" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."
(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

All this time I could not but be aware of the growing strength of the IRA , for I was continuously a member of its controlling body. The system of control is a simple one : the army convention in session is the supreme authority of the organisation, the company is the unit of organisation for the election of delegates and in some cases outposts are grouped-up to company strength to elect a delegate. Brigade staffs and general headquarters have a small quota. The IRA convention elects twelve men (sic) , who may be of any rank, in open sessions , and they are known as the Executive, a misleading term, for they have no executive function. These twelve men (sic) meet and, under pledge of secrecy, elect seven men who will constitute the IRA Army Council and control the organisation : no one of the seven need be a member of the twelve and, in this way, the names of the IRA Army Council are protected.

By a provision in its constitution, the IRA is obliged to give its full allegiance to any democratically elected government attempting to function as the government of the Republic. The IRA Executive Committee must be summoned at regular intervals to meet the army council in a consultative way. The Executive has one real power - it can re-summon the general army convention if it considers there is need for it, and state a case against the IRA army council.

From the time of the break with the Second Dáil Éireann, I was always one of the twelve, and one of the seven. On one occasion when my position was extremely controversial, and I was just a little bit tired of it all, I did not attend the meeting of the IRA Executive so as to make it easy for the others to elect an army council that would not include me, maybe a little bit daring them to do so. Andy Cooney , the same Andy Cooney (page 5, here) of 'The Gates Flew Open', came direct to my place from the Executive meeting to make sure I would agree to serve on the new army council. He was laying down the law to me with his index finger, as way his way, when police cars pulled up with a screech of brakes. We made a dive for the secret room in my place and my wife put Andy's coat and hat away and delayed the raiders further by speaking to them through a window in the cool, easy scornful way she used so effectively at breathless moments. It was a long drawn-out raid , but our hiding place survived it. (MORE LATER).


By Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.

PC James Parody was not on duty that day and knew nothing of the operation. He has a flat overlooking the Shell petrol station and he looked out the window at the sound of a police siren. He saw a police car move out of Smith Dorrien Avenue and onto Winston Churchill Avenue. It passed by the Shell station with its siren and blue flashing light on and he noticed a man and a woman walking past the petrol station. When the car had passed he noticed two other men - he didn't know where they came from, they were in the middle of the road with their backs to him. He heard shouts of "police, police...". The woman had been looking back towards the car and when the shout came she turned in to her right and made a move with her left hand towards her bag, which was over her right shoulder, according to PC Parody.

Then he noticed that the two men on the road had guns pointed at the couple and he heard a few shots from each of the gunmen. The woman fell first with her head on the roadway and her body on the pavement , and the man fell over the wall of the petrol station forecourt with his legs across the woman's body. After that, said PC Parody, the two men put their guns away and took out black berets. The police car then pulled up at the traffic lights and a number of police officers got out.

Soldier 'C' saw Seán Savage heading left in the direction of the Landport Tunnel. Soldier 'D' had already crossed the road and 'C' had to run briefly to catch up and as he crossed the road he heard a police siren - he looked round and saw a police car with its blue light flashing coming from the left. Seán Savage was walking at a normal pace. Soldiers 'C' and 'D' got to within six or seven feet of him as he reached a big tree on the left hand side. There were a good few people coming towards them and Soldier 'C' drew his pistol. At the inquest he said that at this point he was about to issue a warning to Seán Savage, along the lines of "Stop, police, get down, hands above the head, stay down..." , when he heard the sound of gunfire from behind. He didn't get past the word "Stop". (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House - the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12' of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender', which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' , the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland! (Part 4)

When this Boundary Commission was to be set-up , it was to be 'Chaired' by Justice Feetham , a South African Judge , and a good friend of the British 'Establishment' - it may well have been a ' toothless body ' , as Winston Churchill , the then British 'Colonial Secretary to Ireland' considered it to be , but sure it was no harm to have its Chairperson in your pocket , too !

During the first three years of the existance of the Irish Free State , those running same poured all their resources into simply 'staying alive' ; it was not until 1924 that the Staters in Leinster House requested that the Boundary Commission should come into being - this opened-up old wounds for the British. Westminster was well aware that this issue was an 'open sore' for all concerned - the Staters ( except Michael Collins and , probably , those close to him , who knew better) were expecting 'the earth' (!) while the Unionists had been promised 'no change'. On hearing of this request by the Free Staters to Westminster, the Stormont (ie the Six-County 'parliament' established by the British) 'Prime Minister', 'Sir' James Craig, let it be known that , as he was not one of the signatories to the 1921 Treaty , he did not feel bound by its stipulations re the Boundary Commission and would have nothing to do with the establishment of such a body. The Brits themselves weren't really in favour of setting-up the Boundary Commission either, and no attempt was made to persuade 'Sir' Craig to take part in it by nominating a representative to that proposed body, as had been agreed in the 1921 Treaty - instead , the Brits took it on themselves to nominate a person to sit on the Commission on Stormont's behalf.

Westminster turned to a friend of 'Sir' James Craig , a Mr. J.R. Fisher, and 'nominated' him as the Stormont representative to the Boundary Commission. Fisher was known by Westminster to be 'a safe pair of hands'. It should be noted that Chairperson Feetham was also the Westminster nominee to the Boundary Commission! The Free Staters in Leinster House choose Eoin MacNeill as their representative to that body ; MacNeill was the co-founder of the 'Gaelic League' in 1893 (with Douglas Hyde) , an organisation which grew within thirteen years to a huge size ; at least 100,000 members in 900 branches throughout the island. The same man was , in 1916 , the nominal head of the Rebels and was known as a good organiser - however , he was not known as a good , or aggressive, negotiator.

When Michael Collins and his supporters were attempting to 'sell' the December 1921 Treaty to their own side , they made a big deal of the Boundary Commission clause in that Treaty and in particular the part of it which stated that the 'border' could be adjusted "....in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants ..". Now , three years later (on 6th November 1924) , Eoin MacNeill was sitting at the table of the newly-established Boundary Commission at its first meeting , which was held in London. (MORE LATER).


Galway IRA man and Officer Commanding of the IRA Western Command at the time, Tony Darcy, who began his hunger strike on 25th February 1940 and died on 16th April, in St Bricins (Free State) military hospital in Dublin, on 16th April, after 52 days on hunger strike.

Tony Darcy was sentenced to three months imprisonment for refusing to either account for his movements or give his name and address when arrested by Free Staters at an IRA meeting in Dublin. The POW's went on hunger strike after Meath IRA man, Nick Doherty, was imprisoned on the criminal wing in Mountjoy Jail and a request to transfer him to join his political comrades in Arbour Hill Jail was refused by the Staters. One week into the protest, the prison authorities made a move to take the IRA OC of the prisoners , Seán McNeela, for 'trial' before the 'Special Criminal Court' but he refused to go with them. Barricades were built and D-Wing was secured as best as possible by the IRA prisoners and they were soon attacked by armed Special Branch men, backed-up by the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Amongst the casualties were McNeela and Darcy, both of whom were beaten unconscious and suffered wounds that were never allowed to heal.

This account of that period, by Michael Traynor, was submitted to the Republican Sinn Féin organisation by Carmel McNeela, widow of Paddy McNeela and sister-in-law of Seán McNeela : (Michael Traynor, Adjutant-General, IRA at the time of his arrest in February 1940, endured hunger strike with Seán McNeela, Tony Darcy, Tomás Mac Curtáin, Jack Plunkett and Tommy Grogan) : "When Seán McNeela became CS (Chief of Staff) of the IRA in 1938 he immediately appointed Jack McNeela OC (Officer Commanding) Great Britain with the particular task of putting the organisation there on a war footing and amassing explosives and preparing for the forthcoming bombing campaign. After a few months of tense activity Jack was arrested and sentenced to nine months imprisonment. He returned to Ireland in 1939 and was appointed Director of Publicity. Jack was very disappointed with this appointment. He said he knew nothing about publicity and would have preferred some task, no matter how humble which would have kept him in contact with the rank and file Volunteers. However Publicity had to be organised and Jack threw himself to the job with zeal and energy. After two months, out of nothing, Jack had his Publicity Department functioning perfectly. Writers were instructed and put to work, office staff organised, radio technicians got into harness.

Another big disappointment at this time for Jack was the instructions he received about the raid on the Magazine Fort. He nearly blew up when he was told that he could not take part in the operation, that HQ staff could not afford to lose more than the QMG and the AG if the operation failed. He was a man of action and wanted to be with his comrades in time of danger. He repeatedly requested the AG for permission to take part in the operation but without success. But Jack was there, orders or no orders, and he did about ten men’s work in the taking of the fort and the loading of the ammunition. He was a very pleased man that night, for he, like all the rest of the members of GHQ knew that this ammunition was necessary to the success of the Army’s attack on the Border, which was planned to take place in the following spring.

He was arrested about three weeks later with members of the Radio Broadcast Staff and lodged in Mountjoy jail. He was OC of the prisoners when I arrived in the middle of February 1940. Tomás Mac Curtáin was there, and Tony Darcy, who was a very great personal friend of Jack’s, so was Jack Plunkett and Tommy Grogan. I was about a week in jail, life was comparatively quiet, great speculation was going on as to what would happen to the men arrested in connection with the raid on the Magazine Fort. The crisis developed when Nicky Doherty, of Julianstown, Co Meath was sentenced to five years penal servitude. Instead of being transferred to Arbour Hill (where other Republican prisoners had political status), Nicky was lodged in the criminal section of Mountjoy Jail. Jack, being OC of Republican Prisoners, interviewed the governor of the jail and requested that Nicky be transferred to Arbour Hill on the grounds that he was a political prisoner and that it was unjust and unchristian to attempt to degrade and classify as criminal a Republican soldier. The request was ignored. Jack and his prison council met to consider the situation: it was decided that a demand was necessary and with the demand for justice went the ultimatum that if he refused a number of prisoners (who were still untried) would go on hunger strike until the demand was accepted. A short time limit was set, but the demand was also ignored.

Jack, I remember well, was very insistent that the issue should be kept clear and simple. The hunger strike was a protest against the attempted degradation of Republican soldiers. There was no other question or issue involved. A simple demand for justice and decency. Seven men volunteered to go on hunger strike and when the time limit [February 25, 1940] of the ultimatum expired they refused to eat any food, although tempting parcels of food kept arriving every day from their relatives and friends. It was felt by the men on hunger strike that the struggle would be either a speedy victory or a long, long battle, with victory or death at the end.It was victory and death for Jack McNeela and Tony Darcy.

Seven days after the commencement of the hunger strike Special Branch policemen came to take Jack to Collins Barracks for trial before the 'Special Criminal (or was it the Military) Court'. Jack refused to go with them. They told him they’d take him by force. They went away for reinforcements. A hasty meeting of the Prisoners’ Council was held. They felt it was unjust to take Jack for trial while he was on hunger strike, and that everything possible should be done to prevent the hunger strikers from being separated. Barricades were hastily erected in the D-Wing of the jail. Beds, tables and mattresses were piled on top of each other; all the food was collected and put into a common store and general preparations made to resist removal of Jack, their OC. A large contingent of the DMP arrived together with the Special Branch at full strength. The DMP men charged the barricades with batons; the Special Branch men kept to the rear and looked on while the DMP men were forced to retire by prisoners with legs of stairs.Several charges were made but without success. Some warders and a few policemen suffered minor injuries. The governor of the jail came down to the barricade and asked the prisoners to surrender. They greeted him with jeers and booing.

After some time the DMP men returned, armed with shovel shafts about six feet long, hoping with their superior weapons to subdue the prisoners. After several charges and some tough hand-to-hand fighting the policemen again retired. The most effective weapon possessed by the prisoners was a quantity of lime, liquefied by some Mayo men, and flung in the faces of the charging DMP men. It was reminiscent off the Land League days and the evictions. Finally the fire hydrants were brought into use and the force of the water from these hoses broke down everything before them. The barricade was toppled over and the prisoners, drenched to the skin, could not resist the powers of water at pressure; they were forced to take cover in the cells. I got into a cell with Tony Darcy and Jack McNeela. We closed the door. After a few minutes the door was burst open and in rushed about five huge DMP men swinging their batons in all directions. Tony, standing under the window facing the door, put up his hand but he was silenced by a blow of a baton across the face that felled him senseless. Jack was pummelled across the cell by blow after blow. Blood teemed from his face and head. These wounds on Jack and Tony never healed until they died.

It lasted only a few brief minutes, this orgy of sadistic vengeance and then we were carried and flung into solitary confinement. Jack was taken away that evening and tried and sentenced by the Special Court. The next time I say Tony and Jack was in the sick bay in Arbour Hill. Jack Plunkett was also there with them. We exchanged experiences after the row in the 'Joy'.

Day followed day, I cannot remember any particular incident, except that regularly three times a day an orderly arrived with our food, which we of course refused to take. We were by now nursing our strength realising that this was a grim struggle, a struggle to the death. We jokingly made forecasts of who would be the first to die. Jack was almost fanatic about speaking Gaelic. Most of our conversation while in the Hill was in Gaelic. Tony used to laugh at my funny accent. While he couldn’t speak Gaelic he understood perfectly well all that was said and sometimes threw in a remark to the conversation. When conversation was general English was the medium. Jack Plunkett didn’t know any Gaelic at all. We were in the best of spirits. Rumours filtered through to us, I don’t know how, because we were very strictly isolated from the rest of the Republican prisoners in the Hill. We heard that one of our comrades had broken the hunger strike at the Joy; we didn‘t hear the name for a few days. The report was confirmed, we were inclined to be annoyed, but we agreed that it was better for the break to come early than late. It had no demoralising effect.

After Jack was arrested all the books he had bought (mostly Gaelic) were sent into the Joy. He intended to make good use of his spell of imprisonment. He kept requesting the Governor of the Hill to have them sent to him. After about three weeks a few tattered and water-sodden books were brought to him, all that remained of his little library, the others had been trampled and destroyed by the police in Mountjoy. Jack was vexed. He hadn’t smoked, nor taken drink and every penny he had went to the purchase of these books that he loved. We were, during all this time, as happy as men could be. In spite of imprisonment and all that it means we were not all despondent nor feeling like martyrs. Everyday, we reviewed our position; what we had done, our present state of health, the prospect of success. The conclusion we came to was that de Valera, Boland and Co had decided to gamble with us – to wear us out in the hope that we would break and therefore demoralise all our comrades and if we didn’t break, to give political treatment to all IRA prisoners when we were in the jaws of death. The issue, as we saw it, was of vital importance to us, but of practically no consequence to the Fianna Fáil regime. We knew of course that de Valera and the Fianna Fáil party hated the IRA, because we were a reminder of their broken pledged to the people.

On the eve of St Patrick’s Day we were removed to St Bricin’s military hospital. A few days later Tomás Mac Curtáin and Tommy Grogan joined us. We were terribly disappointed with their report from the 'Joy'. The men who had been sentenced were accepting criminal status instead of refusing to work as they had been instructed to do; that is another story, although it led directly to the death of Seán McCaughey six years later in Portlaoise jail. We were in a small hospital ward. Three beds on each side, occupied by six hungry men and every day was a hungry day. Every evening each of us would give the description of the meal he would like most, or the meal he had enjoyed most. Salmon and boxty loomed large in Jack’s menu. About this time we began to count the days that we could possibly live. The doctors who examined us, sometimes three times a day, told us that we had used up all our reserves and were living on our nerves; they tried to frighten us, assuring us that if we didn’t come off the hunger strike our health would be ruined. We all agreed among ourselves that the doctors were actuated by purely humane motives, although their advice if acted on by us would have been very satisfactory to their employers. After 50 days on hunger strike we were unable to get out of bed, or rather the strain of getting up was too great an expenditure of energy, which we were determined to husband carefully.

We did not see any change on each other. The change came so imperceptibly day after day. Jack, lying in the next bed to me, seemed to be the same big robust man that I had known before we were arrested, yet, we each were failing away. The doctors and nurses were very kind. We were rubbed with spirit and olive oil to prevent bedsores; all our joints and bony places were padded with cotton wool, for by now the rubbing of one finger against another was painful. None of us could read anymore, our sight had lost focus and concentration on material objects had become difficult. We were face to face with death; but no one flinched or if he did he prayed to God for strength and courage. On the 54th night of the strike, about midnight, Tony cried out (we were all awake): ‘Jack, I’m dying.’ We all knew that it was so. Jack replied, ‘I’m coming. Tony’. I felt, and I’m sure Jack and the others felt also that getting out of bed and walking across the room to Tony would mean death to Jack also. As well as I remember Mac Curtáin, Plunkett, Grogan and myself appealed to Jack not to get out of bed. But Tony’s cry pierced Jack’s heart deeper than ours so he got up and staggered across the room to his friend and comrade. Later that night Tony was taken out to a private ward. We never saw him again. He died the following night. A great and staunch and unflinching soldier and comrade; oh that Ireland had twenty thousand as honourable and fearless as he.

The day following Tony’s removal from the ward, Jack’s uncle, Mick Kilroy, late Fianna Fáil TD, came to see Jack. Alas, he didn’t come to give a kinsman’s help, but attacked Jack for "daring to embarrass de Valera" the "heaven-sent leader" by such action and demanded that Jack give up his hunger strike at once. Jack’s temper rose and had he been capable of rising would have thrown him out. He ordered him out of the room, so did we all. It was the first time in 56 days that we felt enraged at anything. The brutal treatment of the police after seven days’ hunger strike was trivial in comparison to this outrage. The next day Jack was taken out of the ward. We never saw him again. A few hours after his removal we received a communication from the Chief of Staff IRA. The following is an extract:

‘April 19, 1940. To the men on hunger strike in St Bricin’s Hospital: The Army Council and the Nation impressed with the magnitude of your self-sacrifice wish to convey to you the desire that if at all consistent with your honour as soldiers of the Republic you would be spared to resume your great work in another form. We are given to understand that the cause you went on strike has been won and that your jailers are now willing to concede treatment becoming soldiers of the Republic. In these circumstances if you are satisfied with the assurances given you – you will earn still more fully the gratitude of the people – relinquishing the weapon which has already caused so much suffering and has resulted in the death of a gallant comrade.’

Jack had requested confirmation from HQ of the assurances given to us by Fr O’Hare, a Carmelite Father from Whitefriars Street, Dublin. Fr O’Hare had interviewed Mr Boland, the Minister for Justice in the Free State government and received his assurances that all Republican prisoners would get political treatment. Naturally we did not want to die, but we could not accept any verbal assurance so we felt that written confirmation by our Chief of Staff was necessary. When the confirmation arrived Jack was out in the private ward. I was acting OC. We were reluctant, the four of who remained, to come off the hunger strike, with Tony dead and Jack at death’s door. Yet we had the instruction from HQ that our demands were satisfied. The doctors assured us that if the strike ended Jack had a 50-50 chance of living so I gave the order that ended the strike. I believe the doctors worked feverishly to save Jack’s life, but in vain. Jack McNeela, our OC and comrades, died that night and joined the host of the elected who died that Ireland and all her sons and daughters would be free from the chains of British Imperialism and happy in the working out of their own destiny."

NOTES: Nicky Doherty was found in possession of a quantity of ammunition seized in the raid on the Magazine Fort. He remained an active Volunteer until his death at an early age in the mid-1950s.

Criminal section of Mountjoy: This was A-Wing. The Republicans on remand were housed in D-Wing. On sentence they were usually sent to Arbour Hill.

Governor of the jail: Seán Kavanagh, a former Republican prisoner himself during the Tan War.

DMP: Dublin Metropolitan Police, originally a separate force from the RIC. They were kept on after the Treaty and amalgamated with the Gardaí in 1925. They made a deal with the IRA in 1919 not to engage in 'military activities' and were removed from the list of legitimate targets. "G" Division, or Special Branch were not excluded. In 1940 they supplied the Riot Squad for Mountjoy.

Tony Darcy, Headford, Co Galway, died April 16th 1940. He was OC Western Command, IRA at the time of his arrest.

Seán McNeela, Ballycroy, Co Mayo, died April 19th 1940.

From 1940 to 1947, sixteen Republican prisoners were sent to Portlaoise prison where they were denied political status. For all seven years they were naked, except for the prison blanket. For three years of this they were also in solitary confinement.

Finally - writing about the funerals of Tony Darcy and Seán McNeela , Brian Ó hÚiginn stated : "Hundreds of uniformed and plain-clothes police were sent into the two graveyards, while soldiers in full war-kit were posted behind walls and trees in surrounding fields, and armoured cars patrolled the roads...the lowest depths of vindictive pettiness was reached when mourners on their way to Seán MacNeela’s funeral were stopped by armed police and their cars and persons searched....even when they reached the cemetery many were locked out - the gates were locked - and those attempting to enter were attacked....." That was 1940, this was 2013 - the 'establishment' harasses those it fears, even in death, and wines and dines those it has purchased , even though they, too, are 'dead' : morally and spiritually.


"....I'm overjoyed for the president. He is my president and I'm delighted he's been accorded such a great welcome...." - the words spoken by Martin McGuinness when a journalist asked him how it felt to stand at a banquet table in Windsor Castle, England,and toast an English 'queen' : it was a poor attempt on his part to deflect attention away from the fact that he was toasting an English 'queen' ie 'I was toasting my president...' and ignores the ridiculous and enforced situation that, as a resident of Derry (in our occupied Six Counties), the man has no vote in the election of any candidate running for the position of, as he put it, "the president of Ireland."

And all the more ridiculous when you take into account that it is Martin McGuinness and his party that are prolonging that partitionist folly by administering the British writ in those six occupied counties! But such is the way of the gombeen -

Behind a web of bottles, bales,

Tobacco, sugar, coffin nails

The gombeen like a spider sits,

Surfeited; and, for all his wits,

As meagre as the tally-board

On which his usuries are scored.

(Joseph Campbell.)


Pictured, left, our 'John Paul' approaching the raffle committee to claim first prize (€200).....!

Liverpool and Manchester City , Swansea and Chelsea and Wexford and the Dubs were all in action on Sunday 13th April last on a pitch, but it was Cabhair that was 'on the ball'! The hotel we were in had, as expected, a full house and we quickly ran out of raffle tickets (all 650 were sold and returned) , which enabled us to start the raffle an hour earlier than planned. One of the floor staff, Shirley, kindly pulled the first ticket stub from the raffle drum and a man from Dublin, John Paul, who had travelled to the venue with our regular bus driver, Anto, won €200 on his ticket, number 53 and, before the two of those loudly-delighted punters disappeared to the diesel pump (!) to fill-up , we managed to get JP to do the honours with our second prize (€100), which was won by Declan, ticket 193, a local GAA supporter who scored a 'point' and declared that his goal was to get to the bar asap and convert it !

The GAA man pulled prize number three for us, €40, and it was one of two tickets that supporters in Clondalkin, Dublin, had sold in one of their local pubs - it went to Ciaran F , ticket 533, and was sold by Damien : the other Clondalkin winner was Thomas, 5th prize (€20), 125, sold by Darren, who also sold ticket 115 to a D. Brophy, who won 4th prize of €20.

Local lady, Tara, was the winner of our 6th prize, €20, on ticket 466, a very nice man from Wicklow (and a crazy Manchester City fan!) , M. Byrne, won 7th prize, €20, on ticket 218 and our last prize (€20) was claimed by a lovely young lady from Tallaght, Josephine, who had bought her ticket, 630, on the premises. The hotel, which seems to be one of the few in the Leinster area which attracts a full house every weekend, was as busy as expected and, as well as the football events on the big screens and looking after the Cabhair contingent, they hosted a darts match that same day - all of it done flawlessly! GRMA to all the staff - see ye next month!


Those of us who are refusing to pay the 'property tax' because we deem it to be not only unfair but 'a tax too far', were today accused by the State revenue commissioners of 'cheating on our neighbours' by , I can only presume, 'not paying our way'. My neighbours are well aware that I live in one of the households in a housing estate which has not been bullied into paying this new tax and, far from considering me a "cheat" for not paying it, they repeatedly tell me that they only wish they had the courage to do the same. And they had that courage, in the weeks and months following the introduction of this tax, but a scare-tactic-employing State-compliant media and the use of 'the tax man' eventually whittled the resolve of almost all of them.

The State revenue commissioners (and other 'enforcers') and those wealthy career politicians that introduced this new tax are the real "cheats" in this affair, not those of us who refuse to pay it on a point of principle. In my opinion, they are the representatives of a corrupt and warped society and I'll be damned if I'm going to voluntarily help them to fill their pension coffers. Come and get me if you can, you bastards, but I'll not make it easy for you.


More information here. I'll be at both, hope to see you at one or the other. Or both!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

From Tipperary I wandered into Limerick and on into Kerry where Mick Halissey of Cahirciveen was responsive to the campaign in 'An Phoblacht'. Johnny O'Connor of Farmersbridge gathered a houseful of people to meet me , and I think he must have mischievously selected every hard-headed Sinn Féiner within fifty miles of him, for I felt that every word I said hopped back into my face. But it was a great night, as any gathering must be, built around that great-hearted man. I had a good many 'Phoblacht' outposts throughout Cork, but I think I did only one public meeting there, and that was at Kinsale - it was arranged by Robert Beechinor , and I shared the platform with Martin Corry TD (sic) and Tom Mullins, who is now Secretary to Fianna Fáil.

Wexford formed a very good committee with Myles Dillon and a young man named Whitty as the driving force within it. It arose defensively around Matt Kent and it could have grown into something really worthwhile , had I been able to give more attention to it. I did a few meetings in Wicklow but I found it difficult to see much of any committee that didn't lie along the road from Dublin to Galway or Dublin to Donegal through Sligo. Movements only develop when conditions ripen in their favour. By the end of the 1920's the world economic crisis had made itself felt so sharply in Ireland as an agricultural crisis that middle and even bigger farmers found the current annuity an embarrassment, and suddenly our movement became self-propelled. They took no open stand, but just defaulted and waited to see what would happen. Moore noticed this trend before I did ; he gathered long lists of defaulters - I think it likely he had some friend in the Land Commission that helped him - and he grouped the defaulters by size of holding.

"This is becoming a runaway" , Moore told me, "the government will have to get out of its way." And sure enough while the courts were being invoked widely for decrees, the decrees were not being enforced. The burden of arrears was being passed on with less and less fuss to the local rates and by now voices arose in every county council in our favour. I was even able to report, in 'An Phoblacht' , denunciation of land annuities by Sinn Féin TD's (sic) and , like a great shelter belt around our movement, lay the ever-sharpening conflict between government forces and the IRA. Anything could happen. (MORE LATER).


By Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.

Victor and Sheila Adams were two British holidaymakers who had spent the day across the border in Spain. As they walked back into Gibraltar they heard the noise of a police siren just as they reached the footbridge a short distance from the Shell station. Almost immediately they heard two blasts which Victor thought were firecrackers. In between those two bursts he saw an orange object flying in his direction. Instinctively - he couldn't say how - he knew it was a bullet. It struck him in the stomach, slightly grazing and bruising him (he suffered no serious injury). He shouted to his wife "It's for real" and they took cover. The next they knew there were a lot of people about. Neither he nor his wife saw anybody being shot.

Mrs Carmen Proetta was standing by the window of her apartment in Rodney House, to the right of and behind the Shell petrol station. She was filling the sink to wash the dishes when she heard a police siren and looked out of the window. A police car was coming to a halt opposite the Shell station. The siren had stopped but the blue light was still on ; the four doors of the car opened simultaneously and four men got out. Three of them were in civilian clothing, the fourth wore a police uniform. They jumped over the barrier and at least two of them were armed, she thought. She saw a man and a woman on the path. The woman was carrying a shoulder bag and a plastic carrier bag. They turned around and raised their hands in the air, palms facing outwards. She heard a shot and the woman fell to the ground. The man made a movement as if to grab her but he too went down. There was a fusillade of shots.

Then she saw another man she hadn't noticed before - he had a gun pointed downwards. There were more shots, no smoke or fire, just the sound of shots. She saw a gush of blood coming up over the low wall of the Shell station. She heard no warning shout being given at any time. Maxie Proetta, husband of Carmen Proetta, said that at around 3.40pm he had heard a police siren and looked out his kitchen window. He saw a police car stopped at the traffic lights and two men, one on the road and the other behind the board of the Shell petrol station. Then he saw a couple, a man and a woman, at the petrol station - they had stopped and were looking back. He saw the man on the road pull something out of his jacket and at that point the doors of the police car opened and three men in civilian clothes and one man in uniform got out. At least two of them seemed to have guns in their hands. Then he heard a shot, saw the man on the road pointing something and the girl on the path raise her hands in front of her face "as if to protect herself". The man beside the woman made a move as if to grab her, then there were more shots. He saw the man behind the board with his arms stretched out as though firing. Both the man and the woman had now fallen and the two men were still, he thought, firing at the bodies on the ground. By this time his wife had joined him at the window and when she saw the shots being fired at the bodies on the ground she said : "Lo estan rematando...." ("They're finishing them off..."). (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House - the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12' of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender', which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' , the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!

Austen Chamberlain , the then British Chancellor of the Exchequer , was adamant that an Oath should be taken , so the soon-to-be Free Staters put forward the following form of words to the British - " I ....... , do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State , to the Treaty of the Association and to recognise the King of Great Britain as Head of the Associated States" but this wasn't a big enough 'climb-down' to suit the Brits ; they insisted that their form of words would have to be used - "I ....... , do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established and that I will be faithful to His Majesty King George V , his heirs and successors by law , in virture of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations."

This was 'a bridge too far' for the Irish ; further disagreement ensued between them and the British negotiating team over this 'Oath of Allegiance' and , finally , in exasperation , one of those from the Irish side , George Gavan Duffy (who, later [on 21st December 1921], stated : "I do not love this Treaty now any more than I loved it when I signed it, but I do not think that that ...is an adequate motive for rejection to point out that some of us signed the Treaty under duress, nor to say that this Treaty will not lead to permanent peace. It is necessary before you reject the Treaty to go further than that and to produce to the people of Ireland a rational alternative. My heart is with those who are against the Treaty, but my reason is against them, because I can see no rational alternative") could take no more - he stood up at the negotiating table and made a short statement to the British - "Our difficulty is to come into the Empire , looking at all that has happened in the past..."

With that , Austen Chamberlain is reported to have leapt to his feet and shouted "That ends it !" ; negotiations closed down. That was around early/mid October 1921 - 'feelers' were put out by both camps and the talking started again, and continued until Monday 5th December 1921 when the then British Prime Minister, Lloyd George , announced to the Irish side that he had written two letters , one of which would now be sent to his people in Ireland ; one letter told of a peaceful outcome to the negotiations , the other told of a breakdown in the negotiations - Lloyd George stated that if he sent the latter one "... it is war, and war within three days. Which letter am I to send?"

That 'war letter' meeting took place on the afternoon of Monday 5th December 1921 ; at around 7pm that same evening, the Irish team left that Downing Street meeting to discuss the matter between themselves and returned to Downing Street later that night. At ten minutes past two on the morning of Tuesday 6th December 1921, Michael Collins and his team accepted 'dominion status' and an Oath which gave "allegiance" to the Irish Free State and "fidelity" to the British Crown - the Treaty was signed (....and within six months a Civil War was raging in Ireland, between the British-supported Free Staters and the Irish Republicans who did not accept that 'Treaty'...). The 'Boundary Commission' body was to be Chaired by a South African judge, who was known to be friendly to the British establishment.... (MORE LATER).


On 9th April 1981, (P)IRA POW Bobby Sands was elected as an abstentionist member in a Leinster House (Free State 'parliament') election, after being nominated to contest the seat by Dáithí Ó Conaill, the then vice president of the then Sinn Féin organisation. Bobby Sands was, as far as Irish republicans are concerned, a 'Teachta Dála' (TD) who was elected to take a seat in a 32-county Irish parliament, unlike the Free State representatives who sit in an institution in Kildare Street in Dublin today and claim to be 'TD's in an Irish parliament' and, indeed, Bobby's motives and those of Dáithí and the other then Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle members who nominated him to contest the election were pure, unlike the motives of the self-serving time-keepers who sit in that Kildare Street premises : the motives of the former involved a principled unwillingness to allow themselves and the struggle they were part of to be criminalised and to highlight to the world that they were fighting a political struggle against Westminster and its allies in this country.

Bobby Sands was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for his alleged part in a fire-bombing campaign which, as part of an economic war against the British presence in Ireland, targeted business premises (in this instance, the Balmoral Furniture Company) with the intention of making it financially unviable for Britain to maintain its grip on that part of Ireland, a fact which present-day Provisional Sinn Féin members seek to ignore or gloss over when referencing the so-called 'ineffectual/grubby deeds' of those who continue that struggle today. On the 9th April , 1981, Bobby Sands was elected by 30,492 of those that voted in the Fermanagh/South Tyrone district, prompting, years later, this thesis from a republican leader : "Contrary to allegations made in the news media, there was not a straight line from the election of Bobby Sands in 1981 to the Stormont Agreement of 1998. Rather was the line from March, April and May 1981 to the same months in 1998 disfigured and distorted by an internal power-struggle for the leadership of Sinn Féin accompanied and followed by deceit and artifice as the ideals of Bobby Sands were steadily perverted and a section of the then powerful revolutionary Republican Movement turned into a constitutional party....." (from here) . Bobby Sands, 9th March 1954 – 5th May 1981. RIP.


The 'Peter and Martin Show' - coming soon to a social welfare office/royal banquet gig near you!

Could there be any greater social contrast issue between deciding how much to cut from a social welfare budget whilst, at practically the same time, trying to learn to curtsy and updating your table manners in preparation to play your part in the normalisation propaganda process (or the 'peace and equality process', as those who are quite prepared to live with and/or ignore the British political and military presence in Ireland call it!) by attending a 'royal banquet'?

This blog can EXCLUSIVELY REVEAL!!! that Mr McGuinness will be enlarging his arse on 'Block H' , row J118 and will be expected to know that ".....the term 'fit for a queen' is more than a cliché. It is a standard upheld with British perfection and pride. Despite having a household staff of 1,200, the Queen herself is actively involved in the banquet preparation. She chooses the menu and decides on the seating plan. The banquet tables are set with the same precision that one would expect after seeing the Changing of the Guards. Napkins are measured so that they are spaced precisely 17 inches apart....' and will not be frisked on his way in. However, he will be searched on his way out, as the host has expressed concerns that any man capable of turning his back on his own expressed beliefs is capable of anything, and especially so when it comes to keeping an eye on the 'family silver'. All 30 pieces of them.

Martin McGuinness, pictured just before his 'Queens Banquet' feast, Tuesday 8th April 2014. He doesn't need a bib, as he been taking the soup now for decades but, even so, still dribbles a wee bit if in the company of other establishment figures!

And, in yet another EXCLUSIVE!!! we can reveal that Mr McGuinness has decided to return the favour of an 'invite' to his host, his queen and, on 5th May next, the pair of them, at Martin's request, will lay a wreath in honour of all 22 Irish hunger strikers , the Role of Honour will be read by Enda Kenny and Bertie Ahern will deliver the main oration, in which the words 'historic new era/dispensation....totality of relationship....mature cordial recollection relationship...' and 'just resting in my account...' will be employed and which Mr McGuinness and the others will agree with. This move had led to some disquiet in Provisional Sinn Féin circles but this was soon circumvented by the PSF leadership when representatives of those discontents in the rank and file were assured that 'the leadership knew what they were doing....part of the overall 'Brits Out' strategy.....we will lead you to the republic..' and they returned to their homesteads to pass the message on to their fellow rebels. Baaaa.


This coming Sunday (13th April 2014), as Liverpool take on Manchester City, Swansea City have it out with Chelsea and Sheffield United go up against Hull City (not forgetting that a fairly important hurling match will take place between Wexford and the Dubs and, I'm told, a 'double-header' takes place, too (?)!) , the CABHAIR organisation will be holding a 650-ticket raffle in a sports-themed hotel on the Dublin/Kildare border , a venue which always attracts dozens of completely mad fans who are very generous to us raffle workers in that they support our endeavours wholeheartedly and even forgive us for sometimes causing a distraction as we go about our business. I'll post the results here as soon as I can (as a good few of our readers purchase tickets and some manage to make it to the premises on the day) but can't promise that that will be before this day week. Those that attend would be aware as to why that is....!


If you want to avoid hypocritical Free Staters and not be seen in the company of an English 'queen' this Easter, then you couldn't do much better than going here on Easter Sunday and here the following day. The only 'banquet' on offer will be for the heart, the spirit and the mind!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

The letter said that Dr. Fogarty's father was known among his own people as 'Tear-'em-Down Fogarty' , as big a blackguard of a bailiff as was ever in North Tipperary. I said no man should blame such a man's son for telling people to pay rent, but we had a right to warn him not to dress up as a bishop when he had in mind to speak as his father's son. I hadn't the slightest idea, nor have I to this day, whether there was a word of truth in a letter that came to me so opportunely, but I felt that a bishop who flung so much falsehood at others deserved whatever came to him from somebody hitting back at him in the name of all he hurt.

I finished my speech and went on my way. That same afternoon I held a small conference at Nenagh, men gathered to meet me by my great, good friend, John Cooney of Ballyphillip, and because it was a small gathering and wore a republican face, I, very stupidly, blathered crudely about that morning's meeting - as I might have done with a group by Cooney's fireside and, for that matter, as I did in 'An Phoblacht' without shock to anybody.

A man walked out of the Nenagh conference and he went straight around to one of the local priests who stormed into the papers with a version of me that heightened the red glow around my name. No harm to me in that, but this noise brought sadness to a home, for it chanced that there was a man at the Nenagh conference whose son was a student at Maynooth College, and because the father made no protest against my attack on Dr. Fogarty, his Lordship withdrew whatever sanction it is that governs a student's tenure at the College, so that the boy had to leave. He volunteered for the foreign missions to be ordained. I met him in exile, and he heart-sick for home. There is terrible cruelty in a blow like that, struck at an innocent, unprotected lad in the climate of a place like Maynooth College. (MORE LATER).


By Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.

Stephen Bullock and his wife and child were nearing the junction of Smith Dorrien and Winston Churchill Avenues. Stephen saw the police car which had been stopped at the zebra crossing pull out of the line of traffic and drive down Winston Churchill Avenue with its siren on. Simultaneously he heard a burst of gunfire but couldn't say whether the siren or the gunfire came first , but thought the shots came a split second after the siren. He looked in the direction the shots had come from, towards the Shell petrol station, and saw a man being shot at from a distance of four feet. The man was reeling backwards with his hands raised over his shoulders. The man shooting at him was standing on the road, just off the pavement , and appeared to be facing straight-on and firing very rapidly.

The man being shot fell to the ground and Stephen Bullock could not say if the shooting continued once he had done so, he did not see a second man firing nor did he see a woman being shot. He redirected his attention to the two men with guns he had seen standing at the junction and they, too , he told the inquest, had been watching the incident. When the shooting had finished the two men began to run towards the entrance to the Landport Tunnel. Mr Bullock was adamant under cross examination that the car with its siren on had not reached the petrol station by the time the shooting started. Mr Bullock's wife account corroborated his but was less specific in relation to the whereabouts of the car when the shooting started.

Douglas and Josie Celecia live in the apartment block directly across the road from the Shell station, and were planning to go out for a walk. Douglas had just come in from work and was chatting to a neighbour whose apartment was towards the back of the building. Josie was standing at her bedroom window and saw a man and a women walking towards the Shell station. In her statement afterwards she was able to describe accurately what they were wearing and also said that each of them was carrying a motorbike helmet, one red, the other black. Those helmets were seen on the wall beside the bodies in a video of the aftermath shown on Thames Television's 'Death on the Rock'. Gibraltar special branch Officers 'Q' and 'R' claimed at the inquest that the helmets belonged to them - each of them having gone to the scene on a motorbike. Mrs Celecia's gaze moved momentarily away towards the children's playground to the left of the Shell station. All of a sudden she heard two loud bangs from across the road and when she looked back both the man and the woman were lying on the ground. The man was against the wall and the woman at his feet at the edge of the pavement. There was a man standing close to the bodies with his hands clasped together, pointing downwards. She heard another burst of gunfire totalling four or five shots. (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House - the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12' of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender', which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' , the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!

(....... voices were raised at a meeting to discuss the Boundary Commission , held on 2nd February 1922 ; the meeting broke down abruptly with no agreement reached . However , the Unionists claimed that the meeting was a success from their point of view , while Michael Collins [speaking for the Free Staters] claimed that that same meeting was a success for them .......)

The (pro-British) Unionists were told that the Boundary Commission was established only to ease the passage of the 1921 Treaty of Surrender amongst hesitant (soon-to-be , at the time) Free Staters who , in turn , were told by the Brits (and by Collins and other Free State leaders) that the Boundary Commission would eventually conclude that two or three of the (British partitioned and occupied) Six Counties would be 'returned' to the Free State thereby making the remaining (British occupied) counties unviable for Westminster to maintain , financially and militarily. Indeed , the whole episode is somewhat reminisent , in this scribblers mind anyway , of Gerry Adams and the 'T.U.A.S.' document , which was issued (on behalf of the Provo leadership) during one of the many 'discussions' (in 1994 / 1995) with the Brits and the Free Staters : those latter two groups were told by Adams that the PIRA-approved 'T.U.A.S.' method meant seeking a United Ireland by a 'Totally Un-Armed Strategy' , whereas Adams' own cannon fodder , the PIRA volunteers , were assured that 'T.U.A.S.' stood for 'Tactial Use of Armed Struggle' ! Adams and his colleagues in the Provo leadership had learned well from their tete-a-tetes with their pay-masters !

When (pro-Brit) Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig , heard of Michael Collins' boast
(ie "We'll get back almost half of the Six Counties ..." ) he 'lost the head' - Westminster was told "... there will be bloodshed and chaos .." Craig stated that if the Boundary Commission "were to make anything more than the very minutest change in our boundary , the inevitable result of that would be bloodshed and chaos of the worst description . I will never give in to any re-arrangement of the boundary that leaves our Ulster (sic) area less than it is under the Government of Ireland Act."

Westminster could see a situation developing in which they might have to use force against one side or the other - ie against the Unionists to make them accept the ruling of the Boundary Commission , or against the Free Staters in the Leinster House 'parliament' in Dublin , to make them accept that the Boundary Commission was just a 'talking shop' ; and , mindful of the fact that the Brits have no friends , only interests , it suited Westminster , this time, to support the Unionists. Winston Churchill , the then British 'Colonial Secretary to Ireland' , stated that the possibility of the Boundary Commission "reducing" what he called "Northern Ireland (sic) to its preponderatingly Orange (ie Unionist) areas (is) an extreme and absurd supposition , far beyond what those who signed the [1921] Treaty meant..." and Austen Chamberlain , the then British Chancellor of the Exchequer , went even further in his desire to appease the Unionists - he 'reminded' the Unionists that they had , in effect , control of the "impartial Chairperson" of the Boundary Commission ! Indeed , it was the same Mr. Chamberlain who , during the Treaty of Surrender negotiations with the (then) Irish Republican side insisted that they (the Irish) should take an " Oath of Allegiance to the (British) Crown ..." as part of the 1921 Treaty of Surrender! (MORE LATER).


'Republican socialist' and ex-PIRA leader Martin McGuinness and the man who got his job (pictured here, about to withdraw some of his taxpayer-funded salary of €5208 a week!) are apparently to dine with their 'queen' at an official British state lunch. No doubt humble pie will not be on the menu....

Higgins and his political cousin, McGuinness, pictured here in the company of their political parents. The two Irish working-class heros sure do look delighted with themselves to be in such company. Especially Higgins. Either that or he can't find his way to the toilet.

The pair of them (the Irish spongers, that is, not the British ones) will be 'treated' to a banquet, a speech at the Palace of Westminster and a few cucumber sandwiches afterwards in Downing Street with Brit PM David Cameron and media attention is sure to focus on the 'Irish rebel' McGuinness as he once again cosies up to the representation of that which he once fought against. And so obvious is it that the man will have no issue in doing that, that even an anti-Irish newspaper can confidently predict that there is "...no obstacle in his way.." to prevent him from performing a curtsy in recognition of her place in the pecking order of the world he now inhabits. Conscience 'no obstacle' , of course.

Back when he still had some (verbal) balls, this idiot claimed that he would lead those who placed their trust in him "to the Republic".He obviously meant 'Commonwealth'.


'An Garda Síochána' - protecting the State and its business interests since 1925 (such as Shell, this pic...)

Officially, the 'safeguarding' of streets, marts and the local citizens seems to have been put on a regular footing in Ireland in 1786, in Dublin, when a body of men were assembled under the banner 'Dublin Police'. This grouping was replaced in 1814 by Westminster, when an Irish 'Peace Preservation Force' was announced by the then 'Chief Secretary for Ireland' , Robert Peel , to be replaced six years later by a more organised body, the 'County Constabulary' , which was organised on a regional basis and shared a common uniform.

Fourteen years later, the 'County Constabulary' was replaced by two organisations, the 'Irish Constabulary' and the 'Dublin Metropolitan Police' (DMP) : the former was re-named the 'Royal Irish Constabulary' (RIC) (which recorded 11,000 members in about 1,600 barracks in the year 1900) and was officially dissolved in 1922 (but not mentally or morally,as far as its members and supporters are concerned) and the latter , the 'DMP', merged with the 'Civic Guard' (renamed in 1923 as 'Garda Síochána na hÉireann') in 1925 and the amalgamated force was named 'An Garda Síochána' on 2nd April 1925 : 'On and from the commencement of this Act the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the Gárda Síochána shall be amalgamated and form one force (which force is in this Act referred to as the amalgamated force), and it shall thenceforward be lawful for the Executive Council to train, equip, pay, and maintain such amalgamated force as a police force in Saorstát Eireann. The amalgamated force shall be called and known as the Gárda Síochána.....'

As far as Irish republicans are concerned, there is little, if any, actual difference between the above-mentioned 'police forces' as they are all tainted either directly by a foreign government or by that foreign government's proxy in this country, north or south of Britain's imposed border. In short, both the RUC/PSNI and An Gárda Síochána seek to preserve the political status quo and, as such, they are of no benefit to those of us who campaign and work , politically, for a just society in this country. Robert Peel and his ilk would be proud of both groups.


Families of silverfish (pictured, left) are under direct threat from an infestation of the dreaded rucpsni rodent that has outbred them and commandeered their habitat. The rodent , well known for making your skin crawl and giving you a bad taste in your mouth, is rentless in its objective to either directly control an area it has no legitimate business being in and/or working hand-in-glove with its rodent cousins to make an area so uncomfortable that decent life forms refuse to have anything to do with it. Rucpsni are considered household pests, due to their consumption and destruction of property. However, although they are responsible for the contamination of the body politic and other types of damage, they do not transmit disease, for the most part, that is, although they have left silverfish, and people, bloodied , broken but unbowed. More here.


"Sure we can say whatever we want to, Peter. No-one's listening, and even if someone does hear us, we can gag them!"

This has to be an 'April Fool' joke, although it is no doubt high on any career politicians wishlist : "Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness’s department has argued that it should be allowed to withhold information if releasing it might cost the First Minister and Deputy First Minister votes......(they) argued specifically that disclosure of the requested information...could prejudice ministers' electoral prospects.." Even as a newspaper April 1st skit, the sentiment expressed would find favour with any professional politician as it would permit them to censor any bad news which could cost them votes and would ensure that only 'good news' stories could be publicised untill, eventually , we end up in George Orwell territory. More about this political joke (?) here.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

It was a harmless enough bit of tomfoolery. The people knew it was nonsense. I could have ignored it, but I was more than a little 'touched' whenever any of the bishops who signed the pastoral of 1922 began poking at republicans with his crozier in my presence. I headed for Clare to have a go at his Lordship with as little scruple in my use of weapons as I considered his Lordship to observe in 1922-23. 'An Phoblacht' carried a report of the meeting and I could check my memory of it if there was any need, but there is not.

It was an after-Mass chapelgate meeting , and it was not just that I was angry ; things this man said when we were helpless in jail, words that in the opinion of many of us sprouted wayside murders were in my mind that day and I was determined to flay him on behalf of us all. I went about it carefully, invoking all my gifts as a speaker. I set out to demonstrate that I was kin to my audience in background, experience and ideas , that we are a stock apart, us tough, mountain folk who live in the Fenian tradition in a pattern of behaviour that has survived among us from faroff days. And I told a story.

It was of a man of my countryside who took a different course from me at the moment of challenge in 1922 and how I grumbled and gurned and blamed him for what he did, a man to go back on himself in the full view of his neighbours. But my Uncle Johnnie explained it - it was all simple and clear to him : " It does not surprise me, for let me tell you, there was enough ignorance in that man's father to poison seven generations ." The audience and I were at our ease together and I went deeper into talk of the countryside memory of the breeds of men and especially how any shortcomings in relation to the land struggles of the past left a scar. It was no strain on the people to listen to me and then, with speed and firmness, I came closer to this question of the strange attitude of their bishop. I said there was an excuse for him, for it was in him to be on the bailiff's side, that I had a letter from a man in his district and I would read it for them, and I did..... (MORE LATER).


By Michael O'Higgins and John Waters. From 'Magill Magazine' , October 1988.

When Officer 'P' arrived at Winston Churchill Avenue, he stood at the bus stop just north of the Shell petrol station and looked back and saw the three IRA members stopped at the junction, talking. They were on the Smith Dorrien side of the road but they then crossed and split up - Seán Savage disappeared from Officer 'P's sight but the others began walking in his direction and he started to walk up the road towards them. Juat as Daniel McCann and Mairead Farrell reached the petrol station , a police car in the vicinity sounded its siren. Officer 'P' thought that McCann and Farrell were startled by this , and at this point he was within fifteen feet of them. Soldiers 'A' and 'B' were about seven feet behind them. Officer 'P' saw McCann looking over his shoulder and then Soldiers 'A' and 'B' drew their weapons. Officer 'P' says he heard one of the soldiers shout "Stop, police" or "Police, stop" - or "words to that effect". Farrell and McCann turned inwards towards each other and McCann's hands went to his chest in a sudden movement and Farrell went for her bag. "They became hyperactive...." , he would tell the inquest, ".... their movements, their expressions, changed. They started eyeballing, their eyes were going everywhere." Officer 'P' drew his own weapon and adopted a combat position behind the end wall of the Shell sttion. Farrell's body jerked in the air and fell to the ground , then McCann fell, his head hitting the concrete, his legs splayed over the lower part of Farrell's body. They had both been shot in the back.

Officer 'Q' , also of the Gibraltar special branch, had responded to the same call as Officer 'P' and had driven to Winston Churchill Avenue on a motorbike. He was at the far side of the road from the Shell station and the account he gave the inquest of what he saw was precisely the same in practically every detail as that given by Officer 'P'. He too heard either 'A' or 'B' shout "Police, stop" or "Stop, police" - "or words to that effect". He also described the movement of Farrell and McCann as that of "turning inward" towards each other. He denied in cross examination that there had been any collusion between Officer 'P' and himself. (MORE LATER).


"Gerrymandering" , Mr. Martin called it : "It is the biggest attempt to manipulate election boundaries in the 35 years since Fianna Fail introduced independent Boundary Commissions...." (from here) , adding "....we saw that straight away when the terms of reference were published,that skewing was going on....".

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House - the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12' of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender', which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' , the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!

Those who favoured the Six County 'Ulster'(sic) remaining as "part of the United Kingdom" were outraged - the British Administration in the Six Counties , which operated from Stormont , dis-agreed with the 'terms of reference' of the Boundary Commission , which were "....to determine in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants so far as may be compatible with economic and geographic conditions , the boundaries between Northern Ireland (sic) and the rest of Ireland ...." , and this was then 'tweaked' to prevent any of the Administrations (ie Dublin , Stormont or Westminster) from giving 'privileges to , or imposing disabilities on , anyone because of religion ....' . This Boundary Commission was to consist of three members , one from each Administration : Dublin , Stormont and Westminster. The representative from the last-mentioned institution was to be the Chairperson of the Boundary Commission and , because of this and its circumscribed 'terms of reference' it was a 'toothless' body but , even so , the Unionists were incensed - the (pro-British) Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig (a 'landowner' and shareholder in the family whiskey business , 'Dunvilles Distillery') wrote to the British Prime Minister , Lloyd George , on 14th December 1921 , completely rejecting any notion of a Boundary Commission as said body might judge that two of the six partitioned Counties , Fermanagh and Tyrone, "... might be lost to the North.." due to a strong 'headcount' of Republicans/Nationalists in those two counties.

Lloyd George defended the Boundary Commission , saying - "There is no doubt , certainly since the Act of 1920 (ie the so-called 'Government of Ireland Act'-two 'Home Rule Parliaments' for Ireland) that the majority of the people of the two counties prefer being with their Southern neighbours to being in the Northern parliament. Take it either by constituency or by poor law union or , if you like , by counting heads , and you will find that the majority in these two counties prefer to be with their Southern neighbours. If Ulster (sic) is to remain a separate community, you can only by means of coercion keep them there and , although I am against the coercion of Ulster (sic) ,I do not believe in it coercing other units."

That set 'the cat among the pigeons': the Unionist leadership were outraged at Lloyd Georges' comments , no doubt seeing them as Westminster preparing to 'wash its hands' of the 'troublesome Irish' or at least sending a signal (to the Free Staters) that it was of a mind to do so : the brother of the Stormont 'Prime Minister' was first with a reply to that statement by Lloyd George and , in his reply , he spoke of a "matter of life and death" and challenged the authority of Westminster to do as it apparently intended to do : "Our Northern area will be so cut-up and mutilated that we shall no longer be masters in our own house. The decision of that Commission may be a matter of life and death to us. I submit to the Prime Minister that he had no right to do that and that he was in honour-bound not to allow such a Commission to appear in this document by the promise he had given to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland." The Stormont 'Minister for Education', British 'Lord' Londonderry, the 'Marquis of Londonderry' (a 'landowner', who was also involved with coal-mines [as an owner , not a worker!] in Durham , England : he was later to become 'Leader' of the British 'House of Lords') stated (in the 'House of Lords') - "All that I would say now is that it may be necessary for the government of Northern Ireland (sic) to refuse to nominate a representative on the proposed Boundary Commission and that, if by its findings any part of the territory transferred to us under the Act of 1920 is placed under the Free State , we may have to consider very carefully and very anxiously the measures which we shall have to adopt , as a government , for the purpose of assisting Loyalists whom your Commission may propose to transfer to the Free State but who may wish to remain with us , with Great Britain and the Empire."

On 2nd February 1922, a meeting was held between Michael Collins and the Stormont 'Prime Minister' , 'Sir' James Craig. Voices were raised over the issue/structure/terms of reference of the Boundary Commission, and the meeting ended abruptly over the matter. However, 'spin' and 'PR'(media manipulation) was immediately employed by both sides- at a press conference following that failed meeting, 'Sir' James Craig (Stormont 'PM') claimed that the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, had assured him that the Boundary Commission "... would deal only with minor rectifications of the boundary ..." ; in effect, that the Boundary Commission was a useless 'talking-shop' which had only been set-up to help the Free Staters to 'sell' the 'six County idea' to other Free Staters. However, Michael Collins claimed that he had left that same meeting with a promise, from the Brits, "... of almost half of Northern Ireland (sic) including the counties of Fermanagh and Tyrone, large parts of Antrim and Down, Derry City, Enniskillen and Newry." ! Obviously , both men could not have been right ; it is straightforward to state that the Boundary Commission was a 'sweetener', if you like, to be used by both sides to convince their respective 'flock' that the Brits were really on their side..... (MORE LATER).


Bridie O’Mullane, pictured here in her mid-20's, spoke about the shock that "a body of gun-women" caused, but she herself was later to shock others by calling for support for de Valera!

A young Sligo girl, Bridie O'Mullane, joined the then four-years old Cumann na mBan organisation in 1918 when she was 23 years of age and proved to be such a valuable asset that she was soon promoted to the position of Secretary and, within a year, was on the Executive Committee as an official organiser, a role which involved her travelling throughout the 32 counties , which brought her to the attention of the British : she was imprisoned in 1919 for her republican activities but, on release, went straight back to her work for Cumann na mBan, but was a 'marked woman' as far as Westminster was concerned and was practically hunted from town to town by the RIC and other British agents. She spoke out against the Treaty of Surrender in 1921 and within weeks of the start of the campaign against that sell-out, she was appointed as 'Director of Publicity (Propaganda)' for the republican forces.

Bridie and other Cumann na mBan members established an office in Clare Street, in Dublin, from where a weekly newspaper , 'The War Bulletin' , was published, which contributed to her being arrested by the Free Staters in late 1922 and imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail, where she was elected as the 'Commanding Officer' of 'A Wing'. She was released in late 1923 and added to her republican workload by becoming an advocate for Irish republican POW's.

Her POW work led to her being arrested again in 1926 and, the following year, she resigned from Cumann na mBan and caused consternation in republican circles when , using her Cumann na mBan identification, she publicly called for support for de Valera! She then concentrated on writing a history of the Cumann na mBan organisation and assisting in the day-to-day running of the 'Women's Prisoners' Defence League' and, in 1939, she helped to establish the 'Irish Red Cross'. Bridie O'Mullane (aka Bridget Josephine ,Bridie or Bride Mullane) died in 1967 , age 72, and is buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetary in Dublin. More information about the women of Cumann na mBan can be obtained by following this link.

ON THIS DATE (26th March) 92 YEARS AGO.

An anti-Treaty IRA Column , 1922.

92 years ago on this date , the IRA ignored an 'instruction' from politicians in Leinster House and went ahead with an army convention in the Mansion House, in Dublin. Forty-nine Brigades of the IRA were represented by approximately 220 delegates and it was unanimously agreed that the IRA's allegiance was to the Irish Republic and not to the Leinster House institution. An agreed resolution declared that "....the IRA shall be maintained as the Army of the Irish Republic under an Executive appointed by the Convention....to guard the honour and maintain the independence of the Irish Republic..." and that the IRA would "...place its services at the disposal of an established republican government which faithfully upholds the above objects..." A civil war was to erupt three months later : more here.


This is pretty standard stuff now from members of this Irish 'republican' party and 'one should not be surprised' at the depths they will go to 'atone' for their past , when they spoke and acted against the British presence and all things associated with same but, even now, this late in the game for them, it does sometimes surprise , but not shock.

The "work" that Máirtín Ó Muilleoir wants to acknowledge includes "....providing care and support to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families......the Royal British Legion is the UK's leading Service charity......we work with politicians to improve the lives of the Armed Forces community and have been campaigning on their behalf since 1921.....the Royal British Legion helps the whole Armed Forces community through welfare, companionship and representation as well as being the Nation's custodian of Remembrance....." (from here) and when you consider the fact that those same armed forces continue to enforce a jurisdictional claim by Westminster over six Irish counties it should shock to hear any Irishman praise them. But, like the Stoops before them, they, too, will be discarded by the British when it suits the latter to do so ie after they have been used by Westminster to turn potential republicans into meek nationalists. Nothing we haven't seen before in our history but then, as now, it may slow us down but it won't stop us!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.