" 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 20, 2015



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 23rd 2015 , six Irish Republicans will be honoured at a CABHAIR function to be held for them in a Dublin hotel, at which a presentation will be made to each of them. Those six notable stalwarts of Irish Republicanism are : Tommy Morris, Westmeath, (Leinster); Margaret Dobbin, Antrim, (Ulster); Brendan Madden, Galway, (Connacht); Donal and Tom Malone, Tipperary, (Munster) and John Kelly, Pennsylvania, (USA). This blog extends warmest 'Congrats!' to those Honorees, and we hope all concerned have a great night, as they deserve it. Well done to ye all - Ni Seoinini Sinn Go Leir!


Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

The women do not on the whole have complaints about the personal behaviour of the gardai in the station : while there may have been roughness (Mary Duffy was dragged downstairs by her ankles) and individual brusqueness, some of the women considered that the gardai were embarrassed by their duties. Among any group of 33 women the chances are that several will be menstruating, and several of the women in the Bridewell were having their periods. They asked for sanitary towels and were told that the Bridewell provides "only basics".

"You know what it's like to bleed in your knickers?" , went an appeal to a ban garda, and it worked - she got three of her own tampax and brought them to the cells, but they weren't enough. It wasn't until Ruth-Anne FitzGerald, the barrister, found out what was happening and went to a local shop and came back with bags full of sanitary towels that the women were provided with what the Bridewell authorities do not consider 'basics'. One woman, a student, was distraught - she had exams to sit the next day and didn't know if she would be free by then. Mary Duffy, a thalidomide victim, was eventually put in a cell with some other women ; she had been wearing a coat belonging to someone else when she was searched and the gardai had taken away a nail scissors found in a pocket. Very clever, she mused, they must be afraid I'll cut my wrists!

In one cell there was a shortage of matches, so one cigarette was kept going at all times. Ventilation was lously - there was a small square of thick glass high up on the wall, another square of thick glass over the door and one 60-watt bulb burning outside. You got milk and sugar in your tea whether or not you liked it, and mashed potatoes and ham. Some of the women were vegetarians. (MORE LATER).



Those are the traditional, conservative forces within the Provos ranged against the Northern radicals. Although there have been symbolic victories for them, notably the fusion, or takeover as some see it, of 'Republican News' with the Dublin based 'An Phoblacht', the real political debate has centred on the Provos 1972 policy document, 'Eire Nua!'

That document is identified in most people's minds with two traditional leaders, Sinn Fein President Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Vice President Dáithí Ó Conaill . At Sinn Fein's last Ard Fheis held in January 1980, but actually 1979's Ard Fheis, that document was changed for the first time since the new policy document which was adopted, 'Eire Nua - the social, economic and political dimension', was more a change in emphasis than substance. The language was more socialist than the 1972 document but some controversial clauses especially relating to the right to land ownership, merely changed or deleted by Sinn Fein's ruling body, the Ard Comhairle.

But what that document did do was to set in motion a series of moves which the radicals hope will turn the Provisionals leftwards. A women's committee was set up to devise a policy document to be debated at the next Ard Fheis. The policy which it has devised reflects the difficulties the radicals are having converting their more conservative and catholic sisters. Women who have had abortions are not condemned but the system that forced them to is. Moral issues like contraception and divorce should, the committee decided, be left to individuals.

Similarly, an Economic Resistance campaign was re-emphasised in the new document and a committee headed by Post Office Engineering trade unionist, Paddy Bolger, also set up to devise a policy for the next Ard Fheis.The economic resistance campaign foresees the involvement of Sinn Fein in trade union struggles like the P A YE marches and opposition to the National (sic) Wage Agreement and to push republican issues at grass roots union level. It also intends to encourage housing, unemployment and social agitation by the republican movement. Those two developments reflect a political change in Republican thinking that is part and parcel of the IRA's long war scenario. If the IRA must stay around to fight that war, say the radicals, then Sinn Féin must have something other than the initially intoxicating, but in the long term irrelevant, slogan of 'Brits Out!' (MORE LATER).


"The Irish railwaymen, on their own initiative, without waiting for direction from any authority, decided not to participate in the transport of British munitions of war..." - the words of Tom Johnson, the then leader of the 'Irish Labour Party'.

On this date (20th May) in 1920, Dublin dockers and railway workers began a boycott against the British 'war effort' and refused to work in a situation which would bring them into contact with British troops or British munitions in Ireland (an initiative which lasted until the end of that year - the British government 'imported' scab drivers and threatened to withhold funding from the railway companies here, which forced an end to the action), resulting in those occupation forces having to travel by road - not easily done, as the IRA dug trenches and/or destroyed same with explosives on a regular basis, so as to inhibit enemy movement.

The workers were already refusing to export foodstuffs to England, as those foods were needed here. Dublin IRA man Larry Nugent stated re that period - "The food situation in the city [Dublin] was still bad. Essential foodstuffs were very scarce and prices were prohibitive. Still the exports to England were increasing. Then on April 17th the dockers at the North Wall refused to load foodstuffs for England. This action relieved the scarcity in Dublin. The food position in Ireland during the years 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920 and most of 1921 was really bad. Butter, eggs, bacon, sugar and other foods were almost unobtainable. At the same time great quantities were being shipped to Britain under the British food control orders..." (...similar to this legislation).

That, of course, was a period in our history when the trade union leadership had not yet been purchased by the employers/business interests/political administration and genuinely seen its role as fighting for improved conditions for workers as opposed to now, when that same leadership works hand-in-glove with employers/business interests/political administration in using workers to advance their own personal and political careers. They are, in effect, the equivalent of the 1920's 'scab train drivers' and deserve to be treated with equal contempt.


By all accounts, the 'Yes' vote will triumph on Friday 22nd May 2015, in the 'Gay Marriage' referendum which will be held in this State on that date. Practically every media outlet here (which, by the way, have to be either licensed by the State and/or are controlled by State-orientated business people) has entered the fray on the 'Yes' side, some more blatantly so than others. But we have been here before, in 'Yes-is-the-winning-number' territory, only to witness a 'silent majority' spoil everything for the political forecasters and, no doubt, if such an 'upset' occurs in this State on May 22nd, we will most likely be given a second opportunity to 'correct' ourselves!

I have already outlined my position on this issue and nothing I have read or heard in the past few weeks has given me reason to think twice, never mind to consider actually changing my mind. Indeed, such is the haste here by the 'Vote Yes' leadership to show how 'liberal and with-the-times' they are that they almost (accidentally?) succeeded in outlawing marriage between a man and a woman! I'm going to follow my own advice in the polling booth and vote 'No' to gay marriage (because I believe gender matters, especially where children are concerned) and will then purposely spoil my 'presidential age' vote by writing 'Abolish the Office' on it. And why wouldn't I - not being a 'with-it' liberal, that is....


"Products of centuries of intermarrying between families, the questionable art of breeding human livestock has been cultivated to its extreme by different royal houses of (mostly) German descent festering over the European continent for many a century. As a result, this unholy, age-old cesspool of interbreeding gave birth to the most malicious type of human imaginable: the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha chieftain....." (...from here.)

Representatives of the above-mentioned human livestock breeding experiment are due to visit this country for four days this month and, while Irish republicans oppose the visit, Free Staters and nationalists are almost wetting themselves with excitement and the media outlets here are delighted to use the opportunity to show how 'cosmopolitan' they are ; indeed, one of those media conglomerates has, in keeping with its confused outlook, described Ireland as consisting of two countries ('Their Royal Highnesses will also visit Northern Ireland (sic) in the same period. The four-day visit to both countries will take place from 19th to 22nd May 2015......'[from here]) and, indeed, this visit has shown that 'confusion' also exists in those that used to know better : the ex-republican political party, Provisional Sinn Féin, has stated that it will be represented at various 'royal' events during the four-day circus now that "...the conflict is over." Indeed, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have had a private meeting with their 'prince', after Martin's friend insisted that Gerry be allowed sit-in with Martin and the 'prince'! Incidentally - and this is AN 1169 EXCLUSIVE!! - we can now reveal that part of that private meeting was in connection with the fact that 'Prince' Charles was about to have his secret Irish republican cover blown...

Gerry (and Martin) are expected to apologise to the British for all the trouble that the Irish caused to London over the last eight centuries.....

The Republican Movement, on the other hand, remains firm and clear on where it stands in relation to those parasites, has not changed its position and is not likely to change its position until after the British military and political presence has been withdrawn and Westminster has ended its jurisdictional control in relation to any part of this country : "We've made it clear that representatives of the British state are not welcome in Ireland and that statement continues..." (...from here). Others may fawn over that British taxpayer-funded family, but those of us with self-respect will always reject them and those like them.

The guns sound out in salute, the bells ring out in the air,

The royal Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to an heir!

Prince William and Kate are overjoyed and blissfully happy

They have their longed-for offspring – in a clean white nappy!

Welcome to the world baby boy, as at your mother’s breast you feed

You’ve been born into wealth and privilege, and will never encounter need.

Third in line to the British throne, weighing 8 pounds and 6 ounces,

Delivered July 22 at 4.24 pm, the breathless Press announces.

"The birth of a Prince, our future monarch!" the tabloid headlines scream

While in blissful ignorance you close your eyes and dream.

You have nothing to disturb you, your future has been planned

You're one of the House of Windsor, the rulers of the land.

One day of 16 countries you’ll become Head of State,Including Australia and Canada and Britain the Great.

The Head of the Commonwealth, of the Church, Governor Supreme.

But that’s all in the future, the pomp, honour and esteem.

Right now you’re just a baby, you know nothing of the world,

Only your mother’s closeness as at her breast you lie curled.

You have yet to learn of money and the power of the rich

For you life'll be a bowl of cherries, for others it’s a bitch.

Although from a family neither aristocratic nor royal,

Your mummy too has never known hardship or toil.

Of upper middle class background, free from pecuniary cares

Her parents, ex flight staff Mike and Carole, are multi-millionaires.

You’ll get to see them often, but all of that’s to come.

And you’ll get to know Aunt Pippa, famous for her bum.

Not to mention Kate’s Uncle Gary and his Maison de Bang Bang.

(Maybe parties there in future with your elite little gang?)

Mum passes you to Prince William, who holds you gently in his hands

– Your Daddy who’s worth 40 million in investments, inheritance and lands.

As well as a Prince, he’s a Baron, Earl and Duke,

He pats you on your back as you have a quiet puke.

Yeah, forget the Middletons. The Windsors is the family that counts

For bringing in money and power in large amounts.

You’ve only been out of the womb a few hours since

And already you’ve been made of Cambridge the Prince!

You’ve already beat your Uncle Harry in line to the throne,

Just three deaths to come before it’s your own.

But playboy Harry need shed no tear,

He already makes 25 million a year.

Before your daddy, there’ll be funny Grandad Charlie as King

Crowned in Westminster Abbey with all that pomp and bling.

He's been destined to be monarch from the moment of his birth.

And if daddy’s makes 40 million – what’s grandaddy worth?

With a property of 300 million pounds, he’s certainly a man of means,

But as he says: "So much I do is done behind the scenes."

It’s rumored he’s the head of a rich organization called Foundation X,

Funded by banks, market manipulation and government lending excess.

He's also said to have had an influence on many a government minister

With his secret 'black spider memos' giving advice in writing sinister.

On a different matter, another dark secret as yet to unravel

Is Prince Charles’ close friendship with paedo rapist Jimmy Saville.

By the way, that’s not your real grandma, the blonde woman by his side

Her name’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and she’s his second bride.

Your real grandma was Princess Diana, killed in a car crash in France.

Some say that the accident was planned and not just matter of chance.

But, ah! Here’s your great grandma! Her Highness Elizabeth, the ruler

She’s worth 44 billion. Could anything be cooler?

She's the pinnacle of the Constitution,

Her face on every banknote – a living institution!

Judges, police and armed forces pledge allegiance to the Crown.

She’s the apex of aristocracy, of wealth and renown.

She has say when to begin and end wars

And one day my boy this power will be yours!

But what of the people you’re eventually to rule?

You should know about them to not look a fool.

Your birth is an important moment in the life of our nation

What about the people, and what’s their situation?

Well, while your pampered royal family sit cozy on their butts

The people of Britain suffer vicious drastic cuts

Benefits stopped, services scrapped, a state of dire recession

While the fawning Press focus adoring eyes on the third in line to succession.

Thousands sleep homeless on the street

Children don’t have enough to eat

Prices rise, wages go down

A smile is rarer than a frown.

Things are so bad for many that they’re almost unendurable

And yet don’t forget that they’re far from incurable.

All of this misery and want could be easily erased

With just half the money the Royals have saved.

Against this unfairness there’s only one solution

The people must unite and have a revolution.

So, New Born Royal Baby, I pray your first words be –

Loud and clear now, let me hear – "ABOLISH THE MONARCHY!"

(from here.)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015



Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

The first priority was to obtain bail for the prisoners and, on such a trivial charge, bail was a certainty. But the gardaí refused to grant station bail , a procedure in which they have discretion to allow people charged with lesser offences post their own bail at the station. Extraordinarily, they said they would grant bail to just one of the 33 women in the Bridewell, Mary Duffy, a thalidomide victim who has no arms, but her conditions in the jail were no worse than anyone else's. Indeed, she is a strong woman who has learned to do with her feet most of what others do with their hands, and she lives an independent life.

She had no doubt that the garda decision was made because they were embarrassed to be locking up someone without arms. She refused to accept station bail. Heather Celmalis, the lawyer, asked when the prisoners would be brought before a judge or a peace commissioner, but the gardaí told her that they had no information about that. It was at about this time that Ronald Reagan left Ballyporeen and flew to Aras an Uachtarain in the Phoenix Park.

There were four solicitors working for the women at various times : Isabel ni Chuireain, Mairead Quigley, Breda Allen and Heather Celmalis, and they set about gathering statements from the prisoners for use in preparing a request for Habeas Corpus . A couple of the women in the Bridewell had been locked up briefly before, after a peace demonstration in front of the Soviet Embassy, but most of them had no experience of this kind of thing and emotions ran high - you were either high as a kite or in the depths of depression, you laughed or you cried. The cells were filthy, with about five or six women in each one, which were meant for two, or three prisoners at most. The toilets were blocked in some of the cells and could only be flushed from outside, so they were left unflushed. All the women were wearing clothes that had been soaked through in the rain. (MORE LATER).



The bulk of Provisional supporters, especially in the rural, border areas, are traditional Republicans. Small farmers or country town merchants ; what one Belfast radical calls 'Fianna Failers with guns'. Their support, which is reflected in the vote for the 30 or so Sinn Fein councillors, is vital for the war effort. They provide the training camps, the dumps and safe houses. Many of them stayed with the Provisionals precisely because they thought the Officials were too leftist or Marxist. Much the same can be said for the older veterans of the movement ; the men of the 'forties', and 'fifties', many of whom sit on the IRA Executive, the body that acts as the repository of Republican faith and which in 'war time', appoints the Army Council.

One such man, a Northerner in fact, who has spent 13 years in prison or internment camps, summed it up like this : "I don't like this word 'socialism'. I wish they could find another word for it". Others like Billy McKee, a former Chief of Staff and Belfast Brigade Commander, have dropped out altogether. When he last came to Belfast in May 1979 to speak to a welcome home rally for released blanket-man Ciaran Nugent, he was reportedly horrified at the number of foreign left wing posters and pamphlets in the offices of Republican News, the voice of the Northern left.

Another group whose dollars at least are vital to the Provos are the Irish-Americans and, notably, Irish Northern Aid, headed by veteran Republican and devout Catholic, Michael Flannery. Even in the early days, the Irish-Americans were a standing joke with Belfast Provos. It was common then for visiting Republican speakers from Ireland to be taken by Flannery for a new outfit of sober suit, tie and shiny shoes, before being let loose on the Irish-American faithful. Speakers were instructed by Flannery never to refer to socialism and one such tourist can recall discovering unopened bundles of Republican News, lying dumped in dustbins outside Nor-Aid's Bronx headquarters. The Northerners were always too radical for the Irish-Americans. (MORE LATER).


Seán Hogan (pictured, left), who was practically still in his teenage years when he was appointed as one of those in command of the 'Third Tipperary Brigade' of the IRA, a leadership group which became known by the British as 'The Big Four' - Dan Breen, Seán Treacy, Seamus Robinson and Seán Hogan.

Seán Hogan was born in Tipperary in 1901 and, at just 18 years of age, he took part in the Soloheadbeg ambush on the 21st of January in 1919, in which two Crown force personnel (James McDonnell and Patrick O'Connell) were killed as they drew their weapons. The British went all out to capture or execute those responsible and, on the 12th of May 1919, Seán Hogan was taken prisoner at a friends house, the Meagher's, at Annfield, in Tipperary, and taken to Thurles RIC barracks to be held overnight, and then transported to Cork. The following morning Seán Hogan was taken by a four-man armed British military escort to Knocklong train station and the five men got on board a train ; Hogan, who was handcuffed, was put sitting between RIC Sergeant Wallace and Constable Enright, both of whom were armed with revolvers, and Constables Ring and Reilly, carrying shotguns, sat opposite the three men.

Seán Hogan (right), thought to be about 20 years young when this photograph was taken.

An IRA unit, led by Seán Treacy, Dan Breen, Seamus Robinson and Eamonn O'Brien, and including Ned Foley, Seán Lynch, John Joe O'Brien, Ned O'Brien and Jim Scanlon (all from the East Limerick Brigade IRA) located the compartment where Seán Hogan was being held against his will and Seán Treacy and Eamonn O'Brien drew their revolvers and walked through the train to the compartment ; on entering same, they loudly instructed all present to put their hands up and called for Seán Hogan to make his way to them. RIC Constable Enright placed his revolver against Hogan's neck, using him as a shield, but was shot dead as he did so, as both Treacy and O'Brien had fired at him (Eamonn O'Brien was to say later that they would not have shot Enright had he not attempted to attack Hogan) and Hogan, still handcuffed, took that opportunity to land a two-handed punch to the face of Constable Ring, who was sitting opposite him. Seán Treacy and RIC Sergeant Wallace were trading punches, as were Eamonn O'Brien and Constable Reilly, when one of the IRA men managed to take Reilly's shotgun from him and smashed him over the head with it. He collapsed in a heap on the carriage floor. Constable Ring, meanwhile, found himself on the platform, having exited the carriage through a window, and withdrew from the area.

Seán Treacy and RIC man Wallace were still trying to get the better of each other, with Treacy telling Wallace to give it up as he was outnumbered and had lost his prisoner, but Wallace refused to do so. Both men were now grappling for Wallace's Webley revolver and Wallace managed to get enough control over it to fire a shot, which hit Seán Treacy in the neck - in that same instance, IRA man Eamonn O'Brien fired at Wallace, killing him instantly. Treacy survived, and was recorded later as saying "I thought I was a dead man. I had to hold my head up with both hands, but I knew I could walk."

Seán Hogan remained active in the struggle : he operated in Dublin, Kilkenny and Tipperary, was involved in the 'French Ambush' and was also heavily involved in raids on various RIC barracks and remained active until the Treaty of Surrender was being discussed, a 'compromise' which he was unable to support or condemn - he left the Republican Movement at that point and returned to Tipperary, to try and earn a living as a farmer. He couldn't, and moved to Dublin where he got married and fathered a child, but the times were tough, economically, and he and his family could only afford to live in a slum tenement building in North Great George's Street. He was suffering from depression at this stage and voiced disappointment that the Ireland he was living in was not that which he had fought for. He died, penniless, at 67 years of age, in 1968, and was buried in Tipperary town.

The news has spread through Ireland and spread from shore to shore

Of such a deed, no living man has ever heard before

From out a guarded carriage mid a panic stricken throng

Seán Hogan, he was rescued at the station of Knocklong

When a guard of four policemen had their prisoner minded well

As the fatal train sped o’er the rails, conveying him to his cell

The prisoner then could scarce foretell, of hearts both brave and strong

That were planning for his rescue at the station of Knocklong

The shades of eve were falling fast when the train at last drew in

It was halted for an hour or so by a few courageous men

They sprang into the carriage and it did not take them long

'Hands up or die' was the rebel cry at the station of Knocklong

King George’s pampered hirelings, they shrivelled up with fear

And thought of how they placed in cells, full many a Volunteer

Now face to face with armed men, to escape, how they did long

But two of them met with traitors deaths at the station of Knocklong

From Sologhead to Limerick, such deeds as these were never seen

And devil a tear was ever shed for Wallace of Roskeen

They did old England's dirty work and did that work too long

But the renegades were numbered up at the station of Knocklong

Now rise up Mother Erin and always be of cheer

You’ll never die while at your side there stand such Volunteers

From Dingle Bay to Garryowen, the cheers will echo long

Of the rescue of Seán Hogan at the station of Knocklong.
(From here.)


If we had more time, we would give a brief history and/or mention of all those Irish men and women for whom this month carries special significance, but such is the level of destruction wrought on this country by the British over an on-going period of more than 840 years, and the huge number of Irish 'dissidents' that tried to right those wrongs, we are unable to do so but, nonetheless, we will try to do those brave people justice by posting a 'flavour' of just one of them (penned by John Horan, RSF, a blog colleague) - James Connolly, executed by the British on the 12th May 1916 - as all shared the same objective : to remove the British military and political presence from Ireland.

James Connolly was born on June 5th, 1868, at 107, the Cowgate, Edinburgh. His parents, John and Mary Connolly, had emigrated to Edinburgh from County Monaghan in the 1850s. His father worked as a manure carter, removing dung from the streets at night, and his mother was a domestic servant who suffered from chronic bronchitis and was to die young from that ailment.

Anti-Irish feeling at the time was so bad that Irish people were forced to live in the slums of the Cowgate and the Grassmarket which became known as 'Little Ireland'. Overcrowding, poverty, disease, drunkenness and unemployment were rife - the only jobs available was selling second-hand clothes and working as a porter or a carter.

James Connolly went to St Patricks School in the Cowgate, as did his two older brothers, Thomas and John. At ten years of age, James left school and got a job with Edinburgh's 'Evening News' newspaper, where he worked as a 'devil', cleaning inky rollers and fetching beer and food for the adult workers. His brother Thomas also worked with the same newspaper. In 1882, aged 14, James Connolly joined the British Army in which he was to remain for nearly seven years, all of it in Ireland, where he witnessed first hand the terrible treatment of the Irish people at the hands of the British. The mistreatment of the Irish by the British and the landlords led to Connolly forming an intense hatred of the British Army.

While serving in Ireland, he met his future wife, a Protestant named Lillie Reynolds. They were engaged in 1888 and the following year Connolly discharged himself from the British Army and went back to Scotland. In 1890, he and Lillie Reynolds were wed in Perth and, in the Spring of that year, James and Lillie moved to Edinburgh and lived at 22 West Port, and joined his father and brother working as labourers and then as a manure carter with Edinburgh Corporation, on a strictly temporary and casual basis.

He became active in socialist and trade union circles and became secretary of the 'Scottish Socialist Federation', almost by mistake. At the time his brother John was secretary; however, after John spoke at a rally in favour of the eight-hour day he was fired from his job with the corporation, so while he looked for work, James took over as secretary. During this time, Connolly became involved with the Independent Labour Party which Kerr Hardie formed in 1893.

Cobbler's Shop.

In late 1894, Connolly lost his job with the corporation. He opened a cobblers shop in February 1895 at number 73 Bucclevch Street, a business venture which was not successful. At the invitation of the Scottish socialist, John Leslie, he came to Dublin in May 1896 as paid organiser of the 'Dublin Socialist Society' for £1 a week. James and Lillie Connolly and their three daughters, Nora, Mona and Aideen set sail for Dublin in 1896, where he founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party in May of 1896. In 1898, Connolly had to return to Scotland on a lecture and fund-raising tour. Before he left Ireland, he had founded 'The Workers' Republic' newspaper, the first Irish socialist paper, from his house at number 54 Pimlico, where he lived with his wife and three daughters. Six other families, a total of 30 people, also lived in number 54 Pimlico, at the same time!

In 1902, he went on a five month lecture tour of the USA and, on returning to Dublin, he found the ISRP existed in name only. He returned to Edinburgh where he worked for the Scottish District of the Social Democratic federation. He then chaired the inaugural meeting of the Socialist Labour Party in 1903 but, when his party failed to make any headway, Connolly became disillusioned and in September 1903, he emigrated to the USA and did not return until July 1910. In the US, he founded the Irish Socialist Federation in New York, and another newspaper, 'The Harp'.

In 1910, he returned to Ireland and in June of the following year he became Belfast organiser for James Larkin's Irish Transport and General Workers Union. In 1913 he co-founded the Labour Party and in 1914 he organised, with James Larkin, opposition to the Employers Federation in the Great Lock-Out of workers that August. Larkin travelled to the USA for a lecture tour in late 1914 and James Connolly became the key figure in the Irish Labour movement.

Irish Citizen Army.

The previous year, 1913, had also seen Connolly co-found the Irish Citizen Army, at Liberty Hall, the headquarters of the ITGWU - this organisation, the ICA, was established to defend the rights of the working people. In October 1914, Connolly returned permanently to Dublin and revived the newspaper 'The Workers' Republic' that December following the suppression of his other newspaper, 'The Irish Worker'. In 'The Workers' Republic' newspaper, Connolly published articles on guerrilla warfare and continuously attacked the group known as The Irish Volunteers for their inactivity. This group refused to allow the Irish Citizen Army to have any in-put on its Provisional Committee and had no plans in motion for armed action.

The Irish Volunteers were by this time approximately 180,000 strong and were urged by their leadership to support England in the war against Germany. It should be noted that half of the Provisional Committee of the Irish Volunteers were John Redmond's people, who was the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. The Irish Volunteers split, with the majority siding with Redmond and becoming known as the National Volunteers - approximately 11,000 of the membership refused to join Redmond and his people.

However, in February 1915, 'The Workers' Republic' newspaper was suppressed by the Dublin Castle authorities. Even still, Connolly grew more militant. In January 1916, the Irish Republican Brotherhood had became alarmed by Connollys ICA manoeuvres in Dublin and at Connollys impatience at the apparent lack of preparations for a rising, and the IRB decided to take James Connolly into their confidence. During the following months, he took part in the preparation for a rising and was appointed Military Commander of the Republican Forces in Dublin, including his own Irish Citizen Army. He was in command of the Republican HQ at the GPO during Easter Week, and was severely wounded. He was arrested and court-martialed following the surrender. On May 9th, 1916, James Connolly was propped up in bed before a court-martial and sentenced to die by firing squad - he was at that time being held in the military hospital in Dublin Castle. In a leading article in the Irish Independent on May 10th William Martin Murphy, who had led the employers in the Great Lock-out of workers in 1913, urged the British Government to execute Connolly.

At dawn on May 12th 1916, James Connolly was taken by ambulance from Dublin Castle to Kilmainham Jail, carried on a stretcher into the prison yard, strapped into a chair in a corner of the yard and executed by firing-squad. Connolly's body, like that of the other 14 executed leaders, was taken to the British military cemetery adjoining Arbour Hill Prison and buried, without coffin, in a mass quicklime grave.

The fact that he was one of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation bears evidence of his influence. As a post script, and on a personal level, I will quote James Connolly's words to the Irish Citizen Army on 16th April, 1916 ;
"The odds are a thousand to one against us, but in the event of victory, hold onto your rifles, as those with whom we are fighting may stop before our goal is reached."

To those people whom Republican Sinn Féin would consider having "stopped before the goal is reached", I point out that the fact that James Connolly died on a chair should not be seen to infer that he wanted that chair placed at a table where a compromise would be the outcome.

James Connolly, 5th June 1868 - 12th May 1916. Executed by the British at 47 years of age.


"Because I believe these things I will always stick to them, but I do not want to force any other person to believe as I do. Let everyone be honest with himself and do what he thinks right. It is my duty to tell you what I believe should be done..." - Commandant Neil 'Plunkett' O'Boyle, pictured, left.

Commandant O'Boyle was born on a small farm at Leac Eineach , near Burtonport in County Donegal, in 1898. He grew tall and thin, and was known to keep himself to himself as a teenager, but livened up as he grew older, and continually expressed an interest in the political affairs of the times he was witnessing and had a great interest in the Irish language. But he was not one for trying to impose his own beliefs , whether to do with politics , history , or the Irish language, and was known by now as a Sinn Féiner, but couldn't take his interest to the level he would have liked, as he was helping to look after his father, who was in poor health : the man died in 1917, and 'Plunkett', now 19 years of age, needed a secure job to assist the family - he got a position as a guard with the 'Londonderry (sic) and Lough Swilly Railway Company' but was forced to leave that job when he was 21 due to continued harassment from the RIC, a British 'police force' in Ireland, which knew of his Sinn Féin beliefs.

He left Ireland for Scotland and got a job as a miner in the 'New Mains' Colliery, where he joined the IRA's 2nd Battalion Scottish Brigade, B Company. His IRA work included procuring weapons for Army use in Ireland and ensuring that same received safe passage home. At 22 years of age, he was caught by the Scottish police whilst organising a shipment of arms and was sentenced to five years hard labour in Peterhead Prison and was known to have been singled-out for particularly rough treatment by the prison authorities, including long periods of solitary confinement.

The 'Treaty of Surrender' was signed in late 1921 and 'Plunkett' was one of many who qualified for early release under its terms and conditions (even though he was opposed to that Treaty) and, in 1922, at 24 years of age, he was released and he returned home to Donegal, but was arrested a few months later and placed in detention in Dungloe and then moved to Drumboe. Finally, he was put 'on hold' in Finner Camp until arrangements were made to move him to Dublin. From the moment he was first arrested he was determined to escape : he had intended to jump from the Free Staters lorry that was transporting him to Drumboe but another prisoner beat him to it. In Finner Camp he had started a tunnel but this was discovered, so he and others planned to seize the tug boat on which they were to be taken to meet the ship that was due to transport them to Dublin. When this didn't work, they then planned (unsuccessfully) to try and take control of the ship itself!

When 'Plunkett' and his comrades landed in Dublin, they were taken to Newbridge Barracks where they almost immediately began work on a tunnel, but this plan was soon improved on when one of the men got his hands on a Board of Works map which highlighted the sewerage system and the existing tunnel was then re-directed towards those pipes. They soon reached the buried pipes and in October that year (1922) approximately 160 IRA prisoners effected an escape through the sewerage system and came out the other end in the Kildare section of the River Liffey, from where Neil 'Plunkett' O'Boyle got to Dublin and was placed in command of the Dublin No. 2 Brigade IRA, 3rd Battalion, and was stationed in the Wicklow area : it was now November 1922 and, for the next six months, his IRA unit operated and lived rough in a mountainous area between Tallaght and Glenmalure.

The Ceasefire Order of April 1923 was adhered to by 'Plunkett' and his men but they stayed in hiding, as did many IRA units, until the general situation became clearer - but the Free State Army still hunted them and, indeed, his unit was attacked by the Staters on 8th May 1923. Michelle Boyle, a relative of 'Plunkett', put the following account on the record at the time : " Around 5am Rosie Kelly was out with (----) when she seen Free State soldiers in the vicinity. She told the volunteers. They went into the woods and hid behind a wall. As soon as Free State soldiers came looking, Plunkett and the column opened fire. The Free State soldiers sheltered behind Kelly’s house. It wasn’t long until another band of Free State soldiers came from Moin a' Bhealaigh and they shot into the woods. They hit their own men but none were hurt seriously. Some volunteers were in Free State soldier’s clothes and managed to escape quickly across the hills. The Column was all very tired and was glad to rest that night. At around this time Plunkett was after getting a shipment of arms from Belfast. That night in Kylebeg they had 2 Thompson guns and 7 rifles. The soldiers had Lewis guns and rifles and there were about 80 soldiers. Plunkett was a good leader, he was hot-headed but you couldn't frighten him. He had a sharp mind, knew what time to attack and what time to retreat. And when they were escaping, Wicklow men could guide him to safe houses and over the hills..."

In mid-May 1923, 'Plunkett' and his men were in a safe house in Knocknadruce, County Wicklow when, in the early hours of the morning, they were surrounded by Free State forces under the command of a Belfast man, Felix Mc Corley. IRA man Tom Heavey, who was in the house at the time, explained what transpired : "Plunkett wanted the mother and daughter to be let out of the house. The Staters wouldn't hear of that and threatened to bomb them out. That was a favourite trick, throwing grenades through the window. This put Plunkett in a spot as he couldn't let the women be injured. So he said, 'Let me come out'. Out he came with his hands up and walked slowly towards a stone stile at the right hand corner of the house. When he got there he spoke a few words with this Free State Officer named McCorley, a Belfast man perched on a stone ditch above him. Suddenly McCorley raised his revolver and shot Plunkett in the eye, the bullet passing through his upraised hands. For good measure he shot him again through the head. He just shot him. I saw it all. It was cold blooded murder. The others in the house were rounded up and taken away..." (more here.)

The 92nd anniversary of the State execution of Neil 'Plunkett' O'Boyle will be marked in Knocknadruce, County Wicklow, on Sunday 17th May 2015 at 3pm : those attending are asked to assemble in Hollywood at 2.30pm. All genuine republicans welcome!


The SIPTU trade union is rightly up in (verbal) arms over the threat by Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann to introduce privatisation into, for now, parts of their networks and have organised work stoppages (with more of same to come) in opposition to that move : 'Bus drivers across the country (sic) will engage in four days of strike action during May to defend the public transport service and decent jobs from the threat of privatisation. SIPTU drivers in Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann will conduct 24-hour work stoppages on Friday, 1st May, Saturday, 2nd May, Friday, 15th May and Saturday, 16th May. The decision to engage in strike action by over 1,500 drivers follows a refusal by the management of both companies to meet with workers to discuss their major concerns over plans to privatise 10% of bus routes during 2016. Announcing the major escalation of the SIPTU members campaign to defend the public transport system, SIPTU Construction and Utilities Division Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: "The privatisation plan being promoted by the 'National (sic) Transport Authority' is driven by ideological concerns rather than a focus on improving services. Privatisation of these routes will be a bad deal for the citizen and tax payer, the travelling public and indeed the workers who provide these services...." (from here.)

All good so far - a trade union expressing concern over the privatisation of a public utility, warning that it would be a bad move for the workers, the public and the quality of the service on offer, and recognising that to privatise a service (that, in this case, was built using taxpayers money) is not in the best interest of those that service purports to serve. So how come this same trade union is working hand-in-glove with those attempting to privatise a different public service/utility and, in a further deluded twist, actually supports and defends the scab employees of the soon-to-be new owners of that previously public-owned service?

The answer to that question is straight forward enough - that trade union organisation, like the State it supports and encourages, has no moral consistency and will run with the hare and hunt with the hound when it suits it to do so, and will do so shamelessly. The answer to the overall question of such corruption is here.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015



Like political activists everywhere, I know the wisdom of 'keeping your friends close and your enemies closer', by which I mean it makes more sense to subscribe to a newsletter etc from your opposition rather than one from your own side. That's a practice I have long adhered to and it has paid dividends in the past and I've no doubt it will do so in the future. And, to a certain extent, it has done so now.

I have already announced my intention to vote 'No' in the up-coming 'Gay Marriage' State referendum and, as is my wont on occasions like this, I had already subscribed to the mailing lists of 'Vote Yes' campaigners and those I considered to be such (...and most of whom certainly view 'No' voters as less than human) , one of which is the 'Uplift' grouping, one of the "...newest multi-issue campaign organisations...a community of people who share progressive values, and believe in people powered action. UPLIFT is completely independent and believes that all decision makers should be held accountable..." This grouping claims to be "...completely independent and not aligned to any political or corporate interests.." , states that it "...does not represent any single issue or group in society.." (from here - see 'How is Uplift different from other civil society organisations?') , says that it "...will welcome and encourage progressive policy and will criticise bad policy.." (from here - see 'Our relationship with political parties and politicians?') , meaning that, as far as this 'independent' group are concerned, a 'Yes for gay marriage' vote would be "progressive" but a 'No' vote would be "bad", although, at the time of writing, they give the impression, on their website, that they are 'neutral' on this issue, as a search result brings up a 'no results found' page.

A group email they sent out on May 1st last (entitled 'Are you sure you're registered to vote?') also, in my opinion, brings their 'independence' into question :

"The Marriage Equality Referendum vote is far from certain. There has been a shift in support away from those saying they will vote Yes, towards those saying that they are unsure how they will vote. But we can help tip the vote the right way. The first really important thing we need to do is make sure we’re all registered to vote. Every year the Register of Electors is updated and over the past few weeks there have been lots of reports of people being surprised to find they are no longer registered. Are you and your friends registered to vote? Have you checked? There is still time to check, but we need to be quick! You have until next Tuesday 5th May to be included in the Supplementary Register.

Follow this link to find out if you are registered or not: https://www.checktheregister.ie/

Although support for a Yes vote is still strong, this shift is not good news. So, your vote is precious. It’s your right as a citizen and it will really, really count in the Marriage Equality Referendum. There are nearly 10,000 of us in the Uplift community. If we all made sure that we, and our loved ones are registered by next Tuesday, we could actually be the difference in securing a Yes vote on May 22nd. So many referendums have been won and lost on a handful of votes!

Here is the link again to check if you’re registered to vote: https://www.checktheregister.ie/

Thanks for being involved,

Siobhán and the team."

This 'Uplift' group states that it is "...completely independent and not aligned to any political or corporate interests.." yet is concerned about "...a shift in support away from those saying they will vote Yes...but we can help tip the vote the right way...we could actually be the difference in securing a Yes vote on May 22nd..."

That's being "completely independent" , Irish style!

Incidentally, 'Uplift' states that they have "...received support from the Community Foundation of Ireland, Global Green Grants Foundation (and) Atlantic Philanthropies...." : the first and last-mentioned of those organisations are, amongst other activities, 'supporters of gay rights' whilst the middle group ('GGGF') has apparently not yet updated its books in relation to all of the groups it seemingly supports. And talking about 'updating books', it is apparent that there is at least one book that 'Update' would want to update (!) itself on - the dictionary.

Finally, their understanding of geography is on a par with their understanding of what being "completely independent (yet wanting to tip the vote the right way)" means - in their 'faq' section, under the heading 'How do I become a member of Uplift?', they declare themselves to be "...a community of people taking coordinated action for progressive change in Ireland...membership is open to anyone living on the island of Ireland and Irish people living abroad. Until there is an established membership base in Northern Ireland (sic) , Uplift does not initially plan to pro-actively campaign on this part of the island....". So it seems that that "part of the island (ie our six north-eastern counties)" is not part of "...the island of Ireland.." ?

Not a very 'uplifting' point of view from such a "progressive" group!


Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.


Heather Celmalis, the solicitor, tried to find out from the gardaí the reason for the arrest of her clients - the gardaí confirmed that all the women had been arrested but couldn't and wouldn't give any further information. The mysterious 'edict' from the Garda Commissioner could not be shown or quoted, so Celmalis left the garda station to consult with barrister Ruth-Anne FitzGerald about getting a decree of habeas corpus and when she returned to the garda station at about 1pm she was told that her clients were now being formally charged.

The women were taken out of the cells and had the charge read to them : it said that on being ordered by the gardaí "in accordance with the provisions of Section 9 (3) of the Phoenix Park Act (1925) to leave the Phoenix Park you did fail to leave the said park. Contrary to Section 7 (5) Phoenix Park Act 1925". That particular Section of that Act says that anyone failing to leave the park when ordered to do so by a garda, if that person has breached any other section of the Act or any bye-law, has committed an offence. The section of the Act breached by the women, according to the charge, was Section 9 (3), which says that anyone breaching a regulation made by the Garda Commissioner is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of £5.

But neither the women or their lawyers knew what regulation of the Commissioner's they had allegedly broken : 'Section 9 of the Phoenix Park Act' empowers the Commissioner to make regulations "for the routes to be observed by motor cars, carriages, carts, and other vehicles, and by horses and persons in the Park either generally or on special occasions, and may also give directions to the members of the Garda Síochána for the preserving of order in the Park, the observance of regulations made by the said Commissioner under this section, and the observance of bye-laws". The precise legalities could wait until later. (MORE LATER).




"The most successful radicalisation of the Republican Movement since the Republican Congress, and it didn't cause a split" - that's how Sinn Féin Vice President, Gerry Adams, the man most identified with that radicalisation, now describes the recent political changes in Sinn Féin. The move to the left hasn't, it's true, caused a split in the Provisionals, but it has come very close to it. There is undoubtedly a division within the Provo ranks ; the organisation can be said now to be roughly divided between North and South, old and young, traditional and revolutionary, but essentially between right and left.

The impetus for the move leftwards has come from a small group of Northern and especially Belfast radicals, whose influence far outweighs their strength. One Belfast leftist puts their numbers at no more than 30 or 40, but it is almost entirely because the present 7 man IRA army Council is like-minded, and are the men responsible for the military re-vitalisation of the IRA, that the leftists have exerted as much influence. Realistically, the Provisionals have yet to move much further to the left before the radicals can say that they have successfully turned it into a socialist organisation.

More so than most political organisations, the Provisionals consist of a delicate balance of differing interest groups - move them one way and the balance is upset. Most political organisations can withstand those sort of stresses and strains, but less so an organisation that is also fighting a 'war of national liberation'. The leftists have been able to tip the balance so far and only a little at a time. (MORE LATER).


6th May, 1882 - the scene of the executions in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, of two top British officials, 'Lord' Frederick Cavendish, and his under secretary, Thomas Henry Burke.

On the 6th May, 1882, the 'Invincibles' held a meeting in Mulbeths Public House, 12 Lower Bridge Street, Dublin, to discuss the arrival of the new British Chief Secretary, 'Lord' Frederick Cavendish. The route that Cavendish was to travel on his way to the Vice-Regal Lodge in the Phoenix Park was known to those at the meeting, all of whom were armed with knives - pistol-shots would only alert British patrols in the area - and two carriages were organised ; one driven by James 'Skin-the-Goat' Fitzharris and the other by Invincible member Michael Kavanagh. James Carey led the men out of Mulbeths Bar and into the two carriages, which then headed for the Phoenix Park. The new British Chief Secretary, 'Lord' Frederick Cavendish and his 'Permanent Undersecretary' Thomas Henry Burke, were waylaid by the Invincibles in Dublin's Phoenix Park and assassinated.

The killings were condemned by both the Irish establishment and the churches, but months went by and no arrests were made. Then, in one day, twenty-six men (all members of the 'Invincibles') were arrested and charged with the 'Phoenix Park murders'. The men soon realised that this was no 'desperate face-saving' expedition by the British ; one of the top members of the 'Invincibles', James Carey, had turned informer and his brother, Peter, also told the British all he knew about the group. The other jarvey (cab-driver) Michael Kavanagh, also agreed to inform on the 'Invincibles'. Between May and December 1883, fourteen 'Invincibles' passed through Green Street Courthouse - eight received life sentences and six were put to death. One of those sentenced to life was James 'Skin-the-Goat' Fitzharris, who was arrested on the evidence given by the other driver, Michael Kavanagh.

When he was first arrested, the British offered Fitzharris a deal if he, too, would turn informer, but he refused. His 'trial' actually ended with him being acquitted by the jury but the judge then halted proceedings and ordered that he be re-arrested ; he was then charged with being an 'accomplice' in the deed, found guilty, and sentenced to life. During both of his 'trials', 'Skin-the-Goat' made a mockery of the proceedings and refused to recognise the so-called 'authority' of the British to carry-out such functions in Ireland. James 'Skin-the-Goat' Fitzharris was fifty years of age when he began his life sentence - he was sixty-five when he got out of (Portlaoise) Prison, and things had changed ; his comrades were either dead or had moved away and, to the eternal shame of the Republican Movement, it turned its back on the man.

He had no job and no-where to live, he knew no-one and no-one wanted to know him. His choice now was to live on the street or sign himself into the workhouse - he chose the latter, and survived for the next twelve years as a pauper - between the gutter and the workhouse. He died in 1910 (on 7th September) aged seventy-seven. He was jobless, homeless and friendless when he died, alone, in the South Dublin Union Workhouse in James Street, Dublin. James 'Skin-the-Goat' Fitzharris was twenty-five years young when he joined the Movement in 1858 and stayed true to his Republican principles for fifty-two years, until he died. He had a hard life, in hard times, but he came through it and never recanted his actions or his beliefs. And, to his credit, he was working for a noble cause, unlike the two British agents/officials he encountered in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, 133 years ago on this date.


We have posted before about the fact that the trade union organisation, SIPTU, has allowed anti-worker scab employees from the 'Irish Water' company to join its ranks and, for a weekly fee, is attempting to secure/improve better working conditions for those workers -

"Meanwhile, the trade union SIPTU , the leadership of which is linked to and supports the State Labour Party (which fully endorses the double tax on water) has issued what could at best (ie being generous to them) only be described as a watery/fence-sitting statement in relation to this double tax in which, amongst other sickening half-way-house utterances, they suggest that other ways be found to "implement the water charges" and practically ask people to cooperate with the scabs that are attempting to build the infrastructure (meters, pipe work etc) via which this double tax will be enforced, which is not surprising, as those scab workers are apparently represented by SIPTU in their dealings with 'IW' management re their terms and conditions..." (from here) .

Now, as you can see from the above-pictured SIPTU letter (enlarged version here, transcript below) , dated 30th April 2015, the employer ('Irish Water') that hired those scab workers for that scab job is turning on them and treating them as all scabs should be treated - with contempt :

'30th April 2015

Update to SIPTU Water Service members

Dear Colleagues,

Further to yesterdays LRC conciliation hearing regarding the IW leak detection and fixing programme, it appears at this stage that IW will settle for nothing less than the wholesale introduction of contractors operating across the country
(sic) to carry out what is regarded as core work of our members.

Such a development would represent a major breach of our agreements, as well as a calculated step towards the privatisation of the provision of water services in this country
(sic) , despite all of the assurances given to the contrary.

On foot of this serious and developing situation, preparations will now commence to conduct a series of consultative meetings with members to appraise them of the situation.

Members should also be advised that in the event that there is any unilateral attempt to introduce contractors to carry out work normally done by our members, then we will proceed to ballot our members for industrial/strike action.

In this regard, all members should now be advised of the developing situation.

Yours Sincerely,

Brendan O' Brien,

Sector Organiser.'

This is one strike that I would like to see happen, just so that I could pass the picket, repeatedly, and with pleasure, even if I had to go out of my way to do so, as those people are basically scabbing a living off the backs of workers and the unemployed. SIPTU should wash its hands of those scabs and then issue a general apology for having had anything to do with them in the first place.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015



A 'Gay Marriage' referendum is being held in this State on Friday, May 22nd 2015 and, as expected in any such 'contest' - either here or in any other State and/or country - not all the 'players' are as they would seem to be, at first glance. On Wednesday, 6th May next, we will be commenting on this blog about one such grouping which describes itself as completely independent and not representing any particular issue or any other organisation but which, in a 'Vote Yes' email sent to a select few, has, to the fullest extent, destroyed any pretence it had in claiming to be 'independent of any particular issue'.

I could be lighthearted here and say that the script for the above-mentioned 'Outed' post has been cleared for publication by our legal reps but I won't ! Suffice to say that such referendum manoeuvrings are par for the course and will not surprise any observer of any political scene, but that does not mean that they should happen without comment.

Check back with us here on Wednesday, 6th May 2015, and read why it is that the 'issue-free' organisation in question is not in any position to claim 'I am what I am'.....!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Sunday, May 03, 2015



On Saturday 2nd May 2015, at the GPO in Dublin, RSF held a rally to commemorate the 22 Irish republican hunger-strikers that died for their political beliefs between 1917 and 1981. The event was Chaired by Josephine Hayden (pictured, left) and a representative from Na Fianna Éireann and the RSF International Bureau also addressed the gathering.

'Republican Rally' - GPO, Dublin, 2nd May 2015.

Alan Byrne, NFE, speaking at the Rally in Dublin, 2-5-15 : he gave a history of the Sands family and outlined how and why Bobby Sands was 'arrested' by the British and the conditions he endured in prison.

Republican Sinn Féin International Relations Bureau spokesperson Dieter Blumenfeld at the GPO, Dublin, 2-5-15, who highlighted the conditions experienced today by Irish republican prisoners incarcerated by the British and Free State regimes.

The organisers had intended to hold the commemoration on the traffic isle facing the GPO but the non-stop torrential rain which, at times - in between very heavy showers, that is - was almost of a biblical nature, forced their hand into 'setting up shop' as best they could under the canopy of the GPO. The small stage unit, the speakers lectern and the heavy-duty outdoor electrical PA system had to be 'returned to base' as it was deemed unsafe to use same in that weather.

Despite the bad weather and the fact that the streets were practically empty (due to a bus strike) the organisers managed to distribute 1,000 leaflets (in 'packs' of various sizes) during their two-hour rally.

Placards showing all twenty-two hunger-strikers were carried by some, while others carried placards with individual photographs of some of the hunger-strikers.

One of the '22 Men' placards on view at the republican rally.

Two of the 'individual' placards carried on the day.

A young lad proudly displaying a placard of Raymond McCreesh, one of the 22 men.

Alan Byrne, Na Fianna Éireann, at the GPO rally.

The weather was bad, the crowds were sparse, but the atmosphere at the rally was solid and the reason for the event was genuine and properly reflected in the manner in which it was done. Those that made it their business to attend are to be congratulated as are the organisers. A full report and more pics will be carried in the May 2015 issue of 'Saoirse', which goes to print on Wednesday 13th of that month.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015




The above will be confirmed in Dublin city centre on Saturday 2nd May 2015 at 2pm in O'Connell Street. Hope to see you there!


Last month, 28 women who protested peacefully in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, against US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland received £1000 each arising from their action for wrongful arrest. Gene Kerrigan recalls the weekend when another State determined Irish security requirements and details the garda action which could cost tens of thousands of pounds. From 'Magill' magazine, May 1987.

Mary Duffy, Elaine Bradley and Anne Barr were preparing to gather up belongings. There were about eight cars parked in the vicinity belonging to friends, husbands and relations of the arrested women and the men were helping with the packing. The three women were told by gardaí that under 'Section 9 of the Phoenix Park Act' the garda commissioner had signed an edict which made it illegal for "people like you" to be within a mile of the US Ambassador's residence.

The gardaí now said that walking, camping, sitting or loitering in that part of the Phoenix Park was illegal, and the women remarked that there were a number of joggers running past : was it illegal to jog? Why didn't the gardaí annoy those people? The gardaí said that jogging was not illegal, and the women then began to jog. And they were arrested as they jogged, with the gardaí jogging along behind them. This time the women refused to walk to the vans and had to be carried. It was these three women - Mary Duffy, Elaine Bradley and Anne Barr - that solicitor Heather Celmalis saw being taken into the Bridewell - one of them , Mary Duffy, was being dragged by the ankles.

The gardaí apparently had some trouble trying to lift Mary Duffy, as she is a thalidomide victim and has no arms. There were now 33 women detained in the Bridewell, and one in Cabra. Mary Duffy was put in a cell alone, and the other women were upset by her isolation and complained about it. Mary herself wasn't too upset, she was glad of the rest, and sang a few songs, pleased to find that the empty cell gave a terrific echo. She didn't know then that she was going to be in the Bridewell for over thirty hours. (MORE LATER).



But it is Charlie Haughey's tough police and legal moves against IRA operations in the Border counties which has done more to impair the IRA in the last year than the RUC and British Army combined in the last three. Cross border co-operation between the Garda and the RUC at Regional Commander and ground level combined with meticulous Task Force searches of Border farms, have seriously disrupted IRA logistics and produced a number of significant arms and explosives dumps. Those tactics are described by one IRA leader as 'devastating' and things could get worse for the Provos if Haughey's attempt to activate the dormant 'Criminal Law Jurisdiction Bill' for cross-border offences succeeds.

At the same time there are indications that the IRA could be conserving its resources for the 'long war' ; to hit when and where it hurts. "We could bomb all around us for three months and cause millions of commercial damage, but we'd lose 40 or 50 men and maybe kill 9 or 10 civilians in the process. What would be the point of that?", asks one Northern IRA leader.

Despite temporary or long term setbacks, the IRA remains essentially a product of an abnormal society in the North, what Tim Pat Coogan calls a 'faecal society'. The IRA is not the problem in the North, it is only a reflection of the problem. And as long as the problem remains unsolved, the IRA and its bloody campaign will persist. In that context, it's worth quoting General Glover's conclusion to his 1978 assessment of the IRA: "The Provisional's campaign of violence is likely to continue, while the British remain in Northern Ireland (sic) ". (MORE LATER).


...and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, the members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the commandants of the various districts in the City and county will order their commands to lay down arms..."

The above document, signed by Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and Thomas MacDonagh , signalled the end of six days of fighting between approximately 20,000 British troops (including, in their ranks, Irish men) and a volunteer rebel force of about 1,500 Irish men and women (and other nationalities) . At about 3.45pm on Saturday, 29th April 1916, the Rising was brought to an end - Pádraig Pearse surrendered to British Brigadier-General Lowe, James Connolly surrendered on behalf of the 'Irish Citizens Army' and Ned Daly surrendered to British Major De Courcy Wheeler ; it is not mentioned as often as it should be, but before the surrender of Ned Daly and his forces, all of whom fought bravely in the North King Street area of Dublin, the British Officer who was in command of that particular engagement, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Taylor of the South Staffordshire Regiment, had lost 11 of his men with a further 28 having being wounded. Following the surrender of Daly and the Dublin 1st Battalion, Taylor - who was to claim later that he was acting under orders from his superior, Brigadier-General William Henry Muir Lowe - ordered his men, who were enraged over having lost so many of their number, to 'flush out' any remaining enemy forces. Taylor's troops began breaking into local houses and, before their bloodlust was satisfied, they shot and/or bayoneted 15 boys and men to death, all of whom were 'rebel fighters', according to the British.

Approximately 590 people died during the six days of the 1916 Rising, of which 374 were civilians (including 38 children, aged 16 or younger) , 116 British soldiers, 77 Irish rebel soldiers and 23 members of the British 'police force' which operated in Ireland at that time. The objective has not yet being obtained, as not one of those rebel fighters took up arms to 'achieve' a so-called 'Free State' : the aim then, as now, is to secure a Free Ireland.


British Labour Party MP, Stephen Pound [right, in pic] might very well consider himself to be 'in touch' with his Westminster-sponsored 'Irish brief', but in this instance he has stumbled across an historical scenario in which no 'crime' was committed.

Despite the fact that he should have known better if, that is, his cv is anything to judge by - 'Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland' and former member of the 'Northern Ireland (sic) Affairs Select Committee', and the fact that he has listed 'Ireland' as one of his "main political interests" - British Labour Party MP Stephen Pound apparently sees nothing wrong in inferring that the 1916 Rising was 'a crime against the British Empire'. How else to explain his announced intention to seek a "Royal Pardon" for those executed by the British military for their part in same, considering that such a 'Pardon' is '...an official order given by a king or queen to stop the punishment of a person accused of a crime..' ? In a statement in relation to Pound's propaganda, the 'National Graves Association' said -

'British Labour Party M.P Steve Pound has announced his intention to ask the next British Government to consider recommending a "Royal Pardon" for the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. While I am sure that Mr. Pound is well intentioned his proposal present problems on a number of levels. The whole point of the Easter Rising was that Irish Republican Forces rejected the jurisdiction of the British Crown in Ireland.

That’s precisely what they were fighting against and what they died for. Any “Royal Pardon” now would therefore be both meaningless and an insult to the memory of the executed leaders. Secondly, those who reject the Sovereign objectives (i.e. an Independent Ireland) of the Easter Rising may think that the executed leaders have something to be pardoned for. The rest of us most certainly do not. The British Offence that the executed Men were convicted of was "Waging War against his majesty the King". For Ireland to accept this British Offence as a crime in Ireland would be to criminalise all those who fought for Irish Freedom throughout the centuries.

Should Britain now wish to apologise to Ireland for executing such a noble body of people as the 1916 leaders, well and good. But, a "Royal Pardon" would be just a modern British Government adding insult to the injury of a previous one.

Is Mise

Sean Whelan, Chairman

National Graves Association

P.O Box 7105

Dublin 2

A solid reply, which needs no explanation to anyone who genuinely understands what Stephen Pound and his colleagues would consider to be 'the Irish question'. Also, the 'NGA' graciously omitted any reference to Mr. Pound's past indiscretions , even though they did 'shoot from the hip', so to speak (...as opposed to speaking from "a well filled hipflask..."). I presume Stephen would understand my highlighting the above - in for a penny, in for a Pound and all that....


On Saturday 25th April 2015, members and supporters of Republican Sinn Féin in Clondalkin, Dublin, took part in a double-water-tax protest outside the County Council offices in Clondalkin Village. The protest assembled at that location at 7.30pm and, after a few words from members of the 'Clondalkin Meter Watch' organisation (after which an RSF member addressed the gathering), a crowd of about one-hundred people marched through the village and then re-assembled outside the council offices. Bill's from the 'Irish Water' group were then burned on site, as were representations of same and other such paperwork from that group, following which the crowd re-assembled and marched through the village again.

Dozens of these RSF leaflet packs were distributed at this protest, and were very well received.

The six-foot 'bill' on display on the doors of the County Council Offices, Clondalkin, Dublin.

Paperwork from the 'Irish Water' group being properly dealt with at the 25th April Clondalkin protest!

All those who attended this protest are to be congratulated for doing so, and all present confirmed (loudly!) that they will be taking part in the double-water-tax protest in Dublin city centre on 'Mayday', Friday 1st May 2015 : those attending are requested to assemble at the Garden of Remembrance from where the protest will be leaving at 6.30pm. And I'll be there, too, with other RSF supporters and members, hoping to 'burn bill' again!


On Friday, 22nd May 2015, those of us in this State who are entitled to vote will be asked to do so in relation to two issues : the introduction of same-sex marriage and lowering the age of those who wish to run as a candidate for the position as Free State president.

I intend to vote 'No' on the same-sex marriage State referendum because, in a nutshell, it's a bridge too far for me, morally, and I won't pretend to be neutral or a 'Yes' voter and/or supporter in an attempt to try and present myself as what some would see as being 'progressive' on the issue, as it's not a subject matter which I want to see 'progressed' in that particular direction. This society is fast losing and/or has lost its value system and its sense of honour, decency, respect and responsibility, replacing same with a carefree 'if-it's-good-enough-for-the-British/Europeans/Americans-then-it's-the-path-to-follow' type of attitude which will, in time, culturally destroy any remnants of 'neighbourliness' that have not already been destroyed. I have no religious or financial reasons which would encourage me to vote 'No', just a moral reason, and that's all I need. A 'Yes' vote would, I believe, add to the already-rampant societal apathy that allows a laissez faire attitude to thrive.

The second issue to be decided is to do with lowering the age of those who wish to contest for the position as Free State president - as it stands now, a candidate for that (unnecessary) 'job' must be 35 years of age or older and the question posed is should that be lowered to allow those over 21 years of age to run for the position. I will be purposely spoiling my vote on the day by writing a message (!)on the ballot paper as I don't believe such a position is necessary regardless of the age of the person who fills that role. And I would hope that all Irish republicans would do the same.


Like all other internet users, I receive spam emails on a fairly regular basis and have filters set-up to stop it from getting into my 'Inbox' but, even so - such is the sheer volume of them - a few get through now and again. Between my 'Trash' and 'Inbox' collection this past week alone I have been contacted regarding my electric usage (statement/bill included!), have received notification from the 'British Tobacco Mega Jackpot United Kingdom' re a small fortune that they are holding for me, been told that the World Bank/IMF wishes to reimburse me, that the Office of the President, Rue De Bureau Presidentielle of the FBI wish to compensate me to the tune of US$650,000.00 which, thankfully, is a sum of money which I will have , apparently, just in time to pay for the international drivers license and the university diplomas that I owe for. And, on top of that win, I also won a fortune in the 'Afro Asian Sweepstake Lottery'....

Anyway, after sorting through the above chaff, I discovered a sliver of wheat, from my new friend Fabian, from Lagos (the formatting is his, not mine!) -





PHONE: +234 8189850958


Am FABIAN CHUKWUthe new, director cash processing unit, united bank for Africa [UBA the only bank appointed by the O.AU. Members lead by President John Kuffor.

Because of the frauds going on in West Africa countries where some innocent beneficiaries were asked to pay in advance before receiving their money owed to them. The above Africa union held meeting in Nigeria and resolve to pay all beneficiaries in cash through means of diplomatic courier service. We receive your files from international monetary fund (I.M.F.) as one of the beneficiaries.

Take note; three thousand united state dollars (us$3,000) have been mapped out for all expenses in taxes and other documents that matters. Therefore,

I want you to bear it in mind that your total fund will be no more five million

($5,000.000,00) but four million and nine hundred and ninety seven thousand united state dollars ($4,997,000.00).

If anybody tells you that he is paying you in bank draft or telegraphic money transfer both western union and money gram, do not listen to him or her because due to this frauds no international bank honors our remittance instruction any more that is why we settled to pay in cash through courier

We also received a security report that you paid the fraudsters who have been deceiving you, telling you that they are going to send this money to you. Dear as a senior banker, controlling this cash payment now, I advise you not to waste your money by paying any body in advance again, and if you just follow my instruction, you will receive your money in three days time.

Your fund will now be packaged in box and take to the diplomatic courier service for immediate shipment, I will also send the picture of the box by attachment to you to see how the money is packed, and I will send you more mails to give you more information for you to know the genuineness of this transaction.

Therefore, do forward your home address and direct phone number to me for quick delivery because time is not in our side. All the documents will be sent to you if I am assured that you have stopped sending money to those fraudsters.

Am waiting to hear from you with the required information of yours.


Director cash processing unit

united bank for Africa. (U. B.A).Email: fabianchukwu@aol.com

I'm thinking that the above must be genuine, as Fabian knows that I have already been contacted by the IMF in regards to a reimbursement they owe me and he couldn't possibly know that unless he really is the 'director of the cash processing unit' of a large financial organisation. So I'm going to send him all my details, ask him to marry me and hope that I can move in with him to look after his sick dog and/or aged parents. 'Cause that's how stupid I am.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.