" 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, May 25, 2016

A TUNELESS LASS ON A MARKET STALL!

PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.

First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O'Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.

CELTIC TIGER (Based on a song by the Dubliners).

By Eamonn Kelly.

Dublin is to Dubliners'

a dear old dirty town.

It's getting dearer every year

and hard to earn a pound.




Thugs and drugs and muggings

are the order of the day.

The headlines yell 'We have gone to Hell

It's time Crime didn't Pay'.




Mortgage a home in Dublin town

and watch the banks

take your pound.




The gangs and the police

fight nightly on Foley Street

bleeding their way through the news.

The new show on our screen,

will soon be seen

as 'Seán MacDermot Street Blues'.




And as for the Liffey

that stench throughout the city

it's thicker than treacle or chalk,

it will soon be so grim

that instead of a swim

we'll be holding the 'Liffey Walk'.




But Dublin you're my city

and I'm proud to call you mine.








EXPLOSIVE QUESTIONS....

'Magill' magazine has unearthed new information which raises a grim but important question : were explosives from within this Republic used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings? It is a question which, bizarrely, also encompasses the controversial Dónal de Róiste case. By Don Mullan, author of the book 'The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings'.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 2003.

THE CLONAGH AFFAIR.

When shown photographs taken by Captain Walshe detailing the lack of security around the Clonagh factory, Garrett FitzGerald had this to say - "It is inexplicable that this information was furnished and no action was taken. I don't understand it. It's totally out of kilter with anything I would have known about my colleagues. It's a problem. The allegation always was that Cosgrave and the cabinet went over the top with security (in relation to) the IRA, not that they were ever neglectful. So that's why it is surprising."

Patrick Walshe's suspicion that the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings were related to the Clonagh scandal and that the aim was to teach the Republic a lesson also needs to be examined. The Garda handling of the forensics in the aftermath of the bombings is deeply disquieting. It is known that bomb debris related to the biggest unsolved mass murder case in the history of the Irish Republic disappeared for 11 days after the explosions before being delivered to a forensic laboratory outside Belfast, by which time all explosive traces had effectively disappeared.

In the course of my research for my book, 'The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings' (Wolfhound Press, 2000) , the Garda Commissioner failed to explain this anomaly and also failed to state whether the Republic's police could establish a chain of custody for the debris, especially for the 11 days it took to reach a forensic laboratory. (MORE LATER.)







GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...

SIN SCÉAL EILE.
By Jim McCann (Jean's son). For Alex Crowe, RIP - "No Probablum". Glandore Publishing, 1999.

Biographical Note : Jim McCann is a community worker from the Upper Springfield area in West Belfast. Although born in the Short Strand, he was reared in the Loney area of the Falls Road. He comes from a large family (average weight about 22 stone!). He works with Tús Nua (a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Upper Springfield), part of the Upper Springfield Development Trust. He is also a committee member of the 'Frank Cahill Resource Centre', one of the founders of 'Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh', the local Irish language primary school and Naiscoil Bharr A'Chluanaí, one of the local Irish language nursery schools.

His first publication last year by Glandore was 'And the Gates Flew Open : the Burning of Long Kesh'. He hopes to retire on the profits of his books. Fat chance!

"THANK YOU, BOYS, THANK YOU..." (PART ONE.)

No-one was more impressed than Lasher Beirne, who declared - "I'm your man, let's do it!". Damien winced ; he knew that Lasher wasn't given to flights of fancy and when it came to trying to get out of the Kesh, Lasher had absolutely no sense of humour. Damien looked at Arder as if to say 'do you see what you've started now?' and Arder sniggered impishly. Cold-blooded impishly. "There are four hours to pull this thing together," urged Lasher but, as the OC saw the enthusiasm in Lasher's eyes, he told him he would have to talk to the cage Intelligence Officer. "There isn't enough time and we haven't got the stuff," the IO informed the OC, "we've no make up or wigs for disguises," he continued. Damien interjected - "It's a pity because it's a cracker plan, but we have to be realistic - without them disguises, ye know.." "I'll take the chance," said Lasher, "I've nothing to lose."

The OC pondered the logistics of transforming Lasher into Damien and, while Damien waited on the outcome of the OC's ponderings, he pondered himself about how to avert the heart attack he could feel starting way down in his boots. "No!" , said the OC, "It's a good idea for another time when we have the proper gear to do it right." Lasher was disappointed. Damien feigned disappointment, but only a wee bit. "Jesus, but that's a pity, Lasher," said Damien, "I was all for it, no problem." Nobody believed Damien but he couldn't care less. (MORE LATER.)





IN THIS MONTH 61 YEARS AGO : SINN FÉIN TD'S ELECTED IN THE SIX OCCUPIED COUNTIES.

In 1955, splits were occurring in the IRA as several small groups, impatient for action, launched their own attacks in the Occupied Six Counties. One such activist, Brendan O'Boyle, blew himself up with his own bomb in the summer of that year. Another, Liam Kelly, founded a breakaway group 'Saor Uladh' ('Free Ulster') and in November 1955, attacked a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) barracks at Roslea in County Fermanagh. One RUC man was badly injured and a republican fighter was killed in the incident.

In the UK general election of 1955, Sinn Féin candidates were elected as TD's for the Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituencies in the Occupied Six Counties, with a total of 152,310 votes. The following is the Election Manifesto that the then Sinn Féin organisation put to the people :

'SINN FÉIN ELECTION MANIFESTO WESTMINSTER ELECTIONS, 1955 : In the election of 1918 the Irish people, by an overwhelming majority, repudiated the claims of England and her parliament to rule them and they established the Irish Republic which was proclaimed in arms in 1916. The Republican Government and State then established were later overthrown by England and the nation was partitioned into two statelets. The cardinal objective of the Irish people is the restoration of the Republic thus unlawfully subverted.

The resurgent confidence of Irish men and women in their own strength and ability to achieve the full freedom of their country and the right of its citizens to live in peace, prosperity and happiness has enabled Sinn Féin to contest all 12 seats in this election and give an opportunity to our people in the Six Counties to vote for Ireland, separate and free. Sinn Féin candidates are pledged to sit only in a republican parliament for all Ireland. Apart altogether from the futility of the procedure, sending representatives to an alien legislature is in effect attempting to give it semblance of authority to legislate for and govern the people of North-East Ulster. Sinn Féin candidates seek the votes of the electorate and the support of the Irish people as the representatives of the Republican Movement now on the onward march towards achievement of the National ideal - the enthronement of the Sovereign Irish Republic.

The winning of seats in these elections will not be regarded by Sinn Féin as an end in itself, nor will the results, whatever they be, effect in any way the determination of republicans to forge ahead towards their objective. Neither will the number of votes recorded for the republican candidates be looked upon as something in the nature of a plebiscite affecting in any way the right of Ireland to full and complete freedom. That right is inalienable and non-judicable and must never be put in issue through referendum of a section of population nor of the people of the country at large. Through the medium of the election machinery, Sinn Féin aims at providing an opportunity for the electorate, in all constituencies, and for the people of the country to renew their allegiance to Ireland, and by their support of the republican candidates demonstrate to England and to the world the right of an ancient and historic nation to its complete and absolute freedom and independence.

Sinn Féin has been charged with disruptionist tactics. The aim of Sinn Féin today as always is to secure unity of thought, purpose and deed in the achievement of separate nationhood. Bigotry, persecution and sectarianism have no place in the Sinn Féin programme. Republican policy has ever been to secure civil and religious freedom for the Irish nation and the individual citizens. Ireland and all its resources belongs to the Irish people. Sinn Féin will, with the consent of the Irish people, organise and develop the resources of the nation for the benefit of its citizens irrespective of class or creed. The continued occupation of Ireland by England makes such development impossible, since England has succeeded in making effective in Ireland the imperial dictum of 'Divide and Conquer' thereby impoverishing not only the Irish people but the material resources of the country as well. Sinn Féin appeals to all Irishmen to forget all past dissension's and to demonstrate by their support of the Sinn Féin candidates their opposition to English occupation and their determination to achieve national independence.

Published by Sinn Féin Northern Election Committee, Divis Street, Belfast and printed by the Cromac Printery, Belfast.'


The big news of that (1955) election was Sinn Féin's two seats and its 23.6% of the vote, won on a clearly stated political platform policy of abstentionism from any British-linked parliament. Sinn Féin's two successful candidates in Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Philip Clarke and Thomas Mitchell, had been imprisoned for their part in the raid on Omagh but, as they were serving prison sentences at the time, they were deemed ineligible to serve in the House of Commons and their seats were awarded to the defeated unionist candidates!





ON THIS DATE (25TH MAY) 95 YEARS AGO : DUBLIN'S CUSTOM HOUSE BURNED.

'The Burning of the Custom House (pictured, left) in Dublin took place on 25th May 1921 (- 95 years ago on this date -), during the Irish War of Independence. The Custom House was the centre of local government in the British administration in Ireland. It was occupied and then burnt in an operation by the Irish Republican Army, involving over 100 volunteers...' (from here.)

In May 1921, the IRA decided to burn down the centre of British Administration in Ireland - the Custom House in Dublin. The Dublin Brigade of the IRA (consisting of approximately 120 Volunteers) moved in on the building during working hours. Positions were taken up around the Custom House by armed IRA Volunteers, while other members entered the building, carrying cans of petrol. The civil servants working in the offices were told to get out, which all did, except for one woman who, having being told to leave immediately (incidentally, she was given that instruction by one of the IRA men who had been active on 'Bloody Sunday', as the British called it, when Michael Collins hit out at British Intelligence operatives) replied - "You can't do that.." The IRA man showed the woman his revolver and the can of petrol he was carrying, and she is alleged to have said - "Can I get my hat and coat?" to which he replied "Lady, you'll be lucky if you get your life." She left the building immediately.

The IRA men were scattering the contents of filing-cabinets and other paper work etc onto the floor and pouring petrol on it and the furniture. As the flames caught hold, the alarm had already been sounded in near-by Dublin Castle - "Armed men at the Custom House!" A force of British troops and Auxiliaries hurriedly left Dublin Castle and joined their colleagues, who were coming under fire, around the Custom House. The gun-fight claimed the lives of two IRA men and forced the surrender of the Dublin Brigade IRA (approximately 120 Volunteers) , as they were surrounded and out-numbered by enemy forces.

The British administration issued the following statement the day after the attack - 'Three tenders carrying Auxiliary cadets, accompanied by an armoured car, approached the Dublin Customs House, which was occupied by a large body of Sinn Féiners. The cadets dismounted from their tenders under heavy fire and surrounded the Customs House, which was seen to be on fire. Fire from the Auxiliaries and the machine-guns on the armoured car was poured into the windows of the Customs House, from which the rebels replied vigorously, and a series of desperate conflicts took place between Crown Forces and seven or eight parties of rebels, who rushed from different doors of the building and made dashes for liberty, firing as they ran. The first party to emerge from the building consisted of three men, one of whom was killed and two wounded.

By this time smoke and flame were pouring from the building, and the official staff, including many women, who had been held prisoners by the rebels, came flocking out with their hands above their heads and waving white handkerchiefs. While these defenceless people were leaving the building the rebels continued to fire from the windows. The staff were taken to a place of safety by some of the Auxiliaries. As the staff were leaving the building the rebels made their last sortie, and of this party, consisting of seven men, only one escaped, the rest being killed or wounded. Some of the Auxiliaries then stormed the blazing building, where many of the rebels surrendered. Some of them were found to be saturated with petrol which they had been pouring over the flames, and several of them were probably burnt to death before the Crown forces entered...at the conclusion of the fighting dead and wounded rebels lay about on all sides...four Auxiliaries were wounded, 7 civilians were killed, 11 wounded, and over 100 captured.'

That action took place 95 years ago on this date - 25th May.





ON THIS DATE (25TH MAY) 154 YEARS AGO : BAPTISED INTO A LIFETIME OF REPUBLICANISM.

James Nowlan (pictured, left) was born in Kilkenny in 1862 into a republican household - his father, Patrick, was a trusted member of the IRB - and was baptised at Cowpasture in Monasterevin in County Kildare on the 25th May that year - 154 years ago on this date. He was 'trained' from early childhood into sporting and republican activities and,during his short life (he was only 62 years of age when he died) , he became the President of the GAA (from 1901 to 1921) and is the only person to have even been appointed 'Honorary Life President' of that organisation.

In 1898, at 36 years of age, he was elected as Alderman to Kilkenny Corporation and availed of the position to great effect in his endeavours to publicise the then fourteen-year's young 'Gaelic Athletic Association', but was less successful in persuading the Central Council of the GAA that it should begin preparations to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1798 Rising - indeed, the GAA leadership refused to even appoint representatives to the 1798 Centenary Committee, but James Nowlan and a few other GAA members insisted on playing their part in the celebrations. At the GAA Congress held in September 1901, he was elected President and attempted to steer the organisation towards a more Republican path ; for instance, when the 'Irish Volunteers' was formed, Nowlan stated that it was a most suitable group for GAA members to join, even though other GAA leaders were not as enthusiastic about the group.

He was arrested by the British in May 1916 following the Easter Rising, and imprisoned in Frongoch, in Wales ; in August that year he was released, and resumed his GAA and Sinn Féin activities. He was to the forefront in campaigning for a general amnesty for all political prisoners and also raised funds for the 'Irish National and Volunteer Dependent Fund'. During the 'Tan War' (1919-1921) he publicly voiced support for the IRA's armed struggle and was unmercilessly harassed by the British for doing so - the GAA itself as an institution and anyone associated with it were abused, verbally and physically, by the British establishment and its armed units in Ireland. James Nowlan retired as GAA President in March 1921, at the Congress that year, and was appointed 'Honorary Life President' of the association - the only person to be so honoured. He died on the 30th June, 1924, at only 62 years of age and, three years after his death, the Kilkenny GAA Stadium became known as 'Nowlan Park'. In our opinion, there is a lot more that today's GAA leadership could do to honour that man properly ; that leadership has to all intent and purpose aligned itself firmly with the establishment of the day and is wasting the potential it has to help achieve a British withdrawal from this country or even, indeed, to draw attention to that subject and the many issues that surround it. I would suggest that people of the calibre of James Nowlan would have little to do with them today except, perhaps, to try and avail of the organisation as a 'platform' from which to highlight issues of injustice.



'INKGATE' - PART TWO...

...Part One ('Aengus Ó Snodaigh, a Provisional Sinn Féin member of Leinster House...has been discovered to have been in receipt of over €55,000 worth of printer cartridges - 434 units in total at a cost of €130 per unit, an average of 3 cartridges a day ; more than enough, overall, to print more than 3 million letters - in the last two years : indeed, in one year, when his 'job' was not-unusually only 'open for business' for 96 days in a twelve month period, the bould Aengus took 219 printer cartridges (and) Aengus's leader in Leinster House, Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, Gerry Adams, is the second-highest user of ink cartridges in Leinster House...') can be read here.

It's not as if Gerry and Mary don't have enough on their desk (!) without Mary having to explain why, over a seven consecutive day period earlier this year, she contacted the stationary stores in Leinster House and ordered 100 black pens, 24 packets of A4 paper, 24 permanent markers, seven screen wipes, 20 packs of post-it notes, 10 boxes of paper clips, 40 notebooks, three staplers, five printer toners, 50 document wallets, 10 storage boxes, five dividers, four lever-arch files, three multi-punch pocket holders, 10 box files, two desk tidy stationary holders and six rolls of tape. Maybe herself, Gerry and Aengus are opening a market stall in Dubai and Jonathan was just going over there to suss things out...

And perhaps Joe Carey, Fine Gael Leinster House member (22 rolls of sellotape and two tape dispensers), Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin (100 pens, 48 highlighters, 26 packets of Post-It notes, 34 packets of A4 paper, 20 packets of photocopy paper, four lots of Tipex, two storage boxes and six letter trays) and Stephen Donnelly, the leader of the Social Democrats (180 pens, 38 notebooks, nine packs of A4 paper and seven packets of paper clips) are in on the market stall, too!



'NICE TUNE, LADS AND LASSIES. ANY CHANCE YOU COULD PLAY FOR US...?'



Dublin, Easter Monday 2016 (28th March) : some members of an Irish republican flute band that was in the city to attend a republican commemoration decided to make a point and preformed a few bars of 'Take it down from the Mast' outside the Provisional Sinn Féin office in Parnell Square, to highlight the fact that those inside that office, and other Free State political party offices like it have, despite their verbal assurances to the contrary, abandoned Irish republicanism. Nothing complicated for republicans in regards to understanding the point that those band members were making, and why they were making that point. But, apparently, at least one member of that Parnell Square-based political party didn't understand the significance of the tune played...



..and actually attempted to contact the band to enquire if they would play at an upcoming Provisional Sinn Féin event!

Brass neck or a complete lack of knowledge about republicanism? And do ya think she'd be any better working on a market stall...?

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SINN FÉIN CHARGED WITH DISRUPTIONIST TACTICS.

1921 : THREE BRITISH ARMY TENDERS APPROACHED THE DUBLIN CUSTOMS HOUSE...

Dublin's tiger heard in Portlaoise...an 11-day 'gap' in a chain of custody...'transformers' in Long Kesh... "the right (to obtain the republican objective) is inalienable and non-judicable and must never be put in issue through referendum of a section of population nor of the people of the country at large..." - Sinn Féin, 1955....Ireland, 1921 - ''Three tenders carrying Auxiliary cadets, accompanied by an armoured car, approached the Dublin Customs House, which was occupied by a large body of Sinn Féiners...' ....this Alderman was arrested by the British in May 1916 following the Easter Rising, and imprisoned in Frongoch, in Wales...'Inkgate', Part Two, including rolls of sellotape, staples, pens, notepads etc...when 'take it down from the mast' is interpreted as support! Check back with us here on Wednesday, 25th May 2016..

Thanks for the visit, Sharon.






Wednesday, May 18, 2016

'SWEATY HANDS'? ROGer, AND A LESS-(IN)FAMOUS PIC!

CABHAIR ANNUAL TESTIMONIAL DINNER AND REPUBLICAN REUNION 2016.

Going back to at least the early 1970's, the Republican Movement, and supportive and affiliated organisations, have come together each year to choose a handful of individuals who are deemed suitable emissaries to represent all that Irish republicanism stands for and that which it seeks to obtain. Having decided on the best honorees possible, a dinner, dance and reunion is held to properly convey the Movement's appreciation to those people. And that pleasurable task has been undertaken this year, too - On Saturday May 21st 2016, six Irish republicans will be honoured at a function to be held for them in a Dublin hotel, at which a presentation will be made to each one of them. Those six notable stalwarts of Irish republicanism are : Seán and Sadie Collins (chosen by republicans in Leinster), Seoirse de Rís (George Rice, Munster), Frank Beattie (Connacht), Eddie McKeown (Ulster) and John Hunt (USA).

This blog extends warmest 'Congrats!' to those honorees ; well done to ye all - Ni seoinini sinn go leir!





A LOAD OF (ODD-SHAPED) BALLS, APPARENTLY...

This picture of Irish rugby player Ronan O'Gara 'snubbing' an English 'queen' went global in 2009 when the player in question was alleged to have deliberately refused to shake her* hand, and her* (*'Her'?!) followers and supporters here rallied to her defence- "...what Ronan O'Gara did to the Queen was loutish and a breach of international protocol...he went up to Belfast, freely and of his own accord, and very deliberately kept his hands in his pockets in her presence, in order to establish some political point which also means that he is a lout....Ronan O'Gara travelled North last week to insult - either intentionally or otherwise -- the Queen..." (from here.)

His 'own people' half-heartedly attempted to excuse his apparent 'snub', declaring that the picture in question 'did not tell the full story' - "The whole reception was both cordial and informal. In this environment, Ronan was obviously very relaxed.." (from here) while others supported his 'loutish behaviour' - "..a hero of Irish independence.." and "We're not British, we're not Saxon, we're not English, We're Irish! and proud we are to be..." (from here and here.)

And what has the man himself got to say? You'll be sorry you asked - "The situation in terms of the Queen was horrendous, I addressed this in the book but it hasn't really been put out there, people take out of it what they want...I was in the line to be introduced, my hands were a little bit sweaty, I put them into my pockets to clean them..." (from here). And, in an interview with Jarlath Regan, O'Gara stated - "I was in the line to be introduced. My hands were a little bit sweaty. I put them into my pockets to clean them. But the angle taken (ie the 'snub photo', above) - you couldn't have staged it. It was a complete non-event in the day. I was like any other player on the day, shaking her hand, being respectful...but that's all been lost and swept under the carpet, which astounded me..".

And then there's this - "The Ireland squad had been invited to an official congratulations ceremony with Her Majesty (whose "majesty"?)....it was optional for players to attend the reception but as a senior player I felt I should do so. This involved a flight from Cork and a train, so it was a big commitment. If I didn't like the Queen, or if I'd strong feelings about the monarchy, I wouldn’t have travelled to Belfast...I can still picture the moments before meeting her. I had sweaty palms. I like to think I present myself well, so I put them in my pockets to keep them dry...I was next in line to be introduced when an opportunistic photograph was taken a moment before I took my hands out of my pockets to greet her...the fallout was disturbing, and I’m glad to have an opportunity to explain what truly happened. It bothered me, and I wouldn't be bothered by much...you don't disrespect the Queen...I am not a republican...some people are so stupid for thinking it was a statement, that I was trying to insult the Queen... I wish I had taken my hands out of my pockets sooner.." (from here.)

...and here's what happened after he took his hands out of his pockets (from here) -


Not only did he 'shake hands with the Devil', but also chatted politely with her about her family - 'Indeed, O'Gara is reported to have chatted to the Queen about her grandson William, who he met on two previous Lions tours..' (from here) , an article which also mentioned how O'Gara was feeling '..just prior to shaking the hand and speaking with HRH..'. Also, O'Gara's rugby-playing pal, Brian O Driscoll, has spoke about how great it was "..to have the Sovereign of the north of Ireland to come over, the queen, and give us her time..." We (as in the Royal 'we'!) hope that both men make their pension from the game of rugby, as they are both obviously useless at pocket billiards...





PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.

First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O'Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.

THE WATERFALL.

A dozen drops

fall from your face.

Shaking the rain in a quiet place

shining clean,

a fresh new day

awakes up the world to

a fragrant bouquet.

Listen to the sound of a constant fall.




Skies give water for life to all

if you reach into the air

rain will come and kiss

your hair.


Dermot Griffin.







EXPLOSIVE QUESTIONS....

'Magill' magazine has unearthed new information which raises a grim but important question : were explosives from within this Republic used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings? It is a question which, bizarrely, also encompasses the controversial Dónal de Róiste case. By Don Mullan, author of the book 'The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings'.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 2003.

THE CLONAGH AFFAIR.

In an interview with 'Magill' magazine Garrett Fitzgerald said he personally had no knowledge of Captain Walshe's efforts to stem the flow of explosives to subversive elements. He was unaware that a fellow minister had been apprised of the situation in mid-April 1974 pertaining to the Clonagh factory and that the Taoiseach of the day, Liam Cosgrave, was personally aware of the situation at the factory by at least 9th September 1974.

He expressed surprise at learning that Colonel Cogan had felt the need to seek an urgent meeting with Cosgrave to discuss the deteriorating situation at the factory - "You would have thought," Garrett Fitzgerald said, "the government, having been informed, would have done something about it." While expressing the opinion that this was an interesting line of inquiry and should be pursued he did not, however, accept that the Irish government knew about the situation at Clonagh before the British Army.

He said - "They may or may not have reacted adequately to concerns about security but that doesn't mean that they knew or believed that explosives were actually leaking out. You wouldn't expect any government to allow that to happen if they thought that." (MORE LATER.)







GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...

SIN SCÉAL EILE.
By Jim McCann (Jean's son). For Alex Crowe, RIP - "No Probablum". Glandore Publishing, 1999.

Biographical Note : Jim McCann is a community worker from the Upper Springfield area in West Belfast. Although born in the Short Strand, he was reared in the Loney area of the Falls Road. He comes from a large family (average weight about 22 stone!). He works with Tús Nua (a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Upper Springfield), part of the Upper Springfield Development Trust. He is also a committee member of the 'Frank Cahill Resource Centre', one of the founders of 'Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh', the local Irish language primary school and Naiscoil Bharr A'Chluanaí, one of the local Irish language nursery schools.

His first publication last year by Glandore was 'And the Gates Flew Open : the Burning of Long Kesh'. He hopes to retire on the profits of his books. Fat chance!

"THANK YOU, BOYS, THANK YOU..." (PART ONE.)

"Suppose I was to tell you that you were going to be placed under close arrest tonight, bound and gagged until after the screws do their head-count first thing in the morning...", he said, "..then tomorrow morning after hopefully the successful escape of Lasher Beirne, the screws were to find you trussed up in the toilets..?" Thereby guaranteeing no sleep for Damien that night.

And poor Damien sat up all night watching any movement in the hut - the slighest sneeze, snore or other bodily noise sent shivers running down his back. Next morning, bright and early, Damien woke Arder - "They didn't come for me. They must have changed their minds..." "What time is it?", asked Arder. "Ten minutes past six" , replied Damien. "Are you fucking simple or what?" screamed Arder, "You woke me up at this time of the morning for this?! It was a mix, for Christ sake. I was only joking..." Arder saw veins rising in Damien's neck he never knew existed. "Where's your sense of humour?" Arder shouted, "Take it easy , you're tired.." "Tired?" said Damien, "Of course I'm fucking tired..." shouted Damien, "..I'm up all night sweating blood, throwing up and terrified, waiting on getting tied up and you're telling me it's a joke, ye rotten bastard.."

Damien chased Arder down the hut and out into the cage, screaming all sorts of abuse at him, and Arder was able to stay out of his grasp until a number of the boys caught hold of Damien and managed to subdue him. "What in the name of Jesus is going on here?", asked the OC of the cage. When he was told the cause of the dawn chase through Cage 10, his face broke into a laugh. When he finally stopped laughing, he told Damien to cool down, then asked Arder to join him in the OC hut and to tell him the story again from the start, and not to leave anything out. Before long the story was all around the cage. Not surprisingly, the long-term POW's had very little sympathy for Damien's distress and lots of admiration for Arder's inspiration. Then Lasher Beirne got involved... (MORE LATER.)





1916 AND 'THE PAST'.

"..maybe we should all just forget the whole thing and treat Easter Week 2016 as so much drinking time, with perhaps a brief satirical parade outside the GPO on the Friday, which as it happens will be April Fool's Day.." (from here) and this - '1916 was a zero-sum game which we should forget..' (from here).

Who dares to say forget the past to men of Irish birth?

Who dares to say cease fighting, for our place upon this earth?

Let remembrance be our watchword, and our dead we'll never fail.

Let their graves be to us as milestones, on that blood-soaked one-way trail.



Remember how Eoghan Rua fought, Port Lester mill beside,

no man can say a coward fell when Hugh O'Donnell died.

Remember Ruth and Sarsfield and forget, whoever will,

that glorious stand at Limerick and at Kilmacadden Hill.



Think of the men of '98 who fought to hold at bay

the Butchers of an Empire and the wiles of Castlereagh :

how Emmett's gallant handful, in historic Dublin Town,

marched out to give the challenge to the forces of the crown.



And then for a time, 'twas silence. Was Ireland's struggle done?

"The answer's in the negative", thundered many a Fenian gun.

Then just as England thought she'd won and that we at last were meek,

crashed forth the glorious challenge of the men of Easter Week!



Think of how our solders fought the pick of many lands,

the scum of British prisons in Britannia's Black and Tans.

And then by men we trusted, this land of ours was sold,

They sold their friends to enemies, as Judas did of old.



And on their own, who still were true, they turned and shot them down,

seventy-seven in all were slaughtered by those hirelings of the Crown.

Think of County Kerry where they butchered our lads like swine,

think, O God, of Ballyseedy, where they tied them to a mine.



Remember fighting Wexford, where the blood was never cold,

on Boulavogue and Oulart Hill their fathers fought of old.

How Rory, Liam, Dick and Joe to glut the Imperial beast

were murdered, while in prison, on our Blessed Lady’s feast.



How his overworked revolver as he dashed from that hotel,

roared a rebel's last defiance as Cathal Brugha fell.

Think how the Staters fought for England, how they fought for British law,

and in Cosgrave's last coercion how they murdered Captain Vaugh.



Hear we not the voice of Connolly, the worker-soldier friend?

Our conquered soul asserts itself, and we shall rise again!

For Freedom, yes and not to starve, and not for rocks and clay,

but for the lives of the working class, we fight and die today.



And what, says Cathal Brugha, if the last man is on the ground,

If he is lying, weak and helpless, and his enemies ring him round?

If he's fired his final bullet, if he's fired his final shot,

And they say "Come into the Empire", he should answer, "I WILL NOT!"



Then back, back to that one-way trail-

"Ní Síocháin go Saoirse!" is the war cry of the Gael.

While our country stands beside us with the blood of martyrs set,

wayside crosses to remind us, "WHO DARES TO SAY FORGET?"



Remember, then, immortal Tone, to say "Forget!" is wrong,

work to break that vile connection that has lasted far too long.

That Emmett's tomb is uninscribed, until we our rights assert,

until Ireland takes her place among the nations of the earth.


Yes, indeed - 'forget the past', and pretend that hardly anyone, except those dismissed by the establishment here as 'a few hundred republican malcontents' or somesuch, noticed that political 'officialdom' in this corrupt State recently attempted to pay homage to the men and women of 1916 and highlighted the fact that those Free Staters are the direct inheritors of those who, within five years of that Easter Rising, fought against those same men and women, borrowing arms and munitions from the British to do so. That, no doubt, is something they would like everyone to 'forget'.





HAVING THE COURAGE OF YOUR OWN CONVICTIONS.

Put not your trust in Princes.

"There are many things about water charges that Fine Gael/Labour would prefer you didn’t know. At the top of the list is this : not one penny of the money they're demanding you pay will be used to run, or to upgrade, the water system. In fact, even if everyone paid their water bill, every penny of the money would be spent on the admin involved in issuing us with bills...water charges should be abolished...the meter rollout should be stopped..." (from here) - Stephen Donnelly, 'Social Democrats', who made his name campaigning against the notion of demanding that citizens should pay twice for their tap water. But then he got a taste of power -

"I paid, because my not paying was getting in the way of important discussion, about water and many other issues."



And then there's this Leinster House politician who, like Mr. Donnelly, above, enhanced his political 'man-of-the-people' reputation by voicing support for those opposed to the double-water tax : 'Independent TD Finian McGrath said the scale of the protest has sent out the clearest message yet to Government that water charges must be abolished...' (from here, more here) only to change his tune when a 'promotion' was offered.

It's understandable that some people would be disheartened by the carry-on of those two politicians, but not me - as I stated here three years ago "I am not relying on the courage of somebody else's 'conviction'..." and that remains the case today. And until enough people believe in themselves more so than in 'political princes', I will continue to be in the minority. But I will continue. Incidentally, on the 12th May last, this water company (of which I am not a customer of, as I never signed any contract or letter etc in connection with the 'service' it offers) sent me a 'bill' for €324.64 which it claims I owe them. As I have said before, I am lucky enough to have the money to pay that 'bill' if I wanted to but, as I have already paid for a water service through general taxation (and car tax, vat etc) I won't be paying it. Because, simply, I don't believe I owe them anything.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Monday, May 16, 2016

BALLS TO THIS GAME OF POCKET BILLIARDS...

BALLS TO THIS GAME OF POCKET BILLIARDS...

Cabhair to celebrate the lives of these six Irish republicans...pocket billiards in the presence of their 'majesty'...those who 'honour' a struggle against injustice and in the same breath insist that you not fight for your place upon this earth...

Check back here on Wednesday, 18th May 2016.

Thanks! Sharon.






Wednesday, May 04, 2016

'CONFIDENTIAL' BRITISH GOVERNMENT MEMO, 1979 - 'THE IRA PRISONER MAY REFUSE WHICH WILL BE TO OUR ADVANTAGE...'

SIXTEEN DEAD MEN.

O but we talked at large before

The sixteen men were shot,

But who can talk of give and take,

What should be and what not

While those dead men are loitering there

To stir the boiling pot?



You say that we should still the land

Till Germany's overcome;

But who is there to argue that

Now Pearse is deaf and dumb?

And is their logic to outweigh

MacDonagh’s bony thumb?



How could you dream they'd listen

That have an ear alone

For those new comrades they have found,

Lord Edward and Wolfe Tone,

Or meddle with our give and take

That converse bone to bone?

(W. B. Yeats, from here.)

Black flag vigils in memory of the sixteen leadership figures executed in 1916 by the British have been organised by Republican Sinn Féin -

Tuesday May 3rd, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O'Connell Street, Dublin : Pádraig Mac Piarais, Tomás Ó Cléirigh, Tomás MacDonnchadha.

Wednesday May 4th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O'Connell Street, Dublin : Éamonn Ó Dálaigh, Liam Mac Piarais, Mícheál Ó hAnnracháin, Seosamh Ó Pluingcéad.

Thursday, May 5th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O'Connell Street, Dublin : Seán Mac Giolla Bhríde.

Sunday, May 8th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O'Connell Street, Dublin : Éamonn Ceannt, Conchúir Ó Colbáird, Seán Mac Aodha, Mícheál Ó Mealláin.

Monday, May 9th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O'Connell Street, Dublin : Tomás Ceannt.

Thursday May 12th, 4pm. Assemble at the GPO, O'Connell Street, Dublin : Seán MacDiarmada, Séamus Ó Conghaile.

Roger Casement was hanged at Pentonville Prison, England, on August 3rd 1916. A black flag vigil will be held on Wednesday 3rd August 2016, at the GPO, Dublin, from 4pm to 5.30pm.

All genuine republicans welcome!





PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.

First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O'Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.

EMPATHY.

In the silence of myself

the door slides slowly open

to the heart of all things

there I reach to the suffering of others

to care and share in my own woundness

there we give our trust

and gently flow together

into the warm streams

of empathy.




Silently we gather up the broken pieces

through the eyes of inner conflict

we give rise to meaning, to hope

we give expression with only words

though innocently chosen

steeped in love

we feel the hurt, the pain, with joy

though inside a tear does cry

for tears are words to those

in pain

and creation has made us

all the same.


Dermot Griffin.







EXPLOSIVE QUESTIONS....

'Magill' magazine has unearthed new information which raises a grim but important question : were explosives from within this Republic used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings? It is a question which, bizarrely, also encompasses the controversial Dónal de Róiste case. By Don Mullan, author of the book 'The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings'.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 2003.

THE CLONAGH AFFAIR.

Patrick Walshe's contemporaneous commentary to his military superiors concerning the Clonagh affair is revelatory - he expressed concern that three months had elapsed and his recommendations had not been implemented. He expressed deep dis-quiet that a facility existed from which explosive materials could be taken with minimal risk of detection and he also stated - "It is apparent that a double standard of custody and control of dangerous substances exists...over one year ago, quantities of sodium chlorate as small as two kilograms were withdrawn from hardware and chemist shops throughout the country (sic) . This substance was stored in military custody under high security conditions...the implementation of that procedure rings hollow when compared with the present situation evident at Clonagh."

Captain Patrick Walshe expressed concern that no consideration appeared to have been given to the serious responsibility of ensuring "...that these dangerous substances are prevented from getting into the hands of subversives.." and he recommended urgent action "without further delay" and expressed the opinion that the immediate closure of the plant and impounding of all materials in safe custody might be necessary until such time as management of the factory met some basic security commitments but became increasingly alarmed at the lack of response to his reporting.

Yet another report, dated 4th September 1974, concluded that '..until such time as ALL deficiencies are corrected..there can be no reasonable assurance that the source of bomb-making material in unauthorised hands has not come from the 'Irish Industrial Explosives Plant' at Clonagh.' In late October 1974 a Garda investigation into the theft of explosives at Clonagh was conducted and two Irish Army (sic) privates were convicted of stealing small quantities of substances from the factory.

Ex-Commandant Walshe told 'Magill' magazine that he fully co-operated with the investigation and furnished it with a full set of the reports but he is, however, critical of the Garda operation against the members of the (State) Army and believes it was an attempt to discredit the (State) Army when, in reality, people in more senior positions in the political administration should have been held accountable for the scandalous lack of security. Garrett Fitzgerald's recent revelation that the Clonagh factory was, indeed, a major source for the IRA's bombing campaign in the North has vindicated the young officer's concerns. (MORE LATER.)







GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...

SIN SCÉAL EILE.
By Jim McCann (Jean's son). For Alex Crowe, RIP - "No Probablum". Glandore Publishing, 1999.

Biographical Note : Jim McCann is a community worker from the Upper Springfield area in West Belfast. Although born in the Short Strand, he was reared in the Loney area of the Falls Road. He comes from a large family (average weight about 22 stone!). He works with Tús Nua (a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Upper Springfield), part of the Upper Springfield Development Trust. He is also a committee member of the 'Frank Cahill Resource Centre', one of the founders of 'Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh', the local Irish language primary school and Naiscoil Bharr A'Chluanaí, one of the local Irish language nursery schools.

His first publication last year by Glandore was 'And the Gates Flew Open : the Burning of Long Kesh'. He hopes to retire on the profits of his books. Fat chance!

"THANK YOU, BOYS, THANK YOU..." (PART ONE.)

For the next twenty-four hours Damien tormented Arder about his impending release and Arder took to hiding under beds and in lockers to stay clear of the incessant banter. When it happened it was beautiful, even though it wasn't planned in any shape or form - it was just the product of the sleeping giant that was Arder's brain (it should be noted here that 'Arder' is just a pseudonym for the author) . Anyway - Arder's brain has been a secret too long : he was sitting playing cards when Damien came into the hut. Arder got in first - "Fair play to you," he said to Damien. "What are you on about?" asked Damien. Arder winked at him knowingly. "I understand, Damien, said Arder, "you can't say too much about it, but obviously I hope it comes off." "I haven't a clue what you're talking about," said Damien. "Say no more," answered Arder, "You kept that a secret, ye fly frigger..." Damien went out off the hut scratching his head but returned ten minutes later - "Listen, Arder, what did you hear?", he pleaded. "Stop messing about," said Arder, "I heard all about it from the I.O. [Intelligence Officer] of the cage." "Does it involve me?" asked Damien. "Maybe not, right enough," Arder retorted, "it's just about the escape tomorrow. I just heard that Lasher Beirne was taking the place of someone getting released tomorrow and I thought that it was you as you're the only one out tomorrow." "I am?" shrieked Damien. "Jesus! Sorry comrade, I thought you knew..." replied Arder.

Damien went white in colour - "This is insane," he said, "Lasher looks fuck all like me.." "But they have a wig and make-up," said Arder. Damien went out again looking for the I.O. and returned shortly afterwards - "That's a load of rubbish. I was talking to the I.O. and he told me someone was messing about." "Is that right?" said Arder, with a sly grin...

(MORE LATER.)





ON THIS DATE (4TH MAY) 16 YEARS AGO : "NAIL IT TO MY BACK" MAN DIES.



When he was only 16 years of age, Kieran Nugent was arrested by the British Army and spent five months on remand in Crumlin Road Prison. When he was eventually tried, the case against him was withdrawn and he was released. He became an active volunteer until his arrest and imprisonment, without trial, on 9th February 1975 and spent nine months in Cage 4 of Long Kesh prison camp until the 12th November 1975. He was imprisoned again after another arrest on 12 May 1976, and sentenced to three years imprisonment on the 14th September 1976 for hijacking a vehicle.

With the removal of Special Category Status, the (British) Labour Government began the process of 'criminalisation' in 1976. All prisoners convicted of 'offences' committed after March 1st, 1976, were denied political status and classified as 'criminals'! The prisoners were now expected to do prison work ; in Long Kesh, 'criminalisation' also meant that male prisoners had to wear prison uniform. In September 1976, Kieran Nugent refused to wear a prison uniform and began the 'Blanket Protest', and the women in Armagh refused to do prison work. The protesting prisoners in Armagh and Long Kesh had begun a struggle for the recognition of their political status which was to end in the deaths of the hunger strikers five years later (ie 1981). In May 1979, Billy McKee, a former IRA Chief of Staff and Belfast Brigade Commander, spoke at a welcome home rally for Kieran.

Some of those that once not only (apparently) championed the Cause he fought for but gave the impression they actually supported that Cause were partially exposed here and the British government itself, too, were later shown to have attempted to manipulate Kieran and his comrades for their own purposes -

'The proposal is to allow an ITN team (including cameras) to visit Maze tomorrow, to see both clean and dirty cells; and to interview Nugent (who) may refuse but if he does so we expect this to be to our advantage. It would be just as effective in propaganda terms from our point of view. Discussions are now taking place with the Governor...tomorrow morning, Thursday, Nugent will be bathed, and his hair trimmed, with a hospital officer in attendance. Minimum necessary force will be used to bath him, but if he shows a disposition to resist violently and there seems to be a risk of injury, the bathing will not be proceeded with...on the morning of Friday 11 May (1979) Nugent will have an early breakfast...he will then be given his own clothes...release is expected to take place at about 8.30 am...' (From here.)

On the 4th May 2000 - 16 years ago on this date - Kieran Nugent died from a heart attack and Irish republicanism lost another stalwart of our on-going fight for freedom.



ON THIS DATE (4TH MAY) 100 YEARS AGO : FOUR 1916 LEADERS EXECUTED BY THE BRITISH.

On Thursday, 4th May 1916 - 100 years ago on this date - in reprisal for the then recent attempted uprising against British rule in Ireland, the London administration removed four Irish republican prisoners from their cells and executed them :

JOSEPH PLUNKETT - born into a privileged background (his father was a papal count) he was one of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation and one of the founders of the 'Irish Volunteer' organisation. He was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on the 4th May 1916. He was Director of Military Operations for the Rising, with overall responsibility for military strategy. Hours before his execution by the British, he married his sweetheart Grace Gifford in Kilmainham Gaol. Grace was born on the 4th March 1888, in Dublin, and attended art school there and in London and, in 1915, at the age of 27, she 'stepped out' with the then editor of 'The Irish Review' magazine, Joseph Plunkett. He was imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising and was condemned to death by firing squad : he asked Grace to marry him and, on the 3rd of May 1916, at 6pm, in Kilmainham Jail, Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett were married, with two prison officers as witnesses and fifteen British soldiers 'keeping guard' in the same cell. The couple were allowed ten minutes together, before Grace was removed from her husband. He was executed by the British hours later, on the 4th May, 1916. Grace Gifford Plunkett was at that time on the Executive of the then Sinn Féin organisation, and spoke out against the Treaty of Surrender.

EDWARD DALY - was born in Limerick in 1891 into a strongly nationalist family. His father (also named Edward) , a staunch Irish republican, died at only 41 years of age, five months before Edward (junior) was born, but his father's brother, John - who was imprisoned for twelve years for his republican activities during the 1867 rebellion against British rule - helped to raise the young child. Edward (junior) was Tom Clarke's brother in law and lived with him in Fairview, Dublin. He was a member of the IRB and the Irish Volunteers in which he held the rank of Commandant of the 1st Battalion. During Easter week he led his battalion in the Four Courts area which witnessed some of the most intense fighting of the week. After his arrest he was sentenced to death by the court-martial and executed at Kilmainham Gaol on 4 May 1916. As a youth, Edward (junior) was considered somewhat lazy and easily distracted, more concerned with his appearance and a 'party lifestyle' than he was with the day-to-day poverty and related injustices that surrounded him, but he developed a social conscience to the extent that, at only 25 years of age, he was asked to take command of the First Battalion of the Irish Volunteers, leading raids on the Bridewell and Linenhall British barracks and seizing control of the Four Courts, before which he addressed the men under his command - "Men of the First Battalion, I want you to listen to me for a few minutes, and no applause must follow my statement. Today at noon, an Irish Republic will be declared, and the Flag of the Republic hoisted. I look to every man to do his duty, with courage and discipline. The Irish Volunteers are now the Irish Republican Army. Communication with our other posts in the city may be precarious, and in less than an hour we may be in action.." . On the 4th of May, 1916, 25-years-young Commandant Edward Daly was executed by firing squad by the British in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin and was buried in near-by Arbour Hill Cemetery. He was the youngest commander of the rebels and the youngest 1916 leader to be executed by the British.

MICHAEL O'HANRAHAN - was born in New Ross, County Wexford, in 1877 and educated in Carlow. He was active in the Gaelic League from 1898, and that organisation would lead him to Dublin where he worked as a proof reader and journalist, and was the author of two novels, 'A Swordsman of the Brigade' and 'When the Norman Came'. He joined Sinn Féin shortly after its establishment by Arthur Griffith, and in 1913 joined the Irish Volunteers. He was Vice-Commandant of the 2nd Battalion of the Irish Volunteers under Thomas MacDonagh. During Easter week he was stationed at Jacob's Factory, was arrested by the British after the Rising and sentenced to death by court-martial. He was executed at Kilmainham Gaol on the 4th May 1916.

WILLIAM PEARSE - The younger brother of Patrick, William was born in Dublin in 1881 and trained as a sculptor under his father. He studied art in London and Paris, and his career was progressing well until he decided to go and work with his brother Patrick at St Enda's. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, and during Easter Week he was alongside his brother in the General Post Office. He was sentenced to death by court-martial in the wake of the Rising, and was executed at Kilmainham Gaol on the 4th May 1916. Pearse railway station on Westland Row in Dublin was re-named in honour of the two brothers in 1966, and a black flag vigil was held today, Wednesday 4th May 2016, in memory of these four men - see 'SIXTEEN DEAD MEN', above.





ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 11TH MAY 2016).....

...we won't be posting our usual contribution, and probably won't be in a position to post anything at all until the following Wednesday ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 7th/8th May 2016) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Dublin Executive of Republican Sinn Féin in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border (work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle) and the 'autopsy' into same which will take place on Monday evening, 9th, in Dublin, meaning that we will not have the time to post here. But we'll be back, as stated above, on the following Wednesday, 18th May 2016, so please check back with us then.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Monday, May 02, 2016

BRITISH GOVERNMENT MEMO RE IRA PRISONERS...

BRITISH GOVERNMENT MEMO RE IRA PRISONERS...

..marked 'Confidential' and released, internally, in the late 1970's, this memo confirms that a television camera crew can have permission to film inside Long Kesh prison to record the 'Dirty Protest' and to interview a named IRA prisoner, the result of which will be used by Westminster as "effective propaganda" against the struggle, but first that IRA prisoner will be cleaned up, by force, if need be...

Check back with us here on Wednesday, 4th May 2016. Thanks for the visit, Sharon.






Wednesday, April 27, 2016

IRISH 'REPUBLICAN' FAVOURS POLITICAL TEST OATH FOR ELECTIONS.

PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.

First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O'Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.

THE SOD.

The small plot of ground

on which you were born

cannot be expected to remain the same

earth changes

and home becomes different

places




You turned the sod

and took flesh

from the clay

but the day

did not come

from just one place




To feel alive

important and safe

know your own waters

and the roots of your soil

but know

more




You have stars in your bones

and oceans

in blood

you have opposing

terrain in each eye

you belong to the land

the sky of your first cry

you belong to infinity.


Dermot Griffin.







EXPLOSIVE QUESTIONS....

'Magill' magazine has unearthed new information which raises a grim but important question : were explosives from within this Republic used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings? It is a question which, bizarrely, also encompasses the controversial Dónal de Róiste case. By Don Mullan, author of the book 'The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings'.

From 'Magill' magazine, February 2003.

THE CLONAGH AFFAIR.

Garrett Fitzgerald, in an interview with 'Magill' magazine on 25th January 2003, confirmed that the factory he was referring to was the 'Irish Industrial Explosives' factory, Clonagh. Patrick Walshe was appalled when he read those comments and told 'Magill' - "I am by no means defending the British Army, whose intelligence services were, I believe, responsible for orchestrating the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, but it is not accurate to say that the entire cabinet did not know. I am shocked that Garrett Fitzgerald did not know information about which other ministers had been told."

Patrick Walshe has made available to 'Magill' his reports, contemporaneous notes and photographs which he passed to Army superiors, beginning on 5th April 1974. They detail what one former senior Army officer, Colonel James K Cogan, described in a 1984 affidavit as "...a scandalous and criminal lack of security.." at the factory and it was also Cogan, whom Walshe was related to by marriage, who described the Clonagh affair as "...the greatest scandal in the history of the Irish state.." He shared Walshe's concerns and says he personally spoke to a cabinet minister in mid-April 1974 at Leinster House. His affidavit details the content of a memorandum he claims he handed to that minister -

'Quantity (probably one bag, 50kg) of substance resembling ammonium nitrate deposited on roadway about 500 yards from main entrance to plant...cellophane sack marked 'ammonium nitrate' and containing a quantity of substance found secluded in weeds...quantity of substance on roadway and roadside about 100 yards from main entrance to plant...ammonium nitrate prills (four sacks, 40 kg) outside F5...the perimeter fence of the compound was only 25 yards from this (large and secluded) quantity of ammonium nitrate which was visible over an extensive area beyond the compound fence.." It should be noted that this situation pertained some 10 weeks after Colonel Cogan says he personally apprised a cabinet minister of the situation at the Clonagh factory and six weeks after the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. (MORE LATER.)







GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...

SIN SCÉAL EILE.
By Jim McCann (Jean's son). For Alex Crowe, RIP - "No Probablum". Glandore Publishing, 1999.

Biographical Note : Jim McCann is a community worker from the Upper Springfield area in West Belfast. Although born in the Short Strand, he was reared in the Loney area of the Falls Road. He comes from a large family (average weight about 22 stone!). He works with Tús Nua (a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Upper Springfield), part of the Upper Springfield Development Trust. He is also a committee member of the 'Frank Cahill Resource Centre', one of the founders of 'Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh', the local Irish language primary school and Naiscoil Bharr A'Chluanaí, one of the local Irish language nursery schools.

His first publication last year by Glandore was 'And the Gates Flew Open : the Burning of Long Kesh'. He hopes to retire on the profits of his books. Fat chance!

"THANK YOU, BOYS, THANK YOU..." (PART ONE.)

The story actually starts months before the event : it began as a mix (joke) - it was nearly Christmas 1974 and Damien was getting released. The 'Fire of Long Kesh' had occurred some two months before and we had been relocated in temporary huts on the site of some of the burned out cages of Long Kesh.

Cage 10 at that time comprised the men of Cage 13, Cage 16 and Cage 17 - about 200 men altogether. It was cramped, basic and cold. This cage, designed to hold about 70 men, was over-subscribed, big time. Irish classes, political debate and 'Fat' (a card game) schools were happening everywhere.

Arder was just into the second year of a twelve-year stretch, and thought about the near-seven-years of a sentence he still had to do and cried himself to sleep. On waking up he resolved to put it behind him and get on with it. "Just think, Arder," said Damien, "this time two days from now I'll be sitting in our local having a pint." "No problem, comrade," answered Arder. "Bet you're raging", smirked Damien. Arder knew Damien was joking, but wanted to kill him anyway. "That's where you're wrong, comrade, lied Arder, "I couldn't be more happy for you." Damien kept it up : "Spare a thought for me waking up on Saturday morning with a bad hangover," Damien whinged. "Do you see if you don't give my head peace, I'm going to put your fucking head in your hands. Now fuck off from about me," said Arder, who had cracked under the strain.

But Damien increased the pressure... (MORE LATER.)





ON THIS DATE (27TH APRIL) 87 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF AN IRA MAN WHO DARED AND SUFFERED - AUSTIN STACK.

Austin Stack (pictured, left)was born on the 7th December, 1879, in Ballymullen, Tralee, County Kerry, and died in the Mater Hospital in Dublin, from complications after a stomach operation, on the 27th April 1929 - 87 years ago on this date - at only 49 years of age.

He was arrested with Con Collins on the 21st April 1916 while planning an attack on Tralee RIC Barracks in an attempt to rescue Roger Casement. He was court-martialed and sentenced to death, but this was commuted to twenty years penal servitude and he was released in the general amnesty of June 1917, and became active in the Irish Volunteers again. He was elected Secretary of Sinn Féin, a position he held until his death. His health was shattered due to the number of prison protests and hunger strikes for political status that he undertook. In the 1918 general election, while a prisoner in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast, he was elected to represent West Kerry in the First (all-Ireland) Dáil, and the British sent him off to Strangeways Prison in Manchester, from where he escaped in October 1919. During the 'Black and Tan War', as Minister for Home Affairs, Austin Stack organised the republican courts which replaced the British 'legal' system in this country. He rejected the Treaty of Surrender in 1921 (stating, during the debate on same - "Has any man here the hardihood to stand up and say that it was for this our fathers suffered, that it was for this our comrades have died in the field and in the barrack yard..") and, following a short fund-raising/public relations tour of America, returned to Ireland to fight on the republican side in the Civil War.

In the general round-up of Irish republican leaders in April 1923 (during which Liam Lynch was shot dead by Free State troops) Stack, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the rebel forces, was arrested in a farmyard in the Knockmealdown Mountains in County Tipperary - this was four days after Lynch's death. Imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin, he took part in the mass hunger-strike by republican prisoners in October 1923, which was his 5th hunger-strike in 6 years. Shortly after the end of that forty-one day hunger-strike, in November 1923, he was released with hundreds of other political prisoners, and he married his girlfriend, Una Gordon, in 1925. In April 1929, at forty-nine years of age, he entered the Mater Hospital in Dublin for a stomach operation. He never recovered and died two days later, on 27th April 1929. He is buried in the Republican Plot, Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin.

'Austin Stack was born in Ballymullen, Tralee and was educated at the local Christian Brothers School. At the age of fourteen he left school and became a clerk in a solicitor's office. A gifted Gaelic footballer, he captained the Kerry team to All-Ireland glory in 1904 and also served as President of the Kerry Gaelic Athletic Association County Board. He became politically active in 1908 when he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and, in 1916, as commandant of the Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers, he made preparations for the landing of arms by Roger Casement, on Banna Strand.

Although Austin Stack was made aware that Casement was arrested and was being held in Ballymullen Barracks in Tralee, he made no attempt to rescue him : RIC District Inspector Kearney treated Casement very well and made sure Stack was aware that Casement could so easily have been rescued, yet Stack refused to move (possibly sensing that a trap had been laid for him?) but he was arrested anyway and sentenced to death for his involvement, but this was later commuted to penal servitude for life. He was released under general amnesty in June 1917 after the death of fellow prisoner and Tralee man Thomas Patrick Ashe and was elected as an abstentionist Sinn Féin Member of Parliament for Kerry West in the 1918 Westminster election, becoming a member of the 1st Dail and was automatically elected as an abstentionist member of the 'House of Commons of Southern Ireland' and a member of the 2nd Dail as a Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Kerry-Limerick West in the Irish elections of 1921.

He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and took part in the subsequent Irish Civil War. He was captured in 1923 and went on hunger strike for forty-one days before being released in July 1924...when Eamon de Valera founded Fianna Fail in 1926, Stack remained with Sinn Féin...his health never recovered after his hunger strike and he died in a Dublin hospital on April 27th 1929, aged 49.' (from here, slightly edited.)

A commemorative pamphlet, entitled 'What Exactly is a Republican?' was issued in memory of the man - 'The name republican in Ireland, as used amongst republicans, bears no political meaning. It stands for the devout lover of his country, trying with might and main for his country's freedom. Such a man cannot be a slave. And if not a slave in heart or in act, he cannot be guilty of the slave vices. No coercion can breed these in the freeman. Fittingly, the question - 'What is a republican?' fails to be answered in our memorial number for Austin Stack, a man who bore and dared and suffered, remaining through it all and at the worst, the captain of his own soul. What then was Austin Stack, republican? A great lover of his country. A man without a crooked twist in him. One who thought straight, acted straight, walked the straight road unflinchingly and expected of others that they should walk it with him, as simply as he did himself. No man could say or write of him "He had to do it". That plea of the slave was not his. His duty, as conscience and love dictated, he did. The force of England, of the English Slave State, might try coercion, as they tried it many times : it made no difference. He went his way, suffered their will, and stood his ground doggedly, smiling now and again. His determination outstood theirs, because it had a deeper foundation and a higher aim. Compromise, submission, the slave marks, did not and could not exist for him as touching himself, or the Cause for which he worked and fought ,lived and died.'

On this date - 27th April - 87 years ago, Ireland lost one of its best soldiers.



AN UPRISING?! WHAT WOULD SHAKESPEARE SAY ABOUT IT...?

These days - because of the times that are in it - even a 'posh' newspaper like 'The Irish Times' wants to associate itself with the 1916 Rising. But, at the time, the 'Grand old Lady of D'Olier Street' couldn't distance itself quick enough from the actions of the men and women it now wants to 'remember'.

On April 27th, 1916 - 100 years ago on this date - three days after the Rising started, the so-called 'newspaper of record', the establishment newspaper,'The Irish Times', asked in an editorial - "How many citizens of Dublin have any real knowledge of the works of Shakespeare?" ! The newspaper suggested that its readers use the "enforced domesticity" caused by the Rising to renew themselves with the work of the bard! God forbid that those readers should be kept informed re how the Rising was progressing or, indeed, the reason why a respected minority considered it necessary to directly challenge the 'British Empire' regarding its military and political presence in Ireland. But at least one man, Seosamh de Brún, took the advice offered by that newspaper and recorded same in his diary : "Easy day. read portion of 'Julius Caesar' Shakespeare following the advice of Irish Times." The 'grand old Dame' would have shed ink and lost a cog had she realised that de Brún was an Irish republican Volunteer on active service in Jacobs Factory at the time!



A LESSON WELL LEARNED : ADAMS' CALL FOR AN 'ELECTION PLEDGE' IS ON PAR WITH A WESTMINSTER DIKTAT.

"I declare that, if elected, I will not by word or deed express support for or approval of -

(A) Any organisation that is for the time being a proscribed organisation specified in Schedule 2 to the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 : or

(B) Acts of terrorism (that is to say , violence for political ends) connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland."


The above 'Declaration', a British-imposed political test oath, was 'introduced' in the north-eastern six counties of Ireland in 1989 by Margaret Thatcher and her administration in London, in relation to elections being held in those occupied six counties. That British 'oath' called for the public disowning of the Irish Republican Army, Cumann na mBan, Fianna Éireann and a repudiation of the right of the Irish people to use force of arms to end British occupation in Ireland. That right has been asserted in every generation and at tremendous cost in terms of life, liberty and human suffering.

Such 'political test oaths' have been used before by the British in attempts to ensure that only 'loyal' citizens could contest an election and, indeed, there use can be traced back to 1696 - "...an Oath of allegiance, used to secure loyalty to the sovereign and to help identify potential opponents..for the better security of his Majesty's royal person and government.." (from here and here) and now we have a Leinster House politician proposing much the same in relation to election campaigns in the Six Counties - 'Gerry Adams has said all candidates in next week's assembly elections need to "make clear" their attitudes towards armed paramilitary groupings...' - "I want to call - given that we're in an assembly election - on every candidate, not just here in west Belfast but every candidate, to state where they stand..." (from here.)

Republicans have never allowed Ireland's on-going fight for freedom to be branded as over '800 years of crime' and we have never accepted British 'oaths' of allegiance : for fifty years republican candidates were debarred from public office because of their refusal to take such 'oaths' and many public bodies were abolished for refusing to take an 'oath' of allegiance to the British Crown - it required the great upheaval of the civil rights movement and the armed resistance of the people to smash the oath at local government level. Meekly accepting the taking of such an 'oath' demeans the whole cause of Irish republicanism and dishonour's all those who gave their lives for Irish freedom - particularly the twenty-two men that have died on hunger-strike between 1917 and 1981. Politicians in Leinster House should look to their own record (such as it is) in challenging or even highlighting the British military and political presence in the Six Counties rather than attempt to restrict others from doing so.



THE SHALLOW AND THE WATER.



'Water' is making the headlines here now, as at least two grubby political parties vie with each other over taxing same again - now, or later - as their price for sharing the financial spoils of power in Leinster House. But this is not the first occasion that this 'fluid' issue was used by state politicians in an attempt to 'put manners' on state citizens and further enrich their own coffers at the same time. We pulled the following article from our archive (the original source first published it on this date - 27th April - 27 years ago), as it makes for interesting (re-)reading in that it gives an insight into the mentality of the political 'Lords' that consider the 'Big House' in Kildare Street to be theirs by right :

ROD LICENCE CAMPAIGN DETERMINED TO RESIST.

By Richard Douthwaite.

(This article was first published in 'ALPHA' Magazine, 27th April 1989, page 7.)

The duck-fly is up on Lough Corrib and every 'Guest House' and 'Bed and Breakfast' in Oughterard, County Galway , ought to be filled with anglers. Instead, although there is an odd boat on the lake, the place has a depressed, deserted air, enlivened only by posters on every telephone pole, protesting against the rod licence. Pat Higgins, of Sweeney's Hotel, saw his takings drop nine per-cent last year because of the row. His profits were cut even more drastically, forcing him to borrow from the bank for annual repairs. Even so, he believes the anti-licence campaigners are right - "I explain the situation to foreign visitors this way," he says, "In Ireland, there are three types of fishing rights - private, State-owned and public-domain. This dispute arose because the State is trying to take over the public-domain fisheries surreptitiously."

The first skirmish in the Rod War was fought in the (State) High Court in November 1986. 'P.J. Carroll and Co. Ltd,' the tobacco manufacturers, were in the early stages of their diversification into fish farming and wanted to buy (!) Lough Inagh and Lough Derryclare as sites for a salmon hatchery. Jim Clancy, who owns fifty acres on the banks of Lough Inagh and has an outdoor pursuits centre there, had been using the lake to teach canoeing. If Carrolls and Company did not stop him using it before they 'bought' the lakes, he would have acquired the right to continue. Carrolls therefore got the vendors of the property to seek a court injunction requiring him to stop before they completed the purchase. The case went to court and was heard over five days. The upshot was that Mr.Clancy (the owner of fifty acres of land on the banks of Lough Inagh) was told that neither he, nor any other owner, had the right to take water from a river or lake whether for himself or for his farm animals. If he put a boat on the lake, swam in the lake, or even crossed over one of the streams that run down the mountainside to the lake, he would be breaking the law! Walking by the lake was forbidden, since he might disturb the fish!

Not only did Mr.Clancy lose the action, he had its £80,000 punt costs awarded against him (Euro 101,579) and will pay the last £10,000 punt installment (Euro 12,697) in June 1989. The court refrained from ruining him entirely, however - a £200,000 punt (Euro 253,947) claim for damage he was alleged to have done to the fishery was struck out. The decision of the court case against Mr. Jim Clancy had damaging implications for others as well. Whereas in the past the water and bed of a lake or river had been considered to be common property, the State High Court had now handed them over to whoever 'owned' the fishing 'rights'. No one else could do anything on, near, with or in the water, at all!

What the anti-rod licence campaigners think the State is trying to do through the licensing mechanism is to take over the fishing 'rights' on the major lakes in the West - including Corrib, Mask, Carra, Conn and Arrow - which are in the public domain. As a result of that decision, the people of the area, who have fished on the rivers and lakes, swum in them and drawn water from them for generations, will lose their rights to continue unless they have the consent of the State Minister. They are determined not to give those rights up.

And why do the people think that the politicians want the lakes? So that they can allow the fish farming companies to moor cages on them in which the salmon parr will grow until they turn into smolts. The statement by Liam Keilthy of the State-owned salmon hatchery 'Aquahatch', as reported in the last issue of 'ALPHA' magazine, that it will not be possible to avoid using some of the larger lakes for this if the industry is to expand as projected, has added fuel to the fire. So the Anti-Rod campaigners have taken it upon themselves to attack fish-farming in every way possible. They have taken RTE (State television and radio broadcaster) to film dead salmon on public tips. They asked the most pointed questions at last fortnight's 'An Taisce' conference on aquaculture and the environment and have greatly increased public awareness of the dangers of the fish-farming industry as a result of its use of chemicals and antibiotics and the threat to the survival of wild fish from farmed fish escapes.

In a broader sense, the campaign against the licence and the fish farms is a reaction against the exploitation of the West of Ireland by outsiders - the purchase of huge acres of bog by those that control pension funds, intent on planting trees, the conversion of family homes into weekend cottages, and even the prospecting for gold. And so great is the gulf between the politicians and their Connacht grass-roots that no-one in Dublin seems to understand this at all. For Tommy Thornton, the 'Rod Licence' dispute has little to do with paying money in order to fish - "We have twice the 'licence' fee paid into the (angling) club at the moment." Rather, he discerns a more fundamental issue : "The point is, if you pay the 'licence' they (the politicians) will have control of the lake ; taking control of the water - that's the main thing." Tommy, a retired Fisheries Board game-keeper, is a native of Maam Cross in Galway, a small community stretched along the banks of Lough Corrib and his views about the proposed 'Rod Licence' scheme are fairly representative of the area. At the heart of local fears is the belief that the existence of a 'licence' will spell the end of the lakes and rivers as public amenities. One resident, who lives on the shores of Lough Corrib, expressed the fear that "..once they hand them (the lakes) over, they might have a 'licence' of £5 or £10 this year ; what will it be in ten years time? It could be £1000."

One resident who lives along the shores of Lough Corrib asked - "What's going to happen in a few years time (is) our children, or anyone who comes down here, will not be able to go down to that lake because you'll have 'Private' signs all along the shore." One local man who is normally involved in the hiring of boats to visiting anglers, says - "It is the only thing we have to sell that is free. Where would you get unpolluted waters, in all of Europe, like you'd get along the Corrib. The lakes should be left the way they are." Along with the anger at the (Free State) Government's apparent unwillingness to solve the problem there is a determination in the area not to back down. This is not pride, rather a belief that (FS) government plans for the lakes spell disaster.

End of article.

The political intention , fuelled by greed, to make extra profit from water - whether same lies in a natural 'pool' or flows from a household tap - is the same now as it was 27 years ago. It should be kept in mind that, in 1976, rates were abolished as "unconstitutional" in this State and, as a result, VAT was increased by two-and-a-half per cent, to compensate local Authorities [ie Councils, Corporations etc]. Everyone in the State has been paying the extra increase since 1976 and, for the last few years, have been told by Leinster House politicians that they must pay again - a second time - for the same service. If the local authorities have not being receiving that extra money then its the politicians in Leinster House that owe it, not the taxpayer.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.