" 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 27, 2014


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

The position of the Free State government had worsened steadily from the introduction of the 'terrorist legislation' of 1931 : within themselves they had not resolved the tensions created by the British betrayal of Collins and Griffith and had reason to fear pockets of unrest within the Free State army. They had cause to suspect police officers of guilty contact with IRA intelligence , and thereby hangs a story - they got evidence of IRA intentions, as secrecy was less important, at that stage, than an inspired leakage. The government weakened, and announced a general election. Without waiting for an IRA Council directive, 'An Phoblacht' met this announcement with an editorial slogan, "Put Cosgrave Out".

The government had one good electioneering gimmick - the 'Red Scare'. It just might work for them, and victory won to that war-cry would permit the measures it had in mind for dealing with the IRA. It was now the hour for IRA leaders to be found unequal to their task. We moved close to Mellows in our confused statement of policy in 'Saor Éire', and Bodenstown demonstrated that we enjoyed a strong, aggressive and popular backing. We then marked time.

Facing a general election, we believed we could add enough push to de Valera's campaign to over-run the government party, but we had problems : de Valera and those around him wore no halos for us. They were a version of the leadership that made it easy for Arthur Griffith to break out of the independence movement at the head of the Home Rulers. These men would be incapable of the comprehensive state-sponsored schemes, which alone could reach out to the small-farm countryside, expand industry, and give Irish life the resilience and vitality it needed to reform the independence movement. Private enterprise in our retarded economy was a policy of make-believe. (MORE LATER).


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

In any event, there were no other wounds on Seán McCann's body to account for the shots which Soldier 'B' said that he fired at McCann. His evidence was that he fired first either one of two rounds at Mairead Farrell , then turned fire on Seán McCann, then back on Farrell. He said that he did not miss with any of his seven shots, though he could not be specific as to how many he had fired at each of the two.

According to this analysis of his own and Soldier 'A's evidence, therefore, Soldier 'B' did not hit Seán McCann at all, except perhaps directly or indirectly with the mysterious bullet to McCann's jaw. Similarly on this analysis, Soldier 'A' fired at most one shot into Mairead Farrell - and this into her back. Therefore, four of the five wounds received by Mairead Farrell had to be fired by Soldier 'B' , and these wounds were fired from two different directions- two directly into her face as she was facing the shooter and two into her back.

Soldier 'B' said that he was directly behind Mairead Farrell all the time he was shooting at her. He fired first at the centre of her back and, having momentarily switched his fire to Seán McCann , turned back to Mairead Farrell and continued to fire at her as she fell to the ground. But, as she fell forward, there is no possible explanation within this scenario for the wounds which she received to the face. To do what he says he did, Soldier 'B' would have needed to fire two bursts of shots, firing from two completely different positions, within the space of a couple of seconds. (MORE LATER).


Two Berts and a right Charlie - Reynolds and Ahern, both are well looked after, financially, by the State which, like Haughey, they 'done some service for'.

*.....AND NO, NO QUESTION MARK. None needed, in the opinion of this blog. For a start, how can there be '(political) peace in Ireland' when our six north-eastern counties remain under the political and military jurisdictional control of a foreign government? Those who confuse the absence of a sustained campaign against the British political and military presence with 'peace' have either allowed themselves to fall victim to both State propaganda and the watery nationalist verbal diarrhea emanating from those who were always prepared to accept crumbs or they are politically ignorant of the true nature of the issue at hand. The so-called 'peace in the North' that has been obtained was actually available to Irish republicans at any time over the last eight centuries but only if those with the 'muscle' on the republican/nationalist side were prepared to accept much less than what the struggle is about ie if they would only accept 'civil rights' from the British rather than to continue to seek a full British military and political withdrawal from Ireland and could persuade the majority of their members to accept same as 'a stepping stone to freedom'. And, in that respect, the political dominoes fell just right for Albert Reynolds, in that he found himself dealing with, amongst others of similar ilk, Adams and McGuinness who, despite constant assurances from them to the contrary, have obtained their objective - to be treated 'fair' by Westminster.

However - having gratefully seized the opportunity to do business with half-hearted 'republicans', Reynolds allowed the outrageous claims re 'peace at last' to percolate and basked in the glow of others in his establishment and in the mainstream media (who knew better) who lauded the man as a political 'messiah'. Indeed, to their credit, some Fianna Fáil members recognised that Albert Reynolds was not all that he professed to be (even if Adams and McGuinness and their supporters , to their shame, didn't cop it or chose to ignore it) - the 'youth wing' of his party wanted him dismissed for "conduct unbecoming" due to revelations disclosed about the man at a State-established tribunal of inquiry : "...the Tribunal’s final report said Reynolds had abused his political power as Taoiseach by soliciting a donation from developer Owen O'Callaghan in exchange for government support in his proposed national stadium at Neilstown in Dublin......he was also criticised for failing to act when he learned of the IR£50,000 donation made by Tom Gilmartin to Padraig Flynn in 1989, which had been intended by Gilmartin as a donation to Fianna Fáil but which Flynn is accused of personally retaining....." and, speaking of money, let's not forget that Reynolds was in receipt of a State pension to the value of €3119.58 a week!

It's true that money can't buy you love, but it can, apparently, buy you the 'respect' of various toadies and wannabe toadies who will laud the fallen as the risen if the price is right. Coat-tail jumpers, the lot of them, regardless of where the 'coat' has been.


'Free State Keeps Ireland Down...' : a poster used and distributed by Sinn Féin in the 1923 Free State general election.

'Justice and Brotherhood-not Flogging and Tortures....Sinn Féin will abolish the murder gangs and secure the life, liberty and property of the people...' : a leaflet used and distributed by Sinn Féin in the 1923 Free State general election.

'A Self-Reliant Nation.....Ireland Free and Therefore Strong, Prosperous and Peaceful...' : a 1923 Sinn Féin election poster.

Besides this State election, 1923 was an eventful year for Irish republicans : on the 2nd January, Cathal Goulding was born in East Arran Street in Dublin, and on the 13th of that month Free State President W.T. Cosgrave had to find somewhere else to live. On the 10th of April, Liam Lynch was shot dead by Free State forces, on the 14th of that month Austin Stack was captured by the Staters and on the 23rd of that month, Sinn Féin politician Seán Etchingham died. Three of our twenty-two republican hunger-strikers died in that year - Joe Witty, from Wexford, on the 2nd September, Dennis Barry, Cork, on the 20th November and Andy O'Sullivan, also from Cork, on the 22nd November. The 27th August 1923 election results, in which Sinn Féin polled 286,000 votes (29% of those that voted), winning 44 seats, can be accessed here. At the time, there were over 11,000 Irish republicans in jail in the State, for refusing to accept any British political or military presence in Ireland and, for the same reason, the elected Sinn Féin representatives refused to take their seats in Leinster House as those sitting in that assembly had to take an oath of allegiance to the English 'King' , George V , whereas nowadays they just utter same to themselves, mentally (and morally).



Encounters with youths exposed him to IRA.


First published in 'NOW' magazine, Volume 1, No.4, October 1989, page 37.

British 'Lord' Louis Mountbatten was killed because of his homosexuality, according to Irish Republican sources ; 'Lord' Mountbatten died in August 1979 when his boat was blown up at Mullaghamore, County Sligo, by the Provisional IRA. A book to be published in Britain next month (ie meaning October 1989) by a former British Intelligence Officer will give details of 'Lord' Mountbatten's gay life and claim that he was a risk to British State security ; but, ironically, 'Lord' Mountbatten proved to be a bigger threat to his own security. It was his liaisons with three young Irish boys which led to his assassination - it was information obtained indirectly from one of the boys which drew the attention of the IRA to 'Lord' Mountbatten's presence in Ireland. The same source provided details about his movements.

'Lord' Mountbatten regularly slipped away from his Irish Special Branch guards for homosexual encounters. The IRA had expected his cabin cruiser to be used for such a meeting with a teenage boy on the day he died. They planted a radio-controlled bomb in the engine compartment on the boat, killing Mountbatten and three others, including a 15-year-old Enniskillen boy ; the bombing brought widespread condemnation and an immediate crack-down on the IRA on both sides of the Border. It came on the same day as 18 British Paratroopers were killed at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down, in an IRA double ambush. The new book , 'The Greatest Treason' by Richard Deacon, claims that Mountbatten passed secret information to the Russians ; Deacon, whose real name is Donal McCormick, is an ex-intelligence Officer who was a close friend of the former head of the British Secret Service, 'Sir' Maurice Oldfield. Author 'Richard Deacon'(/Donal McCormick) quotes an unnamed former CIA Officer as saying - "What we could never understand was how Mountbatten, a known homosexual and therefore a security risk, managed to achieve the kind of promotion and jobs he got...." 'Deacon' says - "It was known inside the (British) Navy long before World War Two that he was a homosexual, sometimes even risking such conduct in his cabin when at sea...." The author describes 'Lord' Mountbatten as "... devious and egotistical.."

The IRA bomb was detonated from a car parked on the shore as 'Lord' Mountbatten sailed past a couple of hundred feet away : a pulse-coded transmitter of a type not used before was brought in from South Armagh because the IRA believed that British security officers may have fitted ECM (Electronic Counter-Measure) equipment in Classiebawn Castle which would have prematurely detonated any radio-bomb they attempted to plant. The IRA spent nearly two months setting-up the assassination, relying on information from 'Lord' Mountbatten's homosexual contacts to track his movements. Mountbatten was an uncle of both (British) 'Queen' Elizabeth and her husband, 'Prince' Phillip, and was interested in what homosexuals call 'the rough trade' and liked to have 'contacts' with 'working-class' youths. He was particularly attracted to boys in their early teens and it was this characteristic which made him especially vulnerable to the IRA, because he needed to slip away from his personal bodyguards to keep dates with such boys, some of whom came in contact with IRA men. His vice habit was similar to that of the former British Secret Service Chief, 'Sir' Maurice Oldfield, who was appointed 'Ulster (sic) Security Co-Ordinator' by Margaret Thatcher in the wake of the Mountbatten assassination. 'Sir' Maurice also slipped away from his 'personal protection detail' - a team of handpicked, plain-clothes British 'Royal' Military Policemen - on various occasions while he was living in Stormont House, beside Stormont Castle in Belfast. But a plan by the IRA to kill him during one such expedition into County Down failed when he was unexpectedly moved back to London.

(Posted here originally in 2005 and again on 23rd July last and re-posted again, today [27th August 2014], to mark the occasion!)


"Playing the very Devil with the country...."

'On they rode, hearing a menace in every whisper of the wind, a cannonade in every rustling of the leaves. Beside this, John Gilpin's famous pace sinks to the level of a peddler's jog, nor did Tam O'Shanter's Mag e'er display such mettle as their panting, sweating beasts, spurred on until the blood dripped from their flanks. So great was their fright, indeed, that they never stopped for breath until they had reached the town of Tuam, forty miles away; and even here they paused scarce long enough to eat, and then made on to Athlone. At this place an officer of carabineers, with sixty of his men, arrived on the afternoon of the 29th of September. These heroes had covered a distance of over seventy English miles in twenty-seven hours! No wonder the battle has been jocularly styled "the Races of Castlebar"!' (from here.)

Ten weeks after the United Irishmen had been crushed at Ballynahinch, Co. Down, and two months after the fall of the rebel camp at Vinegar Hill, near Enniscorthy in Co. Wexford, Humbert landed at Kilcummin strand, on Killala bay, with about 1,100 officers and men of the army of the French Republic. Four days later, on Sunday, 26 August, having taken Killala and Ballina, Humbert led about 700 of his men, and about the same number of untrained Irish recruits, in an amazing all-night march down the almost trackless west shore of Lough Conn, arriving next morning in front of the startled British garrison of Castlebar. The force opposing Humbert numbered about 1,700......

As you can read via the links, above, this was a short-lived victory, physically, that is, but , morally and spiritually, it , and other 'failures' like it, gave future generations added incentive to continue the struggle. Which, if nothing else, is one aspect of this campaign that we will always have until we no longer need it ie when we, or a future generation, can bring this campaign to a just conclusion!


* "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....."

Fighting talk, certainly, but totally neutered, in my opinion, by previous comments from the same author : ** "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..."

A cynic would be forgiven for thinking that she has something new to try and sell.....!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


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

Once, scurrying through back streets , and foolishly on an unlighted bicycle, I all but bumped into a civic guard. His hand came down on the handlebars and he said sharply "What's your name?" We were under a street lamp and I saw recognition flick a light in his eyes. I told him that I could think up a name for him if I tried and, as he let go of the bicycle, he said - "It's you. To hell with you. Be on your way. No, by God..." he added quickly, "...but good luck to you." It was a nice thing to happen, in the fever of those days.

It was during this period that I wrote Wrack , my one and only attempt at a play, which I intended to be a glimpse of an island dying. The island I had in mind has since died. I do not recall, now, how I came to pass it on to W. B. Yates, but I think it unlikely that I sent it to the Abbey at that time, although it was produced there later. I got a friendly note from W.B. , addressed to me at 39 Marlborough Road, Dublin, asking me to call to see him but, as I had no doubt that my letters were under scrutiny, I was afraid to chance it. I sent him a letter, delivered by hand, explaining my difficulty, and he made immediate and elaborate arrangement for our safe meeting.

Events were pressing hard both on the Free State government and the IRA , forcing both towards an inescapable, major clash - neither side had left itself any room for manoeuvre. Arbour Hill prison, where IRA prisoners were held, was, at its best, a pretty brutal place - I have vivid memories of a few weeks there in 1923 - but, nowadays, it is a hell-hole. Country IRA officers complained, clamoured, even, for permission to put an end to the humiliation of police persecution..... (MORE LATER).


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

The shots which Mairead Farrell received to her back were extremely close together at the point of entry - close to the midline of the back - and all displayed an upward trajectory ie they exited at the front, higher up in the body than they had entered at the back. They had either been fired from a crouching position or while Farrell's body was falling forward or while she was lying face-down on the ground. Pathologist Dr. Alan Watson said that the closeness of the entry wounds together indicated that they had been fired from the same gun from close range while she was on the ground. The only other possible explanation, Dr. Watson suggested, was that the three shots had been fired in quick succession from the same gun while she was in the process of falling.

Daniel McCann, according to Dr. Watson, had been killed by two shots in the back , causing damage to the liver, heart and left lung, and/or by two shots to the head causing multiple fractures, laceration of the left cerebral hemisphere and extensive brain damage. The damage to the brain had been caused, in fact, by just one of the two shots, entering at the rear left side of the head and exiting at the left side of the neck. The other shot had hit him in the jaw and had caused only superficial damage. This could have been caused by a ricochet or by a bullet which had already passed through Mairead Farrell's body, said Professor Watson.

Soldiers 'A' and 'B' gave evidence that they both shot at Farrell and McCann, and this confused the issue somewhat, but Soldier 'A' was specific and emphatic that he fired first one shot into McCann's back then one shot into Farrell's back, then three more at McCann - two into his back and one into his head. Discounting the mysterious wound in his left cheek, which may well have been as Professor Watson suggested, a ricochet, this is one more shot which Soldier 'A' claims he fired into McCann's back than McCann actually received. One possibility is that Soldier 'A' missed with one of his shots. There were, according to the evidence, twelve shots in all fired outside the petrol station - five by Soldier 'A' , seven by Soldier 'B'. But only nine 'hits'. (MORE LATER).


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

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House-the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12'of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender',which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' ,the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!(PART 17 - END OF ARTICLE)

In 1935 , 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates' friends in the Orange Order called his bluff (between 23rd and 27th June that year) after forcing him to either take them on or 'back down' - he choose the latter. But he was still arrogant ; he introduced internment for republicans in 1938 .......

'Sir' Bates was born in 1877 , and was a solicitor (in Belfast) by profession. He was Secretary to the Ulster Unionist Council at 28 years young, and held that position until he was aged 44 (ie from 1905 to 1921) . In 1921, he was elected to Stormont and was appointed as the 'Minister of Home Affairs', a position he held for 22 years (ie from 1921 to 1943) . At 66 years of age (in 1943) he retired to the 'back benches', where he stayed until 1945. He died four years later (in 1949) at 72 years of age, having been a 'proud Orangeman' for all his adult life.

And this was the man to whom the 'A' and 'C' Specials, who had mutinied and taken their own officers as hostages had, on 16th December 1925, handed their letter of demands to : 'Sir' Bates was not impressed. The 'A' and 'C' Specials were looking for more money : they demanded a £200 tax-free 'bonus' for each member that was to be made redundant. Two days later (ie on 18th December 1925) 'Sir' Bates replied to the Special 'Rebels' (!) that not only would they not be getting the £200 'bonus' but if they did'nt back down immediately they would lose whatever money they were entitled to for being made redundant! That message was delivered to the 'mutiniers' on 18th December 1925 ; on 19th December 1925 the 'rebels' all but apologised to Bates, released their hostages and signed on for the dole - the 'hard men' of the 'Specials' had been put in their place by a bigger thug than they were. By Christmas Day, 1925 , the 'A' and 'C' Sections of the 'Ulster (sic) Special ConstabularyAssociation' - the 'Specials' - were disbanded. A sort of 'Peace on Earth', if you like !

And, regarding the other group of 'hard men' on this island - the Free Staters - let us not forget their 'contribution to World Peace' in that same Christmas month in 1925 , for it was on the 3rd December in that year that they sold-out to the British once again by agreeing that the conclusions of the Boundary Commission should be ignored and the Commission itself be abolished. And they have been selling-out to Westminster ever since.


"....he used to squeeze my hand and tell me that he did not want to be taken off the strike. He was so committed. As he got worse I used to try to wet his lips with water but he shut them tight because he didn’t even want that....a screw always sat in the room with us and I decided that I was not going to entertain them so I started to say the Rosary. I remember Mickey squeezing my hand and telling me to keep going as a single tear trickled town his cheek. I wiped the tear away...he is still with me. I can see him laying there with the tears running down his face squeezing my hand. Even after all these years that is a clear memory..." (from here.)

'....Michael James Devine was born on 26th May 1954 in Springtown, just outside of Derry city. He grew up in the Creggan area of Derry, where he was raised by his sister Margaret and her husband after both parents died unexpectedly when he was age 11....he was witness to the civil rights marches of the late 1960s in Derry in which civilians were often brutally attacked and the trauma of Bloody Sunday. In fact,he was hospitalised twice because of police brutality....' (more here.) There is nothing that this blog can add to the above-mentioned two links in relation to the political atmosphere that existed at the time of the 1981 hunger-strikes or to the obvious courage of Michael Devine, the 22nd Irish republican POW to die on hunger-strike. We can, however, opine that not one of those brave men battled as they did to obtain seats, suits or salary for 'colleagues' in either Leinster House or Stormont and those that sit in those institutions have no moral authority to claim that they do so 'to further the objective' of any of those 22 men. When Bobby Sands wrote about all of us 'having a part to play' he meant in opposing Free State and British rule, not in shoring it up.


Of the 105 public representatives elected in the (Saturday)14th December 1918 election in Ireland, 73 were members of the then Sinn Féin organisation, 25 of whom were unopposed in seeking election. The republican organisation received 46.9% of votes cast in the whole of Ireland (equivalent to 65% of the votes cast in what was to become the [26 county] Free State) and, even allowing for the fact that four of its candidates - Arthur Griffith, Éamon de Valera, Eoin McNeill and Liam Mellows - were elected for two constituencies (Cavan East and Tyrone North West, Clare East and Mayo East, Derry City and National University of Ireland and Galway East and Meath North, respectively) it was still a resounding victory for Irish republicans and was recognised as such universally. Incidentally, to get their deposit of £100 back, each candidate had to obtain one-eight (12.5%) of the votes cast, compared to today (in the Free State) where the deposit is €500, with the requirement to obtain one-quarter (25%) of the votes cast in order to have the deposit returned!

Anyway - as per their stated intention, the republican representatives assembled in Dublin's Mansion House on Tuesday 21st January 1919 at 3.30pm where, amongst other business, the Secretary of Defence, Cathal Brugha, called for all representatives present to take the following oath, stating - "Every person and every one of those bodies undermentioned must swear allegiance to the Irish Republic and to the Dáil..."

1. The Deputies.

2. The Irish Volunteers.

3. The Officers and Clerks to the Dáil.

4. Any other body or individual who in the opinion of the Dáil should take the same Oath.

I, ------ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I do not and shall not yield a voluntary support to any pretended Government, authority or power within Ireland hostile and inimical thereto, and I do further swear (or affirm) that to the best of my knowledge and ability I will support and defend the Irish Republic and the Government of the Irish Republic, which is Dáil Eireann, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, so help me, God."

On the other hand, the Free State 'parliament' , Leinster House, which was 'born' in London with British guns as midwife and an English hangman as chief nurse, can lay claim to its own 'oath of allegiance' : 'I ____________ swear by almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth , Her heirs and successors and that I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty, Her heirs and successors in Person, Crown and dignity against all enemies and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, Her heirs and successors and of the Generals and Officers set over me....'

It could lay claim to the above, and should , but doesn't. Not verbally, anyway.


"The British soldiers were disguised as tourists...." On Saturday, 20th August 1988, a 52-seater unmarked bus carrying 36 passengers - "tourists" - was travelling on the Curr Road near Ballygawley in County Tyrone at half-an-hour into the new day when it moved to overtake a parked car. And overtake it it did - by about 100 yards, leaving behind a six-foot crater. The bus was carrying members of the 'Light Infantry Regiment' of the British Army, disguised as tourists, from RAF Aldergrove to a British Army base near Omagh. The then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, ended her holiday in Cornwall and returned to Downing Street , probably not by bus, "for consulations with her advisers".

On the 21st August 1988, the 'New York Times' stated - "The blast occurred shortly after midnight, when the 52-seat bus, which carried no military markings, was about nine miles from its destination, an army barracks at Omagh, 55 miles west of Belfast. The soldiers were returning from leave in England. According to the I.R.A. statement, the bomb was made of 200 pounds of plastic explosives. The blast left a crater six feet deep in the road and sent wreckage flying as far as 100 yards from the center of the explosion...." The PIRA issued a statement in which they declared that they would not lay down their arms "....until the peace of a British disengagement from Ireland...." had been achieved ; and in that - not the 'job' itself - they were being either dishonest or were being mislead as, two years previously, they had agreed to support, politically, a Leinster House political party which now administers British 'rule' in six Irish counties. In regards to Irish republicanism, Adams and his supporters have missed the bus.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


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

The Free State government and its propagandists made a mistake : they said too much and the government arrested too many, too soon. It was all very well for propagandists to denounce the land annuity agitation and the IRA as 'communist, anti-God...' and generally an affair of blackguards out to destroy the church, but the arrests gave the people a chance to check this wild talk against life. The church-burning , anti-God 'Reds' , when arrested, turned out to be neighbours' sons that grew up among them , and the commonsense of the people began to work again. But within this madness IRA leaders had, somehow, to survive. Those of us high on the list of villains sometimes trembled, sometimes chuckled, at the thought of the roasting we should get were we captured.

We survived because of a network of safe houses in Dublin, many of them with secret rooms. Country officers had friendly townlands around them, but the police drive was intense and continuous, and IRA officers whom the organisation could badly spare were captured. In Dublin, the greatest menace was the sit-down raid ; political police took over a house quietly, let nobody out, and waited for a catch. One such raid came near to capturing the IRA Army Council - by whatever chance, police took over a house in Stamer Street, off the South Circular Road, in Dublin, where the IRA Army Council was to rendezvous at 8pm on that, a winter evening. IRA Dublin Brigade intelligence, which screened meeting places, discovered the trap barely in time , and Seán Russell had no choice but to 'phone a clear message to my wife to intercept me. But I was on my way by car from a sneak visit to one of my country groups and, in desperation, my wife took her stand at the turn into Stamer Street and stepped into the car headlights of every car that turned in there, drawing blasts and curses on herself.

I cut in on the South Circular Road , but neither my driver nor I was sure on which side of us Stamer Street lay, so I let down the window to - and looked up into my wife's face! (MORE LATER).


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

The pathologist, Dr. Alan Watson, said that he located sixteen distinct tracks through Seán Savage's body, plus the possibility of more if two symmetrical wounds, one in either shoulder, were taken into account. Watson could not establish any definite tracks leading to or from these wounds, but another pathology witness, Professor Derrick Pounder, established from the jacket worn by Seán Savage that the wound on the left shoulder was a separate exit wound (rather than a ricochet or a graze from another bullet). This made seventeen, yet the British soldiers insist that they fired only fifteen shots and turned in their magazines with the remaining live rounds to the police. They do not, however, appear to all have turned in other magazines they were carrying that day - some of them say they did, other said that they "didn't remember". The police officer who recorded receipt of the weapons and ammunition had no record of any extra magazines being handed in.

And, of course, there are the four strike marks within the area of the chalk mark showing where Seán Savage's body lay, three of these within the area marking the head. The soldiers' case was that these shots were fired at Seán Savage while he was falling to the ground. Both of them admit firing at his head. Both Professor Watson and Professor Pounder said that in their opinion some at least of the shots to the head had been fired while Savage was lying on his back on the ground, with Professor Pounder advancing the view that the shots were fired from the direction of the feet. One of the two groups of spent shells mentioned by Sergeant Acris as being in the vicinity of Savage's body were found about four feet to the right of his head. The inquest also heard evidence that the Browning pistols used by the SAS soldiers eject cartridges to the right, usually to a distance of about four feet.

If the evidence concerning Seán Savage is at best suggestive, that with regard to Daniel McCann and Mairead Farrell is decidedly more clear. Professor Watson told the inquest that Mairead Farrell died from damage to the liver and heart resulting from damage by three bullets fired from the back. She also received two bullets to the head, which caused five wounds, all of which were superficial and would not have been fatal. Both bullets, according to Professor Watson, entered Farrell in the face - one in the left cheek and the other to the right of the chin, exiting respectively under the left ear and at the back of the neck. These wounds indicated that the shots had been fired while she was facing the shooter and had been received before the three shots to the back. (MORE LATER).


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

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House-the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12'of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender',which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' ,the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!(PART 16)

In Ireland in the early 1920's, a 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates (the Stormont 'Minister for Home Affairs') gave himself unprecedented powers to, for instance, "....outlaw organisations...to detain or intern people indefinitely without charge or trial ...(and)..to destroy houses and buildings ...." , amongst other powers. He was to become the envy of others with a similar mind-set : some 40 years later (ie in [April] 1963) a Mr. Vorster, then South African 'Minister for Justice', was introducing a new Coercion Bill in the South African Parliament when , no doubt thinking of 'Sir' Bates and his colleagues in Stormont and Westminster, stated that he "...would be willing to exchange all the legislation of that sort for one clause of the Northern Ireland (sic) Special Powers Act." Birds of a feather indeed. 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates was a known bigot, and apparently took it as a compliment when it was said of him in Stormont (by a senior civil servant) - "(He) has such a prejudice against Catholics that he made it clear to his Permanent Secretary that he did not want his most juvenile clerk or typist, if a Papist (Catholic), assigned for duty to his ministry." In 1935, however , he seemed to believe that he could treat everyone like dirt regardless of their religion - on 18th June that year (1935), 'Sir' Bates issued an Order banning all parades, not just those with a Republican/Nationalist 'flavour' : the Orange Order objected and told Bates and his people that it was their intention to hold a parade on the 23rd June (1935) and that said parade would be going ahead. Bates was not pleased - it was one thing to trample over the rights of the 'Papists', but the Orange Order were his own people. Bates put his troops on notice, and repeated his 'banning Order'. On the 23rd June (1935), the Orange Order took to the streets, as intended - and the RUC, and 'Sir' Bates , stood and watched! At that parade, the then Orange Grand Master , a 'Sir' Joseph Davison, 'put it up' to his friend, 'Sir' Bates - " You may be perfectly certain that on the 12 July the Orangemen will be marching throughout Northern Ireland (sic) . I do not acknowledge the right of any government, Northern or Imperial, to impose conditions as to the celebration." Four days later (ie on the 27th June 1935) 'Sir' Bates backed down and lifted the 'ban'. Three years later (on 22nd December [1938] ) 'Sir' (or 'Master' ?!) Bates introduced internment for Republicans, saying - "The (Stormont) Government decided there was no alternative other than to arrest and intern well-known leaders and prominent members of this illegal organisation (IRA)." No 'backing down' on that one. 'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates was a 'product' of the times and 'class' he was born into ; he could not help but be arrogant.... (MORE LATER).


Amongst other acts of provocation perpetrated by Westminster and its agents in the Occupied Six Counties, the attack on the Devenney family was still fresh in the memory of the population in the deprived Bogside area of Derry.

The 'Battle of the Bogside' has had so many thousands of words printed about it over the last 45 years that it is unlikely that we can give any fresh insights into it nor do we feel it necessary to even attempt to do that - regardless of the position that this incident is viewed from, it is beyond doubt that it helped to further expose the lie from Westminster that its 'police force', the RUC, and its army, were only in that part of Ireland to 'keep the peace between two warring religious factions'. Even to this day, some of the files related to/connected with that event will not become public for another eight years - 53 years after those atrocities!

The Free State administration declared that it "...could not stand by and watch innocent people injured and perhaps worse.." and they didn't - they dressed the wounds of the injured (!) but backed off when it came to intervening to prevent any more injuries and, indeed, have themselves inflicted injuries on those of us who continue to oppose the British military and political presence in Ireland. But we have broad shoulders, as had those whose footsteps we follow, and we will persist.


Obama - voices concern about an issue and at the same time assists those who give rise to his 'concern'.

Higgins - pays homage to the British Army despite the fact that that same military force is occupying six Irish counties.

Both Obama and Higgins would be well aware that their above-mentioned actions offer 'hostages to fortune' but such is their eagerness to please the 'establishments' that own them and to preserve their own comfortable position within same that they have apparently suppressed whatever qualms their conscience may still be capable of producing.

C.JoyBell C. synopsised the Obamas and Higgins' of this world when she wrote - "The difference between my darkness and your darkness is that I can look at my own badness in the face and accept its existence while you are busy covering your mirror with a white linen sheet. The difference between my sins and your sins is that when I sin I know I'm sinning while you have actually fallen prey to your own fabricated illusions....." but the fact is that no matter the issue at hand or their own personal feelings and/or beliefs re same, career politicians will follow the path of least resistance - least resistance, that is, to their own careers and fortunes. Humanity can go to hell.


" Ní bhrisfidh siad mé mar tá an fonn saoirse agus saoirse mhuintir na hEireann i mo chroí. Tiocfaidh lá éigin nuair a bheidh an fonn saoirse seo le taispeáint ag daoine go léir na hEireann ansin tchífidh muid eirí na gealaí" ("If they aren’t able to destroy the desire for freedom, they won’t break you. They won’t break me because the desire for freedom, and the freedom of the Irish people is in my heart. The day will dawn when all the people of Ireland will have the desire for freedom to show. It is then we’ll see the rising of the moon") - Bobby Sands.

The annual commemoration in honour of all 22 Irish hunger-strikers will be held this year on Saturday, 30th August, in Bundoran, as usual. And, as usual, all genuine republicans are welcome! Some more info re same can be sourced here.


....a new website is in the process of being built which, even as it now is, will offer a valuable resource for those interested in the on-going struggle against British imperialism and Free State gombeenism : the site will offer examples of almost 30 years of republican record and comment and can be accessed here. It would be appreciated if you could highlight same within your own contact list, as republicans are subject to ('unofficial') State censorship and, when we do achieve some coverage from the main-stream media, it is highly edited to present us in a bad light. Go raibh maith agat!


In what I hope will be a regular event, the Republican Movement will be taking its message to the people via street meetings, which it has done before but which, in my opinion, can never be overdone. Details here, and again - please spread the word as best you can to those on your contact lists, as we all have our part to play!


Kilkenny did indeed do themselves proud on the pitch on Sunday last, but the nearest they got to having a win at the CABHAIR raffle on that same day was when a shy punter, who signed himself 'Racey', from Carlow, a county bordering Kilkenny, won our 5th prize, €20, on ticket number 291 : but if it's any consolation to 'the Cats', the 'Racey' fella was a supporter and told us that he had placed a €50 bet with the bookies that Kilkenny would win both games and that he "got decent odds". And he sure looked happy with himself! Anyway - our 1st prize, €200, was won by a lady on the premises, Carmel, who had bought the ticket, number 273, from one of our regular sellers, Martin, from Drogheda, who also sold a ticket (261) to a Mr. Brendan Purcill , who won 4th prize, €20, thus ensuring two free pints for our Martin, who we didn't see again until after the raffle, when we were having a bite to eat!

Our 2nd prize, €100, was delightedly (and loudly!) won by local lass Louise Sheridan, who had bought her ticket (512) from behind the bar in the local GAA club as did the winner of our third prize, Jack Dempsey (not pictured here!) , from Portlaoise (ticket 098), and we gave him his envelope and a box in the eye and sent him on his way! Our bus driver, Anto, sold ticket number 078 to a fella in the hotel bar, Willie Langan, who won prize number 6 on it, €20, and who pulled the seventh prize for us - that was worth €20 and was won by a near-neighbour of ours, on ticket 559, Chris, from Clondalkin in Dublin, who had bought his ticket from one of our sellers in that town, Anthony B. The last prize, worth €20, went to a Meath man, Luke, on ticket 245, and he immediately joined the Kilkenny-loaded 'winners enclosure' section of the bar and got a 'Royal' welcome from 'The Cats'. The banter and slagging was, as always, great craic , and we congratulated the many Kilkenny fans who kept us company and, even though they hadn't got a raffle winner between them, were happy that they had the opportunity to support republican prisoners. And, lads and lassies, we were delighted to be in your company and happy for ye that your teams won their games on the pitch. But win or lose the match, we'll be back next month for another outing!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


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

The 'Red Scare' of 1931 was nonsense, in relation to Irish life, but it was necessary to make a climate for new 'terrorist' legislation, and it was easy to make such a climate, for there was a scare abroad and even robust intelligence is not always a safeguard against a scare. The Free State government raised a great din, and press and pulpit formed a jazz band that bare throats could not cut through to reach the people. Leinster House had a considerable measure of success, mainly because the IRA having first cut itself off from de Valera and later estranged itself from Sinn Féin, did seem a bit 'new' , especially since it had not found a way to fulfil the purpose, which alone would have justified it in striking out on its own, to associate itself with people on concrete social struggles and so interpret its politics to them.

I had the unique experience of seeing the 'Red Scare' develop on two fronts at the same time - is human hysteria a virus which crosses national frontiers as easily as influenza? I sneaked in and out of Ireland to attend executive meetings of the European Small-Farmer Movement in Berlin : I even chanced to be on the spot when a Nazi mob wrecked a cinema which was showing a 'defeatist' film called 'All Quiet on the Western Front'.

Count Michael Károlyi, who was one of my associates on the European committee, lived in Berlin at that time and he was an experienced observer. I also had the enlightened guidance of two grand people, the Grabisches, who fled Germany in the end, to the very great joy of their many Irish friends - my wife and I spent the Christmas of 1931 with them. (MORE LATER).


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

The success of the Crown strategy can, as much as in the jury's verdict, be measured in the number of inquest hours spent in hearing experts from both sides argue the toss about the feasibility of setting off a bomb located in the assembly area by remote control from the places the killings occurred. There was, as Paddy McGrory himself said, an air of unreality about it - it was occasionally necessary to pinch and remind oneself there was no bomb in the assembly area and none of the three had a detonating device. It could be argued that since the Crown chose to throw the balls, McGrory had to play them by fielding his own experts. But equally, by getting sucked into their game of self-contained logic, McGrory may have allowed the Crown to dictate the nature and pace of the inquest, leaving a lot of damning evidence about what actually happened on the day insufficiently underlined in the minds of the jury.

It all comes down in the end to the twenty-odd shots, fired by three men, over an aggregate if not an actual period of ten seconds, which left three people dead. When the clouds of confusion, created by the talk of plots and counter plots, traps, bombs, Rules of Engagement , warnings, threatening looks and 'things uppermost in people's minds' are cleared away, that is what you are left with. That and the forensic evidence which, for all the sloppiness of the preservation-of-scene operation, is remarkably telling.

With Seán Savage, as the coroner himself remarked, it is probably impossible to establish with any certainty what actually happened - the story told by Soldiers 'C' and 'D' about him "corkscrewing to the ground" while they were firing at him, while stretching credulity, might just possibly be true. Even so, there are a number of puzzling things about the evidence relating to Savage's shooting. The soldiers say they fired a total of fifteen shots at him - Soldier 'C' six rounds and Soldier 'D' nine. There was a total of fifteen bullet cases found in the vicinity, which seems to tie in. But another spent shell was found in Seán Savage's left-hand trouser pocket, something which seems to have been overlooked by both the coroner and Mr. McGrory. If it did not relate to the shots fired, the possibility arises that it was some kind of bizarre 'memento' planted by one of the soldiers. It is difficult to say which of the two scenarios is the most ominous. (MORE LATER).


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

However, a more important 'skewing' by a Boundary Commission has been ignored by Mr. Martin and his party and, indeed, by the administration and the so-called 'opposition' in Leinster House-the 'Boundary Commission' established under 'Article 12'of the 1921 'Treaty of Surrender',which was tasked with 'determining the boundaries between the newly-partitioned 6 and 26-county 'states' ' ,the deliberations of which caused a mutiny within British forces in Ireland!(PART 15)

'Sir' Richard Dawson Bates, the Stormont 'Minister for Home Affairs', put together his RIC raiding-party and stormed the Offices of Fermanagh County Council ; the building was seized, the Council Officials were expelled and the institution itself was dissolved! In the following four months (ie up to April 1922) , 'Sir' Bates and his RIC raiding-party were kept busy ; Armagh, Keady and Newry Urban Councils, Downpatrick Town Commissioners, Cookstown, Downpatrick, Kilkeel, Lisnaskea, Strabane, Magherafelt and Newry No. 1 and No. 2 Rural Councils and a number of Boards of Poor Law Guardians had all been dissolved and (pro-Stormont) 'Commissioners' appointed to carry out their functions!

The people of those areas (ie the voters !) were not asked their opinion on whether their Council should be closed down or not, nor were they asked if they agreed with the 'appointment' of a new 'Commissioner' ; in all cases , the new 'boss' understood what his 'job' was - to do as instructed by 'Sir' Bates and his bigoted colleagues in Stormont. In actual fact, the new 'Commissioner' for Armagh and Keady Councils , for instance, was a Colonel Waring, who later 'progressed' through the ranks to become a County Commandant of the 'B' Specials!

'Sir' Bates must have considered himself an all-powerful 'God' by this stage, because he then gave himself the 'legal authority' to ".... outlaw organisations, to detain or intern people indefinitely without charge or trial, to make it an offence to refuse to answer questions put by a policeman, Special Constable or soldier, to impose curfews, make exclusion orders, to examine bank accounts and seize same if required, to block roads and bridges, and to evacuate or destroy houses and buildings...." The man was only short of issuing a decree that he should live forever and walk on water if he wanted to...! That 'law' was introduced in Ireland in the early 1920's ; some forty years later, a certain South African Minister for 'Justice' was to make reference to it.... (MORE LATER).


Working within British 'law' with a vow NOT to use force against the British....

Ireland 1843 - 45 years after the 'United Irishmen' Rising, 5 years before the 'Young Irelanders' were to rise up in arms against British mis-rule, and 15 years before the Irish Republican Brotherhood was founded (on Saint Patricks Day, 1858). The population of Ireland was in decline - 'famine' struck again and approximately 2 million people were to leave the island ; one million people emigrated and the same number died. A Mr. Stephen de Vere was an eye-witness on one of the emigrant ships - "Before the emigrant has been a week at sea, he is an altered man. How can it be otherwise? Hundreds of poor people, men, women and children, of all ages, from the drivelling idiot of ninty to the babe just born, huddled together, without light, without air, wallowing in filth and breathing a foetid atmosphere, sick in body, dispirited in heart. The fevered patients lying between the sound in sleeping places so narrow as almost to deny them a change of position....by their agonised ravings disturbing those around them. Living without food or medicine except as administered by the hand of casual charity, dying without spiritual consolation and buried in the deep without the rites of the Church..." Thus did one million Irish people 'live' on board the emigrant ships.

It was around this time that a Mr. Nicholas Cummins, a Cork Magistrate, found himself in the village of Skibbereen , in Cork. The account of what he witnessed was published in 'The Times' newspaper - "I shall state simply what what I saw there: on reaching the spot I was surprised to find the wretched hamlet apparently deserted. I entered some of the hovels to ascertain the cause, and the scenes which presented themselves were such as no tongue or pen can convey the slightest idea of. In the first hovel, six famished and ghastly skeletons, to all appearances dead, were huddled in a corner on some filthy straw, their sole covering which seemed a ragged horsecloth, their wretched legs hanging about, naked above the knees. I approached with horror, and found by a low moaning they were alive - they were in fever, four children, a woman and what had once been a man. It is impossible to go through the detail : suffice it to say that, in a few minutes, I was surrounded by at least 200 such phantoms, such frightful spectres as no words can describe, either from famine or from fever. Their demoniac yells are still ringing in my ears, and their horrible images are fixed upon my brain. My heart sickens at the recital, but I must go on.

The same morning the police opened a house on the adjoining lands, which was observed shut for many days, and two dead corpses were found, lying upon the mud floor, half devoured by rats. A mother, herself in a fever, was seen the same day to drag the corpse of her child , a girl about twelve, perfectly naked, and leave it half covered with stones. In another house, within five hundred yards of the cavalry station at Skibbereen, the dispensary doctor found seven wretches lying unable to move, under the same cloak. One had been dead for many hours, but the others were unable to move either themselves or the corpse....."

But even still , some tried to fight back. The 'Repeal Association', led by Daniel O'Connell in the early 1840's, was one of the largest mass movements in Europe at the time ; it had its 'roots' in the 'Catholic Association' which, between 1823 and 1829, led by O'Connell, and supported by the Catholic Hierarchy, organised the vast majority of the population into a political body seeking emancipation - for at least six years (1823-1829) the campaign was relentless, giving rise to civil unrest in Ireland and prolonged agitation in England itself concerning the issue. The British Prime Minster, 'Sir' Robert Peel, relented in 1829, and Catholic Emancipation was passed at Westminster. Daniel O 'Connell was a 'God' ; to the Irish, he could do no wrong, and he continued to press the British for more 'reforms' of the system. But, to the British, O'Connell was becoming more of a troublesome 'thorn in the side'.

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 'Repeal Association' (or 'The Loyal National Repeal Association', as O'Connell insisted it be known as) 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, the British decided to take action ; for it was on that date that between 800,000 and one million people gathered on the Hill of Tara in County Meath for a 'Monster Meeting'. 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 'Loyal National Repeal 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.




T. M. RAY, Secretary.

SATURDAY , 7 th OCTOBER, 1843. 3 O 'CLOCK P.M.

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 began preparations for a military rising - but the people were, for the most part , dispirited, and the 'Great Hunger' (so-called 'Famine') was taking its toll.

Hundreds of thousands of potential Irish rebels died of hunger or related diseases between the years 1845 and 1849 . The then Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Murray, prayed "that God in His mercy would vouchsafe to avert the calamity which seems impending over us ....." and Westminster stated that it could not give people food because, in doing so, it would undermine market prices! The people, weak and dying from want of food, had nothing to lose - those that were strong enough to do so took matters into their own hands. 'The Freemans Journal' newspaper wrote on 15th April 1846 : "There have been attacks on flour mills in Clonmel by people whose bones protruded through the skin which covered them ; staring through hollow eyes as if they had just risen from their shrouds, crying out that they could no longer endure the extremity of their distress and that they must take that food which they could not procure. As we pass into summer, we pass into suffering. Every week develops the growing intensity of the national calamity ..." It should be noted that every sort of food except the potato was available because the harvest in every other crop but the potato was excellent ; food was leaving the country for export in vast quantities, and even more was coming in! Apart from the Indian corn, nearly four times as much wheat was being imported into Ireland as exported : but that food was not for the hungry.

As if man-made 'Famine' wasn't enough for the Irish people to contend with, the British made life even more miserable for the dying ; a report in 'The Freemans Journal' newspaper (Summer 1846) gave the following description of an eviction in County Galway - "It was the most appalling sight I ever witnessed : women, young and old, running wildly to and fro with small portions of their property to save it from the wreck. The screaming of the children, and wild wailings of the mothers driven from home and shelter....in the first instance the roofs and portions of the wall only were thrown down. But that Friday night the wretched creatures pitched a few poles slant-wise against the walls covering them with thatch in order to procure shelter for the night. When this was perceived the next day the bailiffs were dispatched with orders to pull down all the walls and root-up the foundations in order to prevent the poor people from daring to take shelter amid the ruins..." Meanwhile, as the Irish people were suffering - unnecessarily, for the most part - a different government came to power in England ; a new Prime Minister, 'Lord' John Russell , replaced 'Sir' Robert Peel at the end of June 1846. The situation was to change for the Irish - but not for the better - the new political power in London, in this case represented by Charles Trevelyan, Permanent Head of the British Treasury and a well-known 'bible-thumper', even though he was only in his mid-thirties, was anxious to 'make his mark' and turned his attention to the Irish. Trevelyan contacted the cargo-ship 'Sorciere' which was then on its way to Ireland with a hold full of Indian corn ; he ordered the Captain of the 'Sorciere' to abandon his mission - "The cargo of the Sorciere is not wanted. Her owners must dispose of it as they think proper." The Brits justified that decision, and others like it, by stating (again , it was Charles Trevelyan who spoke) - "The only way to prevent people from becoming habitually dependent on (the British) government is to bring operations to a close. The uncertainty about the new crop (of wheat in Ireland) only makes it more necessary. Whatever may be done hereafter, these things (ie relief missions) should be stopped now, or you run the risk of paralysing all private enterprise and having this country (Ireland) on you for an indefinite number of years." In short - 'The Irish might as well die now as later ...'. A callous bastard.

A report from that period (possibly in 'The Freemans Journal' newspaper, around October 1846) stated that '...several hundred men, often carrying shovels, were marching into towns and on to landlords estates pleading for work. When several thousand called on the Marquis of Sligo at his house in Westport they were careful not to tread on his grass, and even though he had no work for them they were rewarded by being told he would not harass them for their rents.' A generous landlord, to be sure...

A British 'Justice of the Peace' (no name given) wrote from County Mayo - "The heart sickens at the sight of so many creatures all but dead ; many, many, many are not able to work, they are so debilitated from want of food. I see hundreds of women and children going through the stubble fields striving to get an old stalk of potato..." It was these same "debilitated creatures" that had put their faith in Daniel O'Connell to speak up for them, but the great 'Liberator', who lived in a stand-alone mansion overlooking Kenmare Bay in County Kerry, 'Derrynane House' (where his uncle, Maurice O'Connell, used to live) failed them by his own hand. By giving a vow to work within British 'law' and to use "moral force" only, he could only 'achieve' as much freedom as the British were willing to give him. Today, 167 years after the death of Daniel O'Connell, like-minded constitutionalists in Leinster House have made that same mistake in regards to their belief in the British sense of 'fair play' - they, too, will be 'slapped down' by the British, who will allow them to go so far but no further. They will receive as little 'freedom' as Westminster decides to give them. In the words of a celebrated Irish man, born in Dublin in 1854, one Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde - "Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes." Not to admit the mistake is bad enough, but to repeat it is worse....

THE NEW 'MARK OF THE DEVIL' : 666 /729/871/529.

Not forgetting about our own on-going injustices with Westminster, but as Irish republicans we are practically duty-bound to show support to other peoples that are also suffering from imperialism.

If you can attend street protests, pickets and/or demonstrations, well and good but, if for whatever reason you are unable to show your support in that fashion, then here's something you can do : hit those aggressors in their pockets. This list, although by no means 100% complete (ie visually check the label of each item in your shopping basket) will give you some idea of the range of products that help to keep the Israeli economy afloat. And while you're at it, you might like to be able to put a British-made product back on the shelf, too - useful list here re same!

And, by the way - with the date that's in it - let's not forget that Israel is a nuclear power and has shown that, as a State, its political and military leaders are capable of any atrocity which they believe would further their own interests. Just like their political and military backers and mentors. Ill-disposed people of that nature should not be allowed near a panic button, never mind a nuclear button.


And another 'Second Sunday Raffle' awaits us this coming weekend, as out usual sports hotel venue prepares itself for a busy Sunday : the manager has been on to us to let us know it's standing-room only as the Wolves intend to do a bit of shopping in Norwich and some team from some other City will be Arsenal-ing around on a soccer pitch hoping to Shield themselves from defeat, a job that Kilkenny , apparently, will have to do twice on that same Sunday, as different teams from that city will be playing against teams from Waterford and Limerick. CABHAIR, on the other hand, by virtue of the fact that those matches are being held and the sports hotel is specially geared-up to suit such occasions, will leave 'at the end of play', having handed out €440 in prize money, a clear winner! We will, as usual, post the results here if not on the day itself then asap after we sober up recover....!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.