" 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, August 24, 2016



..a wonderful piece of shit : rats carved out of bone, dodging the rattling subways and shaking themselves awake to scurry 'round confused people, who measure their tragedies against those of their neighbour. A city of immigrants in transition, enduring breakfast, lunch and dinner in a traffic jam, a people jam or a subway jam. And we can't fully let go of it. Beautiful chaos! (Apologises to Nicodemus Nicoludis.)

Five weeks isn't enough. As regular readers will know, this wasn't our first holiday in New York and it sure won't be our last. The five of us are breathless after it ; wrecked, shattered, exhausted, broke - unhinged, even, and not willing to settle back into our 'normal' routine. Indeed, not able to settle back into our normal routine, and not even prepared to try and do so. We never had an experience like it and we know we never will again. Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of those five weeks we were alive and in our element. It's the place where we are meant to be. That city suits us - the pace it moves at, the easy ability to blend in, the concrete atmosphere, the noise, the smells, the heat, the ignorance and arrogance of it, the callousness and cruelty we witnessed and, above all, the different ways which New Yorkers (and guests) coped and/or attempted to cope with those attributes : some fought back with kindness and generosity but others let it get to them and turned, temporarily, ignorant and arrogant. And maybe that's why they named it twice - despite 'all the scandal and the vice', the city and its people have a heart of gold.

One of the many homeless people we encountered in New York - collecting empty 'soda' cans and empty plastic water bottles from trash cans in the streets,for which one of the many recycling yards will pay six cents per unit. We witnessed, and talked to, more elderly than young people engaged in this endeavour.

We gave him a fiver, and told him if he has a similiar sign re Clinton, we'll give him another fiver!

We landed in JFK airport at about 2pm their time on Saturday 16th July 2016 and were loudly met by two of our friends, Shay and Emma (hugs and kisses all 'round!) and, when we eventually got to the arrivals lounge, Joel had arrived in a huge 'town car' and, after even more hugs and kisses (!), we loaded our bags into the car and our two-car convoy headed to the Bronx, where Pat, Frank and Sam had the beautiful apartment ready for us, and the kettle boiled! We were there for hours, chatting, then we put our stuff away and headed out for a walk around the neighbourhood, a by-now familiar territory.

The 3rd Avenue subway station in the Bronx - although Joel insisted we call him whenever we were ready to hit the town, we used the subways and busses to get there (wherever 'there' was!) and would usually give Joel a call to collect us, if he didn't mind. He never complained once, bless him, even though it would be very late (or very early in the morning!) and we would probably have been tired and emotional (!) by that stage...!

During our evening strolls in the Bronx we met loads of fellas and girls that had befriended us over the years and all of them had a story to tell about our previous visits (blush blush!) and arrangements were made for two weeks worth of sight-seeing. And, somehow, we managed to squeeze what must have been about six weeks worth of partying out of those two weeks in the Bronx, included in which were two roof-top parties and four occasions where we toasted the sun coming up over the NYC skyline. Unbelievable and breathtaking.

Five of us went out on one of many such strolls through whatever neighbourhood we happened to find ourselves in : I took the pic of my two friends as the three of us were out searching for the other two. Found them, about an hour later, in a shopping mall...!

Our third week (despite the protests of all our friends in the Bronx, who wanted us to stay in the area, offering us alternative accommodation!) found us in Queens, in a fantastic and spacious apartment, where we would have been waited on hand and foot by Kevin, Heno, Mel, Larry and the girls and our other friends in that great borough had we wanted - but we didn't stand still long enough for any of them to catch us, never mind to keep up with us, although we did have a big, kick-ass picnic in Kissena Park, at which about thirty of us sat for a few hours in the shade of old trees and had our fill of food and drink on a hot day and then quenched our thirst and relaxed again in the evening with a few beers (and ciders!) in The Courtyard Bar, in Sunnyside. Oh the simple pleasure of having nothing to do and all day to do it, especially when you're in New York!

We had the pleasure of moving between Harlem and Hell's Kitchen for our fourth week, with Liz and Susie, their fellas and our friends from previous visits all making sure we were comfortable, and we took full advantage of the brilliant sunshine in the many parks and basketball courts in those boroughs to rest in and recharge ourselves for the actual shopping and window shopping that we over-indulged in. It's days like those that you don't want to end - in the middle of a stampede of time-poor people yet able to move in any direction at your own pace. It's simple things like that that help you appreciate your surroundings. Our final week - for this year, anyway - was enjoyed in a scrumptious apartment in Brooklyn, from where we went dancing in Williamsburg and scoffed ice-cream cones in Coney Island, and had great craic altogether for a few hours with a group of men, in their late 60's and early 70's who, as we found out afterwards, were retired 'wiseguys' and "would be best avoided" ; no doubt in their youth that would be the case but, at all times while they were with us, they were gentlemen to a tee and treated the five of us with the utmost respect and courtesy, and insisted on walking us back to the subway station that evening and staying with us until Joel arrived to collect us at midnight.

'Wiseguys' stay out of hot water at Coney Island!

Which, when you think of it, is emphatic for New York life itself - very capable of doing you harm if approached in the wrong manner but the best company to share time with otherwise! And a special mention here for Joel who, as always, looked after us like we were family, and for whom no job was too big or too small, too early or too late. As you can imagine, collecting five 'merry' Irish women at, for instance, 4am, requires a certain 'understanding' on any man's part!

Anyway : we're home now, with our new shoes and handbags and all our other new and bargain-priced acquisitions and all our new reminders, memories and pics of the most unreal experience we have ever had in each others company in all the years we've known each other. And we want to do it all again. We will!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

(We'll be back to normal blog business soon but, for now, my head is not quite ready for it and my heart is still apple shaped...)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016



We touch down in JFK on Saturday, 16th July 2016, at about 2pm local time - myself and the four girlfriends and as much baggage as we're allowed : this is a five-week holiday (YES! 5 WEEKS!! ) so there won't be any crazy spending sprees (although we will squeeze in one trip each to Jersey Gardens and Woodbury Common. Maybe two..!) nor, indeed, would there be a five-week holiday at all only for the fact that our friends, colleagues and comrades in that great city have, once again, offered the five of us the full use of empty apartments they own in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Hell's Kitchen, no charge (but we'll take them out to An Béal Bocht for lunch!), and we have also been gifted the use of a town car and our usual (!) driver, Joel, for the five weeks!

Our first two weeks will be happily spent in the Bronx, courtesy of Shay and his girlfriend, Emma, where we'll be 'minded' by Pat, Frank and Sam and it is in that lovely borough that the five of us have been invited to two roof-top parties, both of which, naturally, we'll attend! Our previous stays in the Bronx were absolute magic - the people we were with and the dozens upon dozens of locals that we spent our days with, the venues they took us to, the contrasting atmospheres we shared with them, the trips to local parks and pubs (hello all in the Celtic House, MacDwyers and Séan Mulligans!!), the Bronx Zoo and the Bronx Mall, to name just a very small number of the attractions in that borough which, along with Union Square in Manhattan, are two of the best and must-see locations in that great city.

For our third week, we're booked in to our usual lovely apartment in Queens, where Kev, Heno, Mel, Larry and the girls will spoil us rotten before unleashing us to wreak havoc on the neighbourhood - in the nicest possible way, of course! - then to Harlem (East 101/Lex!) for our fourth week, which is a fantastic place - much like the Bronx - in that the people that live there are real down-to-earth, with no airs or graces, and we have always got on famously with all the Harlemites that it has been our pleasure to share company with - they, like their Bronxite 'cousins', seem to share an affinity with us Irish, in that they have much the same sense of humour and outlook on life. A 'home from home' for us, if you like but, as in any city or town - in any country - 'home' sometimes just has to be anywhere that's warm and relatively safe and, in instances like that, a ten-minute chat to a person less fortunate than yourself can be as welcome to all involved as the cash or food you give them. And we enjoy those occasions : there but for the grace of God.

Our fourth week will see us graciously ensconced in a three-bed duplex apartment among our new and old friends in Hell's Kitchen (hello again, Liz and Susie, and all those we agree with in singing 'To Hell with Clinton Hill'!!) - we are looking forward, again, to our tours of the taverns and speakeasies and basketball courts and local parks and sight-seeing on the Hudson River docks and so much else - too much, indeed, to cover in just one week. But we'll certainly give it a good shot, and you lot know what to expect this time!

Our fifth and last week will be enjoyed in Brooklyn, which means meeting up again with our dance buddies in Williamsburg (and its lovely bridge) and our surfer dude friends in Coney Island - I could show you some pics from our last outings there but you'd have to prove that you're over 21 first. And even then, they'd be heavily censored! That's enough now (and for ever!) about 'last week' holiday stuff - we don't want to know. The five of us are gonna let rip, again, on this holiday and we're really looking forward to every hour of it, which we will gladly spend in the best of company in that amazing city. We'll be back home on the 20th August next and should be capable of putting a blog post together within days. I said "should be..." !

(*A.S.A.C.R.O - 'As Soon As Cash Runs Out'!)

Thanks for the visit - and have a nice day, y'all...!


Wednesday, July 06, 2016



Near the end of 1975, the then British Secretary of State for 'Northern Ireland' (sic), Merlyn Rees, announced that as of from March 1976, those found guilty of " terrorist offences" would be treated as "criminals" ; Irish republicans at that time highlighted the issue in question (ie political status) by referring back to the aftermath of the 1916 Rising, when republican prisoners in Dublin's Mountjoy Jail demanded to be treated as Prisoners Of War, not as "commom criminals". The British refused, and a hunger-strike was called - Irish Republican Brotherhood leader Thomas Ashe went on hunger-strike and died after being force-fed by the British, which is just one example of many when Irish republicans fought back as best they could against a political regime which was attempting to criminalise them.

In mid-January 1976, the Free State Gardai located what they claimed to be a "bomb factory" in the Donabate area of North Dublin ; five Irish republicans were in Free State custody in connection with that 'find' - Jim Monaghan, Donal Murphy, Michael O'Rourke, John Hagan and Joe Reilly. And the leadership of the then IRA wanted those men out. At the end of June 1976, it became known that the 'trial' of the five men would see them together in the one building for a short time during the following month, July 1976 ; the then IRA's Acting Adjutant General and the Adjutant of the IRA's Dublin Brigade held a meeting - it was known that the 'trial' would be over by mid-July 1976 , and it was then the end of June 1976. Things would have to move fast. However, the IRA GHQ Staff asked if a successful rescue operation could be mounted in such a short period of time and another meeting was arranged ; this was held on 6th July 1976 - 40 years ago on this date - and those present from IRA GHQ Staff asked for detailed plans on how the rescue attempt would proceed. The requested details were handed over by the Intelligence Officer of the Dublin Brigade IRA and discussed between the group, which included the Adjutant of the Dublin Brigade, the Acting-Adjutant General, the IRA Director of Intelligence, the IRA Director of Finance and a GHQ/Dublin Brigade Officer. Detailed plans of the lay-out of the inside of Green Street Courthouse had been acquired, as had the roster by which the Gardai on duty worked.

The five prisoners themselves had been contacted re the rescue attempt and were prepared to take part in it, so the 'go-ahead' was given for an agreed date : 12th July 1976, a Monday, although this was later changed to Thursday, 15th July 1976, for reasons unknown to this scribbler. The plan called for simultaneous action by the five prisoners and the IRA Unit - at an agreed time, the five men were to force their way into the courtyard of Green Street Courthouse and run towards the gates, where the explosives were. Seconds before the men were to have started their run, the gates were to have been blown off their hinges by an explosives charge. The confusion caused by the explosion would, it was expected, allow the five men to make it to the cars which would be waiting for them, and then driven to pre-arranged safe-houses. The explosion at the gates of Green Street Courthouse was to be timed for 1.30PM, lunch-break, because it was known that security would be slacker than usual. On Wednesday , July 14th, 1976, about one dozen IRA men held a last meeting to finalise the next days action ; the Dublin Brigade QM and Engineering Officer, the Brigade Adjutant and the Intelligence Officer were present, and each man re-checked their role in the job. Satisfied that they could do no more, the men went their separate ways. Early on Thursday morning, July 15th, 1976, the plan came together ; the IRA Unit met-up, as arranged, and took up their positions. And waited. Then, at 1.30pm, a loud explosion lifted the locked gates off their hinges and crumbled most of the walls either side of where the gates had been - at that time, too, the five republican prisoners had broke free from their captors and were running towards the remains of the gates - one of the prisoners, Donal Murphy, was dazed by the explosion and lost his bearings ; he ended up in the actual Courtroom, was recognised and jumped on and held by the Gardai.

The other four escapees - Jim Monaghan, Michael O'Rourke , John Hagan and Joe Reilly - ran into a scene of total confusion ; the gates were smoking and still rattling on the ground, bits of concrete and brick were still flying through the air, a dust-cloud made it near impossible to see more than a few yards and people were running in all directions. The escapees couldn't locate the get-away cars and made off on foot ; but by now the immediate area was filling-up with Gardai and armed Special Branch and, within minutes, things went wrong : three of the men - John Hagan, Jim Monaghan and Joe Reilly - were pulled-in by the Special Branch on Granby Place and re-arrested. Meanwhile, the other escapee, Michael O'Rourke, was by now on O'Connell Street getting into a taxi. He was taken safely out of the State and put-up in a safe-house in America, but was arrested in 1980 ; a four-year legal battle began but, in 1984, Michael O'Rourke was extradited to Ireland and imprisoned in Portlaoise Prison. The break-out made international headlines and embarrassed the then Dublin administration, led by Fine Gael's Liam Cosgrave. It also proved, once again, to the Free Staters, that the spirit of Irish republicanism cannot be incarcerated.


By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.


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

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

NEVER SAY NEVER. (By Pat Kelleher.)

In your eyes, in your soul

mind starts playing, blood runs cold

forbidden secrets never to be told

can't stop this feeling

can't close the door

can't see the reason

can't take no more.

Bolts of white lighting

with the thunder of drums

hit and miss in the dark

Q those instructions

weeping like willows

on pillows of down

ancient almighty

forever and on.

Battle with the demons in your head

walk the primal path with the walking dead

dance with tribal dancers

with their flowers and wreaths

a common god is what we need.

And when you die it's not the end

into the great abyss your soul is your friend

a sponge absorbing water

a being absorbing life

oblivion deliverance

eyes closing alive.

(Next - 'Cosmic Grace' , by David Lynch.)


The collection consisted of an eight-pointed star of Brazilian diamonds with an emerald shamrock and ruby cross at its centre, and a similar badge of rubies and diamonds as well as a gold harp and crown, all of which were discovered to be 'missing' from the safe they were secured in, on Saturday, the 6th of July, 1907 - 109 years ago on this date :'The main suspects are long dead, the scapegoat lies rotting in a bitter grave, and brown envelopes have replaced knighthoods as the reward for politically motivated collusion....the men associated with the theft never associated with each other again, and many of them met with grizzly ends. Goldney died in a car crash in 1914. Pierce Gun Mahony — a nephew of Vicars — was shot through the heart in a hunting accident. Vicars was tied to a tree and shot by the IRA in 1921, while Gorges was struck by a train in 1944. As for the jewels, they were most likely broken up and sold as individual pieces, though there is documentation that the Russians tried to sell them back to an uninterested government in 1927. While the Gardaí dug up areas of Three Rock Mountain, in Dublin, after a death-bed confession by a member of the IRA in 1983, £1,000 was offered as reward for their discovery at the time. It is still unclaimed....' (from here.)

The man responsible for their safekeeping at the time, Arthur Vicars, the 'Officer of Arms' of Dublin Castle, wrote, in his last will and testament - "I might have had more to dispose of had it not been for the outrageous way in which I was treated by the Irish Government over the loss of the Irish Crown Jewels in 1907, backed up by the late King Edward VII, when I was made a scapegoat to save other departments responsible and when they shielded the real culprit and thief, Francis R. Shackleton (brother of the explorer who didn't reach the South Pole). My whole life and work was ruined by this cruel misfortune and by the wicked and blackguardly acts of the Irish Government. I had hoped to leave a legacy to my dear little dog Ronnie, had he not been taken from me this year...." (from here.)

Not 'Ronnie' the pooch - just a depiction of how he might have looked..!

Between Russian involvement (mentioned above), and/or the Irish Republican Brotherhood and/or the part played in the 'alleged'(?) theft by a homosexual network (!) and/or it being a plot by anti-republican unionists to thwart/highlight the 'Home Rule' issue (details here!), we can only hope that Ronnie the pooch might yet get a new headstone from his connection to this nefarious episode - the items have, it seems, been found : '...a startling new discovery at Kilmorna House, outside Listowel, indicates the jewels have in fact been recovered by a person or persons unknown..' The man who found their 'last resting place' '...was instructed by an informant, with a distinct English accent, to go to the old garden of the house where he found a stone with a Latin inscription which had been removed from behind a brick wall...he believes the stolen jewels...were removed from a box attached to the stone (and) removed at the dead of night because the people who figured out where they were hidden did not want to have to go through the necessary bureaucratic measures to get permission to search for the jewels..' (from here.)

Well...my next input to this mystery will be to volunteer to look for the items, having enlisted the aid of a few girlfriends. Because, when it comes to jewellery and where to find it, we know what we're looking for..!


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

From 'Magill' magazine, February 2003.


Ex-Commandant Patrick Walshe has distinguished himself as a loyal officer to the State and, more especially, to the protection of lives, north and south. When Garrett FitzGerald was informed of Walshe's detailed and forthright reporting on Clonagh, motivated by his suspicion that there was a definite correlation between the Provisional IRA's bombing campaign in the North and the lack of security at the County Meath factory, FitzGerald responded -

"If what you are telling me about him is true, I would have a very high regard for his loyalty. He seems to have been a very vigilant person, concerned for the interests of the State. He did his duty."

FitzGerald was then told that ex-Commandant Walshe's best friend in the State Army was Dónal de Róiste and that their friendship endures to this day. He was asked to comment on the apparent anomaly between Walshe being an officer of such high calibre and unquestionable loyalty to the State and, on the other hand, his keeping company with an officer accused of recklessly compromising State security by cavorting with republican subversives.

He responded - "You are quite right to relate the two things. I can see that. You are right."

FitzGerald's final words to 'Magill' are, unquestionably, relevant to both the Dónal de Róiste case and the Clonagh affair. He said - "Nothing should be covered up. I have always had that view. If you make a mistake, admit it. No cover-up ever lasts. It always comes out anyway."

(END of 'Explosive Questions'. Next ; 'If It Ain't White' , from 2002.)



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

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

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

CATCH 22 - IN CAGE 22. (In memory of Ned Maguire RIP)

"How can I help you, comrade?", I asked, pretending I really meant it. Alarm bells were going off in my head. "The thing is, mate, I need a couple of bits of leather, even old stuff," Big Ned said. This might seem a small request but in actual fact it was an impossibility. All the leather and handicraft material had been destroyed in the fire and had not been replaced as yet. I put my tried and tested pessimistic look on my face - "Two bits of leather? Hmmm, tall order, Ned. What's it for?," I asked. "I need to make two pooches" (holsters for toy handguns), said Ned. "You can see the problem there right away, Ned, can't you", I asked him.

I looked across the divide between Cage 22 and Cage 6 and knew that Big Ned didn't see the problem and didn't share my pessimism. "Are you telling me no?" , asked Ned. "No way," I replied, "In fact I'm at this very minute trying to think of how to facilitate this under-normal-circumstances reasonable request. But the way things are at this moment, well..." I was clutching at straws. Big Ned upped the pressure : "Like, if you don't want to help me don't worry about it..." I was really worrying now. "..I've got good mates who'll help me out.." "Ah hold on, Ned, don't be taking that attitude," I said. "Fuck off," Ned replied, taking the very attitude I had hoped he wouldn't.

My comrades in Cage 22 started disappearing from around me. "Oy! Dark, hold on a minute...," I shouted, as young Hughes made good his departure. "I can't wait," said the Dark, "I'm going in to read Dan Breen's 'My Fight For Irish Freedom". I knew this was a blatant lie as I read that book and I know there's no pictures in it... (MORE LATER.)


The political party 'Clann na Poblachta' ('Family of the Republic') was founded by Seán MacBride in 1946 to appeal to young urban voters and disillusioned republican voters and was officially launched in Barry's Hotel in Dublin on the 6th July 1946 - 70 years ago on this date. A few years previously another political party, 'Clann na Talmhan' ('Family of the Land'), had been formed in answer to high levels of frustration and anger in rural Ireland. For a time the two parties played a significant role in Irish politics before they were both dissolved in 1965.

Ireland in the mid 1940's was suffering from high unemployment, emigration, poor housing, poverty and diseases such as tuberculosis. The Fianna Fáil Government led by Éamon de Valera, which had been in power since 1932, had interned militant republicans and had some executed following trial by military tribunal. When the interned republicans were released they formed Clann na Poblachta. The new party grew rapidly and in 1947 contested three by-elections. They were successful in two, Dublin County and Tipperary. In the general election of 1948 Clann na Poblachta had high hopes of replacing Fianna Fáil as the largest party in Ireland. In the event, despite fielding 93 candidates, they won just ten seats.

Following the election Clann na Poblachta became part of ireland's first Inter-Party Government which was also made up of Fine Gael (31 seats), the Labour Party (14 seats), National (sic) Labour (5 seats), Clann na Talmhan (7 seats) and seven independents. John A Costello of Fine Gael was elected Taoiseach and all parties were represented in the cabinet. Despite the disparate nature of the parties the government lasted for almost three-and-half years and Ireland saw a big improvement in almost every area of its economy. During the lifetime of the Inter-Party Government the declaration of the Republic of Ireland was made in 1949. Also, tuberculosis was practically eradicated, the Industrial Development Authority was established, agriculture was improved with funds from the Marshall Plan and housing was improved.

The Government fell in 1951 following its failure to introduce free health care for mothers and children through the Mother and Child scheme. In the subsequent election Clann na Poblachta secured just two parliamentary seats. The party went into decline and was disbanded in 1965. (From here.)

*The history of breakaway parties in Ireland is not encouraging for those who may be thinking of staking their political careers on the formation of a new one. Most of the smaller parties which littered the political landscape in the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's either collapsed or merged with larger ones. The first such party was The Centre Party, formed in 1932 by a number of independent Leinster House members, including Paddy Belton. They were joined later by James Dillon. It was a conservative and pro-Treaty Party (ie - the 6th December 1921 'Treaty of Surrender') and won over 9 per cent of the vote and eleven seats in 1932. In 1937, it merged with the Blueshirts and Cumann na nGaedhail to form Fine Gael.

The next new party was radical : this was Clann na Talmhan, founded in 1938 to represent the small farmers of the West of Ireland. Together with a number of independent farmers' candidates, it won 10.6 per cent of the vote and 14 seats in the 1943 general election ; ten of those seats going to Clann na Talmhan. In the general election the following year it won nine seats and, in 1948, seven seats. It entered the first inter-party government along with Clann na Poblachta, the Labour Party, the National Labour Party, Fine Gael and a number of independents. In the next election, three years later (1951) its number of seats fell again, to six. It declined steadily thereafter, winning five seats in 1954, three in 1957 - following which it supported the second inter-party government - and two in 1961. It collapsed in 1965, twenty-seven years after its foundation due to, among other occurrences, the fact that it had a rival political party in the form of Clann na Poblachta, which is perhaps better remembered, although it only briefly had as much support as Clann na Talmhan and did not last as long.

Clann na Poblachta was founded as a radical Irish republican party by Sean MacBride in 1946, and the following year won two out of three by-elections, defeating Fianna Fail. The General Election of 1948 marked its high point ; it won 13 per cent of the vote and 10 seats. It too entered the first inter-party (Free State) government, and one of its members, Noel Browne, held the key Ministry of Health. This provoked the 'Mother and Child' controversy, when Browne's progressive proposals were repudiated by the government, including his own party colleagues. In the next election the party lost heavily, emerging with 4.1 per cent of the vote and only two seats. Even Sean MacBride lost his seat. In 1954, Clann na Poblachta won three seats, but a smaller share of the poll (3.8 per cent). In 1957, the party got 1.7 per cent of the vote and one seat, and this remained its representation in Leinster House until it was wound-up in 1965.

The 1940's also saw a split in the Labour Party vote : in 1944, the 'Irish Transport And General Workers Union' (ITGWU - now known as SIPTU) split from the Labour Party over the latter's relationship with Big Jim Larkin, bringing five Leinster House members with it to form the 'National (sic) Labour Party'. The 'NLP' won four seats in the 1944 election, and five in 1948, when it too joined the first inter-party (Free State) government. In that administration, it reunited with the Labour Party in 1950. The split between Noel Browne and Sean MacBride in Clann na Poblachta brought with it the seeds of yet another political party, though these did not come to fruition until 1961 - in that year, Noel Browne, along with Jack McQuillan, formed the 'National(sic) Progressive Democrats', which fought the general election and got only 1 per cent of the vote, but it got two seats. In 1963, they joined the Labour Party.

During the rest of the 1960's, only the three main parties - Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour - were represented in Leinster House. Then the 'Arms Trial' produced a crisis in Fianna Fail and the beginnings of two further parties - the first of these was Aontacht Eireann, formed by Kevin Boland in 1971 ; he was joined by Seán Sherwin and Captain James Kelly, one of the key figures in the 'Arms Trial'. But Sean Sherwin failed to retain his seat in 1973, and in 1976 Kevin Boland resigned as leader and the party folded. Neil Blaney adopted a different course of action. He formed a grouping which he described as 'Independent Fianna Fail', appearing as an 'independent' in election results. Although there were other candidates on this ticket, none of them was ever elected. In 1977 there was another attempt to form a radical party, again involving Noel Browne : he and a number of prominent Labour Party members split to form the Social Labour Party, with Browne as its only Leinster House member but differences emerged between him and other leading members and when he left Leinster House, the party collapsed.

In the next election, in 1981, the 'Workers Party', formed ten years earlier out of a split in Sinn Féin, won a seat in Leinster House after three attempts in the three previous elections. In 1982 it won three seats, with 2.3 per cent of the vote, but lost one in the subsequent election, though its share of the vote remained almost the same. The only other small party to have won seats in Leinster House is Sinn Féin , which contested the 1957 election on an abstentionist platform and won four seats ; it lost them all in 1961, and did not contest another election until 20 years later, in 1981, when it was heavily involved in the election campaigns of the H-Block prisoners who ran to highlight the Hunger-Strike. Of obvious necessity, they ran on an abstentionist platform and two of the republican prisoners, Paddy Agnew and Kieran Doherty, were elected ; Doherty died on Hunger-Strike, and Paddy Agnew did not run in 1982. (*The above is an edited version of a piece we first posted here in 2004.)


Regular readers will know that we don't usually post our usual offering on the blog on the Wednesday following the second Sunday of each month, due to time constraints - on that particular Sunday each month, a 650-ticket fund-raising raffle is held for either the Dublin Comhairle of RSF or for the Cabhair organisation, and this coming Sunday (10th July 2016) is no exception, as work is already underway for the Dublin Comhairle raffle which will be held on the above-mentioned date.

But we'll be making an exception this time : we'll post here on that Wednesday (13th) but it will be an exceptional piece, similar to that which we have posted here a number of times over the years. Hope you're curious enough to check back with us then..!

Ah, stern harsh city, that in your wretched way

Of poverty, dishonor and disgrace,

Has pushed my timid little feet of clay,

The sacred brown feet of my falling race!

Ah, heart of me, the weary, weary feet

In Harlem wandering from street to street...
(Apologises to Claude!)

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Monday, July 04, 2016



The Russian Mob, the IRB, the IRA, a homosexual network, Unionists, and 'Ronnie the Pooch'...

Check back here on Wednesday, 6th July 2016. We'll still be on 'Irish time' then...

Thanks for dropping by! Sharon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016



The 'Brexit' vote gave rise to a lot of truly daft comments from a lot of different people and groups, some connected with 'Remain', others with the 'Leave' campaign and still others who hadn't a notion what was happening and probably still don't know what has happened!

And then our own Sinéad O'Connor goes and confuses things further - "Ireland is officially no longer owned by Britain! Congrats to every man, woman and child who ever died for the Cause of Irish freedom, and also to all those including myself, who have been persecuted mercilessly by the Irish so-called Free State for having declared support for Sinn Féin and the republican movement. Our day has come!!!!!!! Ireland 4 England 0."

Her previous comments regarding what she believes to be "the Cause of Irish freedom" are just as disjointed - 'She called on Gerry Adams and other key figures in the party to stand down because their faces were forever shrouded in the country's bloody history. "When you see the faces of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and all of these people, they remind people of violence," she said. "Long term down the line, if these guys were to step down, Sinn Féin membership would quadruple overnight and people would be on board for changing the country, changing what it means to be a republican....(republicans should) dissociate ourselves from Ireland, England, Northern Ireland and Europe..."

The lady obviously has no grasp of our history or of our present political situation regarding the Six Counties, republicanism or partition and, as such, would have made the ideal person to lead the Provisional Sinn Féin grouping to its next destination...


By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.


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

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

SHIT STREET. (By Pat Kelleher.)

Empty faces empty minds

like a dripping tap

a wasted life forgotten generation

of a world unkind

Empty pockets empty hands

a sense that's like no other

black tunnels with no lighted ends

a receipe for disaster

Predators pimps and procurers

sexual exploitation

sick paedophilia of the nation

media manipulators info brainwash traitors

Rise up from the misfortune

rise up from the shame

love is the answer

again and again.

(Next - 'Never Say Never' , by Pat Kelleher.)


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

From 'Magill' magazine, February 2003.


The Garda Commissioner should be in a position to inform the nation concerning the "joint RUC/Garda discussions on the whole question of explosives control" and it is also imperative that he explains to the nation, and more especially to the victims of the 1974 bombings, the true reasons as to why his force were, it appears, negligent regarding the urgency of having the bomb debris analysed for the purpose of apprehending the perpetrators.

The question must be asked if someone in the Garda, or an agent of the State, suspected or knew that the explosives used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings came from Clonagh and realised the enormous political fallout if this information became public. Garrett FitzGerald agreed that this was a line of inquiry that must now be investigated.



I'm in good company (!), it seems, in regards to the soccer team conundrum that I mentioned here last week ("..we are seemingly 'allowed' two teams from Ireland to represent us in the competition...") as I'm not the only one to make a comment in relation to how one country - Ireland, in this case - can have two teams compete in the one competition : Free State President Michael D Higgins commented last Wednesday, 22nd June, that "..all of those interested in soccer will welcome the fact that now both Irish teams have made it through to the knock out stages of the tournament..." said, I presume, after one or other of the Irish teams won a match. But never mind that - the important point in regards to that competition is that a near-alphabetical 'neighbour' of ours had better luck than we had...!



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

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

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

CATCH 22 - IN CAGE 22. (In memory of Ned Maguire RIP)

One morning in early 1975 we were convoyed to Cage 22 by lorry with what was left of our meagre belongings in tow. The Fire of Long Kesh hadn't left us much so it didn't take long to pack and unpack. Cage 22 before the Fire had been an Internee cage and had been destroyed - the screws had rebuilt it along with a number of other cages, to house us temporarily while they rebuilt the sentenced end of the Camp. Unlike normal Nissan Huts with brick gabled-ends these huts had wooden gable-ends.

Cage 22 nestled between Cages 6, 7 and 23, which used to be Cage 8, but no one mentions that anymore. My cousin Fra was interned at that time and was in Cage 6. On my first morning in Cage 22, Fra called me to the wire and told me that Big Ned Maguire was looking for me, as he needed a favour. "What's he looking for?" I asked. "Dunno!" said Fra. Later on as I walked round the Cage with a few mates, I recognised the voice of Big Ned hailing me, like only he could. I knew he must have been looking for something substantial from me as he started licking round me right away.

"Mate, you're just the man I'm looking for. I need a favour and told these ones in here that my old mate McCann would get me fixed up." When Big Ned said 'I need a favour' it wasn't a request, no matter how he worded it. Someday, someone, somewhere, will make a film about Big Ned ; he was a Long Kesh legend and there are many stories about Ned Maguire in prison to make him one of the most interesting people you could meet. He also had a wicked sense of humour... (MORE LATER.)


'NEWELL, EDWARD JOHN (pictured, left) (1771–1798), Irish informer, of Scottish parentage, was born on 29th June 1771 (-245 years ago on this date-), at Downpatrick, County Down. He tells us that he ran away from home when he was seventeen and became a sailor, making a short voyage to Cadiz. In a year he returned home, and after serving as apprentice to a painter and glazier, followed the trade of a glass-stainer for two years, but failed in attempts to start a business in Dublin and Limerick. Early in 1796 he went to Belfast, and practised the profession of portrait-painting in miniature. There he joined the 'United Irishmen', and worked for the cause for thirteen months, neglecting his business in his enthusiasm. He was, however, distrusted by some of the leaders and, in revenge, as he admits, became an informer...he was assassinated in June 1798 by those whom he had betrayed. He was induced, it is said, to go out in a boat to meet the ship which was to convey him to America, and is supposed to have been thrown into the sea. Another account says he was shot on the road near Roughford, and a third that he was drowned at Garnogle...' (..more here.)

So that informer was, apparently, either shot dead or drowned. I hope it was the latter, as a bullet should not be wasted in that fashion. Newell, it seems, used to ride out on horseback accompanied by about six British soldiers, pointing out individuals 'of interest' to his British comrades : those 'marked' in that manner by the informer were taken into custody by the British and 'questioned' in relation to their involvement with the 'United Irishmen'. He wore a disguise and blackened his face while on Crown duty, thus forever blackening the 'Newell' name in this country and being disowned by his own brother. As should all informers.


A FENIAN BALLAD [aka 'Sweet Iveleary']


"I joined the Redcoats then – mo lein! – what would my father say?

And I was sent in one short year on service to Bombay.

I thought to be a pauper was the greatest human curse

But fighting in a robber's cause I felt it ten times worse!

I helped to plunder and enslave those tribes of India's sons

And we spent many a sultry day blowing sepoys from our guns.

I told these sins to Father Ned, the murder and the booty.

These were no sins for me, he said, I only "did my duty"...

No sin to kill for English greed in some far foreign clime

How can it be that patriot love in Ireland is a crime?

How can it be, by God's decree, I'm cursed, outlawed and banned?

Because I swore one day to free my trampled native land."

Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa was born in 1831 in a small village called Reenascreena near Rosscarbery, County Cork. He was the son of a tenant farmer, Denis O'Donovan and his wife Nellie O'Driscoll. While a young boy, the failure of the main food crop of the Irish population which was the potato, in sucessive years between 1845 and 1847, lead to a devastating famine which hit the West Cork area in which he lived, particularly hard. The 'Great Famine' (An Gorta Mor) as it became known, caused one million Irish people to lose their lives in these years and another million to emigrate. O'Donovan Rossa's own father died in 1847 of an illness related to severe malnutrition and the teenager moved to Skibbereen to work in his cousin's shop in the town.

The 1848 Young Irelander rebellion and the growing independence/anti-imperialist movements in Europe around this time inspired the young O'Donovan Rossa and in 1856 he formed the 'Phoenix National Literary Society' in Skibbereen town. This was essentially a secret society whose aim was Irish independence from Britain. He married the first of his three wives, Nano Eager, a Killarney woman, in 1853. By 1858 he had been sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) known colloquially as the "Fenians", a reference to "Na Fianna" a band of warriors who defended Ireland from invaders in Irish mythology.

Following the death of his first wife in 1860 he subsequently married Ellen Buckley from Castlehaven who died in childbirth in 1863. He was imprisoned in 1865 as a result of his activities as manager of the nationalist newspaper 'The Irish People' and served his prison sentence in a variety of prisons in England. His peers planned the rebellion of 1867 which failed after a few brief skirmishes and armed battles in some isolated parts of Ireland, most notably Tallaght outside Dublin. The ringleaders of the rebellion were rounded up by the authorities and also eventually imprisoned in England following trial... (from here.)

His life as an Irish Fenian is well documented but he is perhaps known best in death for the graveside oration given at his funeral by Pádraig Pearse. Rossa was seriously ill in his later years, and was finally confined to a hospital bed in St. Vincent's Hospital, Staten Island, New York, where he died at the age of 83. The new republican movement in Ireland was quick to realise the propaganda value of the old Fenian's death, and Tom Clarke cabled to John Devoy the message: "Send his body home at once".

His body was returned to Ireland for burial and a hero's welcome. The funeral at Glasnevin Cemetery on the 1st August 1915 was a huge affair, garnering substantial publicity for the Irish Volunteers and the IRB at time when a rebellion (later to emerge as the Easter Rising) was being actively planned. The graveside oration, given by Pádraig Pearse, remains one of the most famous speeches of the Irish independence movement stirring his audience to a call to arms. It ended with the lines: "They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but, the fools, the fools, the fools! - they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.."

Diarmuid O Donnabháin Rossa,

glory to God for his life,

For the glorious memory he leaves us

to strengthen our hearts in the strife.

'Till the cause that he lived for has triumphed,

'till the darkness of thraldom has fled,

And Ireland, unfettered, shall honour

the names of her patriot dead...

We are not yet "unfettered", but we still honour the names of our patriot dead. And, fettered or unfettered, we will continue to do so.


Roger Casement (pictured, left) was born in Sandycove, County Dublin, the son of Captain Roger Casement of the 3rd Dragoon Guards of the British Army and Anne Jephson from Mallow, County Cork. His mother had him secretly baptised in her own religion, Roman Catholic, but he was raised in the Protestant faith of his father. As both his parents died young, Roger was taken in by an uncle, near Ballycastle, County Antrim, and educated as a boarder at the diocesan school in Ballymena.

From 1895 onwards he held consular appointments at various locations in Africa, including Boma in the Congo (1904) where, for the British Foreign Office, he investigated Belgian human rights abuses of the indigenous people. Later, in Peru he was commissioned to undertake a report on the reported abuse of workers in the rubber industry in the Putumayo basin, which earned him a knighthood after his findings were published as a parliamentary paper (1911). He had been a member of the Gaelic League and became increasingly radicalised by the opposition of the Ulster unionists to Home Rule from 1912 onwards and wrote nationalist articles under the pseudonym 'Seán Bhean Bhocht...' (from here.)

He rarely receives a mention when it comes to the writers and poets of 1916 and yet his reports from the Putumayo and from the Congo show a writer of great talent. His descriptions of the horrendous brutality inflicted on innocent and perfectly peaceful native inhabitants was enough to force a change of policy with regard to the treatment of workers and slaves on the rubber plantations. Casement wrote in 1911 that "..the robbery of Ireland since the Union has been so colossal, carried out on such a scale, that if the true account current between the two countries were ever submitted to any impartial tribunal England would be clapped in jail..." For his part in trying to stop that robbery he was convicted of treason by the British and sentenced to death after a three-day 'trial' (held at the Old Bailey in London between the 26th and the 29th of June 1916, where he was prosecuted by 'Sir' Edward Carson, the Orange Order bigot).

His speech from the dock is not as appreciated as it should be - "With all respect I assert this Court is to me, an Irishman, not a jury of my peers to try me in this vital issue for it is patent to every man of conscience that I have a right, an indefeasible right, if tried at all, under this Statute of high treason, to be tried in Ireland, before an Irish Court and by an Irish jury. This Court, this jury, the public opinion of this country, England, cannot but be prejudiced in varying degree against me, most of all in time of war. I did not land in England; I landed in Ireland. It was to Ireland I came; to Ireland I wanted to come; and the last place I desired to land in was England. But for the Attorney General of England there is only "England"— there is no Ireland, there is only the law of England — no right of Ireland; the liberty of Ireland and of the Irish is to be judged by the power of England. Yet for me, the Irish outlaw, there is a land of Ireland, a right of Ireland, and a charter for all Irishmen to appeal to, in the last resort, a charter that even the very statutes of England itself cannot deprive us of — nay, more, a charter that Englishmen themselves assert as the fundamental bond of law that connects the two kingdoms.." (...more here). Roger Casement was executed by the British on the 3rd of August 1916 in London, England.

I say that Roger Casement

did what he had to do.

He died upon the gallows,

but that is nothing new.

Afraid they might be beaten

before the bench of Time,

they turned a trick by forgery

and blackened his good name.

A perjurer stood ready

to prove their forgery true;

they gave it out to all the world,

and that is something new;

For Spring Rice had to whisper it,

being their Ambassador,

and then the speakers got it

and writers by the score.

Come Tom and Dick, come all the troop

that cried it far and wide,

come from the forger and his desk,

desert the perjurer's side.

Come speak your bit in public

that some amends be made

to this most gallant gentleman

that is in quicklime laid.

This gallant gentleman will be commemorated on Sunday, 7th August 2016, at Murlough Bay in County Antrim, beginning at 2.30pm. All genuine republicans welcome!


On this date - 29th June - in 1921, three IRA Volunteers died in two separate incidents ; Pat Durr and his comrade Edward 'Ned' Weir (from Carrowbaun, Ballintubber, County Roscommon) were unarmed when they were dragged from their homes by British forces and shot dead and Tom Healy, from Duagh in County Kerry, an ex-RIC man - he worked in Ennis, County Clare, as an office clerk for the district inspector of the RIC and had been supplying the IRA with information but when his activities came under suspicion he retired from the RIC and joined the Mid-Clare ASU of the IRA, transferring later to the East Clare Column. He suffered from a heart attack while he was taking part in a battle with the Black and Tans at Enrights Farm near Sixmilebridge in Clare and his body was taken home, to Duagh, and buried with military honours.

Dear Comrades

Ye who were a living force

are now a battle cry on our long roll

to nerve us when our hearts grow faint.

At thought of the long odds and thorny path

which still confront us

you, who in life, have shown us how to live

have now taught us how to die ;

teach us still.

We children of unbeaten hope who oft have lacked

courage and strength to further the Cause

of our endeavour -

a nation free!


..is a black-and-white decision that we've already made. We haven't crossed like that since June 2014 and regret not doing so. But that's soon to be fixed...


Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016



..there lies a green grave

And wildly around it the winter winds rave

Small shelter is weaned from the cruel walls there

When the storm clouds blow down on the plains of Kildare

Once I stood on that sod that lies over Wolfe Tone

And I thought how he perished in prison alone

His friends unavenged and his country unfreed

Oh pity, I thought, Is the patriot's need

I was awakened from my dreaming by voices and tread

Of a band who came in to the home of the dead

There were students and peasants, the wise and the brave

And an old man who knew him from cradle to grave

This old man who saw I was weeping there said

We've come for to weep where young Wolfe Tone lies laid

We're going to build him a monument, too

A small one yet simple for the patriot true

My heart overflowed and I clasped his old hand

And I blessed him and blessed everyone in the band

Sweet sweet 'tis to find that such things can remain

To a man that's been long vanquished and slain

In Bodenstown churchyard there lies a green grave

And wildly around it let the winter winds rave

Far better it suits him the wind and the gloom

Until Ireland a nation might build him a tomb."

Those attending this RSF-organised Wolfe Tone commemoration are requested to assemble at 2.30pm in Sallins Village, Co Kildare, on Sunday June 26th, 2016, from where a parade will make its way to Bodenstown Churchyard.


By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.


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

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

BLACK AND WHITE. (By Pat Kelleher.)

I've lain awake days and nights

waiting for a sign, a flicker of light

a searching soul, a troubled mind

the scars of past and present.

Angels singing in the clouds

howling wolves and searching hounds

witches dancing in the storm

the sound of children laughing.

Facing long into the wind

heading towards shelter

being dragged from here to there

questions without answers.

And in your arms

I found sanctuary

a shelter from a nightmare

you give me hope and energy

magical wonderful creature.


Too much testosterone in Blogsville

too many males with space to fill,

and they're killing the dignity,

of our femininity.

Stepped out of my silence, hung up the phone,

armed with my keyboard, mouse and printer -

mother, warrior, freedom fighter :

female testosterone!

If you like what we do here in our wee corner of the internet, then please don't be shy - give us a vote! You will have to either log in or create an account before you can vote but we really would appreciate it if you did that for us. There is no charge, and it won't take up too much of your time - entries are open until the 26th June next and judging will start after that. And know this - if you don't give us a vote, we know where you live..!


Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone : our six occupied counties, a situation which a 'Brits Out of Europe' vote might help change. 'The devil we know' - ie EU membership - has done absolutely nothing in regards to ending or even weakening the British political and military claim of jurisdiction over that part of Ireland, so we're hoping that a Brexit win might be a step in that direction.

We have already set out our stall on this issue ("For what it's worth, this blog is firmly in the 'Brits Out' (ie vote 'Leave!') camp, for our own selfish (!) reason...") in keeping with we believe to be the republican position - we want Irish sovereignty to remain in Irish hands, regardless of whether the 'foreign' hands are based in London or Brussels, and that has been the republican position going back to, indeed, 1169, and is the reason why Irish republicans opposed the EEC Accession Treaty in 1972, the referendums on the Single European Act 1987, the Maastricht Treaty 1992, the Amsterdam Treaty 1998, the Nice Treaty 2001 (and 2002), the Lisbon Treaty 2008 (and 2009) and the Fiscal Stability Treaty of 2012. Not forgetting, of course, the Treaty of Surrender in 1921, the Hillsborough Treaty in 1985 and the Stormont Treaty in 1998.

Irish republicans will not accept any form of domination by London or Brussels, insisting instead that we revert to managing our own affairs and employing our own resources for our own use. A 'Brits Out of Europe' might help us to achieve a 'Brits Out of Ireland', politically and militarily. We will of course still give tourists a 'céad míle fáilte' but, equally, we'll give them short shrift if they arrive here with any political interference in mind. If you have a vote on Thursday, 23rd June 2016, use it wisely - Vote 'Leave'!


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

From 'Magill' magazine, February 2003.


A subsequent meeting of the 'Joint Security Committee' at Stormont on 18th November 1971 reported "..progress..on the possibility of marking explosives for identification purposes.." , and the RUC Chief Constable expressed hope that "..joint RUC/Garda discussions on the question of explosives control would be arranged at an early date."

The committee met again on 2nd December 1971 and the meeting was given details "of methods being adopted by manufacturers to identify explosives and wondered if an officer should not be appointed to try to trace the source of the traffic of explosives to Northern Ireland (sic)" but it is not yet known how these discussions and recommendations progressed. However, if the matters discussed at Downing Street and at Stormont in 1971 were successfully implememted, it seems certain that the British government, let alone the British Army, as alleged by Garrett Fitzgerald, would have known about Clonagh being a Provisional IRA explosives supply source.

His assertion, therefore, that "they preferred to use this leakage as a propaganda weapon against us than to save lives in Northern Ireland (sic) by stopping it" takes on an even graver meaning. (MORE LATER.)

32 MINUS 6 EQUALS 32? BUT ONLY IN 2036 OR 2046, IT SEEMS...

'Sinn Féin motion: That Dáil Éireann: notes that a majority of Deputies elected to the Thirty-second Dáil made clear pre-election pledges to end water charges;

and calls on the Government to:

— immediately abolish domestic water charges;

— establish a public water and sanitation board to deliver water on the basis of need; and

— set a date for a referendum to enshrine the public ownership of water services in the Constitution of Ireland.'
(From here.)

The preamble to that motion (linked, above) is very badly worded and is not something that any Irish republican would stand over, never mind release to the media, and the motion itself is the same - worded, no doubt, by a political 'newbie', a republican wannabe , a political careerist, who would feel just as politically 'comfortable' in The Workers Party, Fianna Fáil or the SDLP etc.

By "Dáil Éireann", the author was referring to Leinster House, which are two different institutions : the description of the current Leinster House assembly as being "the Thirty-second Dáil" is incorrect as the First and Second Dáil Éireann were parliaments of a 32-county republic whereas the 30th Leinster House institution now assembled is only a 26-county Free State assembly and there is no "Constitution of Ireland" (there is, however, a Free State constitution and a later 26-county document which purports to be 'the Constitution of Ireland').

The motion preamble is, as stated, also 'full of holes', as any Irish republican will confirm, and then there's the substance of the motion itself ie the issue of the imposed double-tax on the supply of water to households etc which, according to the author, the (Provisional) Sinn Féin party is opposed to. Now, that is, apparently, but that wasn't always their position. Like water, their grasp of republicanism has slipped through their fingers.

And then there's their willing involvement with that other British-imposed political assembly in Ireland - Stormont. As well as aping the Free State and copying its political mannerisms, Gerry Adams and his party have settled comfortably into their 'government' role in the six occupied counties - the Provisional Sinn Féin Stormont 'Minister for Infrastructure', Chris Hazzard is, like his party, doing his best to shore up not only the Stormont institution, but the bastard six-county State itself (click on pic to enlarge) :

Minister Hazzard speaks about "...building a successful region (and) building economic growth (for) the next 20-30 years.." which is not something you'd expect from a person committed, allegedly, to overthrowing the British writ over our six counties, especially when one of his party leaders is on record for claiming that he and his would obtain a united Ireland by this year! Unless, that is, Gerry, Martin, Chris and Co. are intending to have Ireland 'reunited' within their beloved 'United Kingdom'!

Incidentally, while we're on the subject of national sovereignty, I'd like to highlight an issue which I presume is puzzling more people than I know about (or at least I hope it is!) : it's in relation to this 'Euro 2016' competition, a sport that I have no real interest in but which has, apparently, grabbed the attention of most people I know, including other republicans. And the latter concerns me, because they should know better - we are seemingly 'allowed' two teams from Ireland to represent us in the competition, one from the so-called 'Republic of Ireland' (which is nothing of the sort) and one from 'Northern Ireland' (which, again, is nothing of the sort) and then there is England/the 'United Kingdom', which has a team in the game, despite assuring anyone that will listen that what it terms 'Northern Ireland' is part of the so-called 'United Kingdom'!

Should issues of national sovereignty take second place to sport? No, not in my opinion, anyway, and I am a wee bit disappointed that I haven't heard these concerns raised by many other people. But I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised at this geographical bastardisation, as it's well known that the 'company' behind this football competition has been linked to financial corruption (suspicions of "criminal mismanagement" and "[financial] misappropriation") so for it to be morally and politically corrupt as well is not, in my opinion, an 'offside' thought.



Well...not quite. We borrowed this gem from - as per above piece - politicians who consider themselves to be 'republican'. This time it's one of Fianna Fail's 'rising stars/wannabe', Donnacha Maguire, pictured, above right.

Donnacha was recently complaining (rightly so!) about his 'republican cousins' in this State, Provisional Sinn Féin, attempting to associate themselves with Irish republican leader Pádraig Pearse and, by God, he soon put manners on them with this tweet -

"Pearse after 1916 joined Fianna Fail..." - Donnacha Maguire, Fianna Fail.

Fianna Fail has somewhat (!) of a reputation as being well capable of fiddling numbers and figures but even they are going out on a limb to claim that a man who was executed (by the British) in 1916 joined their party in 1926! If he keep's that up, young Donnacha has a golden political future waiting for him in Gerry's party!


'..Irish Water is the new national water utility responsible for providing and developing water services throughout Ireland...incorporated in July 2013 as a company under the Water Services Act 2013, Irish Water has combined the public water and wastewater services of the 31 Local Authorities together under one national service provider...management of national water and wastewater assets... we can ensure sustainable water services for Ireland into the future...' (from here, although you'd be forgiven for thinking that a Provisional Sinn Féin script writer was behind it!) "National...throughout Ireland..services for Ireland into the future.." - this company has a 'remit' from the 26-County administration to operate within the State yet claims to be a "national water utility" company, but that is not the only field (of which there are four!) in which it is making an error. On the 2nd June last, Irish Water's 'Head of Customer Operations', Eamon Gallen, sent me a letter entitled 'Overdue Account' in which he stated "..our records show that your account is now overdue...the total amount now overdue is €324.64..".

Eamon's first mistake is in considering me to be a 'customer' of his company as I never signed up to the 'service' they offer and his second mistake is in omitting to take into account the fact that I have been paying for my water service for decades now through the general taxation system that operates in this State. There are a few household bills that I pay for through direct debit and if any one of those services sent me a bill through the post, having already deducted that money from my 'stopped-at-source' finances, I wouldn't pay it. And, for that reason, I won't be paying this 'Irish Water bill' either. So there you have it, Eamon - I don't owe you that money and you won't be getting it. And I'm looking forward to your next letter, as I presume it will be an apology...


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

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

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


Unfortunately, Lasher was busy in another part of the cage, becomming Timmy. No one answered Timmy. Arder was told by one of Timmy's guards that whether it was nerves or physiological in those few hours, Timmy had contracted acne. At about 10.45am a screw shouted into the cage "Johnson, time to go" - Lasher was ready, the transformation was incredible ; he had become Timmy Johnston, and tried to leave the cage as quietly as possible without drawing the screws' attention to himself. He left the cage and disappeared through the security gate of the hospital block, which sat across from Cage 11. The escape was on.

Back in the drying room, Timmy was still bound to the chair with his two guards in close attention. Unfortunately, at 11am, the sirens went off - the plan had failed. Screws stopped counting their wages and tried to contact the 'Prison Officers' Association' (POA) representative in an effort to find out about current danger money rates.

The blindfold was removed from Timmy's eyes long enough to remove the gag in his mouth, then the blindfold was put back over his head. "I'm in trouble," Timmy cried, "they'll never believe me." One of Timmy's guards assured him "They will - when they see all the blood." Just before Timmy could say "What blood?" , one of his guards gave him a severe punch on the nose and broke it. The pillowcase-cum-blindfold turned red with the volume of blood that squirted out of his nose.

As Lasher was being transported down to the Boards (Punishment Block) Timmy was being carried out of Cage 11 on a stretcher. As he was being taken out of the gate by the two screws at either end of his stretcher he looked over in our direction and blurted out "Thank you, boys, thank you..." Lasher made a number of other attempts to escape and Timmy was never heard of again. Even Timmy's inseparable 'chum', Lasher, never mentioned him again. (End of 'Thank You, Boys, Thank You' : next - 'Catch 22 - In Cage 22. In Memory of Ned Maguire RIP'.)


Glaine 'nar gcroi – Purity in our hearts. Neart 'nar ngeaga – Strength in our arms. Beart do reir ar mbriathar – Truth on our lips : Na Fianna Éireann, 1909 to date.

The Na Fianna Éireann organisation is still active to this day and, as in 1922, continues to support the republican position : Na Fianna Éireann (literally 'Warriors of Ireland') has had several subtitles in its history ; Irish National Youth Movement, Irish Republican Youth Movement, Irish Republican Scouts etc but its central ethos has never changed. It has always had the object of educating the youth of Ireland in national ideas and re-establishing the independence of the nation. The goal of the organisation on its foundation in 1909 was "...to re-establish the independence of Ireland by means of training the youth of Ireland to fight Ireland’s fight when they are older and the day comes..." . Members are trained in scouting skills and parade drill and receive education regarding republicanism and Irish history and heritage. In short, the NFÉ organisation instills a sense of pride, worth and value into those who join - worthy character traits which they carry with them into adulthood.

A fundraising function will be held in Dublin for the NFÉ on Friday, 1st July 2016, in Hanlon's Bar and Restaurant, North Circular Road. A fiver a head will get ye in, and the group on stage - Erin Go Bragh - will make ya wanna stay! Doors open at 8pm and a raffle will be held on the night. All supporters welcome!


On the 6th of April, 1921, two IRA men, Patrick Conroy and James Monds (a local Protestant farmer), who were friends and neighbours, were pulled out of their homes in Tarmon, County Roscommon, by an RIC/Black and Tan raiding party and executed. At that time in Roscommon, as across Ireland, the Black and Tans, the RIC and the Auxiliaries were running rampant - the sack of Balbriggan, the burning of Cork, the murder of MacCurtain in Cork and Father Griffin in Galway were among their worse atrocities. The so called 'Castlerea Murder Gang' consisted of British soldiers, RIC and Black and Tans who would act on information provided by informers and raid local houses late at night looking for their victims. The gang would arrive at the door with blackened faces and shine a light in the face of a suspect who would be identified by the informer. If the unfortunate person was wanted by the British he would be taken away and shot or beaten to death, as was the case with Volunteer Pat Conroy who was murdered the same night as James Monds.

James was a Volunteer of the Irish Republican Army and had been involved in land agitation. It is known that he refused to sing 'God Save The King' in church which may have singled him out as a republican or 'Shinner' to those loyal to the Crown. He was taken from his house on the night of the 6th of April 1921 and his bullet riddled body was found the next day. The 'Murder Gang' extracted no information from him regarding local Volunteers and they killed him despite him having 6 children.

It later transpired that the British troops raided the home of James Monds looking to remove his 17-year-old son, but the father pleaded with them to take him instead, and leave his son out of it. They did, which is about the only act of 'kindness' any republican could hope for, from a British mercenary. The next morning, the riddled body of James Monds was located at the end of the road. Incidentally, the man in charge of that particular British murder gang, RIC Sergeant James King, was infamous as a well-known thug in uniform in Ireland and then became 'famous' as the last member of the RIC to be killed during the War of Independence - "On the morning of the 11th of July (1921) Thomas Crawley was waiting. Sergeant King of the RIC was the principal man in the murder gang that was organised in the RIC in Castlereagh and was responsible for a number of killings around the area. He was badly wanted by us. On the morning of the Truce, the 11th July 1921, we made a final effort to get this man. Between 10a.m. and 11a.m. on that morning we proceeded into the town on this mission...we went into a shop to get a drink of lemonade and when only a few minutes there Sergeant King came out of his own house on the opposite side of the street and proceeded to get on his cycle as if to go to the barracks. We left the shop. Ned Campion and I let him have it. He died immediately. Although the truce took effect at 12 o' clock on that day, the enemy chased us until about 6pm that evening. We finally escaped them, however, by adopting the role of shepherds gathering up sheep..." (from here.)

King was struck in the chest by at least two of his attackers bullets and despite receiving prompt medical attention died at approximately 10.30am – less than two hours before the ceasefire was due to begin. Local IRA men later recounted how King and his gang burst into the Vaughan family home at Cloonsuck, County Roscommon, on the 22nd June 1921 - 95 years ago on this date - catching three IRA men unaware : the three republicans made a run for it, but two of them - Ned Shanahan and John Vaughan - were shot dead. The third IRA man, Martin Ganly, was captured and, during the search of the house, King battered (the deceased) John Vaughan's mother unconscious with his rifle butt and stopped on his way out of the house and shot the family's dog dead. A nasty and vindictive piece of work by all accounts, 'relatives' of whom wear a similar uniform today, in this country.


Martin McGuinness (pictured, left) greeting another 'internal tinkerer'.

The following quote was published in the 'Socialist Republic!' newspaper in September 1986 and records some of the words of Martin McGuinness from a speech he delivered on Bodenstown Sunday 1986 - 22nd June of that year, 30 years ago on this date. That publication was 'the newspaper of the Scottish Communist Republican Party (SCRP)' , both of which are now apparently defunct as separate entities as, indeed, is McGuinness himself, in relation to Irish republicanism. Less than six months after he delivered his "internal tinkering" comment, Martin McGuinness assisted other nationalists in splitting the Republican Movement.

Quote from Martin McGuinness, 22nd June, 1986, Bodenstown Sunday : "Despite the multi-million dollar hype of the (Hillsborough) Agreement, despite disinformation, despite the rewriting of Irish history by West Britons and British propaganda, more and more people are beginning to realise that internal tinkering with the six-county statelet solves nothing.." And he's right, of course - 'tinkering' with the British claim of jurisdiction (ie implementing that claim on Behalf of Westminster and doing so in a 'fairer' manner than that which Westminster itself would have done) will solve nothing. Not in regards to the 'bigger picture', anyway but, in the case of Martin and his colleagues, it solved one issue for them - how to make a political career for yourself from the British presence and still be considered, by some, to be 'an Irish republican'!



Thanks for reading, Sharon.