walk pass Bloggs Long in the street, I instinctively duck!


Finally, I want to say that Ardoyne men are universally well known for their fantastic sense of humour and, by their nature, are very forgiving… (MORE LATER).
Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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SPOOF, SPIN, IGNORANCE, MISDIRECTION, SMOKE AND MIRRORS.

There’s an unprecedented amount of spin and misdirection in the last week or so in connection with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the 1998 Stormont Treaty (‘Good Friday Agreement’), and more so today, the 10th April, the actual anniversary of the date that treaty was signed. It’s depressing watching on TV, listening on the radio and reading on the web as professional political spoofers line up to tell all and sundry about how they practically ‘saved Ireland’, and use false assertions and incorrect ‘facts and figures’ to support their claims.

It could only happen in a partial ex-colony like this, in which the ‘leaders’ are smitten – mentally, morally, and emotionally – by their (old?) imperial bosses, whom they have an overwhelming desire to impress. It excites them to do so, and allows them to consider themselves to be ‘every bit as good’ as those that once spat down on them from the ‘big house’. When the ‘Stormont Treaty’ (‘GFA’) was voted on here in May 1998, one of it’s main ‘selling-points’, according to the State establishment that were promoting it – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Provisional Sinn Féin, the various Church’s, media etc – was that the British Government would legislate for the creation of a united Ireland if a majority within the Six Counties desired same. This was said to be a major development and, on it’s own, worth voting ‘YES’ for.


However, that ‘commitment’ from Westminster was contained in the ‘Ireland Act’ of 1949, the ‘Northern Ireland (sic) Act’ of 1973, Section Five of the ‘Sunningdale Agreement’ and the opening section of the 1985 Hillsborough Treaty! It was a deliberate mis-representation of the facts by the pro-treaty side, which repeatedly claimed that a peaceful end to the North-Eastern conflict depended on a majority ‘YES’ vote in the referendum, thereby insinuating that those who voted ‘NO’ were pro-war.


In 1922, Liam Mellows said of the 1921 ‘Treaty of Surrender’ – “This is not the will of the people ; it is the fear of the people”. The conflict continued after that Treaty, and continues today. In 1973, the political establishment here and its hangers-on were amongst those telling republicans that the ‘Sunningdale Agreement’ was the “solution” to the North. In 1985 they did the same with the ‘Hillsborough Treaty’. In 1998 they did the same with the ‘Stormont Treaty’ (‘GFA’). We’ll be posting a piece here tomorrow (Wednesday 11th April 2018) in which we will highlight some of the outrageous claims made in connection with the 1998 Stormont Treaty and not only will we be naming those who made those claims, but we will state the source of same. See ya then!


Thanks for reading, Sharon.




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ON THIS DATE (28TH MARCH) 139 YEARS AGO : AN IRISH REPUBLICAN HERO IS BORN.

Terence MacSwiney, pictured, left, his wife Muriel and their daughter, Máire, photographed in 1919.


‘ “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 September 30, 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…’ (from here.)


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 – 139 years ago on this date – 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.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


ECONOMICS TODAY.


As modern society is highly organised and people tend to crowd into cities to earn a living, industry has become of paramount importance. We are no longer just an agricultural race, with cottage industries to supply our needs. The medium of exchange is highly complicated and, in the hands of unscrupulous men and under foreign influences, large numbers of our people are exploited so that individuals may amass fortunes, and trade is depressed or expanded to suit the British economy.


To some, this may seem far-fetched but, with a little reflection, they will realise the advantage to Britain of holding Ireland’s purse strings. To achieve a balanced economy in Ireland, and give effect to the clause of the 1916 Proclamation which states “equal rights and equal opportunities” for all her citizens – compare this with the empty cliches of the 1937 Free State Constitition – and above all to bring social and economic life into line with Christian teaching is, next to achieving independence, the most important object of Sinn Féin.


The means whereby this can be achieved will naturally lie in the hands of the elected representatives of an All-Ireland parliament, but to show that the Sinn Féin organisation is not lacking in ideas as to how it can be done, a general programme has been drawn up and is presented to the people of Ireland for their criticism, and is available in a pamphlet entitled ‘Sinn Féin Social and Economic Programme’, price 6d, from 3 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin, or from any Cumann.


As the achievement of the objects of Sinn Féin can only be by stages, the most important one is to win the battle of the polls, but to fight an election requires an enormous amount of personal energy and large sums of money. Many an election is won on catchcries and vituperation, but that is not the method of Sinn Féin – we want everyone who votes for a Sinn Féin candidate to know why he votes for him, and what Sinn Féin really stands for. It is not enough that public meetings be held and handbills be distributed – personal canvass on a large scale by well-informed and enthusiastic men and women will win more votes than any loud-voiced oratory or ‘smart’ handbill.


We must wean the people from the factional approach to elections, and make the issue for or against a Free United Ireland. (Next – ‘ELECTION MACHINE’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (28TH MARCH) 126 YEARS AGO – BIRTH OF AN INSPIRATIONAL REPUBLICAN.

Stood

By the Republic

By the oath of Fenians

By young Irelands dream

By the creed of Tone

For him no stepping stone

But the green branch blooming

For the northern shores of Derry

To the Kingdom of Kerry

Man-of Oak

Maguire.




Tom Maguire (pictured), who held the rank of commandant-general in the Western Command of the Irish Republican Army and led the South Mayo flying column, was born on this date (28th March) in 1892 – 126 years ago today.
He died in his 101st year in 1993 : we wrote about the man in an earlier post this month, so we won’t repeat ourselves. Except to say that he remains an inspiration for Irish republicans to this day.





“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


COMMENTS…


That was a very stirring account of the First Dáil in ‘The Sunday Press’ of January 23rd. It ended – ‘It was a time of glorious courage in the hearts of the common people whose rewards have lasted into our own time.” The glorious courage was born of the sacrifices of Easter Week, bouyed by the fighting and sacrifices of the men of the Irish Republican Army and cracked by the betrayal of the men who signed the Treaty.


The courage was further shaken when men who had voted against the Treaty, after a year or two, slipped into the ‘Dáil’ , and operated England’s little 26-County establishment. Then, during what was known in the 26 Counties as ‘the Emergency’ and in the Six Counties as ‘the war’, nearly all the courageous had their courage protected in the Curragh Camp, or in the ‘Joy’, or in Derry and Belfast, and some of the very courageous died for it.


But the rewards have lasted, for there is courage still and it grows apace. (Next – ‘IS THIS THE YEAR?’, from the same source).





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


I remember with horror Basher Burn’s ‘tackle’ on a comrade from Limerick. It was a Second Team match against Cage 12, but Basher’s fundamental understanding of football (any type of football) was that in most ball games, the ball was round. Armed with this knowledge, Basher put his name down for the Second Team of Cage Eleven and those poor fools picked him for the team. He had one basic tackle : the fellow from Limerick was running down towards our goal with the ball, when ‘Hard and Low’ McGlow shouted for Basher to stop him.


“NO DON’T BASH…” I shouted, but my plea was too late – his basic tackle, the uppercut, stopped and dropped the Limerick man dead in his tracks, but there was something beautiful in the way his limp body arched and spiralled in mid-air before it hit the ground in a crumpled heap, followed by a dull sickening thud. As we all stood looking at Basher with our mouths open in disbelief, he lifted the ball out of the Limerick man’s unconscious grasp and, looking over at us, asked, without batting an eyelid, “What do I do now?”


We gathered speechless around the inert Limerick body lying on the ground, and watched as one of his eyes seemed to flicker and a groan came from somewhere deep within him. “He’s still breathing,” said a voice in the crowd, “quick – give the ball to Cheeser…” And Cheeser, with the ball, ran up the pitch and scored a goal! (MORE LATER).





ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK…

..that is, Wednesday 4th April 2018, we won’t be posting our usual offering – we are booked up from now until Monday evening (Easter Monday, 2nd April) with Easter commemorations in Dublin and the behind-the-scenes work that goes with those events. But we’ll be back on Wednesday 11th April 2018 with, among other bits and pieces, a few words about a woman from a Fenian family who was one of the very select group of people who knew about, in advance, the plans for the 1916 Easter Rising. See ya then!


Thanks for reading, Sharon.




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RSF EASTER COMMEMORATIONS, DUBLIN, 2018.

The main RSF Easter Commemoration in Dublin will be held on Easter Monday, 2nd April 2018 : we will be assembling at the Garden of Remembrance at 1.45pm and marching from there to the GPO in O’Connell Street, arriving there at about 2pm. But, if you can’t get to that one, then, on Easter Sunday in Dublin, a wreath will be laid and the 1916 Proclamation will be read at the Éamonn Ceannt monument in the public park named in his honour in Crumlin at 12 noon and a commemoration will be held in Deansgrange Cemetery (which was established in 1861 and had its first burial in 1865) that same day at the republican plot, at 1pm. Details of the other republican tributes, from Donegal to Cork to New York, can be found here. I’ll be at one or more of the Dublin events over the Easter weekend, but I’ve had no luck in getting a sponsor for the New York one…!





ON THIS DATE (21ST MARCH) 21 YEARS AGO – AN ‘IRISH’ BOUNCING CZECH IS ‘BORN’!

When she was Free State Minister for ‘Justice’, Nora Owen (Fine Gael) granted citizenship to a Ludka Kozeny, on the 21st March, 1997 – 21 years ago on this date. Ever generous, our Nora had done the same for Kozeny’s husband, Viktor (pictured), in 1995.

This was not Viktor’s first time to be mentioned in the media ; he was already famous (!) in the Czech Republic as a ‘go-getter’, a successful ‘can-do’ business-man, who had persuaded eight-and-a-half million people to ‘invest’ in his ‘Harvard Group Investment Fund’, promising them a ten-fold return on their money within a year and a day. But the ‘Fund’, such as it was, failed, and Viktor legged it! He later surfaced in London’s Mayfair area, where he made the headlines again – by spending €16,506 on dinner (‘Tasting menu with wine £275, Tasting menu without wine £175, Business lunch menu £70’) for three people at ‘Le Gavroche’ restaurant!


Incidentally, when we here at ‘1169 Towers’ (if only!) knew it, ‘Le Gav’ (which is what it’s known as by us regulars) was owned by my old buddies, the Roux brothers. But we won’t be dining there again. Unless Nora’s paying…




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


SPREAD THE PAPER.


Newspapers cost large sums to produce, and need widespread organisation to distribute. With such a large network, distribution would be easier and returns made much quicker, and essential funds would not be a heavy drain on any small group.


‘An t-Eireannach Aontuighthe’, though enjoying a large sale, does not, as yet, reach all the areas that we wish – the considerable advantage of small groups in every district pressing the sales cannot be overlooked, but the newspaper is not the only means of propaganda : the Sunday morning meeting, the debate and the lecture are others. Where enthusiasm and sincerity reign many new ideas will be forthcoming to instil into our people the age-old ideal.


Remember that Irish republicanism is not a cold and empty formula but a burning flame which, once kindled in the young and unspoilt heart, transforms the man and brings him into spiritual communion with all that was great and glorious in Gaelic Ireland since man first set foot upon her soil.


The story of our race, her heroes and her tragedies must be put before everybody, young and old, and urged upon him the necessity of making one last great effort to achieve her destiny. That is the propaganda of which we speak. (Next : ‘ECONOMICS TODAY’ , from the same source.)





PUT NOT YOUR TRUST IN PRINCES…

‘(Peadar) Kearney was born at 68 Lower Dorset Street, Dublin, in 1883 (and) often walked along Gardiner Street to the Custom House and along the Quays. His father was from Louth and his mother was originally from Meath. He was educated at the Model School, Schoolhouse Lane and St Joseph’s Christian Brothers School in Fairview, Dublin. He left school at the age of 14, becoming an apprentice house painter…(he)joined the Gaelic League in 1901, and joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1903…he was a co-founder of the Irish Volunteers in 1913…’, and this –

‘A descendant of Amhran ha bhFiann composer Peadar Kearney has launched High Court proceedings against a fund-appointed receiver seeking the return of items including an original copy of the national anthem signed by the composer…’ (from here and here.)



Peadar Kearney joined the IRB when he was 20 years young (in 1903) and, four years later, along with his friend Paddy Heeney, wrote the words and tune for ‘Amhrán na bhFiann‘ (‘The Soldiers Song’). He took part in the 1916 Rising, fighting alongside Thomas MacDonagh at Jacobs Factory, and managed to escape the round-up by the ‘authorities’ that followed, literally ‘living to fight another day’. And he did – he was active again during the ‘Black and Tan War’, during which he was imprisoned for about a year. Following the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ – and this is perhaps not as well known as his republican involvement – he took the Free State side and was actually in the ‘Collins Convoy’ at Béal na mBláth when, in August 1922, those Free Staters were ambushed by the IRA, and Michael Collins was killed.


It’s also not as well known as it should be that he worked for the Free State in Portlaoise Prison as a ‘Censor’ ie removing what the State regarded as ‘sensitive content’ from letters that republican prisoners were trying to send out to family and friends : his conscience must have troubled him, as he only stuck that job for a week and, in the late 1930’s, made public his (new-found) opposition to partition. He died in Inchicore, Dublin, in 1942, at 59 years of age, and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery. As we said – ‘Put not your trust..’




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


COMMENTS…


A man cannot justify his break-away from the separatist ideal simply by quoting the isolated dictum of another, especially when the other is a splendid man who died by his guns – ‘the effective leader of the insurrection’ – James Connolly. He was a soldier, a militant to the last, a member of the Irish Republican Army, unpopular then as now with all but the truly sincere.


The effort of the members of the Republican Movement is not to bring the Six North-Eastern Counties into a set-up which would grant our Northern friends far less compensation when sick or out of work. Our aim is to break the connection with England, so that the people of Ireland can govern themselves and make the best use of the wealth in their own country, and live in a decent and Christian way. We think that there must be Irishmen alive and yet to come with the ability to govern Ireland without foreign intervention, and whose purpose is to the good of Ireland.


The dual-purpose politician who tries to serve two masters – Ireland and England – is like that phenomenon of animals, the dual-purpose cow, which we breed here to trot over to England hoofs, hide and all. (MORE LATER).





ON THIS DATE (21ST MARCH) 75 YEARS AGO : 21 FOR BREAKFAST ON THE 21ST!

Early on Saturday morning, 21st March 1943 – 75 years ago on this date – as the Logue family of Harding Street, Derry, were about to sit down for their breakfast, they noticed a part of their small garden rising up and being pushed back – their garden wall formed part of the perimeter of a neighbouring premises, Derry Jail : a figure pulled himself up from the hole in the ground and began assisting others that were trying to scramble to their feet. Within minutes there were 21 men assembled in the small garden, all of whom rushed into the Logue house and let themselves out through the front door. They ran to near-by Abercorn Place and jumped into a waiting lorry, a furniture removal van, which was driven by an on-the-run IRA man, Jimmy Steele, who had recently liberated himself from Crumlin Road Prison!


Among the escapees were well-known IRA activists Patrick Donnelly, Ned Maguire, Hugh McAteer, Liam Graham and Brendan O’Boyle who, incidentally, was the last man to be helped from the tunnel. Jimmy Drumm was earmarked as the last man and was in the tunnel, yards behind Brendan O’Boyle, when he heard a warning being shouted that the British Army had discovered the exit and were picking-up the men as they emerged – so he turned back, only to discover later that it was a false alarm.


The tunnel had been started in November 1942, in Liam Graham’s cell and, out of the 200 or so IRA prisoners in the jail, 22 had been picked by the prisoners themselves as it was felt that that group could more readily ‘rally the troops’ on the outside as each of them had a high profile in the Movement and were respected by all concerned (except, obviously, by the British and the Staters!). An estimated five tons of clay was removed (although other sources estimated that about 15 tons of clay was shifted) over a five month period and most of it was scattered in the prison grounds, although repeated attempts were made to dispose of some of it via the toilets, which blocked the pipes. A plumbing company was called in on a regular basis over that five month period but, whether they knew what was happening or not, they said nothing and the warders and their bosses knew nothing of the excavation that was then on-going – indeed, during the last few weeks of the dig, the IRA prisoners had held a ‘mini-fleadh cheoil’ to cover the noise and the constant comings-and-goings from cell to cell and from cell to prison yard.


Jimmy Steele and Harry White had each organised to have about 12 men on stand-by on each side of Britain’s border in Ireland to assist with the dispersal of the escapees, the majority of whom were taken to Donegal but, within a day, eleven of their number had been captured by Free State forces and interned in the Curragh. Others were also captured in that county, in a place called Glentown, and they were then held in a FS barracks in Letterkenny and, within a week, only three of the 21 were still at liberty.


That successful escape effort not only helped to refocus world attention on to the then(-as-now) on-going struggle for national liberation in Ireland, but proved to be a massive morale boost for the Republican Movement. it helped to insure that the flame stayed lit, and brought in new recruits who, in turn, passed the mantle to those who hold the same values today.





ON THIS DATE (21ST MARCH) 97 YEARS AGO : ‘LAST STOP’ FOR SOME BRITISH ARMY SQUADDIES.

‘On 21st March 1921, the Kerry IRA attacked a train at the Headford junction near Killarney. Twenty British soldiers were killed or injured. The ‘Headford Ambush’ was organised by the Kerry No. 2 Brigade Flying Column IRA who, while billeted in the vicinity of Headford on the 21st March 1921, learned that a detachment of British troops were due to return by train from Kenmare to Tralee later that day, and decided to ambush them. The attack was led by Dan Allman (pictured,who was killed in the engagement) and Tom McEllistrim (a future Fianna Fáil TD); perhaps as many as 30 members of the IRA were involved…’ (from here.)


‘On 21st March 1921, the Kerry IRA attacked a train at the Headford junction near Killarney. Twenty British soldiers were killed or injured…(they)were members of the Royal London Fusiliers, who were obliged to change trains at Headford Junction as they made their way back to Tralee ; consequently, the station was chosen as the natural venue for the ambush. The train in question, however, arrived earlier then expected, before the preparations for the ambush had been completed. Dan Allman and two others who had been on the platform as the train pulled in were forced to take refuge in a lavatory. The soldiers alighted leisurely, and as one of them entered the lavatory and discovered Allman, a scuffle broke out. Allman shot the soldier, and the ambush began.


The IRA fired on the train from both sides of the station. The British attempted to use a machine gun fastened to the front of the train, but this was specifically targeted by the IRA and played no major role in the ambush, which lasted for perhaps 50 minutes. The civilian passengers had disembarked from the carriages before the soldiers, but some were still in the station when the gunfire began : three cattle dealers were killed, and a three year old girl was badly wounded in both legs when a bullet passed through her fathers leg as he sought to shelter her. Two members of the IRA (including Allman) were killed, and the British recorded that they lost seven soldiers on the spot, though members of the IRA claimed that as many as 24 soldiers had been killed.

The ambush ended when the Mallow-Tralee train arrived ; it had inadvertently brought British reinforcements, and the IRA withdrew from the vicinity of the station. They were then fired upon by British troops as they escaped across a cut away bog (and) some members of the column returned fire before splitting into two groups to slip away. The Flying Column was left desperately short of ammunition for days afterwards due to the duration and severity of the gunfire at the train station…’ (from here.)


Tom McEllistrim, who was born in County Kerry in 1894, joined the Irish Volunteers when he was 20 years young (in 1914) and fought in the War of Independence. He took the republican side in the Civil War and, for three years, was an elected republican politician, but then joined Fianna Fáil in 1926, when that grouping was established. He died in 1973. He was the joint commander of the IRA column which carried out the ambush at Headford Junction at which 28 people were killed and, years later, stated – “When the battle was over, there were 28 bodies lined up dead inside in that platform..”


Many members of the ‘Farmers’ Bridge’ unit of the IRA took part in the Headford Ambush, a unit which Dan Keating was later to join. That Active Service Unit included men of the calibre of Johnny Duggan, Johnny O’Connor, Timmy Galvin, Moss Galvin, Jack Corkery, Jim Ryle, Mick Hogan and Jamesy Whiston, and those men and their comrades were suitably spread out in vantage points in the immediate vicinity –
Tom McEllistrim, John Flynn
(who was an ex-British Army man) and Paddy Lynch took control of the Station Master’s House, Moss Carmody was at the Signal Box, Dan Allman, Dan Healy, Jack Cronin and Jim Coffey (another ex-British Army man) were in control of the toilet in the middle of the platform, Peter Browne and nine of his comrades guarded the South Embankment and John O’Connor was one of six men who had the North Embankment under their control. The remaining vantage point, the Mallow end of the Platform, was controlled by Jack Brosnan, Tom O’Connor and four other men.


Westminster would only admit to eight casualties – Adams, Brundish, Chandler, George, West, Woods, Young and Greenwood. The battle lasted for about one hour, but will be remembered – and recounted – forever!





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


The huts of the cages surrounding the football pitches were empty as the inmates took advantage of the high vantage points afforded by standing on top of the shower huts or the study huts that overlooked the football pitch. The banter and abuse, when being shouted at the same time, became just pure abuse, but hilarious.


The roofs of the huts were being wrecked by everyone not only standing on them but jumping up and down, screaming at the matches. It was absolutely nuts, and the worse perpetrators of this abuse were the men of Cage Eleven. They abused everyone about everything – but abuse about immediate family was taboo. Anything else, such as weight, size, girlfriends, boyfriends (some of the abuse could be very malicious!) was fair game.


Nicknames ranged from ‘The Goldfish’ to ‘Sleepy Sickness’, ‘The Brush’, ‘The Poison Dwarf’, ‘Platehead’, ‘Plastic Hands’ and ‘More Rope’, to ‘Aldergrove Airport’, which was a reference to a comrade running down the wing with the ball, and who found himself confronted by this mountain of a Belfast man who was on the opposite team – “Run around him, Davy”, someone shouted, “Run around him..” “You must be joking”, yelled Davy, “You’d be quicker running around the runway at Aldergrove Airport..” And the name stuck. (MORE LATER).



Thanks for reading, Sharon.




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