" A wealth of information..."

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015



Between the years 1917 and 1981 , twenty-two Irish men died on hunger-strike in our on-going fight for Irish freedom :

Thomas Ashe, Kerry, 5 days, 25th September 1917(force fed by tube , died as a result).

Terence McSwiney, Cork, 74 days, 25th October 1920.

Michael Fitzgerald, Cork, 67 days, 17th October 1920.

Joseph Murphy, Cork, 76 days, 25th October 1920.

Joe Witty, Wexford, 2nd September 1923.

Dennis Barry, Cork, 34 days, 20th November 1923.

Andy O Sullivan, Cork, 40 days, 22nd November 1923.

Tony Darcy, Galway, 52 days, 16th April 1940.

Jack 'Sean' McNeela, Mayo, 55 days, 19th April 1940.

Sean McCaughey, Tyrone,22 days, 11th May 1946 (hunger and thirst strike).

Michael Gaughan, Mayo, 64 days, 3rd June 1974.

Frank Stagg, Mayo, 62 days, 12th February 1976.

Bobby Sands, Belfast, 66 days, 5th May 1981.

Frank Hughes, Bellaghy (Derry), 59 days, 12th May 1981.

Raymond McCreesh, South Armagh, 61 days, 21st May 1981.

Patsy O Hara, Derry, 61 days, 21st May 1981.

Joe McDonnell, Belfast, 61 days, 8th July 1981.

Martin Hurson, Tyrone, 46 days, 13th July 1981.

Kevin Lynch, Dungiven (Derry), 71 days, 1st August 1981.

Kieran Doherty, Belfast, 73 days, 2nd August 1981.

Tom McIlwee, Bellaghy (Derry), 62 days, 8th August 1981.

Micky Devine, Derry, 60 days, 20th August 1981.

The sectarian realities of ghetto life materialised early in Bobby's life when at the age of ten his family were forced to move home owing to loyalist intimidation even as early as 1962. Bobby recalled his mother speaking of the troubled times which occurred during her childhood; "Although I never really understood what internment was or who the 'Specials' were, I grew to regard them as symbols of evil..." , Bobby was later to say. Of this time Bobby himself later wrote: "I was only a working-class boy from a nationalist ghetto, but it is repression that creates the revolutionary spirit of freedom. I shall not settle until I achieve liberation of my country, until Ireland becomes a sovereign, independent socialist republic..." The fight for the same Cause that Bobby Sands died for in 1981 is on-going today, as six Irish counties remain under the jurisdictional control of Westminster, which enforces that control with military occupation. A commemoration will be held in Dublin in honour of Bobby Sands, the thirteenth republican to die on hunger-strike since 1917: those attending this commemoration are asked to assemble at 2pm on Saturday May 2nd, 2015, on the traffic isle facing the GPO in O'Connell Street, Dublin.


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.

At around 5am the number of women dwindled further, to about 40. They were waking up, moving to shelter under the trees, trying to keep themselves warm and amused. They staged a 'Miss Phoenix Park' contest, which was won by a woman wearing a black plastic rubbish sack and two odd wellies. They also played leap-frog and staged a sack race using survival bags.

The garda vans were assembled beside the US Ambassador's residence. It was now about 7am. The women began to walk in a circle as the garda vans moved in on them across the grass. More than one woman mentioned that it was like a movie scene as about eight garda vans and at least 100 gardaí surrounded them, van doors opening and gardaí spilling out of them. The circle broke and the women began walking towards the gardaí , but about ten of the women stood aside from all of this. As far as everyone knew this was just another eviction and it had been agreed beforehand that some of the women would stand aside and look after the belongings left under the trees.

As the gardaí and the women came closer the women broke into groups of about five, holding hands or linking arms, and singing. There was a garda in a light blue uniform saying something or trying to say something but he couldn't be clearly heard above the singing. A garda grabbed a woman and she slumped to the ground and lay there. There was no resistance to being arrested, just non-cooperation, bodies becoming deadweight. (MORE LATER).



While the IRA has, thanks to that sort of ingenuity and the re-organisation, made a considerable comeback since 1977, the organisation and its campaign of death and destruction has at the same time been limited effectively to three of its eight operational areas : Belfast, South Armagh and East Tyrone. Even so the level of activity in those areas has also declined.

In Belfast for instance there were 109 bombing attacks and 51 ambushes and gun attacks on the RUC, British Army or other British security force personnel during 1977. In 1978, that had declined to 101 bombings and 29 shootings and, in 1979, to only 39 bombing attacks and 20 gun attacks. This year seems to be keeping in line with that, at 13 bombings and II gun attacks.

In East Tyrone it has been much the same story- 22 bombing attacks in 1977 and 9 gun attacks. In 1978 there was a rise to 36 bombings and a fall to 7 gun attacks and in 1979 there was a drop to 18 bombings but a rise to 13 shootings, aimed at the British security forces. South Armagh IRA units on the other hand display all the characteristics of classic guerrilla fighters. Very few incidents occur in South Armagh, compared to areas like Belfast, but those that are carried out have been devastatingly effective. In 1977 there were only 5 bombings and 7 shootings directed at the security forces, a low level of activity that was caused by increased SAS activity in the area. (MORE LATER).


'Does the world even have heroes like Ireland's Thomas Francis Meagher anymore? After fighting for Irish independence ("I know of no country that has won its independence by accident") ,then condemned to death, pardoned and exiled, Thomas Francis Meagher escaped to America,where he became a leader of the Irish community and commanded the Irish Brigade during the Civil War. General Meagher’s men fought valiantly at some of the most famous battles of the Civil War,including Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After the war, Meagher served as Acting Governor of the Montana Territory. In 1867, Meagher disappeared on the Missouri River ;his body was never found...' (from the poster, pictured, left, sourced here.)

The defining day of the The Battle of Antietam/Battle of Sharpsburg was September 17th, 1862, which was the bloodiest day of not only the American Civil War but the bloodiest single day in all of American history. The battle took place between the town of Sharpsburg in Maryland and Antietam Creek, and it ended General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of a northern state, and was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Union soil. The combined tally of dead, wounded, and missing stands at 22,717 soldiers of which the Irish Brigade, under the command of Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher, who recruited soldiers from among Irish immigrants for the Union side, lost over 60% of its men in an area that came to be known as 'Bloody Lane'. We have previously mentioned Meagher's involvement in the Irish struggle on this blog (here and here , for instance) but, before he left these shores for America, he unveiled an Irish flag (which he had based on the French Tricolour) in his native city, Waterford, on the 7th March 1848, outside the Wolfe Tone Confederate Club.

On this date (15th April) in 1848 - 167 years ago - on Abbey Street, in Dublin, he presented the flag to Irish citizens on behalf of himself and the 'Young Ireland' movement, with the following words : "I trust that the old country will not refuse this symbol of a new life from one of her youngest children. I need not explain its meaning. The quick and passionate intellect of the generation now springing into arms will catch it at a glance. The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the 'orange' and the 'green' and I trust that beneath its folds, the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood..."

He was arrested by the British for his part in the 1848 Rising ,accused of 'high treason' and sentenced to death ('...to be hanged, drawn and disemboweled..') but, while he was awaiting execution in Richmond Jail, this was changed by 'Royal Command' to transportation for life and in July 1849, at only 26 years of age, he was transported from Dun Laoghaire on the S.S. Swift to Tasmania. Before he was deported, he spoke about the country and the flag he was leaving behind - "Daniel O'Connell preached a cause that we are bound to see out. He used to say 'I may not see what I have labored ,I am an old ,my arm is withered, no epitaph of victory may mark my ,but I see a young generation with redder blood in their veins, and they will do the work.' Therefore it is that I ambition to decorate these hills with the flag of my country...."

In Tasmania he was considered, and rightly so, to be a political prisoner (a 'Ticket of Leave' inmate) which meant he could build his own 'cell' on a designated piece of land that he could farm provided he donated an agreed number of hours each week for State use. In early 1852, Thomas Francis Meagher escaped and made his way to New Haven, in Connecticut, in America, and travelled from there to a hero's welcome in New York. This fine orator, newspaper writer, lawyer, revolutionary, Irish POW, soldier in the American civil war and acting Governor of Montana died on the 1st of July, 1867, at 44 years of age. Asked about his 'crimes', he replied - "Judged by the law of England, I know this 'crime' entails upon me the penalty of death ; but the history of Ireland explains that 'crime' and justifies it." And the reasons for such 'crimimal acts' still exist to this day.


On April 15th, 1840, Daniel O'Connell launched the 'Loyal National Repeal Association' (as it called itself from 1841 onwards - at its inception it was simply known as 'The Repeal Association' : O'Connell was back-tracking with the name-change, all but apologising to the British for asking them to 'tweak' the system a little more in favour of the Irish) but he made it clear that it was his desire that Ireland should remain under the British 'Monarchy' saying, if you like - '...stay if you want , just treat us better.' The only force to be used, he stated , was "moral force" ; but even this was too much of a demand for Westminster - 'Sir' Robert Peel (the British PM) replied that to 'grant' O'Connell his way "...would not merely mean the repeal of an Act of (British) Parliament, but dismemberment of a great Empire. Deprecating as I do all war but above all, civil war, yet there is no alternative which I do not think preferable to the dismemberment of Empire...."

A group within the 'Loyal National Repeal Association' supported Daniel O'Connell in his endeavours but were not convinced that "moral force" alone would win the day ; they were the 'Young Irelanders', and they viewed their leader "...with a mixture of affection and impatience..." In 1842, 'The Young Irelanders' established a newspaper called 'The Nation', in which they supported the objectives of the 'Repeal' Movement. The newspaper, under the control of 26 years-young Charles Gavan Duffy, supported Daniel O'Connell in his quest to publicise the 'Repeal' Movement, and helped to organise and promote outdoor meetings (known as 'Monster Meetings') at which the objectives of the 'Repeal' Movement could be advanced. The year 1843 was promoted as 'The Year of Repeal', and Daniel O'Connell took his message to the people ; in Mullingar, County Westmeath, for instance, he addressed a crowd of approximately 150,000 people. The British 'authorities' were watching these developments with interest and, while no doubt regarding the 'Loyal' Daniel O'Connell as no more than a 'rebel pet', were presumably more worried by the fact that the huge crowds he drew would be susceptible to the less 'loyal' message coming from 'The Young Irelanders'. After the Mullingar 'Monster Meeting ' , which was viewed as a tremendous success by the organisers, 'The Nation' newspaper helped to publicise another such meeting - this time in Mallow, County Cork : 400,000 people turned up - the British were uneasy.

A third 'Monster Meeting' was held in Lismore, County Waterford - again, a crowd estimated at 400,000 people attended. At each meeting, the 'Young Irelanders' were recruiting, having made their position clear in the pages of their newspaper, 'The Nation', in leaflets, and by word of mouth - ie 'we get back whatever we can by O'Connell's methods, but will not confine ourselves to those methods alone...' The British were perplexed at what to do regarding the 'Monster Meetings' - were they a 'safety valve' at which the 'agitators/rebels' could let off steam in a more-or-less harmless fashion, or were they a possible recruiting exercise at which the more militant element could 'plot and plan'? However, after the 15th August 1843 'Monster Meeting' in Tara, County Meath, the British decided to take action. The 'Young Irelanders' newspaper, 'The Nation', put the figure for those in attendance at the Hill of Tara 'Monster Meeting' at three-quarters of a million people "...without fear of exaggeration.." ; Daniel O'Connell himself claimed it was at least one-and-a-half million people, while another newspaper of the day ('The Times'?) reported - "The whole district was covered with men. The population within a days march began to arrive on foot shortly after daybreak and continued to arrive, on all sides and by every available approach, 'till noon. It was impossible from any one point to see the entire meeting. The number is supposed to have reached between 500,000 and 700,000 persons...." . Other reports stated that O'Connell's marshals were on horseback, that the crowds arrived on foot and in carriages, banners were present, as were bands and groups in "historic fancy dress". Indeed, archaeologists have found human bones on the site, some of which are said to be 4000 years old, and traces of wooden platforms, bits of clay pipes and, of course (!), whiskey bottles, dating back to the mid-19th century. On that day in Irish history, Daniel O'Connell addressed a sea of people -

"We are at Tara of the Kings - the spot from which emanated the social power, the legal authority, the right to dominion over the furthest extremes of the land....the strength and majority of the National Movement was never exhibited so imposingly as at this great meeting. The numbers exceed any that ever before congregated in Ireland in peace or war. It is a sight not grand alone but appalling - not exciting merely pride, but fear. Step by step, we are approaching the great goal of Repeal of the Union, but it is at length with the strides of a giant..." Again, it must be stressed that Daniel O'Connell would use only "moral force" to achieve what he termed 'repeal of the Union' and, even then, favoured the island of Ireland remaining as a unit governed by the British 'Monarchy' - a 'new' coat of varnish on rotten timber. O'Connell could 'talk the talk' but the British were fearful that he was encouraging others to 'walk the walk'.

The 'Monster Meetings' were a great success - despite all the "misfortunes" (as the British would have it) that the Irish people were suffering in their daily lives ; the desire, the demand, for a British withdrawal had not gone away. And, as stated here a few paragraphs back, after the Tara 'Monster Meeting' (15th August 1843) the British decided it just wasn't cricket : enough was enough. A 'Monster Meeting' planned for Clontarf, in Dublin, which was to take place on Sunday, 8th October, 1843, was banned by the British authorities on Saturday, 7th October 1843 - the day before the event was due to take place ; Daniel O'Connell and others in the leadership of 'The Loyal National Repeal Association' quickly lodged a complaint. Daniel O'Connell protested at the banning, as did his colleagues in the leadership of the 'Association' - they were later to be arrested by the British and sentenced to a year in prison for 'conspiracy', but this judgement was then reversed in the 'British House of Lords'. When, on that Saturday, the 7th of October 1843, O'Connell noticed that posters were being put-up in Dublin by the British 'authorities' stating that the following days meeting had been banned, he backed down ; in this scribblers opinion he should have 'stuck to his guns' and ignored the British 'writ' - he should have went ahead with the Clontarf 'Monster Meeting' therby 'putting it up' to the British but..."moral force only" won the day ; O'Connell issued his own poster that same day (ie Saturday 7th October 1843) as well as spreading the word through the 'grapevine' that the meeting was cancelled. That poster makes for interesting reading -


WHEREAS there has appeared, under the Signatures of "E.B. SUGDEN, C DONOUGHMORE, ELIOT F BLACKBURN, E. BLAKENEY, FRED SHAW, T.B.C. SMITH, a paper being, or purporting to be, a PROCLAMATION, drawn up in very loose and inaccurate terms, and manifestly misrepresenting known facts ; the objects of which appear to be, to prevent the PUBLIC MEETING, intended to be held TO-MORROW, the 8th instant, at CLONTARF, TO PETITION PARLIAMENT for the REPEAL of the baleful and destructive measure of the LEGISLATIVE UNION.

AND WHEREAS, such Proclamation has not appeared until LATE IN THE AFTERNOON OF THIS SATURDAY, THE 7th, so that it is utterly impossible that the knowledge of its existence could be communicated in the usual Official Channels, or by the Post, in time to have its contents known to the Persons intending to meet at CLONTARF, for the purpose of Petitioning , as aforesaid, whereby ill-disposed Persons may have an opportunity, under cover of said Proclamation, to provoke Breaches of the Peace, or to commit Violence on Persons intending to proceed peaceably and legally to the said Meeting . WE, therefore, the COMMITTEE of the LOYAL NATIONAL REPEAL ASSOCIATION, do most earnestly request and entreat, that all well-disposed persons will, IMMEDIATELY on receiving this intimation, repair to their own dwellings, and not place themselves in peril of any collision, or of receiving any ill-treatment whatsoever. And we do further inform all such persons, that without yielding in any thing to the unfounded allegations in said alleged Proclamation, we deem it prudent and wise, and above all things humane, to declare that said MEETING IS ABANDONED, AND IS NOT TO BE HELD.





RESOLVED - That the above Cautionary Notice be immediately transmitted by Express to the Very Reverend and Reverend Gentlemen who signed the Requisition for the CLONTARF MEETING, and to all adjacent Districts, SO AS TO PREVENT the influx of Persons coming to the intended Meeting.


Browne,Printer, 36 Nassau Street.

The British had put pressure on their 'rebel pet', O'Connell, to enforce their ban, and had ordered a number of gunboats and land-based artillery pieces to train their weapons on the Clontarf area. Daniel O'Connell was aware that thousands of people would already be on their way to the Clontarf meeting (some having left their homes on the Friday, or earlier, for the walk to Dublin) so he sent his marshals out from Dublin on horseback, urging the crowds to return home : it was that or challenge Westminster, but that wasn't an option, as far as he was concerned.

O'Connell and his 'Loyal Association' had painted themselves into a corner ; they fell into a trap of their own making. He had publicly and repeatedly vowed to work "within the law" (ie British 'law') which could have at any time been used, as it eventually was, to ban his agitation and he had vehemently ruled out the use of force in any circumstances in challenging the British. One of the results of the decision by Daniel O'Connell to cancel the Clontarf 'Monster Meeting' was that the public lost faith in him and in the 'Loyal National Repeal Association' ; when he realised that he had lost that support, he expressed the view that "repeal of the Union" could not be won. The 'Young Irelanders' denounced him and the manner in which he had directed the 'Repeal' campaign, and stated that his leadership had failed to address the threat "of the decay of Irish culture, language and custom" under British influence. One of the many who left O'Connell's side to lead the 'Young Ireland' Movement, John Mitchel, the son of a Northern Presbyterian Minister, called on the Irish people to strike back against the British - "England! All England, operating through her government : through all her organised and effectual public opinion, press, platform, parliament has done, is doing, and means to do grievous wrongs to Ireland. She must be punished - that punishment will , as I believe, come upon her by and through Ireland ; and so Ireland will be avenged..."

The 'Loyal National Repeal Association' managed to limp along for a further four years but when O'Connell died in 1847 it fell into disarray and dissolved itself in 1848 proving, not for the first time in our history, that 'moral force' alone , when dealing with a tyrant, will not win the day.


It would be ridiculous if either of the above were to be seriously proposed, and would be viewed as proof of the proposers mental and moral illness, and rightly so. There are many monuments etc throughout the world that locals and/or tourists might object to on grounds of character, setting, function etc and , with 'one man's terrorist being another man's freedom fighter', perhaps the best rule of thumb is to apply common sense to any such proposed memorial/monument ie don't do as our headline would suggest.

But common sense by the political establishment in this corrupt State has never been a strong point as they are so enamoured by foreign 'dignitaries' that whatever self-respect they may have had quickly evaporates in their rush to share center-stage with their hero (here and here, for example). And so it continues - 'The relatives of some of the British soldiers who fought and died during the Easter Rising in 1916 have called for a permanent memorial to their dead to be erected in Dublin...' - a ridiculous proposal, of course, but one which the weak-willed political establishment here would gladly take on board, to show how politically 'mature' they are and, if proceeded with, could also test their mettle with a brush and shovel.


I live in Clondalkin, Dublin, and I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to two of my near-neighbours, who just happen to live next door to each other in Clondalkin (well, practically - house number 55 keeps them apart!) : Pat and Brian.

This is Pat (Rabbitte) (pictured, left) , photographed for an interview he done with the local 'Clondalkin Echo' newspaper in April 2011 (for the truth about this State's oil and gas fields, click here) . He was State Minister for Energy and Natural Resources at the time. Pat believes that the State broadcaster, RTE, is deliberately attempting to portray the double-taxation entity that is 'Irish Water' in a bad light - 'In a speech in the private members debate on Irish Water, he said that if he did not know better, he would conclude that the "lopsided" coverage of the water issue derives from a decision of the RTÉ Board to strangle Irish Water at birth...' This from the man who once boasted that he had "led the successful campaign against the water charges..." Pat lives in number 56 Monastery Drive, in Clondalkin.

This is Pat's (near-)neighbour, Brian (McKeown), who was appointed to the Board of 'Irish Water' in November 2013. Brian used to work for Dublin County Council and then moved to Dublin City Council, both jobs in which he would have met a lot of politicians. He retired from the former in 2011, which no doubt allowed him more time for family and friends. And neighbours. He lives in number 54 Monastery Drive, in Clondalkin.

I hope both men like their new neighbours, even if they might not pay twice for the one service and, speaking of which, those of us who refuse to pay twice for a water service will be meeting-up this Saturday, the 18th of April 2015, at 2pm, at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square in Dublin city centre and we'll be marching down O'Connell Street to get to Leinster House, where we will hold a 'Bin the Bill' protest, at which bills from 'Irish Water' will be disposed of in wheelie bins. I'll be there, but I doubt if Pat or Brian will be!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015



....a 'rumble' between rival radio stations, would you believe? Well - would you?? When I posted our 'Welcomed-by-the-Queen' post on April 1st last, I had already decided to jump at the chance of becoming a 'radio star/shock jock' and pictured myself living quite a bohemian lifestyle, prancing around the gaff with an Orla Kiely-type hat and calling everyone "Darling!" .

But, even before we had debuted on 'Queen's Radio' (!) we found ourselves being headhunted by 'King's Radio'...

...but they want me to 'up my game' and take elocution lessons 'to loose the flat Dublin 'howya' accent' and suggested I read the following piece with raised eyebrows and breathing only through my nose. I told them I'd get back to them before the 1st April next....

HOW FRIGHTFULLY BORING....! (From 'The Sunday Times Magazine', 13th October 2013.)

The cat's name is 'Ruby', and it's a Burmese. Not at all easy to say whilst one's eyebrows are raised and one is breathing through one's nose.

HRH Princess Michael of Kent, 68, talks about her sleeping quarters at Kensington Palace, the inconvenience of selling her country pile, torturous gym sessions and a frog infestation...

"I have a tray brought to my bedroom at 9am. Breakfast is served on my Herend china and I sit in an old armchair so I can read the papers. I have zero-fat yoghurt with cinnamon, which is meant to be a fat-burner, and a pot of ginger tea made with grated ginger. This I have with lavender honey and one plain Ryvita. Life is a battle against the expanding waistline, so some mornings I just have a fresh juice made from five vegetables that my manicurist told me about. It’s frightfully good. The tray also has plates of food for Ruby, my Burmese, and Cally, my Siamese. One has chicken breast, the other has ham. They’re not yet two and they are little terrors, but such great fun. I got them after my last cat, Nell Gywn, died. We also have a labrador called Shadow.

After breakfast, the prince, who has his quarters next door, looks in. Mother, being very European, once said: "If you and your husband have separate bedrooms, you are fresher for one another. You won’t see each other being cross or saying, 'I can’t do this up. It's too tight!' " Every morning our secretaries give us our 'day sheets' to confirm any engagements we have and I will dress accordingly. If I'm travelling, I like things to be drip-dry; that way I can wash them in a bathtub. The prince says "She’s either catalogue or couture," but most of the time I'm too mean to buy new clothes. I think I have only walked down the high street once in my married life.

I have three desks: one in my bedroom; one in the study, where I write my letters; and one in an attic room, where I have a computer and write my books. I'm about to bring out volume one of a trilogy. It is my first attempt at historical novels and they’re inspired by European royals in the 15th century, including one who was murdered by her husband when he caught her in flagrante. He ran a sword through her 100 times. It's also my first go at dialogue. I got my children to read it but they’re mean. They say: "Mama, there’s no point. You write exactly how you speak." As well as tennis once a week at Queen's, a personal torturer comes about three times a week. I will do about an hour of exercise with her.

I always put on my earphones so I can listen to my Russian lessons. My husband speaks the language fluently and we visit Russia a lot. The problem is, when we go to a lunch or a dinner, everyone gabbles away in Russian while I sit there like a lemon. So I’m jolly well learning it. During the summer, we always go to see friends and family abroad, but just before we left this year we had a frog problem. They were coming in from our small pond in the garden. When I saw one in my bedroom, I thought: "Hello, what’s going on!" Next, they were all over the house. In the end they had to be caught and taken to a larger pond. It’s not that I don’t like frogs. I do. I even have a little cushion hung on my bedroom door saying: "How many frogs do I have to kiss before I get a prince?" My husband gave it to me. Of course I miss the big gardens we had at our country house, but it became very expensive to run. We couldn’t afford it. For the first time that terrible word came into my life when our private secretary said: "Ma’am, you have to downsize." It was the worst word I’d heard in ages!

I also had to face other changes in my life, including bad hip and knee joints, and a balance problem, following a virus I had 10 years ago. At least I see brilliantly. I had my eyes lasered by Dr Stevens at Moorfields. Now the whole family has had theirs done, too. If we’re at home in the evening, a simple meal is prepared for us - maybe a grill. When I was growing up in Austria, my mother used to say: "You must learn to cook!" And I’d say, "Mama, I will have a cook when I marry," and she’d reply: "You may not!" So I did learn to cook five dishes, including goulash, wiener schnitzel and tafelspitz. I’m also a dab hand at tinned salmon soufflé.

In the evening I often go back to my desk and carry on writing, often till very late. I don’t mind: I love the night. The prince will then come into say goodnight in his pyjamas, and he will often add: "Don’t be up too late, darling."
('1169...' Comment - OMG! Can you imagine the SHAME of having your private secretary/hired help/butler telling you that you have to downsize??!)


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.

Legal representatives Ruth-Anne FitzGerald and Heather Celmalis were still thinking in terms of obtaining an injunction to prevent the women being dumped in various parts of the city : FitzGerald rang the home of the then Attorney General, Peter Sutherland, but he was not there.He did ring back, however, sometime before 1am, and Ruth-Anne FitzGerald explained what was happening and asked Sutherland to find out from the Garda Commissioner what the terms of the new order or regulation were.

There are various procedures which must be followed when a new law is brought into force, procedures for the promulgation - or public stating - of the law. FitzGerald told Peter Sutherland that her clients would waive all that and accept a verbal promulgation of the regulation from him, over the phone, just so long as they learned the terms. He replied that there was nothing he could do, he had no function in the matter!

Back in the Phoenix Park it was raining, and had been since late in the evening. The number of women present at the protest had fluctuated , with some staying just a while to offer support. There had been something like over 100 present earlier that day but as the night wore on the numbers dwindled to about sixty. The rain was unceasing , heavy and depressing. The women spread plastic on the grass and settled down in sleeping bags and survival bags to try to get some sleep, but the rain gathered on the plastic and ran down into the depressions formed by the sleeping bodies. Some woke to find the ends of the sleeping bags full of water.

People dropped by with dry clothes. One man arrived with about forty cups of tea and packets of cigarettes, saying that he and his family were delighted with the protest. Meanwhile, US President Ronald Reagan was spending the night in Ashford Castle in Cong, County Mayo. (MORE LATER).



In 1978, radio bombs were tried out in various areas of the North, but only one member of the British 'security forces' was killed by one. In 1979, however, radio bombs accounted for no less than 29 of the 86 deaths meted out by the IRA, and this year they have killed 6 out of 30. The radio bomb was also used in two of the IRA's most traumatic deeds of the last 10 years ; the killing of 18 British soldiers at Warrenpoint and the assassination of 'Lord' Mountbatten and his boating party, in August 1979.

The development of the radio bomb, like the unsuccessful attempt to mortar Newry RUC station, also demonstrate another worrying factor for the RUC and the British Army. That is, the IRA's technical ingenuity. That has been amply demonstrated by the IRA's use of huge quantities of explosives, not only in radio bombs, but also in car bombs and landmines since 1978. Bombs of 1000 or 2000 Ibs are now quite common. In 1977 and 1978 the IRA was forced to experiment with new ways of producing explosives. Legislation in the South had outlawed the sale of fertiliser containing benzine, which together with sugar, went to produce the terrifying blockbuster car bombs of the early 1970's and they virtually disappeared as a result. In late 1978, however, the IRA devised a new method of producing home made explosives. The IRA discovered that if ordinary fertiliser was 'cooked' in water, the resulting crystals produced after the 'dirty' water had been skimmed off, made high quality explosive, when mixed with metal fillings, usually aluminium, and diesel or carbon.

The explosive produced is detonated by a pound or two of commercial explosives and can, as the radio bombs have proved, be enormously destructive. Its drawback is that it stinks to high heaven and is very unstable. As a result, it is usually only 'made to order', in two stills the British Army thinks the IRA has deep across the Border. (MORE LATER).


"Nothing that is morally wrong can be politically right" - William Ewart Gladstone (pictured, right), British Prime Minister for four terms : 1868 to 1874, 1880 to 1885, six months in 1886 and then from 1892 to 1894.

In 1880 in Ireland, the Land War was in full swing headed-up by, in the main, the 'New Departure' group (which was established on 20th April, 1879, at Irishtown, County Mayo, and was almost immediately condemned by the Catholic Church - many parish priests of the day were 'landlords' and stood to lose financially if this new group were to win its demand in relation to the 'Land Acts' position : the 'Three F's ' - Fixity of Tenure, Fair Rents and the rights of Free Sale) ,with Patrick Egan, Joseph Bigger, Charles Stewart Parnell and John Dillon in the leadership. Members and supporters of the campaign had been advised to pay no rent at all to their 'landlords', but the British fought back - their 'Land Courts' were fixing rents which most 'tenants' could just about afford - a divide and conquer tactic. British Chief Secretary William E.Forester hoped to divide the Irish further and ordered the arrest of the leadership of the 'New Departure' group and they were rounded-up. Their 'trial' began on 28th December 1880 but collapsed on 23rd January 1881, and they were released. Forester strongly objected to the release of the men and attempted to get the verdict overturned - when he failed in this endeavour, he resigned his position in disgust.

The then British Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone ("My mission is to pacify Ireland...") , had his nephew (by marriage) , a 'Lord' Frederick Cavendish, appointed as the new British Chief Secretary in Ireland ; Cavendish , in turn , appointed the soon-to-be-despised Thomas Henry Burke, (not this Thomas Burke) an Irishman (a 'Castle-Catholic') as his new Under-Secretary, both of whom were to be killed in the same operation by the Irish 'Invincibles' organisation. However, Gladstone persevered with attempting 'to solve the Irish problem' and four years later (ie in 1886) he presented, to the British 'House of Commons', a 'Home Rule' bill for Ireland which sought an Irish Parliament to be established in Dublin but with Westminster retaining control of matters to do with defence, foreign affairs, customs and excise, trade, postal services, currency and the appointment of law judges. The proposed 'Irish Parliament' would consist of one chamber which would house those elected by the people and those placed within by the Crown ('peer/nobleman'), and an 'Irish MP' would not be entitled to sit at Westminster.

Irish commentators were disappointed that 'Irish MP's' should be excluded from Westminster and also voiced caution in relation to the powers that Westminster retained re defence, foreign affairs etc and, at the same time, Gladstone's own colleagues in the 'British Liberal Party' felt that too much power was being given to Ireland - 93 of them actually voted against it, splitting the party and defeating the bill. A lesson should have been learned then - 129 years ago - that a limited form of 'granted' jurisdictional control and sovereignty from Westminster re Ireland is "morally wrong" and will not be accepted by Irish republicans as "politically right".




...but what happens if the person in the 'Irish Water' billing department is colour blind!?? Or if, having answered the question, you paint the door and/or the house and/or the gate a different colour? Or change the name of the house?

I seriously thought this was an April Fool joke, but it's not - before they will consider you to be a 'non-customer', the 'Irish Water' company requires the following information from you :

Colour of the property.

House name/number.

Colour of the door.

Details about neighbours’ properties (if any).

Colour of the gate.

Type of property.

Side of the road property is on.

Any directions from nearest town or landmark.

Contact number.

Seriously depressing state of incompetence on view here, from this crowd of gobshites - bad enough that we are expected to pay twice for this one service without that company exposing itself to all on-lookers as the cowboy operator it is. Like hundreds of thousands of others, I haven't 'registered' with that company and I have no intention of doing so, regardless of how incompetent or otherwise they are, on the basis that I will not pay twice for any one utility. They will not be seeing the colour of my money!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015



The two wreaths which were laid by RSF on Easter Monday (6th April) 2015 in Dublin city centre.

Due to the RTE fancy dress/carnival 'celebration' of 1915 (not as it was, in reality, as expected from that propaganda institution) the main RSF Easter Commemoration which is held in Dublin on Easter Monday , could not adhere to its decades-old route (from the Garden of Remembrance to the GPO in O'Connell Street) as, apart from the heavier-than-usual harassment from the State gardaí and the Special Branch, no road traffic was allowed onto O'Connell Street meaning that the RSF stage unit and lectern could not be transported to the site.

RSF stewards decided to just use the stage amplification system on its own at the assembly point, the Garden of Remembrance, and announcements were made stating that the commemoration was to proceed almost as planned ie that wreaths would now be laid and a few words delivered at the side of the GPO and also in Moore Street (pics re same here, here and here) and, at about 2.30pm, hundreds of people marched from the assembly point to commemorate the Irish men and women (and others) who challenged the British Empire re its hold on Ireland.

As it happened, the different route did not deter the organisers or their supporters from turning out in their hundreds on the day, at which a total of 2,000 leaflets were distributed and three hundred 1916 Proclamations were sold, as well as dozens of Easter Lily badges being distributed. Despite the efforts of the State(/Irish Water) 'police' and their supporters in RTE, republicans triumphed on Easter Monday 2015 in Dublin!

A full report and more pics of this commemoration will be published in the April 2015 issue of 'Saoirse', which goes to print on Wednesday, 15th April.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015


COMING SOON TO A TV SCREEN NEAR YOU....(if you're one of our many readers from America)!

I was going to mention this about six weeks ago when this blog was first contacted by QPTV in New York but, at that time, nothing concrete was agreed. Since then - many emails, five transatlantic phone calls and three actual meetings in Dublin later - I can confirm that a format, visual and speech, introduced and expanded on, on screen, by yours truly, once a week in an hour-long programme - has been agreed between ourselves here in '1169 Towers' and the Queens Public Television company!

Yes indeed, readers - we are taking this thing straight to television, from a TV studio here in Dublin, first, but if it works as well as we have been assured it will, then I'll be doing the programme, live, from New York, once a week, with the first such programme to be filmed here within the next week or so. Sandra and Ruth from QPTV ("...QPTV is committed to providing a forum for the open exchange of ideas and opinions free from censorship regardless of race, creed, religion, country of origin, gender or sexual orientation.....QPTV has become the destination for journalists visiting from abroad, especially from those countries that are in a struggle for liberation.....we are committed to assisting everyone to exercise their First Amendment right to free expression....we’ve also covered other hard hitting and controversial issues like building a mosque near Ground Zero, the disturbing reality of illegal gun violence, and the death penalty......virtually every culture, religion, political point of view or opinion can be found on our four channels. QPTV is democracy in action......") [hello again, girls!] told us that they have long been admirers of our efforts on this blog and (as confirmed by our stats) we have a large, constant readership in the New York area, as well as in other parts of that great city and in other cities in the USA as well. I recently filmed a promo piece with the station and that is currently being aired, and the feedback from it is "highly encouraging" , I have been told, with three NYC radio stations picking up on it - two of those radio stations emailed this blog and I done a twenty-minute ("very well received") interview with both of them, which prompted two NYC-based newspapers to follow-up on the story.

However : where exactly that leaves this blog - the 'printed' version as opposed to the up-coming 'sound and visual' version - will be decided in the next few days and we will definitely make an announcement here re same next Wednesday (8th April 2015) as the arrangements will have been finalised by then. As it's looking now, as I type this, we will be the first Irish republican blog to be broadcast from 'the Queen's TV', so to speak.....! (MORE LATER - ON WEDNESDAY 8TH APRIL 2015....).


On Easter Sunday next (5th April 2015) a commemoration will be held in Deansgrange Cemetery - those attending are requested to assemble at the gates at 12.45pm. On Easter Monday a commemoration will be held in Dublin city centre and those attending are requested to assemble at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square at 1.45pm, by which time representatives of Na Fianna Éireann will have laid a wreath (at 10.45am) in Phibsborough at the 'Irish Volunteer Monument' (near the Phibsborough Crossroads) where Fian Seán Healy was executed during the 1916 Rising. Also, a total of 1,500 republican leaflets will be assembled in 'packs' and distributed at the Dublin city centre commemoration on Easter Monday. Hope to see you at one, or another, or all three!


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 decorated the trees, sang and talked, and in the mid-afternoon there was a discussion about 'doing an action'. For two hours they sat in a circle and tried to reach a consensus on some of the proposals - that they walk in a circle in front of the gate of the US Ambassador's residence, or coat the palms of their hands with red paint and make red handprints, symbolic of the blood of the oppressed, on the white wall around the Ambassador's residence, as a counterpoint to the official ceremony in Galway. Some women disagreed with the proposals and the discussion ended with everyone free to do what they wished.

The women crossed to the front of the residence and some put red handprints on the wall, others walked in a circle, some stood and watched. The gardai moved in and began hauling the women away from the wall, carrying them back to the field ; some women just lay on the ground, others walked away. It was a minor incident, the gardai preventing 'graffiti' being put on the wall. But suddenly a car appeared, driving in among the protestors, and plainclothes gardai jumped out and arrested one of the women, pulled her into the car and drove off. That women was Petra Breathnach, a supporter of the 'Release Nicky Kelly Committee' (Kelly was to be released six weeks later) , and she was arrested under 'Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act' and taken into custody in Cabra garda station.

The position on that Saturday evening was that one woman had been lifted under the catch-all of 'Section 30' , the others had been told of some "edict" forbidding their presence in the park and their legal representatives had been unable to elicit any further information from the gardai at the scene. Barrister Ruth-Anne FitzGerald contacted Cabra garda station and spoke to Detective Inspector Conroy, who said that in the absence of the Superintendent he was in charge and he was satisfied there had been a breach of the Commissioner's new order. He was unable or unwilling to give the barrister any information about the content of this new order. (MORE LATER).



The last two years have seen the severing of an important link with the PLO ; the British Army says that the Towerstream cargo, at least in part, came via the PLO. Now Yasser Arafat says the link has been formally ended in return for Dublin and EEC recognition of his cause. Some mystery, however, surrounds the link with Libya's Colonel Gaddafi, which most people thought had ended with the deportation of the last remaining Provo contact man, in early 1975. Now there is speculation that the link might have been re-established. When the IRA's Director of Operations, Brian Keenan, was arrested in March last year and sent to Britain for trial on offences related to the 1974/75 bombing campaign there, he had on him a torn half of a Libyan dinar bill; a recognition signal that was used a lot during the 1972/75 liaison between Gaddafi and the IRA.

Another curious piece of the Libyan jigsaw has also recently come to light. In August last year a shady arms dealer, called Sadiq Baahri , who operated his arms business from a legitimate export agency in Athens, disappeared while flying in his private jet on a flight from Cairo to Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. Reliable Arab sources in London now say that Baahri had incurred Gaddafi's displeasure for refusing to arrange an IRA arms shipment. The rumour in Libya, say the sources, is that Libyan jet fighters forced his plane down at Benghazi, where he now languishes in jail.


In its campaign between 1977 and 1980, the Provisional IRA has demonstrated what for the RUC and British Army must be an irritating ability to switch tactics. Along the targets chosen for one to nine month campaigns have been businessmen, off duty UDR men, a sustained attack on the British Army and prison warders and the killing of prominent people like Lord Mountbatten. Bombing targets have switched from coordinated, six county wide attacks and smaller scale attacks on commercial premises, government buildings, hotels, banks and factories, to the blasting of town and village centres and methods of attack have also varied : blast incendiaries were introduced in 1977, until the holocaust of La Mon, when they were temporarily dropped. Car bombs have made a recent come back, but so far only in rural towns. Intruder detonated bombs and long delay fused bombs were introduced during that period but while these and other more well known devices like culvert bombs and land mines accounted for heavy British security forces' casualties, it was the introduction of the radio detonated bomb in 1978 but especially in 1979 that really re-imposed the IRA's threat. (MORE LATER).


'Loyalists and Protestants. Hit Eire and Lynch where they will feel it most. REFUSE Eire Money. BOYCOTT all her goods.To trade with Ulster’s enemies is Treachery. No Surrender.' - a 'UCDC' poster/leaflet from the early 1970's.

On the 1st April 1966, some of the pro-British minority in the six north-eastern counties of Ireland who deemed themselves to be 'loyal' to Westminster, led and supported by Ian Paisley, established two groups with the intention of preventing nationalists ("Catholics", as Paisley and his bigoted followers described them) from seeking, never mind obtaining, 'civil rights'. The so-called political front was named the 'Ulster (sic) Constitution Defence Committee'(UCDC) and it was guided by a body of 13 people, with Ian Paisley acting as its Chairperson (that 12-person leadership committee were known as Paisley's 'Twelve Apostles') and Hercules Mallon as its Secretary. Also, well known loyalist Noel Doherty, a printer by trade and one of many Orangemen who were members of the B-Specials, was a founding member of that group. The 'UCDC' was one of many Paisley-inspired groups which he established primarily to boost his own profile and secondary in an attempt to 'keep Catholics in their place' ie second-class citizens : on this occasion, he used the scare tactics of so-called 'political reforms' which the then 'Prime Minister of Northern Ireland' (sic) , Terence O'Neill, was allegedly considering (which loyalists were afraid would be of benefit to nationalists) and the then up-coming 50th Anniversary commemorations of the 1916 Rising.

Ironic : a 'UCDC' poster/leaflet promoting 'democratic rights'!

In order that the 'UCDC' should be able to enforce its 'recommendations', a paramilitary wing was established - the 'Ulster Protestant Volunteers' (UPV), a loyalist paramilitary grouping, which grew to be many thousands strong and armed itself courtesy of Noel Doherty's 'B Special' connections. The 'UPV', which 'unofficially' shared membership with the UVF, let it be known that it shared the objectives of its 'parent' group, the 'UCDC', and that it supported the Constitution of same - '...(We are) pledged by all lawful methods to uphold and maintain the Constitution of Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom as long as the United Kingdom maintains a Protestant Monarchy and maintains the terms of the Revolution Settlement...no one who has ever been a Roman Catholic is eligible for membership...only those who have been born Protestants are eligible for membership....no serving member of the RUC can join any UPV division...(we reserve the right) to use all means that may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy (and) take whatever steps we think fit (to maintain the present constitutional position...)'

This loyalist two-headed serpent was most active until the early 1970's, after which it started to fade as its members drifted into other loyalist groupings, both 'official' (B Specials, British Army, RUC, UDR) and 'unofficial' (UDA, UVF, UFF) but it served its purpose as its leader, Ian Paisley, gained a political platform which he would later use to obtain a political career for himself and his family, but the legacy of bigotry he maintained is still with us to this day, even though he himself is no longer here to fan those flames.


Michael Collins and his Free State Army colleagues, who borrowed military equipment from the British Army to use against those who stood by the Irish Tricolour.

Irony is lost on these shameless gombeens as they prepare to dress-up and parade from school to school to promote a flag they once fought against (excuse the terminology in this link, as it equates "the country" with "the State") : 'Every school in the country is to get an Irish flag in the run up to the 1916 centenary commemorations next year....a member of the Defence Forces will deliver a tricolour to the estimated 4,000 primary and post-primary schools in the State between now and the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising....'

The Free State Army and the political institution which financially, physically and morally supports it and all it stands for have long since more than just turned their back on that which the Irish Tricolour represents as they not only support but collude with the foreign institution and its military forces which continue to occupy, militarily and politically, six Irish counties. Indeed, one of their 'placed pets' in one of the British political houses in this country should be, by right, even more perplexed than his fellow ex-'rebel' colleagues at this 'flag parade' as he now supports the same Free State military which he and his colleagues once condemned as, at best, 'ineffectual'. 'Take it down from the mast...' indeed.


It seems to start off relatively harmless - perhaps as a means for someone to promote themselves as appearing to be a bit of a 'daft, unusual even, but sure if that's the worse they get up to...' -type, but can escalate into something way more serious. As far as is known (to the best of my knowledge, anyway!) 'Ash' Adams is still at 'the Druid stage' where he only wants to hug and cuddle them (....but, as anyone reading this that has an Irish Mammy will confirm, we all know what the Ma says about what a hug and cuddle could lead to...!)

And no doubt that's how it started out for Emma - harmless, doing it because she had heard that other people do it, so it probably only indicated to her that those others are 'in touch with nature' etc. So she tried it herself, as 'Ash' did, but.... "I love the feeling of skin-on-bark contact, which gives me a more pleasurable pain sensation, and the feel of his leaves against my skin makes me tingle....I look at other trees, but don't touch - I wouldn't cheat...I'd like to get married, but it would be a low-key ceremony with family..."(from here!)

But all is not lost for poor Emma - I've researched the young lady in question and can find no mention of whether she trampolines naked with a dog. Or with Tim. And no mention, either, of her wanting to marry the trampoline. I'll get my coat....!


Sinead O'Connor (left), in one of her many guises. Physical guises, that is...

And she's at it again : we recently wrote about Sinead's shenanigans with what she classed as Irish 'republicanism' - "...we need non-violent total civil disobedience. We have scaffolded and supported and continue to support a terrorist State which has never given a toss about children or women......we can't blame anyone but ourselves for this. We are cowards. Grateful for crumbs on tables and think we deserve nothing more. We are pathetic. An inexcusable disgrace to the courage of those who fought and died in 1916....ailing animals can have a compassionate death. People can't. What the fuck more evidence do you need? We are less than animals to the state and to the church who still run it.....I understand entirely why people would want to fight back. But I don't think it actually achieves anything. It doesn't bring back your lost people. I kind of like a peaceful life nowadays. I'd rather not get in trouble...frankly, I wish England had never left (sic) Ireland. I think we would be a lot better off...."

And, in direct contradiction to her 'wish', above, is this - "I thought about it for a while and realised that actually 1916 isn't finished.....what was promised in that proclamation hasn't happened....(we should) get off our butts and take our country..."

Confused? This should fully convince you that she's firmly 'out there' with Gerry, Emma and Tim : "...(I am) three-quarters heterosexual, one-quarter gay (and) in fact 99.999% vaginally oriented but have experienced the odd shall we say 'bark up the wrong tree' and immensely enjoyed it.....I recently read of a woman in America who married and regularly humps her truck. I don't yet own a truck but I'm beginning to understand her head space...." (from here.)

But, like Emma, there's hope for her yet. No mention of trampolines. Now, where did I put my coat....

Thanks for reading : see you here again on Wednesday, 8th April 2015, for more on our foolishly long-overdue 'Queen's Broadcast....' Sharon.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


It's only after taking us 13 years of blogging to get to this junction, but we will be arriving at a new destination shortly!

We will still be 'on screen', but.... (MORE LATER - ALL WILL BE REVEALED ON WEDNESDAY 1ST APRIL 2015....)

Thanks for reading:check back with us on Wednesday 1st.

Wednesday, March 25, 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.

Most of the women were from Dublin, some were from the North, a few from around the country. One was Italian, one American, one Scottish, and all of them had lived and worked in Dublin for some years. There were about three dozen women present. They were lifted into garda vans and driven out of the park and left outside the gates, where they regrouped and walked back into the park, being followed all the way by the gardai in cars and on motorbikes. A couple of hours later, at about 3am, the gardai again removed the women from the park, but this time they drove well away from the area, dumping the women in small groups in various parts of the city.

In the course of these 'evictions', the gardai made references to a "regulation" or "edict" signed by the Garda Commissioner which allowed the gardai to carry out the 'evictions'. The 'Women for Disarmament' group had already gone into the legalities of the garda action with solicitor Heather Celmalis, and they knew the law and were observing it - now the gardai were talking about some 'new law'. On Saturday morning the women sought through their legal representatives to find out what this "regulation/edict" was. Heather Celmalis retained Ruth-Anne FitzGerald BL , and the legal discussion revolved around whether it would be possible to obtain an injunction to prevent the gardai from evicting the women from the park. The women were back in the park at about noon on Saturday , 2nd June 1984.


In Galway, some of the country's leading academics were queuing up to honour Ronald Reagan with a doctorate of law. A few others were protesting with a parallel 'de-conferring' exercise. Word had gone around about the eviction of the women and in the afternoon their ranks were swollen to about 80. Media representatives visited the site and there were many visitors wishing the women well. Plainclothes gardai were seen taking the registration numbers of visitors' cars. (MORE LATER).



An incidental factor resulting from re-organisation is that now less money strays into private pockets, or so it is claimed. In the past it was not unknown, and there are IRA men in jail to prove it, for O/C's and Adjutants in some areas of Belfast to send their men out unknowing, on 'unauthorised' robberies for their own enrichment. Equally, it was not unknown for those volunteers themselves to take a cut.


Until 1978, the Provisional IRA had operated exclusively in Ireland and in Britain. But in that year there were bomb attacks at BAOR bases in Germany followed by more bombs the next year. In early 1979 the British ambassador to the Hague, Sir Richard Sykes, was shot dead and a Belgian bank official was also killed in mistake for the British ambassador to NATO.

This year, three British soldiers in Germany have been shot, one, a colonel, was killed by the same 9mm pistol used to kill Sykes. The bombings and shootings were the work of two separate IRA cells, who had travelled to the Continent in the guise of Irish building workers. Both have since returned to Ireland. Contrary to press speculation, the killings and bombings were not aided by the Baader-Leonhof gang, or other anarchist groupings, but a short term, and largely unsuccessful, attempt to arouse western European interest in the war in Ireland.

According to one British Army source, 'there are no operational links between the IRA and any of these groups'. By 'these groups', he meant not only the Baader-Meinhof group but also ETA, the Bretons and the Corsicans. The guns that come from those sources are few and far between. The IRA buys its weaponry in Europe and the Middle East from conventional black market sources who also supply training. (MORE LATER).


Three of those pictured above have long let it be known that they consider the 'Northern issue' to have been 'settled' in 1998 (if, indeed, not in 1921!) and it is no surprise that they should equate the 26-county State as 'the nation', in poster (as above) and other formats, but one of them - ironically, on the far right in that pic - Dessie Ellis, a PSF member who sits in Leinster House, professes (as does the party he is a member of) to be still involved in seeking political reunification for this country. Yet he comfortably poses with a poster which seeks to present a 26-county-wide protest as a 'national demonstration' and sits with his PSF colleagues (and other Free Staters) in a State institution which classes itself as 'the parliament of Ireland', yet declares that it exercises jurisdiction over 26 counties only.

It seems that Dessie was fighting all along for an 'improved' Free State , so comfortable is he in operating, politically, within the confines of the Leinster House parameters, whereas Irish republicans still strive for a socialist and democratic 32-county Ireland (in which citizens won't be instructed to pay twice for any one service, and threatened for not doing so) . And when that objective is achieved, posters advertising a proper 'national demonstration' can then be held high instead of, as in that picture, at half mast.


Two Black and Tans pose with their (uniformed) colleagues on an Irish street.

Ireland, 1920 : a report in the 'Daily News' newspaper in March 1920, which was penned by Erskine Childers, stated - "Take a typical night in Dublin. As the citizens go to bed, the barracks spring to life. Lorries, tanks and armoured search-light cars muster in fleets, lists of objectives are distributed and, when the midnight curfew order has emptied the streets - pitch dark streets - the weird cavalcades issue forth to the attack. A thunder of knocks ; no time to dress or the door will crash in. On opening, in charge the soldiers - literally charge - with fixed bayonets and in full war-kit..."

The 15th January 1920 municipal and urban elections not only saw an Irish Republican Lord Mayor elected in Cork - that same political office was also conferred on Michael O'Callaghan in Limerick and Tom Kelly in Dublin ; on 6th March, 1921, Michael O'Callaghan was shot dead in his house by the Black and Tans, in what became known as 'The Curfew Murders' - because, on that same night (6th March 1921) , the then serving Lord Mayor of Limerick, a Mr. George Clancy (and his wife) were also shot dead in their own house. Tom Kelly took the Free State side after the 1921 Treaty of Surrender, and died in April 1942. Westminster had hoped that, between the new voting system of proportional representation and their 'banning' of the Sinn Fein organisation, plus the introduction of martial law and the imprisonment and deportation of Irish Republican candidates, that Sinn Fein would do poorly at the 15th January 1920 Elections - but that was not how things turned out.

The Republican Administration had secured the allegiance of practically all the local councils since the elections (1918 and 1920) and the law courts, legal system and police force operated by the Irish Republican Administration had now virtually supplanted those of the British Crown and the IRA was also scoring notable successes in its guerrilla war against the British military. Westminster responded by recruiting mercenaries in England for use in Ireland ; the Black and Tans and The Auxiliaries, and the first batch of these British 'peace-keepers' landed in Ireland on the 25th March 1920. The 'Tan's' consisted of unemployed (and unemployable) ex-British servicemen and convicts, who were given guns and a 'uniform' of a Khaki outfit with a black RIC-type cap and belt, while the brutal and equally undisciplined actions of the other gang of rabble, the Auxiliaries, actually led to its Commanding Officer in Ireland, a Brigadier F. P. Crozier, resigning in protest at their conduct in this country! Both groups of these British thugs were in Ireland between 1920 and 1922 - more than seven-thousand Black and Tans and approximately one-thousand-five-hundred Auxiliaries, all of whom caused havoc in Ireland until the 18th of February 1922, when both outfits were disbanded and sent back home to the dole queue.


The temporary marker (pictured,left) erected at the site of the battle of the Little Bighorn, in 1876, where Irishman Myles Keogh died.

Myles Walter Keogh was born in Orchard, Leighlinbridge, Carlow, on this date (25th March) in 1840, to parents that were not on the breadline. He was one of 13 children, being the youngest of five boys and seven sisters. As a 'soldier of fortune', he fought with Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer (pictured, here - Keogh, in black, standing beside General George Custer) against the native American population and was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on the 25th June, 1876, in Montana, by those he sought to annihilate. He was known to be an excellent horseman and had an apparently deserved reputation as a brave soldier even if, in my opinion, he was fighting on the wrong side. However, he is regarded as a 'hero' by some (homage to the man, here, penned by an Irish 'comedian') while 'neutrals' might declare that 'one man's terrorist...' etc. The remains of Myles Keogh were disinterred from the Bighorn site in 1877 and he was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York.

Incidentally, the horse that Myles Keogh rode into battle on that fateful day, 'Comanche', was the only living survivor of the fight (other than the victorious native americans, obviously!) , having been found, barely alive, with bullet wounds and seven arrows in his body : four on the back of his shoulder, one on each of his back legs and one which pierced a hoof. The poor animal died on the 7th of November, 1891 - 15 years after 'Bighorn' - at Fort Riley, in Kansas, going into his 30th year in these pastures and is one of only two horses to be buried with full military honours. This horse was actually the subject of a 'HQ 7th US Calvary General Order' issued on the 10th of April, 1878 :

'(1.) The horse known as 'Comanche,' being the only living representative of the bloody tragedy of the Little Big Horn, June 25th, 1876, his kind treatment and comfort shall be a matter of special pride and solicitude on the part of every member of the Seventh Cavalry to the end that his life be preserved to the utmost limit. Wounded and scarred as he is, his very existence speaks in terms more eloquent than words, of the desperate struggle against overwhelming numbers of the hopeless conflict and the heroic manner in which all went down on that fatal day.

(2.) The commanding officer of Company I will see that a special and comfortable stable is fitted up for him, and he will not be ridden by any person whatsoever, under any circumstances, nor will he be put to any kind of work.

(3.) Hereafter, upon all occasions of ceremony of mounted regimental formation, 'Comanche,' saddled, bridled, and draped in mourning, and led by a mounted trooper of Company I, will be paraded with the regiment.

By command of Colonel Sturgis, E. A. Garlington, First Lieutenant and Adjutant, Seventh Cavalry.'

Shame that those people didn't show the same respect to their 'quarry'.


Michael Davitt (pictured, left), was born in Straide, Mayo, on the 25th of March, 1846.

Born into poverty at the time of An Gorta Mór, the second of five children, Michael was only four years of age when his family were evicted from their home over rent owed and his father, Martin, was left with no choice but to travel to England to look for a job. His wife, Sabina, and their five children were given temporary accommodation by the local priest in Straide. The family were eventually reunited, in England, where young Michael attended school for a few years. His family were struggling, financially, so he obtained work , aged 9, as a labourer (he told his boss he was 13 years old and got the job - working from 6am to 6pm, with a ninty-minute break and a wage of 2s.6d a week) but within weeks he had secured a 'better' job, operating a spinning machine but, at only 11 years of age, his right arm got entangled in the machinery and had to be amputated. There was no compensation offered, and no more work, either, for a one-armed machine operator, but he eventually managed to get a job helping the local postmaster. He was sixteen years young at that time, and was curious about his Irish roots and wanted to know more - he learned all he could about Irish history and joined the Fenian movement in England.

At 19 years of age he joined the IRB and about two years afterwards he became the organising secretary for northern England and Scotland for that organisation and, at 25 years of age, he was arrested in Paddington Station in London after the British had uncovered an IRB operation to import arms. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, on a 'hard labour' ticket, and served seven years in Dartmoor Prison in horrific conditions before being released in 1877, at the age of 31, on December 19th. Almost immediately, he took on the position as a member of the Supreme Council of the IRB and returned to Ireland in January 1878, to a hero's welcome. He founded the 'Irish Land League' in Dublin, in October 1879, with Charles Stewart Parnell as its President and Davitt himself acting as Secretary, with the intention of obtaining set entitlements for Irish tenant farmers who, at that time, effectively had no rights - '...to bring out a reduction of rack-rents; second, to facilitate the obtaining of the ownership of the soil by the occupiers. That the object of the League can be best attained by promoting organisation among the tenant-farmers; by defending those who may be threatened with eviction for refusing to pay unjust rents; by facilitating the working of the Bright clauses of the Irish Land Act during the winter; and by obtaining such reforms in the laws relating to land as will enable every tenant to become owner of his holding by paying a fair rent for a limited number of years...'

Under the slogan 'The Land for the People' , he toured America, being introduced in his activities there by John Devoy and, although he did not have official support from the Fenian leadership (some of whom were neutral towards him while others were suspicious and/or hostile of and to him) he obtained constant media attention and secured good support for the objectives of the Land League. Michael Davitt died at 60 years of age in Elphis Hospital in Dublin on the 30th of May 1906, from blood poisoning - he had a tooth extracted and contracted septicaemia from the operation. The British were represented at his funeral by the 'Lord Lieutenant of Ireland', an indication, no doubt, that they no longer viewed the man in the same light as they had when he was a young man. His body was taken to the Carmelite Friary in Clarendon Street, Dublin, then by train to Foxford in Mayo and he was buried in Straide Abbey, near where he was born.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.